Thursday, November 19, 2009

The end of America

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All the new fads and trends start in California.

Surf music, Deadheads, tax revolts, valley girls, medicinal marijuana . . . the end of America.

It's the end of America out in California right now. The state is bankrupt. Unemployed former members of the middle class are living in tent cities. Exurbs are becoming ghost towns.

The rich are getting richer, and everybody else is heading for the poorhouse. The American Dream is dying fast . . . and that's one trend that already has come to your town.

WELL, here's another. Higher education as a pursuit limited to those rich enough to pay five figures a year, poor enough to get a Pell grant or smart enough to get a full-ride scholarship -- the University of California system just raised student fees an astronomical 32 percent, reports The Associated Press.

Not surprisingly, this is not going down well among students. All hell has broken loose, in fact, with students facing off against cops in riot gear and UC regents trapped by protesters in a UCLA building.

This, no doubt, is yet another California trend coming to a town near you:

The UC Board of Regents approved a two-phase increase that will boost the average undergraduate fee $2,500 by next fall. That would bring the average annual cost to about $10,300 — a threefold increase in a decade.

After a series of deep cuts in state aid, and with state government facing a nearly $21 billion budget gap over the next year and a half, regents said there was no option to higher fees.

Outside the meeting hall, hundreds of demonstrators chanted, beat drums and hoisted signs opposing the fee increase while UC campus police in face shields and California Highway Patrol officers with beanbag-shooting guns stood watch.

One person was arrested. She was cited for obstructing an officer and released, said Hampton.

There were 14 arrests on Wednesday.

Other protesters on Thursday took over an ethnic studies classroom building at the other end of campus, chaining the doors shut and forcing cancellation of classes. However, they were peaceful and were allowed to remain, Hampton said.

Many students from other campuses flocked to UCLA to join the protests, staying overnight in a campus tent city.

Laura Zavala, 20, a third-year UCLA student, said she may have to get a second job to afford the increase.

“My family can’t support me. I have to pay myself,” she said. “It’s not fair to students, when they are already pinched.”

Ayanna Moody, a second-year prelaw student, said she might have to return to community college next year.

“I worked so hard to be at one of the most prestigious universities. To have to go back, it’s very depressing,” she said.
STOCK UP on the Prozac, kid. The suck has only just begun.

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