Law + Policy

Tea and Sympathy

The Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies—formerly called the Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements—opened in March 2009, just a month after the Tea Party was officially founded. The timing was pure coincidence. Executive director Lawrence Rosenthal says he was putting the center together just as “the Bush government was closing down”—apparently taking the relevancy of American conservatism down with it.

From the Fall 2012 Politics Issue issue of California.

The Big State that Couldn’t

California, the giant adolescent, has been outgrowing its governmental clothes, now, for a hundred years,” Carey McWilliams, the state’s greatest chronicler, wrote in 1949. More than 60 years later, state government has still failed to catch up with the growth, diversity, energy, ambition, and chicanery that have shaped California. Here’s why:

From the Fall 2012 Politics Issue issue of California.

Shades of Brown: The Once and Current Governor Reckons With His Own Legacy

Note: Jerry Brown was overwhelmingly re-elected to a fourth term as governor in 2014, benefiting from economic recovery and state budget stability following voter-approved tax hikes. “I jump out of bed and I want to go,” he said on election night. “So tomorrow I’ll be there, figuring out, you know, what the hell you do in a fourth term.” The story that follows was written in 2012, during Brown’s third term, when the economic outlook for the Golden State was still very much uncertain. 


From the Fall 2012 Politics Issue issue of California.

The Empty Town Hall

Somewhere, deep in my jaded heart, the America I want to believe in still lives, and it has a very specific image: Freedom of Speech, a Norman Rockwell oil painting commissioned in 1943 by The Saturday Evening Post.

From the Fall 2012 Politics Issue issue of California.

Navigating the Law

Covering more than two-thirds of Earth’s surface, the oceans have always been a vast no-man’s-land—despite our quixotic efforts to claim and control them. Even mighty Julius Caesar once found himself kidnapped by Cilician pirates. Told they intended to ransom him for 20 gold talents, a miffed Caesar insisted he was worth at least 50. After the pirates demanded that marked-up ransom, pocketed it, and released their captive, Caesar exacted payback: He raised a fleet, apprehended the captors, and crucified them.

From the Spring 2012 Piracy issue of California.


Gorilla heads on plates. Basketfuls of tangled lemur legs. These stark images have become emblematic of what some conservation groups consider an ecological nightmare: hunting wild (and often endangered) animals for food, a practice in many African countries and other developing nations.

From the Spring 2012 Piracy issue of California.

Hawaiian Local isn’t Quite

Locovorism may be an international movement, but tradition and geography have transmuted it into a fierce and uncompromising passion in Hawaii. The 50th state, after all, has a true cuisine, one founded on unique foodstuffs and a venerable indigenous culture. Small wonder, then, that the local food movement has found the rich volcanic soil of the Islands such an agreeable growing medium.

From the Winter 2011 Taste issue of California.

A Taxing Business

The recent “Occupy” demonstrators protest that the top 1 percent of Americans aren’t paying their fair share. But tax the rich too much and you risk stifling productivity, counter fiscal conservatives. Not true, say Berkeley husband and wife economist team David and Christina Romer: Just look at the U.S. tax system between World War I and World War II (1918–41).

From the Winter 2011 Taste issue of California.

Justice—and Good Grub—For All

This spring, iconic urban homesteader and Farm City author Novella Carpenter ’07 made headlines when Oakland officials singled her out for failing to comply with urban agriculture laws. Her crime? Selling homegrown produce without a business license and growing vegetables on an empty lot without a permit.

From the Fall 2011 The Good Fight issue of California.

The Free Agent

Joe Kapp is finally ready to get it all down on paper—the whole thing, from his hardscrabble upbringing in Salinas to his heyday in the pros; from his first appearance in Memorial Stadium in 1956 to his return, 25 years later, as the head coach at his alma mater. Sitting down to talk on a recent summer day, the old quarterback patted his shoulder bag, which contained an iPad equipped with voice recognition software. Every day, he says, he tries to dictate a little more of his life’s story.

From the Fall 2011 The Good Fight issue of California.

Novel Approach

Nicolle Wallace, President George W. Bush’s communications director and a top campaign advisor to Senator John McCain, doesn’t fit the public perception of a Republican operative. The stunning 37-year-old with a girl-next-door face framed by parentheses of blond hair is a graceful feminist with empathy for those on the other side. In a political landscape splashed in red and blue, Wallace scans for purple.

From the Fall 2011 The Good Fight issue of California.


The Cal Alumni Association’s fundraising team tried just about every technique this past year—Facebook, telemarketing, email, direct mail….

At the same time, the reorganized and reinvigorated development staff took the novel approach of returning to the earliest method: going out and talking with people.

The combination saw strong results, even in financially troubled times. The totals are just now being tallied and early reports indicate success.

From the Spring 2011 Articles of Faith issue of California.

Casting about for Your Vote

Death panels. Maybe you flinched when you heard it. Or fought the thought of moving to Canada. Or maybe the expression made perfect sense to you—”Obamacare” was going way too far. One thing is for sure: Whatever your stance, the phrase tapped into strong feelings.

From the Spring 2011 Articles of Faith issue of California.

Wild, Wild Life

Around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, August 31, Berkeley police were alerted to a surprise visitor, a young mountain lion roaming the streets behind the famous Chez Panisse restaurant. An agile jumper (pumas can leap as high as 18 feet and as far as 40 feet), the cat fled over fences and through parking lots and backyards until, an hour and a half later, the police killed it with a shotgun. On local blogs and news sites later that morning, community members expressed their approval, anger, or confusion as they considered the question: Did the police do the right thing?

From the Winter 2010 Inside Out issue of California.


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