Thursday, June 30, 2005

Spain Jumps Ahead Of Canada!

When it rains, it pours! Spain's Parliament enacted same-sex civil marriage by a vote of 187-147 on Wednesday, leaping ahead of Canada to become the third country in the world to end discrimination in marriage on the basis of the gender (orsexual orientation) of the participants. It is true that Canada's Parliament passed a bill allowing same sex marriage also, but before that bill becomes law it has to pass the upper house of Parliament (which is seen as a formality). Apparently Spain's bill will become law first. It's a race between two modern progressive democracies to enact equality for all their citizens, and it's nice to see. Gazpacho, anyone?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Solid Majority of Californians Want New Governor

The bad news for Arnold Schwarzenegger keeps on coming. A few weeks ago it was that his statewide approval rating had plummeted. Now it turns out that Californians want a new Governor:

In a startling reversal of public opinion, 57
percent of the state's registered voters would
not support Schwarzenegger's re-election next
year, up from 42 percent in a February poll.
Those who would vote to return him to
Sacramento tumbled from 56 percent to
39 percent.

Hmmmm! But who will replace him? After State Attorney General Bill Lockyer wimped out earlier this year, the two main Democratic challengers are State Controller Steve Westly and State Treasurer Phil Angelides. Angelides leads a hypothetical matchup with Arnold 46%-42% while Westly leads Arnold 44%-40%. I haven't made an endorsement in the 2006 California Gubernatirial race yet, but I agree with this post at MyDD about the importance of the 2006 Governors races nationwide. Democrats should be able to make pick-ups in California, New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, and possibly Texas, Georgia and Florida.

Canada Passes Same Sex Marriage Bill

By a vote of 158-133, the Canadian Parliament passed the plurality Government's same-sex marriage legislation, making Canada the 3rd country in the world (after Belgium and The Netherlands) where gays and lesbians can marry each other and have identical rights to heterosexuals.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Wimbledon: 4 women left!

Ladies' Quarterfinal Day is now over. The semifinalists are Mauresmo versus Davenport and Sharapova versus Venus Williams.

Mauresmo (3) vs Davenport (1). I think that this will go three sets. Mauresmo has been playing great grass-court tennis all tournament long but she hasn't faced one of the "big babes" with their awesome hitting power, and Davenport is the biggest of them all. Once Mauresmo loses the first set she will relax and play her game, however once the third set starts she'll tighten up. Davenport will make it to her second Grand Slam final of the year.

Sharapova (2) vs V. Williams (14). I'd like to believe that Venus can win this match, but I think she might have peaked in the quarterfinal against Mary Pierce. (She had only 14 unforced errors to 22 winners, and served at 84%!) Maybe she watched the super slow motion deconstruction of her serve on television and has finally taken some advice. It would be great if both players played to their full potential in the match. Sharapova, in 3 very close sets.

Canada Parliament To Vote On Gay Marriage Today

Today is a big day for our progressive neighbors to the North. Despite partisan bickering and conservative delay tactics, there will be a vote on a bill to legalize gay marriage in the Canada Parliament today.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Wimbledon Update: 16 women left!

Monday is the 4th Round at Wimbledon. There are 16 women left in the tournament, with a large number of surprising survivors (Myskina, Dementieva, Pierce and Venus) and few early exits (Henin-Hardenne).

My previous prediction of a Serena-Sharapova semifinal at this year's Wimbledon can no longer come true: Serena Williams lost 6-3, 7-6(4) on Saturday to a fellow American, 30-year old, 85th world-ranked Jill Craybas.

But this upset gives her sister Venus Williams an excellent chance to get a quarterfinal match with the resurgent Mary Pierce, who last month made it to the French Open final. If Venus gets past that match, she will have a semifinal encounter with the "Golden Girl" Maria Sharapova who just has to get past Nathalie Dechy and Nadia Petrova.

In the other half of the draw Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters are duking it out in what should be the best match of the tournament for a quarterfinal opportunity against Svetlana Kuznetsova. I remain firm in my prediction that Clijsters will come through both of those matches, albeit in 3 sets. Clijsters will then meet Mauresmo (who theoretically should have no problem defeating either Dementieva or Myskina on grass) in the other semi-final.

If Clijsters does not make it through her half of the draw, I think Sharapova will most likely repeat as Wimbledon champion. Clijsters has a 3-0 record against her, and has beaten Sharapova already this year in a final (to win the NASDAQ-100 in Miami).

UPDATE 9pm 06/26/05 It should be noted that if Davenport beats Clijsters then she has a very good chance of making it to her second Grand Slam final of 2005, and she should have a mental edge against the defending champion, who she almost beat last year in the semis, and who she whipped 6-0, 6-0 at the Pacific Life tournament in March

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Off To The Vowel States

I'm going to Des Moines, Iowa for a couple days. Probably light blogging until Monday, unless there's some surprises at Wimbledon or at the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ahnuld Rolling The Dice, Losing Popularity

Polling data on the Governor of California's support among voters clearly shows erosion. The Los Angeles Times had a column awhile ago by legendary political columnist George Skelton entitled "Self-Proclaimed Governor of the People Is Fading as Lord of the Polls." All around the blogosphere, other people are starting to also notice.

Now, Ahnuld is rolling the dice and spending eighty milllion dollars of California taxpayers' money in order to call for a special election in November.

Today the most accurate poll in California politics shows that Arnold's political fortunes are starting to resemble Gray Davis. His approval/disapproval rating is now at 37/53 (down from 53/35 in February 2005) with a margin of error of 3.2%.

   Approve  Disapprove
Among Democrats 16 (34) 76 (54)
Among Republicans 66 (84) 23 (11)
Among Non-Partisans 35 (48) 54 (38)
I never understood what Californians saw in Arnold as a governor and did not vote for him
in the recall. Looks like the rest of California is waking up....

Wimbledon Predictions: Never Mind

Not too upset: Justine Henin-Hardenne lost today at Wimbledon (her second loss of the year, ending her streak at 24 matches in a row after winning the 2005 French Open) to Eleni Danilidou 7-6(8), 2-6, 7-5 on a double fault as she faced her third match point down. For the second year

This opens up the section of the draw with Venus (who won her first round match 6-2, 6-4) and Serena (who faces fellow Frican American Angela Haynes later today). I still believe that Serena will get through that section to face Sharapova in a close semi-final.

On the men's side 6'10" Ivo Karlovic lost after blasting 51 aces, so Federer will not be beating him in the final. I don't know why, I just don't think that Roddick will make it through his half of the draw (even though it is easier than Federer's).

CA Gay Marriage bill still alive

Assemblyman Mark Leno is a determined man. The author of California Gay Marriage bill has announced his intention to use a legislative maneuver to resuscitate this legislation. I had previously questioned why this wasn't being considered after AB 19 obtained 37 of the 41 necessary votes to pass the Assembly. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, in Canada the Government is postponing its summer recess in order to get gay marriage enacted.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Wimbledon Predictions

The third and most prestigious grand slam tennis tournament of the year, The Championships at Wimbledon begins Monday June 20.

The first section of the draw is sprinkled with numerous players vying for this semi-final slot. Lindsay Davenport (Current #1 and 1999 Champion), Kim Clijsters, Svetlana Kuznetsova (current US Open titleholder) and Elena Dementieva. I predict that Kuznetsova and Clijsters will battle it out for the semi-final spot against Amelie Mauresmo (who has a pretty dreamy draw in the second section) in the first semi-final.

The third section of the draw is the toughest, with Justine Henin-Hardenne (former #1 and the current hottest player on the women's tour), Serena Williams (2002 and 2003 Wimbledon Champion and current Australian Open titleholder), Venus Williams (2000 and 2001 Champion, set to meet Serena in the 4th Round). I predict that Serena will come through this section of the draw to meet defending Champion Maria Sharapova in the second women's semi-final.

PREDICTIONS: Ladies' Semi-finals
Clijsters/Kuznetsova versus Mauresmo (3).
Serena Williams (4) versus Maria Sharapova (2).

On the Men's side, Roger Federer (#1) will win his 3rd title over Ivo Karlovic on July 3rd.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Not All Republicans Are White (Just 98.8%)

Thanks to John Aravosis's AmericaBlog:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jessica Smith or Brendan McCarthy,
Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2004 Fenton Communications


One Percent of Republican Legislators in the States And Washington are African-American or Hispanic

Newspaper Ads Point to Retro Republican Reality

The uninformed viewer watching TV coverage of this week's Republican national convention in New York might come away thinking that the President's party is built upon a solid commitment to inclusion of racial minorities. Once again, as it does every four years, the Republican Party is trying to portray itself as a 'big tent,' with room for every American.

But a new book about America's political divisions notes that the 99 percent of all Republican legislators across the country and in Congress are white. The national Republican Party, whose base is in the South, the Plains and the Mountain states, looks to white men as its power base and source of leadership. Even when Republican states have significant minority populations, the elected Republican representatives rarely are drawn from those communities.

The Great Divide: Retro vs. Metro America, a new look at political divisions in America by educator-entrepreneur Dr. John Sperling, calls those states 'Retro America,' and notes: 'Its whiteness and maleness are mirrored in the Republican Party.'

Of 3,643 Republicans serving in the state legislatures, only 44 are minorities, or 1.2 percent. In the Congress, with 274 of the 535 elected senators and representatives Republican, only five are minorities - three Cuban Americans from Florida, a Mexican American from Texas and a Native American senator originally elected as a Democrat. [NOTE FROM JOHN: That means the GOP has elected ZERO blacks to Congress.]

'President Bush's home state leads the way. Texas, with a minority population of 47 percent, has 106 Republicans in the state legislature, but there are 0 blacks and 0 Hispanics among them,' Sperling writes. 'No major corporation doing business with the government could be so white without being subject to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) action!'

An advertisement appearing in the New York Times and Washington Post this week describes this 'Retro Republican Reality.' For more information and to download chapters of the Sperling book, go to Print editions of The Great Divide are on sale exclusively at

Howard Dean was right! michael in chicago over at has also picked up on the lack of racial diversity among Republicans...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Antonio Sees The Light

Via, I was made aware of this interesting article about at least one way in which Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be improving Los Angeles. He wants Republic Electric of Novato to swap out 4,300 traffic signals with more efficient LEDs because they can do it in half the time it would take city workers to finish the job. Maybe it's efficiency - and maybe it's just a clever way of goading city workers to start thinking about working harder.... Tune in for more updates on how Mayor Villaraigosa's Los Angeles will be different starting July 1.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Nevada Passes Anti-Discrimination Bill

Although Nevada is already on the list of "free states" (15 states which have laws on the books against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation), some of these states are "freer" than others. For example, only recently did California enact a bill which placed sexual orientation in the same category as race, religion et al so that wherever those forms of discrimination are disallowed (in employment, housing, credit, education, public accomodations, etc), LGBT people are also protected. Only six states include "gender identity or expression" as a category of nondiscrimination.

On Wednesday, the Nevada Legislature sent a bill to moderate Republican Governor Kenny Guinn which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, this time in public accomodations and access to services. The bill was introduced by openly gay Assemblymember David Parks. This bill does not include gender identity or expression, which is unfortunate.

If you live in Nevada please contact Governor Guinn and urge him to do the right thing and sign AB 5 into law!

Bush's Poll Ratings Sinks To New Low

Even when Bill Clinton was getting impeached by a rabidly partisan House of Representatives controlled by the opposition party he was a good 20-25 percentage points more popular than George W. Bush is right now.

Bush likes to call himself "43" and his dad "41" (interesting how Clinton was the 42nd president--Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, anyone?).

Who knew that "43" was talking about his average approval rating for his second term? :-)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

We Are Everywhere (Even On Collegiate Lacrosse Teams)

Thanks to a colleague I came across this inspiring story about Andrew "Goldie" Goldstein, an All-American, openly-gay lacrosse goalie for Dartmouth College.
There are a handful of gay professional athletes – David Kopay, Billy Bean,
Esera Tuaolo – who came out after their careers ended. There are a number of
talented gay collegiate athletes, some who play individual sports at the
Division I level (such as California gymnast Graham Ackerman), others from team
sports at the Division II and III levels.

But Andrew Goldstein, according to those who document these things, is the
most accomplished male, team-sport athlete in North America to be openly gay
during his playing career.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

CA Supreme Court Vacancy Looms For Ahnuld

The Senate has confirmed California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. As other commentators are already noting, this leaves a looming vacancy on the nation's largest state's highest court and also severely dimishes the level of diversity on that seven-member court. Brown was the second woman and only African American member of the Court, which has 1 Democraticand 6 Republican appointees. The California Supreme Court has major issues pending before it within the next year, particularly Woo v Lockyer which seeks to end discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation in marriage (i.e. "the same sex marriage case").

As Schwarzenegger positions himself for re-election in 2006 and considers his legacy, appointing a member of the California Supreme Court in his first term will be a major part of it. (State Supreme Court appointees do not come up that often. Gray Davis only got one, Carlos Moreno, in his 5 years serving as Governor.) African American voters will notice if the 'black seat' held by Janice Rogers Brown is filled by someone who does not enhance the diversity of the Court.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Swiss Voters Approve Same-Sex Registered Partnership

Wow! On Sunday voters in Switzerland approved 58%-42% a measure allowing same-sex couples in registered partnerships to have the equivalent pension and tax rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex married couples.

Monday, June 06, 2005

French Open Wrap-Up

Rafael Nadal (Spain) and Justine Henin-Hardenne (Belgium), two natural, experienced clay court players won the 2005 French Open titles. They both dominated the clay court season with no defeats; Nadal won24 matches in a row, and Henin-Hardenne 25. It was Nadal's first grand slam victory (matching Mats Wilander's feat of winning theFrench Open on the first try) and Henin-Hardenne's fourth (2003 French, 2003 US Open, 2004 Australian, 2005 French) matching Venus Williams four.

Nadal def. Puerta 6-7(3),6-3, 6-1, 7-5. This was a
surprisingly good match. Puerta is a good player but
Nadal is just an insanely good offensively defensive
player on clay. They both play left-handed though
Nadal does "everything else" with his right hand.
Puerta had 3 set points in the 4th set to even the match,
which would have been his 3rd consecutive 5-set match
in the tournament.

Henin-Hardenne def. Pierce 6-1, 6-1.
After being
unable to miss in her demolition of World No. 1
Lindsay Davenport in the quarters, Mary Pierce
simply ran out of gas in front of her Gallic
compatriots and was never really able to impose
her game upon the impressive Belgian.

Nadal is now ranked #3 in the world, behind Federer(1) and Safin(2). Henin-Hardene is #7, behind Davenport, Sharapova, Mauresmo, Serena Williams, Kuznetsova and Dementieva.
Wimbledon starts in two weeks on June 20th!

Ruling in Washington Governor election case today

The judge in the disputed Washington State gubernatorial election is set to rule on today on its validity.

UPDATE: The judge dismissed the case "with prejudice." Gregoire's margin of victory actually increased from 129 votes to 133!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Marriage Bill Fails by Four Votes

The California State Assembly failed to pass AB 19 in its third attempt, 37-36 on Thursday night. Thus the attempt to end marriage discrimination on the basis of sex in the state of California failed.

Meanwhile, in CANADA, the Government recently survived a vote of confidence and is determined to enact marriage for same-sex couples nationwide before the end of the month.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

CA Gay Marriage Bill On The Verge

California's gay marriage bill (AB 19--The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act) failed to pass the Assembly in its first floor vote yesterday (35-37) and in a reconsideration early Thursday morning it failed again (37-35). It needs 41 votes in the 80 member California State Assembly, which contains 48 Democrats (1 of whom is in the hospital with a brain tumor--though he said he woud vote for the bill if he could). In order to remain alive, the bill must pass the Assembly before adjournment on Friday June 3. Contact Equality California today to find out how you can assist in ending marriae discrimination in California!

UPDATE: The Compassionate Choices Act (AB 654) was catapulted into the more liberal State Senate through a legislative maneuver called a "gut and amend" which bypasses tomorrow's June 3 crossover deadline which AB 19 still faces. It's not immediately clear to me why Speaker Fabian Nunez and other Democratic Asembly leaders (who are co-sponsors) of Leno's marriage bill don't try the same maneuver to keep the marriage bill alive. Perhaps one can not do this to a bill once it has had a floor vote in one house?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

CA Gay Marriage Bill Faces Crucial Test Today

Mark Leno (D-San Francisco)'s AssemblyBill 19, The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act is scheduled for a vote on the floor of the California Assembly today. The vote is close and lots of pundits are watching this bill and Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys)'s AB 654 (a death with dignity bill modeled after Oregon's) to gauge exactly how progressive the California State Assembly is.

Microsoft Fires Ralph Reed

Recall a few weeks ago there was a huge brouhaha when Microsoft waffled publicly in its support for equal rights based on sexual orientation. There was even more consternation when it was revealed that Republican homophobe Ralph Reed has been on retainer to do public relations for the computer giant. Microsoft has now severed that relationship, one step in a sequence of moves it has made recently to repair its relations with LGBT activists.


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