Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Here's the relevant excerpt from Melissa's first hand account:
We walked in and who was at the podium in front of hundreds of people? Carole Migden! And Mark Leno was standing in the back of the room! I looked around and saw lots of women holding Leno signs and gay men holding Migden signs. And the supporters were heckling each other! Hilarious!
I later learned that this was a meeting of the California Democratic Party Women's Caucus. Migden launched into her speech, which fell pretty flat until she got to the part about how "women should vote for women" and pointed to a group of women in the corner of the room (some of whom were, um...not-petite) who were holding Leno signs and said:
"Are those women? They look like heavy guys to me."
I shit you not.
Allow me to repeat that:
"Are those women? They look like heavy guys to me."
The room was silent for a second while we all thought the same thing: "Did she just effing say that?" Then the place erupted with boos and curses that did not stop.
The woman next to me scowled and said, "Can you believe this?"
"No!" I squealed! "I love it!!" (Sanity is no fun to write about.)
Then one of the women on the panel on the stage said, "You need to stop speaking, you are disrupting our caucus." So Carole had to step down.
The endorsement of the Democratic Party in Senate District 3 will go to the convention floor. At the first endorsement vote Migden received 55%, Leno 42% and Nation 3%. The typical threshhold for a state party endorsement is 60%, unless you are an incumbent, then it is lower!
In the open seat to replace termed-out Assemblymember Lloyd Levine in AD-40, my friend Laurette Healey is running, but although Bob Blumenfield got the 60% threshhold but over 300 signatures were obtained to pull the AD-40 endorsement from the consentment calendar.
Although Oscar-winning producer/director/screenwriter of Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson will not be directing the Hobbit films, he will likely be producing them, and according to McKellen, has only one actor in mind to play Gandalf (who plays an even bigger role in The Hobbit than he does in Lord of the Rings).
[A] fan asked: "Have you been approached yet by Peter Jackson or anyone else" to play the ancient Wizard?The news that Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Hellboy II) has the inside track to actually direct the movies has been an ill-kept secret for sometime.
McKellen replied: "Encouragingly, Peter and (partner) Fran Walsh have told me they couldn't imagine `The Hobbit' without their original Gandalf."
"Their confidence hasn't yet been confirmed by the director Guillermo del Toro, but I am keeping my diary free for 2009!" he said.
Interestingly, the Hobbit movies will likely be competing at the box-office with the two last Harry Potter movies which the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be released as in 2010 and 2011.
Jason Hair-Wynn, a gay Massachusetts man who married his partner in 2005 and
legally changed his name to add his partner's, must change it back to his old
name, Jason Hair, if he wants a passport says the State Department.
According to the Sun Chronicle, the State Department says the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibits them from recognizing his married name: "'We are unable to comply with your request for a name change based on the documentation you sent
because of the Defense of Marriage Act ...,' the letter states. 'In determining
the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or
interpretation of the various administration bureaus and agencies of the United
States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one
woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the
opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.'"
Joe.My.God has also picked up this egregious story.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The survey was taken of people attending town meetings across the state. It found that 54-percent said they support allowing gay couples to marry while 37-percent were opposed.
Support this year for same-sex marriage showed an increase of eight-percent over 2007.
The commission studying same-sex marriage will present its report to the legislature next month. Members have been close-lipped on what they will recommend.
The commission was set up last year to look into Vermont's civil unions law to see if it is providing equality for gay and lesbian couples and to determine if the law should be amended to provide for same-sex marriage.
As someone who was "civilly united" in Burlington, Vermont in 2000 I follow what happens in Vermont pretty closely, despite being a California resident. It will be interesting to see if Vermont does legislatively expand marriage to same-sex couples whether they institute a new residency requirement. Massachusetts has had equal marriage rights for lesbian and gay couples since May 17, 2004 but also has a residency requirement.
Migden is one of the most senior members of the California LGBT legislative Caucus. She is facing a primary challenge from another openly gay politician, Assemblymember Mark Leno, for the right to represent the City of San Francisco in State Senate District 3.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The picture to the left is quite incredible.
The money quote is from Beatie himself:
How does it feel to be a pregnant man? Incredible. Despite the fact that my
belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the
man that I am. In a technical sense I see myself as my own surrogate, though my
gender identity as male is constant. To Nancy, I am her husband carrying our
child—I am so lucky to have such a loving, supportive wife. I will be my
daughter’s father, and Nancy will be her mother. We will be a family.
Outside the local medical community, people don’t know I’m five months’ pregnant. But our situation ultimately will ask everyone to embrace the gamut of human possibility and to define for themselves what is normal.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Bratton's choice is a curious decision by one of the city's most astute politiciams because one would think that Bratton would like nothing less than to have the main who tried and failed to get a second term as LAPD chief (something Bratton achieved last summer despite presiding over a near-riot at an immigrant's rights rally the month before) to no longer be the person responsible for approving the budget of his department, which Parks does as Chair of the Los Angeles City Council Budget Committee.
The local paper of record reported:
"I'm not here as a police chief," said Bratton, careful to comply with a city ethics law requiring employees to make clear that "they are acting as individuals" when making political endorsements. But, he said, he also was "conscious of my right as a citizen."
A spokesman for Parks said the councilman didn't back political candidates when he held the LAPD's top job.
In backing Ridley-Thomas, Bratton said voters would get a strong leader with experience as a city councilman as well as in the Legislature. The only other time Bratton endorsed a candidate was in 2005, when he backed Alex Padilla's successful race for the state Senate.
Ridley-Thomas has received the backing of most of the county's unions and the Los Angeles Police Protective League. Parks' supporters include three county supervisors -- including Burke -- and six Los Angeles City Council member, among others.
|Novak Djokovic||Ana Ivanovic|
At the Pacific Life Open, the most well-attended non-Grand Slam tennis event in the world, Serbians Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic claimed the 2008 titles. Ivanovic defeated Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-3 while Djokovic beat American Mardy Fish 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
After spending about $31 million in her efforts to keep up with Senator Barack Obama, Mrs. Clinton finished February with more than $33 million in cash on hand, but $21.5 million of that is earmarked exclusively for the general election, leaving her with $11.7 million for the primary.Hillary Clinton raised $35 million in February while John McCain raised a paltry $11 million.
Mrs. Clinton, however, loaned her campaign $5 million earlier this year and she listed $8.7 million in debts to various vendors, making clear why she has not yet paid herself back from her loan.
By way of comparison, Senator Barack Obama, her Democratic opponent, brought in $55 million in February, a record-setting sum, and spent about $43 million, leaving him with $31.6 million in cash on hand available for the primary and $7.3 million set aside for the general. He also did a much better job paying his bills, listing just $625,000 in outstanding debts.
Friday, March 21, 2008
GM Viswanathan Anand of India, won the 25th edition of the Morelia/Linares super grandmaster tournament. The current World Champion, one of the two top-ranked players in the world, finished a half point (+4-1=9) ahead of GM Magnus Carlsen (Norway, +5-3=6). Carlsen, 17 years old, finished a half point ahead of GMs Levon Aronian (Armenia, +3-2=9) and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria, +5-4=5).
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Now you know why Dick Cheny is smiling. Vote Democratic. Oooh Rah.
Troops in Iraq - Total 164,481, including 155,000 from the US, 4,500 from the UK, 2,000 from Georgia, 900 from Poland, 650 from South Korea and 1,431 from all other nations
US Troop Casualities - 3,989 US troops; 98% male. 90% non-officers; 80% active duty, 12% National Guard; 74% Caucasian, 10% African-American, 11% Latino. 18% killed by non-hostile causes. 51% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 70% were from the US Army
Spent & Approved War-Spending - About $600 billion of US taxpayers' funds. President Bush has requested another $200 billion for 2008, which would bring the cumulative total to close to $800 billion.
U.S. Monthly Spending in Iraq - $12 billion in 2008
Cost of deploying one U.S. soldier for one year in Iraq - $390,000 (Congressional Research Service)
Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq - $9 billion of US taxpayers' money and $549.7 milion in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors.
Also, per ABC News, 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47 rifles
Halliburton Overcharges Classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported - $1.4 billion
Amount paid to KBR, a former Halliburton division, to supply U.S. military in Iraq with food, fuel, housing and other items - $20 billion
Portion of the $20 billion paid to KBR that Pentagon auditors deem "questionable or supportable" - $3.2 billion
Number of major U.S. bases in Iraq - 75 (The Nation/New York Times)
Starting at next week's Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, there will be three (incorrect) player challenges per set, with an extra challenge added during the tiebreak. If the player is correct in the challenge to a call, they do not lose it. In matches where sets are not decided by a tiebreak, the number of challenges re-sets to 3 each after every twelve games.
Although three challenges is better than the two that player's have been working with at the U.S. Open and most other tournaments, I am in the camp of Mary Carillo. Why should there be any limit to the challenges a player makes? If the umpire feels that the player is abusing the system, they should have the authority to give them a warning "You are abusing the challenge system, from now on you will have 3 challenges remaining." And that would solve the problem.
Eventually software and hardware will improve so that a computer will be able to call every line anyway.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Migden is in a tight race with Mark Leno and Joe Nation, who wasted no time piling on:
"It's stunning and staggering that things were that bad," said Nation. "I can't imagine you could have such sloppy bookkeeping."Ouch. It's looking worse and worse for Migden, but she's not hte kind of person you EVER count out. She is currently suing the FPPC in federal court in order to access 1 million dollars she has in previous campaign accounts for this race.
Tom Higgins, Leno's campaign manager, said the sheer numbers alone tell the story: "$350,000 in fines ... 89 counts, more than $16,000 of her campaign funds used for personal purposes."
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.
In the video below, MSNBC anchor Keith Olberman's response.
If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside.
Robert X. Cringely, InfoWorld magazine
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
There have only been two Black men to serve as chief executive of a state since the Reconstruction era, Doug Wilder (Virginia 1990-1994) and Deval Patrick (Massachusetts 2006-). Paterson will serve out the remaining two and a half years of Spitzer's term (until January 2011).
Interestingly, although Spitzer was known as an especially pro-LGBT politician, Paterson may be even more supportive.
According to The Agenda, the blog of the Empire State Pride Agenda, which is New York's equivalent to California's Equality California, the statewide LGBT political lobbying organization:
“David Paterson’s leadership is a story of commitment to civil liberties and human rights. He believes in equality and justice for all New Yorkers and has demonstrated this time and time again in both words and actions.Another interesting aspect of Paterson's elevation to Governor is that State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, the main impediement to LGBT legislative process in the state of New York, will be elevated to Lieutenant Governor and there will no longer be a tie-breaking vote in the 62-member body, which currently has 32 Republicans and 30 Democrats. To me this means that until Governor Paterson is able to get a new Lieutenant Governor, the Democrats will need two more seats to obtain an outright majority (i.e. 32 Senators) instead of only one seat, to sieze complete control of the New York State legislative and executive branches.
He has been a strong and consistent friend of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community ever since he was elected to public office in 1985. He worked hard as a State Senator to help pass hate crimes legislation in 2000 and, in his first weeks as Senate Minority Leader, worked to make sure that there were enough Democratic votes to pass the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) in 2002.
We are excited to begin working with him as Governor.”
Interestingly, as Blabbeando notes, if the Democrats to take over control of the New York State Senate in November 2008, the new Senate Majority Leader will be the man who replaced David Paterson as Senate Minority Leader, fellow African American Malcolm A. Smith. Then two out of three legislative branches would be helmed by African Americans.
Cheddar burger, spicy harissa aioli, pickled onions, rocket, fries ($13)
Grilled salmon salad, peppercress, arugula, pignoli, citrus vinaigrette ($14)
Pulled pork Cuban sandwich, mustard aioli, gruyere, ham, pickle, slaw ($12)
The York on York Boulevard in Highland Park is a hip new bar and restaurant ("gastropub") which has been getting good reviews since it opened last year. Mad Professah stopped by the spot twice in the same week and was able to get a good sampling of the food and ambiance.
Specifically, I ordered the cheddar burger and fries while the Other Half ordered the tilapia. The fries are outstanding, with the burger cooked exactly right and placed on a very fresh bun with excellent trimmings. The tilapia was also quite good, with the slightly sour flavor of the chard and lentils forming an interesting counterpoint to the delicate but sweet fish. The food is surprisingly good for "bar food." I didn't personally taste the grilled salmon salad but I have reports that it was tasty. On my second visit to The York I ordered the pulled pork cuban sandwich, which is not bad, but I would prefer any of the cuban sandwiches at Porto's Bakery and Cafe (which also cost one-third the price).
The two different nights I went to the York I was impressed with the ambiance of the place. It has beautiful 20-foot ceilings with exposed rafters and very stylish lighting which provides just the right amount of ambient lighting. In addition, the music was interesting and not too loud. The clientele was an unusual (for Highland Park) mix of Eastside hipsters, college students and others.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Mad Professah watched the match and looked to me like Federer was mostly taking it easy and basically just relaxed when he was up 2-0 in the third set. He then preceded to lose 5 games in a row as Sampras shook off the rust and proceeded to dominate the youngster with his serve and volley game. However, despite being 2 points away from the match times, Sampras was not able to get a match point and close it out.
Although it appears unlikely that he will be able to salvage his position as Governor of New York (or his political career), Mad Professah disagrees that he should resign. Professor Alan Dershowitz agrees with me.
The United States is one of only 13 countries that ban HIV+ people from visiting or immigrating. The others: Armenia, Brunei, China, Iraq, Qatar, South Korea, Libya, Moldova, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
Let's hope this ploy does better than attaching the Matthew Sheppard Act to that defense appropriations bill did. A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives last August, but remains in committee.
I'd be shocked if this bill becomes law, but it is good to see that our friends in the Senate are making the effort to expose this horrendous public policy, and possibly change it now instead of waiting until after January 2009.
When I was in college I used to be a part of a faux anti-nuclear organization called The Association to Protect Madonna from Nuclear War which was devoted to maintaining a 10 mile nuclear-free zone around Madonna at all times. Since that would be impossible it would mean all nuclear weapons would need to be de-commissioned.
Monday, March 10, 2008
The loyalty oath is found in Article XX, Section 3 of the California Constitution:
"I, ______, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support
and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Consti-
tution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign
and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the
Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the
State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without
any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will
well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about
"And I do further swear (or affirm) that I do not advocate, nor
am I a member of any party or organization, political or other-
wise, that now advocates the overthrow of the Government of the
United States or of the State of California by force or violence
or other unlawful means; that within the five years immediately
preceding the taking of this oath (or affirmation) I have not
been a member of any party or organization, political or other-
wise, that advocated the overthrow of the Government of the
United States or of the State of California by force or violence
or other unlawful means except as follows:
(If no affiliations, write in the words "No Exceptions")
and that during such time as I hold the office of ______________
________________________________ I will not advocate nor become
(name of office)
a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise,
that advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United
States or of the State of California by force or violence or
other unlawful means."
Marianne Kearney-Brown, a pacifist Quaker, took the oath seriously and inserted "nonviolently," crossed out "swear," and circled "affirm" in the version of the oath presented to her. Her employer was not amused and fired Kearney-Brown on February 28th. Her case became a cause celebre among the progressive blogosphere and yesterday's Times revealed that Attorney General Jerry Brown's office had been contacted and had produced a legal opinion that "signing the oath does not carry with it any obligation or requirement that public employees bear arms or otherwise engage in violence. This has been confirmed by both the United States Supreme Court . . . and the California attorney general's office."
With that document stapled to her copy of the oath, Kearney-Brown signed it, and was reinstated.
My point in re-telling all this is would you sign the following oath if your job depended on it? And, why when we have a California Legislature that can pass bills in favor of same-sex marriage and universal health care would we not have one that has put a repeal of this section of the California constitution on the ballot?
Sunday, March 09, 2008
The most recent polling has shown that Migden is in trouble of holding her seat:
A poll taken last week by David Binder found State Senate District 3 a two-way contest between challengers Joe Nation and Mark Leno, with incumbent Carole Migden trailing badly. Binder, who is San Francisco’s leading pollster and has been busy surveying for Barack Obama, found that Nation led Leno 27-24% on the initial ask, with Migden trailing at 17%. When pro and con statements about the candidates were read, the Leno-Nation numbers reversed, with Migden remaining at 17%. Joe Alioto Veronese was at 7 and 10%, and nearly a quarter of the electorate remains undecided.In addition, Migden is in a legal dispute with the California Fair Political Practices Commission over money (nearly a million dollars) that she wants to spend in this race which she raised years ago when she was a Assemblyperson before she was elected to the State Board of Equalization and State Senate.
If the Binder poll numbers hold there will be strong pressure for Migden to drop out in April or May lest the seat that has been held by an openly gay San Francisco Democrat fall into the hands of a staight, more conservative Marin County man.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Friday, March 07, 2008
Andy Roddick beat World #2 Rafael Nadal 7-6 (5), 6-2 at the Dubai Duty Free Championships and announced that 8-time Grand Slam champion Jimmy Connors is no longer his coach. 2008 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic beat Igor Andreev for the right to face Roddick in the semifinal. Andy Murray (who started the tournament by upsetting World #1 Roger Federer in the first round 6-7(6) 6-3 6-4) lost 7-5, 6-4 to Nikolay Davydenko who will face Feliciano Lopez in the other semi-final.
Craig Hickman has more details and commentary on Federer's statements to the press after his second consecutive loss of the year.
UPDATE: Roddick defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals, in straight sets: 7-6(5), 6-3. This is the first time the American has defeated the World #3 and World #2 in the same tournament.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Washington state enacted a statewide domestic partner registry last year which went into effect in July 2007 with a modest number of rights and benefits. HB 1304 would add an estimated 160 rights and responsibilities to the 23 the initial legislation included.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Hillary Clinton ended Barack Obama's winning streak of electoral primary contests at 12 with three wins of her own in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island. Despite polls and predictions of Obama winning Texas the results were:
Clinton 65 Obama 61
Caucuses (67 delegates; tentative
results based on a straight percentage from 36% reporting -- 52O 48C)
Obama~35 Clinton ~32
Total (Nowhere near final)
Clinton ~97 Obama ~96
However, for the night Clinton ended up with a delgate gain of +13, dropping Obama's lead from 191 to 178 (according to Daily Kos).
On the Republican side,John McCain wrapped up the Republican nomination. I would bet money that it will be a McCain-Huckabee ticket.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
In the latest twist, two white fire captains named John Tohill and Chris Burton are receiving a total of $1.6 million dollars (more than Pierce received) by arguing that they were discriminated against by the Fire Department in the resulting circular firing squad in the aftermath of public scrutiny of the Department's reaction to the Tennie Pierce incident.
From the Los Angeles Times coverage:
In the last two years, the 3,900-member department -- considered among the nation's best -- has been rocked by allegations of unchecked racism, discrimination and harassment that have cost taxpayers more than $13 million in legal payouts, not including Monday's verdict. Among the payouts was a $6.2-million jury award last summer to Brenda Lee, who alleged that she was harassed off the force because she is black and a lesbian.The Daily News article on the case finishes with this money quote from the President of United Firefighters of Los Angeles, Steve Tufts, on the behavior of the Fire Department in the wake of the Tennie Pierce case.
But to many white firefighters, the Pierce case came to symbolize a disciplinary system skewed in favor of women and nonwhite firefighters.
"When it comes to a minority -- female or male -- and there's the word 'discrimination,' everybody runs and hides and puts their heads in the sand," said Capt. Mark Khitikian, a 34-year veteran. "The department is afraid to look at these things fairly."
Under the jury award returned Monday, Burton, who will be retiring in the next few years, received $507,500 for past pain and suffering, $72,500 for future pain and suffering and $11,808 in past lost earnings. Tohill received $467,250 in lost future earnings, $367,500 for past pain and suffering, $210,000 for future pain and suffering, and $7,488 in past lost earnings. The nine-woman, three-man panel was majority white but included four Latinos and at least one Asian.
"What kind of investigation is it where everybody gets paid?"
Monday, March 03, 2008
Counsel for City and County of San Francisco will be allocated a total of 35 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for petitioner Rymer et al. will be allocated a total of 35 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for petitioner Tyler et al. will be allocated a total of 10 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for petitioner Clinton et al. will be allocated a total of 10 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for the State of California will be allocated 45 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for the Governor et al. will be allocated 15 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund will be allocated 15 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for Campaign for California families will be allocated 15 minutes for oral argument.
Public viewing of the oral arguments will be available on closed circuit television in an overflow viewing auditorium in the Milton Marks Conference Center, Hiram Johnson State Office Building, Lower Level, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco.
I believe that the main attorneys for the petitioners will be Mr. (not Ms.) Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and David Codell, a private attorney from Los Angeles. I have no idea who the heterosexual supremacists are having represent them. I believe the state of California is not being represented by current Attorney General (and former Governor) Jerry Brown, but by one of his deputies.