Patt Morrison for July 1, 2010

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In Forks, Washington, Bella Swan sits alone in her room, tortured by her choice; in Hollywood, CA, executives behind the Twilight franchise sit alone in their offices, swimming in piles of money. Twilight’s vampires’ skin sparkles in the daylight because they have been dead for hundreds of years; Stephanie Myer’s glow might be that diamond LaPerle beauty cream that costs more than gold. You can afford the finer things in life when your originally low-budget vampire movie has turned into the largest grossing Wednesday release ever, raking in $68.5 million. It nearly broke the record for best opening-day ever, a record held by its predecessor, “New Moon”. With success like that, Twilight is solidified itself as a national obsession for America’s youth. Add to that the July 4th weekend approaching, Twilight is set to make some scary money.
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On Monday, President Obama signed a memorandum committing the government to dramatically expanding broadband access, ostensibly easing the use of electronic equipment ranging from cell phones to laptop computers. While this is cheery news for the already-wired among us looking for more bandwidth, and while it's ultimately a good thing for telecommunication companies, there are still a dramatic number of Americans who do not have access to dial-up or high-speed internet. Here in California, bolstering the broadband network is a matter of both economic and social importance, as more computers in the state hooked up to the internet means better information sharing and more job creation. Most politicians and technocrats talk a good game about creating universal access to broadband but much work remains to be done--can we bridge the digital divide?
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President Obama delivered his anticipated immigration reform address this morning urging Congress to do something about the system which he calls "fundamentally broken." Obama insisted that he and Democrats are ready to move forward with reforms, but it wouldn't be possible without bipartisan support. That being said, Obama gave no real glimpse of any real reform. An immigration reform law doesn't seem to top the list of priorities for the President or Congress. So what significance does the speech really have, if any? When will we see immigration reform?
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The Supreme Court's decision in the case of Hastings Christian Fellowship v. Martinez, focusing on a Christian group's right to be recognized by the UCSF Hastings School of Law, seems pretty straightforward. The court sided with the decision of Hastings Law School to deny the Christian Legal Society "registered organization status," based on the fellowship's exclusion of gay members. The Court ruled that Hastings' refusal of official status was a reasonable application of the school's nondiscrimination policy. However, by ruling that "all-comers" must be accepted, has the court inadvertently paved the way for student-run Jewish groups to be mandated to accept Neo-Nazi's? Gay-marriage advocate groups to accept those who oppose the objective of their very assembly? Is the 1st Amendment actually aided by a logical amount of discrimination?
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Should there be a law protecting the fat, the unattractive or the short people of America? Is it prejudice to ridicule a female employee or a Supreme Court Justice nominee for being too ugly? In the age of Botox, plastic surgery gone overboard, and the undying trend of youth, professional women face a bigger obstacle than equal pay. As Deborah L. Rhode explains in her book “The Beauty Bias: the injustice of appearance in life and law,” more and more Americans are filing discrimination complaints related to appearance, but many people don’t see this type of discrimination as infringing on our fundamental rights. How can feminism prevail over this type of prejudice when even the staunchest feminists surrender to wrinkle creams?
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