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Staff writers The more letters Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan writes — and forwards to reporters — the more speculation swirls about whether she will run for mayor.
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Gay-marriage bans struck down in Utah and Oklahoma are the first to come before a federal appeals panel since a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling set off a string of challenges to limits on same-sex marriage.
Lawyers for Utah Republican Governor Gary Herbert are seeking to revive that states 2004 voter-approved ban at a hearing scheduled today before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver. Legal momentum is against them. Gay marriage proponents have enjoyed a victory streak in state and federal courts in the past year. In a week, the same three-judge appeals panel is set to review a January ruling that voided Oklahomas similar 2004 law.
It is possible that the Supreme Court will decide to review one of these cases, so its very significant, Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in an interview. His group is challenging the Utah law.
The Supreme Courts decision last June in U.S. v. Windsor, which overturned part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, stopped short of declaring a right to gay marriage. The 5-4 ruling only required that the U.S. government recognize same-sex marriages from those states where theyre legal.
That touched off a spate of litigation over gay-marriage prohibitions in Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and elsewhere, as well as decisions invalidating such measures in New Jersey, Virginia and Michigan.
While same-sex marriage has been legalized in 21 states plus the District of Columbia, the Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and Michigan rulings are on hold pending the outcome of appeals. The Virginia challenge will be reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, while Michigans case will be heard by an appeals panel in Cincinnati.
Any court of appeals case is a dress rehearsal for the Supreme Court, said Northwestern University law professor Andrew Koppelman, author of Same Sex, Different States: When Same-Sex Marriages Cross State Lines.
It seems quite probable that one of the courts of appeal is going to declare there is a right to same-sex marriage, Koppelman said. If that happens, theres no way the Supreme Court is going to turn that case away.
Charles Fried, a professor of law at Harvard University and former U.S. Solicitor General — the Justice Departments top litigator — agreed that a ruling upholding the lower court in either the Utah or Oklahoma case almost assures Supreme Court review.
If either one of them comes in yes, then I think they have to take it, said Fried, who served under President Ronald Reagan, They cannot leave a court of appeals decision out there on a matter like this — that the state law of several states is unconstitutional.
First women joining Palestinian commando unit – Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports
By KARIN LAUB and MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH Associated Press
JERICHO, West Bank (AP) – Palestinian women in combat fatigues and headscarves rappelled down a six-story tower, fired assault rifles at imaginary terrorists and in a drill straight out of the movies bundled a would-be VIP into a car and sped off after a shooting.
The 22 future commandos are trailblazers in a still largely male-dominated society, set to become the first female members of the Presidential Guards, a Palestinian elite force of 2,600 men. Their inclusion is the result of gradual changes in the West Bank in recent years.
Some gender barriers have fallen, with a few women assuming posts as mayors, judges and Cabinet ministers or starting their own businesses. At the same time, unemployment is on the rise, and families are more open to women entering non-traditional jobs if it means another paycheck.
Women make up just 3 percent of 30,000 members of the Palestinian police and other security agencies in the West Bank, but there’s a push to recruit more, said Brig. Rashideh Mughrabi, in charge of gender issues in the National Security Forces.
The female Presidential Guards recruits were picked from last year’s graduating class of Independence University, a four-year security academy in Jericho that trains future officers.
For graduate Kurum Saad, the appeal was immediate. As a female officer, her traditional role would have been in administration, but she wanted adventure.
“I didn’t want to sit in an office,” the 23 year old said. “Since I was a little girl, I loved shooting and sports.”
On Sunday, Saad and the others in her group put on black combat boots, camouflage uniforms and pulled black ski masks over the headscarves to show journalists what they’d learned in their special training.
Several women, including non-swimmers, were asked to jump into a pool as a show of courage. They dove in in full uniform, including boots, and one had to be pulled out by a lifeguard.
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Andrew Harrison (left), Julius Randle (30) and Aaron Harrison (2) are three budding stars from Texas.
I didnt know Cecily McMillan two years ago, when I glimpsed her convulsing on the street, obscured from view by a cluster of NYPD officers and a confusion of Occupy protesters. Word spread swiftly through the downtown Manhattan intersection: The young woman had been assaulted by the cops; her body went into seizure, her brain unconscious, her ribs cracked. That was March 17, 2012.
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Andrew Harrison (left), Julius Randle (30) and Aaron Harrison (2) are three budding stars from Texas. David J. Phillip/AP DALLAS — Behind Kenny Troutt’s 17,000 square-foot mansion, there is a basketball gym, its sidelines lined with oversized beanbags and big leather couches
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The National Organization for Marriage calls Brendan Eich's ouster from Mozilla a "McCarthy-esque witch hunt."
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After five years Karri Ramo expected his return to Tampa to feel different, but the Calgary Flames’ goalie said it felt like a normal game.
The Tampa Bay Lightning probably wouldn’t mind if he stayed away for another five years.
Ramo finished with 31 saves, Mike Cammalleri and Kevin Westgarth scored 15 seconds apart in the first period, and the Flames beat the Lightning 4-1 Thursday night.
“I thought it might be a little bit different, but no,” Ramo said. “Things have changed so much that I didn’t notice the rink anymore. It was a normal game for me.”
This was Ramo’s first trip back to Tampa since being traded to the Canadiens for Cedrick Desjardins in 2010. Ramo played 46 games for the Lightning from 2007-09 before going to Avangard Omsk in the Russian-based KHL from 2010-13.
Curtis Glencross scored twice in the final two minutes, including an empty-netter with 16 seconds left for the Flames.
Ondrej Palat scored with 4:04 left in the second period for the Lightning, who are locked in a tight race with Montreal for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. However, they couldn’t get past a seemingly overmatched Flames team.
“We didn’t come out strong in the first period and that’s unfortunate,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “Credit to Calgary because they played like a motivated club and had the goalie stand tall for them. Every team is going to be tough because this is the National Hockey League.”
Calgary took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period off some unfortunate stick handling by Lightning goalie Ben Bishop. Bishop tried to play the puck from behind the net and carelessly sent it to Cammalleri’s stick and the Calgary winger got an easy goal into the open net.
After the ensuing faceoff, Westgarth corralled a slapshot from defenceman Christopher Breen and backhanded it past Bishop on the short side to make it 2-0.
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BLOGGER: James Dann
INDECISIVE: Debbie Mora
Labour will stand left-wing blogger James Dann as its Ilam candidate to challenge Gerry Brownlee after the sudden withdrawal of a rival nominee.
Yesterday Labour held high hopes of gaining traction in the National stronghold of Ilam.
The day started off promisingly, with two nominees – Riccarton-Wigram Community Board member Debbie Mora and Left-wing blogger James Dann – set to contest a selection meeting next week.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has held the Ilam seat since 1996 and, while Labour is unlikely to win the seat, the party had hoped to target it and make the contest there a referendum on the Government’s handling of the quake recovery and Brownlee’s role.
A week may be a long time in politics but try 17 hours.
That’s the time between Mora’s campaign team proudly announcing, through a press release, that she wanted to be the first female to represent Ilam and a brief email, from the same source, saying Mora was out of contention because of “unforeseen circumstances”.
Mora said her campaign manager, Luc Chandler, was “a bit over-eager” in sending out the first release last night.
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France’s ruling Socialist Party suffered humiliating losses Sunday in local elections marked by breakthrough successes for the far-right National Front and the first woman mayor of Paris.
On a day dubbed “black Sunday” by one Socialist politician, the National Front won control of at least 14 towns and was on track to claim 1,200 municipal council seats nationwide, its best ever showing in local politics.
It has been a black Sunday
Jean-Christophe Cambadelis,Socialist deputy
There was a strong showing for the main opposition, the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement, known by its French initials asthe UMP, which won a string of towns and cities, including some once considered bastions of the left.
In a rare consolation the Socialists held Paris, where their candidiate Anne Hidalgo became the first woman to win the city’s mayoral election.
Hidalgo defeated conservative candidate, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.
But in total, President Francois Hollande’s party was predicted to lose up to 50 cities to the mainstream right. Limoges, a town that had been run by the left for 102 years, fell to the UMP, as did Toulouse, the Champagne capital Reims and Saint Etienne and dozens of other smaller towns.
“It has been a black Sunday,” said the Socialist deputy, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis.
Candidates backed by Marine Le Pen’s National Front secured the mayor’s seat in the mid-sized southern towns of Beziers and Frejus and other towns, adding to its first-round victory in the northern town of Henin-Beaumont.
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