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.