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Marriage Equality Progresses


Just in time for San Francisco’s Pride weekend, this morning the US Supreme Court issued rulings on both the California Prop. 8 case and the Defense of Marriage Act challenge. And both rulings went as well as the defenders of marriage equality could hope for.

Violated Workers

There are an estimated 3 million migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the United States, according to a 2012 survey compiled by the National Center for Farmworker Health. Most are foreign born, undocumented, under the age of 40, and have an average 8th grade education level. But as PBS’s new Frontline documentary reveals, the situation is graver for the one-fifth of those workers who are female.

Affirmative Action Treads Water

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Fisher v. UT Austin affirmative action case was surprising more for its silences than its declarations. Although the case was punted back to the district court, it was very much a punt: Left for another day, and maybe another court, was tackling whether race can be considered in admissions policies of public universities.

Flawed by Design

The problems keep piling up for CalTrans – and by extension, for anyone who will drive across the new Bay Bridge. The project has been dogged by controversy from the start, and concerns have reached the point that public safety seems very much in question. 

The Day the Eukaryotes Changed

About three billion years ago, simple, single-celled organisms without much in the way of skill sets ruled the world.  Then something simultaneously creepy and liberating happened: Bacteria parasitized these proto-plants and creatures.  Some of these invaders became mitochondria, the minute, organic engines that provide energy for cellular activity.  Others developed into chloroplasts, the organelles that produce chlorophyll, the pigment that allows plants to conduct photosynthesis.

Watching the Watchers

Five days after East Bay native Oscar Grant was fatally shot by a police officer at the Fruitvale BART station, an incident captured on video by witnesses, Oakland-based attorney and Berkeley School of Law graduate John Burris filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against BART in support of the Grant Family.

Engineering Magic

Few know better the crushing blow to idealism of undergraduate engineering courses than College of Engineering Dean S. Shankar Sastry. “They come out of high school ready to change the world, and they’re beaten into submission,” said Sastry in a phone interview. “Why do that? We need to find ways to celebrate their creativity, to help them integrate their experiences, so they leave with some of the same enthusiasm they had coming in.”

SCOTUS Ruling on Water Could Spur Change in Policy

Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over, goes the old saw about western water issues, and one of those fights was decided today in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

In a case that could have significant implications for regional water wars throughout the nation, the court ruled that Texas can’t jam a pipe into Oklahoma to get high-quality water for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Sino the Times

Has the Ugly American been supplanted by his Chinese counterpart?  In the upcoming issue, California looks at the growing resentment in the developing world over Chinese business ventures abroad.

It wasn’t so long ago that Chinese engineers and economists were welcomed with enthusiasm by struggling Asian, African and South American nations. The Chinese were seen as both technically proficient and simpatico. They didn’t have to tote the baggage of – well, Americans, who were often viewed as overweening, grasping and arrogant.

Talk about the Weather


The current flooding in Central Europe is already being hailed as the worst in decades. In some parts of the region, flooding is reaching or surpassing the destruction left behind by the 2002 “hundred-year floods” — not unlike those that hit California, as reported by Anne Pinckard in our upcoming Summer 2013 issue.


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