Sobbing as he testified, a former Bay Area transit officer for the first time offered his account of how he shot and killed a 22-year-old passenger, saying he mistakenly pulled out his handgun instead of an electronic stun gun and fired a single shot before realizing his mistake.
Johannes Mehserle, 28, testified that he was having trouble handcuffing Oscar Grant III and only intended to use the stun gun to make the man comply with his orders.
"I didn't think I had my gun," he testified. "I remember the pop. It wasn't very loud, it wasn't like a gunshot, and I remember wondering what went wrong with the Taser.
"I remember looking to my right side and seeing my gun in my right hand," he said of his .40-caliber pistol. "I didn't know what to think. I just thought it shouldn't have been there."
Mehserle said he looked down at Grant, who was lying on the floor of the Bay Area Rapid Transit station platform. "Mr. Grant said, 'You shot me,' " Mehserle testified.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Roger Federer SUI (1) vs. Tomas Berdych CZE (12). The 6-time champion had started off his quest for a record 7th title weakly but in his last two matches his game has looked strong. Berdych is a very talented, huge serving, huge hitting 6'5" Czech player who has already beaten Federer once this year (even though he needed 5 match points to do it). He is a very similar player to Robin Soderling who beat Federer at this same stage of the tournament at the French Open a month ago, although possibly Berdych is not as good a mover as Soderling (which he demonstrated by beating Berdych in Paris). Before beating Federer earlier this year in Miami, Berdych had lost 8 straight times to Federer, including once at the 2006 Wimbledon. The Mighty Fed will find a way to win. PREDICTION: Federer in 4 sets.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA (10) vs. Andy Murray GBR (4). This match should be the highlight of the 2010 Men's Quarterfinals. Tsonga and Murray have only played three times, with Murray leading 2-1. That one loss came at the 2008 Australian Open, where Tsonga made his breakthrough to his first major final, eventually losing to Djokovic. There's no question that Tsonga has the weapons to beat Murray. This match should come down to the intangibles, which for Murray at Wimbledon are always difficult to evaluate. Does the fact that the British crowd will be overwhelmingly in his favor help him over the hump to victory, or will their outsize expectations smother his chances? I think it is no coincidence that the two places that Murray has reached major finals (Melbourne 2010 and New York 2008) were in cities where he does not carry the weight of a nation on his shoulders. Last year, he was curiously flat against Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon semifinals. I had picked him to win that match last year but this time I think if the match gets "complicated" it will be the Frenchman who will come out on top. Murray is the only player in the draw not to drop a set and it's possible (but unlikely) that this will happen again. PREDICTION: Murray in 3 sets or Tsonga in 4 or 5 sets.
Serena Williams USA (1) vs Na Li CHN (9). The only year this century that there has not been a Williams sister in the Wimbledon final was 2006 (Mauresmo beat Henin) and that fluke will not be repeated in 2010. Li Na is one of my favorite players (my dog is named after her!) and is an excellent grass-court tennis player. She won the warm-up tournament in Birmingham this year (defeating Maria Sharapova) and is the first Chinese player in the world's top 10. These two players met in the Australian Open semifinals this year, after Li had beaten Venus Williams in the quarterfinals and Serena beat Li in a very tight match (in two tiebreak sets) despite not playing her best tennis and experiencing movement difficulties. Serena looks 100% at Wimbledon right now and is serving like a woman on a mission. She has yet to drop a set in this year's tournament and is unlikely to do so on her way to the final. PREDICTION: Serena in 2 sets.
Kim Clijsters BEL (8) vs. Vera Zvonareva RUS (21)
Monday, June 28, 2010
“The Supreme Court ruled correctly in rejecting the challenge from the Christian Legal Society, which sought school funding and recognition despite being in clear violation of the college’s nondiscrimination policy. The court rightly found that the First Amendment rights of association, free speech and free exercise were not violated by Hastings’ decision. It simply said the college did not have to fund a group that violated the school policy requiring all recognized student groups to be open to every student. Schools all across the country are working to create welcoming environments for all students. This ruling supports that important effort. No school group or organization should be given public money to discriminate against other students.”
Sigurdardottir, in her late 60s, formally married writer Jonina Leosdottir after the couple submitted a demand for their civil union to be transformed into a marriage, the RUV broadcaster said.
Iceland's parliament on June 12 unanimously adopted legislation allowing gay marriage, in a law that came into effect on Sunday.
Homosexual couples could previously enter into a civil partnership and benefit from the same rights as heterosexual couples, but this had not been considered a formal marriage.
Sigurdardottir, born in 1942, took power in February 2009. She has lived with Ledsdottir, who is in her 50s, for several years and the couple entered a civil union in 2002.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Jason Momoa, who played Ronon on Stargate: Atlantis has been cast as the lead in the new version of Conan The Barbarian. He will also appear in the new HBO miniseries version of Game of Thrones, the first of George R.R. Martin's classic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
“Public disclosure thus helps ensure that the only signatures counted are those that should be, and that the only referenda placed on the ballot are those that garner enough valid signatures. Public disclosure also promotes transparency and accountability in the electoral process to an extent other measures cannot. In light of the foregoing, we reject plaintiffs’ argument and conclude that public disclosure of referendum petitions in general is substantially related to the important interest of preserving the integrity of the electoral process.”“Any burden on speech that petitioners posit is speculative as well as indirect. For an as-applied challenge to a law such as the PRA to succeed, there would have to be a significant threat of harassment directed at those who sign the petition that cannot be mitigated by law enforcement measures.”
On his 5th match point, on the third day of play, after 11 hours and 5 minutes, John Isner hit a backhand down-the-line winner to pass NicolasMahut to end the longest and greatest tennis match ever at the score 6-4 3-6 6-7(7) 7-6(8) 70-68.
The sequel has now grossed nearly 300 million dollars since its release on Friday May 7th. At rottentomatoes.com it has a rating of 74% (which is significantly lower than the original which is rated at 93%).
The film stars Robert Downey, Jr, Gwyneth paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke and Scarlet Johanssen.
Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some language.
Director: Jon Favreau.
OVERALL GRADE: B/B-.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The policy will be set forth in a ruling to be issued Wednesday by the Labor Department’s wage and hour division, the officials said.
Under a 1993 law, people who work for a company with 50 or more employees are generally entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn or for a spouse, son or daughter with “a serious health condition.”
The new ruling indicates that an employee in a same-sex relationship can qualify for leave to care for the child of his or her partner, even if the worker has not legally adopted the child.
The ruling, in a formal opinion letter, tackles a question not explicitly addressed in the 1993 law. It is one of many actions taken by the Obama administration to respond to the concerns of gay men and lesbians within the constraints of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman as husband and wife.
In April, Mr. Obama announced plans to grant hospital visiting rights to same-sex partners, and the Justice Department concluded that the Violence Against Women Act protects same-sex partners.
Last year, I knew Los Angeles residents Jeff Kim and Curtis Chin attended the reception. This year the only one I know who has been invited is Faith Cheltenham, a well-known local African-American bi activist.
As Rod 2.0 notes, the bill passed the State Senate by a veto-proof majority but only passed the State House (months after it was presumed dead) by a 31-20 vote.
Monday, June 21, 2010
I have shown you the beautiful face and body of Rodrigo Guilherme, a Brazilian model, before. Here now are some even hotter pictures of this amazing 24-year-old. Enjoy!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
On this day in 1865, more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, those who found themselves still enslaved in Galveston, Texas had their hopes realized and their prayers answered. Contrary to what others had told them, the rumors they had heard were indeed true. The Civil War had ended, and they were now free.General Gordon Granger issued the call with "General Order No. 3" saying "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. " June 19, or Juneteenth, is now observed in 31 states. Nearly a century and a half later, the descendants of slaves and slave owners can commemorate the day together and celebrate the rights and freedoms we all share in this great nation that we all love.This moment also serves as a time for reflection and appreciation, and an opportunity for many people to trace their family’s lineage. African Americans helped to build our nation brick by brick and have contributed to her growth in every way, even when rights and liberties were denied to them. In light of the historic unanimous vote in the United States Senate this week supporting the call for an apology for slavery and segregation, the occasion carries even more significance.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes. MPAA Rating: G for general audiences.
Overall Grade: A+/A (4.167/4.0).
1. Serena Williams (United States)
2. Venus Williams (United States)
3. Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)
4. Jelena Jankovic (Serbia)
5. Francesca Schiavone (Italy)
6. Samantha Stosur (Australia)
7. Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland)
8. Kim Clijsters (Belgium)
9. Li Na (China)
10. Flavia Pennetta (Italy)
11. Marion Bartoli (France)
12. Nadia Petrova (Russia)
13. Shahar Peer (Israel)
14. Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)
15. Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium)
16. Maria Sharapova (Russia)
17. Justine Henin (Belgium)
18. Aravane Rezai (France)
19. Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)
20. Dinara Safina (Russia)
21. Vera Zvonareva (Russia)
22. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (Spain)
23. Zheng Jie (China)
24. Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia)
25. Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)
26. Alisa Kleybanova (Russia)
27. Maria Kirilenko (Russia)
28. Alona Bondarenko (Ukraine)
29. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia)
30. Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan)
31. Alexandra Dulgheru (Romania)
32. Sara Errani (Italy)
Thursday, June 17, 2010
1. Roger Federer (Switzerland)2. Rafael Nadal (Spain)3. Novak Djokovic (Serbia)4. Andy Murray (Britain)5. Andy Roddick (U.S.)8. Fernando Verdasco (Spain)9. David Ferrer (Spain)10. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France)11. Marin Cilic (Croatia)12. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic)13. Mikhail Youzhny (Russia)14. Juan Carlos Ferrero (Spain)15. Lleyton Hewitt (Australia)16. Jurgen Melzer (Austria)17. Ivan Ljubicic (Croatia)18. Sam Querrey (U.S.)19. Nicolas Almagro (Spain)20. Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland)21. Gael Monfils (France)22. Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic)23. Feliciano Lopez (Spain)24. John Isner (U.S.)25. Ivo Karlovic (Croatia)26. Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus)27. Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil)28. Gilles Simon (France)29. Ernests Gulbis (Latvia)30. Albert Montanes (Spain)31. Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany)32. Tommy Robredo (Spain)