Thursday, June 30, 2011

BART Settles Grant Wrongful Death Case For $2.8M

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has agreed to pay Oscar Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson $1.3 million to settle a civil lawsuit over the unnecessary death of her son at the armed hands of former BART employee Johannes Mehserle who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served less than a paltry year in prison for the shameful act.

BART had previously agreed to pay out $1.5 million to Oscar Grant's 5-year old daughter Tatiana Grant last year.

The San Francisco Examiner reports:

“No amount of money could replace Oscar. Not $1 or $100 million,” Wanda Johnson, Grant’s mother, said during a news conference in Oakland. “My heart feels broken for the loss of my son.
“It didn’t have to be this way.”
Grant was fatally wounded after being shot by BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle while laying facedown on the platform of the Fruitvale station on New Year’s Day 2009. Mehserle had claimed that he thought he was firing his taser when he shot Grant by mistake with his gun.
Grant’s mother filed a $50 million lawsuit against the agency for its role in the death of Grant. On Tuesday, the two sides agreed to a settlement that will pay Johnson $1.3 million, according to BART spokesman Linton Johnson.
“No matter what anyone’s opinion of the case may be, the sad fact remains that this incident has left Wanda Johnson without a son,” BART board member Lynette Sweet said. “We’re working hard to make the Police Department the best it can be for our officers, our customers and our community. This settlement is critical in our efforts to move forward.”
This will be the second and final settlement paid out to a member of Grant’s family since his death. In January 2010, BART delivered a $1.5 million settlement to Grant’s then-5-year-old daughter, Tatiana.
So now we know how much a black man's life is worth: 220 days in jail and $2.8 million dollars. Disgusting.

EQME Plans 2012 Marriage Equality Ballot Measure

Equality Maine has announced that they will be attempting to put this question before voters on the November 2012 ballot:
Do you favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples that protects religious freedom by ensuring no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs?
More interestingly, Equality Maine also released the information that marriage equality is a majority position in Maine, according to recent polls.

The Bangor Daily News reports:
“We’ve changed hearts and minds during ‘No on One,’ and since then, many more Mainers have changed their hearts and continue to change their minds,” said Smith in a Thursday release. “We have been going door to door, talking to them and hearing their journey toward support. In two separate polls, conducted over the last five months, 53 percent of Mainers surveyed said they support letting gay and lesbian couples marry here.”
Supporters must get 57,277 signatures to get the question on the November 2012 ballot.
Gay marriage supporters hope to build on momentum in Rhode Island and in New York, which earlier this month became the sixth state to allow gay marriage.
In 2009, Maine voters used a People's Veto to overturn a marriage equality bill by a vote of 53% to 47% on Question 1 that had been passed through the legislature and signed by Governor Baldacci at the time.

WIMBLEDON 2011: Women's Semifinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the women's semifinals at the Wimbledon Championships for 2011. I predicted 4 of 4 women's quarterfinals correctly and 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals correctly. Last year I predicted 2 of 2 women's semifinals correctly.

Maria Sharapova RUS (5) vs Sabine Lisicki GER . Sharapova appears to be returning to the form that has led her to win 3 major tournaments (2008 Australian Open, 2006 US Open and 2004 Wimbledon) so far after surgery in 2009 really deteriorated her game. Lisicki is a wild card has put on two amazing performances on Wimbledon Centre Court this year, dismissing 2011 French Open champion Li Na in the 3rd round and eliminating 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals. With both Williams sisters gone from the tournament (this was Serena's half) this is the most wide open Wimbledon in over a decade. If  you start to match up the two player's games Lisicki has the better serve, while Sharapova has the better return.
Sharapova has the better second serve, or at least she goes for more, but this also makes it less reliable. Sharapova has 19 aces but also 19 double faults over 5 matches so far. Lisicki has 44 aces and only 13 double faults. Sharapova has a total of 126 winners while Liscki has 157, including an incredible 52 winners in the round before in her 3-set win over Bartoli. Lisicki is probably the better mover but Sharapova is faster than she appears and can do more with the ball when she gets there. Analyzing their groundstrokes you have to give a big advantage to Sharapova, especially on the backhand side, with the forehand side being a bit closer. On grass you have to give the edge to the better server (Lisicki) but all the intangibles (been in this position before, mental toughness) go to Sharapova.I would be delighted if Lisicki wins, but I think it's more likely she will falter than Sharapova will. I was very surprised that Lisicki had to play a 3rd set against Bartoli, after having 3 match points in the second set, but she shook that off to win 6-1. If she gives that opportunity to Sharapova to come back, the Russian will reach her 2nd Wimbledon final. PREDICTION: Who I think will win: Sharapova, Who I want to win: Lisicki.

Victoria Azarenka BLR (4) vs. Petra Kvitova CZE (8). This should be the more interesting match of the two because the higher ranked player is the one with the less experience being in the semifinals of Wimbledon. However, I'm sure in her own mind Azarenka feels like she should have won a major already. Azarenka is like a young Novak Djokovic in that early in his career the Serbian retired in a number of important matches and Azarenka is (in)famous for her withdrawals from multiple matches, especially this year.

They are both incredibly talented players and you totally expect them to win multiple majors. Djokovic has met (and possibly even exceeded) expectations but Azarenka is still waiting for her big breakthrough. If you look at each of the semifinalists' records to this point Azarenka has only had 10 aces to 9 double faults in 5 rounds. Kvitova has had 26 aces to 11 double faults. Interestingly, when you match up their games you see that Kvitova has the better serve and the better ground strokes. Azarenka is by far the better mover and I think the intangibles are pretty even. Kvitova disappointed me when she lost a 2nd set tie-break to Tsevetana "Venus-killer" Pironkova with some bad misses on attempted winners. Then again, like Lisicki, she won the deciding set pretty easily. This second match should be closer than the first semifinal with Kvitova, another left-handed female player born in Czechoslovakia like the great Martina Navratiilova, reaching her first (but probably not her last) Wimbledon final. PREDICTION: Who I think will win: Kvitova, Who I want to win: Kvitova.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Obama's Remarks at 2011 LGBT Pride Reception

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                                             June 29, 2011


East Room

6:00 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Welcome to the White House.  (Applause.)  

Nothing ruins a good party like a long speech from a politician.  (Laughter.)  So I'm going to make a short set of remarks here.  I appreciate all of you being here.  I have learned a lesson:  Don't follow Potomac Fever -- (laughter) -- because they sounded pretty good. 

We’ve got community leaders here.  We've got grassroots organizers.  We've got some incredible young people who are just doing great work all across the country -– folks who are standing up against discrimination, and for the rights of parents and children and partners and students --

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  And spouses.

THE PRESIDENT:  -- and spouses.  (Applause.)  You’re fighting for the idea that everyone ought to be treated equally and everybody deserves to be able to live and love as they see fit.  (Applause.)

Now, I don’t have to tell the people in this room we've got a ways to go in the struggle, how many people are still denied their basic rights as Americans, who are still in particular circumstances treated as second-class citizens, or still fearful when they walk down the street or down the hall at school. Many of you have devoted your lives to the cause of equality.  So you all know that we've got more work to do.

But I think it's important for us to note the progress that's been made just in the last two and a half years.  I just want everybody to think about this.  (Applause.)  It was here, in the East Room, at our first Pride reception, on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a few months after I took office, that I made a pledge, I made a commitment.  I said that I would never counsel patience; it wasn’t right for me to tell you to be patient any more than it was right for folks to tell African Americans to be patient in terms of their freedoms.  I said it might take time to get everything we wanted done.  But I also expected to be judged not by the promises I made, but the promises I kept.

Now, let's just think about it.  I met with Judy Shepard.  I promised her we'd pass an inclusive hate crimes law, named after her son, Matthew.  And with the help of Ted Kennedy and others, we got it done and I signed the bill.  (Applause.)

I met Janice Lang-ben, who was barred from the bedside of the woman she loved as she lay dying, and I told her we were going to put a stop to that discrimination.  And I issued an order so that any hospital in America that accepts Medicare or Medicaid –- and that means just about every hospital in America  -– has to treat gay partners just as they have to treat straight partners.  Nobody in America should have to produce a legal contract.  (Applause.)

I said we'd lift the HIV travel ban.  We got that done.  (Applause.)  We put in place the first national strategy to fight HIV/AIDS.  (Applause.)

A lot of people said we weren’t going to be able to get "don't ask, don't tell" done, including a bunch of people in this room.  (Laughter.)  And I just met Sue Fulton, who was part of the first class of women at West Point, and is an outstanding advocate for gay service members.  It took two years through Congress -– working with Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates and the Pentagon.  We had to hold together a fragile coalition.  We had to keep up the pressure.  But the bottom line is we got it done.  And in a matter of weeks, not months, I expect to certify the change in policy –- and we will end "don't ask, don't tell" once and for all.  (Applause.)

I told you I was against the Defense -- so-called Defense of Marriage Act.  I've long supported efforts to pass a repeal through Congress.  And until we reach that day, my administration is no longer defending DOMA in the courts.  The law is discriminatory.  It violates the Constitution.  It’s time for us to bring it to an end.  (Applause.) 

So bottom line is, I’ve met my commitments to the LGBT community.  I have delivered on what I promised.  Now, that doesn’t mean our work is done.  There are going to be times where you’re still frustrated with me.  (Laughter.)  I know there are going to be times where you’re still frustrated at the pace of change.  I understand that.  I know I can count on you to let me know.  (Laughter and applause.)  This is not a shy group.  (Laughter.)   

But what I also know is that I will continue to fight alongside you.  And I don’t just mean as an advocate.  You are moms and dads who care about the schools that your children go to.  You’re students who are trying to figure out how to pay for going to college.  You’re folks who are looking for good jobs to pay the bills.  You’re Americans who want this country to prosper.  So those are your fights, too.  And the fact is these are hard days for America.  So we’ve got a lot of work to do to, not only on ending discrimination; we’ve got a lot of work to do to live up to the ideals on which we were founded, and to preserve the American Dream in our time -– for everybody, whether they're gay or straight or lesbian or transgender. 

But the bottom line is, I am hopeful.  I’m hopeful because of the changes we’ve achieved just in these past two years.  Think about it.  It’s astonishing.  Progress that just a few years ago people would have thought were impossible.  And more than that, what gives me hope is the deeper shift that we’re seeing that’s a transformation not just in our laws but in the hearts and minds of people -- the progress led not by Washington but by ordinary citizens. 

It’s propelled not by politics but by love and friendship and a sense of mutual regard and mutual respect.  It’s playing out in legislatures like New York.  (Applause.)  It’s playing out in courtrooms.  It’s playing out in the ballot box, as people argue and debate over how to bring about the changes where we are creating a more perfect union.  But it’s also happening around water coolers.  It’s happening at Thanksgiving tables.  It’s happening on Facebook and Twitter, and at PTA meetings and potluck dinners, and church halls and VFW Halls. 

It happens when a father realizes he doesn’t just love his daughter, but also her partner.  (Applause.)  It happens when a soldier tells his unit that he’s gay, and they say, well, yeah, we knew that –- (laughter) -- but, you know, you’re a good soldier. It happens when a video sparks a movement to let every single young person out there know that they’re not alone.  (Applause.) It happens when people look past their differences to understand our common humanity.

And that’s not just the story of the gay rights movement.  It is the story of America, and the slow, inexorable march towards a more perfect union. 

I want thank you for your contribution to that story.  I’m confident we’re going to keep on writing more chapters.
     Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.) 

                                           END                                  6:10 P.M. EDT

Heterosexual Supremacists Appeal Judge Ware Ruling

Good grief! The heterosexual supremacists who believe that they are "defending marriage" by supporting Proposition 8 in federal court have appealed Federal District Court Judge James Ware's decision denying their motion to vacate Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling which struck down the measure.

The San Francisco Examiner says:
Attorneys for Prop. 8 filed their appeal this afternoon before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that is hearing an appeal of Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling last August that the law unconstitutionally violated the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

Earlier this year, Prop. 8 sponsors had asked Ware, Walker’s replacement as chief justice, to throw out Walker’s ruling because of an interview he did with reporters in April, after his retirement, during which he discussed his long-term relationship with a gay man. They argued that Walker should have disclosed the relationship and whether he intended to marry before last year’s trial.

Attorneys for the same-sex couples who sued over Prop. 8 argued at the time that the motion was “frivolous” and “offensive.”

Ware denied the motion, saying there was no federal precedent for disqualifying a judge solely because he shares a characteristic, such as sexual orientation, with a litigan
It should be interesting to see which case they lose first, the Perry v Schwarzenegger lawsuit (the appeal of Judge Ware's ruling) or the Perry v Brown lawsuit (the appeal of Judge Walker's ruling). I expect they will lose them both.

FOOD REVIEW: Blue Dog Beer Tavern (Sherman Oaks, CA)

Exterior of the Blue Dog Beer Tavern
Twice-fried french fries with a bacon cheese burger

Vertical view of bacon cheeseburger and fries
As I continue my exploration of the best burgers in Los Angeles I was dragged into the valley for a plant-related errand by the husband so we decided to check out Blue Dog Beer Tavern in Sherman Oaks. Blue Dog Beer Tavern was mentioned in the now seminal LA Weekly article 30 Burger n 30 Days.

I had the Blue Dog Burger (Grilled Mushrooms, Bacon and Caramelized Onions topped with Swiss Cheese and Root Beer Bourbon BBQ sauce; price: $12) with the House Fries. Both were absolutely excellent.

The burger was medium-rare, perfectly juicy and well-maintained with a large toothpick through each half. The fries were crunchy (probably twice-fried), with the skin-on and maintained their temperature well. They went well with the BBQ sauce (provided on the side) or the basic ketchup provided.

The Other Half had The Burger with Cheese, $10 which he also enjoyed. If you're ever in the Sherman Oaks area near where the 405 intersects with the 101 I strongly recommend you stop by and have a burger at the Blue Dog Beer Tavern.

Location: 4524 Saugus Avenue, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403.
Contact: 818-990-2583.
Visit: May 30, 2011.


OVERALL: A- (3.667/4.0). 

WIMBLEDON 2011: Shock! Tsonga Beats Federer In 5 Sets!

Roger Federer had a career record of 178-0 after winning the first 2 sets in a grand slam tennis match. Against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga he won the first two sets 6-3 7-6(3) but then lost the next three sets 4-6 4-6 4-6 when Tsonga broke once in each set. Federer broke Tsonga in the first game of the match but then never had another breakpoint in the entire match.

For the second year in a row, the 16-time major champion fell in the quarterfinal round of Wimbledon, defying my predictions. Even though I predicted (and desired) a Federer win, I am not that surprised by Tsonga's win. He is an excellent grass-court player, has beaten Federer before despite doing 1-5 in the final set and Federer, to me, looked shaky in the 4th round aginst Youzhny. Still, I am shocked that Federer only had 1 break point in over 3 hours of play (which he converted) while Tsonga converted 3 of 9. Will Federer ever win another major? I believe he will, but now I think he will need some help from the other players going out early.

Interestingly, Novak Djokovic is actually 2-5 career head-to-head against Tsonga, despite beating him in the 2008 Australian Open final to win his first major. This will be an even more important match for Djokovic: if he wins the match, he becomes the World #1 ranked player.

WIMBLEDON 2011: Men's Quarterfinals Preview

Roger Federer                                                   © AELTC/S.Wake
Here are my predictions for the men's quarterfinals at the Wimbledon Championships for 2011. Last year's I correctly predicted the results of 1 of 4 men's quarterfinals right before I got on a plane to London to attend the men's final. This year I correctly predicted 4 of 4 women's quarterfinals.

Rafael Nadal ESP (1) vs. Tomas Berdych CZE (6) Mardy Fish USA (10). Who would have thought that the last American player remaining in the draw at Wimbledon deep in the second week would be Mardy Fish? The American took out last year's Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych by exposing the 6'5" Czech mobility deficit with blistering groundstrokes into the corners and confident volleys following very big serves. Nadal was lucky to escape his meeting with Juan Martin del Potro in the 4th round but did not come away unscathed; apparently there is a foot or heel injury which is invisible to MRIs but which caused Nadal to take a 9-minute injury time-out at 6-all in the first set. The 2-time defending champion won that 1st set tie-break (despite being 0-3 down) and went on to win the match 7-6(6) 3-6 7-6(4) 6-4. Mardy has only one won set against Nadal in 5 career meetings, but all of their matches were played before Fish transformed himself by losing 30 pounds and dedicating himself to fitness. The results have been extraordinary: he is now the top rated American male and will likely be so for the foreseeable future. Unless Nadal's injury plays a factor, I still don't see Fish advancing from his first Wimbledon quarterfinal to his first Wimbledon semifinal. PREDICTION: Nadal.

Andy Murray GBR (4) vs. Feliciano Lopez ESP. The only drama in this match will be who will be the first to mention the "controversy" that one of the player's parents finds the other player attractive. Feliciano Lopez is definitely an excellent grass-court player and is unquestionably one of the most handsome players on the tour. He is in his third career Wimbledon quarterfinal, which is the furthest he has ever been in any major.  In 2011 he has already achieved a number of firsts, including having a match point against Roger Federer and defeating Andy Roddick for the first time. That being said, Murray has the hopes of a nation on his shoulders and after a surprisingly good result at this year's French Open appears to be comfortable with pressure he faces to play his best tennis in SW19. Murray has yet to lose on grass this year. He knows he could have played much better in his 2010 Wimbledon semifinal against Nadal last year and wants another chance. I think he'll get it. PREDICTION: Murray.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA (12) vs. Roger Federer SUI (3). This match should be the best of the 2011 Men's Quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Tsonga is a very good grass-court player, playing (but losing) a very good final against Murrayat the Queen's Club. Tsonga actually has a win against Federer (on hard courts) and has only played the Swiss Maestro 5 times so the career head-to-head deficit is not overwhelming. However, the fact that he will be playing Living History, the man who is in his 29th(!) consecutive major quarterfinal  and is trying to win this tournament for a record-tying 7th time must be daunting. Interestingly, since Tsonga had to play Grigor "Baby Fed" Dimitrov earlier in the tournament he may feel well-prepared to handle the real Federer on the big stage this time. Federer was able to dismiss Mikhail Youzhny in four sets after inexplicably dropping the first set tie-break after holding a 4-2 lead at the change over but he really didn't look comfortable to me despite the 6-7(5) 6-3 6-3 6-3 scoreline. Youzhny is a crafty veteran but he does not possess the firepower to really give Federer difficulties at crucial moments. Tsonga does. That being said Federer is aiming for his 27th major semifinal and 22nd major final. I believe that he will reach both. PREDICTIONFederer

Bernard Tomic AUS  vs. Novak Djokovic SRB (2). For the first time in 25 years one of the men's quarterfinalists is an 18-year-old, Bernard Tomic. Australians, especially his father, have been talking up Tomic's talent for years so it is impressive the youngster has matched a feat last achieve by Boris Becker. But there the similarities end. Tomic's game is like Murray 2.0 when he was 18: lots of different spins, excellent movement, full of guile and almost zero aggression.  It is not an attractive picture. Djokovic, despite only losing one match (out of 46 played!) all year long, has progressed through the draw like a ninja, silently dispatching his opponents by gliding around the court, seeming to do very little only to see the vanquished drop to the ground, defeated. He had a slight hiccup against a game Marcos Baghdatis, but one never really believed that the World's #2 was in any danger of losing. I have a very similar feeling about this match. Most likely for the second major in a row, the Top 4 players will reach the semifinals.   PREDICTION: Djokovic. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CA-SEN: Feinstein's Poll Numbers Approach Danger Zone

Dianne Feinstein has represented California in the U.S. Senate since 1992
A new Field poll shows that California's senior U.S. Senator popularity has dropped significantly, raising doubt about her election to a new 6-year term in 2012.

Politico reports:
A new Field Poll survey found that 43 percent of California voters approve of the job Feinstein is doing, while 39 percent disapprove - her highest disapproval rating in the year before an election since she won office in 1992. Of those polled, 18 percent had no opinion.

The numbers reflect a decline from a Field Poll in March, which found 48 percent of voters approving and 33 percent disapproving.

“With Feinstein, we’ve never seen these kinds of numbers before, where it’s so close,” Field poll director Mark DiCamillo told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I was more surprised in March, but to see it replicated - this was a large sample - I just think it’s a very different economic and political backdrop we’re going to have in 2012 than we’ve seen in any previous election year for Feinstein.”

The new numbers reflect a double-digit drop off since in 2005, when Feinstein enjoyed a nearly six-in-ten approval ahead of the next year’s election. Her popularity also was similar in 1999 when 59 percent of Californians approved.
I didn't vote for her in 2006 and I will not vote for her in 2012. As far as I am concerned she is Joe Lieberman in a dress. She gave aid and comfort to Republicans, especially on federal judges during the Bush administration. I'm D O N E.

Of course, I would never even consider voting for a Republican.

WIMBLEDON 2011: Women's Quarterfinals Preview

Petra Kvitova                                © AELTC/J.Buckle

Caroline Wozniacki DEN (1) Dominika Cibulkova SVK (24) vs Maria Sharapova RUS (5). For the first time since 2006 Maria Sharapova is in a Wimbledon quarterfinal when there is no possibility of a facing a Williams sister in order to win the title. Her immediate challenge is to defeat a woman who is almost a full foot shorter but who has beaten her the one time they played in a major. Cibulkova embarrassed Sharapova 6-0 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the 2009 French Open. Amazingly, all four of their career meetings have been on clay, and  the two are locked at 2-all, with the shorter player having won the last 2 matches, including one this year. However, Sharapova is much more comfortable on grass than clay. Cibulkova is also coming off one of the best wins of her career by basically blasting the World #1 Caroline Wozniacki off the court with nearly 20 forehand winners in a 1-6 7-6(5) 7-5 victory. The match-up on paper looks like a clear win for Sharapova, but Cibulkova has beaten her before and believes in her game. The question will be if Sharapova believes in her game, especially her (second) serve. PREDICTION: Sharapova in 3 sets.

Sabine Lisicki GER  vs. Serena Williams USA (7) Marion Bartoli FRA (9). Sabine Lisicki had one of the most outstanding performances by a female tennis player this year when she saved 2 match points against #3 seed Li Na (the most successful player at the Grand Slam tournaments this year) to win 3-6 6-4 8-6 in the second round. Lisicki has yet to lose a match on grass this year, having won in Birmingham right before Wimbledon, but she had to write the All-England Lawn Tennis Club in order to get a wildcard to enter the tournament, which was granted. 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli  put on an incredible performance in the 4th round of Wimbledon to dismiss the 2-time defending champion Serena Williams by out-hitting and out-serving the 13-time major champion in two sets 6-3 7-6(6). Bartoli had more aces (10 to 8) than Serena and in most of the rallies was hitting the ball harder and more aggressively. Serena did not play her best, true, but Bartoli won the match more than Serena lost it. Head-to-head Lisicki leads Bartoli 2-1 including a win over the Frenchwoman this year but Bartoli's lone win was on grass at Wimbledon in 2008. Bartoli had 11 aces in the first 3 rounds and 10 in the fourth. I seriously doubt she can play as well two rounds in a row. The German wild-card is a real contender to win the entire tournament. PREDICTION: Lisicki in 2 sets.

Tamira Paszek AUT  vs. Victoria Azarenka BLR (4). The highest remaining seed is the hard-hitting (and ear-splitting) Belarussian who has reached her 5th career grand Slam quarterfinal at this year's Wimbledon but who has never reached a major semifinal. I expect that streak to end on Tuesday. Her opponent, Paszek had an impressive win over 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the 3rd round 3-6 6-4 11-9 after nearly four hours of play. Paszek had been long touted as a player to watch about 3 or 4 years ago but injuries got in the way and the 20-year-old is the furthest she has reached in a major since her breakthrough debut year in 2007. Azarenka has the power and mentality to dismiss most players outside of the Top 10. Paszek is not an exception.PREDICTIONAzarenka in 2 sets. 

Petra Kvitova CZE (8) vs. Venus Williams USA (23) Tsvetana Pironkova BUL (32). Pironkova must be Bulgarian for "kryptonite" because there is no other explanation for why the greatest women's grass court player of her generation would lose in two consecutive years to the same player, by the same exact score (6-2 6-3)! Last year Pironkova's stunning win was one round later and she followed it by losing a hideous match against Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals. The player in the other semifinal last year was Petra Kvitova who lost a high-quality affair to eventual champion Serena Williams. This year, Pironkova has to face the hard-hitting, fearless lefty who has the game to defeat anyone on the tour but didn't quite believe in herself enough. This year she has the belief that she can do it, and she can. PREDICTION: Kvitova in 2 sets.

Monday, June 27, 2011

WIMBLEDON 2011: Disaster! Serena and Venus Lose!

OMG! Venus and Serena William, who have won 9 of the last 11 Wimbledon singles titles between them, both lost in their fourth round matches on Monday June 27th ( a day that will live in infamy).

Venus lost 6-2 6-3 to Tsevetana Pironkova, the Bulgarian player who beat her in the 2010 Wimbledon quarterfinals (by the same exact score) and in the 2006 Australian Open 1st round.

Serena lost to 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli 6-3 7-6(6).

There are no words. Both played pretty horrendously. Clearly "Pironkova" is Kryptonite in Bulgarian because there is really no explanation for why Venus plays so horrendously against her.

Oh, in other "upset news" Dominque Cibulkova eliminated the #1 player in the world, Caroline Wozniacki.

The only player who has still won a major on the women's side is Maria Sharapova, who won the 2004 Wimbledon title over Serena.

Today is National HIV Testing Day: 30 Reasons To Get Tested

Today, June 27th, is National HIV Testing Day. 2011 is also the 30th year of the AIDS epidemic, which was first identified in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health has distributed "30 Years. 30 Reasons To Get Tested" on a website called EraseDoubt

1.      I didn’t use a condom.
2.      I thought we were monogamous, but I was wrong.
3.      My boyfriend and I want to share our results with each other.
4.      If I know my status, I can move on with my life.
5.      I know what I did last summer. I just don’t remember who.
6.      I’ve had an STD and I’m more vulnerable to contracting HIV.
7.      I want to have kids and need to know how to protect my baby.
8.      I respect myself. I respect my partner.
9.      I’d be lying if I told you that I normally don’t hook up.
10.  I shared needles back in my party days.   
11.  I’ve had multiple sex partners.
12.  I thought he would be more than a one night stand, but he wasn’t.
13.  I can no longer use my fear of needles as an excuse not to get tested because there are needle free options now. 
14.  We should have talked about it and not just assumed we were both HIV negative.
15.  Just because.
16.  My husband had an affair and I just need to be sure.
17.  My blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and diet aren’t the only things I should be worried about.
18.  It would bother me if I gave someone HIV.
19.  I don’t remember his name and who knows what else I don’t know about him.
20.  He said the condom wasn’t big enough and I believed him, so we didn’t use it.
21.  I shared needles getting my tattoos and piercings.
22.  I’m out, proud and sexually active.
23.  In about 20 minutes or so, I can finally stop worrying and just know.
24.  One thing led to another and another…
25.  I love him enough to know my status.
26.  He said using a condom would ruin the mood.
27.  It’s been 6 months since my last test, so it’s time.
28.  Too many margaritas, a few more tequila shots, sneaking out of the club with what’s his name, and a night I don’t really remember.
29.  My boyfriend said he would get one too.
30.  Whatever the HIV test result, I know that I’ll be okay.

Get Tested. Know Your Status. Erase Doubt!


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