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robert reich on clinton April 23, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, berkeley, interviews, news, politics.
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clinton and reich (1994)

nymag:

So what’s changed? I asked Reich.

“I saw the ads” — the negative man-on-street commercials that the Clinton campaign put up in Pennsylvania in the wake of Obama’s bitter/cling comments a week ago — “and I was appalled, frankly. I thought it represented the nadir of mean-spirited, negative politics. And also of the politics of distraction, of gotcha politics. It’s the worst of all worlds. We have three terrible traditions that we’ve developed in American campaigns. One is outright meanness and negativity. The second is taking out of context something your opponent said, maybe inartfully, and blowing it up into something your opponent doesn’t possibly believe and doesn’t possibly represent. And third is a kind of tradition of distraction, of getting off the big subject with sideshows that have nothing to do with what matters. And these three aspects of the old politics I’ve seen growing in Hillary’s campaign. And I’ve come to the point, after seeing those ads, where I can’t in good conscience not say out loud what I believe about who should be president. Those ads are nothing but Republicanism. They’re lending legitimacy to a Republican message that’s wrong to begin with, and they harken back to the past twenty years of demagoguery on guns and religion. It’s old politics at its worst — and old Republican politics, not even old Democratic politics. It’s just so deeply cynical.”

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futurama is back! grab a can of slurm and settle in November 27, 2007

Posted by KG in animation, arts/culture, berkeley, comedy, film, media, tech.
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futurama.jpg

wired:

In the early 1980s, while Groening was making a name for himself as a cartoonist chronicling the punk rock and bohemian subcultures of LA, Cohen was making a name for himself on the New Jersey high school math-team circuit. He went on to study physics at Harvard and get a master’s in computer science from UC Berkeley. But he was also the president of The Harvard Lampoon, and he left academia to write comedy.

After he started working on The Simpsons in 1993, he became fascinated by the “freeze framers” — obsessive fans who videotaped episodes so they could pause them and look for gags that lasted only a split second. So he gave them little Easter eggs. In a 1995 episode in which Homer Simpson enters an alternate universe and becomes a 3-D model, Cohen inserted an equation into the background of one scene. It seemed to offer a counterexample to Fermat’s last theorem. Then he lurked on the alt.tv.simpsons newsgroup to gauge the geek response. (Confusion at first, then astonishment when they tested it, then despair when they discovered that it was accurate only to eight decimal places. D’oh!)

After the show (Futurama) got a green light, Cohen assembled the geekiest writing staff television had ever seen: one MA in math, one MA in computer science, one MA in philosophy, one PhD in chemistry, one PhD in applied math, and some normals to balance things out. “I went from Home Improvement, where people earnestly pitched jokes about farting and table saws, to a place where there were discussions about nanophysics and string theory and quantum mechanics,” writer Eric Horsted says. “I could only follow the conversation for a few minutes before my brain would start sweating and I’d have to reach for a copy of People.”

“cal mulls what to do with tree-sitters” November 23, 2007

Posted by KG in berkeley, environment, news.
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savetheoaks.jpg

huffpost (via ap):

 University of California officials have won the legal right to oust a band of tree-sitters who’ve taken up residence in an oak grove standing in the way of a planned sports center.

But how do you uproot a tree-sitter in Berkeley, one of America’s most politically correct cities?

“Extremely difficult,” acknowledges campus spokesman Dan Mogulof.

As the protest nears its one-year anniversary, plenty of people have suggestions: Fire hoses, skunk spray and tranquilizer darts are among the thorny ideas Internet posters have planted.

Notable milestones have included an appearance by conservationist Sylvia McLaughlin, 91, who briefly sat on a tree platform in January. There have been two nude photo shoots, and two sitters have fallen, breaking bones.

The next big development in the case could be a ruling, expected soon, on lawsuits filed by the City of Berkeley and others challenging the building plans. They argue the athletic center would be environmentally and seismically unsound, which campus officials deny.