A personal blog by a Black, Gay, Caribbean, Liberal, Progressive, Moderate, Fit, Geeky, Married, College-Educated, NPR-Listening, Tennis-Playing, Feminist, Atheist, Math Professor in Los Angeles, California
Thursday, December 29, 2005
More Failures For Heterosexist Supremacists
Another tidbit from today's Times article was the estimate of 2007 for a final ruling from the California Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the current heterosexuals-only marriage law. I also must applaud the Times for pointing out that the ballot measures proposed by the heterosexist supremacists Thomasson and Pugno and their ilk would not only amend the state constitution to further ban gay marriage, but also would have voided statewide comprehensive domestic partnership benefits and responsibilities which just went into effect on January 1, 2005.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
A Panoply of Films, A Myriad of Reviews
Syriana. A tangled mess of interconnected plots which are interesting but also bewildering and ultimately uninvolving.
Good Night, and Good Luck. Realistic, almost journalistic portrayal of McCarthy era paranoia and the fourth estate's response.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. A slightly too-faithful adaptation of the book, with a nice performance by Tilda Swinton as The Witch.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Very skillfully executed installment in the Harry Potter franchise, with clever direction to elicit strong performances from the rapidly maturing returning teenaged castmembers.
A History of Violence. Probably David Cronenberg's best film, though what exactly that means from the man who made "Dead Ringers," "Crash," and "Naked Lunch" is not quite clear. The script is very taut and the performances by Viggo Mortensen and Ashton Holmes are riveting.
Walk The Line. Simply amazing performances by Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix who inhabit their roles while depicting the amazing love story of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash with stunning accuracy and heartbreaking emotion.
The Squid and the Whale. A very disturbing meditation/explication of parental psychological violence and influence upon their children. The parents are exquisitely depicted by Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels, but I found the structure of the film itself problematic as the narcissistic, obnoxious father gets to replicate his fictional dominance upon the audience due to the director's choice of focussing the film around this character's behavior without providing the other characters with opportunities for countervailing input.
On the list to be seen before Oscar nominations are announced on January 31: King Kong, Brokeback Mountain, Match Point (maybe), Pride and Prejudice and Memoirs of a Geisha.
Dumb Stuff Said By Conservatives in 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Congress Goes Too Far Right On Immgration
Here is a brief list of some of the 169 page bill's contents :
- Requires employers to use within six years a database to verify Social Security numbers of employees or face civil or criminal penalties for hiring illegal workers.
- Requires detention for all non-Mexican illegal immigrants arrested at ports of entry or at land and sea borders by Oct. 1, 2006.
- Establishes mandatory sentences for smuggling illegal immigrants and for re-entering the country illegally after deportation.
- Makes illegal presence in the country a crime.
- Makes a drunken driving conviction a deportable offense.
- Requires building five two-layer fences in parts of California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona on the U.S.-Mexican border. Places priority on fence at Laredo, Texas.
- Requires the departments of Defense and Homeland Security to develop a joint plan on increased use of military surveillance equipment on the border.
- Requires Border Patrol uniforms to be made in the United States, not Mexico.
- Prohibits the attorney general from providing grant money to any federal, state or local government agency or entity that fails to provide the Department of Homeland Security with information on a person's citizenship or immigration status.
- Eliminates the visa lottery program.
- Makes wording of oath of citizenship recited in naturalization ceremonies law to prevent changes without congressional action.
The bill passed the House 239-182. Today's Los Angeles Times has an article on Rep. Tom Tancredo, one of the main proponents of the recently passed bill, as well as a piece analyzing family-based immigration in the United States. I suspect as 2006's political season heats up immigration will become an even more salient issue. I find it hard to believe that a majority of Californians will be following the House of Representatives' lead on this matter.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Mariah Ties Elvis For Most #1 Singles Behind The Beatles
Mariah Carey scored her 17th #1 single with "Don't Forget About Us," tying her with Elvis Preseley, second only to the Beatles' twenty #1 singles. Fellow divas Madonna and Whitney Houston both have eleven #1 singles. Some purists insist that Elvis has 18 #1 singles by counting the doubles-sided single "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog" as two hits instead of one.
It took Mariah 15 years to have 17 #1 singles, starting with 1990's "Vision of Love." Interestingly, Mariah may have another significant chart success in 2005: the #1 best-selling album of the year with The Emancipation of Mimi. Currently, she is in a very close race with 50 Cents' The Massacre(4.6 million for Mimi compared to 4.8 million for The Massacre) but since Mimi just scored 8 Grammy nominations and is still in the Top 10 of the Pop Albums chart, it is likely that the Voice will win this battle of the Divas!
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Meme of Four
Four jobs you've had in your life: department chairman, college professor, research assistant, international chess player.
Four movies you could watch over and over again: Dangerous Liaisons, The Princess Bride, Alien, The Lion in Winter.
Four places you've lived: Troy, New York; Bridgetown, Barbados; Amherst, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California.
Four TV shows you love to watch: Alias, The Simpsons, Commander in Chief, The Daily Show
Four websites you visit daily: keithboykin.com, dailykos.com, 365gay.com, huffingtonpost.com, politicalwire.com, etc etc
Four of your favorite foods: curried chicken with peas and rice; Dean's brownies; homemade mac 'n' cheese; Thai salmon curry;
Four places you'd rather be: Buenos Aires, Argentina; Delhi, India; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; St. George's, Grenada;
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Improbably Handsome Terrorists on TV
Showtime's Sleeper Cell is an interesting, well-done 10-hour miniseries about a Muslim terrorist cell operating in Los Angeles. The season finale aired last Sunday, and was a somewhat disappointing end to a usually well-written, tautly acted television show. The main plot follows an undercover FBI agent who is a green-eyed, African American Muslim played by the very handsome Michael Ealy. All of the members of the sleeper cell are improbably attractive: the beefy, blond, blue-eyed, all-American Tommy (Blake Shields), the sexy, shaved head, Gallic Christian (Alex Nesic), the shy, geeky, good-looking Ilija (Henri Lubatti) and the sinister, darkly handsome Faris (Oded Fehr). It's not clear exactly what the intentions of the creators of the series were when they cast such a pulchritudinous group of men to portray people who are systematically, purposefully planning to kill as many Americans as possible. Is it because they don't think the writing is compelling enough that they have to entice viewers with beautiful evil also? I may be too harsh, I actually like the show and think that the producers are doing a good job to show the minutiae and logistics of how a terrorist sleeper cell would actually operate in the United States. That being said, this is a television dramatic series after all, so verisimilitude is not the primary objective. And I don't think that it should be.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Muted Reaction to Gay Organ Donor Ban?
One response to the Soto story has been from the Donor Network of Arizona:
"The criteria for tissue and eye donation
is a federal regulation enforced by the
Food and Drug Administration. Federal
regulations preclude recovery of tissue
from potential donors who may have
engaged in male-to-male sexual contact
within the preceding five years, as well
as from donors with other medical risk
Please note this is not about HIV or AIDS. Soto was HIV negative. This about the fact that the Federal government is equating homosexual sex (male-to-male sexual contact, in their parlance) with infection. I believe this is a reflection of institutional and medical homophobia. And, as a friend of mine wrote earlier this week, homophobia can have deadly consequences.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Civil Unions UPDATE: UK, Czech, Vermont
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Heterosexual Supremacists Miss Signature Deadline
They have apparently missed their deadline, according to 365gay.com. Merry Christmas!
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
VA: Warner Tries To Sneak LGB Equality Thru
As one of his last acts as Governor of Virginia, Mark Warner (D) has amended an executive order to add sexual orientation as a protected category which is protected from discrimination in hiring by the state. His successor, Tim Kaine (D) has agreed to maintain the equal rights protections for LGB folk in his administration. Republican conservatives are complaining about both the process and principle which led to Warner's action.
Of course I disagree with the Republicans on principle, but I also disagree that LGB democrats should be praising Warner for enacting protections for LGB employees in state government at the end of his gubernatorial term instead of at the beginning. To me, the ambitious Southern governor is trying to have his cake and eat it, too. He can appear supportive to supporters of LGB rights, but he risks no political capital to do so. Meanwhile, there's been a huge amount of virulently anti-gay legislative activity in the last four years--what has the Governor been doing to reduce and tamp down this activity?
Monday, December 19, 2005
Bush Doesn't Care About Civil Liberties, Either!
The immediate fallout of the news of warrantless searches of Americans being conducted in apparent violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was the United States Senate's inability to end a filibuster against the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act, the most controversial provisions of which expire on December 31, 2005. In addition, heads of the Judiciary Committee in the House and in the Senate promised hearings into the constitutionality of the President's domestic spying program to be held early in 2006.
In his end-of-year press conference today, President Bush implicitly referenced Kanye West's comment that "George Bush doesn't care about Black people" comment from earlier this year in response to a reporter's question about Hurricane Katrina and race relations in general. Bush's answer to that question was disappointing, but it brought up the thought in my mind that Geoerge Bush doesn't care about civil liberties, either!
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Prince of Darkness Hired by Fox News Channel
After 25 years at CNN, columnist and tv commentator Robert Novak is leaving the network for Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel. Widely derided among political junkies and others as "Novakula" or "the Prince of Darkness," Novak had not appeared on CNN since he cursed James Carville live on air during the August 4th taping of an "Inside Politics" segment. CNN promptly suspended Novak. He had recently received national attention as the columnist who pyblished the original story revealing that Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife (Valerie Plame) was a covert CIA agent, leading to the now-infamous PlameGate controversy.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Top 10 Online Dictionary Searches for 2005
Here's a fun contest! Can you use all ten words in a short paragraph (1-3 sentences) to describe the Bush administration in 2005??
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
MadProfessah Endorses Pam's House Blend
Yes, he's cute. (For a white boi.) Yes, he's going to be appearing on the cover of Instinct Magazine soon. But, is Brat Boy School the Best LGBT Blog in 2005? Methinks not. The Mad Professah endorses Pam's House Blend, who has been on our blogroll since very early in our inception, and who is a refreshingly gay (well, lesbian, anyway) and progressive voice in the blogosphere. Go, Pam!
Noah's Arc Season Finale
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
D.C.:Comprehensive Domestic Partner Bill Proceeds
Monday, December 12, 2005
Martina Returning to Women's Tennis in 2006
Sunday, December 11, 2005
NY: Appeals Court Overturns Marriage Ruling
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Arnold Appoints Over-40, "Single White Female" to Powerful Position (Again)
In the midst of the Roberts, Miers and Alito nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court, I have been repeatedly commenting about the vacancy on the California Supreme Court and Governor Schwarzenegger's hesitancy in filling the seat vacated by Janice Rogers Brown on her elevation to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. I said then that he would pick either Vance Raye or Carol Corrigan. I was right. Yesterday, Arnold announced he was naming Carol Corrigan to the California Supreme Court. Is it just me, or does anyone else notice a pattern here?
Last week, Arnold shocked the establishment by naming Gray Davis' Chief of Staff to be his Chief of Staff. It's not clear what Republicans found more offensive, that Susan Kennedy worked for Gray Davis, that she is openly lesbian, or that she used to have executive positions in statewide Democratic and pro-choice organizations. Susan Kennedy is white, 45, "single," and lives with a female partner in Marin County.
Carol Corrigan, as the Los Angeles Times, so coyly informs us in a sentence fragment at the end of a biographical sidebar about the soon-to-be Justice of the California Supreme Court, "[i]s unmarried and shares a house in Oakland with a female friend." To summarize, Carol Corrigan is white, 57, "single" and lives with another female in Alameda County.
So, let me get this straight (sic). For the second time in two weeks, Arnold has appointed an over-40,"single" white female who shares a residence with another woman in a Northern California county to an incredibly powerful position. Well, I guess that's one way to attempt to resolve one's "mommy issues!"
Objectifying Male Flesh: Rating Flogs
Thanks to Rod 2.0 I have discovered Made in Brazil. Anyway, MIB is having a contest for the best "photo blog" (or flog) devoted to a hunky young man. After extensive research, I voted for Marsili. Go to the website and let me know if you agree!
Friday, December 09, 2005
BULGARIA: Gay Sex Soccer Scandal
A gay scandal involving four
players has hit an amateur football club
from Varna, Bulgaria.
The four were expelled from the MAX
club after being caught in a sex foursome
in the changing room, a newspaper report
Coach Georgi Dimov has confirmed the
disclosure, saying that the homosexual
players were kicked out for damaging the
club's reputation, 7 Dni Sport says.
MAX is currently struggling to enter
professional football, and negotiating
with potential sponsors, the report
Truth is stranger than fiction?
Mariah Vindicated By Music Establishment
Later in the day, Mariah was vindicated with the announcemen of her Eight Grammy Nominations, tied for first with Kanye West and John Legend. Significantly, Mariah was the only who had three nominations in the big four categories (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist). Mariah's nominations are:
- Album of the Year, The Emancipation of Mimi
- Record of the Year, "We Belong Together"
- Song of the Year, "We Belong Together"
- Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, "It's Like That"
- Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, "We Belong Together"
- Best Tradional R&B Vocal Performance, "Mine Again"
- Best R&B Song, "We Belong Together"
- Best Contemporary R&B Album, The Emancipation of Mimi
Oddly, Mariah currently only has 2 Grammy Awards, (Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Vision of Love" and Best New Artist from 1991). I think she has a good chance of winning at least one of the major awards. "We Belong Together" was the most played song of the year on radio. I'll definitely be tuned into the Grammy Awards on February 8, 2006.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
WA: Mayor West Recalled
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Devin Brown's Killer Will Not Face County Prosecution
Interestingly, The West Wing fictionalized a version of the Devin Brown affair to illustrate racial fissures in the campaign of Matt Santos for President. More comment about that later...
Elton John Getting Married in the UK
Sir Elton John has set a date for his registered partnership with his partner of 12 years, David Furnish: December 21, 2005. Amusingly, they are getting hitched in the same place that Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were finally married over the summer, in Windsor, Scotland. It's interesting to see that this story is being covered pretty well by the mainstream media, not just the gay press. The British registered partnership law went into effect today, Monday December 5th.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Lesbian Susan Kennedy Named To Governator's COS
New boss? Same as the old boss! Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday November 30 that openly gay democrat Susan Kennedy, Chief of Staff to former Governor Gray Davis, would become his new Chief of Staff. Ms. Kennedy, who previously was the highest ranked openly gay person serving in the California government as head of the California Public Utilities Commission, had a commitment ceremony with her partner, Vicki Marti, who is a psychotheapist, according to the Los Angeles Times. Needless to say, certain factions in the California Republican party are not happy: "She embodies everything I have spent my life opposing. It obviously raises more problems and concerns about where he is headed next year," said Mike Spence, president of the California Republican Assembly. "There is a list of things now where it appears we would have been better off if Gray Davis were governor."
Let that last line sink in for a moment, folks. "[W]e would have been better off if Gray Davis were governor." Think Mr. Spence will be invited to smoke any cigars with Arnold (or Susan Kennedy, for that matter!) any time soon? Sheeeesh.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
SOUTH AFRICA: legalizes same-sex marriage!
The country's highest court ruled that these restrictions were unconstitutional. South Africa has an explicit mention of sexual orientation in its constitution as a non-discrimination category.
World AIDS Day: 40.3 million and counting...
UNAIDS, the United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS, has produced its latest predictions on the number of people who have HIV/AIDS in 2005: 40.3 million people. On its website, the BBC has this very disturbing map of the global distribution of HIV/AIDS, with color coded HIV prevalence rates.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Black Tennis Report for November
They kicked off their second annual tennis exhibition tour in Seattle this year. Other cities they will visit are Cleveland, OH (December 1) and Washington, D.C. (December 8).
US Death Penalty Total Stuck at 999 since 1976
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
MARYLAND: Race To Succeed Sarbanes Tightens
Steele's main claim to fame in the national media is his connection to the spurious story that he was pelted with oreo cookies during a 2002 debate between his running mate (and soon to be ex-Governor) Bob Ehrlich and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend held at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD.
Mfume has some aspects of his personal life that some people in Maryland may not approve of (he has fathered 5 children out of wedlock with 5 different women). It's not clear if this is a fatal flaw to his candidacy and Cardin, to his credit has not been using this information against Mfume, to my knowledge.
Monday, November 28, 2005
ALIAS Cancelled :(
I'm still in a state of mourning (and anger at Adelphia!) because some how my cable digital video recorder inexplicably refused to record Episode 6 of Season 5 on Thursday November 17. Does Tivo ever do that? I think I may be switching to Tivo by the end of the year if it happens again...
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Alito and Death (and Race)
Samuel Alito has been on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals for 15 years (since age 40!) and has participated in 10 death penalty cases. Half of these were unanimous decisions from randomly selected 3-judge panels that he participated in. However, in each of the remaining five cases Alito voted against the inmate (and thus for their death) and issued a separate opinion which often revealed a strong difference of opinion between him and his judicial colleagues and a concrete (some might say "cramped") philosophy in capital punishment cases.
Although Professor Liu details the flaws in Alito's opinions in the other four cases, it is the details of the 2001 Riley v. Taylor case which particularly caught my attention.
Yes, ladies and gentleman. Alito analogized race to handedness, and revealed a shocking lack of understanding of statistics as well as a stunning lack of compassion for the real-world implications and impact of his judicial decisions. Kudos to the Los Angeles Times for printing Professor Liu's editorial. Go read the whole thing!
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Executed Teenager Probably Innocent Of The Crime
Right now in California we have the case of Stan "Tookie" Williams, who has a date of December 13th with the San Quentin Death Chamber. Despite having founded the Crips street gang decades ago, in prison Tookie has apparently done yeoman's work to reduce gang violence, been the subject of his own television movie starring Jamie Foxx and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. What Will Ahnuld Do?
Friday, November 25, 2005
ARIZONA: Openly Gay Republican Congressman Retiring
U.S. Representative Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), 63, the only openly gay Republican member of Congress has announced that he will not seek re-election to serve the 8th Congressional District of Arizona, which covers much of the city of Tucson. The news was met with some glee by Democrats, who see the seat as a possible pick up in next year's congressional elections. Kolbe was first elected to the district 1984 and came out publicly as a gay man in 1996 shortly before The Advocate was going to publish a cover story on his vote in favor of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. He won re-election in 2004 with 60% of the vote but faced a conservative Republican primary challenger in both the 2004 and upcoming 2006 races. The only openly gay members of Congress are now Barney Frank (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Hung: A Meditation About (Black) Male Objects
Big shout out to Rod 2.0 for pointing me to this story about Enrique Iglesias. The "Latin heartthrob" has plans to launch his own brand of small-size condoms. Of course, Rod rightfully linked to blog posts discussing penis size which led me to the new book "Hung: A Meditation on the Measure of Black Men in America" by the writer Scott Poulson-Bryant. The discussion about the book at both Rod's blog and Keith Boykin's website has led me to want to contribute to the discussion about the mystique of the "big black dick."
There are so many areas in which aspects of the "BBD" theory of black male sexuality manifest themselves that it is hard to know where to begin. Of course the most prominent of these concepts is the implied hypersexuality of Black males. Attached to hypersexuality is both hypermasculinity and its attendant qualities of violence, irrationality and irresponsibility. All of these concepts combine and reinforce each other in the mental images and cultural meanings which emanate from most stereotypes of black men. These stereotypes are familiar to all of us and are amplified and thereby strengthened by various media outlets.
What's interesting is that some black men play upon the stereotype to obtain respect, fear, or envy (to name just a few of the possible emotions generated by the deployment of the BBD mystique). I'm not saying that all these black men are going around proclaiming they have bigger dicks than everyone else (although some do!); the way the BBD stereotype functions in society is much subtler. Some black men feel liberated by the implications and assumptions automatically inscribed on them by dint of their skin color, while other are confined and discomfited by the narrow expectations of others.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
WASHINGTON: Gay Sex Mayor About To Be Recalled
Keith Boykin Highlights Other Carriker-like Cases
Monday, November 21, 2005
ILLINOIS: Caves In To CDC On HIV Names Reporting
I have been involved in the fight to prevent such a policy being enacted in California. The reasons for this are manifold. First, I believe the policy will negatively impact HIV prevention efforts. As I have posted recently, I think one primary goal of HIV prevention should be to increase the number of people who get tested regularly. Any misguided policy which tends to discourage or punish people for knowing their HIV status should be avoided. Switching to reporting cases of HIV infection by name will lead to exactly the groups (those that are most suspicious and fearful of the government) that we want to see get tested delaying or declining to do so.
Second, the policy change raises obvious privacy concerns. The government wants to maintain a list of all HIV-positive people in the state, at the behest of the federal government? If we have not learned anything from the massive breaches of credit card data security in the last year and the incredible rise in the frequency of identity theft, it is that once information is collected and digitized, it is vulnerable to unauthorized access and unpredictable usage.
Third, the policy change is unnecessary right now. The policy change to enact names-based HIV reporting is in response to a push from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who claim that HIV surveillance data is more accurate than code-based data and that in the newly reauthorized Ryan White CARE Act states with inaccurate data will be negatively impacted financially through reduced federal disbursements. But the Ryan White CARE Act won't be reauthorized until Spring 2006, at the earliest. The fact that the policy change is not called for legislatively causes advocate for people with AIDS to question the motive for making this policy change. In the last twenty years California has faced three discriminatory ballot measures which would have attempted to quarantine, incarcerate or violate people with AIDS. The fact is that the people who sponsored these kinds of initiatives in the past have always wanted to start by collecting the names of people with AIDS.
So it is not surprising that advocates for people with AIDS are suspicious of the motives behind the recent calls for Names-based HIV surveillance.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Men's Tennis Season Ends With a Bang
Despite his loss, Federer's grip on the #1 spot is not in doubt since he won two slams this year and the next slam is the 2006 Australian Open where Federer can gain points by getting to the final.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
WTA Tour Year In Review
- 2005 Wimbledon Final. V. Williams d. L. Davenport 4-6, 7-6(4), 9-7.
This was a match they will be talking about for years. Venus Williams was the #14 seed and had not been in a Grand Slam final for two years and and had not won a major title for neary four years. Although she had previously shown signs of her previous overpowering form against Pierce and Sharapova (see Match #3 on this list) almost no one felt that she could sustain the effort against the World's #1. Davenport served for the match twice and held two match points, which Venus erased by hitting winners. Eventually, after 2 hours and 45 minutes, in the longest Women's Wimbledon Final ever, Venus was the last woman standing, and she bounced around Centre Court with barely contained glee.
- 2005 WTA Tour Championship Final. A. Mauresmo d. M. Pierce 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4.
A breakthrough win for Mauresmo at last in a very important match for her. As I commented extensively earlier about this match, this could be the breakthrough which could propel her to finally live up to her full potential at a Grand Slam. It will be interesting to see the impact of this match on her 2006 results.
- 2005 Wimbledon Semi-final. V. Williams d. M. Sharapova 7-6(2), 6-1.
This is the match that made a believer out of me that Venus Williams could win a major tournament again. In the previous round she had dispatched a resurgent Mary Pierce in straight sets serving incredibly well at 84%. The level of play and the level of shrieking was incredibly high. Both players were moving incredibly well and hitting the ball powerfully and with pin-point accuracy. Sharapova had recently grown a few inches and was not moving as well as Venus whose footwork and foot speed were breathtaking. On the important points (like in the tiebreak in the first set) Venus went to another level and usually won the point with a winner. In the second set, Sharapova was discouraged and error-prone and Venus was able to race to an early lead and close out the match.
- 2005 Australian Open Semi-final. S. Williams d. M. Sharapova 2-6, 7-5, 8-6.
Somehow, staring at defeat two match points down at 2-6, 4-5, 15-40 Serena was able to continue to still go for her shots and hit balls deep into the court and aim for the lines. As the rest of the year would show, Serena basically muscled and clawed her way to a victory in this match through sheer will (and a flawless second serve). This was the real Australian Open 2005 final, since Lindsay just ran out of gas against Serena a few days later.
- 2005 Indian Wells Semi-final. L. Davenport d. M. Sharapova 6-0, 6-0.
I was in the audience to see this one-sided drubbing of the then-reigning Wimbledon champion. What was weird was that Lindsay wasn't playing amazing tennis or anything. She was hitting her typical deep, powerful groundstrokes but Sharapova could not keep a ball in the court and her much-vaunted serve was nowhere to be seen. The reason why this match is on the list is the amazing result that a match could be so one-sided, "double bagel" no less, between two players so close (and so high) in rank. If someone knows about an equivalent blowout between players ranked so high, I'd like to hear about it. (The 6-1, 6-1 drubbing of Pierce by Justine Henin-Hardenne at the 2005 French Open final doesn't count since neither woman was close to #1 in the world at the time.)
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
GEORGIA: HIV+ Man Jailed For Consensual Unprotected Sex
The story of the HIV+ man who was charged under a Georgia criminal statute for having consensual unprotected sex with another man has undergone some recent developments. Garry Wayne Carriker, a 26-year old resident of Fayetteville, pleaded guilty to "felony reckless conduct" by not disclosing his HIV(-positive) status when he had sexual relations with another Georgia resident, named John Withrow, between December 10, 2003 and April 30, 2004. Carriker was sentenced to 10 years in jail (2 years to be served, 8 years on probation) for violating a 17-year old state law which criminalizes exposing another individual to HIV through sexual activity. This case raises a number of troubling issues. First, the Georgia law is problematic. Unlike the analogous California law which requires intent for a criminal prosecution, the Georgia statute is silent on this issue. Intent is an important feature of the statute if one wants to give equal responsibility to both parties involved in an episode of unprotected sex. If one does not assign equal responsibility to both sides and one only assigns responsibilty to the infected/infectious partner then what incentive is there for potentially infectious/infected people to get tested? If one's goal is to reduce the number of infections that occur, period, then one need to increase the number of people who know they are infected and increase incentives and remove barriers to people learning their HIV status. The Georgia law does the opposite: if the person is HIV+ (regardless of whether they know it) then they have committed a felony in the state of Georgia if they have unprotected sex with another person. The California law is the correct approach, and could have still been able to be used against Carriker since he was having unprotected sex with two people in one county even though he was under indictment in another county. Secondly, the reaction of "leaders" in the gay community like Chuck Bowen is somewhat disturbing. Chuck Bowen is the Executive Director of the Georgia Equality Project, the statewide LGBT political organization. He was quoted in Southern Voice as saying: "It's actually a wake-up call for members of the community here who are practicing unsafe sex. We hear about people like this, but never in your hometown. Hopefully it has called attention to the fact that we all need to perform safe sex." I agree with Bowen that this case calls attention to the fact that we should all be practising safe sex. However, it seems unhelpful at best to be referring to "members of the community who are practicing unsafe sex" as "people like this" and promulgating the notion that one never hears about "people like this" in [y]our hometown. Obviously, there are people who are practising unsafe sex in every community and every hometown in this country (and every other country, even North Korea). The question that people who are involved in the fight to reduce HIV infection and "end AIDS" have to answer is how can we best encourage people to engage in behavior which reduces the spread of HIV. Both Georgia's law and Bowen's comments are not conducive to this endeavor, in my opinion.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Mariah Vibes, Re-Releases Mimi, Appears in LA
Today Mariah is re-releasing The Emancipation of Mimi with 4 previously unreleased tracks. It's officially called "The Emancipation of Mimi Ultra Platinum Edition." I have previously reviewed the original release pretty extensively. I haven't decided if I will purchase the Ultra Platinum edition, but I do look forward to the new single "Don't Forget About Us."
blogging.la is reporting that Mariah will be at the Virgin Megastore at Hollywood & Highland signing copies of her new release from 7pm on today.
Monday, November 14, 2005
2005 WTA Tour Ends with Breakthrough by Mauresmo
This was a very important match for both players, but especially for Mauresmo. She has been consistently one of the four best players in the world for the since 2002 but has failed to make it past the semifinals of a Grand Slam in numerous tries. She has earned a rep of not being able to pull out a win in tight matches. This year she was up a break numerous times in the decisive set against Davenport in a Wimbledon semifinal. Davenport made it through and lost to Venus Williams in the best match of the year. Pierce already owns two slams (Australia Open 1995, French Open 2000) and was in two slam finals this year (French Open and U.S. Open). Coming in to the match the Pierce-Mauresmo head-to-head score was 4-4 and they both had 18 WTA Tour titles. However, Pierce has been on the tour for more than half of her life and is now 30 years old (15 January 1975). Mauresmo is 26 years old (15 July 1979). The $1 million purse and WTA Tour Champion title was the biggest prize of Mauresmo's career.
Repeatedly in the championship match Mauresmo would break Pierce only to immediately lose her own serve in the following game. Pierce had more break chances than Mauresmo but only converted them at an equivalent rate. In the first set, Mauresmo happened to get down on her serve in the 12th game of the match and break points became set points, one of which Pierce won to claim the first set 7-5. In the second set Mauresmo was able to break and hold to maintain a lead of 4-1 but then Pierce was able to win 4 games in a row to even the match, eventually leading to a tiebreaker, only the second these two had played in their 9 matches played. Mauresmo had won that first tiebreaker and she won this one as well, surprisingly. I (and most of the crowd at the Staples Center) expected Maureso to lose the tiebreaker and the match. Pierce had been 37-0 after winning the first set in matches all year, and just over a month ago she had come back from 0-6 down in a third set tiebreak to win the match. The day before she had beaten World #1 Lindsay Davenport in two tiebreak sets. The day before that she had beaten Mauresmo in a meaningless (Pierce and Mauresmo had both already qualified for the semifinals) but highly competitive three-set match. However, Pierce made some surprising forehand errors and Maresmo made some incredible gets to win the tiebreaker 7-3. Again in the third set the two traded breaks until finally in the ninth game Pierce went down 0-40 on her serve, saved one breakpoint and then lost the game on a forehand error. In the final game of the match Mauresmo was also down 0-40 on her serve but Pierce failed to keep her strokes in the court and Mauresmo got to deuce. She then won the marathon 3 hour, 6 minute match on her first match point. Overall play in the match was incredibly hight, with both players having more winners than errors. This was the second best match of the year (the best match of the year was the 2005 Wimbbledon Final of V. Williams d. L. Davenport).
Sunday, November 13, 2005
TV: Commander in Chief to address gay/HIV issues
One of the new shows I have been recording all season is ABC's Commander in Chief starring the wonderful Geena Davis (and her lips). There was a brief mention in last week's episode that one of the President's key aides may have AIDS (bad pun, I know). It was a minor point in last week's episode which revolved around the congressional approval of the President's nominee to be Vice President and the teenage hormones of the President's bratty paleoconservative daughter. The staffer, Vince Taylor, played by Anthony Azizi (seen in the far left in this cast shot) was randomly selected to take a drug test and was nervous that his would come back positive. Vince informs the White House Chief of Staff Jim Gardner (played by Harry Lennix) that he is HIV-positive. Jim, who had recently submitted his letter of resignation after losing the confidence of the President during an ongoing White House leak investigation following the publication of a tell-all book, tells the staffer that they only test for non-prescription illegal drugs and that he shouldn't worry about the drug test. He says something like "That's the least of the things you have to worry about now" and looks visibly shocked. What's weird about this scene is the notion that a high level staffer at the White House wouldn't know what drugs they test for and also not know that not all blood tests test for HIV antibodies or retroviral drugs. Anyway, it looks like this week's (Tuesday November 15) episode will continue this storyline more prominently. Stay tuned!
WTA Tour Championship Finals set
Friday, November 11, 2005
Maine Won't Discriminate
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Gay Marriage (Between Media Companies)
The two companies are also about the same size, with PNO being slightly bigger right now with 152 employees to LPI's 133. PlanetOut had 5.4 million visitors in October 2005 to its gay portals and LPI delivered 8.2 million magazines. When the companies first discussed merging in 1999 the deal was compared to the Time-Warner AOL mega-merger. We all know how well that turned out. It should be interesting to see how the editorial content of the magazines, particularly the Advocate newsmagazine is impacted. Long features about the joys of online dating perhaps? :-)
WTA Championship Surprises Continue
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
California Says "Hell, No!" To Ah-nuld
Interestingly, two Mad Professah-endorsed candidates Jose Huizar and Herb Wesson both won positions on the Los Angeles City Council.
Sadly, Donna Frye lost her bid to be elected Mayor of San Diego to Republican Jerry Sanders, an ex-police chief.
WTA Tour Championships Starts In L.A.
I attended the opening night with some of my friends (Thanks, Leo!) and witnessed Mary Pierce come back from being down 2-4 in the third set against Kim Clijsters to pull out the match in a third set tiebreaker 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(2). It took us awhile to get in so we missed the first set where apparently the Frenchwoman was incroyable. During the portion of the match we saw Clijsters slowly worked her way into the match, earning a break in the always-important seventh game at 3-3. Clijsters was plagued with double faults throughout the match, serving eleven total for the match and even one one her first set point. After closing out the second set she immediately broke Pierce to open the third set and rolled to a 4-2 lead. Suddenly the momentum shifted when Pierce was able to save numerous breakpoints to hold at 3-4 and she won the next two games to be on serve 5-4. In the tiebreak, Pierce was very focussed and devastating. This is a woman who saved six consecutive match points at 0-6 down in a third set tiebreak against Elena Likhovsteva on her way to winning her 18th title in Moscaow a little over three weeks ago.
The next match was Maria Sharpova's win over the crafty (and crazy) Patty Schnyder, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Schnyder is a dangerous opponent: she's a lefty, very fast and plays with a lot of spin. She also has a suprisingly effective serve. But Sharapova had too much firepower in the end, hitting her now familiar winners from every part of the court. Lindsay Davenport's 6-2, 7-6(1) victory over Nadia Petrova was uneventful except for Lindsay's inexplicable moodiness towards the end of the second set (at 4-4 she looked like she definitely wanted to be home already and came within two points of losing the set at 5-6, 15-30) and Nadia's inability to believe the service line judge that Davenport's serves down the tee were indeed on the line.
An exiciting start to the final WTA Tour event of the year. I hope to attend Thursday and Friday and Saturday's matches and will have more reports later in the week.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
KANSAS: Matthew Limon Released From Prison
Friday, November 04, 2005
Visiting The Red State of Georgia
Thursday, November 03, 2005
SPAIN: Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Gay Marriage Challenge
Polling Contradictions in California
As Dan points out, not all of these polls can be accurate, so someone (besides the Governor) will have egg on their face on Wednesday November 9, the day after the election. To make sure of this, please remember to VOTE ON TUESDAY NOVEMBER 8, and NIX ON THE FIRST SIX (No on Props 73, 74, 75, 76, 77 and 78) and Yes on the 79 and 80.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
ALASKA: Governor Proposes Amendment To Overturn Court Decision
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Arnold's Propositions Heading For Defeat!
74 (Teacher Tenure)
75 (Union Dues)
76 (Budget Cap)
This news comes coupled with word from today's Los Angeles Times that the Governor's campaign staff is counting on (and hoping for) a low turnout next week from Democrats.
Black Tennis Report for October 2005
Serena Williams announced her 2005 season was over, in a controversial press release which has been excoriated in some areas.
Venus Williams was still in the hunt to qualify for the WTA Tour Championships in Los Angeles. Bill Cosby suggested that the City of Compton should invite the Williams sisters to attend a parade in their honor in their hometown.
James Blake continued his amazing end-of-season form by winning the Stockholm Open 6-1, 7-6(8) over Paradorn Srichapan on Sunday October 16. He has now won 2 of the last 3 tournaments he has played in (losing a 5-setter to Andre Agassi at the US Open quarterfinals).
Angela Haynes lost in the quarterfinals of the $50, 000 San Francisco Tennis Classic just a few days after burying her brother Dontia Haynes. He died in San Diego in a motorcycle accident on Friday September 23rd. He had played tennis at San Diego State University and was often Angela's hitting partner. The SDSU Athletics Department has set up a fund to remember Dontia and support the Haynes family in the wake of their devastating loss. The address is: Dontia Haynes Family Support Fund, San Diego State Athletics,
c/o Carol Propstra, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 91942-4313.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Scary Day Indeed: Bush Names (Sc)Alito To Replace O'Connor
Amusing (and scary) that Bush would pick Halloween to name such a nominee in the wake of Rosa Parks death.
Venus Unlikely To Qualify for WTA Championships
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Arnold Slow On Filling Supreme Court Vacancy
Former California State Supreme Court justice Janice Rogers Brown (and certified whacko) has issued her first ruling from her new perch on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and President Bush has nominated two people to the U.S. Supreme Court in the four and a half months there has been a vacancy on the 7-member California Supreme Court. Reportedly, the President is set to nominate either Alito or Luttig on Monday but the Governator still hasn't picked his State Supreme Court nominee. Arnold did make some state appellate court nominations on Friday and has apparently narrowed his choice down to two candidates: Vance Raye and Carol Corrigan. Raye is basically a clone (and crony) of Janice Rogers Brown whom many legal commenters (including the Attorney General of the State of California) have problems with. On the plus side, he did vote earlier this year to uphold California's Domestic Partner Benefits Law. Carol Corrigan is more moderate but apparently is so tough that she caused a grown man to faint in an oral argument two weeks ago! Gee, whom do you think Arnold will pick?