Today OZY welcomes a guest curator to share what she thinks are the most important stories of the day — Janet Napolitano, the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and the current President of the University of California system. Napolitano joins a host of other guest curators including Bill Gates, Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair and Gwen Ifill. Read on to get your news handpicked for you by someone who’s actually briefed the president.
The Presidential Daily Brief
We shouldn’t have to do it alone. A strong international coalition is needed to halt the Islamic State threat that has gained momentum in Iraq and Syria. Given the number of Europeans and Americans who have joined the Islamic State and adopted its violent tactics, and who have the freedom to travel to and from the region, the United States cannot assume it is immune from this threat. President Obama deserves credit for his leadership in mobilizing countries throughout the world to quash these militants. But more must be done to get allies to take an active role in the fight and to slow the movement of would-be jihadists traveling to the region.
Many lessons can be learned from the outbreak that has claimed 3,400 lives in West Africa. Chief among them is the critical role played by governments and organizations with the experience and means to make a difference. We faced more than 350 federally declared disasters during my time as DHS secretary, including the H1N1 outbreak, and I’ve learned that effective disaster response requires an all-of-community approach. Obviously, little had been done in the region to adequately prepare for an Ebola outbreak; now we must play catch-up. As the traveler in Dallas reminds us, Ebola is truly a global crisis and countries around the world must work to stem this serious threat to global health.
As former DHS secretary, I respect the Secret Service and the importance of the agency’s role. For more than four years, I entrusted my life to Secret Service agents, and I would do so today. Those I worked with were terrific. That said, the recent security lapses are outrageous and unacceptable. The priority now is strong, immediate action to prevent a recurrence and to restore the reputation of the Secret Service as the premier protection agency it aspires to be.
This deserves a “yes!” I’m very pleased Gov. Jerry Brown signed a sexual assault bill requiring “affirmative consent” on California campuses, as well as a bill providing loans for undocumented students. Both measures are important to the University of California community. We adopted the “affirmative consent” standard across our 10 UC campuses months ago and aim to be national leaders in preventing and responding to sexual violence. The revolving loan program, meanwhile, helps undocumented students get much-needed funding to fill gaps in federal financial aid.
Islamic State kills Briton in fourth beheading video. (The Guardian)
Hong Kong protesters call off talks after gang attacks. (NPR)
Dallas Ebola test delay may have violated federal rules. (Dallas Morning News)
U.S. unemployment falls to pre-crisis level, 5.9 percent. (WSJ)
Stampede at Indian festival kills 32. (Reuters)
Because the University of California is always looking for ways to help students graduate with less debt, we’re keeping an eye on this idea. But we can’t look at this strictly as a money-saver. Yes, it would be cheaper to finish college in three years, but that’s an argument without limitation. Why not two years? Or one? The more fundamental issues are the quality of education we provide and what constitutes the true costs and value of a higher education.
I just ordered Grand Opera, a history of the Metropolitan Opera by Charles Affron and Mirella Jona Affron, because I love opera. I’m really looking forward to reading it. Just this past weekend, I attended a beautiful performance of Bellini’s Norma at the San Francisco Opera. This weekend, I will attend a performance of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. Some of my favorite opera music is loaded on my iPod, and it’s often playing in the car as I travel around California.
UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Lab — a leading force in astronomical research — helped develop the scientific instruments aboard Maven, NASA’s latest Mars orbiter. Back at home, telescope technology has helped answer questions about the origins of time and space that have intrigued humans for centuries. On Sunday, I will travel to Hawaii for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Thirty Meter Telescope. When it’s complete, it will be one of the largest telescopes in the world and will enable us to study our own solar system and stars of the Milky Way, as well as neighboring and distant galaxies.
Traveling is something I wish I had more time for and plan to do more of in the future. I admire Swiss explorer Sarah Marquis’ strength and character, and envy the places she has been. I’ve sought out a fair bit of adventure myself, having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and rafted down the Colorado River. But I think I could do without some of the challenges she has endured, like being attacked by beavers or drinking snake blood. My travels are likely to be a bit more mellow, but I do have a long bucket list, including places like New Zealand, Bhutan and Patagonia.
I’m a sports fan, and as a California resident and UC president, I am now following college sports here more closely. The Sept. 27 football game against Colorado was an incredible victory for Cal, and I’m very pleased to see the team turning things around. It’s well-deserved after last year’s tough season and the 0-15 drought against opponents in our collegiate conference. Cal travels to play Washington State this weekend, but I’m especially looking forward to the match-up with UCLA later this month in Berkeley — rest assured, I’ll be cheering for both sides!