Jerry Brown: Watching Over California

This blog has been primarily focusing on national politics. I though it might be fun to look at politics on the regional, state-wide level, and who better to discuss than California Governor Jerry Brown.

Jerry Brown has been elected Governor of California three times: in 1974, 1978, and again in 2011. In additional to being Governor of the Golden State, Brown has served as mayor of Oakland multiple times, and as California’s 31st Attorney General. As Governor, Brown is currently focused on creating policy changes in healthcare, criminal justice, and education.

It is no secret that the State of California has amassed a considerable debt, and as Governor, Brown is focusing on remedying this issue. The Los Angeles Times reports that Brown plans to move 16,000 inmates to less expensive, lower-security housing. The Los Angeles Times also reports that Brown wants to cut the state’s court budget as well. In the education sector, Brown has a history of shaking things up.

When Brown was previously Governor he appointed David Geffen, and a Zen Buddhist porpoise experts, among other non-conventional choices, to serve as UC regents. During this term as Governor, Brown is proposing to shake things up again. One of his proposed changes is to charge students extra it they accumulate more than the necessary credits for graduating. Brown wants universities to enable students to graduate in four years. It seems that for Brown, keeping track of time is very important. Perhaps that is why he wears such a nifty digital watch?

Brown has been photographed in multiple photos sporting a sleek digital watch.
Brown 1 watch example

Brown watch example 2

Brown watch example 3

While perhaps some, when thinking of California’s debt, would think it more appropriate for Brown to wear this chronometer:

Brown Calculator watch

However, I think what Brown is doing here is unconventional chic. It’s not often that one sees a digital watch being worn in politics. His watch is sleek, its not childish. If you want a watch like Jerry Brown’s, I would recommend this digital watch by Kenneth Cole.

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Kerry’s Power Couple



It looks like there’s a new power couple in town! Heather Higginbottom will join her longtime beau — of 14 years! –Daniel Sepulveda in the State Department working with Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry has quite the dynamic duo on his team. Higginbottom was President Obama’s national policy adviser during his 2008 campaign; she then joined the Obama administration in the White House as the Deputy Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. In 2011, President Obama appointment Higgingbottom to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Her partner, Daniel Sepulveda has an equally impressive resume. Sepulveda also has experience working for President Obama as well, both during his presidency and when he was Senator. Sepulveda also notably served as a special assistant at the Department of Labor under the Clinton Administration.

Not only does this pair boast impressive careers, but they make quite the attractive couple. Sepulveda has a stately demeanor. Even though his career certainly deserves attention, he has remained out of the public limelight. The only picture I could find online of him was his Twitter profile photo. Posing on a banister, he looks relaxed, casual and yet still professional. His paramour, however, has not remained out of the spotlight. There are particular YouTube videos of Higginbottom looking neither relaxed nor particularly put together. Her oversized, dark frames clash with the strong lines of her face, and her large hoop earrings are distracting. However, Higginbottom has been able to craft a signature look – quite a feat. She has stick straight dirty blonde hair, which she often wears down, with soft layers framing her face. It’s a classic and polished look, yet is also trendy. The only thing that’s missing for these two is a joint couples photo… Higginbottom, please just leave those glasses at home!

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“Fashion-Off” Response

Last week, our “Fashion Off” began with a look at the four Republic representatives who support same-sex marriage. Now, we will be taking a look and awarding style points to the three Democrats who do not support same-sex marriage.

Croakie enthusiast, Senator Tim Johnson from South Dakota, changed his stance in favor of same-sex marriages today. Thus, now only Senators Landrieu, Manchin, and Pryor remain are the only three Democrats who do not support same-sex marriage. Let’s take a look at the final three.

“Politics, not Personal Beliefs” Mary Landrieu (La)

The Times Picayune reported on March 28th that Senator Mary Landrieu issued a statement that “the people of Louisiana have made clear that marriage in our state is restricted to one man and one woman. While my personal views have evolved, I will support the outcome of Louisiana’s recent vote.” While many of her fellow Democrats support same-sex marriage, Landrieu has not changed her political platforms to mirror her personal beliefs.


As Landrieu states that she likes to keep her personal beliefs out of politics, it seems that she has no problem using accessories to show off her personality. Look at how Landrieu uses these different glasses, ranging from barely there spectacles, to printed and colorful to dramatically emphasize her speaking points, or to even serve as a headband.

+1 style point for originality!

“Token Centrist” Joe Manchin (W. Va.)

The Washington Post reports that Senator Manchin is concerned with keeping his reputation as the principled centrist-in-chief of the Senate, and suggests that this is one of the reasons why he has not changed his views on same-sex marriage. The New York Times’ blog “Five Thirty Eight” believes that Manchin is the most conservative Democrat senator.


Senator Manchin has a classic, well groomed style, save for one thing: his hair! Senator Manchin, it’s time for you to find a new coiffure. I like the salt-and-pepper-esque look that you are rocking here, however your hair ranges from looking like its from the Jersey Shore (another MTV show I am sure you are a fan of), to an unruly post-election Mitt Romney shot. Tame that hairdo, and your well groomed look will be complete.

+ 0.5 style points for the style-less locks

“Four Reasons for” Mark Pryor (Ark.)

The Washington Post presents three reasons why Senator Pryor is unlikely to change his stance on same sex marriage. First, Pryor lives in a traditionally conservative state. Secondly, Arkansas banned same sex marriage in 2004, and on March 28th, 2013 reaffirmed this stance. Thirdly, with his hopeful re-election approaching in a year, an “evolving” of ideas seems unlikely. Finally, an Arkansas Times blog reports that Pryor has “a moral belief that marriage is between a man and a woman,” adding that he believes homosexuality is a choice, and that people are not born gay.

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As this image shows, Senator Pryor has a traditional style, and his eyeglasses are versatile, and modern. It would be nice to see some more color in the senator’s wardrobe, it would make his outfits seem a little less drab.

+0.5 style points for sticking with the basics

All the Style points are in! Have you tallied up the results to see who’s the “winner?”

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Let the “Fashion – Off” Begin!

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that there are currently 4 Republicans in congress who publically support gay marriage. In contrast, 7 Democrats currently oppose gay marriage. So, for the next two weeks, Chic Politique will have a two-part “fashion-off” between both ends of the spectrum. 1 full style point is the highest point any official can receive. This week will begin with an introduction to the 4 members of the GOP who currently support gay marriage and their fashion choices, and will follow with next week’s 7 Democrats who oppose gay marriage.

1.) “Seen the light” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill)
Sen. Mark Kirk is the second Republican senator to publically support gay marriage. Yesterday, he was quoted as saying “Our time on earth is limited, I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back — government has no place in the middle.” Senator Kirk knows this first, returning to office after recovering from a serious stroke. Senator Kirk’s positions on gay rights have been “evolving” throughout the past years, beginning in 2010 when he reversed his opinion on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy which banned openly gay men and women from serving in the military.


Style wise, Kirk has a very relaxed look. He seems to wear a lot of blue, a great on camera color choice. Furthermore, he really accentuates his baby blue eyes with a pair of glasses that seem almost rim-less. I love this intellectual, yet modern look!

+1 style point for you, Senator Kirk!

2.)“Happiness for all” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)

Senator Rob Portman was the first Republican Senator to openly support gay marriage. In an op-ed for the Columbus Dispatch, Senator Portman wrote “Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective: that of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love, a blessing Jane and I have shared for 26 years.” Some of Senator Portman’s comments can make your heart melt. Some of his fashion choices on the other hand… not so much.

Portman has classic, well-tailored suits that fit him very well. Yet, his tie choices are a little unfortunate. Not only does he choose busy ties with prints that are distorted on camera, but the shiny fabric looks a little flashy and make his red power ties look showy. Additionally, kudos Senator for attempting to mix it up with an orange tie, but I think that another color would suit your complexion better.

+.5 style points for well tailored suits!

3.)“Empire State of Mind” Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.)

Representative Richard Hanna was the second Republican representative to sign a measure to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Rep. Hanna asserts that “Under the Tenth Amendment, the federal government has a Constitutional Responsibility to respect New York’s Right to set its own laws. It’s my job to see that it does.”


Hanna’s unflinching stance on the issue seem to parallel his relatively bold fashion choices. In this picture Hanna is wearing two pins, one is the American flag, and the other is difficult to make out in the photo. Reminiscent of another fashion maverick from New York, – anyone else thinking about Carrie Bradshaw’s broaches? – I love how Rep. Hanna has shown personality and patriotism in his accessory choices.

+1 style point!

4.)“Trailblazer” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)

In February, Representative Ileana Ros- Lehtinen and former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez signed a legal document that argued for the constitutionality of same-sex couple’s right to marry. Representative Ros- Lehtinen is the first Republican to take legal action against DOMA. In September of last year, she stated: “I voted against the constitutional amendment defining marriage [in 2006] so I’m pleased to cosponsor the repeal of DOMA and work with my colleagues on marriage equality.”


Representative Ros – Lehtinen has a classic style. She wears nicely tailored blazers with well fitted shells underneath, is not afraid of color, and wears minimal jewelry that is not distracting. Like Senator Kirk, Representative Ros-Lehtinen occasionally sports chic almost rimless classes. Her only potential fashion faux pas could be how she styles her hair. Like scrunchie supporter Hilary Clinton, it seems that Representative Ros-Lehtinen sometimes does not pay her hair adequate attention. I think that a sleek bob would be a low-maintenance, but also a sophisticated look for her.

Overall though, a classic style merits +.5 style points!

For this week the Republicans in support of gay marriage have a total of 3 style points! Will the Democrats who are against gay marriage fare better in the style department? Stay tuned to find out!

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The Styles of the DOMA and Proposition 8 Campaigns

This week I am doing things a little differently. As this blog focuses on fashion in politics, I would like you to let me know what you think about the styles of the campaigns in support and against Proposition 8 and DOMA. I have included pictures of famous slogans/posters below!

For those of you who are unsure of why I am asking this, here is a brief overview of what happened in the Supreme Court this week, and a legal transcript of the Proposition and Act being debated.

The Supreme Court debated the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the potential instatement of California’s Proposition 8 in a hearing this Wednesday. Here are some facts on DOMA and Proposition 8.

SECTION 1. Short Title
This Act may be cited as the “Defense of Marriage Act”

SECTION 2. Powers Reserved to the States
(a) In General – Chapter 115 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding after section 1738B the following:

“Sec. 1738c. Certain acts, records, and proceedings and the effect thereof
“No State, territory, or possession of the United States or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.”

SECTION 3. Definition of Marriage

(a) In General. – Chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
Sec. 7. Definition of ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’
‘’In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.’’ .

Legalese Translation: Section 2 asserts that States do not have to respect same sex-marriages that take place outside of their own State. Section 3 defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and a spouse as a male husband or female wife.


This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, section 8, of the California Constitution.

This initiative measure expressly amends the California Constitution by adding a section thereto; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.

SECTION 1. Title
This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage Protection Act”

Section 2. Section 7.5 is added to Article I of the California Constitution, to read:
Sec 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California

Legalese Translation: A “yes” vote on proposition 8 supports marriage as only that between a man and a woman. A “no” vote on proposition 8 would essentially support same sex marriage.


DOMA is controversial for many reasons. Legally, does the court have the right to define marriage? Federalism would indicate no. Secondly, under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution, laws of one state are respected by those of another.

What are your thoughts on the styles of each of these campaigns??

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Deborah Jones Appointed US Ambassador to Libya

Picture 1Deborah Jones, a career diplomat and former ambassador to Kuwait was appointed by President Obama to fill Chris Stevens’ post as ambassador to Libya. Jones has over 30 years of experience in the State Department. She is also currently a scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC. Wendy Chamberlin, a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and the president of the Middle East Institute, believes that Jones will continue Stevens’ work of creating strong relationships between the U.S. embassy and the Libyan people. On her appointment, as well as that of James Knight who will be the ambassador to the Republic of Chad, President Obama proclaimed: “it gives me great confidence that such dedicated and capable individuals have agreed to join this Administration to serve the American people. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

Jones is an expert in the Middle East. She has served in the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Abu Dhabi, and Syria. Spending many years in the Middle East, Jones has developed a chic politque style; she dresses chic yet appropriately for where she is living. Looking stylish is always great, but remembering that fashion needs to be mindful of culture is paramount.

If one is traveling to the Middle East, it seems like the rule of thumb, according to Lonely Planet author Anthony Ham, is not to wear anything too tight, too short, or too revealing. In many countries, women are not required to cover their heads, unless they are entering a mosque or religious space. It is recommended that women cover their shoulders at all times. Below are some pieces that could take a casual daytime look into evening: an Aqua Faded Stripe V-neck Maxi Dress, with Transito Flats by Stuart Weitzman, a Michael Kors’ Skorpios shoulder bag, an easy to carry lightweight open front cardigan by Splendid, and a coral multi layer beaded necklace also by Aqua.


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State Department Training to Ensure There’s No Bomfog in Foggy Bottom

Jen Psaki, former traveling campaign press secretary and White House deputy of communications, was named State Department Spokesperson exactly a month and three days ago. Yet, Psaki has yet to make her first televised press briefing. A senior state department official said “we will make the decision based on her comfort… when she’s ready to fly the podium she will fly it” and that “Psaki will begin to brief reporters… when she is versed on the issues.” Many have expressed concern over Psaki’s ability to switch from campaigner to diplomat. However, it seems that with her training there is no way her diplospeak will become bafflegab.

As Washington and the rest of the world await Psaki’s first public briefing, there are some things that she should keep in mind, aside from all that foreign policy. First and foremost, from all accounts Psaki does not appear to be a hot head, but she does have flaming locks! Red heads must be very careful about the colors they chose to wear. Psaki’s hair color seems to be more of an auburn color, so she would look most striking in jewel tones, such as dark green, or sapphire blue. A great trick to determine if a color is good for you is to see if it is “opposite” your hair color on the color wheel.


As a former college swimmer at Williams and Mary, and also a petite 5’3”, Paski should also be sure to dress for her body type. As someone with broad shoulders, she should stay away from extremely fitted blazers, and instead opt for blazers that are hip length. This black blazer she was photographed wearing is chic (great power stride there Psaki!), but the blazer hits her on her waist, emphasizing her shoulders. Opting for a longer blazer, like this REISS blazer in emerald, would better complement her physique.


Best of luck Psaki with your impending public press briefing and as State Department Spokesperson!

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