Living on the nuclear edge


Read the full op-ed, Savoring life on earth – while I keep my nuclear survival kit ready, published in the San Francisco Chronicle on Oct. 9, 2017.

by Susan Gluss

As president Trump belittles “rocket man” and imperils the nuclear agreement with Iran, I can’t help but think about the end of life as we know it. Literally.

I’m not the only one who’s skittish. The Nobel Peace Prize was just awarded to a group that wants to ban nuclear weapons — a welcome warning.

Ever the pragmatist, I’ve started stockpiling water. I’ve stored a survival kit by the front door with a checklist of items: dried food, a first aid kit and sneakers. Happily, this works as an earthquake stash, too, which reassures me no end.

As I skirt fear of an apocalypse — it brings into sharp relief a conundrum that’s haunted me for years: What is our life’s purpose?

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Trump reveals Republican Party’s true views on abortion


Read the full op-ed published by the San Francisco Chronicle on April 6, 2016.

by: Susan Gluss

Donald Trump is an unmitigated disaster for the Republican Party. It’s not just that he’s ruining their chances to win the presidency. It’s also that he has exposed the party’s hypocrisy on abortion.

When Trump said women should receive “some form of punishment” for getting an abortion if the procedure was banned, conservatives were quick to denounce his comments. Ditto the right-to-life advocates.

But Trump’s comment reveals the truth about the Republican Party’s antiabortion juggernaut.

Laws in 38 states now allow a person to be charged with homicide if she or he is deemed responsible for the unlawful death of a fetus, according to a Guttmacher Institute report by analyst Andrea Rowan released last fall.

Not all of these laws clearly exempt the pregnant woman herself from being charged, writes Rowan. “These laws are even being used to pursue women who are merely suspected of having self-induced an abortion, but in fact had suffered miscarriages.”

In Indiana, a young woman named Purvi Patel is now serving 20 years of a 46-year prison sentence — the first woman to be convicted under Indiana’s feticide law for ending her own pregnancy.

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Walken Jives to Fatboy Slim

Let’s rewind nearly two decades to Christopher Walken dancing to Fatboy Slim’s hit single, Weapon of Choice. Directed by Spike Jonze, the music video won a Grammy in 2002 and MTV video music awards in 2001. Guest vocals by American funk musician Bootsy Collins. The beat is electric, the sound visceral, and Walken’s interpretation dead-on hilarious. He’s smooth, daring, and the personification of rhythm.


Erwin Chemerinsky Is Dean of Berkeley Law


Esteemed educator, litigator and legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky has been named dean of UC Berkeley School of Law. He is the founding dean of UC Irvine School of Law, a position he’s held for the past nine years. His five-year term at Berkeley begins on July 1.

In a statement announcing the appointment, UC Berkeley Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ called Chemerinsky “an acclaimed researcher, gifted teacher and accomplished administrator.”

“I believe he will be a phenomenal leader for our law school, someone who will ensure that Berkeley Law remains not only a powerhouse of legal scholarship and training, but also a community built on mutual respect and inclusion,” Christ said.

Law professor and search committee member Sonia Katyal called Chemerinsky a “living legend—a person who exemplifies the very best that the field of law has to offer: brilliant, warm-hearted, thoughtful, open-minded, and deeply engaged in the culture of public service.”

Chemerinsky, 64, said he was “thrilled and humbled” by this “amazing opportunity.”

“I care deeply about the public mission of the law school and the public service it provides through its clinical and pro bono programs,” he said. “My goal as dean is to maintain the school’s excellence—be it in intellectual property, social justice or business law—and look for every opportunity I can to enhance it.”

Read the full story here, which first appeared on the UC Berkeley Law website on 5/17/17.

Privacy Rights May Hinge on Calif. High Court

Read the full story on the UC Berkeley Law School website.

On a late summer night, in July 2012, California resident Paul Macabeo rolled his bicycle through a stop sign. The street was deserted, but, unbeknown to Macabeo, a patrol car with its lights off had been trailing him. As soon as he rode through the sign, the cops pulled him over.

The officers found his cell phone and searched it—without a warrant and without his consent. Scrolling through the phone, they found illegal photos of child pornography. The officers had only intended to cite Macabeo for failure to stop, a minor infraction. But once they discovered the photos, they handcuffed him and locked him up. He was found guilty of a felony and sentenced to five years of probation.

At the time, Macabeo couldn’t have known that his bike ride—and the cell phone search—would lead to a legal battle that could impact millions of Californians.

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Dancing With The Stars Trophy Winner Nyle DiMarco

One of the most remarkable dance stories in the last season of Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) is the tale of Nyle DiMarco. Born into a deaf family and deaf himself, he’s never heard a sound, never a musical note. Yet this young man exudes a musicality that defies explanation.

In one of my favorites, Nyle dances a romantic and ethereal waltz with pro dancer Sharna Burgess. Sharna wasn’t his regular partner, but in the show’s week five “switch up,” they partnered together, and the two created magic on the dance floor. Nyle’s regular DWTS dance partner Peta Murgatroyd and Sharna are the show’s best female pros, in my view.

It’s a celebratory time for DiMarco: a few months before wining the Mirror Ball trophy, he also won the final series of America’s Next Top Model.

Nyle mastered the dance basics and captured the hearts of the audience with a mix of fearlessness, emotional abandon and vulnerability. Just watch!

November election is crucial for women

Young, college-aged, women, are you feeling the Bern? If so, this one’s for you. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton. Please hear me out. It’s important that women get this.

I’m not voting for Clinton because it’s her time. I’m not voting for her because it’s a historic first for a woman to be president.

I’m voting for her because women’s rights are getting trampled. And she will be our fiercest protector. We need her.

Why? Do you realize that women don’t have equal rights under the U.S. Constitution? The battle for an Equal Rights Amendment failed just short of ratification over three decades ago. This translates into lower pay, workplace discrimination and — taken to its extreme — sexual slavery.

Every battle you face — and you will face them — will be that much tougher because of your gender. You do not have the same rights as men under the law.

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Lawsuit Filed Against U.S. for Human Rights Abuses

The International Human Rights Law Clinic filed a petition against the United States for the death of a Mexican national by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The complaint, filed with co-counsel Alliance San Diego before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, calls for an investigation into the killing and a condemnation of U.S. actions.

The deceased, Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, died on May 31, 2010, a few days after border agents took him into custody. The father of five was caught trying to cross the Mexican-U.S. border to rejoin his family in San Diego. He’d been deported just weeks earlier, despite having lived and worked in the U.S. for more than two decades.

CBP agents transported Anastasio to a deportation gate, and it’s there that the brutal beating ensued. As Anastasio objected to his detention, a dozen or more border agents punched, kicked, dragged, Tased, hogtied, and denied him medical attention, according to the petition.

Immobilized on the ground, Anastasio cried out for help in Spanish. His cries drew the attention of witnesses standing on a nearby pedestrian bridge, and several onlookers recorded cell phone footage. Border agents sought to confiscate any evidence—but two eye-witnesses hid their phones and eventually released videos of the beating. Broadcast on U.S. news networks, the videos led to a public outcry and heightened scrutiny of the case.

Read the full story on the UC Berkeley Law School website.

Join the Justice for Anastasio movement here.

Consumers Fooled by Clickbait

Consumers are easily duped by ads masquerading as editorials, according to a new paper by Chris Jay Hoofnagle and Eduard Meleshinsky. Their research shows that these “native ads,” better known as advertorials or clickbait, are becoming harder to differentiate from actual news content. Yet they’re proliferating online at a rapid rate.

Hoofnagle and Meleshinsky surveyed nearly 600 consumers with a typical advertorial embedded in a blog. They found that one in four respondents thought it was written by a reporter or an editor. Although the ad was marked “sponsored content,” it failed to raise a red flag.

Read a longer version of this article on the UC Berkeley School of Law website.

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DWTS: A Love of Dance

I wasn’t an early fan of Dancing With the Stars (DWTS). Apart from the pros, the show was a mixed bag. But what a surprise when I tuned in again in 2014 season 18 and caught the semi-finals with pro Maks Chmerkovskiy and Olympic skater Meryl Davis. Wow! Those two simply sizzled. Not because of their stellar good looks, but because of the way they moved as one. The dancing and choreography were extraordinary. Only a few dance partnerships have that magic. You know it when you see it: Nureyev and Fonteyn; Maks and Meryl.

After falling under the spell of those two, I was eager to see the following seasons. The first few weeks are typically mediocre, as stars get their footing. But by the semi-finals the talented shine. Pros Mark Ballas and Derek Hough are the choreographers to watch. Some of their dances are so creative, it’s hard to believe it’s just TV and not Broadway.

At the start of the recent season 21, Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter lacked verve, but by the final competition, he emerged as a spirited competitor—and a charismatic dancer. One of my favorites was his salsa trio with pros Sharna Burgess and Peta Murgatroyd. He didn’t win the mirror ball trophy, but he owned that number. Take a look:

India Fails Female Victims of Sex Crimes

In India, female victims of sexual violence during social unrest have little chance of retribution. Authors of a new report found that most politicians, judges, police officers, and state officials sabotage women seeking justice. Access to Justice for Women: India’s Response to Sexual Violence in Conflict and Social Upheaval looks at India’s failed responses to these women and calls for legal reforms.

The underlying causes of conflict in areas of India are complex, but stem in part from the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. That split exacerbated conflicts between Hindu and Muslim communities—and inflamed deeply rooted cultural and political tensions.

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