It was the summer of 1970, and the war in Vietnam was never going to end. B-52s were carpet-bombing Cambodia, gouging craters into its eastern hills; across the border, angry G.I.s were fragging their officers. Back home, radicals were bombing police stations and burning down banks. In May, the National Guard shot four students dead at Kent State. To paraphrase Yeats, things were falling apart; the center couldn’t hold.
Americans have been arguing about taxes for decades. In recent months, soaking the rich with higher taxes has become a battle cry for progressives. Left-leaning politicians argue that higher taxes on the wealthy would reduce inequality and raise substantial revenue without damaging the economy.
Posted on February 24, 2019 - 11:42am
CALIFORNIA Magazine: In the prologue of your new book, The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right, you say you are now “perceiving ugly truths about America and about conservatism that other people had long seen but I turned a blind eye to.” What are some of those ugly truths?
For some years now, Republicans have endeavored to “fix” American education by promoting charter schools, vouchers and merit-based raises. Progressives typically have decried these efforts, maintaining they come at the expense of public schools, particularly public schools that serve disadvantaged students. Variation in educational achievement, they claim, has more to do with student demographics, district funding and English proficiency than, say, the educational chops of individual teachers.
Posted on April 30, 2018 - 3:26pm
On April 22, 2017, six tour busses left Berkeley for a trip—the passengers called it a pilgrimage—to the place where 15 of them grew up more than 70 years ago.
Posted on August 1, 2017 - 4:47pm
Five questions for Dan Siegel, famous as an articulate firebrand on the UC Berkeley campus during the heady 1960s. He is now 71 and is a civil rights attorney in Oakland. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Posted on May 24, 2017 - 1:11pm
Donald Trump’s critics say he’s the worst president ever; his fans say he’s one of the best. That’s par for the course: Barack Obama and George W. Bush got mixed reviews, too, depending on who was doing the reviewing. So what do historians say?
Posted on April 18, 2017 - 5:27pm
The on-again-off-again détente between the outgoing and incoming administrations was off before apparently being on again—at least, as of this writing—with The Donald tweeting last week, “Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition - NOT!” only to reverse himself a few hours later when he told reporters that the transition was going “very, very smoothly.”
So has it always been this awkward?
Posted on January 4, 2017 - 2:43pm
Posted on August 17, 2016 - 1:18pm
Ever since I was a little kid watching my first conventions in 1952—the veep nominees were Richard Nixon and John Sparkman—I’ve been fascinated by the characters who occupy the number two spot.
Posted on June 30, 2016 - 5:35pm
Lately, I’ve been thinking about an incident that happened in 1965, seven years before I was born. It centered on an antiwar protest in Berkeley, one of the first of countless such protests to come. Though just a blip in the grand scheme of Vietnam era turmoil, it seems to point to something important about America and the nature of patriotism.
It starts with a guy named “Tiny.” Tiny was 6’7” and 300 pounds. And he really liked to fight.
Not unlike virtually everyone under the age of 25, the White House has a blog. And its most recent post reads like a hokey commercial: “Our Official Story will take you behind the scenes of the White House’s State of the Union preparations, with footage and angles you won’t find anywhere else.”
Where you will find the “Official Story” is on Snapchat, the third most popular social media app (after Facebook and Twitter), which famously allows users to send photos and videos that only last a short time before disappearing.
Posted on January 12, 2016 - 1:49pm
Fifty years ago this October 1, thousands of UC Berkeley students spontaneously sat down around a police car on Sproul Plaza and held it captive for 33 hours in protest of a University rule against political activity on campus. Over the next three months, the Free Speech Movement, as it became known, led a series of demonstrations that convulsed the campus and defeated the ban.
Sarah Palin recently posted one of Martin Luther King’s most famous quotes on her Facebook wall: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” And then she topped it with a zinger aimed at Barack Obama. “Mr. President, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all who commit to ending any racial divide, no more playing the race card.”
Posted on February 10, 2014 - 10:40am
A proposal to name 3.4 million square nautical miles of ocean surrounding the United States after Ronald Reagan is thrilling a lot of Republicans and satirist Stephen Colbert. “I’ve always known the ocean was conservative,” he giddily told his audience Thursday night. “Like the Republican party, it’s full of Great Whites.”
Posted on August 10, 2013 - 11:46am