All Signs Point to"Yes" for Marriage Equality

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Jose Antonio Navas
YES
The gay marriage ruling we've all been waiting for could finally come tomorrow. Until then, you can watch and listen as every politician and political wonk weighs in, mostly favorably, giving the gay community the boost it needs.

Today we heard from Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, who became the third GOP senator to publicly support marriage equality. The Atlantic's Molly Ball projected six favorable resolutions for the case, attributing them to Democratic lawyer David Boies, who represents the petitioners. And finally, new studies are trickling in to suggest that most Americans would welcome marriage for all.

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Even Violent Video Games Are a Healthy Outlet for Teens

Seventy-nine years ago, Germans gathered in Berlin's Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Platz one May evening. They piled the books of Karl Marx, Bertolt Brecht and August Bebel (for whom the plaza would later be renamed), and burned them in the name of eliminating "un-German" ideas.

On Jan. 12, 2013, a group called SouthingtonSOS, a Connecticut neighborhood collective near Newtown, is planning to accept and destroy copies of violent video games turned in by locals.

Seemingly, this is Southington's way of helping Newtown recover from the tragedy of the Sandy Hook shootings and prevent similar attacks elsewhere. However, there's only questionable evidence that shooter Adam Lanza was a devoted violent-game player. And statistically, young men like Lanza play fewer video games than their peers.

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Here Are the 20 Dumbest Bay Area Crimes of 2012

Photo by Susana Bates via the Chronicle
Look who's busted!
The year 2012 was a pretty stellar one for San Francisco. If you doubt us for a second, just think no farther than the San Francisco Giants World Series win.

But amid the remarkable (sweeping baseball) moments -- like when the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence crashed Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio's dinner in S.F. -- there were definitely some unsavory characters who made headlines this year.

Some were sad, some were funny, and all were plain dumb.

It was difficult to narrow them down, but here you go, our pick of the top 20 dipshit crimes of 2012:

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SOPA Might Be Bad Policy, but It's Not Censorship

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If you're reading this, chances are that you regularly consume media online. And if you regularly consume media online, you're almost certainly seeing and reading more today than you know what to do with about the federal Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

SOPA and PIPA are the respective House and Senate versions of legislation designed to police websites, many of them based abroad, that sell stolen media content -- movies, music, and more -- to U.S. consumers. Silicon Valley's tech giants, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, are fighting ferociously to stop the bills from going through. Most conventional media companies, particularly in Hollywood, support the bills.

In an ad you've probably seen pop up in your Facebook feed, Google says the bills would "censor the Internet." Wikipedia has gone dark for the day to protest the legislation. Searches on the widely used Internet encyclopedia redirect to a shadowy page that ominously declares, "Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge."

Critics of SOPA and PIPA have good points. But a routine round of fact-checking shows that the depiction of the bills by the tech industry is misleading.

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Five Things We Won't Miss About Southern California

Categories: Humor, Opinion
When we read the news this morning that a California lawmaker is attempting to break the state in two (for the umpteenth time), we couldn't help but laugh ... and then dream.

How great would it be if we didn't have SoCal conservatives weighing us down? At least we know gay marriage would be legal. But in all seriousness, it got us thinking. What would we not miss about our military-loving, suburban-living, air-polluting friends in the south?

1. Minutemen
: While we understand that Southern California has a visceral reaction to illegal immigration -- or to legal immigration for that matter -- this isn't the American Revolution, and this isn't Arizona. Having a bunch of tattletales with guns keep "a watch out" on the border feels more threatening than illegal immigration itself.

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The Cost of a Funeral

Categories: Opinion

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Albert Law
Huge red ladder trucks from Alameda were parked along the Embarcadero this morning, and it wasn't difficult to figure out why. It's traditional that firefighters come from miles away to parade their apparatus at funerals. It's also traditional for them to park in front of churches and cross their trucks' ladders as a salute to a fallen comrade, as if they were crossing swords.

There is another tradition among fire departments: Employees ― sometimes thousands of them ― from around the city and state get paid not to work and to attend the funerals of someone many of them didn't know. Off-duty firefighters can be called in to cover all those shifts ― and you would assume overtime is involved. (Our calls to the San Francisco Fire Department and Alameda Fire Department have not been returned.)

While many readers may think this is a crass approach to a tragedy where two San Francisco firefighters lost their lives, so be it. Of course, there is no way to put a price on the worth of the men who died doing their duty. But I think the question regarding the cost of the tribute is worth asking when the city and the fire department are facing huge budget cuts that may affect service and firefighter jobs.

I wondered: How could the Alameda Fire Department afford to have its employees here when it couldn't afford to have them trained in water rescue, which resulted in one man recently taking his own life while standing chest-deep in water with fire department personnel standing by?

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