Tuesday, May 31, 2005

French Open Semifinals Predictions

Hmmm, well, in my previous post I predicted the Women's Semifinals matches at the French Open would be Henin-Hardenne versus Petrova and Karatantcheva vs Davenport. I got the first one completely right and the second one completely wrong! Pierce destroyed Lindsay Davenport in about 75 minutes, 6-3, 6-2 and Karatantcheva ran out of gas against Elena Likhovtseva in the third set, despite being up a break, and lost 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. My new predictions are that Henin-Hardenne will beat Petrova in 3 sets and Pierce will beat Likhovtseva in straight sets. The Henin-Hardenne-Pierce final should be interesting... with Henin-Hardenne winning her 4th major (2nd French Open).

Monday, May 30, 2005

French Open Quarterfinals Predictions

Lindsay Davenport USA (1) vs. Mary Pierce FRA (21). Lindsay has had four 3-set matches in a row. The previous one was against Kim Clijsters, who was considered the favourite after winning back-to-back Tier 1 tournaments in March (Nasdaq-100 and Pacific Life Open). Bizarrely, this was the first time the two had met on clay (Davenport's worst surface) but it was Clijsters who faltered after holding a 6-1, 3-1 lead over an opponent she had beaten 5 times in a row over the last two and a half years. Mary Pierce, unlike fellow Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo, plays her best tennis at France's major tennis tournament and won the title in 2000. There are probably no bigger clean strikers of the ball (whose name is not Williams) in the game. This match will feature the return of Big Babe Tennis! PREDICTION: Davenport in 3 sets.

Elena Likhovtseva RUS (16) vs. Sesil Karatantcheva BUL.
Likhovtseva is the wily Russian veteran who took out the more famous Elena (Dementieva) the previous round. Karatantcheva is an unseeded 15-year old phenom (and the reigning French Open Junior Champion) who has the fearlessness and ferocity of youth. She took out Venus Williams two rounds before by outhitting and out-thinking her. PREDICTION: Karatantcheva in 2 sets.

Nadia Petrova RUS (7) vs. Ana Ivanovic SCG (29) . Petrova has been sneaking through the draw quietly but she is another (!) hard-hitting Russian with a very good serve and a natural athlete. I haven't seen Ivanovic play but Mary Carillo says she is the best of the next generation of teen players. I still think Petrova will get to her second French Open semi-final (she took out Monica Seles a few years ago), setting up another interesting grudge match with Henin (who Petrova took out in the 4th round of the 2004 US Open). PREDICTION: Petrova in 3 sets.

Justine Henin-Hardenne BEL (10) vs. Maria Sharapova RUS (2). This is the featured match of this round. I suspect whoever wins this match will win the 2005 French Open title. Henin-Hardenne gutted out two match points against her at 6-7,6-4,5-4 during her 3 hour, 15 minute ugly match with 2004 US Open Champion Setlana Kuznetsova. Neither player looked very comfortable during the match and Henin-Hardenne remained uncharacteristically glued to the baseline, even after hitting aggressive shots. At one point both players had first service percentages below 40%. Sharpova has looked sharp and is currently the only player to have beaten Henin-Hardenne this year (who has a 21-match winning streak on clay in 2005). Champions do not like to lose to anyone twice in a row. PREDICTION: This is really a toss-up, but I'll say Henin-Hardenne in 3 sets.

The final will be Henin-Hardenne/Sharapova versus Davenport. I'll have a prediction on the final after the semifinal matches.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

One Move Down, One To Go

I have moved into my new office (Room 313, Fowler Hall) but I am still in the process of moving into my new house. Light blogging until probably Tuesday.... (Is there anything more painful than packing and unpacking all your worldly possessions?)

Monday, May 23, 2005

French Open begins...

The second Gran Slam tennis tournament of the year began today: Roland Garros (The French Open). You may recall, Serena Williams and Roger Federer won the 2005 Australian Open women's and men's titles. Last year's winners were Anastasia Myskina and Gaston Gaudio. It is very unlikely either of these players will repeat as champions. In fact, Myskina lost her opening round match today, becoming the first defending French Open champion to lose in the first round of her title defense. Gaudio won his first round match, but the clear contenders on the men's side are Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. On the women's side, Serena is out (ankle injury), Henin-Hardenne is back (after skipping the 2004 tournament and currently riding a 14-match winning streak) and Davenport is the top seed. I'll have more detailed predictions in a later post but right now I expect the list of final four women to include Sharapova, Williams, Davenport and Mauresmo. Venus won her match today (6-3, 6-2) against an opponent she beat 6-0, 6-0 last week on her way to winning her first title (even if it was aTier III) in 13 months, over Nicole Vaidisova.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Today is my 37th birthday. I was born in Grenville, Grenada on May 21, 1968. I'm in the middle of packing to move to my new place next week (gotta be out by the end of the month) so blogging will be erratic until June 1.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Dangerous Anti-Gay Ballot Measure Filed in CA

Here they go again! Not content with having passed Proposition 22 ("Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California"), in 2000, the anti-gay bigots are back, this time with a proposed ballot measure that would not only prohibit access to marriage by same-sex couples but also all its "legal incidents" (such as hospital visitation, death/burial disposition, health benefits, second parent adoption etc etc.)

Here's the important section:

SEC. 1.1. a) Only marriage between one man and
one woman is valid or recognized in California,
whether contracted in this state or

b) Neither the
Legislature nor any court, government institution,
government agency, local government, or
government official shall abolish the civil institution
of marriage between one man and one woman, or
diminish the civil institution of marriage between
one man and one woman by bestowing statutory
rights or incidents of marriage on unmarried
persons, or by requiring private entities to offer or
provide rights or incidents of marriage to unmarried
. Any public act, record, or judicial proceeding,
from within this state or another jurisdiction, that
violates this section is void and unenforceable.

This is an Initiative Constitutional Amendment, which means that it amends the California Constitution and can not be thrown out on state constitutional grounds. Proposition 22 was an Initiative Statute and has been found unconstitutional on multiple grounds (that case is under appeal).

The proposed initiative constututional amendment is however fatally flawed on federal constitutional grounds. I have highlighted the section in red to illustrate the vast scope of this ballot measure. It would invalidate California's current comprehensive domestic partnership law (which is basically a civil union law) and enjoin the legislature from passing one in the future. This is not something a ballot measure can do under settled constitutional law (c.f. Romer vs Evans, 517 US 620, decided May 20, 1996). Basically, it singles out same-sex couples and makes them "a stranger to our laws" by providing that the only way they can obtain redress is to propose and the people of California approve a superceding initiative constitutional amendment.

However, considering the current composition of the United States Supreme Court and its likelihood to change soon, I don't think it's a good strategy to let the courts handle this. This ballot measure must be opposed, vigorously.
Here are a number of things YOU can do to stop this:

1) If people ask you for your signature for a ballot measure at Target or Wal-Mart or wherever: JUST SAY NO. Don't ask to read the petition, there are lots of instances where they show you one petition when actually your signature will be added to a different one. The signature gatherers are in it for the money--they often are collecting signatures for both progressive and conservative causes, simultaneously. If you want to lend your name to a progressive ballot measure, contact a progressive organization.

2) Tell your family, friends and acquiantances that there is a proposed ballot measure to strip same-sex couples of all state recognition and try to educate them about the full ramifications of the ballot measure. Gay marriage is already illegal in California, this measure will strip same-sex couples of a whole host of benefits (and responsibilities!) currently enshrined in state law.

3) Donate money to groups that are organizing to defeat this measure, like Equality California and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Top 10 Queer Cars

Thanks to a heads up from Suburban Guerrilla (who I had not heard of until Kevin Drum recently pointed her out) I know what the top 10 cars for gay guys are (or at least the cars that Tom and Ray over at CarTalk think are the top 10 queer cars):
  1. VW Jetta
  2. VW Beetle
  3. BMW 3 series
  4. Jeep Wrangler
  5. Mazda Miata
  6. Saab 900
  7. Saturn SC1
  8. VW Golf
  9. VW Cabrio
  10. Chrysler Sebring

Of course, I am not claiming that everyone who drives these cars is gay...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mayor-Elect Antonio Villaraigosa!

With almost all precincts reporting, here are the results of the Los Angeles Mayoral Election:

Los Angeles Mayoral Election
Villaraigosa 260,721 58.66%
Hahn 183,749 41.34%

City Council District 11
Rosendahl 26,613 56.56%
Krisiloff 20,439 43.44%

Los Angeles ends up with its first City Councilperson
first elected running as an openly gay man and its first Latino Mayor in over 133 years.
Si Se Puede!

Richest Amateur Chess Tournament Begins

The HB Global Chess Challenge, the richest amateur chess tournament of all time ($500 000 total prize fund) is set to begin today. The tournament is the brainchild of the first African American grandmaster, Maurice Ashley and sponsored by The HB Foundation. This is very cool. When I was 16 I won almsot 20 thousand dollars in just under three months at the 1985 New York Open and 1985 World Open. I hope the HB Global Chess Challenge provides a similar opportunity for a future strong chessplayer who would not otherwise have been interested in pursuing excellence in chess.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

May 17: Double Anniversary For Equal Rights

One year ago, discrimination in marriage was ended as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling in Goodridge vs Department of Public Health of November 18, 2003 went into effect after a 6-month delay, on the 50th anniversary of the even more famous Brown vs Board of Education by the United States Supreme Court on May 17, 1954. Despite reports to the contrrary, the world has not ended! Today, gays and lesbians and their supporters are celebrating over 6000 legal same-sex marriages which have occurred in the last 12 months.

However, the battle is on to see if these same sex marriages will last another 18 months. As in Hawaii and Alaska, voters amended their constitutions after courts ruled in favor (though not dispositively) of gay marriage. The attempt to amend the Massachusetts state constitution is under way. Before it can be presented to voters in Novermber 2006, an amendment must be approved by a majority of the state legislature, sitting as a consitutional convention. In March 2004, the legislature approved a "compromise" amendment by a vote of 105-92 which would prohibit marriage by same-sex couples in Massachusetts and set up civil unions for same sex couples. In the November 2004, a number of pro-equality candidates defeated anti-gay marriage candidates. However, in today's Los Angeles Times, Marty Rouse, the campaign director for Massachusetts Equality, the local organization dedicated to maintaining equal marriage rights in Massachusetts, declared "We currently do not have the votes right now to defeat this [constututional] amendment." And it appears that conservative opponents may now be pushing for just the full ban on same sex marriage without the establishment of civil unions, which they claim are the same thing where clearly the states of Vermont (2000) and Connecticut (2005) would disagree.

The vote to preserve marriage in Massachusetts will be close. I hope that today, on the 51st anniversary of the ruling which ended the legal principle of "separate but equal" in public accommodations on the basis of race and the 1st anniversary of the end of marriage discrimination on the basis of gender in the United States, people will take a moment and think about what kind of country they want to be living in on future May 17ths.

Another Gay Republican Hypocrite

Spokane Mayor Jim West was a consistently anti-gay vote when he was in the Washington State legislature. Recently he took a leave of absence from his job after being outed and accused of using city resources to solicit young (and possibly underage) men for sex. Typically, now that he is out, he is trying to avail himself of all the legal rights and protections he was so vigorously against when he was closeted. Last month I commented on stories about conservative Republican activist Arthur Finkelstein marrying his longtime male companion in Massachusetts, despite being a longtime associate of Jesse Helms and currently working on a Stop Hillary campaign. Then of course there is the ongoing Jeff Gannon controversy. And Armstrong Williams (oops!) How many gay Republican hypocrites can there be out there? Frank Rich (In the Sunday New York Times) is wondering also!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Hahn Campaign Caught Ripping Off Villaraigosa's

(This is sort of inside baseball, but it is sort of funny!)

The Hahn Campaign has been caught ripping off a graphic exclusively designed for the Villaraigosa Campaign's website (http://www.antonio2005.com) and putting it on their own website (http://www.jimhahn.org/). Basically what happened is that Antonio's campaign commisioned a graphic designed to help people find out where the polling place is located for the Mayoral Run-off Election. The Hahn campaign liked it so much they decided to use the exact same graphic on their website!

The symbolism is striking. The main complaint that Los Angeles voters have of Jim Hahn is that he is uninspiring and doesn't seem to have any new ideas for tackling the city's numerous challenges. The theft of the graphic is a metaphor which says that the Hahn campaign is so out of ideas that they are even copying graphics from the Villaraigosa campaign.

This story has already been picked up by Jerome at mydd.com and MayorSam.

Gee, I guess imitation is the most sincere form of flattery after all!

Mad Professah Endorses Antonio for Alcalde

Just a reminder to get out and vote for Antonio Villaraigosa for Mayor of Los Angeles on Tuesday May 17th. One month ago, Villaraigosa had a 18 point lead. Last week he had an 11 point lead. Mayor James Hahn has never lost a citywide election. I expect him to lose this one, but in a low turnout election, YOUR VOTE matters that much more!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Gay Marriage Soon In Canada (and Joisey!?)

The current government in Canada is attempting to end discrimination in marriage before it loses a no confidence vote in Parliament. Many people doubt the government can win the race. Large segments of the Canadian public support gay marriage in Canada...

Back in the United States, apparently the Garden State would like to join our northernly neighbors in enacting gay marriage....

Friday, May 06, 2005

Microsoft has internal systems error on gay rights

The blogosphere is buzzing about Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's email to the company explaining its decision to publically back away from supporting a gay rights bill in Washington State, where the corporate behemoth is headquartered--which then failed to become law by one solitary vote (24-25) on April 21. Needless to say, gay rights activists were not amused.

Steve Ballmer now says (after gay rights advocates have been bombarding Microsoft with angry emails and boycott talk has been swirling) that Microsoft will support gay rights legislation in the future.

Now comes more information that Microsoft had been asked and after proceeding through its systems of extensive internal reviews come to a position to support filing an amicus brief in favor of legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington State. Then General Counsel Brad Smith vetoed the idea. Brad Smith is apparently not the only far right conservative that supposedly liberal Microsoft has on its payroll. Apparently the software giant is paying the odious Ralph Reed twenty thousand dollars per month!

I'm headed to Seattle tomorrow for a few days--probably some light blogging until then--but when I return I hope to have some firsthand accounts of how the LGBT community in Washington State is reacting to the exposure of Microsoft's perfidy.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Military Attempting To Preserve Sodomy Law

The Washington Blade broke the story in its latest issue that the U.S. military is attempting to exempt its sodomy law found in the Uniform Code of Military Justice from the United States Supreme Court's 2003 landmark decision in Lawrence versus Texas invalidating laws criminalizing private consensual sex between adults. The article states that
In its proposed changes, the DOD calls for moving
the sodomy prohibition from Article 125 of the
UCMJ, which is considered a section of the
military’s criminal law, to the UCMJ’s Article 134.
Article 134, among other issues, addresses matters
pertaining to conduct considered “prejudicial to
good order and discipline” among service members.

Provisions under Article 134 are
enforced through the DOD’s Manual for
Courts-Martial. Changes to the manual are
considered to be regulatory in nature and are not
specifically part of the UCMJ. However, they must
be put in place by the president, with the approval
of Congress, the DOD told United Press
International on Monday.

President Bush must give final approval to the changes via the issuance of an executive order for the military to preserve its policy of criminalizing private consensual sexual relations between members of the same sex who would not be prosecuted if they were an opposite sex couple. Note, the main reason the military is attempting to maintain its sodomy law is to prop up its ban on openly gay or lesbian members of the military via the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Clintonian compromise of 1993.


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