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Westboro Baptist Church No Show was a Win for Love

Over one-hundred followers of the organization “Love is Love Movement” formed a line on the sidewalk in front of Granite Bay High School. Framing as a “counter-presence” by local organizers began last Thursday evening. The only problem was there was no one to counter. For several weeks the hate group, Westboro Baptist Church, indicated on their Twitter page they would protest the opening night of Granite Bay High School Drama Department’s production of “The Laramie Project”. There was no indication on the bigoted organization’s web site though that it was a for sure thing and indeed they were a no-show. Granite Bay High School (GBHS) students reported that there was one guy who stood on the opposite side of the street earlier in the day as school was letting out with signs that said “God Hates Fags” and “Man’s Job: Obey God”. An activist who has followed the family, who has a long history of picketing soldiers funerals, gay pride festivals and productions such as “The Laramie Project” across the US, said he did not think the lone picketer was from Westboro, rather he believes he is a “local Westboro supporter who has been seen at other local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) events”. Later at opening night, several news trucks and LGBTQ activists and supporters began to amass in front of the […]

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Opinion: Columbus Day protest more about politics than principles!

“In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” -traditional rhyme of schoolchildren On the five hundred twenty-first anniversary(October 12, 2013) of his landing on a speck of dust island in the eastern Caribbean, Christopher Columbus will have the celebration of his feat protested starting on the west steps of the State Capital Building here in Sacramento with the march leading to the local federal offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, I.C.E. and the Justice Department. The groups sponsoring the event want to “denounce the United States glorification of the atrocities committed against Native ancestors of the Americas during the Indigenous Holocaust let by Christopher Columbus and replace it to a National Holiday to honor and remember the ‘Indigenous Peoples’.” “We also address the current attacks on our indigenous communities, urging (President Barack) Obama and his administration to withdraw I.C.E. from separating families,” it continues. The group’s list of demands include: ‘decolonization’ of Education and History; preserve/protect: cultural and sacred sites; honor all Treaties and sovereign land; stop corporate privatization of food and water(they will be marching with the March against Monsanto folks); stop the Keystone XL pipeline; stop deportations/separations of families; humane immigration reform now; stop militarization on the borders; and end racial profiling and police brutality. In other words, the shopping list of every ultra-liberal group in the United States and a […]

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PHOTOS: Code Pink vs NRA supporters on Capitol Mall

An anti-gun protest organized by the liberal advocacy group CodePink took place in Downtown Sacramento afternoon, drawing a counter protest from gun rights advocates. Mother’s Against NRA and other anti-gun supporters gathered in front of the Five-Fifty-Five building on Capitol Mall, and were met on the sidewalk by National Rifle Association supporters. Attendees stated that it was tense until the police stepped in and made the NRA group step back. Officers maintained a police line to keep the groups separated. “I’m here because the shootings need to stop; I’m here working on this every single day,” said CodePink supporter Amanda Wilcox. "This not an NRA issue," said NRA supporter Philip Olding "This is a freedom issue. This is a 2nd amendment issue." CodePink had a permit for their protest, and members were allowed to utilize amplified sound. The NRA counter-protestors did not have a permit, but were allowed to stay.  Code Pink supporters took their turn at the microphone, and after a few chants and songs they ended their protest and dispersed. Officers held a police line until the protesters were safely out of the area, then allowed NRA’ers to disperse. Editor’s note: The “News Digest” goes out every Tuesday morning and highlights our best stories, photos and videos from the week prior. Sign me up.

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4 New films: The Big Wedding – The Company You Keep – Pain & Gain – Mud

A mixed bag of four new films It’s a busy week at the movies and a mixed bag of outcomes, including veteran stars who elevate their material and films that both benefit and suffer by being associated with true stories.   The Big Wedding Written and Directed by Justin Zackham This is the first of two movies this week that become more than they might otherwise be by virtue of their casts. In this case, what would otherwise probably be a C+ grade comedy romp is pulled up a notch or two by stars Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon (see below also), Diane Keaton, and a refreshingly understated performance from Robin Williams. It’s a surprisingly raunchy-at-times (and appropriately R-rated) take on a dysfunctional family wedding with a modern twist, in that bridegroom Alejandro (Ben Barnes) finds himself trying to juggle three mothers (or mother figures): His staunchly catholic and Columbian biological mother, his now-divorced adoptive mother, and his adoptive father’s long-time girlfriend who has been a quasi step-mother. Some of the familial relationships feel quite genuine at times, including sibling rivalry raised to the level of sport, and the film has enough funny moments to cause subsequent lines of dialog to be obscured by audience laughter. But it’s also rather unbalanced and inconsistent, with somewhat abrupt editing, and the fact that it works even as […]

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Men walk downtown streets with shotguns to protest gun control

Gun rights advocates have been on the defensive after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. last week, but that didn’t stop one group in Sacramento from demonstrating their opposition to gun control in a way that was sure to get attention.  Sacramento police questioned and then released a group of men who walked down one of the city’s busiest streets with shotguns over their shoulders Sunday evening. Two of the men in the group were carrying shotguns when police stopped them at 10th and J streets around 9:20 p.m., according to officer Michelle Gigante. They were found to be in compliance with current open carry laws as the guns were not loaded, Gigante said. One of the suspects told officers that they wanted to carry the guns in public before it becomes illegal, Gigante said. The state legislature passed a law in August that bans the carrying of long guns or rifles and shotguns outside of motor vehicles. That law will go into effect on Jan. 1. Supporters of the law cited the danger posed by mass shootings, including the one in Aurora, Colo., while opponents said it targeted law abiding citizens and was "fear mongering." Editor’s note: The “News Digest” goes out every Tuesday morning and highlights our best stories, photos and videos from the week prior. Sign me up.

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Occupy Sacramento plans to ‘risk arrest’ defying new law that goes into effect Thursday

Occupy Sacramento members say they will risk arrest as they plan to challenge the new city ordinance that sets restrictions for protests at City Hall. Protesters will assemble at City Hall at noon on Thursday to protest the law they call unconstitutional, according to a press release, which stated details won’t be released in advance. The new law, passed last month, goes into effect on Thursday and sets a curfew on the site, prohibits obstructing access to City Hall, bans the use of amplified sound without a permit and prohibits signs, displays or structures from being placed on the property. It also prohibits sponge baths in the fountain at Cesar Chavez Plaza, across the street from City Hall. Protesters wrote in the press release that they expect it to last until 5 p.m. Friday. According to Occupy Sacramento, there were 110 arrests last year when members refused to leave Cesar Chavez Plaza after closing time. Charge were dismissed after defendants denied plea bargains and requested jury trials.  

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Photos: Anti-fracking activists protest outside the EPA in downtown Sacramento

More than 100 protesters gathered outside the Environmental Protection Agency in downtown Sacramento on Wednesday evening to protest the oil and gas extraction method known as fracking. Fracking – short for hydraulic fracturing – is already used in California and many parts of the U.S. The protest occurred before a workshop organized by the California Department of Conservation Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, which was intended to gather public input as the state considers how to regulate the practice. Clean Water Action, Food and Water Watch, Culver City Council, the Sierra Club, Environment California and the Planning and Conservation League were some of the many organizations in attendance. After speeches by activists and  concerned individuals, the protesters moved into the EPA building for the 7 p.m. public workshop – the last in a series of seven across California. The Sacramento Press is working on a story about the issue and the workshop. Here are images from the protest on Wednesday, courtsey of Ed Fogle from Maverick Photography.  

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U.S. Bank leaves UC Davis: What’s next?

Details of what the future will bring for U.S. Bank on the UC Davis campus are still hazy after the bank announced the branch’s closure in the wake of the Occupy UC Davis movement, but a school official said he is hopeful that the partnership can be restored. “The biggest impact if this relationship can’t be salvaged is that student programs won’t earn the money they were slated to earn,” university spokesman Barry Schiller said Tuesday, adding that the best-hope figures put those earnings at $3 million over 10 years. “In the last year, I believe that it was something on the order of about $167,000 for student programs,” Schiller said. The money was channeled to the student programs as part of a contractual agreement between the bank and the university. In January, students and at least one faculty member began sitting in front of the bank’s doors, preventing their opening to let customers in, and to let employees out, Schiller said. He added that campus officials told the protesters that they could not sit in the space the doors needed to swing open, and when they refused, their refusal was documented. “We engaged in a day-after-day-after-day effort to try to engage with the individuals,” Schiller said. “Our goal was not to send out police and create daily flashpoints that would not solve anything.” Campus […]

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Same-sex Couples to Request Marriage Licenses On Valentine’s Day As Part of Annual Freedom to Marry Week

  Equality Action Now, a local grassroots civil rights organization based in Sacramento along with Marriage Equality USA is encouraging same-sex couples to go to their City or County Clerk’s Office on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 and request a marriage license. Here in Sacramento representatives of Equality Action NOW will be at the Downtown County Clerk’s (600 8th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 – 916-874-6334) at noon to cheer on same-sex couples. Tina Reynolds, EAN’s Executive Director is asking participants to, “bring lots of candy and flowers and bring a bunch of “LOVE” signs!” The annual event has never been more important or appropriate given the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals’ declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional and Washington State becoming the next state to have marriage equality. “The Ninth Circuit’s Ruling that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional was an early Valentine to loving same-sex couples and their supporters,” said Ken Pierce, Equality Action NOW Board President. “The court’s ruling gave us renewed hope in restoring marriage equality but lesbian and gay people cannot wait to wed while waiting for further appeals which could take up to two more years. This Valentine’s Day, couples are once again asking for marriage licenses – hoping that soon the endless appeals will end, so wedding bells can start ringing!” This is the 12th year in a row that loving, committed same-sex […]

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Judge upholds city ordinance in Occupy Sacramento case

Federal Judge Morrison England denied a motion by attorneys for Occupy Sacramento Thursday to order a temporary restraining order against the city from enforcing a parks ordinance that limits park hours. The motion was filed Tuesday as an emergency request by local civil rights attorney Mark Merin on behalf of Occupy Sacramento in an attempt to prevent the city from arresting protesters who remained in Cesar Chavez Plaza – the site of the occupation since Oct. 6 – in violation of park curfew. “I’m disappointed in the decision,” Merin said after the ruling. “Obviously, we hoped the judge would see the case differently than he did.” The restraining order motion was part of a recent lawsuit filed by Merin claiming Occupy Sacramento protesters’ First Amendment rights are being violated because the ordinance prohibits protesters from remaining in the park for 24 hours and unreasonably limits freedom of speech. England noted before making the ruling Thursday that Occupy Sacramento representatives had not applied for a permit to remain in the park and that detail could be “fatal” to their motion. “The word permit does not appear in the section of code that relates to park hours,” Merin argued, “and where there is an oblique reference to a permit, the section does not apply to (the Occupy Sacramento) group exercising their First Amendment rights.” England also said […]

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