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
Friday, March 31, 2006
NASDAQ-100 Open Women's Final Preview
PREDICTION: Kuznetsova in 3 sets.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
MA: Supreme Judicial Court Limits Extent of Gay Marriage Ruling
Today the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court refused to strike down a seldom-used 1913 law which banned citizens from getting married in Massachusetts if the marriage would not be valid or recognized in the couple's home jurisdiction. The law was initially passed to prevent interracial couples from getting married in Massachusetts since most states banned interracial marriages at the time.
Today, 38 states officially ban gay marriage either through statutes or initiatives generally called "mini-DOMAs" after the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act which was signed into law by (former University of Arkansas Law Professor) President William Jefferson Clinton.
Today's ruling only ruled that couples from states which have banned gay marriage can not travel to Massachusetts to obtain a legal marriage but remanded the case back to a lower court to determine whether the law applies to couples from states like New York and Rhode Island which have not officially banned gay marriage.
Oral arguments are set for May 31 before New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals, on the question of whether gay marriage is legal in that state. The attorney general Eliot Spitzer, while arguing that current New York law does not allow gay marriage is running for Governor this year and has recently issued a statement in favor of gay marriage.
Nasdaq-100 Open women's semifinal preview
Maria Sharapova RUS (4) vs. Tatiana Golovin FRA (22). Although Sharapova has not been playing the excellent tennis which won her first tournament in over 6 months last week at the Pacific Life Open over Dementieva, she is finding a way to just continue fighting and scrapping until she gets a win. Golovin had a good win over Dementieva in the Round of 16. Expect lots of photographers at this match between two long-legged blonde beauties who like to blast the ball around the court. PREDICTION: Sharapova in straight sets.
Monday, March 27, 2006
FOOD: Joan and Sisters Restaurant Surprises and Pleases
Today's post is about Joan and Sisters Restaurant. Interestingly, this is Belizean Restaurant, which is not West Indian or East Carribbean but does seem come closest to the food I am looking for which is always available at Gloria's West Indian Restaurant in Brooklyn. On the recommendation of a Jamaican friend I went to the "Two Sister's Restaurant on Western and Exposition" (i.e. Joan and Sisters) and ordered the short ribs meal for lunch. Absolutely delicious. The meat was well-spiced, but incredibly tender. The red beans and rice blended together in a comforting mixture. They also provided generous slices of lemon pie and bread pudding for dessert. Unfortunately, both of these confections were overly sweet. Overall, Joan and Sisters was a pleasant surprise.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Insanely Ignorant Immigration Initiative Incenses Immigrants
In Los Angeles, a crowd estimated at over 500, 000 strong marched yesterday on City Hall to call attention to the contributions of immigrants to this country (and city, county and state). The bill, authored by U.S. Rep. James Sensebrenner (R-WI), passed the U.S. House of Representatives on December 22, 2005 by a vote of 239-182.The bill, titled "The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005" would make radical changes to current immigration law:
- Makes the status of being undocumented an aggravated felony
- Authorizes the building of a 800-mile fence along the USA-Mexico border
- Mandates that within two years of enactment every employer in the United States must verify the legal employment status of every (future and current) employee
- Eliminates judicial review of visa revocation
- Increases penalties and sets mandatory minimum sentences for immigrants who fail to respond to deportation (now renamed "removal") orders
- Increases the number of penalties for which a legal immgrant (documented resident alien) can be deported (i.e. three drunk driving arrest, social security or identity fraud, etc)
- and, many, many more!
The provision which raised the ire and provoked explicit statements of noncompliance from the Roman Catholic U.S. Conference of Bishops was the idea that anyone found assisting an immigrant would also be committing a felony and subject to arrest. It's not clear to me if some of the more explicitly racist provisions like prohibiting pregnant women from travelling to the United States to give birth and modifying the legal doctrine of jus soli (birthright citizenship) to children who are born in the United States who have parents who are either already citizens or permanent residents ae still in the bill.
georgia10 at dailykos.com has done an excellent job of highlighting this issue. Even Senator Hillary Clinton has called the legislation "mean-spirited." President Bush called for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform in his weekly radio address to the Nation.
MadProfresssah and the nearly one million people who have rallied in support of immigrants in the past few weeks are watching the immigration debate very closely. We shall see...
Friday, March 24, 2006
Venus and Serena Skip Tier 1 Tournament Near Home
REVIEW: V for Vendetta
The film is indeed "the most subversive cinematic deed of the Bush-Blair era" as Wolcott so delightfully phrases it.
The movie is set in a near-future Britain, where a neo-fascist government has taken hold. It has slogans like "STRENGTH THROUGH UNITY, UNITY THROUGH FAITH" which are plastered all over the metropolis which looks identical to London. Natalie Portman plays Evey, who is the audience's surrogate as she and we discover the despicable nature of the government, whose leader is played with spit and vinegar by John Hurt. The other main character is "V" who we are introduced to in a delightful set piece where he says what seems like twenty-five words beginning with the letter V in succession. It's quite an ostentatious display of wordcraft by the Wachowskis. V is played (voiced?) by Hugo Weaving (The Elf-King Elrond in The Lord of the Rings movies, Agent Smith in The Matrix movies) and he is very impressive in the part, despite the fact we never see his face.
The plot is involving and is fueled by a sense of outrage which comes from a surprisingly powerful extended film-within-the-film sequence which is very salient to LGBT viewers. I didn't know about this aspect of the movie going into it, and was pleasantly surprised by its inclusion. For those readers who have seen the Wachowski Brothers' first cinematic feature, the sapphic suspense classic Bound, you will not be disappointed.
OVERALL RATING: A-
Thursday, March 23, 2006
U.S. Says Hell No to Trademarking 'Nigga'
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Friday, March 17, 2006
REVIEW: C.S.A.: Confederate States of America
The movie is a smart, funny, incisive commentary on contemporary race relations which is far more subtle and interesting than the highy heralded (and much maligned) "Best Picture of the Year" Crash. GO SEE C.S.A. NOW!
Los Angeles City Council To Vote on School Board District 2 Race Friday
However, after getting the endorsement of the teacher's union and spending $200, 000 of their money promoting his candidacy, Arellano announced Tuesday that he was dropping out of the race (hours before the union was going to meet to very likely withdraw their endorsement of Arellano for suppressing details about his educational background).
However, word came on Thursday that the City Clerk would not allow Arellano's name to be removed from the June 6, 2006 ballot. It is now in the hands of the Los Angeles City Council, who will vote on a motion to consider the results of the special election in its Friday March 17th meeting (Item 34 on the agenda):
Recommendation for Council Action:
ADOPT a RESOLUTION declaring the results of the Special Election held March 7, 2006, to fill the vacancy in the Second District of the Board of Education of the LAUSD for the portion of the unexpired term remaining though June 30, 2009.
Fiscal Impact Statement: The City Clerk reports that declaring the results of the Special Election held March 7, 2006, to fill the vacancy in the Second District of the Board of Education of the LAUSD for the portion of the unexpired term remaining though June 30, 2009 will have no impact on the City's General Fund.
Considering that a majority of the Board endorsed Jose Huizar's bid for City Council and Mónica García is the Mayor and Huizar's choice for School Board, I think it is likely the Council will vote to declare Mónica García the winner of the District 2 seat. Mayor Sam says that the City Clerk tells him that he is suggesting that the Council keep Arellano and García on the ballot even though only one of them is running for the seat in a run-off election!
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Czech Parliament Overrides Veto, Enacts Partnership Law
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Bush Hits Record Low Poll Number (Again)
Bush's approval rating of 36 percent is the lowest mark of his presidency in a Gallup poll, falling a percentage point below the 37 percent approval he scored in November. The previous CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted February 28-March 1, put his job approval at 38 percent.
Sixty percent of those surveyed in the latest poll said they disapproved of his performance in office, the same figure as in the last poll.
Argh! Where to begin deconstructing this statement? First, it's anti-academic ("people in the classroom"). Second, it assumes that leadership means that you don't have to "worry" think about what people think about your leadership (has this man ever heard of the concept of the c onsent of the governed?) Third, what does George W. Bush know about leadership anyway? The reason why he's unpopular is that he is acting like he is on a mission from God and taking the country in directions more than 60% of those polled do not want to go!
Hingis Stuns Davenport in 3 Sets
The match was quite exciting, although it was clear that Davenport was not at 100%. She is clearly still bothered by her back injury and says that she will take 4-6 weeks after next week's NASDAQ-100 Open to prepare for Wimbledon. That said, Hingis was able to witshstand Davenport's powerful shots over and over again and played a much cleaner match. One was still left with the impression that the match was on Davenport's racquet, if she had not made so many errors, she would have won. Interesting stat: The total number of points each player won was 86.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
(Who Decides) What Is A Commercial Sex Venue?
|Beginning this month, the county is requiring "commercial sex venues" to obtain a county health license, pay an annual fee of more than $1,000, allow quarterly inspections and provide on-site testing and counseling for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases for at least 20 hours a week.|
The county defines a commercial sex venue as a business that "as one of its primary purposes allows, facilitates and/or provides facilities for its patrons or members to engage in any high-risk sexual contact while on the premises."
But that definition doesn't fit these nine bathhouses and sex clubs, the lawsuit contends, because they have "always sought to prevent high-risk sex."
The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, asks a judge to void the regulations or exempt the nine bathhouses and sex clubs.
Although it pains me to say so, I think I must agree with the odious Michael Weinstein, the head of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the world's largest AIDS services organization, who the article delicately refers to as "an outspoken and sometimes controversial figure in AIDS prevention" (to say the least!). It is highly unlikely that the commercial sex venues are going to succeed in this lawsuit. So, what is the point of the lawsuit? Well, let's look at the history of how we got to this point.
This most recent ordinance was approved by the County Board of Supervisors January 17, 2006 after more than a year and a half of negotiations with the targeted businesses themselves. In September 2004, the Board of Supervisors had approved the original ordinance which led to the most recent regulations which the nine bathhouses and two sex clubs are now suing to say do not apply to them. There's no question in my mind that the definition of "commercial sex venue" defined in the ordinance does indeed allow them to be regulated in this manner (or basically any manner the County sees fit). In fact, Los Angeles County Public Health Officer Jonathan Fielding probably already has the power to close all commercial sex venues as part of a public health emergency. Clearly, the owners of these venues don't want to see this happen.
What these businesses should be doing is not making laughable claims of violations of constitutional freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and privacy, but instead arguing that the ordinance is excessively overbroad and that they are being subject to unfair prosecution. What business does not have a bathroom? Doesn't a bathroom with a locked door "allow, facilitate and/or provide a facilit[y] for its patrons or members to engage in high-risk sexual contact while on the premises"? Of course, just because a business has an area in which high-risk sexual contact could occur, does not mean that this is "one of the primary purposes" of this business. This is my point. This question is a matter of judgment. Who decides?
I think this argument ("There are lots of businesses one could could construe as a commercial sex venue under this definition, why are you picking on us?") is a more fruitful venue of attack on the County's commercial sex venue regulation than to say that the County is "imposing 'excessive fines and cruel and/or unusual punishment'" on the businesses. How different are "Rage," "Here Lounge," "Circus of Books" or "24 Hour Fitness West Hollywood" different from "the Hollywood Spa" when viewed through the prism of the ordinance's definition of a commercial sex venue?
Davenport versus Hingis, Round 25
3-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenportand 5-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis have played 24 times so far (Davenport leads the series 14-10) with 16 meetings in finals. Tomorrow they meet in the fourth round of the Pacific Life Open.
Prediction: Davenport will win in three sets.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Is Brad Pitt a Frontrunner?
Thoughts on the casting of the Billy Sive character? How about Mehcad Brooks? After all, an interracial same-sex love story set in the world of sports would really kick things up a notch wouldn't it? Too bad it's already been done: Peter Lefcourt's The Dreyfuss Affair. (And it's a comedy!)
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Black Republican Manifests Typical Pathological Personality
Now the real reason for Claude Allen's sudden departure from the employ of the Bush administration has been revealed.
|Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Retail Theft Unit arrested a man yesterday for a continuing retail theft scheme.|
Claude Alexander Allen, age 45, of the 7200 block of Cliff Pine Drive in Gaithersburg, was charged with theft scheme over $500 and theft over $500. He was released on his own recognizance.
On January 2, 2006, a Target store Loss Prevention Manger observed an unknown man enter the store located at 25 Grand Corner Avenue in Gaithersburg. He was observed in the store with an empty Target bag in a shopping cart. The man was then seen selecting merchandise throughout the store and placing items in the Target bag. He put additional items in his cart. The man then went to guest services where he produced a receipt and received a refund for the items he had just selected from the store shelves. After receiving the refund he left the store without paying for the additional merchandise in the shopping cart. He was apprehended by the store employee.
Please note that Claude Allen was the most highly paid civil servant employee in the White House at the time of his alleged pre-meditated kleptomanic spree. His federal compensation (paid for by your taxes and mine!) was $161, 000 per year, identical to "Bush's Brain" Karl Rove, erstwhile Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and National Security Adviser Stephen Headley.
Also note that Claude Allen's previous claim to fame was his insistence that Stop AIDS San Francisco and other AIDS service organizations be repeatedly audited for using federal funds to produce explicitly sex-positive and gay-supportive HIV prevention materials.
Mad Professah has blogged repeatedly about the peculiar phenomena of Black Republicans, but the case of Claude Allen is a truly pathological example.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Black Gay Mayor of Palm Springs to run for State Assembly!
This is very exciting news for people in the Coachella Valley (although maybe not as exciting as the news that Madonna will be performing at the Coachella Music Festival April 30th) and for progressive Californians. It can only be a good thing as more and more diversity enhances legislative deliberations in Sacramento. Madprofessah supported Ron Oden's race for Mayor of Palm Springs and fully intends to support his bid for the Assembly? All I need to know is: Where do we send the checks?
Black Tennis Report for February
There are now a record 7 African Americans in the list of Top 20 USA Women Tennis players: Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Mashona Washington, Jamea Jackson, Shenay Perry, Asha Rolle and Angela Haynes. (Former World Top 10 Chanda Rubin is injured and has not played a WTA tour match for over a year.)
Neither Venus Williams nor Serena Williams played a single tennis match in February 2006! If Serena doesn't do well at Miami's NASDAQ-100 Open which she won last year, her ranking will fall out of the Top 50.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Instant Replay Accepted By WTA and ATP Tours
As the image to the left shows, it is somewhat ironic that ELC (electronic line calling) will make its debut at the US Open, where in 2004 Serena Williams got completed ripped on (at least) two incorrect line calls in favor of Jennifer Capriati at crucial stages of their quarterfinal match.
Apparently the details are that each player will get two chances per set to be wrong on a challenge to a line call by a linesperson. If they are constantly correct they can make as many appeals to ELC as they wish. If the set has a deciding tiebreaker they get one more appeal to ELC. If they do not use all their ELC appeals in one set they can not carry over their unused ELC appeals to the next set.
Bring it on!!
Garcia gets 47% of the vote
UPDATE: Thanks to a comment from James from Martini Republic, it's confirmed that Mónica García did not win the District 2 seat but has been forced into a June 6 2006 run-off with Christopher Arellano.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Mad Professah Endorses Monica Garcia for LA School Board
The bizarre thing is not that we have a candidate for the school board whose commitment to the sanctity of education is in question (not to mention his probity and honesty!). No, the bizarre aspect of this story to MadProfessah is the refusal of many to un-endorse Arellano. Sherriff Lee Baca and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party did, but both City Council President Eric Garcetti and outgoing 45th District Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg did not.
While I had not previously made an endorsement in this race, MadProfessah wishes to go on record as having endorsed Mónica García for the District 2 seat on the LAUSD Board of Education. Please vote!
Monday, March 06, 2006
Czech PM Claims He Has Votes To Override Partnership Veto
UPDATE: The override vote has apparently been scheduled for next week, according to 365gay.com.
Blake Beats Hewitt for 5th Title
But MadProfessah is also cheering for an African American tennis player winning another ATP tour title and reaching a career-high rank of Number 14 in the World. And he's phyne!
Oscar Voters Spread The Gold
Although I am happy that Crash won since I think it is important that many more people see that film. However, I think the statement that a film with explicit gay themes winning Best Picture of the year would have made would have been even more thrilling. Sadly, it didn't happen this year. Perhaps, Brokeback Mountain opened doors for another future gay themed film. It is somewhat curious that Memoirs of a Geisha won in categories like Cinematography ahead pf Brokeback Muntain and that Crash won Film Editing ahead of Walk The Line. All in all, a nice symmetric, forgettable awards season!
Friday, March 03, 2006
Sexuality versus Race: 'Brokeback Mountain' versus 'Crash'
Roger Ebert thinks that Crash will (and should) win the Academy Award for Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain. MadProfessah thinks this is another example of race and sexuality being placed in oppositional ideological stances to each other.
I finally saw Halle Berry's Introducing Dorothy Dandridge this week and it highlighted for me the significance of the Best Actress and Best Actor Academy Awards going to African Americans (Halle Berry for Monster's Ball and Denzel Washington for Training Day in 2002. I had not realized that Dorothy Dandridge was the first Black woman to be nominated for an Oscar and what a huge star she should have been/could have been/was. Her contemporaries (and equivalents) were Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe! But the zenith of her stardom was 1954's Carmen Jones and the immediate aftermath which was right in the middle of the "good old days" of the racially segregated 1950s. Clearly, America and more specifically Hollywood, which acts as both a mirror and a microcosm of society's values, have made advances in racial understanding since then. But what about in the area of sexuality?
There have been no Oscar wins by openly gay or lesbian actors in recent memory although both Jodie Foster (The Accused, The Silence of the Lambs) and Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects, American Beauty) have won twice each. Openly gay actor Sir Ian Mckellen has been nominated twice but not yet won. Numerous avowedly heterosexual actors have won Oscars for playing gay or transgendered individuals (William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider-Woman, Hilary Swank in Boys Don't Cry, Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, Greg Kinnear in As Good As It Gets). This year Felicity Huffman in Transamerica is nominated for playing a male-to-female pre-op transsexual.
So, the ramifications of which movie wins (Crash or Brokeback Mountain) will be perceived as evidence of which issue is more salient to Academy voters (and by extension the entire American film going public): race or sexual orientation. The problem with treating the issues of race and sexuality as two distinct, discrete concepts is that it elides instances where race and sexuality intersect: namely Black gay men, Asian lesbians, Latino transexuals et cetera. But then again Hollywood hasn't really been doing a great job of representing these groups in popular media! And this is the crux of my argument, the distillation of multifaceted works of art like Brokeback Mountain and Crash to simply a pissing match scored by which privileged Hollywood insider takes home a gold statuette on Sunday night in Los Angeles does a disservice to anyone interested in either (or both) of these issues.