Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama Hits Back On "Gas Tax Holiday" Scheme

HRC Endorses Republican Incumbent Over Pro-Gay Democratic Challenger

The nation's largest LGBT civil rights group, Human Rights Campaign, has recently announced the first round of their 2008 election endorsements and they are already starting to get flack for one curious choice: U. S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) over Rep. Tom Allen.
According to HRC's own rating system Allen is the more pro-LGBT official, with a 100% rating compared to an average of 84% for Collins in the last three Congresses.

This is not the first time that HRC has angered local activists about their cringe-worthy electoral endorsements. For example, in 1996 HRC endorsed corrupt U.S. Senator Afonse D'Amator (R-NY) over Chuck Schumer. D'Amato was scum, who close to election would start making pro-gay noises and stop voting for anti-gay legislation while Schumer was (and is) a relatively strong supporter of teh LGBT community. Clearly, Schumer won that race (since he's now the senor Senator from New York) and Mad Professah and many other activits have never forgiven HRC for their error. I, personally, have decided I will never give HRC another red cent in donations since that decision.
Considering the brou-haha over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (that discriminates against transgender individuals) from last year one woudl think that HRC would tread carefully, but apparently not.
The only way they will learn not to make such brain-dead moves is if they feel it in their pocketbook, so I would urge people to donate to their local LGBT organization or the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund (which supports openly LGBT elected and appointed officials) instead.

Monday, April 28, 2008

CA Heterosexual Supremacists Claim 1.12M Signatures For Initiative

The organization issued a press release on Thursday April 24 claiming that they have collected 1,122,000 signatures in order to qaulify an Initiative Constitutional Amendment to the California Constitution which would ban gay marriage but leave the statewide domestic partnership law alone. If a total of 694,354 signatures are found valid by the 58 County Registrars in California, the measure would appear on the Tuesday November 4th ballot.

Mad Professah has previously blogged about the specific text of this measure and its implications. Currently here is no word from the other heterosexual supremacist who were try to ban gay marriage AND repeal domestic partnerships. It should be noted that it is somewhat likely that by November the citizens of California will be voting to annul current gay marriages (perhaps even my marriage?) if the Califoria Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiff-appellees in the current In Re marriage Cases lawsuit. A decision is widely expected by June 4th.

NYT Article On Young Gay Marriages

Another thing people are buzzing about this Monday is the massive article in the Sunday New York Times magazine(entitled "Gay Rites") about the new phenomena of young gay men in their 20s getting married:

For nearly an hour, seven of us — five working professionals in our 20s and two college undergraduates — sat in a coffee shop and talked theoretically about what a young gay marriage might entail. In the end, most of us agreed that we would like to be married — just not yet. We still had a lot of living, and growing up, to do. While many of our heterosexual peers undoubtedly did as well, we were immune from the pressure some of them felt to marry. No one — not our friends, not our families, not the gay community — expected us to wed.

For the next few years, I didn’t give young gay marriage much thought. While thousands of gay men and lesbians in their 30s, 40s or 50s married in Massachusetts, none of us at the table that night did, even as several of us inched into our 30s. I assumed that marriage — what the gay playwright Terrence McNally recently called “the final civil right; the right to love as anyone else loves” — was a right appreciated only in gay middle age.

But then something strange happened. During a 10-day span last August and September, two friends of mine — Brandon Andrew, who was then 25, and Marc Brent, who was 24 — announced their respective engagements. Brandon called from his apartment in Boston to deliver the news. “You’re not going to believe this!” he told me, pausing for dramatic effect. “I’m engaged!”


Marc, a dental-office manager who still lived at home with his parents in a Boston suburb, didn’t call to tell me about his engagement. I learned about it instead on Facebook, when, with little fanfare, he changed the relationship status on his profile from “In a Relationship” to “Engaged.” He had been dating his fiancé, Vassili Shields, who was then 23, for a year.

“Are you actually engaged,” I called to ask Marc, “or is that just your way of saying you really like Vassili?” He replied that he was, in fact, engaged. They planned to marry in a few months.

I didn’t know what to make of these engagements — or of my subsequent discovery that more than 700 gay men 29 or younger had married in Massachusetts through last June, the latest date for which numbers are available. On the one hand, I wondered why these guys were marrying so young. What was the rush? It seemed to me that one of the few advantages of being young gay men — until gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, at least — was that we were institutionally protected from ever appearing on “Divorce Court.”

The article is written by an openly gay man Benoit Denizet-Lewis. It's a fascinating read.

VIDEO: Prince Covers Radiohead's Creep at Coachella

Everyone is talking about Prince's cover of Radiohead's "Creep" at the Coachella Music Festival this weekend. Towleroad posted the video.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Nadal Comes Back To Beat Federer

Rafael Nadal won his 4th consecutive Monte Carlo Masters Series title (and 24th career win) with a come-from-behind 7-5 7-5 win against Roger Federer on Sunday. Nadal is now 112-3 on clay since 2005 and has won 98 of his last 99 clay-court matches (his last loss was to Federer in the 2007 Hamburg final).
Oh, and then afterwards he teamed up with hottie Tommy Robredo and won the doubles title, too.

Guillermo del Toro to direct The Hobbit

Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth") has been selected and agreed to direct two film prequels to the blockbuster Lord of the Rings trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. The book by J.R.R. Tolkien whch tells the story of events before Lord of the Rings is called The Hobbit.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Federer and Nadal To Meet in Monte Carlo AMS Final

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the top 2 players in the world for the last 27 months will face each other for the 11th time in a final and for the third consecutive year at the Monte Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament. Nadal leads their head-to-head in finals 6-4 and 8-6 overall. On clay, Nadal has only lost once in 7 matches against Federer.

Federer has not played well for most of 2008 and only last week won his first title of the year at Estoril when World #4 Nikolay Davydenko retired. To get to the final today, World #3 Novak Djokovic retired in his semifinal against the Swiss player.

Since Federer had difficulty beating Nadal when he was playing his best tennis in 2006 and 2007 it is unlikely he will beat him tomorrow, although it will be interesting to see if his new coach Jose Higuera will convince him to bring any new tactics to bear.

Mad Professah's prediction: Nadal in 3 sets.

POLL: Clinton Narrows Obama National Lead

Gallup's daily tracking poll shows that Hillary Clinton (47) has narrowed the gap nationally with Barack Obama(48).

Campaign finance records released this week show that a growing number of Clinton's early supporters migrated to Obama in March, after he achieved 11 straight victories. Of those who had previously made maximum contributions to Clinton, 73 wrote their first checks to Obama in March. The reverse was not true: Of those who had made large contributions to Obama last year, none wrote checks to Clinton in March.
Additionally, Clinton's lead in super-delegates has been reduced from over 100 in November 2007 to 22 this week. She now trails in number of states won, number of pledged delegates, amount of money raised and the "popular vote." Clinton leads in super-delegates and in electoral college votes of states won.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lost Kicks Ass, Again!

The Door behind which lies many Lost secrets

There are more than 600 comments over at the Entertainment Weekly recap of the latest Lost repisode which aired last night ("The Shape of Things To Come"). The episode was staggering, with a major character killed off, the appearance (and explanation?) of the smoke monster and the resolution of the question of whether the new characters from Season 4 who arrived on the Island were there ever intended to rescue our Season 1-3 regulars. Answer? "No." OUCH!

Karen Bass becomes Speaker on May 13

Karen Bass, the first African American woman named to head a legislative body in the United States, will become Speaker of the California Assembly on Tuesday May 13. Bass is a Democrat from Los Angeles.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

REVIEW: The Lives Of Others

The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) is the 2007 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Film. Although I was unable to see the movie before the Oscars, one of the perks of working on a college campus is the screening of all sorts of films on which are often hard to see in the theaters.

Recently I was able to see The Lives of Others and was blown away by this powerful film.

The movie is 138 minutes long and starts off slowly but builds to a shattering climax--and then continues for another ten minutes!

The writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is able to present an incredibly detailed and horrifyingly realistic portrayal of the claustrophobic and paranoid way of living in Eastern Germany in the 1980s.

Get it on DVD or Netflix if you can you won't regret it.


Lost Returns From Its Hiatus To Continue Brilliant Season

Lost returns tonight at 10pm on ABC (opposite ER)--I know which one I will be watching live!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Clinton Wins PA Primary (As Expected)

As expected, Hillary Clinton won the presidential primary in Pennsylvania last night, by just under 9.5 percentage points (54.7% to 45.3%) which is almost exactly half of her 19 point lead over Barack Obama the day after the last contested primary on March 4th in Ohio and Texas.

The next primaries are in two weeks in North Carolina (the 10th most populous state) where Obama has maintained a significant lead for weeks and Indiana where the the polls are within the margin of error, but Obama slightly leading in this state which neighbors his home state of Illinois.

Clinton's win Tuesday night in Pennsylvania will cut her delegate defict by about 10%, from approximately 170 to approximately 150. It is almost mathematically impossible for her to end the primary season on June 3rd (Montana and South Dakota) with more pledged delegates or having more votes cast for her but neither candidate will have won the required majority of pledged delegates that is required to become the Democratic presidential nominee.

Bush Hits All-Time High Record Disapproval

In the history of polling by the Gallup organization, George W. Bush can now claim two records: highest approval rating ever (91% in September 2001) and highest disapproval rating (69% in April 2008). According to "The USA Today" (as Stephen Colbert likes to say):

Assessments of Bush's presidency are harsh. By 69%-27%, those polled say Bush's tenure in general has been a failure, not a success.


Bush has had dismal ratings through most of his second term. His approval rating hasn't reached as high as 50% since May 2005. He has been steadily below 40% since September 2006.

Views of Bush divide sharply along party lines. Among Republicans, 66% approve and 32% disapprove. Disapproval is nearly universal — 91% — among Democrats. Of independents, 23% approve, 72% disapprove of the job he's doing

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Barack Obama Rejects Clinton's Attacks Citing Jay-Z

Anti-Gay Marriage Initiative Update

As MadProfessah has been reporting for months, heterosexual supremacists are attempting to use California's initiative process to institutionalize homophobia into the state constitution. There are news reports today that the "Protect Marriage" coalition of groups has collected 1.1 million signatures to qualify a measure to ban gay marriage that would appear on the November 4 statewide ballot if they submit them before the Monday April 28th deadline and the Secretary of State agrees that at least 694,354 signatures are valid.

Although Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has already announced his opposition to the proposed initiative the political fight over a ballot measure is likely be heated and expensive.
The opponents of gay marriage were determined to get the measure approved this November because the California Supreme Court will issue a ruling about gay marriage by June 4th. There are rumors that the Court is drafting a decision that would allow same-sex couples to marry in California. If that is the case, then the November ballot measure would be voiding actual gay marriages in California.

The text of the proposed constitutional amendment is:

SECTION 1. Title
This measure shall be known and may be cited as the"California Marriage Protection Act."

Article I, Section 7.5 is added to the California Constitution, to read:
Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

This is a slightly different version of the measure the heterosexual supremacists were circulating last summer when they were attempting to qualify a measure for the June ballot. The significant change is that they have removed the sentence "This provision shall not affect the rights, benefits and obligations conferred by California law on other domestic relationships" which makes it clear that the measure only impacts marriage and not California's landmark (and very popular) domestic partnerships statute. It also makes it identical to Proposition 22, an Initiative Statute which Californians passed in March 2000 by a vote of 62-38. Proposition 22 was better known as the Knight Initiative, since it was mainly the brainchild of State Senator Pete Knight, a virulently homophobic legislator who died in 2004. His widow, Gail Knight is one of the main sponsors of the proposed initiative.

Happily, the more restrictive anti-gay marriage initiative proposed by the homophobic extremists like Randy Thomasson at the "Campaign for Children and Families" which would not only ban gay marriage but domestic partnerships as well is unlikely to qualify.

Obama Flush With Cash, Clinton In the Red

The official campaign spending reports were filed on Sunday April 20th. The Obama campaign reported that they had $42 million on hand to spend for the primary with negligible debts, while the Clinton campaign had $9 million in cash on hand and $10 million in debt.

According to

Financial reports filed Sunday by the Democratic presidential candidates with the Federal Election Commission show Clinton had $10.3 million in debts at the start of the month and only about $9 million cash on hand for the primaries. Obama reported having $42 million for the primary.


Clinton, who had kept pace with Obama financially throughout last year, had even less cash on hand than Republican John McCain. McCain raised $15.2 million in March and had $11.6 million in the bank at the start of April. It was his best fundraising performance of the campaign, coming after he had essentially secured his party's presidential nomination.


Obama's fundraising in March led all candidates, but was still lower than the mark he set in February, when he raised more than $55 million. The Illinois senator has raised $235 million in his campaign.

Monday, April 21, 2008

McCain Accepts Taxpayer Funding For General Election

John McCain has "exited the campaign money race" according to by agreeing to accept taxpayer funding of his general election race.

2008 Hugo Award Nominations Announced

The 2008 Hugo Award nominations have been announced. These are the awards for the best works of science fiction released in the last year. The nominees for Best Novel this yare:

Brasyl, Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
Halting State, Charles Stross (Ace)
The Last Colony, John Scalzi (Tor)
Rollback, Robert J. Sawyer (Analog Oct 2006 - Jan/Feb 2007; Tor)
The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon (HarperCollins; Fourth Estate)

In adddition, there are also categories for Dramatic Presentations.

Enchanted (Written by Bill Kelly. Directed by Kevin Lima. Walt Disney Pictures)
The Golden Compass (Written by Chris Weitz, based on the novel by Philip Pullman. Directed by Chris Weitz. New Line Cinema)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Written by Michael Goldenberg, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling. Directed by David Yates. Warner Bros. Pictures)
Heroes, Season 1 (Created by Tim Kring. NBC Universal Television and Tailwind Productions)
Stardust (Written by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Paramount Pictures)

Battlestar Galactica: "Razor" (Written by Michael Taylor. Directed by Félix Enríquez Alcalá and Wayne Rose. Sci Fi Channel. [televised version, not DVD])
Doctor Who: "Blink" (Written by Stephen Moffat. Directed by Hettie Macdonald. BBC)
Doctor Who: "Human Nature"; "The Family of Blood" (Written by Paul Cornell. Directed by Charles Palmer. BBC)
Star Trek New Voyages: "World Enough and Time" (Written by Michael Reaves & Marc Scott Zicree. Directed by Marc Scott Zicree. Cawley Entertainment Co. and The Magic Time Co.)
Torchwood: "Captain Jack Harkness" (Written by Catherine Tregenna. Directed by Ashley Way. BBC Wales)

Last year, Vernor Vinge won for his novel Rainbows End and Pan's Labyrinth and Doctor Who's "The Girl in the Fireplace" won in the Dramatic Presentation category. I have recently finished reading the 2005 winner (Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell) but I haven't written my review for the 2005 or 2007 winner. The 2006 winner (Robert Charles Wilson's Spin) was absolutely excellent. Amazingly, the fourth year in a row, Charles Stross has a nominated novel, so maybe this time he will win since critics seem to like his work but I have never been able to complete one of his books. John Scalzi is another very popular writer, but The Last Colony is not considered one of his better efforts. I know nothing about Rollback or Brasyl and I'm shocked to see Michael Chabon's work on the list instead of Junot Diaz' Pulitzer-Prize winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I loved Chabon's first book, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh but I could not even get past 50 pages of his Pulitzer-Prize winning The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Maybe this Stross novel is worth all the accolades it has received; it certainly sounds interesting.

In the dramatic presentation categories I would vote for Heroes, Season 1 and Star Trek New Voyages.

Serena Wins 1st Clay Title Since 2002

Serena Williams won her first clay title since her French Open win in 2002 at the Family Circle tournament in South Carolina yesterday by defeating Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Federer Wins First Title of 2008

Roger Federer won his first title of 2008 when Nikolay Davydenko retired in the final of the Estoril Open on Sunday trailing 6-7, 1-2. Craig Hickman has more. It was the World #1's first clay title of the year the day before a series of three consecutive ATP Masters Series events begins in Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg leading up to the French Open.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Serena Slams Through To Charleston Final

Despite my predictions to the contrary, Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 in a hard fought, high quality quarterfinal match at the Family Circle Cup championships yesterday.

Today, she defeated French 18-year-old Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-3 to reach her first clay court final in Charleston, South Carolina.

In the final she will play either Vera Zvonareva or Elena Dementieva both of whom she has lost once to in 5 meetings. Dementieva beat Serena in a final in Russia last year, however. Serena has only lost one match all year (to Henin) and I suspect she will win this title and rise to #6 in the World Rankings on Monday.

Mad Professah's pick: Williams in 2 sets.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova To Meet On Clay

Maria SharapovaSerena Williams

At the Family Circle Cup championhips on clay in Charleston, South Carolina Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will meet in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Serena injured her ankle in her win today and Maria has only lost one match all year, so I will give Maria the edge in this match-up

Mad Professah's pick: Sharapova in 2 sets.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Some Mathematicians Earned Billions In 2007

The Top 10 Hedge Fund managers for 2007 have been released by Alpha Magazine. On last year's list the highest earner was James Simons, a former mathematics professor with $1.7 billion. This year John Paulson, another mathematician, is atop the list with more than double that obscene amount: $3.7 billion. Also in the top 3 was George Soros, who has been active in progressive causes through his Open Society Institute. The rich get richer, indeed!
Rank Name       Firm Name 2007 Earnings*
1 John Paulson Paulson & Co. $3.7 billion
2 George Soros Soros Fund Management 2.9 billion
3 James Simons Renaissance Technologies Corp. 2.8 billion
4 Philip Falcone Harbinger Capital Partners 1.7 billion
5 Kenneth Griffin Citadel Investment Group 1.5 billion
6 Steven Cohen SAC Capital Advisors 900 million
7 Timothy Barakett Atticus Capital 750 million
8 Stephen Mandel Jr. Lone Pine Capital 710 million
9 John Griffin Blue Ridge Capital 625 million
10 O. Andreas Halvorsen Viking Global Investors 520 million

Condoleezza Rice Must Resign

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

VIDEO: Arnold Stating His Opposition To Anti-Gay Marriage Initiative

(hat/tip TowleRoad)

Arnold's Schizophrenia On Gay Marriage

Is he for it or against it?

Arnold Schwarzenegger has twice vetoed legislation that would have made California the first jurisdiction in the United states to enact gay marriage by legislative fiat.

The buzz this weekend was about Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announcing his vigorous opposition to a nearly qualified Initiative Constitutional Amendment to amend the California Constitution to ban gay marriage. If it passes, the initiative would both prevent the California Supreme Court from enacting gay marriage by judicial fiat in the future and would repeal gay marriage if the Court rules in favor of gay marriage by June 2, as some people now think it will.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Probability Map of Earthquakes in California Released

The Southern California Earthquake Center released the above map which shows the probability of high magnitude earthquakes occurring on major faults within the next 30 years.
The takeaway result is that it is a virtual certainty that there will be major earthquake in California within the next 30 years:
By their calculations, the probability that a magnitude 6.7 quake will hit on any one of the Bay Area faults is 63 percent, only a tiny bit higher than the 62 percent estimated by a similar group in 2003. But the probability for that kind of severely damaging quake on the Hayward-Rodgers Creek Fault was increased in the new forecast from 27 to 31 percent.

The analysis was the first to assess the probabilities for quakes on several Southern California faults. It calculated the odds of a magnitude 6.7 quake striking within 30 years in greater Los Angeles at 2 to 1, a probability of 67 percent, according to the report.

The single fault in all of California with the highest probability for a large quake occurring within the next 30 years is the Southern San Andreas, and the seismic oddsmakers set the number there at 59 percent - a lot more than even money.

Where's YOUR earthquake kit?

Should Lawrence King's Killer Be Tried As An Adult?

There's a big debate going on today at Joe.My.God's blog about whether the 14-year old killer of young gay boy Lawrence King should be tried as an adult ot not. A coalition of dozens of LGBT groups have sent a letter asking for eniency for Brandon McInerney who walked into an 8am computer lab and fatally shot his 15-year-old schoolmate in the head on Tuesday February12 .

Mad Professah's comment on te matter is below:
This is interesting.

When the story first came out and I heard thta he committed the act two weeks after hos 14th birthday and would be treated as an adult I thought "Oopsie--bad luck for him! Good riddance to bad rubbish" (O.k. I didn't really think that in thiose very words!)

But I did support the position. Now, I'm not so sure. I am opposed to reinforcing the menatlity which leads the US to having such a huge Prison-Industrial complex in the first place, so I would have signed the letter by the other Queer groups supporting treating the killer in the JUVENILE justice system.

The vast majority of the nearly 100 comments on Joe.My.God's blog are punitive towards the killer with phrases like "fry him" not uncommon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Venus Clarifies Her "Hiatus" From Tennis

Thanks to a dedicated reader of this blog and a fellow Venus Williams fan I was alerted to this statement that Venus made on her Eleven By Venus blog over the weekend which clarifies her reported "indefinite hiatus from tennis."

An excerpt:

The speculation that arose last week is an unfortunate example of one writer incorrectly spinning a story that took on a life of its own. I agreed to visit the Amelia Island tournament (Bausch and Lomb Championships) last week after my withdrawal to offer my support to the tournament and the WTA(and will do the same in Charleston this week). During my visit, I met with sponsors and fans and participated in a media session. From the media session somehow one of the writers translated my statement that I intend to return to competitive play next month for the French Open as an “indefinite leave of absence”??? While it was great to hear from a lot of old friends that wanted to make sure I was ok, this headline was wrong. To be very clear, I am healthy, I am not on an indefinite leave of absence and I will be back on Tour next month beginning in Rome (May 12).
Well, that's good to read.

Obama Talks About Learning About Gay Folk At Occidental College

In an excusive interview with The Advocate newsmagazine presidential candidate Barack Obama mentions learning about gay people by having a close friendship with an openly gay college professor at Occidental College!

Here are the excerpts:

Q: What event or person has most affected your perceptions of or
relationship to the LGBT community?

Well, it starts with my mom, who just always instilled in me a belief that everybody's of equal worth and a strong sense of empathy -- that you try to see people through their eyes, stand in their shoes. So I think that applies to how I see all people.

Somebody else who influenced me, I actually had a professor at Occidental -- now, this is embarrassing because I might screw up his last name -- Lawrence Golden, I think it was. He was a wonderful guy. He was the first openly gay professor that I had ever come in contact with, or openly gay person of authority that I had come in contact with. And he was just a terrific guy. He wasn't proselytizing all the time, but just his comfort in his own skin and the friendship we developed helped to educate me on a number of these issues.

Q: Did you have a chance to ask him about being gay?

I'm sure we did, but as I said, he was really comfortable in his own skin, and the relationship was a strong friendship and I never felt as if I had to get over any mental hurdles to be close to him or to learn from him. He's probably somebody who had a strong influence.

Q: How old were you then?

Eighteen ... 19. It does remind me, though, I remember in my first two years of college that was when I first saw students who were self-identified gay and lesbian come out and start organizing around gay issues, so that would have been in 1979 and '80. I think what's encouraging is just to see how much progress has been made in such a relatively short period of time.
The professor's name was actually Lawrence Goldyn, and an openly gay Occidenta alum and blogger named bernalman over Daily Kos wrote a diary discussing Prof. Goldyn and the gay climate on campus in the late 1970s.

As a gay man who went to Occidental with Obama, it was great to hear Obama mention that he was mentored on LGBT rights by Prof. Lawrence Goldyn. Goldyn was one of the few out professors at Oxy back then-- not only out, but Goldyn had written his doctoral thesis on homophobia in the legal system.

Back in the late '70's and early '80's, before the era of high school gay-straight alliances, one started college having never heard anything about homosexuality or gender identity in school. Back then at Oxy, posters for gay awareness week and for support group meetings would be defaced and torn down. A gay student was beaten in his dormitory. It was uncommon for a straight student to profess any interest in LGBT issues. Yet in my first year at Oxy, in 1978, some straight students wore buttons opposing the Briggs Initiative. And out gay and lesbian professors began educating students like Obama.
Hat tip to openly gay Professor Rodney Hoffman at Occidental Colllege for altering me to the Oxy-specific aspects of Obama's interview on LGBT issues with The Advocate. As the current openly gay head of the Mathematics Deartment at Occidenta College this is an interesting way to start the week!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

More Tennis News: Davenport AND Venus Ailing

Lindsay Davenport withdrew due to illness from her semifinal match again Maria Sharapova at the Bausch & Lomb Clay Court Championships in Amelia Island, Florida on Saturday. Sharapova will face either Dominika Cibulkova (who took out Amelia Mauresmo in straight sets) or Alize Corney in her first clay court final on Sunday.

In addition, there are now more details about Venus Williams "hiatus" from tennis announced earlier in the week. Her agent Carlos Fleming gave a phone interview where she said that Venus will return to the tour at the Italian Open in Rome on May 12.
Venus has assured me that there’s no serious medical problem,” Fleming said. “But she did see this timing as a good opportunity to have these evaluations to make sure that her health is in order.”


Fleming said Williams expects to be back on the court practicing sometime by the end of next week and fully intends to compete in the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open—as well as the Beijing Olympics, where she aims to play in singles and in doubles with her younger sister Serena.

But Fleming said that an “ambitious” travel schedule so far in 2008, including stops in Doha, Qatar; Bangalore, India; and Melbourne, Australia, made the 27-year-old Williams want to “make sure that her health was 100 percent on track.”

Friday, April 11, 2008

PlanetOut Sells Advocate and Out To here!

PlanetOut Corporation has agreed to sell the Advocate and Out magazines to a subsidiary of here! television for six million dollars in order to focus its corporate energy on its websites and
Joe.My.God had the heads up and has generally had excellent coverage about the business travails of the first corporation exclusively catering to the LGBT community to be listed and traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange (symbol: LGBT).

There are some interesting details in the business reports about PlanetOut's sale of its publishing business to the gay and lesbian premium cable network. For example:

The company's online segment has been contributing less to its revenue for each of the last three years. In 2005 it accounted for 87 percent, in 2006 54 percent, and in 2007 51 percent. Magazine publishing's portion of total revenue rose in each of those years, from 13 percent in 2005 to 46 percent in 2006 and 49 percent in 2007.


Last week, PlanetOut (NASDAQ: LGBT) put Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) in charge of travel booking on its web sites.


In February, PlanetOut reported a $51.2 million loss for 2007. The company's accumulated deficit on Dec. 31, 2007 was about $89.5 million.


The company had 237 employees at the end of 2007.

Full disclosure: over 10 years ago (in 1996) Mad Professah used to be on the Board of Directors of PlanetOut Corporation (prior to the merger with And no, I don't have any stock!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

DVD REVIEW: Eastern Promises

The movie Eastern Promises was one that I missed in theaters but had heard good things about. It was directed by David Cronenberg (A History of Violence, Bad Lunch, The Fly, Dead Ringers) and stars Oscar nominees Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts.

The movie was in the list of top rated movies released in 2007, and although I saw a lot of the 2007 movies, somehow I missed this one.

After winning an online Oscar prediction contest my prize was a free subscription to Netflix. I had wanted to try the service for awhile so I was excited to discover what my prize was. The first movie that arrived was Eastern Promises.

The movie is interesting. It starts slow, and has a simple plot. Naomi Watts plays an obstetrics nurse named Anna who takes care of a teenaged mother who dies giving birth to a child on Christmas. The mother leaves no identifying information behind except for a mysterious diary written in Russian which (surprise!) Anna's uncle may be able to translate. There's an address in the book which leads Anna to a popular Russian restaurant where she unwittingly runs into the local head of the Russia mafia (played by Armin Muehler-Stahl) and his vicious (and stupid) son played by Vincent Cassell whose driver is played by Viggo Mortensen.

The most amazing scene in the film is the bravura nude fight sequence where Mortensen's character is in a public bath/sauna wearing only a towel and is attacked by two large assassins armed with knives. It's an incredibly choreographed and thrillingly executed sequence which was probably the primary reason why Mortensen received his first Best Actor Academy Award nomination for the film.

Overall, the emotional impact of the film is somewhat deadened by the fact that the chemistry between Watts and Mortensen is infinitesimal and although Watts' character is sympathetic her actions are so non-sensical that the viewer becomes annoyed and emotionally disconnected to the character.

Mortensen is always interesting to watch but the film is less intellectually stimulating than his previous collaboration with Cronenberg, 2005's A History of Violence.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Venus Williams Takes Indefinite Hiatus From Tennis

6-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams announced on Monday that she was taking an indefinite hiatus from tennis immediately and refused to give a specific reason for her absence from the game she loves.

"I've just been having some issues that I need to resolve, so I'm working on that at the moment and I'm hoping to be back playing as soon as possible," she said.

Last week, the six-time Grand Slam event champion announced her withdrawal from this week's Bausch & Lomb Championships, citing a medical issue. The powerful American played in Miami last week, and lost to U.S. Open runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals.

Williams still wants to play at the French Open in late May.

"Of course I want to be there (in Paris)," the former world No. 1 said. "I don't want to be at home watching on TV."

Williams is currently ranked sixth in the world and 10-5 in her singles action this season.

Many people have been speculating that she is battling some kind of blood-borne infection. At the 2007 U.S. Open she said she was going to get tested for anemia after losing to Justine Henin in the Semifinals.

Mad Professah send best wishes to Venus in this trying time!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Djimon Honsou's Penis Appears Even Bigger

Djimon Honsou appears on a 27-story ad for Calvin Klein underwear (hat/tip Rod 2.0).

MOVIE REVIEW: There Will Be Blood

I saw Paul Thomas Anderson's highly regarded There Will Be Blood starring Daniel Day-Lewis a few weeks ago, mainly because of the accolades the film had already received and others that were breathlessly anticipated.

On Oscar night, the film walked away with two statuettes, for Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Cinematography (Robert Elswit), after being nominated for eight.

Today, April 8 the film is being released on DVD.

However, the most impressive aspect of the film is really Johnny Greenwood's interesting score, which allthough it was declared ineligible for Academy Award consideration received the lion's share of critical commentary devoted to the movie apart from the superlatives bestowed upon Daniel Day-Lewis' riveting Daniel Plainview.

Anderson's adaptation of Lewis Sinclair's novel Oil! dramatizes the story of greed, entrepeneurship and industrialization which fueled the rapid growth of the California oil industry and the state itself. When we first see Plainview he is alone, in the dark, mining for silver and precious metals. He soon suffers a horrible industrial accident which breaks his leg and he acquires a limp. Through another industrial accident he acquires an adopted son. Soon after he uses the presence of the adorable kid to acquire rights to drill for oil in a virgin oilfield. The story of the movie is the story of Daniel Plainview's acquisitions: oilfields, wealth, real estate.

It is the story of the rise and fall of one man and serves as a metaphor for the development of the Industrial Revolution in California. In the end, the impact of the film is inextricable from Daniel Day-Lewis' performance, which somewhat overwhelms the viewer.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Junot Diaz Wins Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prizes were announced today, and Junot Diaz won the prize for Fiction for his first novel, the widely praised The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, one of Mad Professah's favorite books of 2007.

Although I read the book during my trip to Italy earlier this year, I have been too busy to publish my review to this blog because I want to do the book justice. Suffice it to say, if you have any interest in science fiction, fantasy, the Caribbean, northern New Jersey and "geeks who aren't white" you will love this book.

Diaz is currently a tenured professor in the humanities at M.I.T. and is the first U.S. Latino author to win a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in nearly 20 years and only the second ever.

Anti-LGBT Marriage Amendment Fails To Clear AZ Legislature

Finally some good news on the gay marriage front. According to and Equality Arizona:

Bills that constitutionally limit would limit marriage to opposite-sex couples were filed earlier this year in both the House and Senate by Republican lawmakers and appeared to have enough support for passage.

But just before the House was to vote Rep. Kyrsten Sinema added a clause to the bill that would grant unmarried couples, both same and opposite-sex, many of the rights of marriage but without the name.

With the amendment in place the House voted 28-27 to give the measure preliminary approval. If it won final approval in both houses with the clause intact it would have gone to voters.

The bill's chief sponsor in the House, Jim Weiers (R), angrily denounced the maneuver saying it made the ban on gay marriage meaningless.

So Mr. Weiers reaction makes it very clear that these statewide initiatives "definiing marriage as one man and one woman" is not just about preventing gay and lesbian couples from accessing marriage, but it is really about preventing substantial governmental recognition of same-sex couples.

Let's hope that just as Arizona fails to have a vote on this issue in 2008, so will California.

Re-evaluation Of Gay Blood Donor Ban Proposed

Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) has proposed a policy change at legislative committee hearing that would require the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration to re-evaluate the current ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood in the United States.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation's Daily HIV/AIDS Report:

According to the FDA policy, which has been in effect since the early
1980s, MSM are barred from donating blood regardless of sexual activity,
safer-sex practices or HIV status. Potential blood donors are asked to fill out
a questionnaire before donating, and MSM, injection drug users, people who
received a tattoo within the previous 12 months and pregnant women are
prohibited from donating (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/28).

Farr on Wednesday during a House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Agriculture hearing said the policy is "discriminatory" and outdated. "The science doesn't seem to support" the policy,
Farr said. He added that testing for donated blood has improved since the policy
was implemented and that women who have sex with women or heterosexuals who have had sexually transmitted infections are not banned from donating.

Jesse Goodman, director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, at the hearing said the policy is supported by science and that allowing MSM to donate blood would result in a "real risk" of increased HIV and hepatitis cases. Goodman added that the policy is a "safety issue" and is "not discriminatory." According to Goodman, several other groups are banned from donating blood. The blood donation policy is not a "perfect system, but it's built on risk rates in those groups," Goodman said (CQ Today, 4/2).

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mariah Carey Gets Record 18th #1 Single

Mariah Carey earned her eighteenth #1 single this week with "Touch My Body," moving ahead of Elvis Presley as the artist with the most #1 singles of all time, but still lags two behind The Beatles.

Mariah's 18 #1 singles are:
  1. Vision of Love
  2. Love Takes Time
  3. Someday
  4. I Don't Wanna Cry
  5. Emotions
  6. I'll Be There
  7. Dreamlover
  8. Hero
  9. Fantasy
  10. One Sweet Day
  11. Always Be My Baby
  12. Honey
  13. My All
  14. Heartbreaker
  15. Thank God I Found You
  16. We Belong Together
  17. Don't Forget About Us
  18. Touch My Body
Interestingly, some of these are not some of her best songs ("Heartbreaker"?) but her first "Vision of Love" is one of the all-time great singles. Other favorites of mine (from this list only) would be "Someday," "Emotions," "My All," "Always Be My Baby" and "We Belong Together."

It is possible that with the release of her 11th studio album, E=MC2 on Tuesday April 15th she will be able to tie or surpass The Beatles.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Serena Beats Jankovic For Record 5th Title in Miami

Serena Williams beat World #3 Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 to win her 5th championship in Miami, which is held a short drive from her home in Palm Beach Gardens. Craig Hickman has his thoughts and some more risque pictures at his tennis blog. Serena's win matches Steffi Graf's five titles at what is known as the "Fifth Slam." Her husband Andre Agassi has the all-time record with six.

Clintons Release Tax Returns Which Reveal $100m income

The Clintons released their tax returns late Friday afternoon for the years 2000 through 2006 which reveal an income of atleast $109 million. Now the reason why Hillary Clinton did not hesitate to loan her campaign $5 million in February becomes clear.

It should be interesting to find out whether the fact that the Clintons are earinng at least $10 million a year in income will have any impact on her appeal to blue-collar and middle-class Americans who have previously been supporting her candidacy.

40th Anniversary of MLK's Death

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated exactly 40 years ago today, on April 4, 1968. Mad Professah was born 7 weeks later (which explains my middle name).

Friday, April 04, 2008

Nobody Beats Andy Roddick 12 Times In A Row

Andy Roddick defeated World #1 Roger Federer 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3 to get to the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open on Thursday.

Earlier, Serena Williams beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 to make the Saturday final against Jelena Jankovic (who beat Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 6-4).

Youzhny Beats Himself Bloody

Hat tip to Greg Hernandez at Out in Hollywood for the video if Russian tennis star Mikhail Youzhny who hits himself 3 times inthe head with a racket after making an unforced error near the end of his match at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Obama Raised $40m in March

Barack Obama's campaign raised $40 million in March 2008, down from a record-shattering $55 million in February, but still at least twice as much as Hillary Clinton, whose campaign says they will not release their financials until the date they are legally obligated to on April 20th. Hmmmmmmm.

AD-46: Fabian's Seat Cleared For Tony's Cousin

The Mexican American Princes are at it again. In the 46th Assembly District currently represented by Speaker of the Assembly Fabian Núñez the field has been cleared for his annointed successor, who happens to be (openly gay) John Perez, the cousin of former Speaker of the Assembly and current Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa.

It should be interesting how much press this race gets. If elected, Perez would be the first openly gay, Latino member of the California Legislature, and only the 3rd gay man ever elected to a statewide office in California.

Pregnant Husband On Oprah Today

Well, I was surprised this story hadn't received more attention and I can no longer say that. Today, Thomas Beatie, the female-to-male transgender husband who is currently pregnant will appear on Oprah Winfrey's talk show.

Thomas is 34, happily married and…pregnant.
Our cameras capture it all—the ultrasound, inside the nursery and more.
How is this possible?
According to Joe.My.God, Beatie will also be appearing in People magazine soon.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

U.S. House Passes Augmented PEPFAR Program

On Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill by a vote of 308-116 to expand PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief, from $30 billion over the next 5 years to $50 billion.

Earlier, according to the Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report The House Rules Committee had approved a number of amendments to H.R. 5501:
  • Add Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland as PEPFAR focus countries;
  • Include clean water programs in the program;
  • Encourage countries to work with historically black colleges to improve their health infrastructures; and
  • Expand inspector general authority

In the United States Senate, the companion bill currently contains legislation to repeal the current travel ban by HIV+ people to the United States. Blogger Joe.My.God has excellent coverage of why such a repeal is necessary with a story about how an HIV+ Canadian man was treated inhumanely just a few months ago. Exceeds 100 000 visitors

Woo hoo! Sometime yesterday, the 100, 000th unique visitor accessed this blog.

SCI-FI FRIDAY Returns with new Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica returns for its fourth and final season this Friday on NBC Universal's SciFi Channel.

There are many people speculating what we are in store before season four ends but none are as pessimistic as Edward James Olmos: Everybody dies.

Serena Demolishes Justine

Defending champion Serena Williams beat World #1 Justine Henin at the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open 6-2 6-0 in an error-filled, dominating display of tennis over her arch-nemesis. Later her sister Venus Williams lost 6-4 6-4 to Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova to avoid the all-Williams semifinal. In the other half of the draw, 3 Russians, Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva together with Jelena Jankovic will be competing for the other semifinal berths on Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

LAPD Officers More Likely To Be Shot By A Cop Than A Criminal

A recent study of the Los Angeles Police Department shows that LAPD officers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. The Los Angeles Times covered the release of the report from the L.A. Police Commission:

The report said 19 Los Angeles police officers killed themselves between 1998 and 2007, while only seven died in the line of duty during that time.

Psychologists calculated in the report that suicide rates among police officers in Los Angeles are higher than their counterparts in Chicago and New York.

Suicides are even more prevalent among police officers in San Diego than Los Angeles, the report said.

Kevin Jablonski, chief psychiatrist for the Los Angeles Police Department, pinned the high suicide rates on the mental anguish that comes from policing dangerous streets.

"When you interact day after day, hour after hour with either the victims of crime or the perpetrators of crime, you start thinking this world is dangerous, this world is violent," he said. "It's depressing."

Department psychologists said in their report that the suicide rate among Los Angeles officers had decreased more than 20 percent since 1998, when the department made a push to increase suicide prevention services.

Mrs. Leach Embarasses Ivanovic Then Loses To Crazy Russian

At the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Lindsay Davenport (also known as Mrs. Jon Leach) beat World #2 Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-2 in a match that was not as competitive as the one-sided score indicates.

Even though she gave birth to her first child a scant 10-months ago in June 2007, the American has always had some of the most powerful and accurate groundstrokes on the WTA Tour.

Craig Hickman has more details.

UPDATE: The day after embarassing the World #2, Lindsay lost (for the first time) to Russian Dinara Safina 6-3, 6-4.

Serena Williams will meet World #1 Justine Henin in a quarterfinal match (in a replay of last year's amazing title match, one of the best matches of the year), while her sister Venus Williams will meet World #3 Svetlana Kuznetsova in another quarterfinal.


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