Sunday, October 31, 2010

Clijsters Beats Wozniacki To Win WTA Tour Championships

2009 and 2010 US Open Champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium beat World #1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-3 5-7 6-3 in Goha, Qatar to win the season-ending WTA Championships on Sunday. Clijsters won her 3rd tour championship in 2 hours, 20 minutes, following up on wins in 2002 and 2003, by coming back after blowing a 4-1 lead in the second set.

Altough she will end 2010 ranked World #1, Wozniacki still has not won a major championship and still has not beaten Clijsters, losing in straight sets the only other time they have played on tour, in the 2009 US Open final.

Clijsters was happy to win, saying:
"I felt like it was never going to end," said the Belgian. "It was a really tough battle with some great shots, great tennis and great fitness. I'm glad that I won, obviously it's disappointing for Caroline but I don't know how many more years I'm going to keep doing this. She has a great future ahead of her."
Clijsters ends the year at World #3, just behind 2010 Wimbledon and US Open finalist Vera Zvonareva and ahead of 2010 Australian Open and 2010 Wimbledon champion Serena Williams at #4 and Venus Williams at #5. In 2009, Serena beat Venus to win the tour championships and ended the year ranked #1.

4 Questions To Ask Before You Vote

From here are 4 questions everyone should ask themselves before they vote in the 2010 elections:

  1. What was the average monthly private sector job growth in 2008, the final year of the Bush presidency, and what has it been so far in 2010?
  1. What was the Federal deficit for the last fiscal year of the Bush presidency, and what was it for the first full fiscal year of the Obama presidency?
  1. What was the stock market at on the last day of the Bush presidency? What is it at today?
  1. Which party's candidate for speaker will campaign this weekend with a Nazi reenactor who dressed up in a SS uniform?
  1. In 2008, we lost an average of 317,250 private sector jobs per month. In 2010, we have gained an average of 95,888 private sector jobs per month. (SourceThat's a difference of nearly five million jobs between Bush's last year in office and President Obama's second year.
  1. In FY2009, which began on September 1, 2008 and represents the Bush Administration's final budget, the budget deficit was $1.416 trillion. In FY2010, the first budget of the Obama Administration, the budget deficit was $1.291 trillion, a decline of $125 billion. (SourceYes, that means President Obama has cut the deficit -- there's a long way to go, but we're in better shape now than we were under Bush and the GOP.
  1. On Bush's final day in office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 closed at7,9491,440, and 805, respectively. Today, as of 10:15AM Pacific, they are at 11,1082,512, and 1,183That means since President Obama took office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 have increased 40%, 74%, and 47%, respectively.
  1. The Republican Party, whose candidate for speaker, John Boehner, will campaign with Nazi re-enactor Rich Iott this weekend. If you need an explanation why this is offensive, you are a lost cause.

WATCH: Boxer's Last Ad Is All Obama

Saturday Politics: Field Poll Says Newsom Leads; Harris Tied With Cooley

The latest Field Poll shows that in the Lieutenant Governor race Gavin Newsom is leading Abel Maldonado 42-37 while Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris are basically tied 39-38 for California Attorney General.

I'm pretty sure Gavin will win the LG race but I'm worried about the AG race. The internal details from Field are below:
Cooley and Harris are obtaining broad support of rank-and-file voters within their own respective parties. Among Republicans, Cooley is preferred 71% to 6%, while Democrats are supporting Harris 68% to 13%. Non-partisans and those registered with minor parties, who represent 17% of likely voters, are narrowly backing Harris by a 34% to 32% margin.

Cooley is maintaining large preference leads among voters in the traditionally Republican-leaning regions of Southern California outside of Los Angeles County (47% to 28%) and the Central Valley (44% to 30%). In his home county of Los Angeles, Cooley narrowly trails Harris 43% to 37%. Harris is preferred by a nearly two-to-one margin (52% to 27%) in the San Francisco Bay region where she lives. She also leads in less populated areas of Northern California outside the Bay Area (45% to 23%).

There is also a big coastal county-inland county divide in voter preferences in the A-G race. Cooley leads by eighteen points (46% to 28%) among voters in the state’s less populous inland counties, while Harris is preferred by six points (42% to 36%) among voters living in counties bordering the Pacific Ocean or San Francisco Bay.
Women are backing Harris by eleven points, 43% to 32%. Men are supporting Cooley by twelve points (45% to 33%).

Voters age 65 or older are backing Cooley by five points (44% to 39%). He leads among voters age 40–49 (39% to 34%). Harris is leading Cooley by four points (40% to 36%) among voters 50–64. Voters under age 40 are about evenly divided in their preferences.
White non-Hispanics favor Cooley by eight points (43% to 35%). Harris is preferred by large margins among Latinos and African-Americans. Each of the three Asian-American voter segments examined by the poll were dividing their preferences fairly evenly between the candidates, although large proportions remained undecided.

Cooley is preferred by two points (40% to 38%) among the 55% of voters who either already have voted by mail or intend to do so in the coming days. Among the 21% of voters who have already voted Cooley’s lead is even wider – 46% to 38%. Voters intending to vote at their local precinct on Election Day are evenly divided, 37% for Cooley and 37% for Harris.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Homophobia Lost? In UK, Straight Guys Kiss Each Other

Based on in-depth interviews of 145 British university and high-school students, Anderson and his colleagues discovered that 89 percent had kissed a male heterosexual friend on the lips at some point. A total of 37 percent had engaged in "sustained" kissing with another man, Anderson said. The men all identified as straight, and they didn't see the kisses as sexual.
"These men have lost their homophobia," Anderson said. "They're no longer afraid to be thought gay by their behaviors, and they enjoy intimacy with their friends, just the same as women."
The United Kingdom is less homophobic as a whole than the United States, Anderson said, but Americans should expect acceptance of men kissing on our shores soon enough. Research on American college soccer players suggests that 20 percent of those men have kissed another man, which is a harbinger of the trend, Anderson said.
It's not yet known how the trend of men kissing extends to non-University segments of the British population. Anderson plans to extend the research to minority men and low-income men who aren't in college.
Growing acceptance of same-sex kissing doesn't mean that homophobia is gone, just that masculine ideals are changing, Anderson said. His theory, put forth in his book, "Inclusive Masculinity: The Changing Nature of Masculinities" (Routledge, 2009), is that in times of homophobia, men police their behavior to avoid being seen as gay. When homophobia fades, men can relax and explore behaviors that don't jive with the traditional masculine ideal.
"Decrease in homophobia has positive effects for heterosexual men as well," Anderson said.
Thoughts? Does anyone think that such "enlightened" views about how heterosexual masculinity can be constructed will ever cross the pond and reach the United States?

WTA Tour Championships Semifinals Set

The Womens Tennis Association has chosen a new logo (depicted above) and revealed it at the Tour championships in Doha this week.

The semifinals have now been set, as well as the year-end #1 and #2 positions (Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva) who ill face off against each other, while Kim Clijsters and Samantha Stosur will face off in the other semifinal. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

WATCH: Reid Calls Angle "Pathological Liar" In Latest Ad

Celebrity Friday: Benoit Mandelbrot

Benoit Mandelbrot
, the father of the "fractal," died at the age of 85 on Thursday October 14. The Mandelbrot  set, pictured above, is one of the most famous and canonical example of a fractal, a shape with "self-similarity" so that no matter how closely one looks at the object, copies of itself appear to be present, in an infinite progression.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: The Social Network

The Social Network
 is more ubiquitously known as "The Facebook movie." This is odd, because although the movie does tell the story about the creation of what would go on to become the largest social networking website in the world in Fall 2003 in the dorm room of a 19-year-old Harvard undergraduate, it is really about Mark Zuckerberg the creator and current CEO of Facebook.

The movie is directed by the brilliant David Fincher (Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Alien3) from a screenplay adapted by the equally renowned Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, A Few Good Men) from a book called The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal.

The movie stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, whom he plays as a fast-talking, emotionally distant computer genius. In fact, emotionally distant doesn't begin to describe Eisenberg's emotional affect as Zuckerberg in the film; he appears as clearly somewhere advanced on the Autism-Asperger's Syndrome axis.

Since the film makers are well aware that the audiences for the film will likely be on Facebook themselves they provide us with all the details of how a computer program essentially created in a single dorm became a worldwide cultural behemoth less than 7 years later.

Sorkin's screenplay cleverly intercuts between Zuckerberg being deposed in two separate lawsuits over the creation of Facebook, one from his erstwhile best friend Eduardo Saverin (a fellow Jewish student of Brazilian descent played by the attractive actor Andrew Garfield) and from Divya Narendra, Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss. The Winklevoss Brothers (who are 6'5", 220 lb, blond blue-eyed champion members of Harvard's crew team, played by a single actor Armie Hammer with his face digitally projected on a body double) and Narendra had plans to make a website called HarvardConnect which would allow Harvard students to interact with each other online. They approached Zuckerberg after he became famous on campus for nearly bringing down Harvard's network connection after he developed a website in one night, while drunk, which allowed Harvard students to rate female Harvard students on "hotness." Zuckerberg agreed but never produced any actual code for the Winklevoss twins, and instead started his own website with $1,000 in seed funding from his friend Saverin which he called "" This is about as much of the plot as I want to reveal; suffice it to say it is worth watching, in the theaters, for yourself.

The film is an engrossing, well-told tale of how friendships and relationships can be destroyed by an overwhelming desire to be successful in business, and although Zuckerberg doesn't come out smelling like a rose for his interactions with both the Winklevoss twins and with Saverin, the film clearly demonstrates that Zuckerberg is the reason why Facebook is what it is today and in the word of Eisenberg's character scoffs at the notion that either of the groups suing him could have created anything similar.

It should be noted that Fincher, Sorkin and Zuckerberg have all declared The Social Network to be a work of fiction, but in some sense that makes the film even more entertaining.

Hopefully the film, as well as the work of Eisenberg, Fincher, and Sorkin will not be forgotten at end-of-year awards time. I fully expect this film to be high in my annual Top 10 list.

Running Time: 2 hours, 1 minute.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language.
Release Date: October 1, 2010.
Seen: Sunday, October 24, 2010.

Writing: A+.
Acting: A+.
Visuals: A-.
Impact: A-.

Overall Grade: A (4.0/4.0). 

CA-AG: Help Elect Kamala Harris!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Obama Meets With Progressive Bloggers, Discusses Gay Marriage

Joe Sudbay from, Barbara Morrill (aka BarbinMD) from,
 John Amato from Crooks & Liars, Oliver Willis from, and
Duncan Black aka "Atrios" from

A number of progressive bloggers, including some of my faves, were invited to the White House today for a  45-minute sit-down, on the record, meeting with President Barack Obama.

The only one of the bloggers that I know who is openly gay is Joe Sudbay, and here is the question he asked the President today about marriage equality:
Q And this one is on the issue of marriage. Since you’ve become President, a lot has changed. More states have passed marriage equality laws. This summer a federal judge declared DOMA unconstitutional in two different cases. A judge in San Francisco declared Prop 8 was unconstitutional. And I know during the campaign you often said you thought marriage was the union between a man and a woman, and there — like I said, when you look at public opinion polling, it’s heading in the right direction. We’ve actually got Republicans like Ted Olson and even Ken Mehlman on our side now. So I just really want to know what is your position on same-sex marriage?
THE PRESIDENT: Joe, I do not intend to make big news sitting here with the five of you, as wonderful as you guys are. (Laughter.) But I’ll say this –
Q I just want to say, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you this question.
Q People in our community are really desperate to know.
THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s a fair question to ask. I think that — I am a strong supporter of civil unions. As you say, I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.
But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents.
And I care about them deeply. And so while I’m not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about. That’s probably the best you’ll do out of me today. (Laughter.)
Q It is an important issue, and I think that –
THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s an entirely fair question to ask.
Q And part of it is that you can’t be equal in this country if the very core of who you are as a person and the love — the person you love is not — if that relationship isn’t the same as everybody else’s, then we’re not equal. And I think that a lot of — particularly in the wake of the California election on Prop 8, a lot of gay people realized we’re not equal. And I think that that’s — that’s been part of the change in the –
THE PRESIDENT: Prop 8, which I opposed.
Q Right. I remember you did. You sent the letter and that was great. I think that the level of intensity in the LGBT community changed after we lost rights in that election. And I think that’s a lot of where the community is right now.
THE PRESIDENT: The one thing I will say today is I think it’s pretty clear where the trendlines are going.
Q The arc of history.
THE PRESIDENT: The arc of history. Anything else?

Anand Regains World #1 Chess Rating

Despite finishing second in the latest super grandmaster tournament in Bilbao, Spain, world champion Viswanathan Anand has regained the World #1 ranking he had previously lost to Norweggian wunderkind Magnus Carlsen.

Former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik finished first, with Anand second, Carlsen 3rd and Shirov fourth, at the 2010 Bilbao Masters Final; the chess tournament had the highest average participant rating of all time.

Carlsen has had a bit of a dip lately, losing rating points to fall to 2802, while Anand's rating is now at 2803. They are the only active players to be above 2800 rating. A Super grandmaster (unofficial title) rating is considered to be around 2650.

CA-SEN: Boxer Phone Bank Flashmob In Weho 2pm Today

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer who is in a tightening re-election race with failed former Hewlett-Packard CEO Republican Carly Fiorina that could decide who controls the upper house of Congress will be in West Hollywood today at 2pm for a Phone Bank Flashmob.

Yesterday Fiorina was hospitalized with an infection yesterday and still has not returned to the campaign trail but the National Republican Senatorial Committee has bought another $3 million of television ads supporting her.

Boxer is a strong supporter of LGBT equality and last week released a list of LGBT community leaders supporting her (that includes MadProfessah).

With even Meg Whitman endorsing Jerry Brown for Governor, the Senate race is the most important race in the State we must focus on. Come out today to meet Boxer at 2pm at Plummer Park and make some calls to friends and family urging them to vote for Barbara Boxer today!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CA-AG: Steve Cooley Unhappy With $150K Salary

2010 Elections: One Week Away

Obama Beats Clinton's Record Of Openly Gay Presidential Appointees

Amanda Simpson, first openly transgender
Presidential appointee in history

Less than two years into his first Presidential term, Barack Obama has broken Bill Clinton's record of the number of appointees to the federal government with over 150 openly LGBT people in his administration so far.

Back in the 1990s when Clinton was president he made history by appointing the first openly gay person to a position requiring United States Senate approval, Roberta Achtenberg, to be assistant to the secretary for Housing and Urban Development. Noted homphobic Senator, Jesse Helms (R-NC), opposed the nomination and called Achtenberg a "damned lesbian" and "militant extremist" while he tried to stall and kill the appointment.

Now Obama has reached a historic level of  more than 150 openly LGBT appointees in less than 2 years when it took Clinton 8 years to reach 140 openly gay and lesbian appointees.

From the Los Angeles Times report:

Gay activists, among Obama's strongest supporters, had hoped he would be the first to appoint an openly gay Cabinet secretary. While that hasn't happened — yet — Obama did appoint the highest-ranking gay official ever when he named John Berry as director of the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the nation's 1.9 million federal workers.

Other prominent names include Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Fred Hochberg, chairman of the Export-Import Bank. Obama also named Amanda Simpson, the first openly transgender appointee, as a senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department. And David Huebner, ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, is the third openly gay ambassador in U.S. history.

White House spokesman Shin Inouye confirmed the record number, saying Obama has hired more gay officials than the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations combined. He said Obama "is proud that his appointments reflect the diversity of the American public."

"He is committed to appointing highly qualified individuals for each post," Inouye said. "We have made a record number of openly LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) appointments and we are confident that this number will only continue to grow."
Progress takes time, and occurs in different areas (administrative instead of legislative) at different rates.

CA-GOV: Whitman Endorses Brown For Governor!

WATCH: Jerry Brown's campaign started airing this ad today, one week before the election. An amazing "own goal" by Meg Whitman where she clearly endorses the job Jerry Brown did as Governor.

I think that basically seals the deal for Governor Brown!

Monday, October 25, 2010

CA-GOV: Whitman Reaches $160M; Now Losing By Double Digits

Phew! The California gubernatorial election between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown appears to be all over but the screaming. Early voting has been going on for nearly two weeks, and in that time period the Democratic candidate has just continued to increase his lead, with the latest from the Los Angeles Times/USC poll showing a 52%-39% lead among likely voters with a margin of error of ±3.2 percentage points.

The led has been gaining despite the vast, "obscene" amounts of money billionaire Whitman has been pouring into her campaign to buy the governorship of California.

Even the Wall Street Journal is noticing:

Jerry Brown's widening lead in California's gubernatorial race might not be so surprising under other circumstances. The Democratic candidate has a respectable political pedigree and the backing of labor and other liberal groups.
But Mr. Brown, a former California governor and the state's current attorney general, is pulling away from an opponent who has outspent him by more than $130 million, much of it her own money.
Last week, Republican Meg Whitman chipped in another $20 million to her gubernatorial campaign, bringing her total investment to $142 million. This week, though, she slipped further behind Mr. Brown, who held a 44%-to-36% advantage among likely voters in an Oct. 20 survey by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.
The failure of Ms. Whitman's funding advantage to produce even a slight lead has stumped many political experts.
In Whitman's latest ad, she seems to acknowledge California voters don't like Meg very much. The Journal points out that she has outspent her opponent by over $130 million, a total of $163 million, with $142 million donated by herself, to herself.

Eye Candy: J Harris

You may recognize Joey "J-Harris" Harris from the Tyra Banks show. He is a model and singer. He is also very handsome, as shown in these pictures.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Federer Wins 64th Tour Title; Tied With Sampras At 4th Most All-Time

Roger Federer won the 2010 Stockholm Open over Florian Mayer 6-4 6-3 to tie Pete Sampras for 4th on the all-time list of ATP tour titles won at 64. Jimmy Connors leads with 107, followed by Ivan Lendl at 94 and John McEnroe at 77.

Federer's career record is now 64 wins and 28 losses in finals, which is significantly better than his 2010 record in finals which is 3-4 (losses to Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Masters on clay, to Andy Murray in the Toronto and Shanghai Masters on hard courts and to Lleyton Hewitt in Halle, on grass).

Federer is now 29 years old but has promised to play through thw 2012 Olympics in London, which will be held on grass. He won the Gold medal in doubles but Nadal won the Gold in singles in Beijing in 2008.

I predict Federer will surpass McEnroe's total by the time he retires  but Lendl's total is safe. Another record Federer would dearly like to have, is the most weeks at #1, where he is exactly one week behind Sampras' record of 286.

Proposition 19 Looking Less Likely To Pass

Nate Silver has analyzed the polls on  California's marijuana legalization initiative, Proposition 19, and it is looking less and less likely to pass. A new Los Angeles Times/USC poll confirms that a majority of likely voters say they will vote against the measure.
The poll indicated that opposition has surged since September, when 52% of likely voters backed Proposition 19, which would allow Californians to grow and possess pot, and they split evenly over Proposition 23.
The earlier poll's Proposition 19 result had encouraged supporters and attracted some high-dollar donations. The measure would allow Californians who are 21 and older to grow and possess marijuana, while cities and counties could authorize commercial cultivation, sales and taxation.
The latest poll found support had eroded significantly across all demographic groups, but most steeply among Latino voters. In September, 63% backed it. Now, 51% oppose it.
Much of the reversal appears to be driven by evaporating support in Southern California. In September, 56% of likely voters in Los Angeles County and 52% in other Southern California counties supported the measure. This month, those percentages slipped to 41% and 42%.

POLL: Majority Of Americans Think Religions Contribute To LGBT Suicide

A new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute confirms the a vast majority of Americans believe what LGBT people know instinctively, that religious messages contribute to suicide rates among gay and lesbian youth.
A plurality (43%) of Americans say the messages coming from places of worship are negative, and 4-in-10 Americans believe that these messages contribute “a lot” to negative perceptions of gay and lesbian people. One-third (33%) of the public also believe that messages from religious bodies are contributing “a lot” to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth, and another third (32%) say these message contribute “a little;” only 21% say they do not contribute at all.


The survey also found significant generational and partisan gaps on perceptions of the impact of messages about homosexuality from America’s places of worship. Nearly half (47%) of young adults (age 18 to 34) say that messages from places of worship are contributing “a lot” to negative views of gay and lesbian people. Among Americans age 65 and older, less than one-third (30%) say religious bodies are contributing a lot to negative perceptions of gay and lesbian people. Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans (42% to 17%) to say places of worship are contributing to higher rates of suicide among gay youth.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chart of the Day: Atheists Are Strongest Supporter of Marriage Equality

Here is a chart from the October 11th edition of The Economist which indicates that atheists/agnostics are the strongest supporters in America for marriage equality, citing Pew Research Center polling data.

Mississippi Black Corrections Officer Fired For Being Gay

André Cooley,
a corrections officer in Forrest County, Mississippi, was fired recently after his employer discovered he was gay. 

The Clarion-Ledger reports on a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of Cooley against the Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Billy McGee and other jail employees.

The incidents pertinent to the lawsuit began with a 911 call placed by Cooley on June 14, requesting help in a domestic disturbance.
A Hattiesburg Police Department report lists Cooley as the victim and describes his male companion as the assailant. The complaint states Bolton also responded to the call and ordered Cooley to report to his immediate supervisor before returning to work after learning of the two men's relationship.
McGee on Monday said he stood by the decision to fire Cooley.
"He got in a fight with his boyfriend, and the police were called to his house for a domestic disturbance," McGee said. "Those kinds of incidents don't speak well for people in law enforcement." 
According to the complaint, Cooley obtained a copy of the police report on June 15, saw he was listed as a victim acting in self-defense and began trying to reach Bolton. He instead reached Brannon, and Brannon told him he was to be terminated because of the "type of situation" in which he was involved.
The complaint also states Brannon told Cooley he was fired because of his sexual orientation, and that Brannon later told Cooley's former co-workers that he was fired because he "turned out to be a faggot," according to the lawsuit, which represents one side of a legal dispute.
The Sheriff's Department also contested Cooley's application for unemployment benefits. A decision from the Mississippi Department of Employment Security dated July 21 says Cooley "displayed inappropriate conduct and behavior while off-duty, unacceptable for any officer."
"What makes things particularly difficult in Mississippi is that there's no federal or state law forbidding discrimination (on grounds of sexual orientation)," [Cooley's lawyer] Atwood said.
Here is a video of an interview with Coooley discussing the lawsuit.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Obama Says "It Gets Better" Too

The viral nature of Dan Savage's It Gets Better project continues to amaze. President Barack Obama posted his official  video contribution to the anti-bullying project on the White House's official youtube channel at

Here's the video:

Here is the transcript:
  Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by the deaths of several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives.  As a parent of two daughters, it breaks my heart.  It’s something that just shouldn’t happen in this country. 
We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage – that it’s some inevitable part of growing up.  It’s not.  We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe forall of our kids.  And to every young person out there you need to know that if you’re in trouble, there are caring adults who can help. 
I don’t know what it’s like to be picked on for being gay.  But I do know what it’s like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don’t belong.  It’s tough.  And for a lot of kids, the sense of being alone or apart – I know can just wear on you.  And when you’re teased or bullied, it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself – for being different, or for not fitting in with everybody else. 
But what I want to say is this.  You are not alone.  You didn’t do anything wrong.  You didn’t do anything to deserve being bullied.  And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you’re getting down on yourself, you’ve got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it’s your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You’ve got to reach out to them,  don’t feel like you’re in this by yourself.
The other thing you need to know is, things will get better.  And more than that, with time you’re going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You’ll look back on the struggles you’ve faced with compassion and wisdom. And that’s not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place. 
It will mean that you’ll be more likely to help fight discrimination – not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. It means you’ll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it’s so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. That we are able to see the world through other people’s eyes and stand in their shoes – that we never lose sight of what binds us together. 
As a nation we’re founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves.  That’s the freedom that enriches all of us.  That’s what America is all about.  And every day, it gets better.

Celebrity Friday: Hillary Clinton Records "It Gets Better" Video

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recorded a video to fight anti-gay bullying as part of Dan Savage's It Gets Better project.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

White House Rejects Openly Gay Federal Judge Nominee

Daniel Alter
, who was set to become the first openly gay man nominated to a federal judgeship by Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) has had his potential nomination quashed by the Obama White House.

The Washington Blade has the scoop:
The White House has rejected the recommended nomination of a New York attorney who would have become the first openly gay man to sit on the federal bench, because of comments he reportedly made about the Pledge of Allegiance and Christmas that were deemed anti-Christian.
In February, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) recommended the nomination of Daniel Alter to serve as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Presidents traditionally follow the guidance of senators from the state where there’s a vacancy for judicial nominations.
But informed sources told the Washington Blade that the White House rejected Alter’s nomination because of remarks he reportedly made regarding a case challenging inclusion of the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. In addition, the White House reportedly objected to remarks that Alter made suggesting that merchants not wish shoppers “Merry Christmas” during the holidays.
Interestingly, in a little noted move on September 23rd, Sen. Schumer has also nominated another openly gay man, J. Paul Oetken, to become a federal judge in the same district that Alter was intended to be nominated for, the U.S. District for the Southern District of New York.

We shall see if the Obama Administration accepts the nomination of Oetken, who hopefully has been vetted even more completely for nothing that conservative Republicans can object to.

BOOK REVIEW: Alastair Reynolds' Redemption Ark

Alastair Reynolds' Redemption Ark is the second novel in his Revelation Space series. I was turned on to this work by Mark Chitty's Walker of Worlds blog, who is also a big fan or Peter F. Hamilton and Neal Asher, two other big British science fiction writers.

Midway through reading the first book (see MadProfessah review) I ordered the next two books of the series from right away.

The best part of  Redemption Ark is the return of two of the main characters from the first book, Ana Khouri and Irina Volyova. Additionally, Reynolds introduces us to the Conjoiners, technologically advanced humans who have learned how to integrate nanotechnology with human physiology so that they have greatly increased strength and speed, machine-level mental processing capacity and speed as well as the ability to network with all other Conjoiners within range. Basically, to a Conjoiner any form of electronics is not only accessible but manipulable.

Of course, this being Reynolds, the plot of the story is the main attraction, and boy is it a doozy. Following on the events of Revelation Space, the powerful "hell class" weapons that are housed in the bowels of the 4-kilometer-long ship called Nostalgia for Infinity become the prize for a trio of very determined individuals.

The first member of the group looking for the weapons are a group of Conjoiners headed by a woman named Skade. The second group is led by Skade's previous deputy named Clavain who had defected from the group of humans called the Demarchists who are currently fighting an interstellar war against the Conjoiners when his Demarchist commander brother tried to kill him. Clavain finds out that Skade has developed a fleet of ships that can fly very close to the speed of light in order to have an "escape route" to another galaxy if the Inhibitors from Revelation Space, predatory machines (dubbed "Wolves") who exterminate species whom they detect have achieved interstellar flight, decide to eliminate humanity. The third group consists of Khouri and Volyova, who (together with archeologist Dan Sylveste) discovered the Inhibitors' purpose in the Resurgam system and currently have possession and access to the weapons in the hull of Nostalgia for Infinity. By using the hell class weapons Volyova and Khouri in the first book Revelation Space not only alerted the Inhibitors of humanity's existence but also alerted the Conjoiners of the existence and location of the hell class weapons (which they had created and lost hundreds of years before).

In addition to a race to get to Resurgam by the two Conjoiner factions, Redemption Ark features multiple asides in which Reynolds provides extensive the details of the Wolves. They turn out to be machines intelligences who have been around for billions of years and are culling life in order to save it from extinction when the Milky Way collides with the nearest galaxy in a few billion years. The characters of Volyova and Khouri are fleshed out and Clavain is also a very interesting new character.

The result is a very exciting work of very hard science fiction replete with fascinating ideas which is probably the high point in the Revelation Space trilogy.

Author: Alastair Reynolds.
Title: Redemption Ark.
Length: 704 pages.
May 25, 2004.

OVERALL GRADE: A (4.0/4.0). 


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DADT Update: 9th Circuit Issues Stay Until 10/25

Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly is reporting that the 9th Circuit has issued a stay of Judge Phillips' injunction in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, which means that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is back in effect.

To wit:
After DADT had been halted from enforcement for nearly 200 hours, the Ninth Circuit order legally makes DADT enforceable again for the time being.

In a brief order, Judges O'Scannlain, Trott and W. Fletcher wrote:
This court has received appellant’s emergency motion to stay the district court’s October 12, 2010 order pending appeal.  The order is stayed temporarily in order to provide this court with an opportunity to consider fully the issues presented.

Appellee may file an opposition to the motion for a stay pending appeal by October 25, 2010.  To expedite consideration of the motion, no reply shall be filed.
The judges' order means that a temporary stay of the trial court injunction of DADT has been granted until the Ninth Circuit can decide -- sometime after Oct. 25 -- whether to issue a stay pending the appeal of the case to the Ninth Circuit.

If a stay is granted pending the appeal, however, DADT would likely go back into effect in the interim, as the appeal is not even scheduled to complete the briefing process until the second week of March 2011.

Errybody Wearing Purple Today For #SpiritDay

Today is Spirit Day, wear people are supposed to wear purple to show their support for LGBT students who are facing bullying in school. Note Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was wearing purple today in the Situation Room of the White House.

MadProfessah also wore purple today.

WATCH Jerry Brown's Devastating Ad Linking Whitman to Ahnuld

DADT Update: Federal Judge Refuses To Lift Stay

Via Joe.My.God comes the above excerpt from U.S. District Court Judge Virgina Phillips ruling today in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States that she is refusing to issue an emergency stay of the injunction preventing the United States from enforcing its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy she issued last week, on Tuesday October 12th.

The Department of Justice has appealed her ruling, and is expected to appeal her injunction, to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. I support the appeal of the ruling, but not of the injunction. A single federal judge should not be making public policy for the entire federal government. I suspect the government will lose on appeal as well. I would NOT support an appeal to the United States Supreme Court at that time.

Meanwhile, since DADT is no longer in effect right now and the Pentagon has told recruiters they can accept  LGBT recruits, Dan Choi has apparently successfully reenlisted in the military, this time the Marines.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

San Francisco Files Brief Opposing Prop 8

San Francisco's Brief Opposing Prop 8

AFER Files Brief To Oppose Prop 8

AFER's Brief Opposing Propsition 8

MadProfessah Endorsements for CA's November 2, 2010 General Election

Finally, the moment you have been waiting for!  Here are MadProfessah's positions on how I will be voting in the November 2 Statewide General Election, compared with endorsements from other organizations like the Los Angeles TimesCalitics.comCA Democratic PartyLos Angeles County Democratic PartyStonewall Democratic Club (LGBT group), CA League of Women Voters and Courage Campaign's Progressive Voter Guide. Previously, I had posted my endorsements for the June 8, 2010 primary election.

Proposition        ME   LAT  CALITICS CA DEM LA DEM LWV
19 (Marijuana)     YES   NO    YES    ---    YES   ---
20 (Redistricting) NO    YES   NO     NO     NO    NO
21 (State Parks)   YES   NO    YES    YES    YES   ---
22 (Local Funds)   NO    NO    ---    NO     NO    ---
23 (Suspends AB-32)NO    NO    NO     NO     NO    NO
24 (Ends Tax Cuts) YES   NO    YES    YES    YES   YES
25 (Majority Vote) YES   YES   YES    YES    YES   YES
26 (2/3 Fee Vote)  NO    NO    NO     NO     NO    NO
27 (Undoes Prop 11)YES   NO    YES    YES    YES   NO

Statewide Races          ME         LA TIMES DEMOCRATS
Governor                 Brown      Brown    Brown
U.S. Senator             Boxer*     Boxer*   Boxer*
Lieutenant Governor      Newsom     Newsom   Newsom
Attorney General         Harris     Cooley   Harris
Secretary of State       Bowen*     Bowen*   Bowen*
Treasurer                Lockyer*   Lockyer* Lockyer*
Controller               Chiang*    Chiang*  Chiang*
Insurance Commissioner   Jones      Jones    Jones   
Supt. of Public Inst.    Torlakson  Aceves   Torlakson
Bd. of Equalization, #1  Yee*       ---      Yee*    
Bd. of Equalization, #2  ---        ---      Parker
Bd. of Equalization, #3  ---        ---      Christian-Heising
Bd. of Equalization, #4  ---        ---      Horton*  

Jerome Horton is an African-American incumbent, but when he was in the state legislature he was an unreliable vote on LGBT issues. He has since tried to make amends, but MadProfessah can not in good conscience endorse him, although I will note that the Stonewall Democrats have.

There are several judicial races on the ballot for which it is often hard to get information on.

Other Races                ME        LA TIMES        DEMOCRATS
CA Sup. Crt. Chief Justice ----      Cantil-Sakauye
CA Sup. Crt. Justice       Moreno    Moreno          Moreno
CA Sup. Crt. Justice       ----      Chin            ---
Superior Court, No. 28     Ameli     Hammock         Ameli
Superior Court, No. 117    Schneider Schneider       Schneider
L.A. County Assessor       Noguez    Yong            
Additionally, every Court of Appeals Justice and three State Supreme Court justices are up for re-election (or re-appointment). The Los Angeles Times basically says that every incumbent justice is worthy of re-election. However, Justice Carlos Moreno is the only State Supreme Court justice that thought Proposition 8 violated the state constitution. Ming Chin was in the minority of the 2008 In Re Marriage Cases decision and should NOT be re-appointed. Tani Cantil-Sakauye is Governor Schwarzenegger's nominee to replace Chief Justice Ron George; if approved she'll be the first female and Phillipine-American to head California's highest court. Since we know so little about her, I can't support voting to confirm her. I think it's silly that George didn't wait until the new Governor to be elected  before retiring earlier this year anyway.

There are numerous openly LGBT people running for elected office. John Noguez for Los Angeles County Assessor. In statewide legislative districts there is Ricardo Lara (AD-50) and John Perez (AD-46).


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