Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WIMBLEDON 2009: Men's Quarterfinals

6'10" Ivo Karlovic of Croatia

After going four out of four with my predictions for the Wimbledon women's quarterfinals, I will try my hand at predicting Wednesday's Men's Quarterfinals
Lleyton Hewitt AUS v Andy Roddick USA (6)

Andy Murray GBR (3) v Juan Carlos Ferrero ESP

Tommy Haas GER (24) v Novak Djokovic SRB (4)
Ivo Karlovic CRO (22) v Roger Federer SUI (2)
I believe the winners will be Roddick (in 4 sets), Murray (in 3 sets), Djokovic (in 5 sets) and Federer (in 4 sets).

LA TIMES Covers Health Justice's Condom Distribution Program

Monday's Los Angeles Times carried a story about the distribution of condoms in Los Angeles County jails by the Center for Health Justice:
Inmates call Ron Osorio "West Hollywood" because the words are printed on the cream-colored cloth bag he carries inside Men's Central Jail each Friday.

The bag is filled with 300 Lifestyle condoms. Osorio, who works for the nonprofit Center for Health Justice, has been visiting the jail almost weekly since 2001, when Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca approved a small but groundbreaking program that allowed the health group to pass out prophylactics to inmates in a segregated unit for gay men.

"We go to the dorms and a guy hands out the bagged lunches. There's another guy that hands out the juice. . . . and I stand between those two as they go through the line. They get their lunch, they get a condom, and they get their juice," Osorio said.
Eight years after Baca first approved the program, the sheriff is pondering whether to expand it by doubling the number of condoms distributed to the 300 inmates within the segregated unit.

His decision comes as a yearlong pilot condom distribution program at the California State Prison at Solano enters its eighth month.

Health advocates say that a successful review of that program could lead to widespread distribution of condoms in prisons throughout the state.

It would be one of the most aggressive measures in the nation's jails and prisons to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, experts say.

Sheriff's officials acknowledge that the virus is a prominent problem in the jails.

They spend about $2 million each year in federally refundable money on HIV/AIDS medication and identify about 65 new cases each month.

On average there are about 1,400 people in L.A. County jails with HIV each year, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department.

Great coverage for the great work that Center for Health Justice does (MadProfessah is Board President of the agency).

Mariah Carey In Drag As A Man!

These shots of the pop star dressed as a man are for the video to Mariah Carey's "Obsessed," the first single from her next album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel.

hat/tip to TowleRoad.

WIMBLEDON 2009: Ladies' Quarterfinals

The Wimbledon quarterfinals are being played Tuesday (women) and Wednesday (men).
Dinara Safina RUS (1) versus Sabine Lisicki GER

Venus Williams USA (3) versus Agnieszka Radwanska POL (11)

Francesca Schiavone ITA versus Elena Dementieva RUS (4)

Victoria Azarenka BLR (8) versus Serena Williams USA (2)

I predict that the winners will be Safina (in 3 sets), Venus Williams (in 2 sets), Dementieva (in 2 sets) and Serena Williams (in 3 sets).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mariah Carey's Next Album Cover

Hat/tip to Wonder Man at Maybe, it's just me.

Obama Remarks at White House Stonewall Ceremony

The White House released a transcript of the remarks the president made to 250 invited LGBT leaders in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 29, 2009



East Room

4:35 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Hello, hello, hello. (Applause.) Hey! Good to see you. (Applause.) I'm waiting for FLOTUS here. FLOTUS always politics more than POTUS.

MRS. OBAMA: No, you move too slow. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: It is great to see everybody here today and they're just -- I've got a lot of friends in the room, but there are some people I want to especially acknowledge. First of all, somebody who helped ensure that we are in the White House, Steve Hildebrand. Please give Steve a big round of applause. (Applause.) Where's Steve? He's around here somewhere. (Applause.)

The new chair of the Export-Import Bank, Fred Hochberg. (Applause.) Where's Fred? There's Fred. Good to see you, Fred. Our Director of the Institute of Education Sciences at DOE, John Easton. Where's John? (Applause.) A couple of special friends -- Bishop Gene Robinson. Where's Gene? (Applause.) Hey, Gene. Ambassador Michael Guest is here. (Applause.) Ambassador Jim Hormel is here. (Applause.) Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown is here. (Applause.)

All of you are here. (Laughter and applause.) Welcome to your White House. (Applause.) So --

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Somebody asked from the Lincoln Bedroom here. (Laughter.) You knew I was from Chicago too. (Laughter.)

It's good to see so many friends and familiar faces, and I deeply appreciate the support I've received from so many of you. Michelle appreciates it and I want you to know that you have our support, as well. (Applause.) And you have my thanks for the work you do every day in pursuit of equality on behalf of the millions of people in this country who work hard and care about their communities -- and who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. (Applause.)

Now this struggle, I don't need to tell you, is incredibly difficult, although I think it's important to consider the extraordinary progress that we have made. There are unjust laws to overturn and unfair practices to stop. And though we've made progress, there are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families; and who would deny you the rights that most Americans take for granted. And I know this is painful and I know it can be heartbreaking.

And yet all of you continue, leading by the force of the arguments you make but also by the power of the example that you set in your own lives -- as parents and friends, as PTA members and leaders in the community. And that's important, and I'm glad that so many LGBT families could join us today. (Applause.) For we know that progress depends not only on changing laws but also changing hearts. And that real, transformative change never begins in Washington.

(Cell phone "quacks.")

Whose duck is back there? (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA: It's a duck.

THE PRESIDENT: There's a duck quacking in there somewhere. (Laughter.) Where do you guys get these ring tones, by the way? (Laughter.) I'm just curious. (Laughter.)

Indeed, that's the story of the movement for fairness and equality -- not just for those who are gay, but for all those in our history who've been denied the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; who've been told that the full blessings and opportunities of this country were closed to them. It's the story of progress sought by those who started off with little influence or power; by men and women who brought about change through quiet, personal acts of compassion and courage and sometimes defiance wherever and whenever they could.

That's the story of a civil rights pioneer who's here today, Frank Kameny, who was fired -- (applause.) Frank was fired from his job as an astronomer for the federal government simply because he was gay. And in 1965, he led a protest outside the White House, which was at the time both an act of conscience but also an act of extraordinary courage. And so we are proud of you, Frank, and we are grateful to you for your leadership. (Applause.)

It's the story of the Stonewall protests, which took place 40 years ago this week, when a group of citizens -- with few options, and fewer supporters -- decided they'd had enough and refused to accept a policy of wanton discrimination. And two men who were at those protests are here today. Imagine the journey that they've travelled.

It's the story of an epidemic that decimated a community -- and the gay men and women who came to support one another and save one another; and who continue to fight this scourge; and who demonstrated before the world that different kinds of families can show the same compassion and support in a time of need -- that we all share the capacity to love.

So this story, this struggle, continues today -- for even as we face extraordinary challenges as a nation, we cannot -- and will not -- put aside issues of basic equality. (Applause.) We seek an America in which no one feels the pain of discrimination based on who you are or who you love.

And I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that. It's not for me to tell you to be patient, any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half century ago.

But I say this: We have made progress and we will make more. And I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps. And by the time you receive -- (applause.) We've been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration. (Applause.)

Now, while there is much more work to do, we can point to important changes we've already put in place since coming into office. I've signed a memorandum requiring all agencies to extend as many federal benefits as possible to LGBT families as current law allows. And these are benefits that will make a real difference for federal employees and Foreign Service Officers, who are so often treated as if their families don't exist. And I'd like to note that one of the key voices in helping us develop this policy is John Berry, our director of the Office of Personnel Management, who is here today. And I want to thank John Berry. (Applause.)

I've called on Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act to help end discrimination -- (applause) -- to help end discrimination against same-sex couples in this country. Now, I want to add we have a duty to uphold existing law, but I believe we must do so in a way that does not exacerbate old divides. And fulfilling this duty in upholding the law in no way lessens my commitment to reversing this law. I've made that clear.

I'm also urging Congress to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, which will guarantee the full range of benefits, including health care, to LGBT couples and their children. (Applause.) My administration is also working hard to pass an employee non-discrimination bill and hate crimes bill, and we're making progress on both fronts. (Applause.) Judy and Dennis Shepard, as well as their son Logan, are here today. I met with Judy in the Oval Office in May -- (applause) -- and I assured her and I assured all of you that we are going to pass an inclusive hate crimes bill into law, a bill named for their son Matthew. (Applause.)

In addition, my administration is committed to rescinding the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States based on HIV status. (Applause.) The Office of Management and Budget just concluded a review of a proposal to repeal this entry ban, which is a first and very big step towards ending this policy. And we all know that HIV/AIDS continues to be a public health threat in many communities, including right here in the District of Columbia. And that's why this past Saturday, on National HIV Testing Day, I was proud once again to encourage all Americans to know their status and get tested the way Michelle and I know our status and got tested. (Applause.)

And finally, I want to say a word about "don't ask, don't tell." As I said before -- I'll say it again -- I believe "don't ask, don't tell" doesn't contribute to our national security. (Applause.) In fact, I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security. (Applause.)

Now, my administration is already working with the Pentagon and members of the House and the Senate on how we'll go about ending this policy, which will require an act of Congress.

Someday, I'm confident, we'll look back at this transition and ask why it generated such angst, but as Commander-in-Chief, in a time of war, I do have a responsibility to see that this change is administered in a practical way and a way that takes over the long term. That's why I've asked the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a plan for how to thoroughly implement a repeal.

I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy -- patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who've served this country well. But what I hope is that these cases underscore the urgency of reversing this policy not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it is essential for our national security.

Now, even as we take these steps, we must recognize that real progress depends not only on the laws we change but, as I said before, on the hearts we open. For if we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that there are good and decent people in this country who don't yet fully embrace their gay brothers and sisters -- not yet.

That's why I've spoken about these issues not just in front of you, but in front of unlikely audiences -- in front of African American church members, in front of other audiences that have traditionally resisted these changes. And that's what I'll continue to do so. That's how we'll shift attitudes. That's how we'll honor the legacy of leaders like Frank and many others who have refused to accept anything less than full and equal citizenship.

Now, 40 years ago, in the heart of New York City at a place called the Stonewall Inn, a group of citizens, including a few who are here today, as I said, defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement.

It was the middle of the night. The police stormed the bar, which was known for being one of the few spots where it was safe to be gay in New York. Now, raids like this were entirely ordinary. Because it was considered obscene and illegal to be gay, no establishments for gays and lesbians could get licenses to operate. The nature of these businesses, combined with the vulnerability of the gay community itself, meant places like Stonewall, and the patrons inside, were often the victims of corruption and blackmail.

Now, ordinarily, the raid would come and the customers would disperse. But on this night, something was different. There are many accounts of what happened, and much has been lost to history, but what we do know is this: People didn't leave. They stood their ground. And over the course of several nights they declared that they had seen enough injustice in their time. This was an outpouring against not just what they experienced that night, but what they had experienced their whole lives. And as with so many movements, it was also something more: It was at this defining moment that these folks who had been marginalized rose up to challenge not just how the world saw them, but also how they saw themselves.

As we've seen so many times in history, once that spirit takes hold there is little that can stand in its way. (Applause.) And the riots at Stonewall gave way to protests, and protests gave way to a movement, and the movement gave way to a transformation that continues to this day. It continues when a partner fights for her right to sit at the hospital bedside of a woman she loves. It continues when a teenager is called a name for being different and says, "So what if I am?" It continues in your work and in your activism, in your fight to freely live your lives to the fullest.

In one year after the protests, a few hundred gays and lesbians and their supporters gathered at the Stonewall Inn to lead a historic march for equality. But when they reached Central Park, the few hundred that began the march had swelled to 5,000. Something had changed, and it would never change back.

The truth is when these folks protested at Stonewall 40 years ago no one could have imagined that you -- or, for that matter, I -- (laughter) -- would be standing here today. (Applause.) So we are all witnesses to monumental changes in this country. That should give us hope, but we cannot rest. We must continue to do our part to make progress -- step by step, law by law, mind by changing mind. And I want you to know that in this task I will not only be your friend, I will continue to be an ally and a champion and a President who fights with you and for you.

Thanks very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.) Thank you. It's a little stuffed in here. We're going to open -- we opened up that door. We're going to walk this way, and then we're going to come around and we'll see some of you over there, all right? (Laughter.) But out there. (Laughter.)

But thank you very much, all, for being here. Enjoy the White House. Thank you. (Applause.)

END 4:53 P.M. EDT


TowleRoad has the list of invitees.

Rod 2.0 has the video of the President's remarks:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Eye Candy: Rishi Idnani (reprise)

Rishi Idnani caught my eye on Queerty.com awhile ago and was a featured Eye Candy model here at MadProfessah.com way back in January. The South Asian hottie is a New York-based model. In honor of Gay pride in India being celebrated throughout that country yesterday (despite the existence of an archaic anti-sodomy law) I thought we should feature him again. Enjoy!

CA-GOV: Brown Leads Newsom By 20 Points In Poll

A new poll showing a huge lead for former Governor Jerry Brown over San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has California politicians buzzing.

With Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declining to enter the California Governor's race it is now less than a year before the June 2010 primary election, the race seems to be pretty set. Dianne Feinstein is not expected to run, and the entry of Jack O'Connell or even Loretta Sanchez is unlikely to upend the Brown versus Newsom dynamic.

GOOD NEWS: Jena 6 Case Finally Ends

The infamous Jena 6 case is over. MadProfessah has followed this case for years, which was another example of what many viewed as a racially influenced prosecution.

Carwin Jones, Jesse Ray Beard, Robert Bailey Jr., Bryant Purvis and Theo Shaw pleaded no contest to misdemeanor simple battery and were sentenced to seven days probation and fined $500 plus court costs. The 6th member, Mychal Bell, was previously sentenced to 18 months in jail on a separate second-degree battery charge.

The main organization that publicized the case was ColorofChange.org, who released this statement on Friday:
ColorOfChange.org said Friday that the plea deal marked in acknowledgement by officials that the Louisiana justice system initially treated the then-teenage boys too harshly, privileging white students’ accounts of a schoolyard fight over those of black students in the largely segregated town of Jena.

“Today’s plea deal shows that the original charges in the case were unfair and vastly overblown,” said James Rucker, ColorOfChange.org’s executive director. “The story of the Jena 6 was an extreme example of what can happen when a justice system biased against black boys operates unchecked. But it’s also an example of what can happen when hundreds of thousands of people across the country stand up to challenge unequal justice. Together, we drew the country’s attention to this case and raised the money necessary to fund a strong legal defense.”

ColorOfChange.org, the first national organization involved in supporting the Jena 6, was instrumental in drawing national attention to the case, working alongside local activists in Jena and black bloggers across the country to spread word of the excessive charges and the story behind them.

More than 300,000 ColorOfChange.org members signed petitions to elected officials, urging that the charges be dropped and that then-Governor Kathleen Blanco intervene. The group organized more than 10,000 of its members to march in Jena on September 20, 2007. The same day, thousands of members in over 150 cities across the country held rallies and vigils and distributed flyers about the case; they also made more than 6,000 phone calls to public officials in Louisiana.

ColorOfChange members also contributed more than $275,000 toward high-quality legal teams, which succeeded in getting a biased judge removed from the cases and ultimately achieved today’s victory.
Courtesy Jack and Jill Politics, some pictures of the freed guys:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Picture from Sunday's Juneteenth event

Here is a picture from last week's Juneteenth Pride Celebration and Awards organized by Jordan/Rustin Coalition. The openly gay Mayor of Manhattan Beach, Mitch Ward, is picture with Vallerie Wagner and Doug Spearman, winners of the first annual Barbara Jordan Award and Bayard Rustin Award, respectively.

Delhi Queer Pride Today

Delhi Queer Pride is today, which is the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Pride goes global!

Hat/tip to Rex Wockner

Saturday, June 27, 2009

WIMBLEDON 2009: Round of 16 Set

The weather has been lovely in London at this year's Wimbledon Championships. There are 16 men and 16 women left when play resumes on Monday.

On the men's side of the draw most of the favorites remain, as Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Roddick are all still in the hunt. Here's who plays whom in the Fourth Round:
Lleyton Hewitt AUS


Radek Stepanek CZE (23)

Tomas Berdych CZE (20)


Andy Roddick USA (6)

Andy Murray GBR (3)


Stanislas Wawrinka SUI (19)

Juan Carlos Ferrero ESP


Gilles Simon FRA (8)

Igor Andreev RUS (29)


Tommy Haas GER (24)

Dudi Sela ISR


Novak Djokovic SRB (4)

Fernando Verdasco ESP (7)


Ivo Karlovic CRO (22)

Robin Soderling SWE (13)


Roger Federer SUI (2)

I predict the quarterfinalists will be Hewitt, Roddick, Murray, Simon, Haas, Djokovic, Karlovic and Federer. I would not be surprised if Berdych, Andreev and Ferrero pull upsets.
I think there's a very good chance of a Murray-Federer final, but the 14-time major champion will have to get past the 2009 French Open finalist, the 6'10 giant and the World #4 player to make it there.

On the women's side, the Round of 16 draw looks like:
Dinara Safina RUS (1) versus Amelie Mauresmo FRA (17)

Caroline Wozniacki DEN (9) versus Sabine Lisicki GER

Venus Williams USA (3) versus Ana Ivanovic SRB (13)

Agnieszka Radwanska POL (11) versus Melanie Oudin USA

Virginie Razzano FRA (26) versus Francesca Schiavone ITA

Elena Vesnina RUS versus Elena Dementieva RUS (4)

Victoria Azarenka BLR (8) versus Nadia Petrova RUS (10)

Daniela Hantuchova SVK versus Serena Williams USA (2)
Here my predictions for the quarterfinalists are: Mauresmo, Wozniacki, V. Williams, Radwanska, Razzano, Dementieva, Azarenka and S. Williams. I would not be too surprised if Lisicki, Oudin and Petrova win instead.

I am predicting another all-Williams women's final, but I need to see more before I predict which Williams will win the title this year!

Project Pushback Marriage Equality Video Winners

The winners in the Project Pushback marriage equality video contest have been announced and they are: Family Values by Andrew Putschoegl (Grand Prize winner, $2500) and Blaire Wedding Project by Samantha Lavin and Lori Brener (People's Choice Award winner, $1000).

Here's the Grand Prize winner

Hat/tip to Kenneth in the 212. Check out the Project Pushback website for some of the also-rans, which are pretty good.

Friday, June 26, 2009

CA-10: Anthony Woods Talks To Americablog

As regular MadProfessah.com readers are well aware, the handsome, 28-year-old, openly gay, African American Anthony "Tony" Woods is running for the soon-to-be-open 10th California Congressional district seat currently held by Ellen Tauscher.

Woods is in Washington, D.C. and stopped by Americablog.com to introduce himself to that popular blog's readers. To support the West Point and Harvard Kennedy School grad, you can donate here at his ActBlue page.

Woods is running against California Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi and State Senator Mark DeSaulnier.

MadProfessah.com endorses Anthony Woods in this race!

MIchael Jackson's Most Famous Performance

Celebrity Friday: Mehcad Brooks

Steaming hot Mehcad Brooks has done the impossible, growing even hotter in his appearances on HBO's True Blood. MadProfessah has been ogling Mr. Brooks since 2005, when he appeared on Desperate Housewives.

Brooks is one of the best things to look at on the intriguing HBO show which is already chockful of hot man flesh. His character's name on True Blood is Eggs Benedict Talley.He has clearly been spending time in the gym and now features what looks like an "eight pack."

What I like most about him is his smile. Really!

Hat/tip to Rod 2.0

Delaware Legislature Passes LGB Rights Bill

It seems like state legislative sessions are extending forever this year. Well, better late than never: the Delaware legislature has completed passage of Senate Bill 121 (26-14 in the House and 14-5 in the Senate), a bill which would prohibit discriminmation on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, insurance and public accomodations.

The bill now goes to democratic Governor Jack Markell, who is expected to sign it into law.

Hat/tip to Joe.My.God, who notes that the bill does not include protections based upon gender identity.

Note also, that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act introduced in Congress this week, while it covers sexual orientation and gender identity, only applies to employment thoughout the United States, and would extend those protections to the 31 states which currently do not have gay rights laws.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson, Pop Icon, Is Dead at Age 50

Michael Jackson suffered cardiac arrest on Thursday and died suddenly in Los Angeles. The Pop Icon was 50 years old and is survived by three children: Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince “Blanket” Michael Jackson II.

Feinstein Responds To Health Care Criticism

A spokesperson for Senator Dianne Feinstein responded to questions about the Senator's support for enacting health care reform after several bloggers (including yours truly) noted her unhelpful appearance on television recently.

In her email, the Senator says:
I support:

1) Reducing costs and expanding coverage

2) Prohibiting the denial of insurance because of pre-existing conditions

3) Moving toward either a non-profit model of medical insurance or to one where premium costs can be controlled, either through competition in a public or cooperative model or through a regulated authority.

4) Assuring the financial survival of Medicare, because it is slated to run out of money in 2017.

5) Preventing the transfer of Medicaid costs to states, which could result in billions of dollars of additional loss to the State of California.

6) Establishing means testing for programs like Medicare Part D, which pays for prescription drugs

Clearly, the individual mandate - and how it is funded - is the critical, and as yet unanswered, question.
Jason Rosenbaum over at Calitics.com is not impressed:

Feinstein wants to control costs? The Commonwealth Fund estimates a health reform bill with a public health insurance option will save an extra $2 trillion over 11 years.

Feinstein wants to expand coverage? Jacob Hacker argues [pdf] that the public health insurance option in conjunction with reform is the way to best provide expanded and quality coverage, while preserving choice.

Feinstein wants to stop insurance industry abuses? Then she'll have to help pass a law that mandates these things, because the insurance industry will never voluntarily accept these concessions, as their testimony before Congress made abundantly clear.

And Feinstein wants to save Medicare and Medicaid? Well, the only way to do that is to aggressively control costs, as Budget Director Peter Orszag points out, is to reform health care in a real way.

In short, if Senator Feinstein wants to achieve any of the goals she says she wants to achieve, she's going to need to support robust health reform, including the choice of a public health insurance option.


So keep calling her office at (202) 224-3841 and sign the petition and ask her to just come out and say it, "I'm with the President and commit to using all my muscle to pass real health care reform this year, including a choice of a public health insurance option, to achieve the goals I've laid out for our health care system."

I'll say it once again: Senator Feinstein can either make history, or stand in the way.

Oscars Announce 10 Best Picture Nominees For 2009

This is huge news for the Gay Superbowl. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Wednesday that they were expanding the list of Best Picture nominees from five to ten:

In all about 300 films were eligible for awards in 2008. Were that to hold going forward, roughly one of every 30 films would become a best-picture nominee.

While a best-picture nomination now becomes a bit easier for makers of documentaries, animated films and foreign-language films to aspire to, it may also dilute the value of that nomination. In the past studios have built the marketing campaign for many films around a coveted best-picture nomination.

In a phone interview Mr. Ganis said support for the change had been very strong among the academy’s governors. He said the academy, which has about 6,000 voting members who work in the film industry, did not consult studios about the possible implications for business. “We’re the arts organization, not the business organization,” he said.
It wll be interesting to see the impact the change has on year-end Top 10 lists. I have only seen four movies this year that would qualify, and only Up would likely to make my year-end list.

VIDEO: Life and Times of Harvey Milk

Although last year's Milk was widely celebrated (and was one of my favorite movies of 2008), years ago the documentary The Life and Times of Harvey Milk is an even more extraordinary documentation of the life of the openly gay civil rights leader who was assassinated. Now YouTube has the entire documentary available for viewing. Check it out!

WIMBLEDON 2009: Serena, Venus, Federer Win Early Rounds

2008 Wimbledon finalists Serena Williams and Roger Federer have made it without incident to the third round. Venus Williams won her first match easily and will play her 2nd Round match today, along with other MadProfessah favorites like Andy Roddick. Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Fernando Verdasco all have won two rounds.

Maria Sharapova was upset by Gisela Dulko on Wednesday in a 6-2 3-6 6-4 match on Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Trans-Inclusive ENDA Introduced in U.S. House Today

Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of LCCR flanked by
openly gay U.S. Reps Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Jared Polis (D-Col.)

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), H.R. 2981, which would prohibit employment discrimination in the United States based upon sexual orientation or gender identity, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on Friday, but publicized in a press conference today attended by all three openly gay Congressmembers Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis and several representatives from civil rights organizations.

Rea Carey of The Task Force said:
“Today marks a critical milestone for our community and our country. Introduction of this important legislation signals the beginning of the end of a long-fought battle. For decades, a majority of people in this country have supported protecting their friends, family and neighbors from discrimination. Congress must act, at long last, this year.
“Passage of this critical legislation would help ensure that people are allowed to participate on a level-playing field in the workplace. ENDA reflects our country’s core values of fairness and equality. It is immoral to deny lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people the ability to earn a livelihood and provide for their families. People should not have to fear losing their job simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“We are pleased that President Obama has expressed support for this legislation and expect the administration to play a role in assisting with its passage in both the House and Senate.”

Black Homeless L.A. Teen Girl Heads To Harvard

(Brian Vander Brug/Los Angeles Times)

There was a great story in Friday's Los Angeles Times about a local homeless African-American teenaged girl who is attending Harvard this fall. Her name is Khadijah Williams:
As long as she can remember, Khadijah has floated from shelters to motels to armories along the West Coast with her mother. She has attended 12 schools in 12 years; lived out of garbage bags among pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers. Every morning, she upheld her dignity, making sure she didn't smell or look disheveled.

On the streets, she learned how to hunt for their next meal, plot the next bus route and help choose a secure place to sleep -- survival skills she applied with passion to her education.


Khadijah was in third grade when she first realized the power of test scores, placing in the 99th percentile on a state exam. Her teachers marked the 9-year-old as gifted, a special category that Khadijah, even at that early age, vowed to keep.

"I still remember that exact number," Khadijah said. "It meant only 0.01 students tested better than I did."

In the years that followed, her mother, Chantwuan Williams, pulled her out of school eight more times. When shelters closed, money ran out or her mother didn't feel safe, they packed what little they carried and boarded buses to find housing in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ventura, San Diego, San Bernardino and Orange County, staying for months, at most, in one place.

She finished only half of fourth grade, half of fifth and skipped sixth. Seventh grade was split between Los Angeles and San Diego. Eighth grade consisted of two weeks in San Bernardino.

At every stop, Khadijah pushed to keep herself in each school's gifted program. She read nutrition charts, newspapers and four to five books a month, anything to transport her mind away from the chaos and the sour smell.

At school, she was the outsider. At the shelter, she was often bullied. "You ain't college-bound," the pimps barked. "You live in skid row!"

In 10th grade, Khadijah realized that if she wanted to succeed, she couldn't do it alone. She began to reach out to organizations and mentors: the Upward Bound Program, Higher Edge L.A., Experience Berkeley and South Central Scholars; teachers, counselors and college alumni networks. They helped her enroll in summer community college classes, gave her access to computers and scholarship applications and taught her about networking.
It's exactly programs like these that will be threatened by California's financial mess. How many more Khadijah Wlliams will not be able to be rescued because the safety net has been slashed by budget cuts?

I strongly urge you to read the entire inspiring story by reporter Esmeralda Bermudez, "She finally has a home: Harvard."

CA-SEN: Feinstein Unsure Obama About Health Care Reform.

This is simply "unhelpful." As DailyKos mentions, why is the Senior Senator from California expressing "grave concern" about health care reform in 2009, when she didn't do so about going to war in Iraq in 2002.

Here's the transcript of the above clip:
KING: Is your president trying to seize this political moment because he has the votes right now and the political capital in the first year in office? And might he as a result potentially do more harm than good if you try to do this all at once?

FEINSTEIN: Well to be candid with you, I don’t know that he has the votes right now. I think there’s a lot of concern in the Democratic caucus. Senator Lugar’s point about the economy, the trillions of dollars that have gone into buttressing the economy, now we’re going to be dealing with regulation of the financial sector. What all of the impact of this is not yet known.

I didn't vote for her in 2006 and will never vote for her for anything ever again. Is it November 2012, yet?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

76 Congressmembers Send Letter to Obama To Stop DADT Now

The ball is now in the White House's court on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." 76 Members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama urging him to cease DADT prosecutions immediately.

Led by Congressional Black Caucus member Alcee Hastings, Jr., the letter asks for a moratorium on "separations" for military service of LGBT servicemembers who have been deemed to have "told" their sexuality.

Dear President Obama:

The United States of America prides itself on having the finest military in the world because of the hard work, dedication, and sacrifices of our brave servicemen and women. And yet, under 10 U.S.C. § 654 (Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces), better known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the talents and contributions of our openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) service members continue to be ignored simply because of who they are. Every day, we lose approximately two service members to this misguided, unjust, and flat-out discriminatory policy. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is not only an injustice to them, but a disservice to the U.S. military and our country as a whole.

As you know, Don't Ask, Don't Tell was signed into law in 1993 by former President Bill Clinton as a compromise to allow gay and lesbian service members to serve in the military -- so long as they did not disclose their sexual orientations. Fifteen years later, Don't Ask Don't Tell is instead negatively impacting the lives and livelihoods of these military professionals and depriving our Armed Forces of their honorable service. Since you took office on January 20, 2009, more than 250 gay and lesbian service members have been discharged under this law, which continues to undermine and demoralize the more than 65,000 gay and lesbian Americans currently serving on active duty.

Although we are confident that you will remain true to your campaign promise to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell, our LGBT service members and our country's national security will continue to suffer if initial action is delayed until 2010 or 2011. We urge you to exercise the maximum discretion legally possible in administering Don't Ask, Don't Tell until Congress repeals the law. To this end, we ask that you direct the Armed Services not to initiate any investigation of service personnel to determine their sexual orientation, and that you instruct them to disregard third party accusations that do not allege violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That is, we request that you impose that no one is asked and that you ignore, as the law requires, third parties who tell. Under your leadership, Congress must then repeal and replace Don't Ask, Don't Tell with a policy of inclusion and non-discrimination. This bilateral strategy would allow our openly gay and lesbian service members to continue serving our country and demonstrate our nation's lasting commitment to justice and equality for all.

As the United States continues to work towards responsibly ending the War in Iraq and refocus on the threat from al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, our LGBT service members offer invaluable skills that enhance our country's military competence and readiness. Despite the great strain on our military's human resources, the Armed Forces have discharged almost 800 mission-critical troops and at least 59 Arabic and nine Farsi linguists under Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the last five years. This is indefensible. The financial cost alone of implementing Don't Ask, Don't Tell from Fiscal Year 1994-2003 was more than $363.8 million. Our nation's military has always held itself to the highest standards, and we must recruit and retain the greatest number of our best and brightest. To do anything less only hurts our country's military readiness and our service members.

We also want to bring to your attention the most recent examples of the failed Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in action. New York National Guard First Lieutenant Dan Choi and Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Victor Fehrenbach are two exceptional servicemen who have dedicated their lives to defending our country and protecting the American people. Their bravery and abilities have been tested in combat, and now they face impending discharge under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

First Lieutenant Choi, a current National Guardsman with the 1st Battalion of the 69th Infantry in Manhattan, is a West Point graduate, Arabic language specialist, and Iraq War veteran who is under investigation for refusing to lie about his identity.

Lieutenant Colonel Fehrenbach, Assistant Director of Operations for the 366th Operations Support Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, has honorably served his country for 18 years as an F-15E pilot. He has received nine air medals, including a Medal for Heroism during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and was hand-picked to protect the airspace over Washington, D.C. after the Pentagon was attacked on September 11, 2001. Lieutenant Colonel Fehrenbach, who has flown combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan against the Taliban and al Qaeda, continues to serve while the recommendation for his honorable discharge moves forward to a review board, and eventually to the Secretary of the Air Force. Just two years away from his 20-year retirement, he stands to lose $46,000 a year in retirement and medical benefits for the rest of his life if discharged.

The American people and service members of the Armed Forces overwhelmingly support the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. According to a national Gallup poll conducted in May 2009, 69% of Americans, including 58% of Republicans, favor allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military. Furthermore, a 2006 poll of 545 troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan by Zogby International and the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, revealed that 73% are personally comfortable with gay men and lesbian women. John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Clinton administration, and more than 100 retired admirals and generals support this repeal, in addition to the Human Rights Campaign, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, and Knights Out, an organization of LGBT West Point alumni cofounded by First Lieutenant Choi.

Mr. President, we cannot afford to lose any more of our dedicated and talented service members to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. On behalf of First Lieutenant Choi, Lieutenant Colonel Fehrenbach, and the more than 12,500 gay and lesbian service members who have been discharged since Don't Ask, Don't Tell was implemented in 1994, we stand ready to assist you in repealing this dishonorable and debilitating law as soon as possible, and in restoring justice and equality in our Armed Forces.

Please know that we will continue to monitor this situation and are hopeful that, together, we can address this urgent issue soon. Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to your response.


The letter was authored by Rep. Hastings and signed by Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-CA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), José Serrano (D-NY), James Moran (D-VA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ed Pastor (D-AZ), James Clyburn (D-SC), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Robert "Bobby" Scott (D-VA), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Melvin Watt (D-NC), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Jane Harman (D-CA), Lois Capps (D-CA), Donna M. Christensen (D-VI), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Bill Delahunt (D-MA), Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), James McGovern (D-MA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Robert Wexler (D-FL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Rush Holt (D-NJ), John Larson (D-CT), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), David Wu (D-OR), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Mike Honda (D-CA), James Langevin (D-RI), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Diane Watson (D-CA), Tim Bishop (D-NY), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL), André Carson (D-IN), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Phil Hare (D-IL), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Joe Sestak (D-PA), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Jared Polis (D-CO), Mike Quigley (D-IL), and Gregorio Sablan (D-MP).

WIMBLEDON 2009: Federer's Outfit

Here is Roger Federer's outfit for Wimbledon 2009, designed by Nike. (hat/tip Chandan)

A Visual Summary of the Marriage Equality Debate

Hat/tip to Joe.My.God. The original source is here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

CA-GOV: Villaraigosa Decides Not To Run in 2010

Big political earthquake in California politics. Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has announced that he will not be a candidate for California Governor next year. He went on CNN and spoke with Wolf Blitzer:

The mayor, who was re-elected earlier this year, told Blitzer "the answer's no. I make that decision, as I've said many times, because I love the city I was born and raised in."

"I can't leave this city in the middle of a crisis, it's as simple as that," added Villaraigosa. "I was elected mayor are re-elected by the people of this city. They've given me the honor of a second term and I feel compelled to complete the promise that I've made to them."
Villaraigosa's exit leaves the race on the Democratic side between announced gubernatorial candidate San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom and unannounced candidate (former Governor and current California Attorney General) Jerry Brown. Newsom quickly issued a statement:
As a fellow big-city mayor, over the past four years I have gotten to know and respect Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He is a dedicated public servant who is making a difference for the people of Los Angeles every day.

His leadership is valuable to the people of California and the nation, regardless of the office he chooses to hold. His life story is an inspiration to millions of Californians and especially to Latinos everywhere.

I look forward to continuing to work with him, sharing our experiences as mayors, and collaborating on innovative solutions that will take California in a new direction.

As Mayor Villaraigosa has said so eloquently recently, state government needs to change and I believe we can work together to make that a reality.
And the plot thickens. MadProfessah has not endorsed a candidate (yet) but has been impressed by Newsom so far.

VIDEO: U.S. Senate Passes Slavery Apology

You'll recall that I told you on Thursday that the United States Senate was considering a resolution to apologize for slavery, just in time for Juneteenth. Well, the video of the debate is now available:

Hat/tip Joe.My.God

MOVIE REVIEW: The Hangover

The Other Half wanted to see a movie this weekend so we went and saw The Hangover. The film is directed by Todd Phillips and stars Bradley Cooper (ABC's Alias), Ed Helms (The Daily Show, The Office) and two guys I had never heard of before, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha.

The Hangover is most definitely an "adult comedy." It is chock full of ribald jokes, foul language, sexual situations, male frontal nudity, depiction of massive alcohol consumption (and its after effects).

The movie's plot is surprisingly simple but effective. Four friends (well, 2 friends of the groom-to-be plus his future brother-in-law) go to Las Vegas for a Bachelor Party and wake up the next day with a hilariously awful situation: their hotel suite has been ransacked, the groom is missing, and there are strange objects left in the room (an infant, a chicken, a live tiger) and none of them have any memory of what transpired the night before.

Instead of a "whodunit" this is a "what the **** did we do?" kinda movie. Surprisingly, it is very watchable and almost unwatchable at the same time. You can't believe what a horrible situation the guys have gotten themselves into, but you also can't stop watching.

The Hangover is lots of fun, with a standout performance by Helms. Cooper is always easy on the eyes and Galifianakis weird brand of humor takes awhile to get used to, but is (mostly) effective.

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, sexual content including nudity, and some drug material. Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.



Eye Candy: Anthony Gallo

Thanks to friend of Madprofessah.com, Rod 2.0 I have been exposed to blistering hot Black/Italian model Anthony Gallo, who is today's Eye Candy! Enjoy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Census Announces It Will Count Same-Sex Married Couples

Great news about the 2010 Census! Following up on Wednesday's badly received announcement that the Obama administration was directing all federal agencies to include same-sex domestic partners in previously optional employment benefits like relocation reimbursement, the Bureau of the Census has announced that they will include same-sex married couples in the 2010 count of all Americans.

This is big news, and an exciting day for academics and my friends at the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School.

The New York Times reported:
Steve Jost, a spokesman for the Census Bureau, said same-sex couples would be counted, “and they ought to report the way they see themselves,” adding, “In the normal process of reports coming out after the census of 2010, I think the country will have a good data set on which to discuss this phenomenon that is evolving in this country.”

Same-sex couples could not be married in the United States during the last decennial count. But last year, after two states had approved same-sex marriages, the bureau said those legal marriages would go uncounted because the federal Defense of Marriage Act prevented the government from recognizing them.
Interestingly, by the time the Census gets underway in March 2010, there will exist married same-sex couples in at least 7 states, and possibly 9. Right now, there are legally married gay and lesbian couples in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut and Iowa with Vermont and Maine having laws that go into effect in September 2009 and New Hampshire has a law that goes into effect January 1, 2010. The legislative battles over legal same-sex marriage in New Jersey and New York may have been resolved by then as well.

Rea Carey, executive director of The Task Force sent around a list of Frequently Asked Questions:
Why should I care about the Census?

The U.S. Census creates an essential portrait of our nation, every ten years. This data is used to determine the appropriate number of seats in the House of Representatives. It provides key population numbers for Congress and the Administration to determine how federal dollars flow to the states and the data is used by researchers, advocates and policy makers to develop reports, social service programs, and make critical policy decisions. Accordingly, the Census has a big impact on the political power and economic security of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Since 1990, when the Census added the “unmarried partner” designation on its form, people in same-sex relationships have provided the first visible record of our partnerships in the history of our nation. This data has been very important in countering misconceptions about the LGBT community. For instance, the 2000 Census showed that same-sex couples live in nearly every county in the nation, and that Black and Latino same-sex couples are raising children at nearly the rates of their heterosexual peers, while earning lower incomes.

Is there a sexual orientation or gender identity question on the 2010 Census?

No. Two Reasons:

(1) Questions on the Census take years to advocate for, and must be funded by the passage of legislation through Congress. We are just emerging from the anti-LGBT years of the Bush administration, when this was impossible.

(2) There are only 5 questions on the 2010 Census. They are big, general questions that give over-arching demographic information about every single household in the U.S. They pertain to:





Tenure (rent/own your home)

While we cannot as individual LGBT people make our sexual orientation or gender identity visible on the 2010 Census form, those of us who are partnered can check the “unmarried partner” box, and those couples that have legally married can check the “husband or wife” box.

A note for bi/multi-racial couples: It is not widely known that the race of the household member who fills out the Census form determines the racial designation of a family in one of the Census’ major statistical tables. Given that people of color are often undercounted by the Census, couples or families may want to consider having a person of color identify as household member #1 when filling out the form for a family.

How do I know that the government won’t use this information to target me or my family for discrimination?

The Census must ensure absolute confidentiality of these records in order to carry out its monumental task every ten years. There is no record of any LGBT individual or family being persecuted for checking the “unmarried partner” box.
Another interesting thought experiment is how many states do you think will have gay marriage in 2020? Ten? Twenty? All 50 (51)?

Juneteenth Party Today!

Today is the "JRC Celebrates Juneteenth" event in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles from 2 to 5pm benefiting the Barbara Jordan/ Bayard Rustin Coalition, the only Black LGBT advocacy organization in Southern California.

MadProfessah will be there (with The Other Half), and hope that you will attend also. Admission costs $50 and there are awards going to Doug Spearman and Vallerie Wagner.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Poll Shows Racial Divide On Support For Marriage Equality

The Los Angeles Times has a new poll out which shows that a majority of voters in Los Angeles County support marriage equality.
In the state's continuing political battles over gay marriage, both sides are targeting Latino voters, and a new Los Angeles Times poll illustrates why. Overall, the poll showed, a substantial majority of voters in Los Angeles support the right of same-sex couples to legally marry, with 56% in favor and 37% opposed.

That finding closely tracked the results of November's election in which Proposition 8, which limited marriage to unions of a man and a woman, won statewide but lost in Los Angeles. [MadProfessah Note, this is factually incorrect! Proposition 8 passed by less than 3,000 votes out of more than 3 million cast.] But the poll also showed that within the city, views on the issue differed widely among racial and ethnic groups.

White voters were most emphatic in their support for same-sex marriage, with 68% supporting it and 27% opposing. African American voters were strongly against it, with 54% opposing same-sex marriage and 37% supporting it.

Opposition to gay marriage by African Americans was widely seen as a major factor contributing to the passage of Proposition 8. Latinos in the current poll were split, with 45% supporting same-sex marriage and 46% opposing.
Oy vey. Black opposition to marriage equality "was widely seen as a major factor contibuting to the passage of Proposition 8"? Really? Only by people who believe in the zombie meme, which apparently includes Cathleen Decker of the Los Angeles Times.

However, the important result here is hard data on the majority opposition to marriage equality among African Americans, which MadProfessah and others are fighting to change. Additionally, the knowledge that Latinos are basically evenly split on the question (the margin of error was given 2.6 percentage points) is also useful information.

What's left out? It's odd that the Times didn't include information of how Asian Pacific Islanders feel about marriage equality, especially in light of the success of API Equality in moving their community on this issue.


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