Monday, September 01, 2014

QUEER QUOTE: HI Gov. Abercrombie Blames 36 Point Primary Loss On Marriage Equality

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie lost the Democratic nomination for Governor by over 36 percentage points a few weeks ago.

This was quite an astonishing rebuke to the sitting governor of a blue state and it was a surprise to some since Abercrombie outspent his opponent 10-to1 but lost by a 2-to-1 margin to state Senator David Ige. Even more surprising, however, is the supposedly progressive ally blaming his support for marriage equality on his electoral defeat, something the Governor did in interviews recently which becomes today's Queer Quote.


Speaking to reporters in his office, Abercrombie said Republicans, who are allowed to vote in the state's open primary, crossed over to vote against him because of his maneuver to legalize gay marriage. He also claimed that religious leaders urged voters to choose his opponent.
"Republicans crossed over en masse to vote in the Democratic primary, and then the religious factor came in," he said, as quoted by the AP. "Doctrinally I was outside the circle and paid for it."
Who is Abercrombie trying to fool? Does he really think there are enough Republican voters in Hawaii to cause a 35-point deficit in a Democratic primary election? Does he think that voters who were asked about what issues were important to them were lying when they did not mention marriage equality?

EYE CANDY: Elton Ukago




Elton "Agu" Ukago is a model and actor from Los Angeles who, according to his Model Mayhem profile is 30-years-old, 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds. I found him through the Another Guy Blog, where he goes by the name of Agu. He has presences on the social media sites Twitter and Facebook.

Have a nice holiday!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014 US OPEN: Kvitova(3) Shocked By Qualifier Krunic; Sharapova(5) Ousted By Resurgent Wozniacki



It's been an exciting weekend at the 2014 US Open so far with the disappearance of two major champions from the women's side of the draw. On Saturday, Serbian qualifier Miranda Krunic followed up her earlier upset of hard-hitting American teenager Madison Keys with an even more improbable straight sets 6-4 6-4dismissal of the reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova to reach the 4th round of a major tournament.

Later on that day Serena Williams held off a stiff challenge from Varvara Lepchenko, doing well to win in straight sets 6-3 603 in very difficult, windy conditions.

Then on Sunday, the reigning French Open champion Maria Sharapova was ousted in three very entertaining sets 6-4 2-6 6-2 by a very determined Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniacki will next play Sara Errani and the former World #1 has a very good chance to reach her 3rd U.S. Open final in five years thanks to the upsets which have plagued the bottom half of the draw.

The first big upset occurred on the Men's Side on Sunday with #4 seed David Ferrer losing to Gilles Simon. This could potentially be bad news for Roger Federer, who has never lost to Ferrer but has often struggled against the Frenchman Simon, if both players reach the semifinals by winning their next two matches.

FILM REVIEW: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


This summer's crop of movies has been somewhat disappointing to me. The biggest box-office successes released in summer 2014 are: 1) Guardians of the Galaxy ($262M); 2) Captain America : The Winter Soldier ($259M); 3) Transformers : Age of Extinction ($243M); 4) Maleficent ($237M); 5) X-Men: Days of Future Past ($232M). As you can see, I have only seen 2 of the Top 5 box-office hits to date. In fact, of the three I haven't seen the only one I would probably be interested in trying to see

One of the summer's hits that I wanted to see but almost didn't get around to it is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which is at #6 on the summer box-office list with $204M. I didn't see the original in the theaters, but I did see it, and I was impressed by that reboot of the venerable Planet of the Apes franchise starring James Franco to be interested to see how the story develops.

The sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, does not star Franco, but instead is carried by performances by Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke and Andy Serkis (as the motion capture source for Caesar, the talking ape from the first film). However, what sets apart this film from the other summer entertainment is the direction by Matt Reeves as well as a surprisingly clever script.

The new film starts about ten years after the events of the first film. There has been an epidemic which has basically led to a collapse of civilization. The apes from the first film have formed their own society in the depopulated woods of Northern California with Caesar as their leader.

However conflict with the humans resumes when a group lead by Jason Clarke's character ventures into the woods  to try and restart a power station in order to maintain electricity to San Francisco, where a sizable contingent of survivors who are genetically immune to the contagion which has decimated society.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the best film that I saw all summer long. The visual effects are truly astonishing, and within the first half-hour you really start to see the apes as fully realized characters with personalities and motivations clearly communicated (mostly through signs and subtitles). The story is compelling because it features both intra-species and inter-species conflicts.

Among the humans, there are factions that refuse to believe that the apes can be anything but dumb animals and want to use their technological advantages (particularly in armaments and weapons) to exterminate the apes and just take over the land that they want to insure their source of electricity.
However, there are humans who want to co-exist with the apes and they are able to negotiate with Caesar to give them enough access to the power station to fix it.

However, among the apes there are those who remember their torture and abuse (some would call it experiments in the name of science!) and who completely distrust the humans. They think that Caesar is too accommodating to the humans and when these apes learn of the stockpile of guns and ammunition the humans have back in the City they are sure this signals treacherous intentions among the humans.

So, the film's plot revolves around the worst elements in both factions inexorably leading the better, more openminded elements of the humans and apes into a violent conflict that will lead to many deaths on both sides.

All of this goes on in the context of the audience's knowledge of the future that these events presage a world where the apes are in complete ascendance and humans are viewed as chattel and uncivilized, violent creatures.

The result is an exciting, thought-provoking and emotionally satisfying movie which is great to look at and lingers with you afterwards as you ponder the issues it raised.

Title:  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Director: Matt Reeves.
Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language.
Release Date: July 11, 2014.
Viewing Date: August 18, 2014.

Writing: A.
Acting: C.
Visuals: A.
Impact: A-.

Overall Grade: B-/C+ (2.50/4.0).

Saturday, August 30, 2014

SATURDAY POLITICS: California Legislature Passes Plastic Bag Ban

Well, well, well! The California legislature has wrapped up its action for the 2014 year, sending numerous bills to the governor for his signature. One of the most closely watched bills was SB270, which would impose a statewide ban on the use of plastic bags.
Senators who had previously opposed the bill, including incoming Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, this time supported the measure after protections were added for plastic bag manufacturers. 
The bill by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles would prohibit single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large pharmacies in 2015 and at convenience stores in 2016. 
It includes $2 million in loans to help manufacturers shift to producing reusable bags and lets grocers charge 10 cents each for paper and reusable bags.
The bill had sparked one of the most contentious debates in the last weeks of the legislative session, with aggressive lobbying by environmentalists and bag manufacturers.
Glad to see my state senator Kevin de Leon finally changed his position and supported this important legislation! I hope Governor Brown signs it into law soon.

Friday, August 29, 2014

2014 US OPEN: Venus Loses Bizarre 3-Set Battle To Errani; Halep(2) Upset Also


Venus Williams lost a bizarre match to Sara Errani of Italy, 6-0 0-6 7-6(5) in the 3rd round of the 2014 US Open. The two consecutive bagel sets were strange (but not the first time this has happened to Venus in New York) but aso was the fact that she lost to this opponent, sometone she had beaten easily in their first three meetings, giving up only 12 games total previously.

In other upsets on Friday, World #2 Simona Halep lost to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in straight sets. Lucic-Baroni, who was something of a prodigy in the mid-1990s is now 32 years old and has now reached the 4th round of the uS Open.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2014 US OPEN: Radwanska(4), Ivanovic(8), Cibulkova(12) and Kuznetsova(20) Lose Early

Agnieska Radwanska is the highest seed on either
side of the draw to lose in the first four days of competition
The early rounds of the 2014 US Open are coming to an end and so far all the upsets have been on the women's side of the draw. The #4, #8, #12 and #20 seeds, all very good hard-court players, have been ousted from the tournament. The biggest upset in terms of seeding and popularity is probably officially the straight-sets ouster of former World #2 Agnieska Radwanska at the hands of Peng Shuai, one of the best doubles players in the world.

To my mind, the biggest upset was Ana Ivanovic losing in the 2nd round to Karolina Pliskova despite having won the most matches on tour of any active player and playing quite well during the American hard court summer season, losing the finals of Cincinnati to Serena Williams.
Another surprising loss by a player who was playing well coming into Flushing Meadows was Svetlana Kuznetsova's departure in the first round.

The upset that is getting probably the most press is 15-year-old CiCi Bellis 3-set victory over 2014 Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova. Bellis is more than 2 years younger than any other competitor in the main draw of either the men's or women's singles competition at this year's U.S. Open. She won her right to play by winning the Under-18 championships, the youngest payer to do so since Lindsay Davenport.

Serena and Venus Williams are safely through to the 3rd round. Also, 2014 French Open champion Maria Sharapova and 2014 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova did not get upset in their first two matches. Sharapova faces Sabine Lisicki in the 3rd round while Venus faces Sara Errani.

QUEER QUOTE: 7th Circuit Panel Eviscerates IND. & WIS. Arguments Against Marriage Equality


Today's Queer Quote comes from Tuesday's oral arguments before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in marriage equality cases from Wisconsin (Wolf v. Walker) and Indiana (Baskin v. Bogan) where the three judge panel, which included the eminent jurist Richard Posner, completely demolished the states' arguments for their bans on marriage equality.

Posmer is a conservative judge and the intellectual lodestar of a form of jurisprudence that combines economics and conservative legal principles. He does not countenance fools lightly, and he savaged the lawyers making post hoc arguments to defend their states' marriage bans (when everyone knows that it was animus against gender-variant behavior that is at the root of these laws).

These excerpts, provided by Professor Josh Blackman, are today's Queer Quote:
Posner: What concrete factual arguments do you have against homosexual marriage?
Samuelson: Well, we have, uh, the Burkean argument, that it’s reasonable and rational to proceed slowly.
Posner: That’s the tradition argument. It’s feeble! Look, they could have trotted out Edmund Burke in the Loving case. What’s the difference? [Note: Loving v. Virginia was a 1967 decision striking down bans on interracial marriage] . . . There was a tradition of not allowing black and whites, and, actually, other interracial couples from marrying. It was a tradition. It got swept aside. Why is this tradition better?Samuelson: The tradition is based on experience. And it’s the tradition of western culture.
Posner: What experience! It’s based on hate, isn’t it?Samuelson: No, not at all, your honor.
Posner: You don’t think there’s a history of rather savage discrimination against homosexuals?
Ouch! But, wait, there's more!
  • “These people and their adopted children are harmed by your law,” Judge Richard Posner said of gay and lesbian couples who are barred from getting married. “The question is what is the offsetting benefit of your law. Who is being helped?”
  • Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson responded that society as a whole benefited by preserving marriage as it has long been defined. Posner pressed on, asking if anyone would be harmed if same-sex couples were allowed to be married.
  • But Posner expressed skepticism of the idea that the states were trying to promote procreation. “You allow all these sterile couples to get married,” he said. “Why are you doing that if you’re so interested in procreation?”
  • Posner, who at times appeared to lecture the attorneys defending the bans, focused on the ability of same-sex couples to adopt children. He noted adopted children would benefit if their parents could claim the tax breaks and other perks of being married.
  • “These children would be better off if their parents could marry, no? It’s obvious,” Posner said.
  • “Why do you prefer heterosexual adoption to homosexual adoption?” Judge Posner, appointed to the bench by President Reagan, asked. When Fisher began responding that the marriage laws were unrelated to adoption, Posner was almost vitriolic in his response, saying of the state’s treatment of the children of same-sex couples, “You want them to be worse off.”
  • At different times, Posner referred to Fisher’s arguments as “pathetic,” “ridiculous,” and “absurd.”
  • “How can tradition be the reason?” he asked, mocking the answer by responding that saying “we’ve been doing a stupid thing” for a long time certainly wouldn’t be enough of a justification to uphold a law or practice.
 And this basically encapsulates why so many federal judges are ruling against state bans on marriage equality. There's no benefit to heterosexuals and there is clearly defined harm to same-sex couples (and their children).

Posner is described as the most cited legal theorist of the 20th century. Most observers expect a unanimous ruling from the 7th circuit upholding the lower court's judgments that state bans on marriage equality are unconstitutional under the federal constitution.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

TENNIS TUESDAY: Serena (Finally) Addresses Rumors About Her Bizarre Wimbledon Behavior


Serena Williams has (finally) addressed the rumors and innuendoes circulating to try to explain her erratic demeanor on the second Tuesday of Wimbledon three days after being surprisingly ousted by Alize Cornet in 3 sets in the 3rd round.

In an interview to Sports Illustrated, the 17-time major champion says:
“I have nothing to hide,” she says. “No, I didn’t take anything. If you want to ask me if I took drugs, I didn’t take drugs. I’m not on drugs. I’ve heard it all. I’m not pregnant; I wasn’t pregnant. Although I think a baby would be great, but there’s a time and place for everything. But no, I don’t do drugs. Never did ’em. I’m scared of ’em. I’m not on that stuff.”
Word had gone around that some in the women’s locker room that day, watching her distress live on TV, were pantomiming Serena drinking. 
But, Williams says, she wasn’t drunk, either. “God, no,” she says, laughing. “I wish.”
And she goes on to give her side of the story:
Her Wimbledon explanation: After losing meekly the previous Saturday in a third-round singles match to 25th seed Alizé Cornet, Williams took to her bed for the next three days, feeling dehydrated, dizzy and feverish, “just in my room, sweating like crazy.” She was not examined by a doctor. Venus urged her repeatedly to pull out of their Tuesday doubles match. “Begged me not to play,” Serena says.
Serena also says that the anti-doping testers showed up at her room at about 7am just as she was throwing up but she let them in and they took her sample. It has been almost 6 weeks since the incident and Serna says she has not been informed of anything being amiss.

Monday, August 25, 2014

EYE CANDY: Pierre Vuala




Pierre Vuala is a 24-year-old bodybuilder, personal trainer and fitness model from Miami, Florida. According to his Model Mayhem profile, he is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds. Vuala has his own website, at vualafit.com and is active on Facebook and Twitter.

Hat/tip to Gorgeous Sexy Guys

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