Great Debates: GOP Bill, Roy Moore and Meghan Markle’s Cali Cred

By Pat Joseph

Having trouble keeping up with this week’s news? Don’t sweat it—here’s California’s summary of hot buttons in the press.

Tax the Poor

With the Republican tax bill now in the Senate, many students are worried about a provision that would tax tuition waivers as income. Such waivers are regularly granted to graduate students who serve as teaching assistants and research apprentices.

Berkeley physics Ph.D. student Vetri Velan ran the numbers on what the tax bill would mean for him and other students. He found that, under the new bill, taxes for a graduate TA at UC Berkeley could increase by 61 percent.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Cal students assembled on Sproul Plaza to protest the proposed tax measure. Protests reportedly took place at other schools as well, including all other UC campuses.

“The GOP tax bill hurts student workers, disincentivizes higher education and hurts the university,” said Robin Pearce, a graduate student speaking at the Berkeley rally.

Fake News

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas was back in the news this week after the Washington Post caught the group trying to plant a fake story about Alabama Republican senate candidate, Roy Moore.

It wasn’t the first time O’Keefe’s outfit, known for using undercover video to embarrass such organizations as Planned Parenthood and NPR, has blundered in its sting attempts; Veritas has also botched operations targeting the George Soros Foundation and the Oakland office of the League of Conservation Voters.

O’Keefe defends what he does as undercover journalism, like that practiced by the muckrakers of yore and, more recently, by Cal alumnus and Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer, who became a prison guard in order to report on the private prison industry. When California profiled Bauer last Spring, Katia Savchuk asked veteran undercover reporter Ted Conover what differentiated Bauer’s work from O’Keefe’s. “O’Keefe is a new kind of media creature, empowered by the Internet,” Conover said. “The difference is, Mother Jones practices journalism. They do fact checking. They seek responses from those they criticize. They do not appear to engage in personal vendettas, specially targeting their critics.”

That said, all undercover reporting raises important ethical questions and, as UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism Dean Ed Wasserman cautioned, “It should not be taken casually, the story should be worth it, and there should be no other way to get it.”

Princess Bride

Finally, on a lighter note, California was contacted yesterday by the Guardian’s Rory Carroll for comment on Prince Harry’s fiance, Meghan Markle, and how her Californian-ness may (or may not) translate to the royal setting. After a few words in defense of Esalen-style self-actualization, Yours Truly told the paper that California and the British royal family were in many ways antithetical. “The closest thing to Buckingham Palace is probably Hearst Castle. And that has no history whatsoever, it’s just a relic of one person’s vanity.” 

Tax the Poor

With the Republican tax bill now in the Senate, many students are worried about a provision that would tax tuition waivers as income. Such waivers are regularly granted to graduate students who serve as teaching assistants and research apprentices.

Berkeley physics Ph.D. student Vetri Velan ran the numbers on what the tax bill would mean for him and other students. He found that, under the new bill, taxes for a graduate TA at UC Berkeley could increase by 61 percent.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Cal students assembled on Sproul Plaza to protest the proposed tax measure. Protests reportedly took place at other schools as well, including all other UC campuses.

“The GOP tax bill hurts student workers, disincentivizes higher education and hurts the university,” said Robin Pearce, a graduate student speaking at the Berkeley rally.

Fake News

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas was back in the news this week after the Washington Post caught the group trying to plant a fake story about Alabama Republican senate candidate, Roy Moore.

It wasn’t the first time O’Keefe’s outfit, known for using undercover video to embarrass such organizations as Planned Parenthood and NPR, has blundered in its sting attempts; Veritas has also botched operations targeting the George Soros Foundation and the Oakland office of the League of Conservation Voters.

O’Keefe likes to defend defends what he does as undercover journalism, like that practiced by the muckrakers of yore and, more recently, by Cal alumnus and Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer, who became a prison guard in order to report on the private prison industry. When California profiled Bauer last Spring, Katia Savchuk asked veteran undercover reporter Ted Conover what differentiated Bauer’s work from O’Keefe’s. “O’Keefe is a new kind of media creature, empowered by the Internet,” Conover said. “The difference is, Mother Jones practices journalism. They do fact checking. They seek responses from those they criticize. They do not appear to engage in personal vendettas, specially targeting their critics.”

That said, all undercover reporting raises important ethical questions and, as UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism Dean Ed Wasserman cautioned, “It should not be taken casually, the story should be worth it, and there should be no other way to get it.”

Princess Bride

Finally, on a lighter note, California was contacted yesterday by the Guardian’s Rory Carroll for comment on Prince Harry’s fiance, Meghan Markle, and how her Californian-ness may (or may not) translate to the royal setting. After a few words in defense of Esalen-style self-actualization, Yours Truly told the paper that California and the British royal family were in many ways antithetical. “The closest thing to Buckingham Palace is probably Hearst Castle,” I said. “And that has no history whatsoever, it’s just a relic of one person’s vanity.” 

Tax the Poor

With the Republican tax bill now in the Senate, many students are worried about a provision that would tax tuition waivers as income. Such waivers are regularly granted to graduate students who serve as teaching assistants and research apprentices.

Berkeley physics Ph.D. student Vetri Velan ran the numbers on what the tax bill would mean for him and other students. He found that, under the new bill, taxes for a graduate TA at UC Berkeley could increase by 61 percent.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Cal students assembled on Sproul Plaza to protest the proposed tax measure. Protests reportedly took place at other schools as well, including all other UC campuses.

“The GOP tax bill hurts student workers, disincentivizes higher education and hurts the university,” said Robin Pearce, a graduate student speaking at the Berkeley rally.

Fake News

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas was back in the news this week after the Washington Post caught the group trying to plant a fake story about Alabama Republican senate candidate, Roy Moore.

It wasn’t the first time O’Keefe’s outfit, known for using undercover video to embarrass such organizations as Planned Parenthood and NPR, has blundered in its sting attempts; Veritas has also botched operations targeting the George Soros Foundation and the Oakland office of the League of Conservation Voters.

O’Keefe likes to defend defends what he does as undercover journalism, like that practiced by the muckrakers of yore and, more recently, by Cal alumnus and Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer, who became a prison guard in order to report on the private prison industry. When California profiled Bauer last Spring, Katia Savchuk asked veteran undercover reporter Ted Conover what differentiated Bauer’s work from O’Keefe’s. “O’Keefe is a new kind of media creature, empowered by the Internet,” Conover said. “The difference is, Mother Jones practices journalism. They do fact checking. They seek responses from those they criticize. They do not appear to engage in personal vendettas, specially targeting their critics.”

That said, all undercover reporting raises important ethical questions and, as UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism Dean Ed Wasserman cautioned, “It should not be taken casually, the story should be worth it, and there should be no other way to get it.”

Princess Bride

Finally, on a lighter note, California was contacted yesterday by the Guardian’s Rory Carroll for comment on Prince Harry’s fiance, Meghan Markle, and how her Californian-ness may (or may not) translate to the royal setting. After a few words in defense of Esalen-style self-actualization, Yours Truly told the paper that California and the British royal family were in many ways antithetical. “The closest thing to Buckingham Palace is probably Hearst Castle,” I said. “And that has no history whatsoever, it’s just a relic of one person’s vanity.” 

Tax the Poor

With the Republican tax bill now in the Senate, many students are worried about a provision that would tax tuition waivers as income. Such waivers are regularly granted to graduate students who serve as teaching assistants and research apprentices.

Berkeley physics Ph.D. student Vetri Velan ran the numbers on what the tax bill would mean for him and other students. He found that, under the new bill, taxes for a graduate TA at UC Berkeley could increase by 61 percent.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Cal students assembled on Sproul Plaza to protest the proposed tax measure. Protests reportedly took place at other schools as well, including all other UC campuses.

“The GOP tax bill hurts student workers, disincentivizes higher education and hurts the university,” said Robin Pearce, a graduate student speaking at the Berkeley rally.

Fake News

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas was back in the news this week after the Washington Post caught the group trying to plant a fake story about Alabama Republican senate candidate, Roy Moore.

It wasn’t the first time O’Keefe’s outfit, known for using undercover video to embarrass such organizations as Planned Parenthood and NPR, has blundered in its sting attempts; Veritas has also botched operations targeting the George Soros Foundation and the Oakland office of the League of Conservation Voters.

O’Keefe likes to defend defends what he does as undercover journalism, like that practiced by the muckrakers of yore and, more recently, by Cal alumnus and Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer, who became a prison guard in order to report on the private prison industry. When California profiled Bauer last Spring, Katia Savchuk asked veteran undercover reporter Ted Conover what differentiated Bauer’s work from O’Keefe’s. “O’Keefe is a new kind of media creature, empowered by the Internet,” Conover said. “The difference is, Mother Jones practices journalism. They do fact checking. They seek responses from those they criticize. They do not appear to engage in personal vendettas, specially targeting their critics.”

That said, all undercover reporting raises important ethical questions and, as UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism Dean Ed Wasserman cautioned, “It should not be taken casually, the story should be worth it, and there should be no other way to get it.”

Princess Bride

Finally, on a lighter note, California was contacted yesterday by the Guardian’s Rory Carroll for comment on Prince Harry’s fiance, Meghan Markle, and how her Californian-ness may (or may not) translate to the royal setting. After a few words in defense of Esalen-style self-actualization, Yours Truly told the paper that California and the British royal family were in many ways antithetical. “The closest thing to Buckingham Palace is probably Hearst Castle,” I said. “And that has no history whatsoever, it’s just a relic of one person’s vanity.” 

Filed under: Law + Policy
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