Law + Policy
Janet Napolitano and I met in her office in downtown Oakland on the afternoon of November 4, 2016, just four days before Hillary Rodham Clinton was thwarted in her attempt to make history by becoming the first woman president of the United States of America.
Some people thought that Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona and Secretary of Homeland Security in the first Obama administration, might herself have been a candidate for the White House. Instead, she became the first woman president of the University of California in 2013. Read more about Keepin' It Real with President Napolitano: The State of the State's University »
Danny Brown was in prison for almost two decades for a rape and murder he didn’t commit, and he has evidence to prove it: a host of eyewitness accounts validating his alibi, a polygraph test he took, and passed, at the prosecution’s request, and DNA from the crime scene matching that of another man who is currently serving time for a factually similar rape and murder.
He was released from prison in 2001 at the age of 45. Read more about Black Hole: The Injustice of Wrongful Incarceration Doesn't End When the Prison Doors Open »
Few pollsters on either side of the political aisle really expected a Trump win on November 8th. And while pundits and prognosticators were somewhat less certain about the outcome of state races, many were surprised—or shocked—that Republicans held on to the Senate and the House and improved their standing in state governments. Republicans now claim governorships in 34 states, up from 31. Read more about Stronger Together? A Blueprint for a Blue State Alliance »
Posted on December 5, 2016 - 3:41pm
Democrats are still stumbling around in the smoldering rubble of the 2016 presidential election, struggling to identify just what went wrong for them. Several theories are vying for primacy: voting fraud (or at least, inaccurate ballot counting), the Democratic Party’s disconnect with white working class voters, Trump’s bonding with the same, Trump’s uncanny tapping of surging nativist and xenophobic sentiment, the American susceptibility to celebrity, and Clinton’s bedrock weakness as a candidate. Read more about Bye-Bye Balance: Skewed and False News Is on the Rise »
Posted on November 28, 2016 - 3:59pm
Cal is an incubator for the politically engaged, and many students move on to careers in public policy. Some even run for office. In the latter case, though, they usually wait until they pick up their diplomas. Claire Chiara is an outlier. She’ll graduate in May 2017 with a political science/economics major, and she’s also the Republican candidate for the California State Assembly’s 15th District. Read more about Running on Principal: Cal Student Claire Chiara Opposes the Unopposed »
Posted on November 4, 2016 - 3:59pm
Posted on October 27, 2016 - 7:07am
The Tuolumne River has long been revered by whitewater kayakers and rafters for its pristine wilderness canyon and challenging rapids. But “The T,” as it’s known by river-runners, was once famed for something else: Salmon. Before the Hetch Hetchy and Don Pedro Dams were built on the river’s upper reaches in the last century, the Tuolumne supported up to 130,000 spawning Chinook salmon annually. Read more about A Cal Alum's Recipe for More Tuolumne River Salmon: Add Water »
Posted on October 17, 2016 - 1:11pm
If gender discrimination is one of the most talked about issues in this election, all the fault can’t just be given to ye olde sexist citizens of America (though they can be given some credit—I’d say C+ for overall behavior, definitely room for improvement). Read more about Sexual Politics: The 2016 Presidential Race Is Notable for Misogynist Rhetoric »
Posted on October 13, 2016 - 12:58pm
It was about 10 years ago that the old news model was declared dead, skewered fatally through the heart by the Internet and social media. People began getting the information they wanted when they wanted, in gobs and snippets from a vast menu of choices ranging from their Facebook friends to the Gray Lady to that impeachable source for celebrity train-wreck updates, PopSugar News. Local newspapers folded or imploded. And with the manifold options available online, television news seemed more weary, stale and unprofitable than ever; viewership declined. Read more about CalMatters: Old Blues Deliver the Scoop in Sacramento »
Posted on October 10, 2016 - 2:37pm
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the seductive nature of the 2016 American presidential campaign season. I like the drama, the mudslinging, the tabloid-style coverage, the gaffes, the slip-ups, and the never-ending political commentary from pundits. It’s oddly entertaining, no?
Although, let’s be honest: None of the empty party rhetoric and nastiness can prepare us or the candidates for the realities of elected office. We learned this lesson during Obama’s eight-year struggle to address serious issues while faced with a do-nothing Congress. Read more about Step Right Up: Why Exactly Did I Vote for Bernie? »
Like every other voter preparing for the upcoming election, I often cruise Facebook to gauge the mood of my fellow citizens. Not that I’m a fan of the site. To me, Facebook has always seemed like an inversion of the old “banality of evil” trope: It is the evil of banality, a fount of never-ending Likes and emoticons and pictures of highly caloric restaurant meals and garish sunsets and Frisbee-catching dogs. It is an online Leave It to Beaver updated to the digital age, a place where we can all cozily catch up and be comfortable and make soft, murmuring sounds to each other. Read more about Step Right Up: Shaking Up Facebook »
Next month will mark the 25th anniversary of the Oakland Hills Fire, the epochal conflagration that started on October 19 and, driven by strong northeasterly winds, burned more than 1,500 acres over three days, killing 25 people and destroying some 2,500 homes and 400 apartments.
Anyone who lived in the Bay Area at that time will recall the massive column of smoke that rose from the East Bay during the day and the walls of flame that limned the topography of the hills at night. Those three days felt nothing short of apocalyptic. Read more about Fire Fight: FEMA Yanks Fuel Reduction Funds After Conservation Group Wages Legal Battle »
Posted on September 22, 2016 - 11:32am
Not long ago, they were the pulse of the American political campaign: Mom and Dad, sitting in front of the nightly news broadcast on TV, armed with a dog-eared copy of the daily newspaper. The ads, the daily coverage and editorials, televised debates, polls and TV ratings—over dinner-table discourse, it all mattered. Read more about The Revolution Will Be Tweeted: In Politics, TV Still Matters, but Social Media Matters More and More »
Richard Nixon had always been more of a rat-catcher than a heartthrob. All jowls and forehead, and sporting that rictus of a smile, he was a perennial runner-up. Willy Loman by way of Yorba Linda. Read more about Coded and Loaded: How Politicians Talk About Race and Gender Without Really Talking About Race and Gender »