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COSSA Annual Meeting Takes Up Key Issues

The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) held its Annual Meeting in Washington on December 4. Meeting at a time of considerable post-election uncertainty about the leading players for science (on key Congressional committees, at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and in the Office on Management and Budget), over 70 representatives of social science societies and academic institutions gathered for this day-long event. Not to be stymied by political unknowns, those assembled focused on key issues for the social sciences and how to effectively advance an important agenda of work. The Annual Meeting followed the COSSA Board meeting held on December 3.

Sociologists were well represented at the Annual Meeting including ASA President Douglas Massey, ASA Secretary Florence Bonner, and Executive Officer Felice Levine (stepping down as chair of the COSSA Executive Committee after two two-year terms).

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  What to See in Orange County, California

Robert D. Herman, Pomona College (Emeritus)

You'll approach the Anaheim/Orange County Convention Center, to arrive at the ASA Annual Meeting, by one or more busy freeways, three of which converge in a huge tangle close to the meetings. Radio traffic reporters call it the Orange Crush, or simply The Crush. The term is a sign and a symbol of the most visible property of this region, the full flowering of the car culture and the resulting urban sprawl. Other cities may be marked by the same curse, but Anaheim represents an extreme case.

So after listening to papers, schmoozing with colleagues, eyeing books, and trolling for party invitations, any effort to break away and explore the larger world will require a car unless you're prepared to take long hikes. The Convention Center is isolated, surrounded by fortresses of parking structures and monstrous hotels. Public transportation is sparse, inflexible, and not well suited to the needs of conventioneers.

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