Weaponizing Academia

Things are getting serious, folks. The recession is ending for some on Wall Street, but people are still losing their homes. The University system in California is on the brink of collapse. There are wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and sectarian violence the world over. Here in the US, the government seems unable to either spend its way out of recession or raise taxes to pay for it all.

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Locking Down on Captive Labor: California Prison Reform

Things are now so bad here in California that it seems we can’t even do what we’re best at anymore: locking people up. Boy, do we know how to pack them in. Not only has California been sending prisoners to other states due to a lack of facilities, but it is also housing prisoners in our state’s jails that are somewhere near 200 percent capacity, according to CNN.

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GOP Reform: The Elephant in the Room

Rush Limbaugh is on the air. Still. And people listen to him. This might not be such a bad thing, except that the people who listen to him are the same people leading the Republican Party. Despite rousing defeats in two election cycles, a humiliating vice-presidential candidate, the elderly and infirm constitution of its voters, a disastrous eight years in power and a social policy stuck somewhere on the wrong side of 1954, the party sticks to its guns.

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Sign Me Up: Recession Boosts Army Recruits

Recession? Turndown? Complete collapse? What should we call the current state of our economy? If it’s not a depression, it sure is depressing. Chalmers Johnson, founder of the Japan Policy Research Institute and a former CIA analyst, has been saying for years that the United States has little to no national industry. The only thing that the U.S. currently has to offer the world, he claims, is war and the machines to make it. By that rubric, our current economic depression might not be as bad as we think. Since the bottom dropped out of the U.S. economy in October, every branch of the U.S. armed services has reported windfall recruitment surges. The economy is getting so bad, it seems, that the hells of Iraq and Afghanistan seem better than the purgatory of unemployment. It is boom times indeed for the wagers of war.

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Closing the Loophole: Educational Tax Credit

It’s tax season, so it’s once again time to try and cook the books enough to get a little extra beer money from that return. Some of the most important tools that students have in their tax arsenal are the various educational deductions and tax credits, capable of wiping out most of the tax liabilities that we impoverished academicians carry around.

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Beggars’ Bailout: Student Loans are a Banking Bonanza

Claiborne Pell, the former senator who helped create government loans for students to go to college, died on Thursday at age 90. His vision of affordable education for all, however, didn’t last quite as long. Private loans with hidden fees, little disclosure of total cost and packages designed to look just like government-subsidized direct loans have turned education loans from a social good into a banking bonanza and our educational institutions into profit centers for predatory lenders.

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Vote No on Proposition 10

In this historic election year, we can do better. Economic meltdown, a chance to reform the administrative branch, Tampa Bay in the World Series—obviously this year is huge. It’s time for us to demand that our government take us into account for once when crafting policy. We have to stand up to support those initiatives that will make California a better place. We also have to stand up to oppose initiatives that won’t, such as Proposition 10.

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