Friday, February 29, 2008

Karen Bass Becomes Speaker-Elect of the California Assembly

Los Angeles Assemblyperson Karen Bass (D-47) was unanimously elected Speaker-Elect of the California Assembly on Thursday by the Democratic Caucus. When she assumes the office later this year after Speaker Fabian Nuñez retires, Bass will become the first African American woman to head a legislative body. She will be the second African American (after Willie Brown) and the second woman (after Republican Doris Allen) to hold the second most important role in California government.

(And, yes, Karen Bass is supporting Barack Obabam for President.)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Clinton Set To Raise $35M in February

The political blogs are buzzing with the news that the Hillary Clinton campaign is set to announce that she will have raised $35 million dollars in February, and $15 million in the last 15 days. IT will be interesting to see if Obama can match those numbers.

Black, Gay Twins Work as Porn Stars AND Burglars?

Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. If E. Lynn Harris had written a book about handsome, gay, black twins who worked as porn stars and rooftop burglars it would be dismissed as unrealistic drivel. Oh wait, his work already is. (Miaow!)

From the Philadelphia Daily News and other reputable news sources comes the story that 25-year-old identical twin brothers Keyontyli and Taleon Goffney (pictured to the left) have been arrested as suspects in a rash of burglaries which occurred in a Philadelphia neighborhood.

According to the report on
The 25-year-old Goffney twins, both of New Jersey, were arrested Feb. 19. They were charged with breaking into Moon's Beauty Shop at 9th and Washington streets in South Philadelphia and the adjoining Wings and More, using only a handsaw and ax to get in through the roofs of the establishments.

A Rite Aid at Front Street and Snyder Avenue was burglarized in a similar fashion the previous day. On Feb. 8, Taleon Goffney is alleged to have committed similar burglaries at Wawas in Nether Providence and Wallingford, Delaware County, according to police.

Chief Richard Slifer of Nether Providence said cash, cigarettes and condoms had been among the items taken.

The twins are the focus of a tristate Rooftop Burglary Task force, led by New Jersey investigators, the state where many of the 40-some rooftop burglaries have been committed over the last 18 months.

The Goffney twins are also the focus of numerous hardcore Internet gay-porn videos - some of which they star in together under the stage names Keyon and Teyon, according to several Internet sites that write about modeling and gay culture.

In "Marc and the Twins," which was distributed only online, the Goffneys are hanging out on the Las Vegas strip when they offer to audition for "Marc," a chiseled black porn star who happens to pass by.

The three take the "audition" to a seedy hotel room. Although "Marc" is the focus of the encounter, the twins can be seen rubbing each other's chests and getting cozy.

"Marc and the Twins" seems to be the most popular of the online porn films that star Taleon and Keyontyli. Their co-star in the film, Marc Williams, is a fairly big name in gay porn, according to Erik Schut, editorial director of Philadelphia-based TLA Entertainment Group.

Frankly, I will not be surprised if the story turns out to be a hoax. Black Gay Twin Porn Star Burglars? Breaking AND Entering? The possibilities for pardoy are endless.

Obama Reaffirms Commitment to LGBT Equality

TowleRoad has an exclusive first look at full-page ads that Barack Obama is buying in LGBT newspapers in Texas and Ohio to attempt to reduce Hillary Clinton's overwhelming support among LGBT voters.

I love the cute pride rainbow incorporated into the regular Obama for America campaign logo.

In addition to the LGBT ad buy, Barack Obama has released an open letter re-affirming his commitment to LGBT equality today.

I’m running for President to build an America that lives up to our founding promise of equality for all – a promise that extends to our gay brothers and sisters. It’swrong to have millions of Americans living as second-class citizens in this nation. And I ask for your support in this election so that together we can bring about real change for all LGBT Americans.

Equality is a moral imperative. That’s why throughout my career, I have fought to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans. In Illinois, I co-sponsored a fully inclusive bill that prohibited discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, extending protection to the workplace, housing, and places of public accommodation. In the U.S. Senate, I have co-sponsored bills that would equalize tax treatment for same-sex couples and provide benefits to domestic partners of federal employees. And as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does. I have also called for us to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.

The next president must also address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When it comes to prevention, we do not have to choose between values and science. While abstinence education should be part of any strategy, we also need to use common sense. We should have age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception. We should pass the JUSTICE Act to combat infection within our prison population. And we should lift the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. In addition, local
governments can protect public health by distributing contraceptives.

We also need a president who’s willing to confront the stigma – too often tied to homophobia – that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. I confronted this stigma directly in a speech to evangelicals at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, and will continue to speak out as president.
That is where I stand on the major issues of the day. But having the right positions on the issues is only half the battle. The other half is to win broad support for those positions. And winning broad support will require stepping outside our comfort zone. If we want to repeal DOMA, repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and implement fully inclusive laws outlawing hate crimes and discrimination in the workplace, we need to bring the message of LGBT equality to skeptical audiences as well as friendly ones – and that’s what I’ve done throughout my career. I brought this message of inclusiveness to all of America in my keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention. I talked about the need to fight homophobia when I announced my candidacy for President, and I have been talking about LGBT equality to a number of groups during this campaign – from local LGBT activists to rural farmers to parishioners at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Dr. Martin Luther King once preached.

Just as important, I have been listening to what all Americans have to say. I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans. But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary.

Americans are yearning for leadership that can empower us to reach for what we know is possible. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit.
Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike.

Barack Obama

Wow. He had me at "Equality is a moral imperative."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Obama Campaign Reaches 1,000,000+ Donors

The Barack Obama for President campaign now has over 1 million donors (note that is not 1 million donations but 1 million people) who have each donated something to the idea that a Black man should become President of the United States. (Hat/tip Talking Points Memo Election Central.)

Anand Leads Linares-Morelia 2008

World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand is currently leading the famous Linares-Morelia super-tournament at the halfway point by a half point with a score of 4.5/7. Last year, Anand became the world's highest rated player after he won Linares XXIV by a full point with a score of 8.5/14.

Linares is a tournament where the eight strongest players in the world are invited to compete in a double round-robin tournament (where everyone plays each other twice, once with Light pieces, and another with Dark pieces). The first seven games are played in Linares, Spain and the second half is played in Morelia, Mexico.

This year's tournament has World #3 Veselin Topalov, 17-year-old phenom World #13 Magnus Carlsen of Norway, World #9 Vassily Ivanchuk, World #10 Levon Arounian, World #8 Peter Leko, World #12 Teimour Radjabov and World #7 Alexei Shirov. Curiously, former World Champion and World #2 Vladimir Kramnik has skipped Linares for the second year in a row.

The New York Times chess blog Gambit has excellent coverage of the tournament as well as a very cool plug-in which allows one to view the games with annotations. Years ago Mad Professah used to be a chess player on the international circuit as a teenager and attended a few of the same junior tournaments as Anand "back in the day." We were usually the only two non-white people in the room.

L.A. Mayor Signs Mandatory Spay-Neuter Ordinance

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed a tough spay-neuter bill into law on Tuesday, making Los Angeles the largest municipality in the United States to require the sterilization of most domestic pets. The ordinance passed the Los Angeles City Council by a vote of 14-1 two weeks ago.

From the official City Hall press release (pdf):

"By requiring that all cats and dogs be spayed or neutered, we can help to
humanely decrease the number of pets abandoned and euthanized each year,"
said Mayor Villaraigosa. "This ordinance, which contains clear guidelines and
enforceable penalties, creates a valuable tool to take this city another step closer
toward eliminating the unnecessary euthanasia of animals."

The Spay/Neuter Ordinance will require all pet owners in the City of Los Angeles
to have their cats and dogs (four months of age and older) spayed or neutered,
unless otherwise exempted because the animal competes, serves as a rescue or
service animal, or unless the pet is a registered breeder. Any person violating the
spay/neuter law will be cited, and could be subject to up to a $500 dollar fine or 40
hours of community service.


“As with so many important accomplishments, this Spay/Neuter law is not the end
of the story, but rather just the beginning,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “We will
continue to lead the effort by getting our dogs and cats spayed and neutered,
licensed and permitted, and saving more animals’ lives.”

The new Spay/Neuter law will take effect in April.

Mad Professah is a strong supprter of this bill, as well as the statewide version, The California Healthy Pets Act (AB 1634) by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine. Both my dogs (Dezmond, left, Leenah, right) are neutered.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Polls Show Obama and Clinton Close

Several new polls have Senator Barack Obama catching up to Senator Hillary Clinton nationally and in the all important March 4th presidential primary states of Texas and Ohio.
The New York Times/CBS News poll has a margin of error of +/- 5 percentage points and says that Obama is leading Clinton 54 to 38 percent among Democratic primary voters about which candidate they want to be the Democratic presidential nominee. In head-to-head matchups with Clinton versus McCain and Obama versus McCain, Obama does better (Obama lead McCain 50-38 versus a 46-46 between Clinton and McCain).

In the Associated Press/Ipsos poll Obama leads Clinton nationally 46-43 where last month he trailed her by 5 points.

In Ohio and Texas, according to DailyKos the race is also getting tighter,

2/23-25. Likely voters. MoE 3.8% (2/19 results)
Obama 49 (45) Clinton 45 (50)

2/18-23. 741 Likely Voters. MoE 3.6%. (2/14 results)
Clinton: 51 (55) Obama: 40 (34)

Poll (PDF)
. 2/21-24. 529 Likely Voters. MoE 4.3%. (No trend lines.)
Clinton: 47 Obama: 39

The race may be decided March 4th after all!

Monday, February 25, 2008

New Haaz Sleiman Movie: The Visitor

Mad Professah first noticed actor Haaz Sleiman in Maurice Jamal's The Ski Trip but first blogged about him during his stint as "another improbably handsome muslim terrorist" on 24 last season.

During previews for the movie Persepolis I saw an ad where his dazzling smile is features in the trailer for The Visitor, an independent film starring Richard Jenkins (the father in Six Feet Under) as a college professor who travels to New York City and finds an immigrant couple (played by Haaz Sleiman and Hiam Abbass) living in his apartment. The film was written and directed by Thomas McCarthy (who also wrote and drercted the indie hit The Station Agent), and was presented at this year's Sundance Film festival. Thomas McCarthy plays the ethically challenged reporter Scott Templeton on the current (and final) season of The Wire. Mad Professah applauds MCarthy for casting Sleiman in his second feature film and looks forward to seeing more of this talented (and improbably handsome) actor in the future! (hat/tip IMDb.)

2008 OSCARS: Award Results (8 out of 8)

Mad Professah scored a perfect 8 for 8 in my predictions in the Top categories of Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars this year.
Picture: No Country for Old Men
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Actress: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody, Juno
Adapted Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

Although these were the only categories I publicly made predictions in, I also predicted both Sound categories correctly for The Bourne Ultimatum and Best Score for Atonement and Best Costume design for Elizabeth: The Golden Age as well as "Falling Slowly" from Close winnning Best Song. Overall, MadProfessah was correct in 18 of 24 categories.

The most satisfying win of the night was Freeheld for Best Documentary, Short Subject. The movie is about police officer Laurel Hester's fight to make sure that her domestic partner recieved her survivor's benefits in New Jersey.

Other gay moments at the Oscars were openly gay producer Scott Rudin finally winning the Best Picture Academy Award and thanking his male partner.

Final totals were No Country for Old Men with 4 Oscars, The Bourne Ultimatum won 3 and There Will Be Blood and La Vie en Rose each won 2.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Gay MSFT Millionaire Leaves $65M to LGBT Groups and Pam's House Blend have the scoop on the will of Microsoft millionaire Ric Weiland which resulted in a windfall of $65 million dollars to numerous LGBT groups. Weiland was Employee Number 5 at Microsoft and went to high school with Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

Interestingly, the largest single chunk ($19m) of the money goes to the Pride Foundation, with the rest to be distributed to the following groups over an 8-10 year period:

* The Foundation for AIDS Research (AMFAR)
* Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
* Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
* In The Life
* International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
* Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
* National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)
* Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
* Project Inform
* Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

Notice the Human Rights Campaign is not on this list!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Photos from Williams Institute Update

Williams Institute Executive Director Brad Sears announced the final round of the 4th Annual Moot Court Competition on national sexual orientation law, which was judged by The Honorable Vice Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, Arizona Supreme Court, the Honorable Justice James Graves, Mississippi Supreme Court, and the Honorable Jean Dubofsky, former Justice, Colorado Supreme Court.

Williams Institute Research Director Lee Badgett, USC Law Professor Jody Armour and Georgetown Law Professor (and lead author of the Employment Non-Discrimination Law) Chai Feldblum gave an interesting perspective on the dangers of formal equality in the Beyond Anti-Discrimination Law segment.

UCLA Law Professor Grace Blumberg (left), American University Law Professor Nancy Polikoff and UC Berkeley Law Professor Angela Harris discussed the implications of Polikoff's recently published book Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage.

The winners of the 4th Annual Moot Court Competition,
from the University of California at Davis law school, who won $1000 from Wells Fargo

Jean Dubofsky, former Colorado Supreme Court justice, who argued the seminal 1996 case Romer v. Evans before the United Supreme Court which ended up ruling 6-3 to invalidate an anti-gay constitutional amendment to the Colorado constitution and declare that gays and lesbians are no longer "strangers before the law"; Mad Professah; Brad Sears, Executive Director of the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA Law School.

2008 OSCARS: Award Predictions

MadProfessah's Oscar nomination prediction accuracy rate in the Top 8 categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay) was an impressive 29 out of 40, or 72.5% this year. has a very cool Flash-powered game where you can enter Entertainment Weekly's Oscars prediction contest. The awards ceremony will be hosted by Jon Stewart and broadcast tomorrow Sunday February 25th at 5pm from The Kodak Theater in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.

Best Picture

AtonementJunoMichael Claytonno country for old menThere Will Be Blood

  • Atonement
  • Juno
  • Michael Clayton
  • No Country For Old Men
  • There Will Be Blood
WILL WIN: No Country For Old Men.

Best Director

  • Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
  • Ethan and Joel Coen, No Country For Old Men
  • Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
  • Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • Jason Reitman, Juno

SHOULD WIN: No Country For Old Men.
WILL WIN: No Country For Old Men.

Best Actress

  • Julie Christie, Away From Her
  • Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
  • Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • Laura Linney, The Savages
  • Ellen Page, Juno

SHOULD WIN: Ellen Page, Juno
WILL WIN: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose.

Best Actor

  • George Clooney, Michael Clayton
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
  • Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
  • Tommy Lee Jones, In The Valley of Elah
  • Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

SHOULD WIN: Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd.
WILL WIN: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
  • Ruby Dee, American Gangster
  • Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
  • Amy Ryan, Gone, Baby, Gone
  • Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

SHOULD WIN: Ruby Dee, American Gangster.
WILL WIN: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Best Supporting Actor
  • Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
  • Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War
  • Hal Holbrook, Into The Wild
  • Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

SHOULD WIN: Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men.
WILL WIN: Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl
  • Brad Bird, Ratatouille
  • Diablo Cody, Juno
  • Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
  • Tamara Jenkins, The Savages

SHOULD WIN: Diablo Cody, Juno.
WILL WIN: Diablo Cody, Juno.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
  • Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
  • Christopher Hampton, Atonement
  • Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • Sarah Polley, Away From Her

SHOULD WIN: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men.
WILL WIN: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Celebrity Friday: Queer Lawyers!

Today is the The Williams Institute's 7th Annual Update on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy at UCLA Law School from 10:00am to 6:30pm.

Here are the highlights of the agenda:
10:00 - 10:50 am
Keynote Address: The Constitutional Claim for Equality in LGBT Rights Litigation, A conversation with
Nan Hunter, Professor, Brooklyn Law School
Kenji Yoshino, Guido Calabresi Professor, Yale Law School

10:50 – 11:50 am
Marriage Update
Gary J. Gates, Senior Research Fellow, The Williams Institute
Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Lee Swislow, Executive Director, GLAD
Moderated by Jon Davidson, Legal Director, Lambda Legal

1:20 – 2:35 pm
Beyond Marriage
Grace Blumberg, Professor, UCLA School of Law
Angela Harris, Professor, Boalt Hall School of Law, UC Berkeley
Nancy Polikoff, Professor, American University Washington College of Law

2:50 – 3:50 pm
Discrimination Update
Toni Broaddus, President & Executive Director, Equality Federation & Equality Federation Institute
Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task ForceDean Spade, Law Teaching Fellow, The Williams Institute
Moderated by David Cruz, Professor, USC Gould School of Law

3:50 – 5:00 pm
Beyond Anti-Discrimination Legislation
M.V. Lee Badgett, Research Director, The Williams Institute
Chai Feldblum, Director, Federal Legislation Clinic and Professor, Georgetown University Law Center
Jody Armour, Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law, USC Gould School of Law
Moderated by Russell Robinson, Professor, UCLA School of Law

5:15 – 6:30 pm
Final Round of the 4th Annual Moot Court Competition
The Honorable Vice Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, Arizona Supreme Court, the Honorable Justice James Graves, Mississippi Supreme Court, and the Honorable Jean Dubofsky, former Justice, Colorado Supreme Court, presiding.

6:30 pm
cocktail Reception Hugh and Hazel Darling Law Library, UCLA Law

Mad Professah was a judge in the early round of the Moot Court competition last year and this year, so is looking forward to the final round. I'm also sad that I'm missing the conversation between Kenji Yoshino and Nan Hunter, two of the greatest legal thinkers the LGBT movement has. Hopefully I'll have some pictures of the event to show later on today.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bush Approval Hits 19%, 1% Among Democrats

George W. Bush's approval rating has fallen dramatically in the last month, from 34% to a stunning 19%, according to American Research Group.
Month    Approve  Disapprove  Undecided
Feb 2008 19% 77% 4%
Jan 2008 34% 59% 7%
Dec 2007 32% 66% 2%
Nov 2007 31% 64% 5%
Oct 2007 25% 67% 8%
Sep 2007 34% 60% 6%
Aug 2007 28% 65% 7%
Jul 2007 25% 71% 4%
Jun 2007 27% 67% 6%
May 2007 31% 64% 5%
Apr 2007 33% 62% 5%
Mar 2007 32% 63% 5%
Feb 2007 39% 56% 5%

Among Democrats (43% of respondents), 1% of registered voters approve of the President's job performance with 99% disapproving. Among Republicans (29% of respondents), 45% approve with 50% disapproving and among Independents (28% of respondents), 17% approve and 75% disapprove of the way Bush is doing his job.

Happily, there are exactly 11 more months of the Bush administration. (hat/tip to Daily Kos)

The U.S. First Openly Gay, Black State Representative

Connecticut State Representative Jason Bartlett became the nation's first openly gay, African American state representative on Tuesday after coming out publicly in an article appearing in the Dansbury News Times.

Pam's House Blend, Joe.My.God and other blogs covered the story and the National Black Justice Coalition has an exclusive interview with the nation's most prominent Black and openly gay elected official on its website.

Bartlett was elected in 2006 on his third run for public office and has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. He is 41 years old and has two sons, 19 and 21.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Supervisor Burke Anoints former LAPD Chief Parks Her Successor

Los Angeles County Supervisor (2nd District) Yvonne Brathwaite Burke has endorsed current Los Angeles City councilperson and former LAPD Police Chief Benard Parks over State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas in the June 3 statewide primary election. Parks now enjoys endorsements from a majority of the 5-member Board of Supervisors, having been previously endorsed by Supervisors Gloria Molina (1st District) and Mark Antonovich (5th District).

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Shiro's (South Pasadena, CA)

Mad Professah and the other half visited Shiro's Restaurant in South Pasadena, CA on the day before Valentine's Day and took the following pictures:

Asparagus Salad with Pecans, Tomatoes and Tarragon Dressing

Shrimp Tempura

Canadian Sea Scallops
with Shiitake & Shimeji Mushrooms
Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Green Peppercorn Sauce
Chocolate Torte Souffle

Japanese Flower Arrangement as table centerpiece

Shiro's is Hideo Yamashiro's restaurant in South Pasadena. It has received a rave review from S. Irene Virbila, the Los Angeles Times food critic.

Mad Professah and Mad Other Half had been wanting to try this restaurant for quite awhile and used the occasion of Valentine's day to make the short trek to the wilds of South Pasadena.
We decided to try the Wednesday night prix fixe menu and then selected some other interesting additional items. The meal started with some excellent and exceedingly light french bread and an amuse bouche of a slice of grilled red pepper wrapped around a soft cheese. We then started with an appetizer special (the shrimp tempura) which was both very light and flavorful, well-matched by the creamy but piquant dipping sauce. We then each had a salad, with the most distinctive being the Asparagus Salad (with Pecans, Tomatoes and Tarragon Dressing) which was surprisingly sweet but with an interesting combination of textures.

Our entrees were the Canadian Sea Scallops with Shiitake & Shimeji Mushrooms and the Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Green Peppercorn Sauce. They were both excellent, with the scallops being gently seasoned with nicely seared, partially caramelized edges. The pork tenderloins were astonishingly tender and the green peppercorn sauce was absolutely delicious. The vegetables on the side consisted of scallopped potatoes, carrots and zucchini.

The scalloped potatoes and carrots were particularly tasty.

The dessert we selected was the chocolate torte souffle, which was very chocolate-y and suprisingly not sweet, but not in a bad way.

Overall, the dining experience was a high quality one, particularly at a price much lower than one would pay at an equivalently fancy restaurant located on the West Side of Los Angeles.



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

L.A. Candlelight Vigil For Lawrence King Wednesday in WEHO

Just received an email from Lorri Jean, the CEO of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, one of the largest gay and lesbian organizations in the world, informing me about another public response to the anti-gay killing of Lawrence King, 16, last weekend that Mad Professah and Joe.My.God and other bloggers have been following closely.

The email announcement has information about a Candlelight Vigil to be held tomorrow in West Hollywood:

Please join us for a candlelight vigil in memory of Lawrence King, the 15-year-old boy who was the victim of a hate-motivated shooting by a fellow classmate last week. According to his friends, Larry self-identified as gay, sometimes wore make-up and feminine jewelry, and was taunted and harassed by some of his classmates before his murder.

Please come to honor King and to speak out against anti-LGBT violence in schools.

Wednesday, February 20th
7:00 pm: Gather at West Hollywood Park
7:30 pm: Walk to San Vicente Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood Park
647 N San Vicente BlvdWest Hollywood, CA

Read or watch Center C.E.O. Lorri L. Jean’s news conference remarks regarding the murder.

Oscar ballots due today

Awards Daily has posted this great video clip which salutes the 2007 Oscar-nominated films. The Oscars will be held this Sunday night in the Kodak Theater at Hollywood & Highland. Today is the last day for Academy voters to submit their ballots. Mad Professah will have his predictions of the winners later on.

Fidel Castro Is No Longer President of Cuba

Ever since Mad Professah visited Cuba two years ago for two weeks I have been interested in the island nation and a strong advocate of ending the mindless American embargo. One of the reasons I am supporting Barack Obama for president is that he shares my position while his opponent would basically continue the current failed policy. Yesterday it was announced that 81-year-old Fidel Castro has stepped down as President and Commander in Chief of Cuba. In a letter which originally appeared in Granma (the official newspaper of the Communist Part of Cuba) and also in today's New York Times, Castro wrote:

To my dearest compatriots, who have recently honored me so much by electing me a member of the Parliament where so many agreements should be adopted of utmost importance to the destiny of our Revolution, I am saying that I will neither aspire to nor accept, I repeat, I will neither aspire to nor accept the positions of President of the State Council and Commander in Chief.


The path will always be difficult and require from everyone's intelligent effort ... The adversary to be defeated is extremely strong; however, we have been able to keep it at bay for half a century.

This is not my farewell to you. My only wish is to fight as a soldier in the battle of ideas. I shall continue to write under the heading of 'Reflections by comrade Fidel.' It will be just another weapon you can count on. Perhaps my voice will be heard. I shall be careful.


Fidel Castro Ruz

The reaction in Miami's Little Havana has been muted. The Cuban Legislature will meet this weekend to select a new President, which is expected to be Fidel's brother, Raul.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Third Candidate Enters Migden-Leno State Senate Primary

The bitter Carole Migden-Mark Leno primary fight just got a bit more interesting: former Assemblyperson Joe Nation entered the race for the Democratic nomination in the State Senate Third District. The district includes about half of San Francisco, all of Marin County and parts of Sonoma County.

Nation is now the fourth member of a race for the seat held by openly lesbian State Senator Carole Midgen. Openly gay Mark Leno, the author of the gay marriage bill which has twice passed the California legislature, is termed out in November 2008 and made the controversial decision to challenge a sitting fellow member of the LGBT Legislative Caucus. In addition, San Francisco Police Commissioner and scion of the City's oldest and most well-known political family Joe Alioto Veronese also entered the race late last year.

Hopefully, the entry of a straight person with strong environmental credentials will not be enough to end the representation of this district by an openly gay or lesbian person.

2008 OSCARS: Pick The Winners

You can vote for your choices for the winners of the 2008 Oscars at Yahoo! Movies (h/t Awards Daily).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Over 1000 March in Oxnard to Protest Anti-Gay Hate Crime

The Los Angeles Times continues its coverage of the shooting death of openly gay, 15-year-old Lawrence King with an article in today's paper about a student-organized march held in Oxnard Saturday. In addition, the paper's website has the above pictures by Michael Robinson Chavez added to a photo gallery.

New details are emerging about the issues involved between Lawrence King and the 14-year-old Brandon McInerney who shot him to death on Tuesday morning. Apparently King had told McInerney that he had a crush on him. Joe.My.God continues his excellent Lawrence King coverage here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Eye Candy: Ramirez Allender

Too lazy to do much posting today... Enjoy these shots of Ramirez Allender...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Celebrity Friday: Noah's Arc Movie Is On

Towleroad and Rod 2.0 are both carrying the story that MTV Networks has announced a March start date for production of the long-awaited Noah's Arc movie, which would pick up where the now-cancelled Logo television series about four Black gay men living in Los Angeles left off at the end of its second season.

Mad Professah is skeptical that the movie will actually happen, but has a lot of confidence in director and producer Patrik-Ian Polk to pull it off, somehow. The entire original cast from the series featuring Darryl Stephens as Noah and Doug Spearman, Rodney Chester and Christian Vincent as his ARC (friends Alex, Rodney and Chance).

In the meantime, we will be able to see another television-turned-movie adaptation this summer when the Sex in the City movie comes out on May 30.

Latest on Lawrence King Shooting Aftermath

Joe.My.God is doing excellent work following up the latest developments in the Lawrence King shooting Mad Professah reported on yesterday. The Ventura County Rainbow Alliance has set up a memorial donation fund. The story was above the fold on page 1 of today's Los Angeles Times (more prominent than the announcement of a new Editor-in-Chief for the paper).

The latest news is that Lawrence King has been taken off life support and an autopsy is planned for later today. His alleged shooter, Brandon McInerney, was charged with pre-meditated murder with special circumstances (commission of a crime with a gun and a hate crime) and faces bail set at $770, 000. McInerney turned 14 on January 24th, making him eligible to be tried as an adult for the crime due to 2000's Proposition 21 "juvenile justice" initiative, which Mad Professah voted against at the time. He is being held at the Ventura County Juvenile Hall until an arraignment set for March 21.

Lawrence King Memorial Fund and Vigil
Unite, Share, Discuss - be visible!
Join us Friday evening, February 15 at 7pm to celebrate
the life of Lawrence King.
Unite in solidarity - be seen, be heard!
The ART Barn
856 E. Thompson Boulevard
Ventura, CA 93001

7pm - Unite
8pm - Walk to the Beach
Mapquest link HERE

Thursday, February 14, 2008

NYC Unveils New Condom For Valentine's Day

Mad Professah has been following the ongoing saga of official condom distribution plans by New York City and Washington, D.C. for quite awhile. I'm still curious as to why my fair city of Los Angeles (or one of the 99 cities found within Los Angeles County) does not seem to have such a widespread free condom distribution plan as New York.

Does this mean Angelenos are "knocking boots" less frequently than New Yawkers, or Allah forbid, are they just using less condoms?

Above is the newly unveiled condom wrapper for the Official NYC Condom, with the slogan "Get Some." In 2007, New York City gave away 3 million condoms per month, for an annual total of 36 million condoms for 8.2 million residents.

Openly Gay Student, 15, Fatally Wounded in Oxnard

Joe.My.God has been closely following the Tuesday shooting of an openly gay student named Lawrence King, a 15-year-old at E. O. Green Juior High School in Oxnard, CA. According to LAist, the shooter was 14-year-old classmate Brandon McInerney and the shooting occurred at 8:30am in a computer lab with 20 other students. On Wednesday, multiple media reports announced that King was declared brain dead at St. John's Regional Medical Center but his body was on a ventilator as the family was considering whether to allow organ donation.

King had been living at Casa Pacifica, a Ventura County foster care home for abused and neglected children.

The Los Angeles Times has some information on the motive:

Police have not determined a motive in the slaying but said it appeared to stem from a personal dispute between King and the suspect.


But several students at the south Oxnard campus said King and his alleged assailant had a falling out stemming from King's sexual orientation.

The teenager sometimes wore feminine clothing and makeup, and proclaimed he was gay, students said.

"He would come to school in high-heeled boots, makeup, jewelry and painted nails -- the whole thing," said Michael Sweeney, 13, an eighth-grader. "That was freaking the guys out."

Student Juan Sandoval, 14, said he shared a fourth-period algebra class with the suspect, whom he described as a calm, smart student who played on the basketball team. "I didn't think he was that kind of kid," Sandoval said. "I guess you never know. He made a big mistake."

"Their lives are both destroyed now," said student Hansley Rivera, 12.

Several students said that a day before the shooting, King and several boys had some kind of altercation during the lunch period.

If the suspect targeted King because of his sexual orientation, the case could rise to the level of a hate crime, authorities said.
Surprisingly, I haven't seen any quotes from State Senator Sheila Kuehl, who has probably done the most to promote the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in California of any elected official in the state.

MadProfessah, like Joe.My.God, will also be following this story closely. Since I don't believe in the death penalty I disagree with others who are calling for retribution for the shooter, but I do believe that a 14-year-old can be tried as an adult, especially when the crime involves loss of life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Obama Wins DC, VA, MD; Takes Delegate Lead

Barack Obama won in the so-called "crabcake primary" in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia on Tuesday, taking the overall delegate lead for the first time. Hillary Clinton, despite raising a rumored 10 million dollars from 100, 000 new donors on the Internet since Super Tuesday, has now staked her claim for the Democratic nomination on her ability to win decisively in two huge states on Tuesday March 4th, Texas and Ohio.

New Mariah Carey Single Leaked

The new album E=MC² comes out on Tuesday, April 15, 2008.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

25th Anniversary of Michael Jackson's Thriller

Today, the special 25th anniversary edition of Michael Jackson's Thriller will be released today. Although the original album was released in November 1982, it was in 1983 that Thriller-mania reached its peak. The Los Angeles Times is carrying multiple articles on the anniversary today. Below is a promotional video for the new album which has received nearly a million views on YouTube so far.

Hollywood Gives Writers No Respect, Example #946

From the detailed press coverage of the writers strike we knew that Hollywood studios had no respect for the work that scribes do, but this is taking things a bit too far. Apparently, the powers that be assholes at New Line Cinema feel that a one-time payment of $62, 500 is just compensation for the creative source of the $6 billion movie franchise The Lord of the Rings. Yesterday, the trustees of the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien sued New Line Cinema for breach of contract. According to Box Office Mojo, the multiple Oscar-winning trilogy has grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide. According to their contract, Tolkien (or his heirs) were to receive 7.5% of "gross receipts" after expenses. Nikke Finke at the must-read Deadline Hollywood Daily has the press release:
The Lord of the Rings films produced by New Line are among the most financially successful films ever created by Hollywood and were released in 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively. The cumulative worldwide gross receipts to date total nearly $6 billion. Notwithstanding the overwhelming financial success of the films, and the fact that the plaintiffs have a gross participation in each of the films, New Line has failed to pay the plaintiffs any portion of the gross profit participation at all. [emphasis added]

The trustees’ UK lawyer, Steven Maier, of Manches LLP, said: “The Tolkien trustees do not file lawsuits lightly, and have tried unsuccessfully to resolve their claims out of court. But in this case, New Line has left them no option at all. New Line has not paid the plaintiffs even one penny of its contractual share of gross receipts despite the billions of dollars of gross revenue generated by these wildly successful motion pictures. To make matters worse, to date New Line has even prevented the plaintiffs from auditing the last two films of the series. The trustees are very aggrieved by New Line’s arrogance.”

The complaint seeks, among other things, in excess of $150 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages, and a declaration from the Court that the plaintiffs have a right to terminate any further rights New Line may have to the Tolkien works under the agreements, including The Hobbit, due to the serious and material nature of the breach of the agreements.

Bonnie Eskenazi, the trustees’ US counsel who filed the complaint, said, “New Line has brought new meaning to the phrase ‘creative accounting.’ I cannot imagine how on earth New Line will argue to a jury that these films could gross literally billions of dollars, and yet the creator’s heirs, who are entitled to a share of gross receipts, don’t get a penny.”

It should be noted that the Oscar-winning director-screenwriter-producer Peter Jackson had to sue New Line to receive just compensation, so maybe it's not just the writers the suits try to screw over but all creative talent.

However, by dissing the goose that lays the golden eggs, New Line is jeopardizing its previously announced participation in the movie version of The Hobbit, another book written by Tolkien which is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

If New Line (or Time Warner if the rumors are true) doesn't pay the Tolkien Trust some significant fraction of the $150 million that they owe them, this is one Tolkien fanboy who will be boycotting the two new Lord of the Rings films planned for December 2010 and 2011.

Lost Returns At High Level In Season 4

There have been two new episodes of Lost so far, and they have been amazing! The latest one aired on Thursday and I finally watched it this weekend. Four new characters were introduced: anthropologist Charlotte Lewis (Rebecca Mader), pilot Frank Lapidus (Jeff Fahey), "genius headcase" Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) and ghostwhisperer Miles (Ken Leung). In the first episode of Season 4 another new character, named Matthew Abbadon, played by Lance Reddick of the The Wire, was introduced as some corporate hack for Oceanic Airlines, the company responsible for the ill-fated Flight 815.

Entertainment Weekly has been doing an amazing job with analysis of the new season. It's very sad that there's only 6 new episodes left, although possibly with the writers strike basically over, there may be another 8 before the end of May.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Obama Sweeps 4 Weekend Contests; Clinton Replaces Campaign Manager

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga posted this summary of the current state of the Democratic Presidential primary race at

The latest count of states won by popular vote, plus the margin of victory:
Clinton (10)
Arkansas +43
Oklahoma +24
New York +17
Massachusetts +15
Tennessee +13
California +10
New Jersey +10
Arizona +9
Nevada +6
New Hampshire +3

Obama (19)
Idaho +62
Alaska +50
Kansas +48
Washington +37
Georgia +36
Nebraska +36
Colorado +35
Minnesota +35
South Carolina +32
North Dakota +24
Louisiana +21
Maine +18
Utah +18
Alabama +14
Delaware +10
Iowa +9
Connecticut +4
Missouri +1

Barack Obama won primary electoral contests in Louisiana, Washington, Nebraska, U.S. Virgin Islands and Maine this weekend. Hillary Clinton "replaced" her campaign manager.
The current delegate count has the two basically tied (Hillary ahead by 38 delegates, with each one of them with around 1,100). This Tuesday is the "Potomac Primary" with contests in Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Virginia.

Obama Beats Clinton (at The Grammys)

Barack Obama beat (Bill) Clinton at the Grammy Awards last night, winning the award for Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Story Telling) for The Audacity Of Hope audiobook. Bill Clinton was nominated for Giving: How Each Of Us Can Change The World.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

WGA Awards Announced: The Wire Wins

The Writer Guild Awards were announced the same day the word started to spread about the writers' strike coming to an end.

Yesterday The Wire won the WGA Award for Best TV Drama Series (beating out fellow HBO show The Sopranos) while No Country for Old Men and Juno won WGA Awards for Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Celebrity Friday: Heroes in the Struggle 2008

Maxim Thorne, former COO of the Human Rights Campaign,
read a lengthy letter from presidential candidate Barack Obama on the occasion of
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and Heroes in the Struggle ceremony

Founder and Executive Director of the Black AIDS Institute, Phill Wilson, gace amoving speech where he talked to a future without AIDS: "And when that day comes, we want you to know, that not all of us were monsters. Some of us were brave and dared to love and care in the face of the epidemic, and it is in the loving and the caring and the fighting that we shall see a future without AIDS."
The divine Vanessa L. Williams (Soul Food) was the emcee of the evening's festivities.

Jurnee Smollett (The Great Debaters) was
named one of 2008's
Heroes in the Struggle

Actor and author Hill Harper (Beloved), Harvard Law School classmate of Barack Obama,
was named a Hero in the Struggle and also donated atleast $2,000 of
his own money during the hilarious live auction. He was on his way to a red eye
flight to Louisiana to stump for Obama after the ceremony.

Black AIDS Institute Board President (2002-2007) and person living
with HIV (and never recieving an AIDS diagnosis!) for 26 years
Jesse L. Milan was named a Hero in the Struggle.

Reverend Al Sharpton spoke in place of Los Angeles County
Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, who was not present to
receive her Hero in the Struggle award

The 2008 edition of Heroes in the Struggle was a very inspiring and pleasant event, held Thursday night in downtown Los Angeles, at the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Other Heroes in the Struggle named were: Julian Bond (Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NAACP), Danny Bakewell of the Bakewell Group (publishers of the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper), Bishop T.D. Jakes, author and radio personality Tavis Smiley and influential African American journalist George E. Curry.


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