Wednesday, November 30, 2005
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).
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
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
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
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
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
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
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
Monday, November 21, 2005
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
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
- 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
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
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
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
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!
Friday, November 11, 2005
Thursday, November 10, 2005
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? :-)
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
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.
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
Friday, November 04, 2005
Thursday, November 03, 2005
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
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
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.
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.