Friday, April 17, 2015

2015 MONTE CARLO: Semifinals feature Djokovic-Nadal XVIII, Monfils-Berdych

The 2015 ATP Monte Carlo Masters semifinals are set and they feature the usual suspects: World #1 Novak Djokovic, going for his 3rd consecutive Masters series title this year, and World #4 Rafael Nadal. The two will be meeting for a record 43rd time, with Nadal sporting a (tenuous?) 23-19 lead in the head-to-head. Djokovic stopped Nadal's streak of yearly title wins at Monte Carlo at 8 in 2013. The two last met when Nadal beat Djokovic in 4 sets in the final of the 2014 French Open. Last year Stan Wawrinka beat Roger Federer in 3 sets to win his only Masters Series title, this year both Swiss stars fell in the 3rd round.

The other semifinalists are Gael Monfils who dispatched both Federer (for the second consecutive time on clay!) and Grigor Dimitrov this week and Tomas Berdych, who advanced when Milos Raonic retired with a foot injury.

MadProfessah's pick: Djokovic-Monfils final!

QUEER QUOTE: IBM Send Gov. Jindal Letter Opposing Louisiana Proposed RFRA Law

IBM has long been one of the LGBT-friendliest companies to work for, and they are putting their money where their mouth is by sending a letter to Governor Bobby Jindal and the top officials in the legislature opposing Louisiana's plan to enact an even more discriminatory RFRA then the anti-LGBT legislation Indiana and Arkansas had attempted to enact earlier this year.

Louisiana's bill is called the "Marriage and Conscience Act" and what IBM has to say about it is today's Queer Quote:
April 15, 2015 
The Honorable Bobby Jindal Governor, State of Louisiana PO Box 94004 Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9004  
Dear Governor Jindal, 
I am writing to express IBM's strong opposition to H.B. 707, the Marriage and Conscience Act.  We are deeply concerned by reports that you intend to support this legislation.  
IBM has made significant investments in Louisiana including most recently a technology services delivery center in Baton Rouge, creating new jobs for Louisiana workers.  We located the center in Baton Rouge because we believe Louisiana has great talent and would continue to be a rich source of such talent.  However a bill that legally protects discrimination based on same-sex marriage status will create a hostile environment for our current and prospective employees, and is antithetical to our company’s values.  IBM will find it much harder to attract talent to Louisiana if this bill is passed and enacted into law.  
Our perspective is grounded in IBM's 104-year history and our deep legacy of diversity and inclusion - a legacy to which we remain strongly committed today.  IBM is opposed to discrimination against anyone on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected categories.    
We urge you to work with the Legislature to ensure this legislation is not discriminatory. 
Thank you for considering our views.  
James M. Driesse Senior State Executive  

CC: The Hon. John A. Alario, Jr President, Louisiana State Senate State Capitol Building PO Box 94183 Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804 
The Hon. Charles E. Checkley Speaker, Louisiana House of Representatives State Capitol Building PO Box 94062 Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804

Hat/tip to Joe Jervis

Thursday, April 16, 2015

WATCH: Trailer #2 For Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

The second trailer for the new Star Wars movie dropped today and it already has well over 10 million views!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

GODLESS WEDNESDAY: Tennessee State House Passes Bill To Make Bible The State Book

Just in time for Godless Wednesday! Despite the Attorney General of the state saying clearly that the act would be struck down for violating the Tennessee  and United States constitutions, the State Assembly has decided to pass a bill declaring that the Bible is the "state book."

The Holy Bible is the official book of Tennessee in the view of the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Despite questions of constitutionality, lawmakers beat back an attempt to make Andrew Jackson's Bible the official book and voted 55-38 in favor of Rep. Jerry Sexton's original bill.
Do these people even care that some people think "The Bible" is just an old book of Jewish fairy tales.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

TENNIS TUESDAY: Frances Tiafoe Goes Pro, Kerber Beats Keys; Mirza Becomes Doubles #1

Frances Tiafoe Turns Pro
17-year-old African-American phenomenon Frances Tiafoe announced last week that he is turning pro and signed with Jay-Z's sports management agency. Tiafoe has been making headlines as the potential future of American's men's tennis for his outstanding junior results. He lost his ATP tour debut in Washington, D.C. last summer and is currently ranked #520 in the world.

Madison Keys and Angelique Kerber Compete In A Second Classic Final                                      Last summer Madison Keys won her first WTA title by outlasting Angelique Kerber on grass at Eastbourne. This weekend they had a reprise of that showdown on clay in the final of the Family Circle Cup but this time Kerber came back from down 1-4 in the final set to win 6-2 4-6 7-5.                                                                                                   
Sania Mirza Becomes First Indian Woman To Be Ranked #1 (In  Doubles)                                     Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis are on a roll, having won both the Indian Wells and Miami tournaments. These results combined with the surprising decision by the former World #1 doubles team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci to stop playing together is that Mirza is now the #1 ranked doubles player in the world.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton Launches Presidential Campaign Led By Openly Gay Robby Mook

Robert (Robby) Mook is the head of Hillary Clinton's
2016 Presidential Campaign
Hillary Rodham Clinton announced tha she is running for President in 2016 on Sunday, but she made some further news by confirming that her campaign manager would be Robby Mook. Mook, 35, is openly gay and a longtime Democratic operative who worked on Hillary's 2008 campaign. Mook also led the campaign of longtime Clintonite Terry Macauliffe for his second (and successful) run for the Governorship of Virginia in 2013.
Hillary Clinton took note of Mook's work on the McAuliffe campaign. She wants desperately to avoid the mistakes of her last race and run a low-drama campaign. Knowing this, advisers and former aides say, it's not surprising she chose Mook. "He's cut from a very different cloth from the bold, brash campaign managers that we hear about so often," says pollster Geoff Garin, who worked with Mook on McAuliffe's 2013 run. "He does not seek out the spotlight and in fact does everything he can to avoid it." 
Mook is widely known as Robby, not Robert, and at 35, he's still boyish—handsome and clean-shaven with close-cropped brown hair. His usual uniform consists of chinos and bland dress shirts rolled up to the elbows. He couldn't be more different from, say, James Carville, the loudmouth Ragin' Cajun who advised Bill Clinton's first presidential bid and now makes a living as a consultant and TV commentator. Mook rarely appears in news stories or on TV. He did not respond to repeated interview requests. He has no Facebook page. He has a Twitter account but never tweets and has forgotten the password. 
Mook, who will be the first openly gay manager of a major presidential campaign, is largely unknown beyond the insular world of Democratic staffers but well liked within it. In addition to the email listserv, his loyal following—the Mook Mafia—plans yearly reunions, during which they return to a state where they once operated for a weekend of bar-hopping mixed with volunteering for a local campaign.
It will be interesting to see if having an openly LGBT person at the head of a Presidential campaign will make a difference policy-wise to how Hillary's campaign is run and the positions she takes.

EYE CANDY: Keith Carlos

Keith Carlos is a well-known model popular on Instagram and Twitter. He was the first male winner of America's Next Top Model and a former NFL player. He is 27-years ld and 6-feet tall and 199 pounds.

And as you can see is hella phyne!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Andy Murray & Kim Sears Got Married In Scotland Today!

World #3 Andy Murray and Kim Sears got married in Dunblane, Scotland today! They are both twenty-seven years old and have been seeing each other for eight years or so. Murray wore  a traditional tartan kilt.

Friday, April 10, 2015

WATCH: San Bernardino Cops Caught On Video Brutalizing Suspect

Hat/tip to The Daily Beast

Celebrity Friday: The Straight Guy Who Will Argue Gay Marriage Before The Supreme Court

Chris Geidner has an interesting profile of Doug Hallward-Driemeier, the straight Canadian lawyer who on Tuesday April 28 will argue before the United States Supreme Court that states should not be allowed to ban recognition of the marriages of same-sex couples from another state.
While he said that the recognition question presents “a distinctive harm” to his clients because it amounts to Tennessee “destroy[ing], as a legal matter, families and marriages that have already been created,” he also said he does not expect the court to reach different answers on the two issues because “the arguments that the states have made are the same on both” questions.
“One of the things that I hope the justices appreciate is that this is not an issue that only affects — we are very clear in our brief that this is not about ‘gay marriage’ … it’s not a different kind of marriage, it’s about marriage and about allowing people who love each other to join in that institution,” he said. “It’s about my family members, my friends, my children. It affects me as it affects others.”
More than that, Doug Hallward-Dreiemeier knows that — while there are no cameras in the courtroom — the audio set to be released that day will be listened to by same-sex couples across the country, looking for signs about whether they will be able to marry or have their marriage recognized elsewhere once a decision comes down.
“It is a huge, huge honor,” he said, “and I sense the hopes and aspirations of so many people that are at stake here. That’s something I carry with me. And I’m just going to do everything I can.”
Hat/tip to Buzzfeed 


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