Homeland Insecurity

Cyber HomelandHomeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has joined the line of senior Obama Administration officials to scurry off that particular ship of state. She’s elected to join another troubled ship, becoming president of the University of California system.

Fortunately for her, the legislature just bumped UC’s appropriation by 5% (equal to $142 million), with two 4% bumps to follow in the next two fiscal years. That may keep her from having to oversee a tuition increase for a few years – but it won’t put a dent in what’s sure to be one of her biggest headaches – the $20 billion UC doesn’t have, but needs to meet its retirement pension obligations.

Thinking about that is no fun, so let’s think of some other things Napolitano may bring to UC:

  • Will there be full body scans at the classroom door? If so, UC might be able to offset some of its pension funding gap by selling the images to Internet filth-peddlers.
  • Will UC campus police be trained to pat down old lady profs and  young prodigies?
  • Could UC’s research labs be directed to work on perfecting the “behavior scanners” Napolitano recommended be installed at malls and sporting events? After all, the UC system hosts some big sporting events.
  • Will any fences ever be built on any UC campuses?
  • Will radical pro-Shariah Muslim extremist students be treated with fawning respect while Conservative students are flagged for extra scrutiny by campus police?
  • Hmmm …. could Napolitano resolve UC’s chronic budget problems and pension funding voids by simply running guns to Mexico?

Welcome to Crazifornia, Madame Secretary. I think you’ll find yourself comfortably surrounded by like-thinking peers … unfortunately.

The Tenth Day of the Twelve Days of Crazifornia

“On the tenth day of Crazifornia,
Gov. Moonbeam gave to me ten UC tuition hikes,
Nine “high-speed rail links,”
Eight states’ worth of takers,
Seven-ty percent underfunded pensions,
Six billion in debt
Five fleeing comp’nies,
Four bankrupt cities,
Three falling bridges,
Two super-majorities
And a tax hike on millionaires.”

Today we celebrate the tenth day of Crazifornia – and my birthday! [Alert! Shameless plug follows!] What better way to celebrate the day than by joining those who have a copy of Crazifornia?

OK, we admit it. The Regents of the University of California didn’t pass ten tuition increases this year, but they did impose one across the system’s ten campuses – and that’s close enough for caroling.

Students protested. And they voted determinedly for Prop. 30, which promised to put a stop to additional tuition hikes. Gov. Brown made that point on campus after campus, as college tuition became pretty much his only Prop. 30 talking point in the final days before the November election. Cynics might think all this was a deliberate and Machiavellian game by the Regents to support the tax hike. They’d probably be right, at least in part.

The UC system is higher education at its best and worst. Our state colleges turn out prize-winning geniuses and support research that betters humanity. But they also indoctrinate the leading minds of the emerging generation in Progressive ideology, and they give outrageous pay and benefits too much to professors and senior administrators.

One tale from Crazifornia shows how sick UC is. When the California Air Resources Board proposed new diesel truck exhaust rules that would have cost fleet operators billions of dollars, one epidemiological researcher from UCLA stood in the way, saying the statistical studies justifying the rules were way off and clearly not the work of a professional statistician.

It turns out the researcher, Dr. James Enstrom, was right. CARB statistician Dr. Hein Tran had overestimated diesel truck pollution by 340 percent, and overstated the number of estimated yearly deaths from truck exhaust by 8,800, or about twice his original estimate. It also turned out Dr. Tran lied about his education credentials. Top CARB staffers and at least two board members knew all this, but pushed the new regulations through anyway.

And here’s the UC condemnation in all this: Dr. Enstrom was fired because his position on the CARB diesel regulations was deemed to not be aligned with the academic mission of the department. What mission should a university have but to pursue the truth, which is what Dr. Enstrom did? Apparently UC would prefer its professors pursue pseudo-science that supports environmental hysteria.

California Universities are the Best

Cross-posted at Clarity Blog

Finally, a survey has shown that through diligence, hard work and unending commitment, California’s universities – Berkeley in particular – are the best in the whole wide world.  Unfortunately, it’s for all the wrong reasons.  Here’s why:

The University of California, Berkeley, has been crowned top … of the world’s most environmentally friendly higher education  institutions.

The “UI Green Metric Ranking of World Universities”  is based on several factors, including green space, electricity  consumption, waste and water management and eco-sustainability policies.

Based  on research and surveys conducted by the Green Metric team at the  University of Indonesia on thousands of other universities around the  world,  University of California, Berkeley, United States scored best  with a points total of 8,213 and is the greenest campus in terms of its  environment policy.

Berkeley got the title, but the award really goes to the entire UC system, the UC Board of Regents and the UC faculty as a whole, because the green policies established at Berkeley are not unlike those at all the UC campuses.  So it’s fair to say that California has the greenest public institutions of higher education in the world.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m all about green space, conservation and eco-sustainable policies.  Whether there’s a looming eco-catastrophe or not (I think it’s “not”), it makes sense to be good stewards of our shared resources.  No, the problem I have with Berkeley’s new glory is that it’s really just the outgrowth of the deeper commitment to environmentalist brainwashing education that goes on at UC campuses.  If it weren’t for Regents who have bought into environmental doctrine, a faculty that’s bought into environmental extremism, and a curriculum that ensures wave after wave of freshly minted environmentalist soldiers will be graduating every spring and going into battle for Gaea, Berkeley would not be at the top of the green university rankings.

It’s what I refer to as California’s PEER Axis, standing for progressives, environmentalists, educators and reporters.  I wrote about it a few months ago in a well-read op/ed that ran just after the mid-term election on the national news website The Daily Caller:

While the established political parties and their consultants will  ignore California and pore over campaigns in other states for clues on  how to capitalize on — or crush — the Tea Party’s influence, the Left  will be studying what happened in California, so they can replicate it  the next time around. What they will find is not so much a magic formula  but a vast progressive infrastructure they will then work to replicate  elsewhere.

I call this infrastructure the PEER Axis, for the progressives,  environmentalists, educators and reporters who collectively run  California and influence the underpinnings of America. The PEER Axis  remains powerful because politicians and political movements may come and go, but government bureaucrats and  regulators, environmentalists and social justice activists, and their  supporters in education and the media are pretty much forever. The  structure of California ensures that appropriately indoctrinated college  graduates will continue to fill the personnel pipelines that run from  Berkeley, UCLA and other liberal universities straight into the  progressive movement.

Many end up in government offices in Sacramento, where they write policies that are parroted in other states around the nation, as evidenced by the fact that the federal government  is following California’s lead in setting the next round of vehicle  fuel economy standards. Others will go to work at California’s giant  environmentalist organizations, social justice NGOs and activist law  firms, or the powerful public employee unions. Some will stay on the  campuses, turning out future generations of progressives and writing  studies to reinforce and justify progressive government policies, and  those who graduate into the media will publicize these efforts and  belittle any contrarian thinking. Many will find jobs in California’s  foremost culture-bending venture, Hollywood, where they will pummel all  the world with green messages (The China Syndrome, Avatar), anti-corporate tirades (Metropolis, Wall Street), anti-war propaganda (Apocalypse Now, In the Valley of Elah) and movies challenging conventional values (Milk, Juno).

Wherever they end up, they will be greeted by like-minded alumnae  ready to show them the ropes so they, too, can form and implement  policy, bring lawsuits, and mold the next generation.

In my 30 years as an Orange County and California public affairs specialist (maybe even a guru, now that my hair is gray), I’ve watched the PEER Axis in action.  It has transformed California from a state that spawned great private enterprises and embraced needed public infrastructure into a state that could easily win the same award Berkeley just one, if such an award were given.  Defeating the PEER Axis isn’t an option I see playing out in my lifetime, so I’ve made it my work – in business at Laer Pearce & Associates, and with the Crazifornia project – to win skirmishes, shine a spotlight on their activities and in so doing, dull the edge of their blade. Care to join us in the good fight?