Monday, March 31, 2008

Blast From The Past: Lisa Stansfield

Clay Cane has a throwback to the legendary dia Lisa Stansfield who had such early 1990s hits as "All Around The World" and "You Can't Deny It." Here's Lisa doing her thing Live at the Apoll (Chile, look at the mess that Sinbad is wearing!)

Good News For Obama

Yesterday the news came out that Barack Obama won more delegates in Texas than Hilary Clinton.

The same day came word that the Clinton campaign is having difficulty paying its bills and that Obama has opened up a statistically signifcant lead in the daily tracking Gallup poll of 52-42.

Obama Wins Texas (Finally!)

The results of Texas' byzantinely complicated primary and caucus election are now in and the candidate who emerged with the most delegates is (drumroll) Barack Obama. Although Hillary Clinton won the Texas primary election by a 51-47 margin that earned her a 65-61 edge in delegates, Obama's 58-42 superior performance in the caucus section of the "Texas Two Step" earned him a 38-29 edge in pledged delegates, thus Obama will end up with 5 more delegates out of Texas than his Democratic opponent.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

SD-3: Migden Booed Off The Stage at Party Convention

According to Be_Devine at Calitics and another blogger who was there, there was an incident involving State Senator Carole Migden at the Women's Caucus meeting of the California Democratic Party convention in San Jose on Friday.

Here's the relevant excerpt from Melissa's first hand account:
We walked in and who was at the podium in front of hundreds of people? Carole Migden! And Mark Leno was standing in the back of the room! I looked around and saw lots of women holding Leno signs and gay men holding Migden signs. And the supporters were heckling each other! Hilarious!

I later learned that this was a meeting of the California Democratic Party Women's Caucus. Migden launched into her speech, which fell pretty flat until she got to the part about how "women should vote for women" and pointed to a group of women in the corner of the room (some of whom were, um...not-petite) who were holding Leno signs and said:

"Are those women? They look like heavy guys to me."

I shit you not.

Allow me to repeat that:

"Are those women? They look like heavy guys to me."

The room was silent for a second while we all thought the same thing: "Did she just effing say that?" Then the place erupted with boos and curses that did not stop.

The woman next to me scowled and said, "Can you believe this?"

"No!" I squealed! "I love it!!" (Sanity is no fun to write about.)

Then one of the women on the panel on the stage said, "You need to stop speaking, you are disrupting our caucus." So Carole had to step down.

The endorsement of the Democratic Party in Senate District 3 will go to the convention floor. At the first endorsement vote Migden received 55%, Leno 42% and Nation 3%. The typical threshhold for a state party endorsement is 60%, unless you are an incumbent, then it is lower!

In the open seat to replace termed-out Assemblymember Lloyd Levine in AD-40, my friend Laurette Healey is running, but although Bob Blumenfield got the 60% threshhold but over 300 signatures were obtained to pull the AD-40 endorsement from the consentment calendar.

Sir Ian McKellen Expresses Interest In The Hobbit

Openly gay actor Sir Ian McKellen, who played the pivotal character of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies, has expressed his interest in reprising the characters in the upcoming prequel film adapations of The Hobbit.

Although Oscar-winning producer/director/screenwriter of Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson will not be directing the Hobbit films, he will likely be producing them, and according to McKellen, has only one actor in mind to play Gandalf (who plays an even bigger role in The Hobbit than he does in Lord of the Rings).

[A] fan asked: "Have you been approached yet by Peter Jackson or anyone else" to play the ancient Wizard?

McKellen replied: "Encouragingly, Peter and (partner) Fran Walsh have told me they couldn't imagine `The Hobbit' without their original Gandalf."

"Their confidence hasn't yet been confirmed by the director Guillermo del Toro, but I am keeping my diary free for 2009!" he said.
The news that Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Hellboy II) has the inside track to actually direct the movies has been an ill-kept secret for sometime.

Interestingly, the Hobbit movies will likely be competing at the box-office with the two last Harry Potter movies which the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be released as in 2010 and 2011.

Gay Married Man Refused U.S. Passport

hat/tip to Towleroad for this story.

Jason Hair-Wynn, a gay Massachusetts man who married his partner in 2005 and
legally changed his name to add his partner's, must change it back to his old
name, Jason Hair, if he wants a passport says the State Department.

According to the Sun Chronicle, the State Department says the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibits them from recognizing his married name: "'We are unable to comply with your request for a name change based on the documentation you sent
because of the Defense of Marriage Act ...,' the letter states. 'In determining
the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or
interpretation of the various administration bureaus and agencies of the United
States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one
woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the
opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.'"

Joe.My.God has also picked up this egregious story.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Defending Champ Djokovic Loses In Miami

Current Australian Open champion and World #3 Novak Djokovic lost his first match at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami against American qualifier Kevin Anderson 7-6 (1) 3-6 6-4. The Serbian player was coming off winning the first Masters Series tournament of the year at the Pacific Life Open on Sunday and was the defending champion at the Miami Masters.
Djokovic lost the match despite being up a break 2-0 in the third and deciding set when the umpire gave him a warning for a time violation serving at deuce. Djokovic won the next point but eventually was broken and later lost a streak of 8 points in a row. Anderson is a 6 foot 7 inch former NCAA Doubles champion who made it to the Tennis Channel Open final last month, losing to 6 foot 6 inch American Sam Querrey.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Vermont Residents Support Converting Civil Unions Into Marriages is reporting that a majority of Vermont residents in a poll support expanding marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The survey was taken of people attending town meetings across the state. It found that 54-percent said they support allowing gay couples to marry while 37-percent were opposed.


Support this year for same-sex marriage showed an increase of eight-percent over 2007.

The commission studying same-sex marriage will present its report to the legislature next month. Members have been close-lipped on what they will recommend.

The commission was set up last year to look into Vermont's civil unions law to see if it is providing equality for gay and lesbian couples and to determine if the law should be amended to provide for same-sex marriage.

As someone who was "civilly united" in Burlington, Vermont in 2000 I follow what happens in Vermont pretty closely, despite being a California resident. It will be interesting to see if Vermont does legislatively expand marriage to same-sex couples whether they institute a new residency requirement. Massachusetts has had equal marriage rights for lesbian and gay couples since May 17, 2004 but also has a residency requirement.

FPPC Countersues Migden for $9 MILLION

Things just seems to be getting worse and worse for State Senator Carole Migden. Yesterday, the California Fair Political Practices Commission filed a countersuit for 9 million dollars against her. Last week, the FPPC levied the largest fine ever against a state political candidate against Senator Migden.

Migden is one of the most senior members of the California LGBT legislative Caucus. She is facing a primary challenge from another openly gay politician, Assemblymember Mark Leno, for the right to represent the City of San Francisco in State Senate District 3.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Pregnant Husband

I am surprised this story is not getting more attention. A transgender female-to-male who is married to his female spouse in Oregon has decided to carry the couple's child. So far I only see that The Advocate and Bilerico have had articles on the decision of Thomas Beatie to get pregnant.

The picture to the left is quite incredible.

The money quote is from Beatie himself:

How does it feel to be a pregnant man? Incredible. Despite the fact that my
belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the
man that I am. In a technical sense I see myself as my own surrogate, though my
gender identity as male is constant. To Nancy, I am her husband carrying our
child—I am so lucky to have such a loving, supportive wife. I will be my
daughter’s father, and Nancy will be her mother. We will be a family.

Outside the local medical community, people don’t know I’m five months’ pregnant. But our situation ultimately will ask everyone to embrace the gamut of human possibility and to define for themselves what is normal.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

All Hail The Queen (Of Soul)

Aretha Franklin is 66 years old today. The New York Times reviewed her weekend New York City concert on Monday.

Video Disproving Hillary's Bosnia Story

The blog Attytood has good coverage of Hillary acknowledging her misstatement.

Monday, March 24, 2008

LAPD Chief Endorses His Predecessor's Rival

Los Angeles Police Department chief William Bratton is endorsing State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas instead of former LAPD Chief (and now Los Angeles City counciperson) Bernard Parks in the interesting primary race for Los Angeles County Supervisor on the June 3rd ballot. Mad Professah has also endorsed Ridley-Thomas over Parks to replace Yvonne Brathwaite Burke in the County's plurality African American 2nd district.

Bratton's choice is a curious decision by one of the city's most astute politiciams because one would think that Bratton would like nothing less than to have the main who tried and failed to get a second term as LAPD chief (something Bratton achieved last summer despite presiding over a near-riot at an immigrant's rights rally the month before) to no longer be the person responsible for approving the budget of his department, which Parks does as Chair of the Los Angeles City Council Budget Committee.

The local paper of record reported:

"I'm not here as a police chief," said Bratton, careful to comply with a city ethics law requiring employees to make clear that "they are acting as individuals" when making political endorsements. But, he said, he also was "conscious of my right as a citizen."

A spokesman for Parks said the councilman didn't back political candidates when he held the LAPD's top job.


In backing Ridley-Thomas, Bratton said voters would get a strong leader with experience as a city councilman as well as in the Legislature. The only other time Bratton endorsed a candidate was in 2005, when he backed Alex Padilla's successful race for the state Senate.

Ridley-Thomas has received the backing of most of the county's unions and the Los Angeles Police Protective League. Parks' supporters include three county supervisors -- including Burke -- and six Los Angeles City Council member, among others.

Pacific Life Open: Serbs Rule

Novak DjokovicAna Ivanovic

At the Pacific Life Open, the most well-attended non-Grand Slam tennis event in the world, Serbians Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic claimed the 2008 titles. Ivanovic defeated Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-3 while Djokovic beat American Mardy Fish 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hillary Takes Lead in National Gallup Poll

Rod 2.0 alerted me to the current Gallup Poll of Democrats which shows that Hillary Clinton has now moved ahead of Barack Obama in percentage of respondents saying who they would prefer as the Democratic presidential nominee.

Hillary's Financial Difficulties

The FEC filings for February are now being examined and there's some peculiar news about Hillary Clinton and John McCain's finances.

After spending about $31 million in her efforts to keep up with Senator Barack Obama, Mrs. Clinton finished February with more than $33 million in cash on hand, but $21.5 million of that is earmarked exclusively for the general election, leaving her with $11.7 million for the primary.

Mrs. Clinton, however, loaned her campaign $5 million earlier this year and she listed $8.7 million in debts to various vendors, making clear why she has not yet paid herself back from her loan.

By way of comparison, Senator Barack Obama, her Democratic opponent, brought in $55 million in February, a record-setting sum, and spent about $43 million, leaving him with $31.6 million in cash on hand available for the primary and $7.3 million set aside for the general. He also did a much better job paying his bills, listing just $625,000 in outstanding debts.
Hillary Clinton raised $35 million in February while John McCain raised a paltry $11 million.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Anand Wins Linares-Morelia for 2nd Consecutive Year

This news came out a few weeks ago, but I think it's important to post here as well.
GM Viswanathan Anand of India, won the 25th edition of the Morelia/Linares super grandmaster tournament. The current World Champion, one of the two top-ranked players in the world, finished a half point (+4-1=9) ahead of GM Magnus Carlsen (Norway, +5-3=6). Carlsen, 17 years old, finished a half point ahead of GMs Levon Aronian (Armenia, +3-2=9) and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria, +5-4=5).

Richardson Endorses Obama For President

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and former Presidential candidate, congressperson, Secretary of Energy, and United Nations representative is endorsing Barack Obama for President.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Five Years Of War

The Iraq War, by the numbers, on its 5th anniversary this week:

Troops in Iraq - Total 164,481, including 155,000 from the US, 4,500 from the UK, 2,000 from Georgia, 900 from Poland, 650 from South Korea and 1,431 from all other nations

US Troop Casualities - 3,989 US troops; 98% male. 90% non-officers; 80% active duty, 12% National Guard; 74% Caucasian, 10% African-American, 11% Latino. 18% killed by non-hostile causes. 51% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 70% were from the US Army

Spent & Approved War-Spending - About $600 billion of US taxpayers' funds. President Bush has requested another $200 billion for 2008, which would bring the cumulative total to close to $800 billion.

U.S. Monthly Spending in Iraq - $12 billion in 2008
Cost of deploying one U.S. soldier for one year in Iraq - $390,000 (Congressional Research Service)

Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq - $9 billion of US taxpayers' money and $549.7 milion in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors.
Also, per ABC News, 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47 rifles

Halliburton Overcharges Classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported - $1.4 billion

Amount paid to KBR, a former Halliburton division, to supply U.S. military in Iraq with food, fuel, housing and other items - $20 billion

Portion of the $20 billion paid to KBR that Pentagon auditors deem "questionable or supportable" - $3.2 billion

Number of major U.S. bases in Iraq - 75 (The Nation/New York Times)

Now you know why Dick Cheny is smiling. Vote Democratic. Oooh Rah.

Agreement Reached On Instant Replay in Tennis

Finally! The governing body of tennis, the International Tennis Federation, in conjunction with the Women's Tennis Association and the Association of Tennis Professionals as well as the Grand Slam committee (which organizes the four annual major tournaments) have agreed on a standard, common protocol for electronic line calling.

Starting at next week's Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, there will be three (incorrect) player challenges per set, with an extra challenge added during the tiebreak. If the player is correct in the challenge to a call, they do not lose it. In matches where sets are not decided by a tiebreak, the number of challenges re-sets to 3 each after every twelve games.

Although three challenges is better than the two that player's have been working with at the U.S. Open and most other tournaments, I am in the camp of Mary Carillo. Why should there be any limit to the challenges a player makes? If the umpire feels that the player is abusing the system, they should have the authority to give them a warning "You are abusing the challenge system, from now on you will have 3 challenges remaining." And that would solve the problem.

Eventually software and hardware will improve so that a computer will be able to call every line anyway.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SD-3: Migden Fined $350K For Campaign Finance Violations

Today's Daily Roundup has news of developments in the hot State Senate race to un-seat openly lesbian powerhouse Carole Migden. Migden was fined $350,000 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission. This is the largest fine ever levied against a candidate for statewide office.
Migden is in a tight race with Mark Leno and Joe Nation, who wasted no time piling on:
"It's stunning and staggering that things were that bad," said Nation. "I can't imagine you could have such sloppy bookkeeping."

Tom Higgins, Leno's campaign manager, said the sheer numbers alone tell the story: "$350,000 in fines ... 89 counts, more than $16,000 of her campaign funds used for personal purposes."
Ouch. It's looking worse and worse for Migden, but she's not hte kind of person you EVER count out. She is currently suing the FPPC in federal court in order to access 1 million dollars she has in previous campaign accounts for this race.

Gay(?) Sci-Fi Icon Arthur C Clarke is Dead

Joe.My.God has the details. Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Grand Master of Science Fiction, died on Wednesday in his home in Colombo, Sri Lanka at the age of 90. Interestingly, his Wikipedia entry does not mention his sexuality at all.

Neither the Los Angeles Times or New York Times obituaries mention Clarke's sexuality.

Clarke is best known for his collaboration with visionary film director Stanley Kubrick on the Oscar-nominated screenplay for the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, elements of which Clarke used to create a best-selling novel of the same name.

Similarly to Joe.My.God, I grew up reading Arthur C. Clarke's novels, although my first (and the only one I can remember reading at the time) was Childhood's End and in general I was more of a devotee of Isaac Asimov's work than either Clarke or Heinlein. Clarke's three sequels to 2001 were also best-sellers, despite being of ever decreasing quality.

It is true that Clarke had a genius for making wild predictions about future technology that have so far come true: geostationary satellites (now called Clarke orbits), cell phones, space stations and the Internet.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mad Professah in DC

I'm traveling out of town, reviewing grant proposals for the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. through Tuesday. Light blogging for the most part until then. Watch the video of Keith Olberman!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

MSNBC video on the Ferraro Racist Comment

Pam alerted me to this response to 1984 Vice Presidential candidate (and former Hillary Clinton surrogate) Geraldine Ferraro's inarguably racist comments about Barack Obama:
If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.

In the video below, MSNBC anchor Keith Olberman's response.

Fun Quote About Computers and Cars

This is a fun quote:

If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside.

Robert X. Cringely, InfoWorld magazine

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Implications of New Governor of New York

Government Eliot Spitzer of New York has resigned (effective March 17) and thus Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson will become the first African American and blind Governor of the State of New York.

There have only been two Black men to serve as chief executive of a state since the Reconstruction era, Doug Wilder (Virginia 1990-1994) and Deval Patrick (Massachusetts 2006-). Paterson will serve out the remaining two and a half years of Spitzer's term (until January 2011).

Interestingly, although Spitzer was known as an especially pro-LGBT politician, Paterson may be even more supportive.

According to The Agenda, the blog of the Empire State Pride Agenda, which is New York's equivalent to California's Equality California, the statewide LGBT political lobbying organization:

“David Paterson’s leadership is a story of commitment to civil liberties and human rights. He believes in equality and justice for all New Yorkers and has demonstrated this time and time again in both words and actions.

He has been a strong and consistent friend of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community ever since he was elected to public office in 1985. He worked hard as a State Senator to help pass hate crimes legislation in 2000 and, in his first weeks as Senate Minority Leader, worked to make sure that there were enough Democratic votes to pass the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) in 2002.

We are excited to begin working with him as Governor.”
Another interesting aspect of Paterson's elevation to Governor is that State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, the main impediement to LGBT legislative process in the state of New York, will be elevated to Lieutenant Governor and there will no longer be a tie-breaking vote in the 62-member body, which currently has 32 Republicans and 30 Democrats. To me this means that until Governor Paterson is able to get a new Lieutenant Governor, the Democrats will need two more seats to obtain an outright majority (i.e. 32 Senators) instead of only one seat, to sieze complete control of the New York State legislative and executive branches.

Interestingly, as Blabbeando notes, if the Democrats to take over control of the New York State Senate in November 2008, the new Senate Majority Leader will be the man who replaced David Paterson as Senate Minority Leader, fellow African American Malcolm A. Smith. Then two out of three legislative branches would be helmed by African Americans.

REVIEW: The York (Highland Park, CA)

Pan-seared tilapia, Swiss chard, lentils with bacon ($15)

Cheddar burger, spicy harissa aioli, pickled onions, rocket, fries ($13)
Grilled salmon salad, peppercress, arugula, pignoli, citrus vinaigrette ($14)
Pulled pork Cuban sandwich, mustard aioli, gruyere, ham, pickle, slaw ($12)

The York on York Boulevard in Highland Park is a hip new bar and restaurant ("gastropub") which has been getting good reviews since it opened last year. Mad Professah stopped by the spot twice in the same week and was able to get a good sampling of the food and ambiance.

Specifically, I ordered the cheddar burger and fries while the Other Half ordered the tilapia. The fries are outstanding, with the burger cooked exactly right and placed on a very fresh bun with excellent trimmings. The tilapia was also quite good, with the slightly sour flavor of the chard and lentils forming an interesting counterpoint to the delicate but sweet fish. The food is surprisingly good for "bar food." I didn't personally taste the grilled salmon salad but I have reports that it was tasty. On my second visit to The York I ordered the pulled pork cuban sandwich, which is not bad, but I would prefer any of the cuban sandwiches at Porto's Bakery and Cafe (which also cost one-third the price).

The two different nights I went to the York I was impressed with the ambiance of the place. It has beautiful 20-foot ceilings with exposed rafters and very stylish lighting which provides just the right amount of ambient lighting. In addition, the music was interesting and not too loud. The clientele was an unusual (for Highland Park) mix of Eastside hipsters, college students and others.



Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Federer Comes Back To Beat Sampras

Monday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City 26-year old World #1 Roger Federer beat 36-year-old 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras 6-3, 6-7(4) 7-6(6) at an exhibition match played in front of 19,000 people. Or as the Wall Street Journal's Daily Fix put it: "Federer celebrates barely beating a retired player 10 years older than him." OUCH.

Mad Professah watched the match and looked to me like Federer was mostly taking it easy and basically just relaxed when he was up 2-0 in the third set. He then preceded to lose 5 games in a row as Sampras shook off the rust and proceeded to dominate the youngster with his serve and volley game. However, despite being 2 points away from the match times, Sampras was not able to get a match point and close it out.

HO NO! Gov. Spitzer Sex Scandal

Thanks to Joe.My.God I was alerted to this New York Post headline about the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal.

Although it appears unlikely that he will be able to salvage his position as Governor of New York (or his political career), Mad Professah disagrees that he should resign. Professor Alan Dershowitz agrees with me.

U.S. HIV+ Travel Ban Repeal Possible?

HRC has sent out a media advisory about a possible repeal of the United States HIV travel and immigrantion ban. Joe.My.God has a good article on the legislative ploy to attach the repeal legislation by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) to a bill by Senator Joe Biden and Senator Richard Lugar that funds President Bush's President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The United States is one of only 13 countries that ban HIV+ people from visiting or immigrating. The others: Armenia, Brunei, China, Iraq, Qatar, South Korea, Libya, Moldova, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

Let's hope this ploy does better than attaching the Matthew Sheppard Act to that defense appropriations bill did. A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives last August, but remains in committee.

I'd be shocked if this bill becomes law, but it is good to see that our friends in the Senate are making the effort to expose this horrendous public policy, and possibly change it now instead of waiting until after January 2009.

Madonna Inducted into Rock n Roll Hall of Fame

Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Monday night at a ceremony held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

When I was in college I used to be a part of a faux anti-nuclear organization called The Association to Protect Madonna from Nuclear War which was devoted to maintaining a 10 mile nuclear-free zone around Madonna at all times. Since that would be impossible it would mean all nuclear weapons would need to be de-commissioned.
I still remember the first Madonna song I heard, which was "Lucky Star." I was in London, England and it was March or April in 1984. I was with my cousin and she had this video of this new singer from America named Madonna who had this new brilliant video. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.
What was the first time you heard a song by Madonna?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Would You Sign This Pledge To Keep Your Job?

This story about a CSU East Bay math teacher who was fired for modifying the State of California loyalty oath now has a happy ending. According to the Los Angeles Times, all state, city, county, public school, community college and public university employees are required to sign the pledge as a condition of employment. Non-citizens are exempted.

The loyalty oath is found in Article XX, Section 3 of the California Constitution:

"I, ______, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support
and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Consti-
tution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign
and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the
Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the
State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without
any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will
well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about
to enter.
"And I do further swear (or affirm) that I do not advocate, nor
am I a member of any party or organization, political or other-
wise, that now advocates the overthrow of the Government of the
United States or of the State of California by force or violence
or other unlawful means; that within the five years immediately
preceding the taking of this oath (or affirmation) I have not
been a member of any party or organization, political or other-
wise, that advocated the overthrow of the Government of the
United States or of the State of California by force or violence
or other unlawful means except as follows:

(If no affiliations, write in the words "No Exceptions")
and that during such time as I hold the office of ______________

________________________________ I will not advocate nor become
(name of office)
a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise,
that advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United
States or of the State of California by force or violence or
other unlawful means."

Marianne Kearney-Brown, a pacifist Quaker, took the oath seriously and inserted "nonviolently," crossed out "swear," and circled "affirm" in the version of the oath presented to her. Her employer was not amused and fired Kearney-Brown on February 28th. Her case became a cause celebre among the progressive blogosphere and yesterday's Times revealed that Attorney General Jerry Brown's office had been contacted and had produced a legal opinion that "signing the oath does not carry with it any obligation or requirement that public employees bear arms or otherwise engage in violence. This has been confirmed by both the United States Supreme Court . . . and the California attorney general's office."

With that document stapled to her copy of the oath, Kearney-Brown signed it, and was reinstated.

My point in re-telling all this is would you sign the following oath if your job depended on it? And, why when we have a California Legislature that can pass bills in favor of same-sex marriage and universal health care would we not have one that has put a repeal of this section of the California constitution on the ballot?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Serena Wins 29th WTA Title in Bangalore

Serena Williams ended her 11-month title drought by defeating Patty Schnyder 7-5, 6-3 in a hard fought, error-strewn final at the Bangalore Open. It followed her gutsy 3rd set tiebreak win over sister Venus Williams in a 2 hour, 10 minute semi-final that was not broadcast in the United States.
The Pacific Life Open starts in Indian Wells, California on Monday with both men and women competing. Neither Williams Sister will play that tournament due to an ugly incident from years ago. Following that, Serena will be defending her title Sony Ericsson Open starting March 24th.
Also on Monday, Roger Federer and Pete Sampras are playing a sold-out exhibition match at Madison Square Garden at 430pm PDT (730pm EDT) that will be broadcast on The Tennis Channel.

Field in Leno-Migden Race Shrinks

According to Brian Leubitz at Calitics, the Democratic field in State Senate District #3 that Mad Professah has been following closely has narrowed recently from a four-way race to a three-way race when San Francisco Police Commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese. Senate District 3 is currently represented by openly lesbian Carole Migden and she is being challenged by openly gay Assemblymember Mark Leno who is termed out this year and former Assemblyman Joe Nation in the June Democratic primary.

The most recent polling has shown that Migden is in trouble of holding her seat:
A poll taken last week by David Binder found State Senate District 3 a two-way contest between challengers Joe Nation and Mark Leno, with incumbent Carole Migden trailing badly. Binder, who is San Francisco’s leading pollster and has been busy surveying for Barack Obama, found that Nation led Leno 27-24% on the initial ask, with Migden trailing at 17%. When pro and con statements about the candidates were read, the Leno-Nation numbers reversed, with Migden remaining at 17%. Joe Alioto Veronese was at 7 and 10%, and nearly a quarter of the electorate remains undecided.
In addition, Migden is in a legal dispute with the California Fair Political Practices Commission over money (nearly a million dollars) that she wants to spend in this race which she raised years ago when she was a Assemblyperson before she was elected to the State Board of Equalization and State Senate.

If the Binder poll numbers hold there will be strong pressure for Migden to drop out in April or May lest the seat that has been held by an openly gay San Francisco Democrat fall into the hands of a staight, more conservative Marin County man.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Roddick Becomes 1st American To Win Dubai

Andy Roddick continued his excellent run by defeating Feliciano Lopez in a high-quality, tough match 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-2 to become the first American player (male or female) to win the Dubai Duty Free Open, his second title (San Jose, CA) in three weeks.

Serena beats Venus to face Schnyder in Bangalore final

Venus Williams
Serena Williams beat her older sister Venus in a tough, tight match 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4) to make the final of the Bangalore Open against Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder. Serena now leads her head-to-head with her sister 8-7.

Polling Indicates Democratic Presidential Win

The progressive blogs have been buzzing about these aggregate polling results by the Survey USA polling outfit to project electoral college wins by both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical presidential matchup with John McCain were held state-by-state right now. It averages over a 100 polls in the 50 states and produces some unusual statewide results.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Roddick Beats Nadal To Face Djokovic in Dubai

(Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Andy Roddick beat World #2 Rafael Nadal 7-6 (5), 6-2 at the Dubai Duty Free Championships and announced that 8-time Grand Slam champion Jimmy Connors is no longer his coach. 2008 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic beat Igor Andreev for the right to face Roddick in the semifinal. Andy Murray (who started the tournament by upsetting World #1 Roger Federer in the first round 6-7(6) 6-3 6-4) lost 7-5, 6-4 to Nikolay Davydenko who will face Feliciano Lopez in the other semi-final.

Craig Hickman has more details and commentary on Federer's statements to the press after his second consecutive loss of the year.

UPDATE: Roddick defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals, in straight sets: 7-6(5), 6-3. This is the first time the American has defeated the World #3 and World #2 in the same tournament.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Obama Raises $55,000,000 in February

Barack Obama announced today that his presidential campaign raised $55 million dollars in February 2008, the most ever raised in a primary month by a presidential candidate. 90% of the donations were in amounts less than $100. $45 million was raised online at

Violence Against LGBT Individuals

(hat/tip Pam's House Blend)

Washington DP Bill Passes Legislature

More good news from the left coast. In Washington state, the legislature has completed passage of HB 3104, a bill to expand the rights and responsibilities of registered domestic partners. Governor Christine Gregoire, who is running for re-election, has agreed to sign the bill into law.

Washington state enacted a statewide domestic partner registry last year which went into effect in July 2007 with a modest number of rights and benefits. HB 1304 would add an estimated 160 rights and responsibilities to the 23 the initial legislation included.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Clinton Wins OH, TX and RI

David Ahnhtolz for The New York Times

Hillary Clinton ended Barack Obama's winning streak of electoral primary contests at 12 with three wins of her own in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island. Despite polls and predictions of Obama winning Texas the results were:

(126 delegates)
Clinton 65 Obama 61
Caucuses (67 delegates; tentative
results based on a straight percentage from 36% reporting -- 52O 48C)
Obama~35 Clinton ~32
Total (Nowhere near final)
Clinton ~97 Obama ~96

However, for the night Clinton ended up with a delgate gain of +13, dropping Obama's lead from 191 to 178 (according to Daily Kos).

On the Republican side,John McCain wrapped up the Republican nomination. I would bet money that it will be a McCain-Huckabee ticket.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

L.A. Fire Department Faces ANOTHER Million Dollar Judgment

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Fire Department was hit with another million-dollar judgment associated with a long-standing claim of racial discrimination resulting from an incident where a Black man was served dog food. That case is known as "the Tennie Pierce case" and has been one of several discrimination lawsuits closely followed by Mad Professah.

In the latest twist, two white fire captains named John Tohill and Chris Burton are receiving a total of $1.6 million dollars (more than Pierce received) by arguing that they were discriminated against by the Fire Department in the resulting circular firing squad in the aftermath of public scrutiny of the Department's reaction to the Tennie Pierce incident.

From the Los Angeles Times coverage:
In the last two years, the 3,900-member department -- considered among the nation's best -- has been rocked by allegations of unchecked racism, discrimination and harassment that have cost taxpayers more than $13 million in legal payouts, not including Monday's verdict. Among the payouts was a $6.2-million jury award last summer to Brenda Lee, who alleged that she was harassed off the force because she is black and a lesbian.

But to many white firefighters, the Pierce case came to symbolize a disciplinary system skewed in favor of women and nonwhite firefighters.

"When it comes to a minority -- female or male -- and there's the word 'discrimination,' everybody runs and hides and puts their heads in the sand," said Capt. Mark Khitikian, a 34-year veteran. "The department is afraid to look at these things fairly."


Under the jury award returned Monday, Burton, who will be retiring in the next few years, received $507,500 for past pain and suffering, $72,500 for future pain and suffering and $11,808 in past lost earnings. Tohill received $467,250 in lost future earnings, $367,500 for past pain and suffering, $210,000 for future pain and suffering, and $7,488 in past lost earnings. The nine-woman, three-man panel was majority white but included four Latinos and at least one Asian.
The Daily News article on the case finishes with this money quote from the President of United Firefighters of Los Angeles, Steve Tufts, on the behavior of the Fire Department in the wake of the Tennie Pierce case.

"What kind of investigation is it where everybody gets paid?"

Monday, March 03, 2008

Tragedy on "The Wire": Everybody gotta wait!

Oh no! The long-awaited final 95-minute episode of the seminal HBO series The Wire will be broadcast next Sunday and for the first time, those of us with HBO on Demand will not get to watch the episode a week early! I saw the penultimate episode of the fifth and final season last Tuesday and it is a doozy (read Entertainment Weekly's recap here).

Mad Professah will definitely be in front of the TV next Sunday watching the final episode of The Wire, with a handkerchief!

CA Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Gay Marriage Case Tuesday

The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the same-sex marriage cases on Tuesday March 4th from 9am-12noon PST. The interest in this case is so great that the court has set up a separate portion of its website to provide information on the case. The same sex marriage case is really an amalgam of a number of various legal actions, that court has rolled into one and called In re Marriage Cases (S S147999). The court has divided the 3 hours of oral argument into equal time for Petitioners (the good guys) and Respondent (the bad guys).

Counsel for City and County of San Francisco will be allocated a total of 35 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for petitioner Rymer et al. will be allocated a total of 35 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for petitioner Tyler et al. will be allocated a total of 10 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for petitioner Clinton et al. will be allocated a total of 10 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for the State of California will be allocated 45 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for the Governor et al. will be allocated 15 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund will be allocated 15 minutes for oral argument.
Counsel for Campaign for California families will be allocated 15 minutes for oral argument.

Public viewing of the oral arguments will be available on closed circuit television in an overflow viewing auditorium in the Milton Marks Conference Center, Hiram Johnson State Office Building, Lower Level, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco.

I believe that the main attorneys for the petitioners will be Mr. (not Ms.) Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and David Codell, a private attorney from Los Angeles. I have no idea who the heterosexual supremacists are having represent them. I believe the state of California is not being represented by current Attorney General (and former Governor) Jerry Brown, but by one of his deputies.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Mariah Carey's Touch My Body video

Tongues Untied To Be Released on DVD Tuesday

The landmark film Tongues Untied by openly gay, Black artist Marlon Riggs is finally being released on DVD this Tuesday. My friend Phill Wilson, Founder and Executive Director of the Black AIDS Institute is features on some of the DVD extras. Tongues Untied is an amazing 59-minute documentary about the lives of Black, gay men in America told by openly gay, Black men (especially the poet Essex Hemphill) and directed by the Emmy-winning director of Ethnic Notions.


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