Friday, October 24, 2014

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Novak Djokovic's Son Stefan Is Born

Novak Djokovic managed to time the birth of his son Stefan to minimize the impact on his quest to earn the #1 ATP Ranking for 2014. Djokovic's wife Jelena gave birth to their son on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

QUEER QUOTE: Obama Says Right To Same-Sex Marriage Exists In Federal Constitution

Ptersident Barack Obama gave an interview with The New Yorker where he expresses his belief explicitly that the United States Constitution's Equal Protection clause guarantees marriage equality for same-sex couples.

This excerpt from his conversation with Jeffrey Toobin is today's Queer Quote:
“Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states. But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.”
Obama also named the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to refuse to hear appeals from three appellate circuits on Monday October 6th and effectively causing marriage equality to go into effect in roughly 35 states as the "the best Supreme Court decision of his tenure."
“In some ways, the decision that was just handed down to not do anything about what states are doing on same-sex marriage may end up being as consequential—from my perspective, a positive sense—as anything that’s been done. Because I think it really signals that although the Court was not quite ready—it didn’t have sufficient votes to follow Loving v. Virginia and go ahead and indicate an equal-protection right across the board—it was a consequential and powerful signal of the changes that have taken place in society and that the law is having to catch up.”
Elections have consequences, people!

2014 WTA YEC: SHOCK! Serena Loses 8th Bagel Set Of Career To Halep In 6-0 6-2 Defeat

Well, well, well! The question of how Serena Williams would do at this year's WTA Tour Championships were front and center when she was put in the same round-robin section as the three "It" girls of 2014 (Ana Ivanovic, Simona Halep and Genie Bouchard) was answered on Wednesday. The 18-time major champion won the fewest number of games in a professional match in 16 years, i.e. since she was just starting on the tour. Against Halep, every part of Serena's game was off and she quickly lost the first set 0-6, only the 8th bagel set of her career (managing to win only 7 points). She then lost the second set 6-2, ending her 16 match winning streak at the Year-Ending Championships.

The loss by Serena means that it is very likely that Sharapova could end the year at #1. If Serena fails to make it out of the round-robin group (in order to do so she needs to beat Genie Bouchard in straight sets) then Sharapova will only need to reach the final to become the new #1 ranked player in the world.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Now There Are 32! Wyoming Becomes Marriage Equality State

Just a few days after Arizona became the 31st state with marriage equality, another red state has joined the throng of marriage equality states today when Wyoming abandoned its fruitless legal battle in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's October 6 decision to not hear an appeal of two appellate circuits (the 4th and the 10th)  rulings that the federal constitution requires marriage equality.

What this means is that in 32 states (see map), same-sex couples can get married while there are three more states (Kansas, Montana and South Carolina) where federal appellate court rulings indicate that laws banning marriage equality are presumed unconstitutional, since a federal appellate court has said so about a sister state's laws in the same circuit.

This also means that there are for more states where same-sex couples can get married than where there are LGBT-based civil rights laws. This means that a couple can get married, and if their boss finds out about it, they can be fired from their job due to their sexual orientation and there is no state or federal legal recourse.

I suspect that this dispute will be the next phase of the LGBT equality movement, but it will take an affirmative change in public policy in a lot of these states where same-sex couples are brave enough to take advantage of their right to marry has been recognized by federal judges to change the state's laws.

Hat/tip to Joe Jervis

Monday, October 20, 2014

EYE CANDY: Ajay King

According to his Model Mayhem profile, Ajay King is a 31-year-old male model who is 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds. He is from Los Angeles.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

2014 WTA YEC: Serena and Sharapova Drawn Into Separate Groups

The Year-End Championships of the WTA tour is starting Monday in Singapore. World #1 Serena Williams won the title the last two years (d. Li Na in 2013 and d. Maria Sharapova in 2012). In order for Serena to end 2014 as #1 she will need to win at least 460 points more than Sharapova, which means that she either has to win the tournament for the fourth consecutive time she has played it, or Sharapova has to not reach the semifinal stage.

The draw has Serena in the Red Group which also includes Simona Halep, Genie Bouchard and Ana Ivanovic. Sharapova is in the White Group, which includes: Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova and Agnieska Radwanska.

The tournament should be very compelling, because it will feature match-ups for the first time this year between Serena and the two breakout stars of 2014: Wimbledon finalist Bouchard and Roland Garros finalist Halep. On the other side of the draw, Sharapova will definitely play 2-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova and US Open finalist Wozniacki.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Politics: SCOTUS Allows Texas' Unabashedly Racist Voter Suppression Law To Go Into Effect

As I discussed last Saturday, the politics of who will vote is becoming increasingly salient as Election Day 2014 approaches. Today, the bad guys won a big one when the Supreme Court in a 6-3 vote (boys against girls) decided to allow Texas's new voter suppression identification law go into effect for the 2014 election while the federal courts consider the law on its merits, even though a federal judge has already declared that the 2011 law intentionally has a disparate impact on minorities.
A divided Supreme Court handed a big defeat to the Obama administration and numerous civil rights groups early Saturday morning when it ruled that Texas can enforce its 2011 voter ID law in November that some have called the strictest in the country. Three justices dissented from the ruling that rejected an emergency request that had been filed by the Justice Department and civil rights groups. 
The decision appears to mark “the first time since 1982 that the Court has allowed a law restricting voters’ rights to be enforced after a federal court had ruled it to be unconstitutional,” notes Scotus Blog’s Lyle Denniston. A federal judge had struck down the law last week, saying that some 600,000 voters—mostly black or Latino—would face difficulties at the polls due to a lack of proper identification. The law, which was approved in 2011 but only came in effect in 2013 lays out seven approved forms of identification—a list many have questioned for including concealed handgun licenses but not college IDs, notes the Associated Press. 
This marked the fourth time over the last few weeks that the Supreme Court has been forced to decide whether voter ID laws passed by Republican state legislatures can be used in November. The justices voted to allow changes in Ohio and North Carolina and stopped a new law in Wisconsin. 
An article in Slate magazine by Jamelle Bouie questions whether voter identification laws are based in partisanship or racism and comes out in favor of partisanship. Regardless, the effect and impact of the enactment of voter "identification" laws is negatively impact the voting power of racial minorities.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Arizona Becomes 31st State With Marriage Equality!

Arizona joined the growing number of states (31) that allow same-sex couples to get married when a federal judge struck down the Grand Canyon state's ban on marriage equality today. The judge based his decision on the 9th Circuit's ruling last week striking down Nevada's and Idaho's bans on marriage equality and refused to put a stay on its effect.

Hat/tip to Joe Jervis

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Neil Patrick Harris Will Host The 2015 Oscars

Well, well, well! Last year's host of the Oscars was openly gay Ellen Degeneres. Ellen is a hard act to follow, but openly gay Neil Patrick Harris will have that opportunity on February 22, 2015. Harris, who has previously hosted the Emmys and the Tonys was announced as the next host of the Oscars:
Oscar hosting is considered a primo gig, but it isn’t easy. The host needs to maintain the show’s energy, both for the audience inside the Dolby Theatre and for the millions of TV viewers. There is always a guessing game on hosts, but there are a limited number of individuals who have shown their talent in such a role. Ellen DeGeneres was successful at the March 2 rites, but apparently was reluctant even then to do it, and didn’t want to do it for the 2015 ceremony.  
The March 2 ceremonies attracted the biggest Oscar viewership in 14 years, according to the Academy. It drew an average audience of 45.4 million total viewers, delivering a 13.7 rating among adults 18–49 (Live+7). 
Harris is currently co-starring in the current hit movie Gone Girl which may have a significant presence at the 2015 Oscars. He is the winner of 5 Oscars (3 for hosting various award ceremonies).
Maybe he will win one more for hosting the Oscars? Also, now all he is missing is the opportunity to host the Grammys and he will have achieved the EGOT of hosting.


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