Saturday, February 28, 2009

Venus Wins Second Title in 2 Weeks

World #5 Venus Williams defeated defending champion Flavia Pennetta 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour in Acapulco, Mexico win her second WTA Tour title in as many weeks, her 41st overall.

Pennetta has given Williams difficulty in the past, and is one of a mere handful of people who had beaten the 7-time major champion 3 times in a row, in addition to bouncing Venus from the 2008 French Open.

First Lady Michelle Obama Official Portrait

The White House has released the official photo of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Take Action To Help Pass Civil Unions In Hawaii

The Stonewall Democrats, a national organization of LGBT Democrats have an easy way of taking action to support efforts in Hawaii to get civil unions. You can take action by clicking on the image above.

Here is what I wrote in my letter to the Hawaii State Senate, encouraging them to pass SB 444, a bill to enact civil unions in the Aloha State:
Please do the right thing and don't allow 3 senators in one committee prevent equal access to marital benefits to thousands of Hawaiians by passing civil unions legislation.

After doing so, you can send the following messages to people on your email lists:
Hawaii may be on its way to becoming the fifth state to legalize same-sex cvil unions, but they need our help.

I just signed a petition urging the state's Democratic leaders to push the legislation up for a vote before the full Senate (its currently stuck in committee), But in order to make a real impact we need a bunch of signatures a lot more signatures. Would you sign the petition too?

You can check out the specifics and signup here:

Remember, Hawaii was the very first state to pass a constitutional amendment to allowing the state to ban same-sex marriages back in 1998. Just imagine what kind of message it would send equality opponents to make that same state the fifth in the country to legalize same-sex civil unions.

Will you join me in fighting for equality and urging Hawaii Democratic leaders to push civil union legislation up for a vote before the full state Senate? All you need to do is click the link below:

Thanks for everything!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama's Approval Rating Rises To 69%

President Obama's approval rating has increased since he revealed his budget and signed the stimulus bill into law. (hat/tip DailyKos)

Celebrity Friday: Dustin Lance Black Speech at Oscars

Dustin Lance Black, the openly gay (34-year-old) screenwriter of Milk, made a strong statement for equal rights for gay people and for the esteem of LGBT youth in his acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay on Sunday. Since any references to homosexuality were apparently censored to the Oscar ceremony broadcast to hundreds of millions of people around the world, I am posting it here:

And back stage talking to the media, he continued:

Justin Cole posted the transcript of Black's speech on the GLAAD blog.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

One-Fifth of The ATP Top 15 Are Black!

Gael Monfils

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

James Blake

Gael Monfils is now at #10 of the ATP rankings with fellow Black Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga right behind him at #11 and African-American James Blake at #13. Both Blake and Tsonga have been in the Top 10 previously.

That makes three Black male players in the Top 15 simultaneously. Has that happened before?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CA-32: Solis Confirmed As Labor Secretary 80-17

The race for the 32nd Congressional District of California begins today since it's current representative Hilda Solis was confirmed as Labor Secretary by the United States Senate Tuesday by a vote of 80-17.

The current leading candidates, according to dday at Calitics are:
Judy Chu is currently on the Board of Equalization. While a Chinese-American running for a seat that is majority Latino, Chu has the support of the California Federation of Labor, which typically cleans up in these kinds of special elections. That alone makes her the favorite IMO.

Gil Cedillo is a State Senator in the adjoining district, and so he represents very few of these constituents. He has been strong on issues around immigration in particular, and will certainly be formidable in this race.

Emanuel Pleitez worked in the Obama transition team on the Treasury Department. The fact that Treasury has practically no senior officers staffing it save for Tim Geithner, over a month after the inauguration, doesn't really speak well to Pleitez' transition capabilities. But he apparently has the most robust campaign apparatus in the district thus far (with 17 volunteer full-time staff members), and he was born and raised in the district.

MadProfessah is endorsing Judy Chu, who is an incredibly strong ally of the LGBT community.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Black Lesbian Blogger Featured In D.C. Post

Pam Spaulding, the founder and main creative force behind Pam's House Blend is on the cover of today's Washington Post Style section in an article titled "Gay Bloggers' Voices Rise in Chorus of Growing Political Influence." I met Pam at the LGBT Blogger and Citizen Journalist Conference in Washington, D.C. last December. Here's an excerpt from today's article

Pam's House Blend is an influential voice in the gay political blogosphere, must-reads that include the Bilerico Project, Towleroad and AMERICAblog, each attracting a few hundred to a few thousand hits a day. Just as the liberal Net-roots and the conservative "rightroots" movements have affected traditional party structures, the still relatively small gay political presence online is rebooting the gay rights movement in a decentralized, spontaneous, bottom-up way.


In the past, someone like Spaulding would have been relegated to the sidelines. She doesn't work for national gay rights organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign or the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. She lives with her partner, Kate, an audiologist, in Durham, far from San Francisco, New York or Washington, where gay activism has been historically based. But now she's helping shape the agenda, one voice in a chorus of sometimes dissonant, sometimes harmonious, often in-your-face voices that is pushing established gay groups and redefining the meaning of grass-roots action in this new media age.


"There will be times when the relationship between the White House and gay bloggers will be contentious," says Steve Hildebrand, who as deputy campaign manager was the highest-ranking openly gay person in Obama's campaign. He's now serving as chief strategist for Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.), who's running for a Senate seat. "But because they agree on a lot of issues, 95 percent of the time, it won't be."

On the Internet, no group -- however controversial or on the fringe -- is invisible. Everyone is but a Google search away. And the sheer diversity of blogs written by gays, lesbians and transgenders proves that, like all minority groups, the gay community is not monolithic. Though they may blog about the same topic -- say, Prop. 8 -- it doesn't mean they'll arrive at the same conclusion. After Prop. 8 passed, the meme that religious blacks helped provide the margin of victory was omnipresent. But what about religious anti-gay whites, Spaulding wondered. It wasn't about race, she insisted in her postings.

Congratulations to Pam, how long do you think before she gets invited to the White House?
I think it's great that she was able to get coverage of the "zombie meme" that Blacks were responsible for Proposition 8's passage questioned in the Washington Post!

I do find it odd that the gay blogs mentioned did not include MadProfessah fave's Rod 2.0, Joe.My.God and Queerty.

What are YOUR daily must-read blogs?

Mine are: Joe.My.God, Pam's House Blend, Rod 2.0, Queerty, TowleRoad and then I usually read DailyKos, OpenLeft, AmericaBlog and Talking Points Memo specifically for political info and LAObserved for local info.

Monday, February 23, 2009

NAACP National Supports HR 5 and SR 7 Declaring Prop 8 Unconstitutional

Wow! Despite turning 100 years old a few weeks ago on National Freedom To Marry Day, this is not your grandfather's NAACP! Despite repeatedly refusing to follow along with the California State Chapter's favorable position (refusingt o even debate the measure!) on marriage equality, the Board president Julian Bond AND the new CEO Benjamin Jealous have weighed in on the side of the vast majhority of civil rights advocates who believe that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.


Feb. 23, 2009
Contact: Leila McDowell
Richard J. McIntire
(202) 463-2940 x1021

Resolution would put California legislature on record as opposing Prop. 8
and urging California Supreme Court to overturn it

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People today announced support of measures before the California legislature challenging Proposition 8, which altered the California Constitution to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry and equal protection under the law.

In a letter to legislative leaders, NAACP national board chair Julian Bond and President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous urged passage of House Resolution 5 and Senate Resolution 7 to put the legislature on record calling for invalidation of Prop. 8 as an improper and dangerous alteration of the California Constitution.

"The NAACP's mission is to help create a society where all Americans have equal protection and opportunity under the law," said President Jealous. “Our Mission Statement calls for the ‘equality of rights of all persons.’ Prop. 8 strips same-sex couples of a fundamental freedom, as defined by the California State Supreme Court. In so doing, it poses a serious threat to all Americans. Prop. 8 is a discriminatory, unprecedented change to the California Constitution that, if allowed to stand, would undermine the very purpose of a constitution and courts - assuring equal protection and opportunity for all and safeguarding minorities from the tyranny of the majority."

SR 7, sponsored by Equality California (EQCA), will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 24th and will proceed to the full Senate for a vote shortly thereafter. Its companion bill, HR 5, also sponsored by EQCA, passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Feb. 17th and is eligible for a vote before the full Assembly as early as today.

The California State Conference of the NAACP filed briefs with the California Supreme Court in the legal challenge against Prop. 8, arguing that the measure drastically alters the equal protection guarantee in California’s Constitution and that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority vote. Several other civil rights organizations, faith leaders, unions and leading corporations also filed briefs urging the invalidation of Prop. 8.

“The NAACP has long opposed any proposal that would alter the federal or state constitutions for the purpose of excluding any groups or individuals from guarantees of equal protection,” said Chairman Bond. “We urge the legislature to declare that Proposition 8 did not follow the proper protective process and should be overturned as an invalid alteration that vitiated crucial constitutional safeguards and fundamental American values, threatening civil rights and all vulnerable minorities.”The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on March 5th and could rule as early as June 2009.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP--the nation's oldest, largest and most widely-recognized grassroots–based civil rights organization—is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

Tsonga Wins 4th Career ATP Title (2nd in 2009)

2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won his 4th career ATP title by defeating fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra 7-5 7-6(3) in the final of the Open 13 in Marseilles. Tsonga defeated 2008 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic for the fourth consecutive time on his way to winning €88,500 and improving to a tour best record of 19 wins and 3 losses for 2009.

2009 Oscars: The Winners

The winners of the 81st Annual Academy Awards are:

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Animated Feature: WALL-E
Best Documentary Feature: Man on Wire
Best Foreign Language Film: Departures (Japan)
Best Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Art Direction: Benjamin Button
Best Costume Design: The Duchess
Best Makeup: Benjamin Button
Best Live Action Short: Toyland
Best Animated Short: La Maison en Petites Cubes
Best Documentary Short: Smile Pinki
Best Visual Effects: Benjamin Button
Best Sound Editing: The Dark Knight
Best Sound Mixing: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Music Score: A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Song: Jai Ho, Slumdog Millionaire

I predicted the top 8 categories completely correctly, with 20 out of 28 correct overall.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

NYT Op-Ed Calls For "Gay Marriage Compromise"

Today's New York Times carries an op-ed written by Jonathan Rauch and David Blankenhorn which proposes a compromise on gay marriage:

Whatever our disagreements on the merits of gay marriage, we agree on two facts. First, most gay and lesbian Americans feel they need and deserve the perquisites and protections that accompany legal marriage. Second, many Americans of faith and many religious organizations have strong objections to same-sex unions. Neither of those realities is likely to change any time soon.

Further sharpening the conflict is the potential interaction of same-sex marriage with antidiscrimination laws. The First Amendment may make it unlikely that a church, say, would ever be coerced by law into performing same-sex wedding rites in its sanctuary. But religious organizations are also involved in many activities outside the sanctuary. What if a church auxiliary or charity is told it must grant spousal benefits to a secretary who marries her same-sex partner or else face legal penalties for discrimination based on sexual orientation or marital status? What if a faith-based nonprofit is told it will lose its tax-exempt status if it refuses to allow a same-sex wedding on its property?


Gay couples have concerns of their own. Most, of course, want the right to marry, and nothing less. But federal recognition of same-sex marriage — leave aside what you think about the merits — is not likely in the near future. The federal Defense of Marriage Act forbids it. Barack Obama and most other Democratic presidential candidates opposed gay marriage. And most Americans continue to oppose it.

At the same time, federal law links many important perquisites to marital status, including Social Security survivor benefits, tax-free inheritance, spousal immigration rights and protections against mutual incrimination. All of these benefits are currently denied to same-sex couples, even those living in states that permit same-sex marriage or civil unions. But these same benefits could be conferred by federally recognized civil unions.
Jonathan Rauch is openly gay and a supporter of same-sex marriage, although a relatively conservative one. He first came to my attention over a decade ago for his opposition to hate crimes laws and his support for marriage equality primarily due to its "civilizing impact" on potentially promiscuous homosexuals, especially gay men. David Blankenhorn is the founder and head of the Institute for American Values (for which he makes over a quarter-million dollars a year, primarily from ultra-conservative Republican financial sources) who posed as a "liberal Democrat" in a controversial Los Angeles Times op-ed that opposed marriage equality during last year's Proposition 8 battle.

What the Blankenhorn-Rauch compromise proposes is federal recognition of same-sex relationships (including already legal CT and MA marriages and civil unions/domestic partnerships in states like CA, OR, WA, NJ, VT, ME as well as DC) in exchange for stronger religious exemptions in state discrimination laws that will be preempted by this proposed federal legislation.

My first response to this proposal was to scream "bullsh*t" but then someone pointed out to me that is not really about how religions deal with civil marriage but about how religious institutions accomodate (or are accomodated by) anti-discrimination laws.

I actually might go along with this "compromise" if they throw in very strong federal anti-discrimination language based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas of credit, education, public accomodations, housing and employment.

However, from Utah, we know how well the other side treats a "middle of the road" (common ground) initiative, so I doubt anyone else will go for this "compromise," even the Obama administration.

In the end (as usual) Rauch's piece will go to support the arguments by the opponents of LGBT people, in this case it bolsters their argument that marriage for same-sex couples infringes on their religious liberties.

Pam Spaulding has a similar view.

2009 Oscars: MadProfessah's Final Picks

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
"The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
SHOULD WIN: “Slumdog Millionaire”
WILL WIN: “Slumdog Millionaire”

David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
“Stephen Daldry, “The Reader”
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
SHOULD WIN: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
WILL WIN: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”

Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”
SHOULD WIN: Sean Penn, “Milk”
WILL WIN: Sean Penn, “Milk”

Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt”
Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
SHOULD WIN: Meryl Streep, “Doubt”
WILL WIN: Kate Winslet, “The Reader”

Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt”
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”
SHOULD WIN: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
WILL WIN: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”

Amy Adams, “Doubt”
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis, “Doubt”
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
SHOULD WIN: Amy Adams, “Doubt”
WILL WIN: Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
SHOULD WIN: “Slumdog Millionaire”
WILL WIN: “Slumdog Millionaire”

“Frozen River”
“In Bruges”
WILL WIN: “Milk”

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Venus Wins 40th Title in Dubai

Venus Williams won her 40th WTA Tour title by defeating Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano 6-4 6-2 in Dubai. Venus beat her sister Serena in the semifinals and will move into the World #5 position for the first time since 2003.

Venus Beats Serena To Reach Dubai Final

Venus Williams defeated World #1 Serena Williams in the semifinals of the Dubai Open in a high quality 3-set match 6-1, 2-6, 7-6(3). The win gives Venus the lead 10-9 in the head-to-head match between the sisters. She will play the final against Virginie Razzano, who beat Kaia Kanepi.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Celebrity Friday: Wanda Sykes and MadProfessah

For the third consecutive Friday, Wanda Sykes is the topic of our Celebrity Friday at This picture was taken with the openly lesbian comedienne at the Marriage Equality Now Rally in Sacramento on Monday February 16th, 2009.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Black Gay Elder Voices Forum TODAY in L.A.

Jordan/Rustin Coalition will be hosting a free public forum at Jewel's Catch One TODAY from 7-9pm called "Elder Voices: Their Stories Then to Now" featuring Richard Harris (founders and proprietors of the Lucy Florence Coffeehouse and Cultural Center in Leimert park), Andre Vaughn (Activist and Volunteer with Harvey Milk during the Briggs Initiative of 1978) and Ronald Dennis-Watson (AIDS activist and original castmember of Chorus Line). The forum will be moderated by Doug Spearman (actor on Noah's Arc and Equality California board member).

Long Nightmare Is Over: Budget Passes CA Legislature

Finally! After staying in continuous session for 45 hours, the State Legislature was finally able to obtain the 6th Republican vote necessary for a two-thirds supermajority needed to pass a budget package that would eliminate an estimate $40 billion deficit by June 2010. Senator Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria agreed to vote for the measure after holding the entire state hostage unless the legislature considered three measures: an initiative constitutional amendment to create an open primary system like Washington State (California's had been previously ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court a decade ago), a constitutional amendment to prevent raises for legislators in fiscal years with deficits and a constitutional amendment to prevent legislators from being paid if the annual budget is late. The last of these was not agreed to (since it is almost certainly unconstitutional) but there were votes on the first two which passed. The open primary measure will appear on the June 8, 2010 statewide primary election and the other will appear on the May 19th 2009 statewide special election at whch voters will be asked to approve other aspects of this budget deal.

Utah Legislature Kills Gay Rights Bills

After the bitter electoral fight over Proposition 8 in the 2008 elections an official statement from the Mormon Church said that "[The Mormon Church] does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights."

In response, Equality Utah created the Common Ground Initiative which was a group of bills that would enact these principles into Utah law:

Expanding Health Care-most gay Utahns can not insure their family. Currently, Equality Utah is working to secure an Executive Order, which would extend benefits for State of Utah employees and their adult designees. Since the State of Utah is the state’s largest employer, this is a great start in getting insurance plans to cover all family structures.

Fair Housing & Employment-Right now it is legal in Utah for people to be fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes just because they’re gay or transgender. All Utahns should have the chance to provide for their families and stay in their homes without fear of being unjustly fired or evicted for reasons that have nothing to do with ability to work or pay rent. A Fair Workplace bill was introduced in the 2008 session as HB 89. This year, the Fair Employment portion was added and the bill has been introduced as HB 267.

Wrongful Deaths-The sudden death of a loved one is painful. When someone dies because of the negligence or malpractice of another, we can help families stay in their homes by removing existing barriers to inheritance and insurance. This bill was introduced in the 2007 session as SB 58 and in the 2008 session as SB 73. The bill is SB 32 in the 2009 session. *This bill was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 4-2 vote.

Adult Joint Support Declaration- Apart from marriage, we can do much more to help committed couples in Utah care for each other. This bill creates a joint support declaration and will attach rights of inheritance, insurance, and fair housing. This bill's number is HB 160.

Clarifying Amendment 3- A government registry involving inheritance, housing, and insurance is nowhere near the legal equivalent of marriage. But the second part of Amendment 3 has been misinterpreted to prevent any recognition of gay and transgender couples in Utah. This bill would repeal the portion of Amendment 3 which states “no other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as marriage or be given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect.” It will not change Utah’s current definition of marriage, which is one man and one woman.
How did the Utah Legislature respond? They killed every single legislative bill they could get their hands on.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nate Silver Predicts The Oscars

Renowned mathematical predictor Nate Silver who did so well at predicting the 2008 election results at has focused his attention on predicting who will win the Oscars on Sunday:
Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger......................85.8%
Supporting Actress
Taraji P. Henson.................51.0%
Lead Actor
Mickey Rourke...................71.1%
Lead Actress
Kate Winslet.......................67.6%
Best Director
Danny Boyle,
Slumdog Millionaire...........99.7%
Best Picture
Slumdog Millionaire..........99.0%

MadProfessah has also predicted the Oscar results this year, but I only agree with Nate on Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor. Nate's choices are perfectly reasonable, and they represent statistical probabilities, but when the state space of possible outcomes is so small I doubt the accuracy of the predictions and would rather go with the insight of insider Oscarologists like Sasha Stone and others.

VIDEO: New "Simpsons" Opening Sequence

The opening sequence of The Simpsons has changed. (hat/tip Joe.My.God)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mauresmo Wins 1st Title in 2 Years

Amélie Mauresmo defeated Elena Dementieva 7-6(7) 2-6 6-4 to win the Paris Open. It was the Frenchwoman's first title in almost exactly two years.

2009 Oscars: MadProfessah Picks The Winners

The 2009 Academy Awards will be revealed next Sunday, and shown live on ABC television starting at 5pm PST. The show is sometimes called "the Gay Superbowl." Last year I won an online Oscar prediction contest. Here are my choices for who will take home the Oscar in the top 8 categories this year:

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
"The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
SHOULD WIN: “Slumdog Millionaire”
WILL WIN: “Slumdog Millionaire”

David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
“Stephen Daldry, “The Reader”
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
SHOULD WIN: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
WILL WIN: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”

Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”
SHOULD WIN: Sean Penn, “Milk”
WILL WIN: Sean Penn, “Milk”

Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt”
Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
SHOULD WIN: Meryl Streep, “Doubt”
WILL WIN: Kate Winslet, “The Reader”

Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt”
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”
SHOULD WIN: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
WILL WIN: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”

Amy Adams, “Doubt”
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis, “Doubt”
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”
SHOULD WIN: Amy Adams, “Doubt”
WILL WIN: Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
SHOULD WIN: “Slumdog Millionaire”
WILL WIN: “Slumdog Millionaire”

“Frozen River”
“In Bruges”
WILL WIN: “Milk”

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Serena Withdraws with Knee Injury; Mauresmo Faces Dementieva

2008 US Open and 2009 Australian Open winner Serena Williams withdrew before her scheduled semifinal with 2008 Olympic singles Gold medalist Elena Dementieva at the Gaz De France Open in Paris on Saturday.
Earlier, Former #1 Amelie Mauresmo reached her first final in 18 months in front of her hometown crowd by defeating Jelena Jankovic 6-2 0-6 6-1.
Will Mauresmo be able to end her 18-month title drought over the resurgent Russian who has only lost once (to Serena Williams) all year long? We'll see!

Support Straight Allies of LGBT Equality on Valentine's Day

Joe.My.God pointed me to this cool new online action hosted by the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center to thank straight allies of LGBT Equality on Valentine's day called "Heroes of Love."

The straight allies are:

Julian Bond - NAACP Chairman
Jerry Brown - California Attorney General
Judy Chu - State Board of Equalization
Maria Elena Durazo - L.A. County AFL-CIO
Dianne Feinstein - U.S. Senator
Ronald George -Chief Justice California Supreme Court
Dolores Huerta - Co-founder United Farm Workers
Alice Huffman - California NAACP
Bill Maher -Host, Real Time with Bill Maher
Gavin Newsom - Mayor of San Francisco
Jack O'Connell - Superintendent of Public Instruction
Brad Pitt - Actor
Jerry Sanders - Mayor of San Diego
Antonio Villaraigosa - Mayor of Los Angeles
Karin Wang - Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

Interestingly, there are (count 'em) five California gubernatorial hopefuls (Brown, Feinstein, Newsom, O'Connell and Villaraigosa) on this list. The website allows you to select who you want to send Valentine's Day e-cards to. MadProfessah selected everyone but Dianne Feinstein--she has a LOT of "splainiing" to do and the ad she cut in opposition to Proposition 8 does not make up for her faux Republican actions carrying water for the Bush administration on federal judges and warantless wiretapping.

I didn't even know Karin Wang is straight! She does alot of work helping to organize a multiracial LGBT collective in Los Angeles that I am involved with.

Who would YOU add to the list as a straight ally to thank for their support of the LGBT community?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Celebrity Friday: Wanda Sykes To Host WH Correspondents Dinner

Newly out Wanda Sykes has been chosen to be the entertainment at the White House Correspondents' Associaton Dinner, one of the de rigeur social events that occur in Washington, D.C. Very popular comedians like Stephen Colbert have previously been unafraid to make fun of the President of the United States while speaking within 10 feet of him in front of 2000 invited guests.

Obama is expected to attend the black-tie affair at the Washington Hilton and to follow in his predecessors' tradition by putting on a comedy act of his own. The guest list of some 2,000 people will likely include the usual mix of Washington elite, White House press corps and Hollywood celebrities.

"The first thing I did when they asked me to do this gig — I made sure my taxes were paid," quipped Sykes, taking a dig at the withdrawal of former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle from Obama's cabinet due to unpaid taxes.


Sykes, 44, has established a comic identity around her blunt, feisty personality. Last year, the comedian publicly announced she is gay and spoke out against the passage of California's Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage. Sykes appears on "The New Adventures of Old Christine," and first made a name on TV with stints on "The Chris Rock Show" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Jennifer Loven of The Associated Press is president of the association and chose Sykes because of her fresh style and engaging stage presence.


The White House Correspondents' Association was formed in 1914 as a liaison between the White House press corps and the presidents they cover. Every president since Calvin Coolidge has attended the dinner.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

NAACP Turns 100 Today on Freedom To Marry Day

Today is not only National Freedom To Marry Day and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, but also the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, more commonly known as the NAACP.

Tonight in Los Angeles, the NAACP Image Awards will be held and broadcast live on national television, on Fox.

Today is also the 5th anniversary of the beginning of "Freedom Spring" when Mayor Gavin Newsom started allowing same-sex couples to get married in San Francisco and thousands of couples siezed the opportunity. Those marriages were later annulled by the California Supreme Court, who ruled that the Mayor had overstepped his authority in directing the city clerk to give marriage licences to same-sex couples, but then in May 2008 ruled that those very laws which prevented the Mayor from taking that action legally, were unconstitutional and struck them down effective, June 15, 2008. When Proposition 8 passed on November 4, 2008 it amended the state constitution in an attempt to again ban marriages between same-sex couples. That measure's constitutionality is pending before the Court and will be decided by June 2009.

It's interesting to think about the connections between the shared anniversary of the birth of the nation's greatest President, the birth of the man who formulated the the theory of evolution, the founding of the oldest and most respected civil rights organization and a day to acknowledge legalized state discrimination against same-sex couples who want to marry.

CA-GOV: Whitman Begins To Reveal Positions On Issues

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman
revealed her positions on a wide array of social issues:

Explaining her support for Proposition 8, the November measure that banned same-sex marriage, she called it a "matter of personal conscience and my faith."

But Whitman, a Presbyterian who supports gay civil unions, said the thousands of same-sex marriages that took place last year before the ban should be legally recognized -- a sentiment opposed by many Proposition 8 backers. Moreover, she said, gay and lesbian couples should be able to adopt children.

Whitman's approach on fiscal matters -- a key element of her pitch to voters -- rested on other seeming contradictions.

At a time when California has frozen tax refunds and halted highway construction to preserve solvency, Whitman, who described herself as a billionaire, said the state should not ask even those in the highest income-tax bracket to pay more.

"One of the things which I'm sure you know," she said, "is that 1% of the people in California pay 50% of the taxes, right? And I am not in favor of raising taxes on anyone right now."


Besides objecting to higher taxes -- which along with program cuts formed Wilson's solution to the 1990s budget mess -- Whitman also said she would have voted against Proposition 187 had she lived in California when it passed in 1994. The measure, pressed by Wilson as he sought reelection that year, was intended to deny education, healthcare and other public services to undocumented immigrants.

"I would not have been prepared to strip all of those services away from children," she said.

At the same time, however, Whitman said Tuesday that schools, hospitals and law enforcement agencies should be required to report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities. She later backtracked on schools, saying, "I want to think about that a little bit." She also said she opposed the issuance of drivers' licenses for those in the country illegally.

Whitman also called herself a champion of the environment. But she voiced qualms about California's efforts against global warming, mainly the attempt under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to force car makers to adopt emission standards tougher than the federal government's.


Whitman said she supported the 2003 recall of Gov. Gray Davis -- and regretted not casting a vote in that historic election.

As an "extraordinarily busy" mother and traveling executive, she said, she "didn't vote as often as I should, and it's something I regret. And no good excuses for it. Wish I had. Should have."

As for restoring California's fiscal health, Whitman said that holding the line on taxes and scaling back state regulations would spur economic growth and pump new money into the treasury -- an agenda that Schwarzenegger pursued with no success. Whitman also called for steps that would seem to deepen the budget hole: higher salaries for math and science teachers, along with new cuts in corporate income taxes.

At the same time, she said voters should repeal ballot measures that dedicated money solely to mental health and tobacco-related healthcare programs so that revenue could be diverted elsewhere.

She offered no specifics on programs she would cut.

Doesn't the last line just say it all? I'm sure they are doing the Macarena over in the Mayoral offices of San Francisco and Los Angeles over this interview. Or maybe we should be hoping that she is the Republican nominee because she'd be so much easier to beat than Poizner....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

REMINDER: Black LGBT Images in the Media Panel Today

REMINDER: Tonight there will be a panel on Black LGBT Images in Media at the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles.
WHAT: “Knocking Down the Door: Black LGBT Images in Media”
WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009; 7pm – 9pm
WHERE: Screen Actors Guild
James Cagney Board Room, First Floor 5757 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036-3600



10-Year-Old Spaniel Wins WKC Best In Show

At The Westminster Kennel Club's 133rd Annual Dog Show in Madison Square Garden last night a Sussex Spaniel named Stump was named Best In Show, the oldest winner ever.

Why I Support The Freedom To Marry

MadProfessah has been chosen to be a guest blogger by Freedom To Marry during National Freedom To Marry week (see the ad on this page!) to post my thoughts on the subject "Why I Support The Freedom To Marry" on the Straight Talk on Marriage blog.

For some reason, I got placed in the "politicians" category of guest bloggers, probably since my piece contains arguments which would be effective in a lobbying visit with an elected official (like what is happening on Tuesday February 17th in Sacramento, Equality California's Lobby Day to Repeal Proposition 8 which I will be participating in next week. If you'd like to join us, register with EQCA by 8pm tomorrow, which is National Freedom To Marry Day.) Here is an excerpt of my thoughts on Why I Support The Freedom To Marry:

I support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples for one simple reason: it’s the right thing to do. I believe in fairness, equality and reciprocity and would like to believe that a majority of Americans share these values. As a college professor, I believe that Americans don’t understand that if they believe in the values of fairness, equality and reciprocity then they should also support the freedom to marry.

It is unfair to deny the rights and responsibilities that are attached to a civil marriage license to same-sex couples. Opposite sex couples could meet one day and get married the very next day and have access to over 1,100 state and federal laws and regulations, including the right to sponsor a foreign partner for permanent immigrant status, joint tax filing and the right to refuse to testify against a spouse in court, just to mention a few.

There is inequality in how same-sex relationships are recognized by the state and federal governments as well as the society at large. I have been in a relationship with another man since 1991, shared a household since 1994, registered as domestic partners since 1999 but the federal government and most businesses consider me “single."

Head on over to the Straight Talk On Marriage blog and read the rest!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Who's Your Doggie?

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show finals are on CNBC tonight at 10pm PST. This picture shows a number of bichon frises appearing yesterday in New York City's Madison Square Garden.

LAPD May Day Melee Costs City $12.85 million

The ramifications of the "May Day Melee" on May 1, 2007 when the LAPD nearly caused a riot by acting inappropriately at a peaceful immigrants rights march in Los Angeles continue, with the City of Los Angeles agreeing to a settlement of nine lawsuits at a total cost nearly $13 million.
Los Angeles Times reporters Maeve Reston and Joel Rubin posted the following to the LA Now blog:
The settlement is another blow to the city’s treasury related to LAPD misconduct in the midst of serious budgetary problems. The settlement of the May Day cases comes on the heels of the council’s approval last week of a $20.5-million payout to four current and former police officers who claimed they were falsely arrested and mistreated in the wake of the scandal involving the police department's Rampart Division.

The council still faces other legal troubles related to the May Day incident--there were 27 pending cases related to the demonstration before today’s settlement, according to officials with the city attorney. Only one case involving a broken camera had been settled.

Forty-two people, including nine journalists, were injured as a pro-immigration march wound down in MacArthur Park on May 1. LAPD officials said the scuffle was set off by a group of agitators who threw bottles and other objects at police. The department’s Metro Division used batons and fired rubber bullets to disperse what was a predominantly peaceful gathering.

Chief William J. Bratton said the fracas was an aberration for the department, but promised it would lead to changes in policy and training. He called the decision of his officers to use that level of force a “command and control breakdown.”

In response to the incident, Bratton announced that he was disciplining 11 officers and calling for the termination of four. In another step toward preventing a recurrence, Bratton set up a new bureau known as the Critical Incident Management Bureau that overseas major events and protests.
WTF? I want to hear more about the $20.5 million to the four LAPD officers who were falsely charged and mistreated. Why are they getting paid more than the other nine lawsuits by civilians that was settled for $13 million?

Monday, February 09, 2009

CA-GOV: Meg Whitman Enters The Race

Ending weeks and months of rumors, former EBay CEO (billionaire and confirmed homophobe) Meg Whitman announced today that she has formed an exploratory committee, the first official step in seeking the Republican nomination for Governor in June 2010.

Ms. Whitman is a Republican and, like others in her party, may well face an uphill battle for the post, given the economic crisis battering the state. Governor Schwarzenegger has suffered a drop in popularity as he institutes mandatory furloughs for state employees and other sweeping cutbacks. But on Monday, Ms. Whitman, 52, sounded as if she were running for chief executive of California as she explained why she wanted the post.“California faces challenges unlike any other time in its history — a weak and faltering economy, massive job losses, and an exploding state budget deficit,” Ms. Whitman said in a statement. “California is better than this, and I refuse to stand by and watch it.”

On her campaign Web site, which also made its debut on Monday, Ms. Whitman calls for a “New California.”

The largest LGBT political group in the state, Equality California quickly issued a statement from executive director Geoff Kors condemning her entry into the race.

“Republican and Democratic voters alike know that the only way to win statewide elections in California is to nominate candidates who will work for all Californians and bring people together, not politicians who pit one group against another in an attempt to divide us.

“As our country and our State move forward, Meg Whitman is stuck in the past, practicing the politics of divisiveness by publicly supporting Prop 8. Whitman is wrong for LGBT people and wrong for California.”
It will be interesting to see how much the 2010 Gubernatorial primary elections become another proxy fight over marriage equality and Proposition 8, especially if the California Supreme Court doesn't settle the issue definitively this summer by striking down the measure.

On the Democratic side, all the major candidates, Attorney General (and former Governor)Jerry Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Instruction Jack O'Connell (and even U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein) not only opposed Proposition 8 but support civil marriage for same-sex couples.

LA TIMES slaps Obama Administration on Faith-based Discrimination

The Los Angeles Times editorial page took the Obama administration to task today for its delay in deciding whether to apply non-discrimination provisions to religious organizations which take federal funds as part of his government's version of the faith-based initiative begun in the Bush administration.

What's missing is a clear statement that faith-based services that accept federal money may not discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion. Rather than flatly prohibiting such discrimination, Obama's initiative establishes an advisory council, which will refer legal questions about "programs and practices" to the attorney general. That seems to contemplate a case-by-case approach that could confuse some applicants for federal aid and encourage others to hire only church members and take their chances.

A ban on discrimination in hiring is admittedly inconsistent with one rationale for faith-based programs: that a pervasively religious program might be especially potent in transforming the lives of addicts, prison inmates or teenagers involved in risky sexual relationships. Indeed, the message that sobriety or persevering in a troubled marriage pleases God might well be more effective than a secular appeal for a change in behavior. But government underwriting of such activities violates the 1st Amendment's prohibition of an "establishment" of religion. That may be why Bush's original executive order described aid to faith-based charities as a way to "level the playing field" between religious and nonreligious charities.

Obama did appoint an openly gay, Black man to the advisory council, Fred Davie (partner of Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders.)

This is not enough to quiet concerns by the members of the Times op-ed page as well as LGBT activists who see the failure to enforce non-discrimination provisions as signs of "squishiness" of the Obama administration on the question even before a sure-to-be-messy legislative fight for a trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

National Freedom To Marry Day is Thursday

Thursday is February 12th, which has been celebrated as National Freedom To Marry Day since 1999. This year it is also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin and the 5th anniversary of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to start allowing same-sex couples to get marriage licences in 2004 which led to 2008's California Supreme Court case In Re Marriage Cases legalizing same-sex marriages in California (as well as Proposition 8 banning them).

Freedom To Marry is an advertising sponsor of Please support our advertiseres by clicking on their banners ads!

Eye Candy: Philip Fusco

Yay! After a brief hiatus, Japhy at is back and posting up pictures of scantily clad pulchritudinous youngsters. Here are a few shots of Philip Fusco, check out Queerty for more pictures of him (wearing even less!)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Pictures of Black LGBT Marching in MLK Day Parade

The Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition and Here To Stay Coalition marched in the official Martin Luther King, Jr Parade on January 19, 2009. Here are some pictures recording that historic occurrence.

CA-GOV: 25 Random Things About Jerry Brown

Attorney General Jerry Brown posted his "25 Random Thing About Me" on his Facebook page. According to the LA NOW blog, his staff claims that Brown typed up the list and posted it himself, without staff input.

1. I got my first dog 13 years ago, a black Lab named Dharma.

2. At Yale, I took “Psychiatry and the Law” from Anna Freud, Sigmund’s daughter. I also studied Roman law.

3. In 1958, I took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Later, Pope John XXIII dispensed me from these obligations.

4. I took marriage vows for the first time 3 years ago.

5. I practiced Zen meditation under Yamada Roshi and Father Enomiya-Lassalle in Japan.

6. My official portrait as Governor was quite controversial and the legislature refused to hang it. My Father said if I didn’t get a new one, I could never run again. It is now hanging and I am still running.

7. I am not fond of Mediterranean fruit flies, or of Malathion. Both are bad.

8. I dislike shopping.

9. I started 2 charter schools in Oakland, the Oakland school for the Arts and the Oakland Military Institute.

10. When governor, I decided not to have an Inaugural ball and my inaugural speech was 7½ minutes. For the inaugural dinner, we went to Man Fook Lo, a Chinese restaurant in the produce district of Los Angeles. It was once a favorite of Mae West.

11. I am a part owner of a ranch in Colusa County. It belonged to my Great-grandfather.

12. I worked with Mother Theresa in India at the Home for the Dying.

13. I’ve been duck hunting with Chief Justice Warren, but not with Vice President Cheney.

14. I sued Richard Nixon’s lawyer for helping the President cheat on his income tax.

15. I like arugula and broccoli.

16. On my honeymoon, my wife and I canoed down the Russian river.

17. I was a cheerleader at St. Ignatius High School.

18. I knocked my opponent to the canvas in a 3 round boxing match at Senior Fight Night.

19. My favorite cereal is Flax Plus Multibran.

20. My first car was a 1941 green Plymouth. My most famous car was a 1974 blue Plymouth.

21. I own a colt 38, given to me by my father.

22. I went to Bangladesh as a CARE ambassador.

23. I hiked to the top of half dome. My first trip to Yosemite was when I was 4.

24. The first time I became Governor, I followed an Actor (Ronald Reagan).

25. My maternal grandfather was a San Francisco Police Captain. My paternal grandfather ran a poker club in the Tenderloin.

If there were any questions about whether he wants to be the next Governor of California, see numbers 6 "I am still running" and number 24 (Clearly if Brown became Governor again in 2011, he would follow another Republican actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Saturday, February 07, 2009

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2009

Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day to raise awareness of the devastating impact that HIV and AIDS have had on Black people in America (and the World):

• When we look at HIV/AIDS by race and ethnicity, we see that African Americans
have more illness (even though blacks account for about 13% of the U.S.
population, they account for about half (49%) of the people who get HIV and
AIDS; shorter survival times (Blacks with AIDS often don’t live as long as people
of other races and ethnic groups with AIDS); and more deaths (for African
Americans and other blacks, HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death.
• HIV/AIDS affects black children the most. In 2005, 104 (63%) of the 166 children
under the age of 13 diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 33 states were black.
• According to information from 33 states, during 2005, among men, 41% of men
living with HIV/AIDS were black; among women, 64% of women living with
HIV/AIDS were black.
• Of all black men living with HIV/AIDS, the primary transmission category was
sexual contact with other men, followed by injection drug use and high-risk
heterosexual contact.
• Of all black women living with HIV/AIDS, the primary transmission category was
high-risk heterosexual contact, followed by injection drug use.
• Of the estimated 141 infants perinatally infected with HIV, 91 (65%) were Black
(CDC, HIV/AIDS Reporting System, unpublished data, December 2006).
• Of the estimated 18,849 people under the age of 25 whose diagnosis of
HIV/AIDS was made during 2001–2004 in the 33 states with HIV reporting,
11,554 (61%) were Black.
• Since the beginning of the epidemic, blacks have accounted for 397,548 (42%) of
the estimated 952,629 AIDS cases diagnosed in the 50 states and the District of

On Friday February 6th, Black AIDS Institute released an update to last year's ground-breaking report called "Left Behind: State of AIDS in Black America" which pointed out, among other things, that if African-Americans were their own country, they would be the 16th most impacted country in the world by AIDS, ahead of Botswana, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Namibia, Rwanda or Vietnam — 7 of the 15 countries that receive support from the U.S. Government's anti-AIDS program PEPFAR.

Get Tested! Know your HIV status and the status of your sexual partners.


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