Saturday, April 29, 2006

Impeachment Resolution Introduced in California Legislature

My favorite California State Legislator, Assemblymember Paul Koretz (who used to have his own blog) has submitted amendments to a previously introduced joint resolution (pdf) which call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.


WHEREAS, The actions of George W. Bush in the office of President of the United
States of America and Richard Cheney in the office of Vice President of the United States of America
have repeatedly and intentionally violated the Constitution and other laws of the United
States of America, causing the people of the State of California to call into question the integrity
of President Bush and Vice President Cheney and to believe that the official actions of President
Bush and Vice President Cheney have constituted high crimes and misdemeanors; and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute
the office of President of the United States of America and, to the best of his ability, to preserve,
protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, and in violation of his
constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, committed a felony under
Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code by conspiring to exceed his constitutional
authority to wage war, in that on March 19, 2003, by his order, the United States of America
invaded the sovereign country of Iraq in direct defiance of the United States Security Council
and, by so doing, violated Article 2 of Chapter 1 of the Charter of the United Nations and
Principle VI of the Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal; and


WHEREAS, In all of this, George W. Bush and Richard Cheney have acted in a manner
contrary to their trust as President and Vice President, respectively, subversive of constitutional
government to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of
the people of the great State of California and of the United States of America; and

WHEREAS, George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, by such conduct, warrant
impeachment and trial, and removal from office; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly,
That our Senators and Representatives in the Congress of the United States of America be, and
they hereby are, requested to cause to be instituted in the Congress proper proceedings for the
investigation of President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney, to the end that
they may be impeached and removed from office; and be it further

Resolved, That the Secretary of the State of California be, and hereby is, instructed to
certify to each Senator and Representative in the Congress of the United States of America, and
to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, under the great seal of the State of California, a
copy of this resolution and its adoption by the Assembly and Senate of the State of California,
and the copies shall be marked with the word “Petition” at the top of the document and contain
the original authorizing signature of the Secretary of State of the State of California.

What is interesting about this resolution is that it is the second resolution of three which call for impeachment of the President and Vice President.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Black and Latino Congressmembers Fail To Understand Net Neutrality

Gary Dauphin at is right to call attention to curious votes by members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus on a Democratic amendment to preserve "net neutrality." To wit:
A Democrat-sponsored bill protecting net neutrality was rejected in committee today by a 34-22 vote. Said House committee has a Republican majority, so the amendment by Ed Markey (MA-D) was unlikely to make it out alive, but five Democrats - including Congressional Black Caucus members Edolphus Towns, Albert Wynn, and Bobby Rush still felt the need to cross the aisle and vote with the Republicans. Throw in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' Charlie Gonzales and four out of five of the ATT Five are members of the Hill's civil right's caucuses. What gives?

What gives is that these four made the cynical and depressing calculation that black and Latino folks don’t care about or follow telecom/internet regulation issues, giving them a free vote to toss the telecom lobby’s way. Besides being gutless, this vote puts Towns, Wynn and Rush’s constituencies at greater risk for higher internet bills and poorer service. Lots of folks
have explained net neutrality better than I will be able to, but suffice to say that if telecoms are allowed to pin premium pricing schemes to the delivery of services they currently treat "neutrally" (delivering you this blog page vs. a video download vs. an e-commerce site vs...) black consumers will be among the first to get fucked.
This is an important issue which has been deservedly getting a fair amount of attention in the liberal blogosphere. It was very cool to see an African American perspective on the Democratic failure to prevent the Republican majority from selling out netizens' access to the unfettered bandwidth we thought we were paying for.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Calculus and Same-Sex Marriage Rights

kos over at highlights exactly why the right wing is so rabidly trying to pass constitutional amendments against state recognition of same-sex marriage and same-sex domestic partnerships by referring to an Eric Zorn article about a potentially huge defeat for heterosexist supremacists in Illinios. By looking at the above graphs of Pew Research polling data on approval/disapproval of gay marriage over time, one does not need to know multivariable calculus to clearly infer the trend that eventually a majority of the population in the United States will approve of allowing gays and lesbians to get married, like they already do in Spain, New York state and other places. Maybe the gay rights opponents either can't do the math or are hoping the second derivative of these polling graphs will change soon. Either way, they are unlikely to be 'right' in the future!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

100 episodes of Alias; 1000 more days of Bush

Today, Wednesday April 26th 2006, is an important date. There are exactly 1000 days left until George W. Bush is no longer President (on January 20, 2009).

Even more importantly, today ABC airs the 100th episode of Alias, my favorite television show for the last 5 years. Alias is about a spy, Sydney Bristow (played by Jennifer Garner) and her complicated network of family and friends. The creator of the show is J.J. Abrams, who is now more famous for his other television show: Lost and his direction of the latest Tom Cruise summer blockbuster M:I:III.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Future Mariah-Janet Duet?

There are reports (h/t novaslim) that Mariah Carey is interested in working with Janet Jackson. Jermaine Dupri, the main producer of the Grammy-winning and best-selling The Emancipation of Mimi is also Janet Jackson's boyfriend/husband/boo and claims that he has been thinking about this for a while.
"The hardest part is figuring out a song that fits both of them, because you have two different styles of artists, and the thing when you're dealing with divas is you don't want to overshadow either one, so if you were to do a song for them, it would have to work where both of them would feel they were on the same pedestal, or else someone's gonna have a problem."
How about the fact that one of them has a five octave range and the other has a one octave range? (Or that one of them is a naturally gifted dancer and the other is ...not.) [/snark]

More Star Trek On The Way?

Daily Variety is reporting that Alias and Lost creator J.J. Abrams is being "set" to co-write, co-produce and director the eleventh movie in the Star Trek franchise, to be released in 2008.
Talk about "live long, and prosper"! Who knew Gene Roddenberry's little creation from 1964 would still be around 40+ years later...?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bloggers On Campus

Why I work at a college, Reason #437. I'm walking into my office building today and I notice a little flyer on the door with the name of the person whose blog I was reading right before I walked out of the house! It turns out that Patt Morrison '74, Xeni Jardin, Kevin Drum and Michael Hiltzik are going to be in my hood tonight: 7-9pm at Occidental College's Johnson Hall, Room 200 "Whither Journalism: MSM to Blog Bloviation." I'll try and post a review later on tonight, here and at

I Need A Man! A Handy Man.

Anyone recall that great Eurythmics track "I Need A Man"? I hear it almost every time I look around my house. Don't get me wrong, I am very excited about being a homeowner in Los Angeles. But there is so much **** to do around the house! I do have a man. But he travels a lot for his job. So I really need a handy man. How do I find a handy man in Los Angeles?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Blogging Against Heteronomativity

blac(k)ademic has designated today as Blog Against Heteronormativity Day. As someone who thinks "gender" is the most important identity characteristic, I applaud attention being drawn towards the concept of "heteronormativity." I think she does a fabulous job of explaining why we should blog against heteronormativity:
as bloggers, we can use our words to disrupt those pesky normative ideas that are based on the categories of male and female. we can use the internet to question the oppressive institution of heteronomativity because: not all of us identify as male/female--some of us identify as neither; not all of us are biological heterosexuals--we are homosexual, polyamorous, bisexual, transgendered, butchdykes, sadomasochists, leather queers, straight queers, and even asexual; not all of us are married, and not all of us want to be; not all of us believe that female/male coupling is the norm--some of us don't even believe in the terms "male" and "female"; not all of us believe that what makes a man is his penis, and what makes a woman is her vagina.those of us who are blogging today, believe that there are NO traditional roles that males and females should adopt. those of us who are blogging today understand that the gender roles that are assigned as "male" and "female" are social constructs that support "the patriarchy." those of us who are blogging today, understand the multiplicity of gender identities, of sexual identities, of sexual desires, and of sexual practices.those of us who are blogging today are against supporting the status quo that deems the male/female dichotomy as normal. we are blogging against heteronormativity.

Join us!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Phill Wilson Turns 50 April 29, 2006: 25 Years Living with AIDS

Next Saturday I will be attending an event honoring Phill Wilson, the founder and executive director of the Black AIDS Institute, who will be celebrating two important milestones: turning 50 years old and living 25 years with HIV. This will be both a sad and happy event.

Friday, April 21, 2006

UPDATE: Religious Extremists Lose 'Right To Discriminate' Lawsuit

Madprofessah has been monitoring the multiple attempts by religious organizations to claim that public education institutions' non-discrimination policies do not apply to them. Today, (hat tip to towleroad) comes word that a judge in California has ruled that a public law school (University of California, Hasting School of Law) may deny recognition to student groups which refuse to abide by that school's anti-discrimination policies. Inside Higher Ed reported on the story:

In the last two years, Christian and conservative legal groups have — with some success — been pushing public colleges that have policies like the one in place at Hastings to make exceptions for religious groups. Suits have been threatened and several colleges have backed away from their rules (sometimes quietly) to avoid litigation. In one previous case that has gone to court, a preliminary ruling suggested that the Christian student groups would prevail. Tuesday’s ruling, however, accepted a legal argument that the Christian students’ rights to freedom of religion and expression were not compromised by the Hastings rule.

Ethan P. Schulman, a San Francisco lawyer who represented Hastings in the case, said that the victory showed that colleges need not abandon their policies. “Hastings fought this case from the belief that discriminating student groups have no place on campus. Student groups should not be able to use religion as a pretext for discrimination,” Schulman said.

Schulman added that conservatives who love to bash rulings that come from California jurists should note that the judge who issued the ruling, Jeffrey S. White, was appointed to the bench by President Bush.


In suing Hastings, the Christian group argued that the state university was limiting the religious expression of students. But Judge White rejected that argument, saying that the Hastings policy “is directed at conduct, not speech.” He said that if the Christian group admitted any student who wanted to join, it would have been allowed “to express any ideas or viewpoints.” He added that applying the anti-bias rule did not bar the group’s members from having any view they wanted on homosexuality or any topic.

Among the numerous Supreme Court cases Judge White cited was the unanimous March ruling in which a group of law schools lost their attempt to challenge the so-called Solomon Amendment, which threatens to withhold federal funds from institutions that limit military recruiters’ access to campuses, which many law schools historically have done to protest the Defense Department’s discriminatory policies toward gay people. The law schools argued that their First Amendment rights were trampled by the law, but the Supreme Court said that the law schools were free to protest the law, but Congress was free to impose limits on access to federal funds. Similarly, Judge White suggested, the Christian Legal Society is free to hold any beliefs or protest the support for gay people at Hastings, but Hastings can link recognition to following its rules.

Oh, the delicious irony! As Professor Art Leonard at LeonardLink also notes, Judge White used a gay rights defeat in Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR) to hand the Christian Legal Society a defeat in this case. In addition, Professor Leonard says that this case is important because it also cited prior decisions articulating the "compelling interest" the government has in preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation , and that this interest trumps other incidental burdens on free speech or free exercise of religion due to the decision in this defeat for the Christian Legal Society.

However, in an ominous development, the Inside Higher Ed article notes that there has been a recent federal court decision in Illinois granting an injunction forcing Southern Illinios University to recognize a Christian group which explicitly violates SIU's anti-bias rules. Ultimately, the United States Supreme Court will have to weigh in on this question if more conflicting decisions are issued by different courts, which is probably exactly where the Religious Heterosexist Supremacists (Madprofessah-coined term!) want to be.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Incredibly Unpopular Mr. Bush

President Bush's approval rating is still stuck at 36% (with 61% disapproving of his job performance) in the new SurveyUSA poll. As Political Wire notes, President Bush has a net positive approval rating in just four states: Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nebraska.

103 inches and Growing

103 inches is pretty big! That's almost 9 feet! Imagine having something that size in the comfort of your bedroom. It would definitely take professional assistance to get it in. Ya'll know I'm talking about the largest high-definition television in the world, right? Right....

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

UPDATE: Agent Denies Serena's Tennis Inactivity for 2006

My friend (and doubles partner) Delmar Thomas gave me a heads up to an story where tennis agent Jill Smoller is denying the Guardian newspaper's report (blogged about here earlier) that Serena Williams will not be playing on the WTA Tour for the rest of 2006.

"Serena will be in L.A. [Wednesday], and we plan to release something about the next few tournaments, but as far as I know, she has not said she won't play the rest of the year," Williams' agent, Jill Smoller, told The Miami Herald. "I don't know where that came from."

Smoller made similar remarks to ESPN.

The response from the tennis blogosphere to the original report has been fairly muted so far (nothing on On The Baseline), so it should be interesting to see if this story continues to have legs. And, of course, there are three more grand slam tournaments coming up before September. Venus Williams is the defending Wimbledon champion, and is currently entered in the J&S Cup starting in Warsaw, Poland on May 1.

Topalov Becomes Top Rated Chess Player in the World

The latest World Chess Federation ratings have been released, and for the first time in about a decade, Garry Kasparov is not at the #1 spot. The new #1 player is Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, who leads Viswanathan Anand of India by 1 point! Topalov is at 2804, Anand at 2803. Because Kasparov has not played a tournament game since March 2005, he has been removed from the list of active players, even though his last published rating was 2812.

I can not stress enough how amazing ratings above 2800 are. To be a grandmaster you need to be ranked above 2600. "Super Grandmasters" are players who reach 2700. Only four people in the history of international chess ratings have ever been rated over 2800: Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Topalov and Anand. MadProfessah's rating is 2320, but I am no longer an "active" player.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

CA: Governor Ends 20-year-old HIV Policy

The Los Angeles Times reports that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has signed SB 699 (Soto) into law. The new law changes the way that the state of California conducts surveillance of HIV cases from a "unique identifier" code-based system to one that uses names and other identifying information. The bill was supported by AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AIDS Project Los Angeles, San Franciso AIDS Foundation and other large AIDS "service" organizations. MadProfessah and other activists opposed the bill. Despite unchallenged claims that the current policy of maintaining the privacy of HIV positive individuals was "flawed," the real reason for the change is revealed in one of the last paragraphs in the news story on the switch to names-based HIV reporting:

According to new provisions in the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides funding to states and metropolitan areas for HIV/AIDS care, states using patient codes will no longer be eligible for funds, which will be allocated later this year. Los Angeles County, which records approximately 1,500 to 2,000 new HIV diagnoses each year, is set to receive $34.9 million this year.


Tracking the HIV epidemic accurately is critical in determining where to allocate treatment and prevention grants. Full-blown AIDS cases are currently reported by name in California, but because symptoms of AIDS can take up to a decade to appear, AIDS data are not considered an accurate way to trace the spread of the disease.

"You can't fight any disease without knowing where the hotspots are," Weinstein said. "When you judge by AIDS cases, you are judging what happened 10 years ago. We need to know where the HIV-positive people are today."

That last sentence is pretty haunting in a state which has twice faced popular votes on statewide ballot propositions to quarantine and discriminate against people with HIV/AIDS in the last 20 years. Why, exactly, does Michael Weinstein and the State of California "need to know where the HIV positive people are today"?

Westly versus Angelides: Who's Gonna Win?

There is a new Field poll which claims that Steve Westly has pulled ahead of Phil Angelides, 37% to 26% in the June 6 Democratic Gubernatorial Primary. Against Angelides, Schwarzenegger is tied at 39%, but the Governator trails Westly 37% to 41%. Californians also have a net unfavorable view of their Chief Executive: 49% unfavorable to 44% favorable.

There's also a new Rasmussen Poll which has the Governator ahead of both his Democratic rivals (48% to 40% versus Westly and 49% to 36% versus Angelides).

The primary election is June 6, 2006 and the general election is November 7, 2006.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Religious Extremists Again Attempt To Nullify LGBT Civil Rights Laws

Last Monday's Los Angeles Times had a Page One (below the fold) article entitled "Christians Sue for Right Not to Tolerate Policies" which detailed the Christian Right's ongoing effort to extricate themselves from the growing national consensus that tolerance towards all individuals is a desired goal. This story was juxtaposed with media reports of the imminent demise of the 1980's bogeyman the Christian Coalition, to the undisguised glee of several bloggers (yours truly included).

Terrance over at Republic of T has a fantastic post on this issue called "Tolerance of Intolerance." Pam Spaulding at The Blend has also blogged on the hypocrisy of religious people fighting political and legal battles for the right to be intolerant of others.

One of my local public radio stations KPCC 89.3 FM had a debate on this issue with Jenny Pizer of Lambda Legal and John Eastman of Chapman University Law School. Ms. Pizer basically crystallized the central issue brilliantly by saying "It is not persecution when you are not allowed to say that another group is bad." Word!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Serena To Not Play Again in 2006 (Or Ever)?

Off The Baseline and other media sources are reporting that Serena Williams will soon report that she will not be playing tennis again in 2006. The 8-time Grand Slam winner has been the subject of recent high-profile scrutiny by all-time greats Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, among others. With a current WTA Tour ranking of #106 and a slow recovery from a left knee injury causing her to withdraw from several consecutive tournaments including an upcoming Fed Cup tie versus Germany, this news can not be considered a complete surprise.

It is, however, very sad news for tennis fans everywhere, particularly African American tennis fans. Serena Williams is 24 years old (birthdate: 09.26.1981) and the holder of 26 WTA Tour singles titles. In light of Martina Hingis' amazing return after a near 3-year hiatus following a "retirement" from the WTA Tour in 2003, we can only hope that Serena can return to form in 2007.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

FOOD: Pacific Dining Car

Last Saturday night I ate dinner at Pacific Dining Car with two African American male friends. I ordered the grilled shrimp in mango-curry sauce appetizer ($15.95) which was excellent, but sadly contained only 4 (medium sized) grilled shrimp. The presentation was impressive and the sauce delicious. My friends got the crab cakes ($16.95) and sauteed scallops with lobster sauce ($16.95).

For the main course I ordered the 14 oz. filet mignon ($46.95), medium rare, smothered with mushroomd and onion rings as my a la carte "vegetable." My steak was perfectly done, very tasty, with a beautiful pink, juicy center. My friends ordered the seafood mixed grill (grilled fresh salmon fillet, crab cake, jumbo scallops grilled with bacon, mushroom caps and grilled shrimp, $43.95) and the other friend ordered the rib-eye steak ($40.95) with both the bearnaise and bourdelaise sauces on the side (do you know the difference between these two sauces??). One friend was happy with his seafood concoction but the other thought his steak was overdone and confused as to the lack of a bone in a rib-eye steak. He suspected it was a New York steak instead.

We had a very fun meal, but were generally underwhelmed by the serving staff. One friend had to ask twice for oil and vinegar to go along with the fresh bread. I asked our waiter (when he was querying us about how we were going to start our meals) about their famous "all tomoato salad" and he seemed not to know what I was talking about. The item does not appear on the printed menu. At 10:30 pm on a Saturday night, it took what seemed like about 40 minutes to receive our entrees. Afterwards, we gazed at the dessert menu, but I think collectively recognizing that we were already well over $200 for dinner (and in my case, being so stuffed I had about 1/4 of my steak saved in a doggy bag) none of us took the bait.

Overall, it was an interesting if uneven dining experience, probably not one I will repeat soon.


Friday, April 14, 2006

LGBT Immigration Debate Followup

Andrés Duque continues his excellent work at Blabbeando with an update on how the LGBT immigration debate sparked by Jasmyne Cannick is reverberating around the blogosphere. For example, he mentions the response by the National Black Justice Coalition and the fact that he himself has signed the letter by "55 LGBT activists."

Devin Brown Update: $1.5 million tentative settlement

The Los Angeles Times reported in Thursday's California section that the City of Los Angeles has reached a tentative million-dollar settlement of the civil lawsuit filed by the mother of a 13-year old African American boy shot to death by a latino LAPD officer in February 2005.

The city of Los Angeles has reached a tentative financial settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit over the police killing of 13-year-old Devin Brown.

Officials declined to disclose the sum that would go to Brown's mother, Evelyn Davis, but three sources familiar with the case said it was at least $1.5 million.

Officer Steven Garcia shot Brown on Feb. 6, 2005, in South Los Angeles, as the boy backed a stolen Toyota Camry toward a police car about 4 a.m. at the end of a brief car chase. Police said that Brown was driving erratically and that they suspected him of drunk driving. Garcia fired 10 shots, hitting the youth seven times.


The settlement was reached Tuesday as attorneys prepared for an April 24 trial date, court records show. The City Council is scheduled to consider approving the settlement July 1.


The Los Angeles Police Commission ruled in February that Garcia violated departmental rules and should face possible discipline for the shooting. Investigators estimated that Brown was driving 10 to 12 mph when he scraped the passenger side of Garcia's cruiser, and 2 mph or less when the officer, who had scrambled out of the way of the car, opened fire. When he fired, Garcia was standing to the side of the car and not in its path, the commission found.

Police Chief William J. Bratton had come to the opposite conclusion, saying Brown's vehicle threatened Garcia's life. Prosecutors also rejected criminal charges, citing self-defense.

The Brown family lawsuit said Garcia was never in danger, and it alleged negligence in the city's hiring, training and supervision of the officer.

After the teenager's death, the Police Commission imposed restrictions on shooting at moving vehicles. Officers must first try to get out of the way of the vehicle. If that proves impossible, or if there is another deadly threat — a gun — they may shoot.

Well, the one good thing to come out of this horrific incident is 1) A Police Commission with cojones; 2) A more sensible LAPD policy on shooting moving vehicles; and 3) Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa! In addition, the halos around the heads of District Attorny Steve Cooley and Police Chief William Bratton have been tarnished by their incomprehensible decisions and conclusions in the Devin Brown case.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mfume in Statistical Dead Heat in MD Senate Primary

In another Democratic primary that MadProfessah is closely following, former U.S. Representative Kweisi Mfume is a single percentage point behind U.S. Representative Benjamin Cardin, 31% to 32% in the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Maryland). In addition, Mfume is expected to release fundraising totals today which will show him competitive with Cardin's totals. The Maryland Democratic Primary is September 12. Whoever wins will face black Republican Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele.

The black gay blogosphere was pleasantly surprised a few months ago when Mfume endorsed full marriage rights for gays and lesbians. Madprofessah has endorsed Kweisi Mfume in this race.

Ahnuld's Re-election Chances Improve

Recent polling has been heartening to the Governator's chances of winning a second and final term. The San Jose Mercury News reported that California's Republican Governor is now running neck and neck with both of his major Democratic challengers, State Controller Steve Westly and State Treasurer Phil Angelides. The Democratic Primary is June 6, 2006 (6/6/6!).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

CA Supreme Court Tackles Sexual History Disclosure Law

The Los Angeles Times reported that the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Los Angeles of John B. v. Superior Court on Tuesday April 4. The questions at hand were

Under California law, a person can be held liable for monetary damages for failing to disclose that he or she has a sexually transmitted disease. At issue before the court is whether a person should also be responsible for informing a partner when they have reason to suspect they contracted a sexual disease but have not received a diagnosis.

Radical Russ (filling in for Pam over at The Blend) very rightly worries about the implications of this case for privacy of the identity of one's sexual partners. I agree with Russ that it shouldn't really be about "who" you did something with, it's "what" you did. HIV prevention is based on changing sexual practices, not stigmatizing sexual minorities. (One could argue that HIV prevention has thus been stigmatizing sexual practices which has led to stigma associated with sexual minorities, but that is a separate but related question!)

(1) Under California law, may a
person be held liable for failure to disclose to a sexual partner the fact that the
person has a sexually transmissible disease only when the person actually knows
he or she has a sexually transmissible disease (see Doe v. Roe (1990) 218 Cal.App.3d 1538) or also when the person reasonably should have known he or
she has such a disease?

(2) If the duty to disclose is limited to situations in which a person actually knows he or she has a sexually transmissible disease, did the discovery permitted by the Court of Appeal in the present case violate either
traditional standards of discovery (e.g., relevance) or constitutionally protected rights of privacy?

My friend Jenny Pizer, senior counsel of Lambda Legal, was quoted in the article summarizing the most salient issues at hand. She hoped "the court would come up with a rule that applied to all sexually transmitted diseases, not just AIDS." She also said that Lambda Legal has strong concerns about protecting the privacy of third parties who could be pulled into a lawsuit.

This is an issue which doesn't just show up in this lawsuit, but is also prevalent in other situations in which disempowered or stigmatized groups need to access the judicial system to enforce, protect or assert their rights. In order to do so, they will usually have to identify themselves and have private and intimate facts revealed about them, and made part of a government public record!

Of course, the 67 members of the State Assembly who recently voted to enact mandatory HIV names reporting in the State of California did not even consider amendments which would have allowed people whose confidentiality and privacy is violated to file lawsuits without identifying characteristics.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Guilty Pleasures News

Interesting media stories recently.

The New York Times is reporting that Kiefer Sutherland has signed a deal worth 40 million dollars to play Special Agent Jack Bauer for 3 more season's of Fox's episodic drama "24."

The Mouse has announced that next month it will start offering some of its most popular television shows available for download on the web. The shows will include the entirety of the fifth (and final! *sob*) season of Alias, together with selected episodes from Lost, Desperate Housewives and Commander-in-Chief.

Happily, ABC's Alias and Commander-in-Chief are returning to the airwaves in April. I guess since Sci-Fi Friday is doing repeats until July, and Alias (and The West Wing) is going off the air, Commander-in-Chief will be my new favourite Tv show.

Queers of Color Respond To L'Affaire Cannick

Oh dear! The response to Jasmyne Cannick's now infamous op-ed in The Advocate , "Gays First, Then Illegals" has become even more heated. Pam Spaulding at The Blend has linked to an "Open Letter to the LGBT Community" which was posted on Christopher Goeken's Queer Law Watch blog on Monday. Pam had some quite incisive points in her post, which was titled "Immigration vs. gay rights -- not a zero-sum game." However, the open letter is an even more devastating critique of Cannick's article, to wit:


We are painfully aware that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities still lack many basic protections under the law in this country, including the right to care for and support all of our families, in the various ways in which we construct family and kinship. Nevertheless, supporting immigrant rights, while we continue to work for LGBT liberation, does nothing to hurt our cause. In fact, we believe the opposite to be true, and want to work towards building powerful coalitions between immigrant and LGBT movements to work together for social justice.

We are also aware that many immigrant right advocates have (intentionally or not) used anti-black rhetoric to move their agenda forward. Arguments such as “Don’t treat us like ‘criminals’” or “We are doing work that ‘other’ Americans won’t do” have the effect of positioning immigrant narratives as subtly juxtaposed with American stereotypes of non-immigrant black communities. They leave native-born black Americans as among the only people who do not have access to the immigrant narrative, and so are in a permanent position of subordination, as the state consistently negotiates and redefines citizenship and “American-ness” for almost everyone but blacks. Nevertheless, the solution to this problem is not to abandon support for the struggle of immigrant communities. Rather, we call on immigrant movements and (non-immigrant) black organizations to work together for real racial and economic justice in this country. Together these movements can work to end the exploitation and targeting of both communities, and to ensure that black folks and immigrants do not end up having to choose between competing for low-paying jobs, or being targeted for detainment or imprisonment.

As lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of color, we support the current immigrant rights marches and rallies happening across the country this month, and we march too. We march because immigrants are among the most politically vulnerable, underpaid and exploited communities in the country, and are asking for basic human rights, including the right to live free from torture and exploitation, and the right to work. We march because we recognize the connections between the state attacks on immigrant and LGBT communities, and that LGBT immigrants in particular are disproportionately affected by much anti-immigrant legislation. We march because we oppose the heightened policing and criminalization of immigrant communities, including the increased militarization of the border, as mandated by HR 4437 and Senate bills. We march because we oppose indefinite and mandatory detention of noncitizens—as well as the mass incarceration of people-of-color-communities in the U.S. more broadly—and envision a society that ensures the safety and self-determination of all people, regardless of national origin, race, class, gender or sexuality. We march because we oppose the guestworker proposals, which would continue the exploitation of many low-wage workers. We march because we demand the repeal of the HIV ban. We march because our sexualities have been historically criminalized by this country, and we understand that “law” and “justice” are not the same thing.


We also call upon our community to imagine how much more progress we could make if we all stopped thinking of social justice as a zero-sum game.

Dayum!! You should go to Queer Law Watch and read the whole thing, but it is exceedingly well-written, compelling and comprehensive. I just wish I had written it myself! :-) The letter calls on the organizations that Jasmyne Cannick is associated with, like the National Black Justice Coalition and National Stonewall Democrats to clarify their position with regards to immigration reform and rights for immigrants, so it is likely these issues will continue to be discussed for the forseeable future.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Is Jasmyne Cannick Wrong, Frustrated, Both or Neither?

Thanks to Rod 2.0, I was alerted to African American lesbian activist Jasmyne Cannick's controversial op-ed entitled "Gays First, Then Illegals" basically complaining about the recent prominence of immigration issues relative to LGBT issues in the national political dialogue.
Andrés Duque of Blabbeando respectfully disagrees with Ms. Cannick.

In a larger sense, I am not sure that Jasmyne herself is the issue here. I have certainly admired some of the things she has done in the past and she is certainly entitled to her opinions on the issue of immigration. But I also fear that her views on immigration might not be a single person's take but perhaps a point of view that other non-immigrant minority LGBT community members might also feel.

I've always felt that there are huge divides between the organizing done by different LGBT minority communities in this country (be it Latino, black, Asian or other) and that efforts to bridge communities might begin to address some of these disconnects - today on immigration, tomorrow on other issues - and perhaps that is the road that should be taken as we look ahead but it's painful to see though just how much work remains.

I agree with Andrés that Jasmyne's retrogressive views on immigration are shared by other non-immigrant members of the LGBT community. What is surprising to me is that such an intelligent activist like Jasmyne does not see what both Andrés and I see: in order to effectively organize LGBT communities of color there needs to be more emphasis on issues which may at first seem more important to one segment of the coalition than others. This is not unusual. There are many issues which impact different segments of the community disproportionately. Equal marriage rights are not endorsed by all members of the LGBT community, and will not necessarily benefits all members of the community equally. Equal parental and adoption rights are more likely to benefit lesbians; increased attention paid to the HIV/AIDS crisis will more likely benefit gay men (especially men of color).

So why did Jasmyne feel the need to say this:

It’s a slap in the face to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people take up the debate on whether or not to give people who are in this country illegally any rights when we haven’t even given the people who are here legally all of their rights.

I can only speculate that for someone who works so tirelessly to advance LGBT rights life must occasionally get frustrating, especially in the current political climate. This does not excuse her offensive use of "illegal" to describe undocumented immigrants. Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Lawrence v. Texas in many states sodomy laws made "criminals" of the majority of the LGBT community. Would Jasmyne have condoned the description of our community as "engaging in criminal behavior"? In the lastest (March 2006 (pdf)) Field Poll, there are still 32 percent of respondents who feel that homosexual relations are "always wrong." I hope that Jasmyne will re-think and re-consider her position in light of this feedback and others.

I was excited to read on Blabbeando that tomorrow April 10, Immigration Equality, Queer Immigrants Rights Project and The Audre Lorde Project and other groups will be part of a Day of Acton Rally for Immigration Rights in New York City. It would be great to see other LGBT minority groups participating in similiar rallies around the country.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I attended Gay Los Angeles Bloggers III at i-candy last night in West Hollywood. It was cool putting name-to-URL. I met boifromtroy, Gay Patriot, 17thman and at least 5 other people whose blogs I didn't catch.

Thank you to boifromtroy for taking me around and introducing me to a lot of the other bloggers.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Evert and Navratilova Admonish The Williams Sisters

The tennis blogosphere is buzzing about Chris Evert's open letter to Serena Williams as Publisher in the lastest (May) issue of Tennis magazine. Martina Navratilova was asked about it and made some concurring comments to the Miami Herald during the NASDAQ-100 Open. The two tennis greats who both won eighteen major singles championships each (Navratilova: 3 Australian, 2 French, 9 Wimbledon, 4 U.S.; Evert: 2 Australian, 7 French, 3 Wimbledon, 6 U.S.), rarely agree(d) on anything but they both are trying to draw the attention of both Williams sisters to think about their place in tennis history. Serena has seven major singles titles at age 24 (2 Australian,1 French, 2 Wimbledon, 2 U.S.) and Venus has five major singles titles at age 25 (3 Wimbledon, 2 U.S.). Monica Seles has nine (4 Australian, 3 French, 2 U.S.), Steffi Graf has twenty-two (second all-time: 4 Australia, 6 French, 7 Wimbledon, 5 U.S.), Martina Hingis has five (3 Australian, 1 Wimbledon, 1 U.S.), Justine Henin-Hardenne has four (1 Australian, 2 French, 1 U.S.), Lindsay Davenport has three (1 Australian, 1 Wimbledon, 1 U.S.) , Jennifer Capriiati has three (2 Australian, 1 French) and Mary Pierce has two (1 Australian, 1 French).

Evert and Navratilova's point is that Serena is tied for 10th and Venus is tied for 15th on the all-time Grand Slam Singles lists and they are currently reaching their theoretical physical peaks. They argue that there's no reason if Serena was in top physical shape that she wouldn't vault to the #5 position with Billie Jean King's twelve (1 Australian, 1 French, 6 Wimbledon, 4 U.S.) within a few years.

MadProfessah agrees with Evert and Navratilova, although I do think that they are assuming that Serena and Venus should have the same life priorities as Evert and Navratilova. Just because being the Best in the World at a sport was incredibly important and motivating to Evert and Navratilova (and to Venus and Serena, clearly, at one time) doesn't necessaily mean it will always be true. Also, Evert and Navratilova may be under-estimating the turmoil in the Williamses life since completing the Serena slam over Venus in four consecutive Grand Slam finals between 2002 to 2003. One of her sisters was brutally shot to death, her parents officially divorced and she sustained serious injuries which required painful surgeries and extensive rehabilitation time. But even so, MadProfessah agrees that having the talent that they have and not maximizing it is distressing for many of their supporters and tennis fans in general.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

REVIEW: Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash is a classic sci-fi novel set in future Los Angeles. A "snow crash" is a particular devastating failure of a computer so that the result is a completely non-functioning hard drive and a monitor showing black-and-white "snow." On my recent trip to D.C. I took this book with me and even though I was spending most of my time reading hundreds and hundreds of pages of government grant applications, to cleanse my mental palate I brought Snowcrash along for "fun reading." It is definitely a fun read.

The writing is taught, witty and fast-paced. The main character is Hiro Protagonist (get it?), a multiracial (African American and Japanese) pizza deliveryman cum independent hacker who just happens to be "the best swordsman in the world." The other important characters are Y.T., a 15-year old blonde bombshell who is also an über-messenger called a Kourier and L.Bob Rife, the most prominent businessman in the world who happens to own a fiber optic monopoly. Other fun characters are Reverend Wayne Bedford, the head of a worldwide franchise network of churches which feature a new trinity: Reverend Wayne, Jesus and Elvis (of course); Uncle Enzo, the head of The Mafia, the most efficient and effective organization in the world; and Rat Thing, a nuclear powered biomechanical hybrid canine which can be used to either defend or attack

The plot is a bit too convoluted to summarize here but it is really inconsequential to the enjoyment of this work, which has the pace and feel of a graphic novel. With the recent success of film adaptations of other graphic novels like SinCity, V for Vendetta, and A History of Violence, I hope a movie version of Snow Crash is coming soon.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

French Open Equalizes Title Prize Money

The French Tennis Federation announced today that at the 2006 Roland Garros championships there will be equal prize money for the men's and women's singles finalists. The U.S. Open (the richest tournament) and the Australian Open have both offered equal prize money for at least a decade. The Championships at Wimbledon still have not made the move towards equal prizemoney for men and women, although the 2006 purse will be announced later in the month.

Monday, April 03, 2006

What Does Bo Derek Know That We Don't Know?

Bo Derek and Josh BoltenBo Derek and david Dreier

Hmmm. Mike Rogers of blogactive and others have noticed that Bo Derek seems to have embarked on a new career of squiring prominent GOP politicos of dubious character. Recently named White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten is shown in the picture to the left. Mr. Bolten is 46-years old, unmarried and has taken his mother to official White House social events. In addition to Josh Bolten, Bo Derek has also been seen at public social events with U.S. Representative David Dreier (R-CA). Congressman Dreier is 53-years-old and never married. (Bo Derek, is not yet 50). You may recall Dreier's name because he was named, and then un-named, by Speaker of the House Denis Hastert to replace indicted (adnd now former) Majority Leader Tom Delay last September. Oh, some of you may remember Dreier's name because of the multiple stories about him paying his chief of staff Brad W. Smith $156, 600 per year while the two travelled together and even lived together in a cozy Capitol Hill apartment in order to "share expenses"!

My question is, what does Bo Derek know [about Josh Bolten and David Dreier] that we don't know? Who does she think she is, Penelope Cruz?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

NASDAQ-100 Final Thoughts

Kuznetsova wins NASDAQ 100

Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated fellow Russian Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 in the Women's final of the NASDAQ-100. With the victory, Kuznetsova will return to the WTA Tour Top 10 when the new official rankings are released April 3.

Roger Federer defeated Ivan Ljubicic in three tiebreak sets 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 7-6(6) in the Men's Final. Ljubicic impressed me with his powerful serve and elegant backhand (which although it made a lot of errors today is still a great stroke). Federer has only lost one match this year, to Rafael Nadal in the Dubia final. After completing the American Master series double of winning Indian Wells and Miani Federer is now concentrating on winning the French Open in order to be the reigning champion at all the major tournaments simultaneously.

Other Interesting Highlights of the Tournament

  • Maria Sharapova goes 0 for 11 on contested line calls with the new Hawk-Eye system. Girl, get some contacts!
  • The players (men and women) went approximately one out of three on all contested line calls. In other words, the linespeople were correct twice as often as the player.
  • James Blake continued to impress with his improved form in his closer-than-the-score-indicates 7-6, 6-4 loss to Roger Federer.
  • Kuznetsova looked sharp and ready to make some noise in 2006.
  • Martina Navratilova at age 49(!) playing with Liezel Huber made it to the Women's Doubles final against the best women's doubles duo in the world, Samantha Stosur and Lisa Raymond. Navratilova is aiming for her 176th doubles title.
  • Roger Federer will probably achieve the Roger Slam but he will not win the Calendar slam this year

Black Tennis Report for March

James Blake gets his first victory over former Number 1 Lleyton Hewitt and his fifth ATP Tour title. At the inaugural Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas, NV James Blake won his second ATP Tour title of the year.

James Blake gets to first Masters Series Final (Pacific Life Open), which he lost 5-7, 3-6, 0-6 against World #1 Roger Federer. James started his first Tier 1 Final extremely well, running off to a double break 4-1 lead in the first set before Federer found a way to come back to win that set and run away with the match and his 3rd consecutive title at Indian Wells.

Venus Williams and Serena Williams pull out of hometown tournament (NASDAQ-100 Open). Venus falls out of the Top 10 (#11) and Serena falls out of the Top 60!

James Blake entered the ATP Tour Top 10 for the first time in March 2006, and is widely regarded as one of the hottest players on the tour of the last 6 months. The picture at the top of this month's Black Tennis Report is James after being awarded the ATP Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Is Eagle Rock REALLY The New Silver Lake?

MadProfessah sad. There are lots of very cool business establishments opening up in the Eagle Rock section of Los Angeles City Council District 14. One of my favorites was Dante's Chicken and Ribs which until last month was a great place to get ribs on Eagle Rock's main drag (Colorado Boulevard). I guess I'll have to get my ribs at Original Texas Barbecue King on Cesar Chavez Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. I'd love to hear from other Angelenos where you think the best ribs in town are.

What is interesting about the story of Dante's is that it complicates the story of the inexorable evolution of sleepy Eagle Rock into the next Silver Lake, i.e. a bohemian enclave with fancy restaurants and boutiques and sky rocketing housing prices and rents.

Despite Dante's closing, blue hen vietnamese kitchen, The Eagle Rock Coffee Table and Mia Sushi are doing fine. So far!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin