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UC Berkeley Business School’s Janet Yellen Named to Lead Federal Reserve

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By UC Berkeley Public Affairs

Colleagues and friends at UC Berkeley are celebrating Haas School of Business professor Janet Yellen’s nomination by President Obama to become the first woman to head the nation’s Federal Reserve Board of Governors. If confirmed, Yellen will succeed current Chair Ben Bernanke, who will step down in January 2014.

The Federal Reserve Board is tasked with setting economic policy to promote price stability and employment, which she has described as “not just statistics to me.”

Yellen, the Eugene E. and Catherine M. Trefethen Professor Emeritus of Business Administration, taught macroeconomics for more than two decades at the campus’s Haas School of Business, where much of her research focused on unemployment and labor markets, monetary and fiscal policies and international trade and investment policy.

Earlier this year, she was named a Berkeley Fellow, joining an honorific society of distinguished friends of UC Berkeley chosen in recognition of their contributions to the campus. Yellen has served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors since 2010. She was president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco from 2004 until 2010.

She has been a vocal advocate for transparency of Federal Reserve policies and actions. Yellen also chaired the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1997 to 1999 during the Clinton administration.

“I could not think of a sharper mind or a more thoughtful citizen to lead the world’s most influential central bank in its effort to regain the economy’s full potential,” said Berkeley-Haas Dean Rich Lyons. “She is part of a rich and proud history of Haas faculty who continue to serve the nation at the highest levels of government.”

Yellen is one of several female Berkeley professors who have successfully challenged the barriers to the White House’s primarily male circle of economic advisers. Like Yellen, her Berkeley-Haas colleague professor Laura Tyson also chaired the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration, and economics professor Christina Romer held the job for four years in the Obama administration.

“Janet Yellen has the knowledge, the experience inside and outside the Fed, the experience inside and outside of Washington and the temperament to lead the Fed effectively, especially in the conditions that the economy faces and will perhaps face over the next few years,” said James Wilcox, a Haas-Berkeley professor and former senior economist at the Federal Reserve.

“By force of her arguments, openness to those of others and record of accomplishments, Yellen has earned great credibility with and the respect of central bankers here and abroad, of economists, of business, of legislators and of policy analysts,” added Wilcox.

A native of Brooklyn, Yellen studied economics at Brown University and earned a Ph.D. at Yale University, studying under now Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics with Yellen’s husband, UC Berkeley economist and emeritus professor George Akerlof, and Michael Spence of Stanford University. Yellen spent 26 years – from 1980 to 2006 – as a Berkeley-Haas faculty member. She taught thousands of undergraduate and MBA students in required macroeconomics courses, and many more in graduate electives in international economics and trade.

Her popularity with students twice earned her the school’s Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching, in 1985 and 1988. Yellen also held an affiliated appointment in Berkeley’s economics department.

“I hired her and have been pleased ever since. At the Haas School, her colleagues and students admired her scholarship and her teaching,” said Earl “Budd” Cheit, dean emeritus of Berkeley-Haas. “As a dean, I especially admired her willingness to be an institution builder. To me, her defining characteristic is quiet competence.”

Former Yellen student Juan Manuel Matheu, an MBA graduate from 2004, is the chief executive officer with Banco Falabella in Santiago, Chile. He said he was impressed by Yellen’s “ability to listen respectfully to different points of view, contrast them with her clear ideas and even incorporate part of them in her own thinking.”

Matheu recalled one class in which discussions started in the classroom and ended with Yellen and her students continuing the conversation with pizza in the Haas School courtyard.

“She cares and embodies our values; she is the living example of all four of the Berkeley-Haas defining principles, especially ‘confidence without attitude,” he said.

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Civil Rights Before the Loving Decision

Loving v. Virginia was a landmark civil rights case in 1967 that recognized marriage as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

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Not so recently in the United States, same sex marriages were illegal. In the last century, there were laws on the books that prohibited folks from different races marrying.  

Loving v. Virginia was a landmark civil rights case in 1967 that recognized marriage as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

In 1958, Mildred Loving, a Black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were convicted and sentenced to a year in prison for violating the state of Virginia’s laws prohibiting their marriage.

That conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1968, ending discrimination in marriage based on race.

The Loving decision was a catalyst in 2015 to help abolish discrimination in marriage in same-sex marriages, which allowed for equality in the LGBTQ communities of all races including this author.

Before the Loving decision, Joan Steinau, a white woman, married Julius Lester, who at the time was a singer and a photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  Julius later became a writer.  

Joan and Julius were divorced in 1970.

Next month, Joan’s memoir, “Loving before Loving:  A Marriage in Black and White,” will be released. In the book, she recounts her marriage to Julius Lester before the Loving decision in the midst of the civil rights era as a wife, mother, and activist. 

In an interview with the Post, she said,   “Given both the erasure and distortion of Black lives as presented in the white-led media, the existence of a robust Black press . . .has been essential to the survival and thriving of Black community.”

Quoting the Chicago Daily Defender in her memoir, she said, “When one of its reporters asked President Truman, after he said school integration might lead to intermarriage, ‘Would you want your daughter to marry a Black man if she loved him?’ The president responded with a typical segregationist attitude of the time, ‘She won’t love anybody that’s not her color.’   It was important for the Black reporter to be there, because of course he assumed the possibility that naturally she could love anyone and pointed that out with his question.”

She added,  “That’s just one example of a long history of significant advocacy and reportage by hundreds of Black newspapers over the last 150 years. The Post News Group has jumped into the gap regionally to fill this important space, and I’m grateful for it. Until we have true representation of all experiences/perspectives at major media outlets, we will continue to need media targeted to excluded groups.

“My own history with Oakland/Berkeley dates to the 1980s when I began to visit from the East Coast and plot a way to move here. In 1991, my wife and I did settle in Berkeley. We immediately joined a predominantly Black church in Oakland and began creating a friendship circle. The diverse culture here was high on our list of reasons to move from our predominantly white area in New England. And it has been everything we hoped for.”

Joan Lester dedicates this memoir to her wife, Carole.  In addition to this memoir, she is a commentator, columnist and book author.

“Loving before Loving A Marriage in Black and White” by Joan Steinau Lester is available for pre-order now and on sale on May 18 on Amazon and at local bookstores.

For more information log onto JoanLester.com.

Wikipedia was a source for this story.

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At Least 4 Bay Area Counties Pause Use Of J&J Vaccines Amid Blood Clot Concerns

Public health officials in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Marin counties announced that they would temporarily halt use of the vaccine, which was developed by J&J’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.

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     At least four Bay Area counties paused administrations Tuesday of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after a handful of people across the country developed blood clots less than two weeks after the shot.

     Public health officials in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Marin counties announced that they would temporarily halt the use of the vaccine, which was developed by J&J’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.
The state’s Department of Public Health also issued a statement Tuesday urging a temporary pause on the vaccine’s administration while state and federal officials determine whether the clotting incidents are significant.

    More than 6.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered across the country.
Health officials have confirmed cases of rare and severe blood clots in just six women between the ages of 18 and 48 who received the J&J vaccine, with symptoms appearing between six and 13 days post-vaccination.

   Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have also advised states to pause administration of the Janssen vaccine to allow for an investigation of the clots and whether a causal link with the vaccine can even be established.

     In a joint statement, FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks and CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said the two agencies will review the cases of clotting this week to determine whether they are statistically significant. “Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Marks and Schuchat said. “This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.”

     State epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said the state will also follow the recommendation by the FDA and CDC and order a statewide pause of administrations of the Janssen vaccine.
“Additionally, the state will convene the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to review the information provided by the federal government on this issue,” Pan said.

     California joined the states of Nevada, Oregon, and Washington to establish the workgroup last year to conduct independent review and analysis of each vaccine as they are approved for emergency use by the FDA.
Officials in the four Bay Area counties noted that Janssen vaccines represent 4 percent or less of the doses administered in each county to date, with the majority being the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Health officials have lauded the Janssen vaccine’s utility in reaching demographics like unhoused residents and people who are homebound, who may have difficulty returning for a second vaccine dose.

     Officials in the four counties said they did not expect the Janssen vaccine pause to force the widespread cancellation of vaccination appointments or significantly affect their ability to continue vaccinating their respective populations.

    Janssen vaccine recipients who got vaccinated more than a month ago are not deemed at risk for developing blood clots, according to local, state, and federal health officials.

   People who received the vaccine more recently are encouraged to contact a health care provider if they begin noticing symptoms like severe headaches, leg pain, and shortness of breath, which may be associated with clotting.

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