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Inaugural Notebook: Inferior Decorating For Freshmen Members of Congress

January 17, 2013 | 4:49 pm

Inaugural Notebook: Inferior Decorating For Freshmen Members of Congress

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The halls of the U.S. Capitol are stately and ornate. Statues of important people (almost all men), majestic paintings and white marble everywhere. The Congressional office buildings for most senators and House members are a little less fancy, but still impressive. But for freshmen members, they’re very much works in progress. You can’t blame them. […]

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Inaugural Notebook: Hardball Politics in the D.C. Metro

January 16, 2013 | 4:06 pm

Inaugural Notebook: Hardball Politics in the D.C. Metro

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Washington D.C. is a company town. And the company is the U.S. government. Everywhere you go — cafes, restaurants, hotel lobbies, bookstores — you overhear people talking politics. So maybe it should come as no surprise that riders on the Washington D.C. Metro system are bombarded with political messages aimed at politicians, staff, lobbyists, think […]

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Inaugural Notebook: 85-Year-Old Charlie Brotman, Official Parade Announcer Since Eisenhower

January 15, 2013 | 9:13 am

Inaugural Notebook: 85-Year-Old Charlie Brotman, Official Parade Announcer Since Eisenhower

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A week from now Barack Obama will place his hand on a Bible once owned by Martin Luther King, Jr. and take the oath of office to begin his second term. It’s a reminder of just how much has changed since we were here four years ago on the edge of a new era, one […]

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Nevada Gay Marriage Ruling Could Complicate Supreme Court’s Prop. 8 Decision

December 4, 2012 | 9:59 am

Nevada Gay Marriage Ruling Could Complicate Supreme Court’s Prop. 8 Decision

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Four days before the U.S. Supreme Court met to ostensibly discuss California’s Proposition 8, a Nevada District Court issued a ruling upholding that state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling by Judge Robert C. Jones, a George W. Bush appointee, holds that Nevada’s law does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment.

That decision is at odds with Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision that struck down Prop. 8 as a violation of both the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses. Judge Walker also found that marriage is a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Lambda Legal, which represented the 16 plaintiffs in Nevada, will appeal Judge Jones’ decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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U.S. Supreme Court and Proposition 8: End of the Road or Next Chapter?

November 28, 2012 | 10:12 am

U.S. Supreme Court and Proposition 8: End of the Road or Next Chapter?

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The next and final chapter in the legal saga of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same sex marriage, is set to begin Friday morning at the U.S. Supreme Court. And unlike the previous legal skirmishes in which this measure has been mired for four years, this one will take place behind closed doors. The nine […]

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Ross Mirkarimi Discusses the Past Year — and Next Steps

November 21, 2012 | 2:28 pm

Ross Mirkarimi Discusses the Past Year — and Next Steps

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About a hundred people turned out last night at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club to hear Ross Mirkarimi discuss the domestic dispute with his wife that embroiled his first year as San Francisco Sheriff in controversy, legal disputes, a suspension from office and — about six weeks ago — reinstatement by the Board of Supervisors. I served as moderator.

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July 19, 2012 | 5:53 pm

After 1% Return, CalPERS Employees Picnic On

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On Wednesday I was in Sacramento talking to state workers and others about public employee pensions and calls for reforming the system when I stumbled upon a group of 75 or so California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) employees in the middle of a “team-building” baseball game and picnic in Sacramento’s Land Park. It was […]

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KQED’s Scott Shafer on Anderson Cooper’s Coming Out

July 2, 2012 | 6:13 pm

KQED’s Scott Shafer on Anderson Cooper’s Coming Out

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I’d just finished posting a blog item about Anderson Cooper’s coming out on my Facebook page when the phone rang. It was George Osterkamp, a producer in the CBS News Bureau in San Francisco. I’d met George in my previous life as press secretary to then-San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos. He wanted to know if […]

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April 25, 2012 | 12:52 pm

Analysis: Obama Loss on Arizona Immigration Law Could Help in Election; Transcripts of Today’s SCOTUS Arguments

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When is a loss a win? If the U.S. Supreme Court rejects the Obama Administration’s arguments and upholds Arizona’s tough immigration law, that could very well be the case. Judging by today’s oral arguments, SCOTUS seems likely to uphold some if not all of the law, which allows Arizona police to seek citizenship documentation from […]

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Breaking News: Prop 8. Trial Tapes Will Not be Made Public

February 2, 2012 | 10:32 am

Breaking News: Prop 8. Trial Tapes Will Not be Made Public

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The Chief Judge of California’s Northern District Court last year ordered video tapes of the Prop. 8 trial released. But a 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today disagreed — and it wasn’t close. In a 3-0 decision written by Stephen Reinhardt, the court ruled that Judge Ware abused his discretion in releasing the tapes, essentially breaking a promise made by Judge Vaughn Walker, who presided over the historic Prop. 8 trial in 2010.

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