Editor’s roundup

The Dalai Lama speaks, business tax discussions press on and Medford company scores a nanotechnology partnership.

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It was a week of milestones:

I spent a long weekend in La Jolla attending my son’s college graduation from the University of California, San Diego. About 6,000 graduates participated in the commencement ceremony, and judging from the demographics, the future of this country — the middle class anyway — rests with international or second generation students.  About 19% of the UC student body is are international students, up from 3% in 2006. 

A handful of the several thousand Chinese students protested the commencement speaker, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. Stressing the importance of compassion and inner peace, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet responded to the minor disruption — you could hear protesters outside the venue — by calling on China to initiate a “compassionate Cultural Revolution.” 

It was a thrill to hear the Dalai Lama, who exhibited a marvelous sense of humor. (“English is not a very important language,” he said, poking fun at his halting syntax.)  But there was a bit of a disconnect hearing UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, the chief of a top scientific research university, introduce the Tibetan leader as the “14th reincarnation,” a quasi-religious descriptor.

Speaking of education:
Slowly but surely, the business tax is moving forward. The latest version would raise $2 billion biannually by 2019-2020, and the proceeds would be deposited in a newly created education fund. The bill is expected to move out of the House Tax Reform Committee this morning. The Salem Statesmsan-Journal has more on the gross receipts bill as well the proposed tax on hospitals and insurers.

Budget challenges are forcing Lane Community College to pull its annual $200,000 contribution to radio station KLCC, the Eugene Register-Guard reports.

I returned home to find the feds had exonerated former governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancée Cylvia Hayes from criminal wrongdoing. The decision marks an end to the long inquiry into the $200,000 contracts awarded to Hayes’s environmental consulting business. Investigators decided the money Hayes received as a result of her position as first lady didn’t qualify as corruption in the traditional sense of the word: accepting money in exchange for specific political acts. I made a similar argument here.

The Supreme Court struck down part of a 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes free speech rights. The ruling gives a boost to Portland Asian-American rock band The Slants, which had been embroiled in trademark dispute. The ruling is also expected to help the Washington Redskins in their legal fight over the team name.

Check out Oregon Live’s Portland Pride Parade photos here.

Circling back to La Jolla: 
The Medford Tribune reports on a new partnership between Rogue Valley Microdevices and La Jolla-based AerNos Inc. The collaboration involves the manufacturing ultra-miniature gas sensors to monitor air quality with mobile devices, wearables, and devices for smart city and smart home initiatives. Rogue Valley Microdevices will perform its work on silicon wafers and ship the product back to Southern California, where AerNos will work on nanotechnology adaptations.