Sunday, July 31, 2005

Venus Wins Nailbiter To Reach Final

Venus Williams saved 5 match points in her defeat of Patty Schnyder 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 yesterday at the Bank of the West classic where she made her profesional debut 11 years ago, at the age of 14. Today she will play her 500th career match on the WTA Tour, in a final against Kim Clijsters, whom she beat three years ago to win this title.

The match against Schnyder was thrilling. The Swiss player is a crafty, left-handed veteran and Venus at times seemed a step slow and a bit erratic. By the end of the hour-long second set Venus had amassed over 45 unforced errors for the match. However, Venus had never lost to Schnyder and in the third set she finally started consistently coming to net and playing the attacking style of "Big Babe Tennis" which won her her third Wimbledon title three weeks ago.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Devin Brown Recreation Indicates LAPD Wrong Again

The LAPD's story falls apart again. Last time it was about who shot 19-month Suzie Pena, SWAT or her deranged, drugged-out father. Answer: SWAT. This time it is regarding the story that 13-year Devin Brown was driving towards Officer Garcia when the policeman shot ten times into the car the teenager was driving at 3:30am Saturday night February 6. Happily, it was the LAPD itself which revealed the results of a re-enactment which showed that it is unlikely the car was actually moving towards Officer Garcia when he unloaded his weapon into the moving vehicle.

My point here is not to say that the LAPD is always wrong, but to highlight that in controversial wrongful deaths, truth is often another casualty.

United States Tennis Association Wimps Out!

Argggggggggggggh! Officials at the USTA, the parent organization of the United States Open tennis tournament, announced today that they would not be using electronic technology to enhance line calls at this year's grand slam tournament, which starts August 29.

The sad part of this is that this decision by the USTA has caused the organizers of the Australian Open and Wimbledon to drop plans to implement computer-enhanced line calling at their tournaments in 2006.

Men's world number #1 Roger Federer is against the technology. "I have a strong opinion about it. I'm absolutely against it. I think it's going to cost too much money. We can use that for other reasons than a couple of calls a match."

Women's world number #1 Lindsay Davenport has a more nuanced position."Players have to know that the system is 100% accurate," she said. "If they can promise the players that, then that would be nice, but I don't know if they're going to be able to do that."

The Mad Professah thinks its absolutely insupportable that the television audience and the attending audience will have divergent experiences of particular line calls. A horrific line call against Serena Williams in her 2004 Quarterfinal match against Jennifer Capriati still rankles and I haven't attended the U.S. Open since 2002. I think there should be a boycott of the Grand Slams by tennis fans until a reasonable technological solution is implemented.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Bork Roberts just like Robert Bork!

He ain't no 'damn Souter'. Bush's first nominee to the Supreme Court, to replace the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor, is John G. Roberts. Since he has only been on the D.C. Court of Appeals for 2 years (though I think it is significant that Bush 37 tried to get him on that court at the outrageously tender age of 37) he doesn't have very many opinions issued for court watchers to parse. He has, however argued 39 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, primarily for corporate and conservative interests. Bork Roberts like Robert Bork!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Black Man To Helm Los Angeles Times

On Thursday July 21 it was announced that Dean Baquet will replace John Carroll as editor of The Los Angeles Times. Baquet will become the first African American editor of a major urban newspaper.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Canada Gay Marriage Law Goes Into Effect

Today, July 20th 2005, is the day that Canada becomes the fourth country in the world to fully legalize same-sex marriage. Although the bill was passed by the lower house of Parliament a few weeks ago, today was the day that it went into effect. The four countries where marriage is open to couples regardless of the genders involved are (in order of enactment): The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Mucho Latino Same-Sex Couples in CA

A study (pdf) released by the prestigious Williams Project on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA Law School on Wednesday illustrates the diversity of the population affected by pending legislation to end marriage discrimination in the state of California: One third of all same-sex couples in California contain a Latino/a member.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Robert Novak is a Mendacious Misanthrope

Last Thursday Washington and the blogosphere was sent into a tizzy, fueled by Robert Novak's assertion that Chief Justice William Rehnquist would be retiring within the week. Yesterday, this rumor was definitively proved to be false: The Court released a statement from The Chief stating that he would be staying on the Court as long as his health allowed. Life is better now that one doesn't have to see his smirking face on CNN's now-defunct "Capital Gang" every weekend, and it is cool to see more confirmation of the axiom from that show "Novak is always wrong!"

L.A. City Council Unanimously Endorsed Gay Marriage

What a city I live in! A newly-elected Latino Mayor. A controversial police shooting. Fabulous weather. Progressive politicians?! As Mack Reed over at (where I am a "featured blogger") reported on Tuesday, the City Council of Los Angeles voted 11-0 to endorse gay marriage! Woo hoo!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Emmy Awards Nominations Announced

Woo Hoo! The Emmy Award Nominees are out! Some of my favorite shows got nominated for Best Drama Series (Lost, 24, Six Feet Under, Deadwood and The West Wing). I really like The West Wing, but before I got Adelphia's DVR I couldn't watch Alias (my favorite TV show) and tape The West Wing so I basically have missed the last two-thirds of their season. I did hear it got good once Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda went at it. 24 was excellent this season, much better than the basically unwatchable third season. Lost is simply a phenomenon. If they had to pick another HBO drama series to nominate I am baffled as to why they wouldn't pick The Wire (my 2nd favorite TV show!) over Deadwood (which I have never seen). I still think the plot of Lost moves way...too...slowly, but the acting is pretty incredible (Naveen Andrews, Terry O'Quinn were the ones nominated but there is also stellar work by the women, none of whom managed to get nominated!?). I'm absolutely ill at the thought that the only actor from Alias nominated was Jennifer Garner, (deserved) but Lena Olin and Victor Garber and Ron Rifkin kicked some acting ass every week this season.

For some reason, Desperate Housewives was put into the Best Comedy Series competition, where it's only competition is the last season of Everybody Loves Raymond (I swear I have seen maybe 1 1/2 episodes of that show, ever). The previously groundbreaking but now increasingly irrelevant Will & Grace, Scrubs, and incomprehensible Arrested Development round out the Best Comedy category.

I'll have some more detailed predictions later in the summer, but right now I would say it's going to be Desperate Housewives and Lost, with a slim possibility of upset wins by Everybody Loves Raymond and 24 or possibly Six Feet Under (It was an amazing season).

[Boldface means that I watch the show.]

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Steffi Graf Returns To Competitive Tennis!

After a gap of 6 years in which she married Andre Agassi, birthed 2 kids and only played one tennis match in public (an exhibition against Gabriela Sabatini in Germany last year, which she won) Steffi Graf returned to competitive tennis in Billie Jean King's World Team Tennis league play in Houston. She played singles (losing 5-4(3) to Elena Likhovtseva in a tie-break), doubles (teaming with Ansley Cargill in a 5-2 loss to Anna Kournikova and Likhovtseva) and mixed doubles (teaming with Mardy Fish to defeat Mark Knowles and Kournikova 5-3).

In the WTT league players play best-of-nine-games sets in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. They play a 9-point tiebreaker at 4-4.

Waiting For Terry To Exhale

Terry McMillan was on Tavis Smiley's PBS talk show last night promoting her new book The Interruption of Everything (hmm!) and did not duck the obvious question when it was brought up: What's up with her and her (soon-to-be ex) husband? In response, Ms. McMillan went on an extended diatribe against her husband Jonathan Plummer, seeming to speak for minutes on end with out taking a breath. Quoting from memory (click the link above to hear the exact words yourself):

He made sure my business is on the Internet. He and his lawyer are guilty of doing that. They did this now knowing that I have my new book coming out. He's suing to have our prenuptial agreement overturned. He was given access to a vehicle and I set him up with a pet grooming business. Now I hear that three days ago he has sold the entire contents of the store and has disappeared. This is all about money. I have evidence that he was gay when he married me. He's trying to claim that I'm homophobic. I was getting ready to divorce him and kick him out of my house when he told me that he was gay and then I found out that he had a lover, a male lover for over 9 months. I have already spent over 300 000 dollars on that man. He got U.S. citizenship from me. He put my life in danger by sleeping with men and then sleeping with me. What if I turn up HIV positive? How am I supposed to get over that? He lied in court documents. I didn't know you could do that. He said only one, no, two things in those court documents which are true. One, He's gay. Two, his name is Jonathan Plummer. Everything else he said is a lie. Now, he wants my money. Well...He's. Not. Getting. It.

Tavis withstood this stream of consciousness admirably well, letting the "Yes, I'm pissed off" author speak her piece, though unfortunately failing to address some of the (several) problematic things she said, as well as their troubling inferences. 1) Why would she assume that she would get HIV from her husband just because he was having sex with men (just because he had unprotected sex with her doesn't imply that he had it with other people)? 2) It's easy to confirm whether Mr. Plummer has actually "disappeared" or not. 3) False statements and declarations to a court constitute perrjury, so she is accusing her husband of perjury and his lawyer of a disbarment offense. 4) Why did she feel it necessary to ask for an annulment of their six-year marriage, thus jeopardizing the immigration status of her husband?

Feel free to add to this list, in the comments!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

CA Gay Marriage Bill Revived In State Senate

As reported earlier here, activists in California are very determined to get a gay marriage bill on the desk of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, this year. Although AB 19 failed by 4 votes to get a majority in the 80-member California State Assembly, the same-sex mariage bill is being heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Since Mark Leno's AB 849 did pass the assembly 73-0, it has been gutted and amended and its contents replaced by the text of the previously moribund AB 19. The :new and improved" AB 849 currently has Senate co-authors Kuehl, Kehoe, Migden, Alarcon, Alquist, Cedillo, Figueroa, Simitian and Speier. There are 24 Democrats in the 40-member State Senate and the bill is expected to pass the upper body and be sent back to the Assembly for concurrence.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

US Fluffs Fed Cup

After Lindsay Davenport withdrew from the U.S. Federation Cup team two days before its match versus Russia in Russia on clay, any chance U.S. had of defeating Russia went away with her.

The results of the first two singles matches are in, Venus lost (a surprisingly close match) to 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. Who was the other U.S. women singles player? Serena? "Not available" (due to being grossly out of shape). Capriati? Injured. Seles? Retired (though no one has told her yet). Who's next? Megan Shaunessey? Injured. The second singles player ended up being Mashona Washington, who promptly lost to World #5 Elena Dementieva 7-5, 6-4. The rest of the U.S. team is Jill Craybas and Corina Morariu. I would have hoped that Zina Garrison would consider including Angela Haynes in some capacity, since she very nearly took out Serena in the first round of Wimbledon.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Lil' Kim Going To Jail For 366 Days

Female rapper Lil' Kim has been sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in prison for after being convicted in March of committing perjury before a federal grand jury.I wonder if having actual prison time under her belt will bring her increased success in the music business? It worked for Shyne, 50 Cent, Notorious B.I.G., et cetera....

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Where does the time go...

Well, blogging may be come sluggish again for the next 4 weeks. I am teaching a summer course using the novel Southland by Nina Revoyr as a point of reference. It's a great book, a hybrid mystery novel set in Los Angeles in the 1930s, 1960s and 2000s. Along with three other faculty, we wil be addressing issues of identity, community and history.

So, if you can't check out my blog, check out a new noe by a buddy of mine, called Ampula!

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Oh. My. Gawd. Despite not playing as well as she did in her stunning demolition of defending champion and #2 player in the world Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams found a way to win her 3rd Wimbledon championship, over fellow American Lindsay Davenport in 3 close sets. After a slow start leading to an early break at 1-1 in the first set, Lindsay leaped to a 5-2 lead when suddenly Venus started blasting unreturnable shots, winning 8 consecutive points in a row. However Davenport was able to serve out the set from 5-4.

In the second set, Venus raised her play and got a lucky break when one of her first serves at 4-4 which was clearly out was ruled an ace. Venus was able to hold serve and reach breakpoint (set point for her) in Davenport's next service game at 4-5. However, Davenport held and Venus crumbled at 5-5, serving two double faults and a netted forehand leading to Davenport serving for the Championship at 6-5. However, again Venus was able to raise her level and won seven consecutive points (including Lindsay's service game at love and the first three points of the tiebreak). Eventually the tie-break score got to 5-2 for Venus on her serve, but she lost both points on her serve so Davenport served at 5-4 but then lost both points on her serve and the second set 7-6(4).

In the third set, Lindsay served first and things were on serve until the sixth game when Lindsay broke serve to go up 4-2 and had two opportunities to up 5-2 when suddenly Venus went on a rampage for the third time, broke back and held serve to even the match at 4-4.
Lindsay held serve to go up 5-4 and on Venus' serve held a championship point at 30-40! Venus was able to get a first serve in and after some strokes win the point with a backhand down-the-line winner. Then at 7-7 the first cracks started appearing in Davenport's game as Venus' shots were hard and deep and earned her double break point. Davenport erased the first break point with a very good first serve which Venus hit a forehand error on. However on the second break point after numerous hard hitting exchanges Venus hit a forehand winner to go up 8-7. In her final service game, she quickly jumped to a 40-love lead for triple Championship point, which she promptly double-faulted away. One her second chance, Venus spun in a first serve and Davenport eventually netted a forehand to give the game, set and match to Venus Ebony Starr Williams.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Wimbledon Final: Venus versus Lindsay

After two of the best tennis matches (Venus defeating Sharapova 7-6(4), 6-1 and Davenport defeating Mauresmo 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-4) that I have ever seen, the Ladies' Final is now set: Venus Williams (14) versus Lindsay Davenport (1). This is a repeat of the 2000 Wimbledon final, where Venus won her first Grand Slam final 6-3, 7-6(3). This is not what I predicted would happen (I didn't think that Venus could repeat her high level of play in consecutive matches but i am very happy she proved me and a lot of other naysayers wrong.

I am now a believer! I think Venus will win in straight sets, handing Lindsay her second defeat against a Williams sister in a Grand Slam final this year. Although Lindsay has won the last four times they have played and now leads their head-to-head record 14-12, prior to last year's US Open series, for years Lindsay had difficulty winning a set against Venus. Venus has also never lost to Lindsay on grass, though they have only played twice. Venus will come out with confidence and intensity. The final was really the match against Sharapova, whoever won that would almost definitely win the tournament.

Stella's Fella's Gay!?

Thanks to QueerDay, I was alerted to this story about the divorce proceedings of Terry McMillan, the author of "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," a barely fictionalized account of her romance with a phyne Jamaican bwoy (played by Taye Diggs in the movie!) named Jonathan Plummer who is 23 years her junior. Now Terry McMillan is filing for divorce and claiming that Plummer is gay and only married her to get U.S. citizenship, which is marriage fraud. Some choice quotes:

In a Jan. 14 letter written by McMillan and filed with the court, the author told Plummer, "The reason you're going to make a great fag is that most of you guys are just like dogs anyway. ... You do whatever with whomever pleases you and don't seem to care about the consequences."

Plummer also says McMillan came into the dog-grooming shop and left him a bottle of Jamaican hot pepper sauce on which she wrote, "Fag Juice Burn Baby Burn,'' and that she also scrawled "Jonathan's Fag boyfriend Fag'' on a photo of a friend.

"She is an extremely angry woman who is homophobic and is lashing out at me because I have learned I am gay,'' Plummer declared in a court filing last month.

However, on June 17th a judge ruled that McMillan must pay Plummer $2000 a month in spousal support and $25 000 in attorney's fees until a full trial is held on the validity of their pre-nuptial agreement and the annulment request.

Things that make you go hmmmmmmm!

Antonio es el Alcalde hoy!

The long nightmare is over, the Jim Hahn era is over: Antonio Villaraigosa is inaugurated as Mayor of Los Angeles today! Si, se puede!


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