Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
The Lieutenant Governor is running for Insurance Commissioner.
The Controller and the Treasurer are running for Governor.
The Attorney General is running for Treasurer.
A former Governor is running for Attorney General!
Thanks, term limits! 7 more days until the Statewide Primary Election. I've been filling out my absentee ballot and will have more official endorsements in all statewide races later in the week.
This was one of the best women's t matches of the year. Mashona was hitting winners from every corner of the court, oftentimes on the stretch. Sharapova led 6-2, 3-1 before Mashona even had her first break point. Two of the three match points were on Mashona's serve, but were denied by winners from Sharapova. A truly great match.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Clearly, the screenwriters, Simon Kinberg (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, XXX)
and Zak Penn (X2, Elecktra), took the subtitle "The Last Stand" pretty seriously because the story makes profligate use with some beloved characters' lives and powers by making some permanent decisions about their futures. Usually this is a tactic which heightens suspense in a thrilling way (c.f. this season's 24) but if it is overused then it actually reduces narrative tension because then the audience expects the main character to not surivive (c.f. the series finale of Alias). Unfortunately, in The Last Stand the device is used enough times so that the results are more like the latter than the former.
Almost all the reviews of the film comment approvingly on the stunning visual effects of the film, but those are expected and de rigeur for any summer blockbuster in the post Lord of the Rings movie marketplace. No, what ultimately disappoints is the lack of emotional resonance of the plot.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
World #1 Roger Federer has a rather tough draw, and is scheduled to play unseeded Arnaud Clement in the first round. Others in his quarter of the draw are pulchritudinous Tommy ("Tete") Robredo and blogger Jose ("Chucho") Acasuso who have both won clay tournaments this year. Other interesting first round matches to watch are Gael Monfils versus Andy Murray and Acacuso versus Fabrice Santoro.
On the Women's Side, World #1 and reigning Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo opens versus American Meghann Shaughnessy. Also in her quarter of the draw are Venus Williams (11), Nicole Vaidisova (16) and Patty Schnyder (7). Maria Sharapova (4) has another Slam with a lovely draw ahead of her, beginning with American Mashona Washington in the first round with really only Svetlana Kuznetsova (8) or Francesca Schiavone (9) to potentially cause her trouble. Nadia Petrova (3), the hottest player on clay so far in 2006, was unfortunate to have defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne (5) in her quarter of the draw. In the bottom of the draw Kim Clijsters (2) is even more unlucky to be in the section of the draw with the resurgent Martina Hingis (12). Also in that section is 2004 finalist Elena Dementieva (6) who may face a round of 16 matchup with the Swiss Miss.
First Round Matches to Watch: Hingis versus American Lisa Raymond, Ana Ivanovic (19) versus Samantha Stosur, Sania Mirza versus 2004 Champion Anastasia Myskina (10) and Dinara Safina (14) versus Vera Zvonareva.
Friday, May 26, 2006
La disputa por la nominación demócrata para reemplazar a Jackie Goldberg en la Asamblea estatal enfrenta a cuatro candidatos que ofrecen atractivos distintos y cada uno se ha ganado con esfuerzo esta oportunidad para representar al Distrito 45 en Sacramento. De todos ellos creemos que la abogada Elena Popp es la más cualificada para ir a Sacramento. Por eso: ¡Vote por Elena Popp para el Distrito 45 de la Asamblea!I believe this can be translated into English as:
The contest for the democratic nomination to replace Jackie Goldberg in the state Assembly features four candidates who offer different strengths and each one has worked hard to earn this opportunity to represent District 45 in Sacramento. Of all of them we think that lawyer Elena Popp is most qualified to go to Sacramento. For that reason: Vote for Elena Popp for District 45 of the Assembly!Indeed!
Monday, May 22, 2006
As treasurer, Angelides has been the most influential public figure in determining the investment policies of the state’s two main public-employee pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTIRS, which are the two largest pension funds in the nation. As such, while exercising his fiduciary responsibility to ensure a good rate of return, Angelides has also steered investments into inner-city and inner-ring-suburban development, into densification along transit corridors, into small businesses and renewable-energy technology. And as the main voice for funds that are often among the largest shareholders in corporations, he’s been an outspoken and influential force for reducing CEO pay. (He was the first official, for instance, to demand that the New York Stock Exchange rescind the ridiculous platinum parachute it bestowed on Richard Grasso, its departing CEO.)
In short, like New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (now running for governor in his state), Angelides has used his power to try to curtail the excesses of winner-take-all capitalism, and to establish a more socially responsible capitalism in its stead. For that matter, Angelides and Spitzer are just about the only elected officials at any level of government to have taken on the culture of boardroom chicanery during the past decade, and Angelides stands alone, alas, for the magnitude of his efforts to put capital to remunerative but also socially necessary purposes.
California’s treasurer ain’t nobody’s shrinking violet. During the energy crisis, he called for the creation of a state energy company to serve as a yardstick for the private companies that were then robbing California blind. He criticized Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budgets when no one else was criticizing Schwarzenegger at all. And he advocates raising taxes on the rich and corporations to improve the state’s schools.
Angelides is not the sum of human virtue. He’s brilliant and not shy about letting you know it. He’s micromanaged his own sometime-meandering campaign in a way that might portend problems if he’s elected governor. But the conventional media wisdom, that there’s really no difference between the two Democratic candidates for governor, is deeply wrong — wrong as only the conventional media wisdom can be. In a timid time, Phil Angelides has a clear record as a bold liberal.
Now, let's just see whether California will decide they want a bold liberal to be Governor.
UPDATE: Check out Tommy Robredo's blog at ATPtennis.com for the back story of how he came to strip his shirt off after winning his first Masters Series title (and more hot pictures of the man whose nickname is"Tete"!)
Saturday, May 20, 2006
The next major tournament starts on Monday May 29th in Paris: Roland Garros.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Thursday, May 18, 2006
That candidate is Phil Angelides. He may lack charisma, but he doesn't lack conviction, and he has been unwavering in his criticism of quick fixes and false budget promises. He has more experience in state office than Westly, whose "fix-it" approach to government is appealing at first but on closer inspection appears shallow.This is a significant achievement by the Angelides campaign. I know I promised earlier I would have my endorsement by Tuesday the 16th but I am having real difficulty deciding who to back. People I trust and respect have signed up with both camps (Weho City Coucilman John Duran, LA Gay and Lesbian Center head Lorri Jean and Equality California for Westly; Vincent Jones and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and the Democratic party "establishment" for Angelides). I hope to now have a decision by next Tuesday, but I can't promise anything because I'm off to the East Coast for a conference on the Mathematics of Social Justice most of next week. I have received my absentee ballot and will be blogging more about that over the weekend.
Angelides may be dull, but he is not shallow. His commitment to healthcare reform, education, environmental protection and fiscal responsibility are real. We are wary of his quick jump to taxes but acknowledge some respect for his willingness to tell it as he sees it. We are not fans of his website's childish anti-Schwarzenegger cartoon. But we are confident Angelides is better than his website. He is the best Democratic candidate to challenge the governor and debate the future of California.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
As I mentioned over the weekend, May 17 has been declared the International Day Against Homophobia (cleverly acronymized to IDAHO).
Interestingly, May 17 2006 is the second anniversary of the date that same-sex couples could begin to get legally married in Massachusetts.
The organizers of IDAHO chose May 17 as the anniversary of the date in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders.
The International Lesbian and Gay Association has made a PSA available on its website for IDAHO. You can access it here.
Pass the word along! May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia!
The 37th Chess Olympiad will be held in Turin, Italy from Saturday May 20 to Sunday June 4. There are several Caribbean countries competing, including my former compatriots from Barbados. The Chess Olympiad is the most prestigious international team chess competition. It is held every two years.
The 36th Chess Olympiad was held in Mallorca, Spain and was won by Ukraine(men) and China (women).
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Makes you go hmmmmmm!
UPDATE: RadicalRuss from Pam's House Blend has posted a very cool animated map showing the change in the President's approval rating month by month since November 2004 till the present.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Apparently nearly 47, 000 graduating high school seniors or 11% of the total failed the high school exit exam.
However, this means that nearly 90% of the students have passed the two-part exam, which is set at the 10th grade English level and the 8th grade mathematics level. Saturday's Los Angeles Times reports that "of the 46, 700 seniors who have failed the test, 20,600 are designated as limited English learners and 28,300 are poor." Judge Robert B. Freedman said he was "swayed by the argument that many impoverished and minority students — particularly those learning English as a second language — attend low-performing schools that do not prepare them adequately for the test." The judge also believed that at least 160 needy schools had not recieved any of some $20 million specifically appropriated by the Legislature to assist schools with preparing for the 2006 implementation of the exit exam.
My State Senator Gloria Romero was quoted by the Times in a statement applauding the decision to stay the implementation of the exit exam. "The judge's decision strips away the facade of claims that equal education is being provided in every one of our state's schools."
I agree with Senator Romero that it is clear that there is not an equal education being provided in each of the state's public schools, but I disagree that the judge's decision should be applauded. I think the message that is sent by not implementing consequences for failing the exit exam is far more damaging to the state's educational objectives.
Interestingly, Los Angeles Times columnist/blogger and Occidental College adjunct professor Bob Sipchen agrees with me in Monday's edition of the paper.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
I was born at York on the first of March in the sixth year of the reign of King Charles the First. From the time when I was quite a young child, I had felt a great wish to spend my life at sea, and as I grew, so did this taste grow more and more strong; till at last I broke loose from my school and home, and found my way on foot to Hull, where I soon got a place on board a ship.
When we had set sail but a few days, a squall of wind came on, and on the fifth night we sprang a leak. All hands were sent to the pumps, but we felt the ship groan in all her planks, and her beams quake from stem to stern; so that it was soon quite clear there was no hope for her, and that all we could do was to save our lives.
Holy Thesaurus, Batman!
Saturday, May 13, 2006
“In 2003, after I published the “Dictionary of Homophobia” [“Dictionnaire de l’Homophobie,” Presses Universitaires de France], I began to work on the idea of an international day of struggle against homophobia,” Tin told me. “For me it was the obvious way to move from thought to action, from theory to practice. Everybody said it was a crazy dream, but I took my proposal for this project to LGBT groups all over the world, to political parties and institutions—and that’s how the first International Day Against Homophobia was observed on May 17, 2005—15 years to the day after the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.”
“This year,” Tin recounted proudly, “IDAHO will be observed in over 50 countries, from Guyana to Sri Lanka to Canada, England, the Ivory Coast, Russia, and Japan. There will be all sorts of actions—public awareness campaigns, conferences, street demonstrations, artistic expositions, film festivals, forums, meetings of associations, and so on.”
Sadly, there are no U.S.-based activities on this list so far, and neither IGLHRC nor Human Rights Watch, or Amnesty International's OutFront have endorsed IDAHO. Sadly, the two largest Americal LGBT civil rights organizations the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Human Right Campaign have not capitalized on the existence of this great organizing tool to denounce homophobia in the U.S. and around the world. In light of recent violent explicit incidents of homophobia in countries like Jamaica, Russia and Iraq, an increased profile for the International Day Against Homophobia is urgently needed.
Another exciting aspect of finding out about IDAHO is being introduced to Louis-Georges Tin (see picture). He has published several books and is clearly an academic star, but is also an activist. Not only is he working to elieminater homophobia worldwide, but he is also organizing the disparate Black diaspora community in France. As a fellow Caribbean-born person whose business card reads "academic / activist," MadProfessah applauds Louis-Georges and his work. Allez!
Friday, May 12, 2006
“What you should do is look at our qualifications,” [Popp] said. “And if, at the end of the analysis, you think that I am more qualified, and yet Kevin got the endorsement of his childhood friend and other folks associated with his childhood friend, then what is that, if not a boys’ network?”Mmmmmmmmm hmmmmmmmm. Right.
Asked whether he had placed friendship over qualifications, Villaraigosa provided a two-word answer: “Absolutely not.”
Nuñez gave a lengthier, yet similar, response: “I certainly respect every other candidate in the race. The 45th always produces good candidates,” he said. “But Kevin, in my view, is the best qualified.”
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I'll try to have an endorsement in the Governor's race by next Tuesday, when we'll be 3 weeks away from the statewide primary date.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
With the news from last summer that 46% of Black gay men in one study ofurban settings are HIV+ and that the more recent news that the rate of syphilis infection for Black males is NOT decreasing (unlike most segments of the U.S. population) the issue becomes more urgent in one's consciousness.
One thing I learned at the conference in Puerto Rico is that the government bureaucrat who is primarily responsible for the Center for Disease Control's Division of STD,HIV and TB Prevention is Kevin Fenton, an openly gay, Black man. The people there who had direct experience with Dr. Fenton seemed to be favorably impressed.
What Keith asked yesterday was "Are We Doing Enough About AIDS?" and I think this is a good question. As Phill Wilson noted in one of his more pointed remarks to the assembled gathering,
"In 2006 we will be marking the 25th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS [June 4, 1981 in Los Angeles], the 10th anniversary of HAART [Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy, i.e. the AIDS cocktail] and the first time the World AIDS Conference will be held in North America [Toronto, Canada in August]. If we can't get Black institutions and individuals to pay attention to AIDS this year then it simply can't be done!"
I'd like to hear suggestions from people how we can renew attention on AIDS this year.
I live on the border of two state assembly districts: AD 44 and AD 45. My residence is technically in AD 45 but I am interested and active in both races. Specifically, Mad Professah endorses Adam Murray and Elena Popp in the 44th and 45th district races, respectively.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Also, I have been attending the Black Gay Men's Mobilization retreat organized by the Black AIDS Institute in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The retreat has been amazing, but there's a general confidentiality provision against discussing specifics of what occurred there. Insigtful readers may be able to detect that my choice of topics of discussion in the near future may have come from issues raised during that gathering.
Regular blogging should resume after Wednesday...
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
[...]There he goes, speaking truthiness to power! If you agree with him, say Thank You, Stephen Colbert!
The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will. As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the president's side, and the vice president's side.
But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason: they're super-depressing. And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished. Over the last five years you people were so good -- over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.
But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!
Because really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write, "Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Question: What's the probability of getting a favorable majority decision of four "Yes" votes from a panel of six judges?
Answer: Less than the probability of getting a favorable decision from a panel of seven judges.
This is a relevant question, since whether gay marriage will become legal in the state of New York depends on this outcome. According to this article in the Albany Times-Union, Court of Appeals Associate Judge Albert Rosenblatt has recused himself from hearing the oral arguments in the New York state marriage case Hernandez v. Robles on May 31. The highest court in New York State, is the 7-member Court of Appeals. Rosenblatt's recusal reduces the probability of a positive outcome (in favor of gay marriage) from a 50% likelihood (with a 7-judge panel) to a mere 11/32 chance (with a 6-judge panel). There's an equal likelihood of 11/32 of losing the case, and a 10/32 of having a tied result. If a tie occurs, the case is re-argued with a judge selected from a lower court. Of course, this assumes that each judge's decision is a random variable with equal probability of being in favor or against gay marriage.
Of course, no judge would make up their mind before hearing a case, would they?
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Mission Impossible III is a well-written, impeccably executed, taut thriller packed with action and emotional impact. The plot is convoluted (of course!) but not excessively so, and the supporting players are well-cast and exceedingly capable. Oscar winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman is outstanding as the über-villianous Owen Davian and Michelle Monaghan (who looks disturbingly similar to Katie Holmes) is distracting as Ethan Hunt's love interest.
Abrams has eschewed a number of tics which were central to earlier Mission: Impossible films but which also bloated those vehicles. This time there is very limited exposition of detailed plans for the many "impossible" capers Cruise multicultural crew (always reliable Ving Rhames, skinny and sexy Jonathan Rhys Meyers and skinnier and sexier Maggie Q) endeavors. (Kidnap a paranoid, megalomaniacal arms dealer from inside Vatican City without his security detail or his clients noticing his absence? Piece of cake! Steal a cutting-edge WMD from the top of a well-guarded Shanghai skyscraper with 2 hours notice? No problem! Escape from inside the
I don't want to reveal too many plot details to spoil the movie for others, but I will say that the script actually does kill off important characters, which I thought was brave. This heightens the suspense and deepens the emotional impact of the film immensely.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Puerto Rico's government shut down Monday after the U.S. commonwealth ran out of money to pay 100,000 public employees, temporarily throwing them out of work.
About 500,000 students are out of school as the shutdown left 40,000 teachers idle. Forty-three government agencies and all 1,600 public schools on the island were closed.
The closure comes after the legislature and the governor failed to reach a last-minute deal to address the government's $740-million budget shortfall. The legislature and the governor have been unable to agree on a budget since 2004 and debts continue to pile up.
The island has no sales tax. The leader of the Senate offered to implement a 5.9-per cent sales tax to raise money to pay off an emergency $532-million line of credit the government needs to finish the fiscal year.
But the House of Representatives oppose any sales tax above 5.5 per cent.
However, Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila said both proposals miss the mark, and that a seven per cent tax is needed to pay for an additional $640-million loan. He said the other tax proposals only postpone the crisis until July 1, when the next fiscal year begins.
The governor has said essential services, including police and hospitals, will continue during the shutdown.
Hmmm, this might be an even more relaxing trip than was intended!
The California statewide primary election is five weeks (35 days!) from today, on 06/06/06. Saturday's Los Angeles Times California section had a rather lengthy article on my local state assembly race: the 45th AD seat currently held by termed-out, openly lesbian Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg. The article was entitled "Family Ties May Falter in Fierce Race."
Home to 400,000 people, diverse even by the standards of Los Angeles, the 45th Assembly District has come to exemplify the city. Winning an election here requires a delicate dance across the city's east-west divide, one that appeals to the hipsters of Hollywood, the opulence atop Mt. Washington and the debilitating poverty of East L.A.
But with the primary less than six weeks away, [Christine] Chavez, 34, who has worked as the California political director of the United Farm Workers for the last eight years, has learned that becoming the first member of her storied family to win state office is not going to be easy. Like her grandfather [Cesar E. Chavez], who saw politicians turn their backs when he walked into the state Capitol, she has not been embraced by California's political establishment.
Goldberg has handpicked Elena Popp as her successor. Popp, 48, an attorney and an activist, has long worked as an advocate for social and economic causes, helping tenants establish cooperatives and helping small businesses get started.
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez has anointed Kevin de Leon, a friend since their youth in Logan Heights, a poor neighborhood of San Diego. De Leon, 39, is a top official with the California Teachers Assn. who has long worked on behalf of public schools, crafting teachers' collective bargaining agreements and lobbying for increased education funding, the construction of new schools and health insurance for children.
The district stretches across Los Angeles north of the downtown area, from eastern portions of Hollywood through the southern pocket of Silver Lake, then through Echo Park, Chinatown, Boyle Heights, Cypress Park, Monterey Hills and other neighborhoods, stretching east into El Sereno and portions of East L.A.
While getting the basic facts of the race correct (and also mentioning the other minor candidates such as Gabriel Buelna and Oscar A. Gutierrez) the Times piece focussed on Christine Chavez' purported attempt to leverage her activist heritage into a political post without really delving into the key issues central to the race.
Bear with me, gentle readers, and I will try to give you a better sense of the details which the local paper left out. First, I should mention that MadProfessah, like Equality California and The Victory Fund, has endorsed Elena Popp in this race. This is probably because Elena Popp is the only openly gay or lesbian candidate in this legislative race, which is to replace a termed-out member of the California LGBT Legislative Caucus. Currently there are 6 members of this caucus but by 2008 the Caucus could disappear unless new members are elected in 2006 or 2008. The Times article mentions that Popp is the incumbent's choice to be her successor but doesn't mention that Popp is also openly lesbian.
The Times article mentions that the candidate with the most cash on hand, Kevin DeLeon, happens to be "B.F.F. (Best Friends Forever)" with the current Speaker of the Assembly but neglects to mention that until rather late last year he was not even a resident of the assembly district he hopes to represent!
35 days until the primary election.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Today May 1 2003