Zócalo Looks at Good and Bad Californians

Bad Californians Are Delaying Our Kids and Assaulting Farmworkers. Good Californians Are Launching Opera Companies.

Nuclear Infant Zombies? While nuclear power plants have seen their share of setbacks in the last couple of years (see Fukushima in Japan, Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin, and Southern California’s San Onofre), nukes remain central to America’s electric grid. Should they? Environmental Health News publisher Peter Dykstra goes through all the strikes against nuclear power and finds their record dubious.  But, he concludes, nukes stick around.


Why Farmworkers Get Raped. Ninety percent of female farmworkers say that sexual harassment is a major problem in the fields. Yet many women do not report the assaults for fear of getting fired or deported. Directing Attorney of the Salinas office of California Rural Legal Assistance Michael Marsh asks what we can do about this impunity.


The Selfless Shall Inherit the Earth. People are either “givers” or “takers.” With that said, can selflessness be learned? For this round of Squaring Off, we pose questions to University of Pennsylvania Wharton School organizational psychologist Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success.


Is Juicing an Eating Disorder? Southern California has long been ground zero for alternatives to everything, eating included. Screenwriter Claudia Grazioso says,  “Los Angeles is the only place I’ve ever been invited to someone’s house for a meal and been served a glass of juice, period.” But there’s a dark side, too, and Grazioso—who’s had a few juice cleanses under her belt—mulls the quest to battle toxins and prolong youth.


Let the Kids Squander Their Own Youth. Young Californians are taking longer to graduate thanks to cuts in education; they can’t afford homes because of rising prices; and they can’t start business because of California’s labyrinth of regulations. Zócalo’s Joe Mathews says, “In California, delaying the progress of ambitious young people has become standard operating procedure.” Mathews suggests we end it.


My Hometown Opera. How did a woman with no graduate training and limited opera experience start an opera company in her small San Joaquin Valley town? She just did it. Performing arts director for the Creative Center in Visalia Rosalinda Verde writes, “Visalia is a place where, even if all you have is a dream and a Bonnie Raitt CD, you can jump in and build something new.”


Next week …


Dashel Pierson Plesa on the future of surfboards …


Mary Hogan on women and retirement …


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