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McConnell fundraiser: Wives owe their husbands sex even if they’re not in the mood

Quite the charmer Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has hosting fundraisers for him. Dennis Prager is a talk radio host who thinks that one of the “mutual obligations” of marriage is for women to have sex with their husbands based on the husband’s wishes and not the wife’s “mood.”

Writing on TownHall.com in December of 2008, Prager compares a man’s obligation to go to work, regardless of his “mood,” to a woman’s obligation to have sex with her husband.“Why would a loving, wise woman allow mood to determine whether or not she will give her husband one of the most important expressions of love she can show him? What else in life, of such significance, do we allow to be governed by mood?” he writes.

“What if your husband woke up one day and announced that he was not in the mood to go to work?”

He goes on to compare a wife’s commitment to meeting the needs of their children or parents or friends even when not in the mood to having sex with her husband, asking that, because the woman is doing what’s “right in those cases, rather than what their mood dictates,” “Why not apply this attitude to sex with one’s husband?”

Why not? Um, because sex is a more intimate act than remembering to buy milk at the store? Because while people (husbands, wives, whoever) are paid to go to work and be professional about it, sex is supposed to be a mutual thing? Do men not benefit if their wives actually wantto have sex rather than doing it out of a sense of obligation?

I don’t know, just spitballing here. Maybe I’m crazy and sex really is the wife’s version of having a job. Except … no, that doesn’t make sense if you consider it in the context of how Republicans generally view sex workers; if you view the wife as a form of property it makes a little more sense, though. And what if the wife also has a job? Then does she get to say “hey, I go to work regardless of my mood, just like you, so that means I get to say I’m not in the mood to have sex right now”?

It would probably take 3,000 words to unpack all the noxious assumptions about gender roles, sex, and marriage in those few short paragraphs, so let’s leave it at this: Mitch McConnell is happy to have Dennis Prager’s name attached to a Mitch McConnell fundraiser.

 

From Dailykos.com

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Alabama Republican: McCarthy ‘turned out to be right’

In Alabama, state Sen. Scott Beason (R), who’s also currently running for Congress, told his local newspaper over the weekend that he has some concerns about a commonly used high school literature textbook (thanks to reader A.M. for the tip).
Beason put his own flag on “The Crucible,” Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem witch trials. The senator thinks it’s unfair that the textbook attached a sidebar asking students about parallels between the witch trials and Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare of the early 1950s, in which numerous writers and others – including Arthur Miller – were accused of having communist sympathies.
McCarthy was right about most of the people he accused, Beason claims.
“So we’re comparing the McCarthy investigations of the 1950s, in which he turned out to be right, with the Salem witch hunts,” Beason said.
No, Joe McCarthy did not turn out to be right, though it’s alarming how many have come to the same conclusion as Beason.
For quite a while, the American mainstream recognized the fact that McCarthyism was a dangerous mistake – and the Senate was right to censure McCarthy in 1954 – but as Republican politics moved sharply to the right, the former senator’s witch hunt got a second look by much of the conservative movement.
And they decided they liked what they saw.
To be sure, for most of the political world, including many Republicans, McCarthyism is still seen as something of a tragedy. When the word is used, it’s not intended to be complimentary.
But there are exceptions. In Congress, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has endorsed bringing back the House Un-American Activities Committee, while Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told msnbc in 2008 that she supports investigations to determine which members of Congress are “pro-America or anti-America.”
A few years ago in Texas, conservative activists rewriting the state’s curriculum recommended telling students that McCarthy was a hero, “vindicated” by history.
And one year ago next week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was asked whether McCarthy is someone he personally admired. The senator refused to answer.
When thinking about the differences between the contemporary Republican Party and how much it’s changed over the last generation, look no further than those who’ve decided McCarthyism wasn’t so bad after all.
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House GOP Fights for Food-Stamp Cuts

Ordinarily, when conservative policymakers complain about “fraud” and “cheating” in federal programs intended to help poor people eat food, they’re referring to individuals accused of abusing the system unfairly. But over the last few days, congressional Republicans are using familiar rhetoric in an unfamiliar way.
Republican leaders are threatening to take congressional action to stop state governors from flouting the food stamp cuts contained in the 2014 farm bill.
The governors of at least six states – New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Montana and Oregon – have now taken measures to protect more than a combined $800 million in annual Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, and more states are expected to follow suit. Their actions threaten – over time – to wipe out the more than $8 billion in cuts over 10 years to the food stamp program that were just passed by Congress as part of the 2014 farm bill.
But those who initially supported the food stamp cuts are warning that retaliatory actions may be coming.
As a policy matter, the underlying change is a little tricky. Republicans successfully cut food aid to the poor – though not nearly as much as they’d hoped – which mostly affected 17 states that participate in the “Heat and Eat” program, which connects federal LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) assistance with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
At last count, six of the affected governors – five Democrats and one Republican – have decided to start fiddling with the books, moving money around so low-income constituents won’t lose their food benefits. Other governors appear eager to do the same.
And this has apparently outraged Republicans on Capitol Hill. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters late last week that he wants Congress to “try to stop this cheating and this fraud from continuing.” Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), who helped write the relevant legislation, wants a full congressional investigation and new measures intended to guarantee food-stamp cuts.
Remember, the “cheating” and “fraud” is in reference to state officials trying to help low-income residents access food.
For its part, the Obama administration seems a lot less concerned than Congress.
Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) expressed anger Friday over the possibility that none of the cuts to the SNAP program would be realized and asked USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack during an appropriations hearing whether he had any inside knowledge that states would nullify the benefit reductions.
Vilsack said he didn’t know or suspect what the states would do, but defended their right to take action.
“Frankly, as a former governor and former state senator, I respect the role of governors and legislatures to make decisions that they think are in their state’s best interests,” Vilsack said.
GOP lawmakers found this unsatisfying. Expect to hear quite a bit more about this in the coming weeks.
Steve Benin, MSNBC
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Mayor Lee Announces Doubling Of City’s First Time Home Buyer Down Payment Home Loan Assistance Program

City’s Housing Trust Fund Grows Homeownership Opportunities for San Francisco Residents

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the doubling of loan amounts for San Francisco’s Down Payment Assistance Loan Program (DALP), a homeownership program that provides financial assistance to low- to moderate-income first time home buyers, by offering a deferred-payment loan that requires no repayment for 40 years or at the re-sale of the unit. Starting this week, individual loans of up to $200,000 will be available to qualified buyers.

“The expansion of the DALP program proves the immediate and tangible impact of the Housing Trust Fund to assist the City’s first time home buyers and provide homeownership opportunities for San Francisco residents,” said Mayor Lee. “This down payment assistance program has assisted many working families in our City and will continue to support our diverse workforce that is so critical to our economy.”

Originally created through the passage of Proposition A in 1996, the program has traditionally provided loans of up to $100,000 for down payment assistance. However, given the high cost of homes in today’s market, a higher loan amount is need to enable low to moderate income borrowers to keep up with market conditions, especially families. Increased DALP amounts will enable San Francisco low to moderate income, first time homebuyers to better compete in today’s housing market, where the current median sales price is in excess of $800,000.

Through the passage of the Housing Trust Fund, the DALP will have available funds of $2 million this year, which will enable the larger downpayment amount to be available for individual down payment loans. The Housing Trust Fund will also provide an additional $1 million for the First Responders Program this year. Altogether, during the first five years following the passage of the Housing Trust Fund, through loans provided through the DALP and the First Responders Program, San Francisco will be able to help at least 100 households buy their first home.

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) offers qualified buyers a number of programs that can assist first time homebuyers. In addition to the DALP, the BMR – DALP Downpayment Assistance Program (CalHome) aids first time home buyers purchasing a Below Market Rate unit. To date, MOHCD’s homeownership assistance programs have helped almost 3,000 families to buy a home. More than 600 DALP loans have been made, and since this program’s launch in 2013, MOHCD has funded four First Responder loans totaling nearly $500,000, with six other loans in process to close in 2014.

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Squat and Gobble Returns from the Ashes

After nearly 17 months of reconstruction, the West Portal         Squat and Gobble restaurant has returned from the ashes.  The corner of West Portal and Ulloa had turned to rubble in November of 2012 from a fire that has consumed the restaurant and adjacent businesses.

After a new design team headed up by architect Suhel Shatara and interior designer Rod Rossi, created a second floor to be used as a separate meeting/dining space to be used by community groups and private parties along expanded seating areas.

“The new restaurant will be able to serve more customers in a contemporary dining room from a efficient and gorgeous new kitchen,” according to Managing Partner Issa Sweiden.  “Our rebirth also includes a new menu that includes gluten free crepes and pastas and new dinner items.

To celebrate the opening of the new space, Squat and Gobble will offer free coffee to commuters as they go to work all week through March 15.  Also there will be reception for the neighboring businesses and non-profit groups to show them the new space and invite them to book the new private meeting/dining area upstairs.

 

 

 

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On Scene with Bill Wilson and the Popes

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Pope Francis during a General Audience in St Peter’s Square April, 2013. Photo by Bill Wilson

 The first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis provides me with an excuse to use one of my photos of the pontiff taken during my stay in Rome last April. I have been amused at his unpredictability and the lengths more conservative elements of the church (ex. Cardinal Dolan) go to explain what he really meant when he said….

But I leave to more knowledgeable church scholars the debate over the implications of Pope Francis’ first year. I’m just grateful for the opportunity I had to see him up close. As I looked back over the most recent history I found a reason to go back a hundred years. I recently purchased a postcard of Pope Pius X in the Vatican Gardens. It was sent from Rome to a Mrs. C. F. Biggert of Sayner, Wisconsin on August 8, 1914.

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Postmarked 3- VIII – 1914 sent by a person with the initials HC. From the Collection of Bill Wilson

 The origins of World War I had their start in the July crisis of 1914. On June 28, of that year Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo. This event caused diplomatic maneuverings which ultimately involved all the European powers and  lead to World War I. That is what the writer of this postcard refers to when making the comment, “I planned to go up to Innsbruck in Austria & come down to sail from Trieste on the Adriatic, but the Austrian war will doubtless prevent.” And then after some personal remarks the writer adds a panicked post script, “I just learn that all ships are cancelled & we can’t leave Europe.” Did H. C. make it back to America? Unanswerable.

 

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Pope Pius X walks in the Vatican Gardens. From the collection of Bill Wilson

 

I made a further discovery about the historical nature of this postcard when I looked up information about Pope Pius X. According to information I found on the internet, Pope Pius X became ill on August 15 and died on August 20, 1914. So when HC starts the post card with “We had an audience with the Pope last Sunday.”  that means it might have been the last public appearance or one of the  last public appearances of Pope Pius X. Did HC stay in Rome for the coronation of the new Pope?  Another unanswered question.

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Gay Couple and Their Children Featured in a New Honey Maid Ad. Times are changing

Scene from the Honey Maid ad
A scene from the Honey Maid ad.

For years, advertisers had no idea how to incorporate sexual orientation into commercials, usually swinging too far toward either gay panic humor or excessive ambiguity. Coca-Cola did manage to include a blink-and-you-miss-it gay clip in its recent Super Bowl ad, but it was too fleeting to make much of an impact. Now, however, a new commercial for Honey Maid graham crackers has ushered in a new era of gay-friendly advertising, capturing the affection and support shared by two loving gay fathers, their adorable son, and their newborn baby.

The ad, part of Honey Maid’s new “This is Wholesome” campaign, walks a precarious line between sincere and saccharine. But by adding just a tinge of the political—“having a mortgage together is what marriage used to be for gay people,” one husband wryly notes—the ad avoids mawkishness and succeeds as a simple, moving portrait of a family at once quite ordinary and decidedly exceptional. Nor does Honey Maid push too hard to get its product in the frame; you might not even notice those graham crackers on the table until the second viewing.

In an era when gay life is often intrinsically political, it’s wonderfully refreshing to see gay family go about the simple business of everyday life with such normalcy. We’re so used to hearing about pain and persecution that when a little boy in a graham cracker ad says “We’ll always share our best and worst of the day—it’s usually hard to come up with a worst,” his sweet innocence registers as almost unbelievable. Almost.

 

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Politician accused of buying sex toys with taxpayers’ money as expenses scandal hits Italy’s South Tyrol

An expenses scandal has broken out in the normally staid region of South Tyrol in northern Italy – after a female politician was accused of using taxpayers’ money to pay for a vibrator and other sex toys.

Ulli Mair, 39, a member of the centre-Right Freiheitlichen party in the German-speaking, autonomous region on the border with Austria, is suspected of buying the €65 items and then trying to claim them back as legitimate expenses.

She said the items were bought as a joke birthday present for a friend and denied that she had tried to claim back the cost of them from public funds.

They were purchased in May 2012 from a sex shop in Bolzano, the capital of the South Tyrol region, which retains a strong Germanic identity. The region, annexed to Italy after the First World War from Austria, has traditionally looked down its nose at the rest of Italy – particularly the south, which it regards as a hotbed of corruption.

Politicians across the country have been caught out claiming for items for their personal use, stoking anger among ordinary Italians.

One of the most ludicrous claims was for a pair of green underpants, bought on a visit to the United States by Roberto Cota, a senior politician from the Right-wing, secessionist Northern League.

The claim caused amusement in Italy because green is the official colour of the League, which has in the past campaigned for northern Italy to secede from the rest of the country.

In Rome, a politician from Silvio Berlusconi’s party was castigated for buying a brand new four-wheel-drive vehicle after the capital was hit by a highly unusual snowstorm. He claimed he needed the vehicle to get around the city, even though the snow lasted less than 48 hours.

According to a report released in December, corrupt officials cost Italian taxpayers €2 billion in 2013.

Politicians at national, regional and provincial level were accused of claiming state money for a range of fripperies such as truffle tastings, Tiffany jewellery and even lap dances.

In Calabria, politicians claimed for lottery scratch cards while in Campania a male politician put in for hair dye – despite the fact that he was nearly bald.

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Build My Heart Foundation Hosts Major Sports Memorabilia Auction to Raise Money to Support Children with Congenital Heart Disease

Fourth Annual Heart and Soul Gala & Auction scheduled for March 15, 2014 in Emeryville

The Build My Heat Foundation will host a sports memorabilia auction at its upcoming gala from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 15 at St. Columba Rectory, 6401 San Pablo Ave, Emeryville.

The free gala event will feature drawings, giveaways, and a silent auction for signed sports memorabilia from notable Bay Area sports teams such as the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders, the San Francisco Giants, and the Golden State Warriors. The proceeds will help to support families with children who are affected by heart disease in the Bay Area.

BryceBryce, a Build My Heart Foundation Client

“We are honored to be hosting the Fourth Annual Heart and Soul Gala to spread awareness of congenital heart disease, and raise money to support those families who have been most impacted by it,” said Ella Bell, the founder of Build My Heart.  “We are deeply touched by the generosity of our local sports teams who have provided autographed memorabilia and other auction items that will go toward helping families cope with this disease.”

The Build My Heart Foundation is a non-profit that provides emotional, social, and financial support to at-risk, low income, families with children affected by congenital heart disease. A congenital heart defect is an abnormality in any part of the heart that is present at birth. Heart defects originate in the early weeks of pregnancy when the heart is forming. The Foundation was established in 2010 when Ms. Bell’s son, Bryce Malik House, was born and diagnosed with heart disease. She became inspired to help other struggling families in similar situations by raising money to offer them gas cards, hotel accommodations, food, and care packages. To date, the Foundation has worked with over 20 families in the Bay Area to offer their support and services.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information about the Build My Heart Foundation and the Fourth Annual Heart and Soul Gala, please visit www.buildmyheart.org or call 1.866.838.9490.

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Build My Heart Foundation Clients and Friends

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Arkansas Judge Mike Maggio Outed for Racist, Sexist, Homophobic Posts

An Arkansas judge, Mike Maggio, was outed for making racist, sexist, and homophobic comments online. Here are some of the posts that he made thinking that nobody would figure out who he was:

The most controversial comments appeared on a Louisiana State University message board called Tiger Droppings. In one comment, Geauxjudge made fun of the name of a University of Alabama football player who is black, Ha’Sean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix. He questioned the wisdom of parents giving such irregular names to their children: “I do agree about names may not be predictors of future success but in reality: How many doctors do you hear named Dr. Taneesha or Ha-Ha? How many bankers do [you] hear named Brylee? So stick with something close to normal. Or come sit in criminal court any day and see the ‘common names.’”

Maggio’s candid views on marriage and divorce:

“I see it every day. A woman makes [an] emotional decision to divorce because the husband stepped out. When otherwise he was a good provider, father and husband . . . then a year or two later realizes uh oh I am worse off financially, emotionally and relationship wise but hey they showed that SOB. Too many times the women get their advice from other divorced women.”

“Men have two needs. Feed me and f— me. Take care of both we will be good. Whichever one you don’t then the man will find. Women have need for security. So man take care of that and will be OK.”

He also compared women having sex with dogs as just a small step from “TGGLBS” sex and disclosed certain proceedings of the adoption by Actress Charlize Theron of a Black kid. Maggio withdrew from an appellate race after being outed.The New York Daily News notes that he posted these confidential proceedings related to Theron’s adoption two months before they became public knowledge.

Starcasm put up another post where Maggio said Khloe Kardashian was “black by injection.”

The site Blue Hog Report was the site which originally outed Maggio and has even more nuggets, including these:

He also opines on relations post-marriage,  makes that same “joke” about bulges many times, why a man should sell Mary Kay,   repeats the wisdom about “golden vaginas”, explains why women generally shouldn’t get alimony, thinks that you should “raise your own kids” instead of paying for childcare, refers to “Vitamin P”, implies that American education is failing because all the easy girls major in education, laughing about “riding” bi-polar women, talks about gynecology, says women are ridiculous because they want husbands who don’t work all the time, refers to wives as “chattel”,  references his own sexual shortcomings, and . . . whatever the hell this is.

There are many more such posts at this link. Blue Hog also cites these set of ethical rules for judges:

   Rule 1.2. A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.    Official Comment [2]: A judge should expect to be the subject of public scrutiny that might be viewed as burdensome if applied to other citizens, and must accept the restrictions imposed by the Code.

Official Comment [6]: Actual improprieties include violations of law, court rules or provisions of this Code. The test for appearance of impropriety is whether the conduct would create in reasonable minds a perception that the judge violated this Code or engaged in other conduct that reflects adversely on the judge’s honesty, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge.

Rule 3.1. A judge may engage in extrajudicial activities, except as prohibited by law or this Code. However, when engaging in extrajudicial activities, a judge shall not: [*]
(C) participate in activities that would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality.

Official Comment [3]: Discriminatory actions and expressions of bias or prejudice by a judge, even outside the judge’s official or judicial actions, are likely to appear to a reasonable person to call into question the judge’s integrity and impartiality. Examples include jokes or other remarks that demean individuals based upon their personal characteristics.

The Associated Press reports that he is under investigation by that state’s judicial commission.

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On Scene with Bill Wilson: Luck of the Irish

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Supervisor Mark Farrell (left) watches Mayor Lee and Consul General Philip Grant raise the Irish flag at city Hall on March 7.

It is now official St. Patrick’s (Week) Day in San Francisco has now begun. On Friday March 7 the Irish flag was raised on the Mayor’s flag pole at City Hall. Assisting Mayor Lee was the Consul General of Ireland, Philip Grant, who will be participating in his first St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in San Francisco since his appointment last September.

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Irish Piper’s Band provided the musical escort as the proceedings went from the Mayor’s office to the Mayor’s Balcony.

Supervisor Mark Farrell presided over the annual reception hosted by the Mayor for the Irish community which provided the opportunity to acknowledge leaders from the community and leaders from Ireland. It was an opportunity to highlight both past history and current history as Aer Lingus promoted their new non-stop service from SFO to Dublin.

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(left to right) Diarmuid Philpot, President of the United Irish Societies, and Consul General of Ireland, Philip Grant receive Proclamations from Mayor Lee and Supervisor Farrell.

San Francisco’s 163rd annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Saturday March 15 starting at Second and Market at 11:30am. The theme of this year’s parade is “A Tribute to Irish Workers of America.” The grand marshals for this year’s parade are Margaret and Dan McAuliffe were also acknowledged during the festivities at City Hall that included dancers from the Murphy Irish Dancers.

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The Murphy Irish Dancers provide a genuine kick-off for Irish heritage week at City Hall on March 7.

 

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Retired Justice John Paul Stevens Calls For Six New Constitutional Amendment

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has a new book out,  Six Amendments: How And Why We Should Change The Constitution, with some really outstanding ideas.

The publisher says of the book:

For the first time ever, a retired Supreme Court Justice offers a manifesto on how the Constitution needs to change.

SIX AMENDMENTS is an absolutely unprecedented call to arms, detailing six specific ways in which the Constitution should be amended in order to protect our democracy and the safety and wellbeing of American citizens.”

Any constitutional amendment is an impossible dream, of course. It requires two-thirds of the members of both houses of congress and then has to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. The country couldn’t even pass an amendment saying women have the same rights as men, hard to see red states and blue states agreeing on any significant change.

But it is still a tantalizing possibility.

Here are Justice Stevens six great ideas by Josh Blackman, a critic of Justice Stevens who reviewed the book. When you read #1 think Rick Perry refusing to allow same-sex military spouses to apply for benefits or the Missouri legislature considering a law allowing the arrest of any law enforcement agent attempting to enforce federal gun laws. The rest are fairly straight forward.

    • The “Anti-Commandeering Rule” (Amend the Supremacy Clause of Article VI) This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges and other public officials. in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
    • Political Gerrymandering – Districts represented by members of Congress, or by members of any state legislative body, shall be compact and composed of contiguous territory. The state shall have the burden of justifying any departures from this requirement by reference to neutral criteria such as natural, political, or historical boundaries or demographic changes. The interest in enhancing or preserving the political power of the party in control of the state government is not such a neutral criterion.
    • Campaign Finance – Neither the First Amendment nor any other provision of this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit the Congress or any state from imposing reasonable limits on the amount of money that candidates for public office, or their supporters, may spend in election campaigns.
    • Sovereign Immunity – Neither the Tenth Amendment, the Eleventh Amendment, nor any other provision of this Constitution, shall be construed to provide any state, state agency, or state officer with an immunity from liability for violating any act of Congress, or any provision of this Constitution
    • Death Penalty- (Amend the 8th Amendment) Excessive Bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments such as the death penalty inflicted.
    • The Second Amendment – (Amend the 2nd Amendment) A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.

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You can see by his amendment wish list that there’s a reason Justice Stevens was known as the “Liberal Lion” of the Court.

I would gladly embrace any one of Justice Stevens suggestions. But it struck me that the one change we need to make before we could possibly address the other five is and end to gerrymandering.

The reality is, we will never end the practice of carving up states into safe red or blue districts on a national level. The men and women who benefit from it will never let that happen. But we might be able to do it state by state. Once that was done, the rest might be possible.

We complain about it enough. But I have never heard of a grass roots campaign to change the way even a single district has been drawn.

Why haven’t we tried?

 

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SF Ethnic Dance Festival Announces 2014 Line Up

One of the world’s greatest gatherings of dance artists returns to San Francisco this year, June 5 – 29, at the 36th annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival (www.sfethnicdancefestival.org).  Audiences will thrill to 31 extraordinary dance companies and over 300 dancers and musicians at the wildly anticipated event, highlighting the rich cultural and artistic diversity of the Bay Area.

Classical Indian sattriya dance, the first Festival performance of kathakali since 1978, a special Nelson Mandela Tribute at San Francisco City Hall, and the announcement of details about next year’s Pan-Pacific International Exposition Centennial are among the highlights of this year’s Festival. In addition, Indian Consul General Nagesh Parthasarathi will present Katherine and K.P. Kunhiraman with the Festival’s annual Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award at the June 14 evening performance.

“Kathakali dance is at risk of being lost forever and K.P. Kunhiraman is one of the few people alive who are sustaining this transcendent cultural tradition,” said Julie Mushet, Executive Director of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, noting that this year’s Festival will mark K.P. Kunhiraman’s final U.S. appearance. “K.P. Kunhiraman’s departure raises many questions about the future of dance and how, and even if, cultural traditions will be passed to the next generation, as they have been for millennia.”

Of all of the classical Indian dance forms, kathakali is the most stylized and is often compared to the kabuki tradition of Japan, especially in regards to the elaborate make-up worn by the performers. After this year’s Festival, K.P. Kunhiraman will be returning to India at the end of June after an illustrious 67-year career to live out his final years in his homeland.

Also as part of this year’s events, Festival artistic directors Carlos Carvajal and CK Ladzekpo will announce plans to celebrate the Centennial of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition with two weekends of performances in February 2015 at the Palace of Fine Arts, the Festival’s home for more than 25 years and the only remaining grand structure from the 1915 Exposition. Further details about the Centennial celebration and the twenty groups performing on the Festival stage will be released soon.

Since its inauguration in 1978, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival has maintained its preeminent scope and reputation as one of the most comprehensive, widely respected, diverse, and engaging events of its kind in the world.

Following is an overview of the 2014 / 36th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and list of artists.

June 5 – 8: The 36th annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival opens on June 5 at San Francisco City Hall with a tribute to late South African leader Nelson Mandela as part of the free Rotunda Dance Series. Concurrently, there will follow a series of workshops and panel dialogues throughout the Bay Area.
June 14 – 29:  The Festival continues at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with three weekends of classic Festival performances, featuring a different group of performers on the stage of the Lam Research Theater each weekend. As always, audiences will experience an inspiring lineup of Bay Area artists and musicians collectively sustaining important cultural heritage from around the world, including Bali, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Congo, Hawai`i, India, Lebanon, Mexico, Okinawa, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa,  Tahiti, the continental United States, and West Africa. Audiences will have the chance to see 10 world premiere performances and 16 Festival debuts, including the wildly-popular Academy of Hawaiian Arts. Each weekend’s program is a different lineup and includes nine or ten dance performances in a two-hour show, with numerous cross-cultural, collaborative and transitional pieces.
Shining a spotlight on classical Indian dance, June 14 – 15: This year’s Festival includes a special weekend of performances where audiences can watch all eight classical Indian dance forms together on one stage for the first time in the United States. While the Festival has often featured four of the classical Indian forms—bharatanatyam, kathak, kuchipudi, and odissi—rarer are the remaining four: kathakali, manipuri, mohiniyattam, and sattriya. This weekend of Indian classical dance performances is presented in partnership with Sangam Arts, a Bay-Area non-profit dedicated to connecting cultures through Indian classical arts. More detailed information about the classical Indian dance forms can be found at:www.sangamarts.org. This will be the first time that sattriya dance will be seen on the Festival stage. Kathakali dance was featured only once in the Festival’s 36 year history, in the very first San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival program in June 1978. The performers were Katherine and K.P.Kunhiraman of Berkeley, CA.

Indian Consul General Nagesh Parthasarathi will presentKatherine and K.P. Kunhiraman with the Festival’s annual Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award at the June 14 evening performance.

2014 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Artists:

^ Academy of Hawaiian Arts* – Hawaiian kahiko
^ Alafia Dance Ensemble – Brazilian traditional
^ Azama Honryu Seifu Ichisen-kai Kinuko Mototake Ryubu Kenkyu-jo USA *– Okinawan classical
^ Bal Anat – Egyptian Folkloric (Festival Rotunda Dance Series performance – November)
^ Ballet Folklórico Compañía Mexico Danza – Mexican folkloric (Guerrero)
^ Bolivia Corazón de América – Afro-Bolivian
^ Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company – Chinese contemporary
^ Chitresh Das Dance Company – Indian kathak
^ De Rompe y Raja – Asociación Cultural Kanchis Alliance – Afro-Peruvian
^ Diamano Coura West African Dance Company – West African traditional
^ Dimensions Dance Theater – South African traditional
^ Ziva Emtiyaz* – Lebanese belly dance
^ Guru Shradha* – Indian odissi
^ Jubilee American Dance Theatre – Appalachian clogging
^ Kalanjali – Indian bharatanatyam and kathakali
^ Karavansaray Dance Company* – Egyptian folkloric (Festival Rotunda Dance Series performance – November)
^ Bhavajan Kumar* – Indian bharatanatyam
^ Los Danzantes de Aztlán de Fresno State University* – Mexican calabaceados (Baja California)
^ Sunanda Nair* – Indian mohiniyattam and kathakali
^ Natyalaya – Indian kuchipudi
^ Nava Dance Theatre* – Indian bharatanatyam
^ Nlolo Kongo* – Congolese traditional
^ Parangal Dance Company – Filipino traditional (Mindanao)
^ Proyecto Lando/Cunamacué Collaboration* – Afro-Peruvian
^ Sohini Ray*– Indian manipuri
^ Sahiyar Dance Troupe* – Indian folkloric
^ Sattriya Dance Company* – Indian sattriya
^ Sewam American Indian Dance – Native American hoop dance
^ Suciawani Balinese Dance* – Balinese traditional
^ Te Mana O Te Ra – Tahitian ‘ōte’a and ‘aparima
^ Tiruchitrambalam*– Indian bharatanatyam (Festival Rotunda Dance Series performance – April)
(* Artists who are new to the Festival)

June 2014 Festival Schedule:

Thursday, June 5, 12 noon
Opening event: Tribute to Nelson Mandela
Rotunda Dance Series
San Francisco City Hall
FREE
Music and dance featuring Diamano Coura West African Dance Company.
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June 6, 7 & 8 – Festival Weekend One: Workshops and panel dialogues. Friday, June 6 at UC Berkeley; Saturday, June 7 at Stanford University; and Sunday, June 8 at the Palace of Fine Arts. (Specific times TBA)
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June 14 & 15 – Festival Weekend Two: Eight classical Indian dance forms presented in partnership with Sangam Arts: Lam Research Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco

This will be the first performance in the United States featuring all eight classical Indian dance forms on one stage. Performances by Chitresh Das Dance Company, Guru Shradha, Kalanjali, Bhavajan Kumar, Sunanda Nair, Natyalaya, Nava Dance Theatre, Sattriya Dance Company, Sohini Ray.
Saturday, June 14, 1pm & 7pm*
Sunday, June 15, 1pm
*The June 14, 7pm performance includes the presentation of the Malonga Casquelourd    Lifetime Achievement Award to Katherine and K.P. Kunhiraman, founders of Kalanjali: Dances of India, in Berkeley.
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June 21 & 22 – Festival Weekend Three: Nine dance companies in a classic Festival program: Lam Research Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco

Performances by Academy of Hawaiian Arts, Azama Honryu Seifu Ichisen-kai Kinuko Mototake Ryubu Kenkyu-jo USA, De Rompe y Raja – Asociación Cultural Kanchis Alliance, Dimensions Dance Theater, Ziva Emtiyaz, Los Danzantes de Aztlán de Fresno State University, Nlolo Kongo, Parangal Dance Company, Suciawani Balinese Dance.
Saturday, June 21, 2pm & 8pm
Sunday, June 22, 2pm
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June 28 & 29 – Festival Weekend Four: Nine dance companies in a classic Festival program: Lam Research Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco

Performances by Alafia Dance Ensemble, Ballet Folklórico Compañía Mexico Danza, Bolivia Corazón De América, Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company, Jubilee American Dance Theatre, Proyecto Lando/Cunamacué Collaboration, Sahiyar Dance Troupe, Sewam American Indian Dance, Te Mana O Te Ra.
Saturday, June 28, 2pm & 8pm
Sunday, June 29, 2pm

Tickets to the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival are $18- $58 and go ON SALE BEGINNING APRIL 11 online atwww.sfethnicdancefestival.org, or by calling (415) 978-2787. Family matinees on Saturday afternoons offer 50% discounts to children age 12 and under, and group discounts are also available. For complete ticketing information and performance details visitwww.sfethnicdancefestival.org  or call (415) 474-3914.

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On Scene with Bill Wilson: Newest Federal Judge

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Newly confirmed federal judge Vince Chhabria in front of the United States Supreme Court on March 27, 2013.

From the Office of   City Attorney Dennis Herrera comes this press release: SAN FRANCISCO (March 5, 2014)— Deputy San Francisco City AttorneyVince Chhabria was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday as the newest federal court judge for the Northern District of California.

Chhabria, 44, spent the past nine years in City Attorney’s Office, representing the City in a wide range of litigation matters including the successful defense of the Healthy San Francisco initiative, and the fight for marriage equality for same-sex couples in California.

Chhabria was first nominated by President Obama on July 25, 2013.  He received the highest possible rating, Unanimously Well Qualified, from the American Bar

Association, and was subsequently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 14, 2013. After being confirmed today in Washington by a vote he is expected to assume his seat within a few weeks.

In response to the news from Washington, City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the following statement: “I couldn’t be prouder of Vince Chhabria, and I know he will make a phenomenal federal judge. This is great news not just for Vince and his family, and for all the proud people in our office, but for anyone who will come before him in court. He is brilliant, fair, and totally committed to getting the law right.”

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Vince Chhabria (on left pointing) with Deputy City Attorney Theresa Stewart and City Attorney Dennis Herrera on their way to the California Supreme Court on March 3, 2008

 Chhabria sent the following statement by email from India, where he is currently visiting family:

I am thrilled to begin this new chapter of my career in public service, and to set up shopdown the hall from my greatest mentor, Judge Charles Breyer. But as it sinks in that I’m truly leaving the City Attorney’s Office, a wave of sadness comes over me. While I had high expectations when I started here nine years ago, I never dreamed I would be lucky enough to work on so many exciting cases, for so many dynamic clients, with so many dedicated and high-caliber public lawyers. I would like to thank President Obama and the United States Senate for entrusting me with this weighty responsibility. I’m extremely grateful to Senator Boxer for recommending me to the President, and to Senator Feinstein for her support and guidance through the confirmation process. And I especially want to thank City Attorney Dennis Herrera, a leader who captains the ship in a way that gives young lawyers the opportunity to flourish. I would never be in this position today without him.

Chhabria joined the City Attorney’s Office from the firm of Covington and Burling, and was also a law clerk for Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California, James R. Browning of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and, in 2001 and 2002, for Justice Stephen Breyer of the United States Supreme Court.

As a Deputy City Attorney, Chhabria is best known for successfully defending the Healthy San Francisco initiative, which brought quality health coverage to tens of thousands of otherwise uninsured San Franciscans. He has won judgments against businesses skirting minimum wage laws, fought for relocation assistance for tenants evicted under the Ellis Act, and was a key member of the legal team that eventually toppled California’s Proposition 8 in June of last year, making same-sex marriage legal in California.

VC5262009 Vince Chhabria listens to reaction of City Attorney Dennis Herrera  to the California Supreme Court ruling validating Prop 8 on March 26, 2009.

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Liza Minnelli Responds To Ellen DeGeneres’ Female Impersonator Joke At The Oscars

As it turns out, Liza Minnelli wasn’t laughing at Ellen DeGeneres’ controversial Oscars joke at her expense.

“I think she thought it would be funny, but she never stopped after she said it and said, ‘My friend Liza Minnelli,” the 67-year-old stage and screen legend tells TMZ. “So I think it went a little astray on her.”

Still, Minnelli was quick to add, “I don’t think she meant any harm at all. She’s a wonderful lady.”

DeGeneres has come under fire after she referred to the icon, who has been a favorite subject for female impersonators and drag artists over the years, as “the best Liza Minnelli impersonator I’ve ever seen.”

DeGeneres then quipped, “Good job, sir.”

A number of prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) figures took to Twitter to express their dismay at the Minnelli joke. Among them was director Bruce LaBruce, who called the joke “transphobic and disrespectful,” The Washington Post first reported.

“Specifically, I was most offended that Ellen would act that way as a fellow gay person,” Schonberg, who is the editor of the theater blog, “Center On The Aisle,” told The Huffington Post in an email. “Liza has been such an avid supporter of our community, even during the peak of the AIDS crisis, and simply put — I think she deserves a lot more respect.”

 

 

 

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On Scene with Bill Wilson: Old Friends

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My new “old” friends.

A couple of weeks ago I found a wonderful photo album on sale at an estate sale. The first page had only a single photo labeled “First Exposition Building completed 1913. ‘Service Building”. The exposition referred to is the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915 and while there are two pages of photos labeled from the PPIE of 1914, I think it meant that the photos were taken during construction. But on the ensuing pages of the album I found myself being introduced to the Melovrdoff family of Petaluma and friends from all over Bay area. The album is full of photos taken in various places such as Petaluma, Russian River, Larkspur and Golden Gate Park.  There also photos of events like a Washington’s Birthday picnic at Land’s End, the Portola Parade 1913 and two different Halloween parties.

 

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A picnic at Land’s End on George Washington’s Birthday. – he was 100 years younger then.

There was one group of photos, 41 in all, that just took my breath away – none of the photos are dated but they all are of a trip to Yosemite. I assume that they were taken about the same time as the photos in the rest of the album which are dated 1913 and 1914, which means that the trip would have taken place about a hundred years ago.

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Members of the California Camera Club on a visit to Yosemite around 1913 or so.

 There are photos of familiar Yosemite sights such as Half Dome and Vernal Falls, but I was amused by noticing that the women are wearing long skirts and in one of the photos the boys are in ties.

 

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Climbing among the rocks of Yosemite and posing for the camera.

When I said that some of the photos took my breath away I mean that literally. The photos posed while people stood on narrow paths along the sides of shear cliffs and stood on top of rocks balanced far above the valley below, make me nervous, just looking at them.

 

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I can’t believe people standing on the top of the rock with no railing or anything to grab if you happened to slip.

 

Having visited Yosemite when I was twelve years old I know what it is like to lug around a camera all day.  I wonder what kind of camera would have been used in 1913. Each pose must have been carefully planned because of the distances involved. The fact that these photos even exist is tribute to people’s desire to have a record of the awesome (as in worthy of awe)  sights they were seeing.

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Ecuador Plaintiffs, Steven Donziger, Committed Fraud against Chevron in Ecuador Case

Berlinger and Donziger

Joe Berlinger’s (left) Film “Crude,” paid for by Ecuador Plaintiff Attorney Steven Donziger, ultimately led to a crushing victory for Chevron Corporation in the Ecuador Case

Chevron Corporation won a major victory today when a New York federal judge ruled that the case against the oil company in Ecuador was procured by fraud.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York found that lead plaintiff attorney Steven Donziger used bribery, coercion, fraud and other illegal means to create a fraudulent case against Chevron in Ecuador.

Donziger, whose fraudulent lawsuit was supported by environmental organizations such as AmazonWatch in San Francisco, Rainforest Action Network, Earthrights International, and other alleged environmental groups, might have gotten away with the crime if it were not for the sloppy work of Hollywood movie director Joe Berlinger.

Berlinger, who was paid by the plaintiffs to produce a film that lambasted Chevron for alleged pollution in Ecuador, ultimately and ironically, became Chevron’s savior.

Berlinger’s movie “Crude” produced evidence that led Chevron to its important court victory today in New York.

In making his ruling, Judge Kaplan  said Donziger and the Ecuador plaintiffs used “corrupt means” to secure a multi-billion-dollar pollution judgment against Chevron Corp in Ecuador, giving a major setback for attorneys hoping to collect on the award.

Kaplan said he found “clear and convincing evidence” that attorney Steven Donziger’s legal team bribed an Ecuadorean judge to issue an $18 billion judgment against the oil company in 2011.

The villagers had said Texaco, later acquired by Chevron, contaminated an oil field in northeastern Ecuador between 1964 and 1992.  Ecuador’s high court cut the judgment to $9.5 billion last year.

Kaplan’s decision bars Donziger and environmental groups like AmazonWatch and public relations agent Karen Hinton from enforcing the Ecuadorean ruling in the United States. It may also give Chevron legal ammunition in other countries where the plaintiffs could try to go after Chevron’s assets.

At a six-week trial last year, Chevron accused Donziger of fraud and racketeering and said Texaco cleaned up the site, known as Lago Agrio, before handing it over to a state-controlled entity.

Below is the full text of U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan’s opening judgement today against Steven Donziger and the Ecuador plaintiffs:

“Steven Donziger, a New York City lawyer, led a group of American and Ecuadorian lawyers who brought an action in Ecuador (the “Lago Agrio” case) in the names of 47 plaintiffs (the“Lago Agrio Plaintiffs” or “LAPs”), on behalf of thousands of indigenous peoples of the Orienté region of Ecuador, against Chevron Corporation (“Chevron”).

They claimed that Chevron was responsible for extensive environmental damage caused by oil activities of Texaco, Inc. (“Texaco”), that ended more than twenty years ago and long before Chevron acquired Texaco’s stock.

After years of pressuring Chevron to settle by a variety of both legitimate and illegitimate means, Donziger and his clients obtained a multibillion dollar judgment (the“Judgment”) in the Ecuadorian courts and now seek to enforce it around the world.

Chevron then brought this action, contending among other things that the Judgment was procured by fraud.  Following a full trial, it now seeks equitable relief against Donziger and the two of his Ecuadorian clients who defended this case in order to prevent any of them from profiting from the alleged fraud or from seeking to enforce the Judgment in the United States.

This case is extraordinary. The facts are many and sometimes complex. They include things that normally come only out of Hollywood – coded emails among Donziger and his colleagues describing their private interactions with and machinations directed at judges and a court appointed expert, their payments to a supposedly neutral expert out of a secret account, a lawyer who invited a film crew to innumerable private strategy meetings and even to ex parte meetings with judges, an Ecuadorian judge who claims to have written the multibillion dollar decision but who was so inexperienced and uncomfortable with civil cases that he had someone else (a former judge who had been removed from the bench) draft some civil decisions for him, an 18-year old typist who supposedly did Internet research in American, English, and French law for the same judge, who knew only Spanish, and much more. The evidence is voluminous.

The transnational elements of the case make it sensitive and challenging. Nevertheless, the Court has had the benefit of a lengthy trial. It has heard 31 witnesses in person and considered deposition and/or other sworn or, in one instance, stipulated testimony of 37 others. It has considered thousands of exhibits. It has made its findings, which of necessity are lengthy and detailed.

Upon consideration of all of the evidence, including the credibility of the witnesses– though several of the most important declined to testify – the Court finds that Donziger began his involvement in this controversy with a desire to improve conditions in the area in which his Ecuadorian clients live. To be sure, he sought also to do well for himself while doing good for others, but there was nothing wrong with that. In the end, however, he and the Ecuadorian lawyers he led corrupted the Lago Agrio case.

They submitted fraudulent evidence. They coerced one judge, first to use a court-appointed, supposedly impartial, “global expert” to make an overall damages assessment and, then, to appoint to that important role a man whom Donziger hand-picked and paid to “totally play ball” with the LAPs.

They then paid a Colorado consulting firm secretly to write all or most of the global expert’s report, falsely presented the report as the work of the court-appointed and supposedly impartial expert, and told half-truths or worse to U.S. courts in attempts to prevent exposure of that and other wrongdoing. Ultimately, the LAP team wrote the Lago Agrio court’s Judgment themselves and promised $500,000 to the Ecuadorian judge to rule in their favor and sign their judgment. If ever there were a case warranting equitable relief with respect to a judgment procured by fraud, this is it.

The defendants seek to avoid responsibility for their actions by emphasizing that the Lago Agrio case took place in Ecuador and by invoking the principle of comity. But that warrants no different conclusion.

Comity and respect for other nations are important. But comity does not command blind acquiescence in injustice, least of all acquiescence within the bounds of our own nation.

Courts of equity long have granted relief against fraudulent judgments entered in other states and, though less frequently, other countries. Moreover, the United States has important interests here. The misconduct at issue was planned, supervised, financed and executed in important (but not all) respects by Americans in the United States in order to extract money from a U.S. victim.

That said, considerations of comity and the avoidance of any misunderstanding have shaped the relief sought here. Chevron no longer seeks, and this Court does not grant, an injunction barring enforcement of the Lago Agrio Judgment anywhere in the world.

What this Court does do is to prevent Donziger and the two LAP Representatives, who are subject to this Court’s personal jurisdiction, from profiting in any way from the egregious fraud that occurred here. That is quite a different matter. Indeed, the LAP Representatives’ lawyer recently conceded before the Second Circuit that the defendants “would not have a problem” with “the alternative relief that [Chevron] would be seeking, such as enjoining the person who paid the bribe from benefitting from it,” assuming that the judge was bribed.

Defendants thus have acknowledged the propriety of equitable relief to prevent individuals subject to the Court’s jurisdiction from benefitting from misdeeds for which they are responsible. And while the Court does enjoin enforcement of the Judgment by these defendants in the United States, that limited injunction raises no issues of comity or international relations. It is the prerogative of American courts to determine whether foreign judgments may be no different conclusion.

Comity and respect for other nations are important. But comity does not command blind acquiescence in injustice, least of all acquiescence within the bounds of our own nation.

Courts of equity long have granted relief against fraudulent judgments entered in other states and, though less frequently, other countries. Moreover, the United States has important interests here.  The misconduct at issue was planned, supervised, financed and executed in important (but not all) respects by Americans in the United States in order to extract money from a U.S. victim.

That said, considerations of comity and the avoidance of any misunderstanding have shaped the relief sought here. Chevron no longer seeks, and this Court does not grant, an injunction barring enforcement of the Lago Agrio Judgment anywhere in the world.

What this Court does do is to prevent Donziger and the two LAP Representatives, who are subject to this Court’s personal jurisdiction, from profiting in any way from the egregious fraud that occurred here. That is quite a different matter. Indeed, the LAP Representatives’ lawyer recently conceded before the Second Circuit that the defendants “would not have a problem” with “the alternative relief that [Chevron] would be seeking, such as enjoining the person who paid the bribe from benefitting from it,” assuming that the judge was bribed.1

Defendants thus have acknowledged the propriety of equitable relief to prevent individuals subject to the Court’s jurisdiction from benefitting from misdeeds for which they are responsible. And while the Court does enjoin enforcement of the Judgment by these defendants in the United States, that limited injunction raises no issues of comity or international relations. It is the prerogative of American courts to determine whether foreign judgments may be laws of any nation that aspires to the rule of law, including Ecuador – and they knew it. Indeed, one Ecuadorian legal team member, in a moment of panicky candor, admitted that if documents exposing just part of what they had done were to come to light, “apart from destroying the proceeding, all of us, your attorneys, might go to jail.”2

It is time to face the facts.”

Link to the judgement: http://tinyurl.com/o8p6gve

 

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CAL Performances Presents Eva Yerbabuena And Dazzling Vocalist Estrella Morente

Two of Spain’s most thrilling and celebrated performers, Eva Yerbabuena and Estrella Morente come to Zellerbach Hall with two separate March performances set just days apart. Both artists embody a fierce contemporary spin on the distinctive features of flamenco. On March 12 at 8:00 p.m., Ballet Flamenco Eva Yerbabuena takes the stage with explosive footwork, powerful movements, and innovative choreography. Yerbabuena is the winner of six major Spanish choreographic awards and has performed worldwide in venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Theâtre de la Ville, and Opera de Dusseldorf. “At the heart of her performance is a fierce, dark rigour that accumulates a thrilling power,” wrote London’s The Independent. Flamenco vocalist Estrella Morente appears two days later on March 14 at 8:00 p.m. with a program consisting of “Pregón de Las Moras,” “La Habanera Impossible,” and “La Estrella” from her Grammy-nominated Autorretrato (2012), among other pieces. Yerbabuena and Morente will be flanked by world-class accompanists—guitarist Paco Jarana and four members of the Carbonell family, respectively.

In her innovative choreography, Eva Yerbabuena revitalizes traditional flamenco using new dynamic structures without sacrificing the rhythmic intensity and dramatic aspects of the style. She connects with the music on an emotional level and embodies the soulfulness essential to flamenco. Yerbabuena has been dancing flamenco professionally for nearly 20 years. In 1998 she formed her own dance company, the Eva Yerbabuena Ballet Flamenco, which has toured in Brazil, Chile, England, France, India, Japan, Peru, South Korea, and the United States. The program’s feature work, “Lluvia,” translates to “Rain.” “Born on a gray day of pure melancholy,” Yerbabuena says this original, moving work “is a tribute to melancholy and coldness, to being alive, to the endlessness of life.” She has won three MAX Stage Arts Awards (2004, 2005, and 2010) and has achieved lifetime honors including the Spanish Ministry of Culture’s Premio Nacional de Danza (2001), the Andalusian Medalla de Cultura (2007), and Premio Compás del Cante (2010).EvaYerbabuena_02_Credit_JoseLuisALvarez

The Grenada-born daughter of flamenco singer Enrique Morente and dancer Aurora Carbonell, Estrella Morente has been performing since age seven and made her solo debut at 17. With a wealth of knowledge, background, and intuition that only her musically-inclined family could provide, Morente is not averse to combining popular and traditional sounds in the same program. “Every time Estrella takes a stage to sing, the place becomes a theatre or an arena, whether in a tablao, on film, or in any performance,” said director and producer Fernando Trueba. “She is archaic and futuristic at the same time.” Mujeres (2006), her third album, was nominated for a Latin Grammy award. Prior to this nomination, Morente was best known in the United States for contributions to Pedro Almodóvar’s film Volver (2006), which featured actress Penelope Cruz. She was again shortlisted for a Latin Grammy award this past year for her 2012 album Autorretrato.

 

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San Bruno Files Court Petition for Expedited Hearing for CPUC Public Documents in PG&E Explosion Case

 The City of San Bruno has been assigned a March 27 court date to argue why the California Public Utilities Commission should be ordered to immediately turn over public records believed to show improper contact between senior management and judges, among other public records, related to the Sept. 9, 2010 Pacific Gas & Electric pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

Also, last week, attorneys for San Bruno filed a separate order asking that a Superior Court judge expedite the court’s review and–due to the urgent nature of this case and impending decision by the CPUC’s administrative law judges–quickly demand that the CPUC turn over records connected to the PG&E penalty and fine for the 2010 San Bruno explosion and fire that killed eight people, injured 66 and destroyed scores of homes.

San Bruno believes these records may demonstrate the ongoing “cozy relationships” between the CPUC and PG&E that federal investigators determined to be a leading cause of the explosion and fire.

The hearing in Superior Court is at 9:30 a.m. March 27 in room 203 of the San Francisco Superior Court, 400 McAllister St.

“This lawsuit calls for full transparency so that the people of San Bruno and the citizens of California can be confident about the integrity of this long penalty process against PG&E,” said San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane. “Due to the urgency and importance of this matter, we’ve asked that the court  expedite the process so that the public can have full knowledge of conversations behind the scenes that may directly affect the outcome of the case to hold PG&E and its shareholders fully accountable for their gross negligence that caused tragedy in our community.”

San Bruno filed the original public records lawsuit in Superior Court on Feb. 4 after the CPUC refused to fulfill four separate public records requests dating back more than 10 months, in violation of the California Public Records Act.

At the center of San Bruno’s legal filing is an email correspondence from Executive Director Paul Clanon to the Administrative Law Judges that allegedly violates the CPUC’s own rules and is believed to demonstrate improper communication and influence between the CPUC’s senior management and the judges tasked with determining whether to levy a recommended $2.45 billion penalty and fine against PG&E.

The CPUC’s excuses for not producing the records have ranged from the deliberative process privilege to arguing that it was “very busy” and would respond when it had free time – a “response that makes a mockery of the value of public participation within its own government,” according to the suit filed on Feb. 4. Every public agency in California has an obligation to respond to requests for public records as a result of legislation that was adopted by the state more than 40 years ago.

San Bruno officials say these records are important because they may reveal the very problems that federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board identified as a cause of PG&E’s persistent and troubling inability to maintain accurate gas pipeline records, which continues to threaten the public’s safety by keeping the utility at risk for future pipeline failures.

“An open, honest and fully transparent process is the only way that we can ensure the safety of PG&E’s gas pipelines so that what happened in San Bruno never happens again, anywhere in California,” Ruane added.

San Bruno city officials have just launched an online petition drive that seeks the public’s participation in calling on the CPUC to hold PG&E and its shareholders accountable for the 2010 pipeline explosion.  San Bruno’s petition – which already has more than 15,000 signatures – is available at: www.gaspipelinesafety.org.

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Why Russia No Longer Fears the West

The West is blinking in disbelief – Vladimir Putin just invaded Ukraine. German diplomats, French Eurocrats and American pundits are all stunned. Why has Russia chosen to gamble its trillion-dollar ties with the West?

Western leaders are stunned because they haven’t realized Russia’s owners no longer respect Europeans the way they once did after the Cold War. Russia thinks the West is no longer a crusading alliance. Russia thinks the West is now all about the money.

Putin’s henchmen know this personally. Russia’s rulers have been buying up Europe for years. They have mansions and luxury flats from London’s West End to France’s Cote d’Azure. Their children are safe at British boarding and Swiss finishing schools. And their money is squirrelled away in Austrian banks and British tax havens.

Putin’s inner circle no longer fear the European establishment. They once imagined them all in MI6. Now they know better. They have seen firsthand how obsequious Western aristocrats and corporate tycoons suddenly turn when their billions come into play. They now view them as hypocrites—the same European elites who help them hide their fortunes.

Once Russia’s powerful listened when European embassies issued statements denouncing the baroque corruption of Russian state companies. But no more. Because they know full well it is European bankers, businessmen and lawyers who do the dirty work for them placing the proceeds of corruption in hideouts from the Dutch Antilles to the British Virgin Islands.

We are not talking big money. But very big money. None other than Putin’s Central Bank has estimated that two thirds of the $56 billion exiting Russia in 2012 might be traceable to illegal activities. Crimes like kickbacks, drug money or tax fraud. This is the money that posh English bankers are rolling out the red carpet for in London.

Behind European corruption, Russia sees American weakness. The Kremlin does not believe European countries – with the exception of Germany – are truly independent of the United States. They see them as client states that Washington could force now, as it once did in the Cold War, not to do such business with the Kremlin.

When Russia sees Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal outbidding each other to be Russia’s best business partner inside the EU (in return for no mention of human rights), they see America’s control over Europe slowly dissolving.

Back in Moscow, Russia’s hears American weakness out of Embassy Moscow. Once upon a time the Kremlin feared a foreign adventure might trigger Cold War economic sanctions where it hurts: export bans on key parts for its oil industry, even being cut out of its access to the Western banking sector. No more.

Russia sees an America distracted: Putin’s Ukrainian gambit was a shock to the U.S. foreign policy establishment. They prefer talking about China, or participating in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Russia sees an America vulnerable: in Afghanistan, in Syria and on Iran—a United States that desperately needs Russian support to continue shipping its supplies, host any peace conference or enforce its sanctions.

Moscow is not nervous. Russia’s elites have exposed themselves in a gigantic manner – everything they hold dear is now locked up in European properties and bank accounts. Theoretically, this makes them vulnerable. The EU could, with a sudden rush of money-laundering investigations and visa bans, cut them off from their wealth. But, time and time again, they have watched European governments balk at passing anything remotely similar to the U.S. Magnitsky Act, which bars a handful of criminal-officials from entering the United States.

All this has made Putin confident, very confident – confident that European elites are more concerned about making money than standing up to him. The evidence is there. After Russia’s strike force reached the outskirts of Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, in 2008, there were statements and bluster, but not a squeak about Russia’s billions. After Russia’s opposition were thrown into show trials, there were concerned letters from the European Union, but again silence about Russia’s billions.

The Kremlin thinks it knows Europe’s dirty secret now. The Kremlin thinks it has the European establishment down to a tee. The grim men who run Putin’s Russia see them like latter-day Soviet politicians. Back in the 1980s, the USSR talked about international Marxism but no longer believed it. Brussels today, Russia believes, talks about human rights but no longer believes in it. Europe is really run by an elite with the morality of the hedge fund: Make money at all costs and move it offshore.

The Kremlin sees its evidence in the former leaders of Britain, France and Germany. Tony Blair now advises the dictatorship in Kazakhstan on how to improve its image in the West. Nicholas Sarkozy was contemplating setting up a hedge fund with money from absolutist Qatar. And Gerhard Schroder is the chairman of the Nord Steam consortium – a majority Gazprom-owned pipeline that connects Russia directly to Germany through the Black Sea.

Russia is confident there will be no Western economic counterattack. They believe the Europeans will not sanction the Russian oligarch money. They believe Americans will not punish the Russian oligarchs by blocking their access to banks. Russia is certain a military counterattack is out of the question. They expect America to only posture. Cancel the G-8? Who cares?

Because Putin has no fear of the West, he can concentrate on what matters back in Russia: holding onto power. When Putin announced he would return to the presidency in late 2011, the main growling question was: why?

The regime had no story to sell. What did Putin want to achieve by never stepping down? Enriching himself? The puppet president he shunted aside, Dmitry Medvedev, had at least sold a story of modernization. What, other than hunger for power, had made Putin return to the presidency? The Kremlin spin-doctors had nothing to spin.

Moscow was rocked by mass protests in December 2011. More than 100,000 gathered within sight of the Kremlin demanding Russia be ruled in a different way. The protesters were scared off the streets, but the problem the regime had in justifying itself remained. Putin had sold himself to the Russian people as the man who would stabilize the state and deliver rising incomes after the chaos of the 1990s. But with Russians no longer fearing chaos, but rather stagnation as the economy slowed – it was unclear what this “stability” was for.

This is where the grand propaganda campaign called the Eurasian Union has come into its own. This is the name of the vague new entity that Putin wants to create out of former Soviet states — the first steps toward which Putin has taken by building a Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, and he had hoped with a Ukraine run by Viktor Yanuvokych. This is not just about empire; it is about using empire to cover up the grotesque scale of Russian corruption and justify the regime.

Russia would rather have swallowed Ukraine whole, but the show must go on. Russian TV needs glories for Putin every night on the evening news. Russian politics is about spin, not substance. The real substance of Russian politics is the extraction of billions of dollars from the nation and shuttling them into tropical Western tax havens, which is why Russian politics needs perpetual PR and perpetual Putinist drama to keep all this hidden from the Russian people. Outraged Putin has built up a Kremlin fleet of luxury aircraft worth $1 billion? Angry that a third of the $51 billion budget of the Sochi games vanished into kickbacks? Forget about it. Russia is on the march again.

This is why Crimea is perfect Putin. Crimea is no South Ossetia. This is not some remote, mountainous Georgian village inhabited by some dubious ethnicity that Russians have never heard of. Crimea is the heart of Russian romanticism. The peninsula is the only part of the classical world that Russia ever conquered. And this is why the Tsarist aristocracy fell in love with it. Crimea symbolized Russia’s 18th and 19th-century fantasy to conquer Constantinople and liberate Greek Orthodox Christians from Muslim rule. Crimea became the imperial playground: In poetry and palaces, it was extolled as the jewel in the Russian crown.

Crimea is the only lost land that Russians really mourn. The reason is tourism. The Soviet Union built on the Tsarist myth and turned the peninsula into a giant holiday camp full of workers sanitariums and pioneer camps. Unlike, the Russian cities of say northern Kazakhstan, Crimea is a place Russians have actually been. Even today over one million Russians holiday in Crimea every year. It is not just a peninsula; this is Russia’s Club Med and imperial romanticism rolled into one.

Vladimir Putin knows this. He knows that millions of Russians will cheer him as a hero if he returns them Crimea. He knows that European bureaucrats will issue shrill statements and then get back to business helping Russian elites buy London town houses and French chateaux. He knows full well that the United States can no longer force Europe to trade in a different way. He knows full well that the United States can do nothing beyond theatrical military maneuvers at most.

This is why Vladimir Putin just invaded Crimea.

He thinks he has nothing to lose.

 

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This Map Shows Why People Should Stop Freaking Out About Rent Prices In San Francisco

From outrageous listing prices to Google Bus protests, soaring rents in San Francisco have been all over the news lately.

But new data from online real estate marketplace Zumper tells an altogether different story.

Zumper compared median prices for 1-bedroom apartments from hundreds of listings posted on their site during the month of January. They then calculated the change from January 2013 to January 2014. What they found was that while some neighborhoods certainly did see an increase in rents year-over-year, rents in other neighborhoods stayed the same or even decreased significantly.

 

11Jan14rentchangesf_RENTCHANGESFZumper

 

Instead of taking information from Craigslist or other boards, Zumper’s platform allows realtors to post their listings directly to their site. According to Zumper Co-founder and COO Taylor Glass-Moore, this means that listings are more accurate, and there’s no duplicate information.

 

Glass-Moore says that one reason for the frenzy surrounding San Francisco rent is that the media tends to focus on certain neighborhoods that have historically been popular with residents, including techies.

“A lot of the focus is on overall prices and trying to identify unit types where there’s been the most appreciation to have a number that is really dramatic,” Glass-Moore said to Business Insider. “Multiple factors are causing the changes, but only one is being discussed.”

The tech sector has largely been blamed for causing rents to rise and longtime residents to be evicted from their homes, but that’s only one part of the problem, according to Glass-Moore.

“Yes, tech is driving demand and prices for apartments, but only in specific neighborhoods,” he said. “A lot of focus is placed on SOMA or the Mission where a lot of tech workers have moved, but that’s not representative of the city as a whole. There are plenty of neighborhoods where people aren’t wearing Google Glass and jumping into a Google shuttle.”

Other factors contributing to high rents include rising construction of luxury condos, increase in short-term rentals (which tend to be more expensive than long-term), and rent-controlled housing. Most units in San Francisco are protected under rent control, but that locks up housing supply, according to Glass-Moore.

Though rents in San Francisco were up 2.74% as a whole over the last year, Downtown and the Financial District were two neighborhoods that saw a decrease of up to 10% in rent prices. Sunset is another desirable neighborhood with relatively reasonable rent.

He also emphasized that high rents in San Francisco are nothing new.

“Rentals were expensive in San Francisco last year as well, so it’s not like they were cheap last year and now they’re much more expensive,” Glass-Moore said. ”The message that I think should be made clear is that San Francisco is still an affordable city to live in if you’re open to other neighborhoods.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/san-francisco-rent-map-2014-2#ixzz2uh5h6Id0

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Maine Republican regrets saying men should rape women if abortion is legal

A Republican state lawmaker from Maine says he regrets making decades worth of offensive comments about gays, rape, and abortion that were compiled recently by a liberal activist.

Blogger Mike Tipping dug up several offensive comments made by state Rep. Lawrence Lockman (R-Amherst) from old news reports he posted on the Bangor Daily News website, which has spurred Democratic calls for the lawmaker’s resignation.

In one of the quotes posted on the blog, Lockman falsely suggested HIV and AIDS could be spread by bed sheets and mosquitos, and he also said the progressive movement helped spread the virus by claiming “the practice of sodomy is a legitimate alternative lifestyle, rather than a perverted and depraved crime against humanity.”

The post also quoted a 1995 press statement by Lockman, then part of the Pro Life Education Association, comparing abortion to rape.

“If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman?” Lockman said. “At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.”

The blogger also found a 1996 article that featured Lockman dressed as a vampire outside the Federal Building in Bangor to protest the IRS and its “police-state” taxation methods.

Although most of the comments were at least 15 years old, Maine’s Democratic Party chairman asked for the lawmaker’s resignation, saying the remarks were “hateful, vicious and offensive.”

“[Lockman is a] disturbed individual who holds some of the most abhorrent beliefs ever heard from a public official in Maine,” said Ben Grant, the state’s Democratic Party chairman in a statement Tuesday.

The lawmaker issued his own statement Wednesday, saying his previous comments did not inform his public service.

“I have always been passionate about my beliefs, and years ago I said things that I regret,” Lockman said. “I hold no animosity toward anyone by virtue of their gender or sexual orientation, and today I am focused on ensuring freedom and economic prosperity for all Mainers.”

House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette (R-Newport) also issued a statement rebuking Lockman.

“I do not condone these or any statements that are intentionally hurtful toward others on account of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation,” Fredette said.

Lockman is known as a divisive figure in the Statehouse who has baselessly accused colleagues of conflicts of interest and makes other outlandish statements during floor debates.

 

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The Bay Area Dance Community Throws Open Its Doors Once Again And Invites The Public To Experience Dance For Free

Bay Area Dance Week kicks off with an opening celebration at Union Square featuring a group dance to iconic dance moves

 

Friday, April 25 – Sunday, May 4, 2014

www.bayareadance.org

Dancers at Bay Area Dance Week’s kick off event in Union Square, photo by Kegan Marling
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 27, 2014 – Each year hundreds of dance organizations, companies, schools and artists open up their doors and invite the public to attend an event, completely free of charge, during Bay Area Dance Week (BADW). Presented as part of the nationwide festival National Dance Week, the Bay Area’s edition can proudly boast that is it the nation’s largest celebration. BADW draws more than 20,000 attendees each year to events in San Francisco, the East Bay, North Bay and South Bay. 

This year’s festival runs April 25-May 4, 2014 and kicks off on Friday, April 25 at 12noon with One Dance led by the Rhythm & Motion Dance Workout Program, at Union Square. This year’s edition is all about “iconic dance moves” from pop culture – and will feature dance groups, dance companies and students performing moves that include Tina Turner’s Rolling Down the River, the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive, PSY’s Gangam Style, Madonna’s Vogue, the Village People’s Y.M.C.A, Michael Jackson’s Beat it, The Bangles’ Walk Like an Egyptian, among other top hits. The public can go online early and learn the moves at www.bayareadance.org or just show up and learn them on the fly. For a trip down memory lane, check out the soundtrack here .

 

There is something for everyone at this year’s festival (the public can pick up a free event guide or visit www.bayareadance.org to learn about the wide array of events presented this year). Among the 600 planned events this year are:

 

EVENTS FOR FIRST-TIMERS 

  • A screening of A History of Dance on Screen, featuring dance legends from Maya Plisetskaya to Rudolf Nureyev to Pina Bausch; Saturday, April 26 at the San Francisco Public Library.
  • An introduction to Kathak, a class presented by the Chitresh Das Dance Company, Sunday, April 27 in Mountain View
  • A day of dance for dancers of all sizes, presented by Big Moves, Sunday, April 27, in Berkeley
  • Everyone can dance, a class for people with and without physical disabilities, presented by AXIS Dance Company, Monday April 27, in Oakland

FAMILY FRIENDLY EVENTS

  • Dancing in the Park, an outdoor event featuring dance companies from around the Bay Area and sample dance classes, Saturday, April 26 in Golden Gate Park
  • Festival of the Silk Road, featuring dance, music and poetry, Sunday, April 27 in San Jose
  • Story Time Dance Along, a class of ballet fundamentals at Ballet San Jose School, Tuesday, April 29 in San Jose
  • An introduction to Korean Three Drum Dance, geared to beginners of all ages, Saturday, May 3 in San Francisco

DANCE FROM AROUND THE WORLD

  • A workshop of International Folk dance by the Stanford International Dancers, Friday April 25 in Palo Alto
  • A Tahitian dance class presented by Mahea Uchiyama Center for International Dance, Sunday April 27 in Berkeley
  • A Congolese dance class presented by Cultural Arts of GOLD, Sunday, April 27, in Oakland
  • A Bhangra dance class presented by Dholrhythms Dance Co., Tuesday, April 29 in San Francisco

DANCE FOR HEALTH AND FITNESS

  • A Cardio Barre Class fast paced, fun and addictive workout, Friday, April 25 in San Francisco
  • Healthy Mind and Body: Preparing for a Long Career in Dance, a lecture demonstration, Wednesday, April 30 in Walnut Creek
  • Feldenkrais for Dance, Wednesday, April 30 in San Francisco
  • Bellydance Cardio and Combos, Friday, May 2 in San Jose

 

INSIDE THE DANCER’S STUDIO

  • An aerial performance by UpSwing Aerial Dance & Company, Saturday, April 26 in Berkeley
  • Teen Dancer Day, featuring a hip-hop dance class and performance by the ODC Dance Jam, Sunday, April 27 in San Francisco
  • An Open Rehearsal of Katharine Hawthorne’s The Escapement, Wednesday, April 30 in San Francisco
  • An Open Rehearsal of Cal State East Bay Dance Touring Company, Wednesday, April 30 in Hayward

 

WILD AND PLAYFUL DANCE

  • A co-ed Power Pole class led by Poletential, Saturday, April 26 in Redwood City
  • Move to the Now, an evening of dance featuring performances by Imagery, Post:Ballet, ODC/Dance, Dance Through Time and others, Saturday, April 26 in San Francisco
  • Carnaval Showgirl Awakening dance technique, a class led by the Hot Pink Feathers, Monday, April 28 in San Francisco
  • Crystal Ball Tricks: Beginning/Intermediate Contact Juggling, led by Richard Hartnell, Wednesday, April 30 in Oakland

 

The History of Bay Area Dance Week

National Dance Week was founded in 1981 to increase awareness of dance and its contributions to our culture. The first Bay Area Dance Week (BADW) festival grew out of a public dialogue in 1998, when dance artists, administrators, and organizations came together to explore how best to spotlight Bay Area dance during National Dance Week. The festival that emerged took a national initiative and imbued it with the innovative and inclusive spirit of the Bay Area. As the largest per capita center for dance in the US, the Bay Area’s festivities have been the most extensive and best attended celebrations in the country since BADW’s inception. Each year, over 200 dance organizations and artists present events during Bay Area Dance Week, involving more than 2,500 artists and 22,000 attendees. Dancers’ Group presents the annual event.

Dancers’ Group promotes the visibility and viability of dance. Founded in 1982, we serve San Francisco Bay Area artists, the dance community and audiences through programs and services that are as collaborative and innovative as the creative process. As the primary dance service organization in the Bay Area, we support the second largest dance community in the nation by providing many programs and resources that help artists produce work, build audiences, and connect with their peers and community. www.dancersgroup.org

 

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Texas ban on marriage equality ruled unconstitutional, Rick Perry upset

A federal judge on Wednesday declared Texas’ ban on equal marriage unconstitutional; the judge also ruled that the state’s refusal to recognize the unions of gay couples married in other states to be unconstitutional.

As the San Antonio Express News notes, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia stayed the decision pending the state’s appeal, meaning that the state ban on marriage equality remains in effect for now.

“Regulation of marriage has traditionally been the province of the states and remains so today,” Garcia wrote in the ruling. “However, any state law involving marriage or any other protected interest must comply with the United States Constitution.”

Gov. Rick Perry, if you can believe it, is upset by the decision and has vowed to appeal it:

Texans spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in our Constitution, and it is not the role of the federal government to overturn the will of our citizens. The 10th Amendment guarantees Texas voters the freedom to make these decisions, and this is yet another attempt to achieve via the courts what couldn’t be achieved at the ballot box. We will continue to fight for the rights of Texans to self-determine the laws of our state.

One of the couples behind the suit, Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon celebrated the decision as “a great step towards justice for our family.”

“Ultimately, the repeal of Texas’ ban will mean that our son will never know how this denial of equal protections demeaned our family and belittled his parents’ relationship,” they said in a statement. “We look forward to the day when, surrounded by friends and family, we can renew our vows in our home state of Texas.”

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Not a Good Day for Lobbyist Who Wants Ban on Gay Players in NFL

The lobbyist who boasted he could get lawmakers to support a law banning gay players in the NFL is losing clients over it. (And his gay brother is pretty annoyed about it, too.)

ThinkProgress reports that DC Solar Solutions, Inc., a California-based green energy company, has cut ties with lobbyist Jack Burkman, who had bragged that he could sign up six senators and 36 House members for the theoretical NFL ban.

“Since learning about his misguided efforts to write legislation banning gay athletes from the NFL, we have ended our relationship with him,” the statement from DC Solar explained to ThinkProgress. “DC Solar values diversity within our company and within our communities, and we do not tolerate discrimination of any sort. As a company working to address issues about our country’s future, we have no intention of working with those who are stuck in the past.”

The Hill reports that lobbying behemoth Holland & Knight took the unusual step of publicly distancing itself from Burkman, a former associate there who is now CEO of the firm Burkman Associates LLC.

“Holland & Knight is proud of its support of the LGBT community and we condemn Jack Burkman’s current efforts,” senior communications manager Linda G. Butler told The Hill in a statement.

But the most widely circulated condemnation of the idea came from Burkman’s brother, Jim, who is gay. “I told him years ago he should back off on gay issues, and if he ever crosses the line I would be happy to speak up as his gay brother,” Jim Burkman told The Huffington Post. “Today I felt he crossed the line.”

His language was much stronger in a tweet to Michael Sam, who could soon become the NFL’s first openly gay player. “@Jack_Burkman is being an ass. I’m his brother, and I’m gay and stand with you.”

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