Rubio's Choice; Will Economy Hurt or Help HRC in 2016? The Future of Oil; Free Speech Movement

Rubio's Choice; Will Economy Hurt or Help HRC in 2016? The Future of Oil; Free Speech Movement

By Carl M. Cannon - December 3, 2014

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, December 3, 2014. Fifty years ago today, 814 demonstrators, most of them students, were arrested at the University of California, Berkeley and hauled off to jail in nearby Santa Rita.

The mass arrests, requested by Edwin Meese, the Republican district attorney of Alameda County, and ordered by Pat Brown, the Democratic governor of California, ensured that the Free Speech Movement would not be forgotten.

Among those incarcerated were the students’ leader, charismatic New York native Mario Savio, and a graduate student in the physics department named Richard A. Muller. I’ll have a further word on both men in a moment. First, let me refer you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which offers an array of columns and analysis spanning the political spectrum. We also offer a complement of original material from RCP’s reporters and contributors, including the following:

* * * 

Rubio’s 2016 Choice Rife With Complications, Uncertainty. Scott Conroy lays out the factors the Florida senator must wrestle with before deciding whether to seek the presidency.

Economy Doesn’t Make Clinton a Favorite in 2016. Sean Trende explores election models tied to GDP and the president’s popularity.

Rob Portman Rules Out Presidential Run. Scott has the story.

President Obama “Blew It” -- Again. Tom Bevan writes that the president’s priorities remain skewed despite midterm losses, and even after a high-profile Democrat called attention to the party’s misguided moves in the past.

We Are Never Going to Run Out of Oil. As part of this week’s energy series, David Harsanyi reports on the abundance of oil and gas reserves -- and advances in the technology to access them -- that have blunted progressives’ call for alternative sources.

“Family-Friendly” Tax Reform Is a Disappointment. In RealClearMarkets, Isabel Sawhill assesses a bill sponsored by Sens. Mike Lee and Marco Rubio. 

Is This the Next “Gluten-Free” Diet? RealClearScience editor Ross Pomeroy examines the Low-FODMAP diet, which avoids substances that aren’t absorbed well by the small intestine.

Regulating Tobacco’s Demise. In RealClearPolicy, Thomas Hemphill asserts that ramping up the fight against youth smoking is where cessation efforts should be focused.

Why Carmen Farina Needs to Embrace Charter Schools. In RealClearEducation, Richard Whitmire challenges the New York City official’s skeptical view of charter school achievement.

 * * *

In the autumn of 1964, the Berkeley campus, known then and now simply as “Cal,” was a place in transition. Fraternities and sororities were still popular, and fans of Cal’s Golden Bears football team had watched in delight as an otherwise dismal season was highlighted by the team’s home win over highly ranked Navy. Cal’s quarterback was All-American Craig Morton; Navy was led by Morton’s future teammate on the Dallas Cowboys, 1963 Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach.

But a little over two weeks earlier an event had occurred that would define Cal’s identity, and its future more than any football team could.

On October 1, a political activist named Jack Weinberg was manning an information table for the Congress of Racial Equality. Although he’d been a former grad student in Berkeley, he wasn’t any longer and when campus police asked him for his student ID, Weinberg refused to produce any identification and was arrested.

A spontaneous protest erupted, as hundreds of students surrounded the police car, refusing to let it move. Weinberg was ultimately released, but the police cruiser was not: It was pressed into service as a speakers’ platform used by students and campus radicals to denounce the school’s ban on political fundraising and activism.

The administration wouldn’t back down, and two months later some 1,500 students occupied Sproul Hall demanding that all restrictions on political speech and political activity on campus be eliminated. Mario Savio, a former altar boy from Queens, had by then emerged as the students’ unofficial leader. And it was Savio who gave a ringing speech on December 2 that crystalized the protesters’ grievances. It was a time of Freedom Riders in Mississippi, rising U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, and a general stirring -- especially on college campuses -- that the old order needed a good shaking up.

“There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious -- makes you so sick at heart -- that you can’t take part,” Savio told the crowd. “You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”

A majority of Americans weren’t ready to hear that message in 1964 -- devotees of Edward Snowden believe they still aren’t ready to hear it -- and hours after delivering it, Savio and 813 others were carted off to jail. It wasn’t enough to help Pat Brown: He was defeated for re-election two years later by Ronald Reagan, a candidate who promised “to clean up the mess at Berkeley.”

But the young radicals grew up. Some of them even got old.

Mario Savio married, divorced, remarried, helped raise a couple of kids, and ended up teaching at Sonoma State University. He died from heart issues in 1996. Richard A. Muller, an unknown grad student arrested with Savio, got out of jail, resumed his studies at Cal, earned his doctorate degree, was awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant, and was eventually a tenured professor at Berkeley.

To my knowledge, and to Muller’s, he’s the only one of the students arrested 50 years ago today who became a member of the university’s faculty. He went on to a distinguished career, in fact, becoming one of the school’s most popular professors and making a name for himself in climate science.

Muller was one of the few prominent academics with the courage to call out the global warming dogmatists for their excess in seizing upon the now-infamous “hockey stick” graph that supposedly shows the rapid heating up of the Earth. When he examined its flaws, he wrote:

“That discovery hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics. How could it happen?”

In 2009, he co-founded with his daughter Elizabeth a think tank called The Berkeley Earth Temperature Project. Climate change skeptics rejoiced, but not for long. Three years later, after doing his own research, he announced his conclusions in testimony to Congress and in a New York Times op-ed:

“Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years,” he wrote. “Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.”

Muller turned his popular Cal lecture series, “Energy for Future Presidents,” into a book. Recently, he also unearthed some never-published photos he took himself during the December 2-3 sit-in.


Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau Chief
@carlcannon (Twitter)

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington Bureau Chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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