Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WATCH: EQCA Responds To FRC Lies About FAIR Education Act

There is an attempt being made to have California voters vote on a referendum to overturn this year's FAIR Education Act in a June 2012 election. The FAIR Education Act (SB 48) is a law passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown which insures that LGBT, people of color and people with disabilities are included in educational social studies curricula. The Family Research Council joined the fight on the side of the heterosexual supremacists who think that any inclusion of homosexuality in schools must be indoctrination. Equality California, the state's largest LGBT political advocacy organization struck back with a video response of their own within days. In the video response, EQCA rolls Tony Perkins video and then stops it when he lies (which is often) or uses scare tactics (also often) to attempt to persuade viewers that the FAIR Education Act is something it is not.

Watch it!

Hat/tip to TowleRoad.

US OPEN 2011: Venus Withdraws in 2nd Round!

Oh no!! Just minutes before she was scheduled to play her 2nd round match against 2011 Wimbledon semifinalist Sabine Lisicki (which I did not believe she would win) 7-time major champion Venus Williams, 31, withdrew from the tournament, claiming an "unspecified illness."

Venus had won her first round match relatively handily 6-3 6-4 no Monday night and looked sharp. Still, she has only played 11 matches all year long, and will fall out of the Top 100, since she reached the 2010 US Open semifinals and will fail to defend those ranking points. Already her sister Serena Williams, the favorite to win her 14th major in New York, has stated that she would probably continue playing even if Venus were to retire. She reiterated that neither sister has any plans to retire any time soon.

Earlier this year Venus Williams retired for the first time ever during a Grand Slam match, in the 3rd round in Australia versus Andrea Petkovic.

In other news, my pre-tournament pick for the women's final, Marion Bartoli, was upset by American teenager Christina McHale.

Venus has released a statement which says that she has been disgnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome. ESPN has the deets:

"I enjoyed playing my first match here, and wish I could continue but right now I am unable to," Williams said in a statement released by the tournament. "I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon."
According to the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation website, the disease is a chronic autoimmune illness in which people's white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands. Common symptoms include dry eyes and dry mouth. As many as 4 million Americans have the disease.
Williams arrived at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Wednesday hours before her match was scheduled to begin and tried warming up by hitting balls.
When Williams left the site shortly before 5 p.m., wearing a white sweater and purple shorts, she was asked by reporters whether she would say anything. She smiled and waved and shook her head to indicate, "No," then climbed into the back of a tournament transportation car and rode away.
"All of us came with the full expectation she'd be playing today. She was geared up to play her match," said Williams' agent, Carlos Fleming.
"I just hope she's OK," Fleming added, "and I hope she's healthy and going to be fine."
Despite having won seven Grand Slam singles titles, Williams was unseeded at the U.S. Open because her ranking has fallen to 36th after a year of little action. Since reaching the semifinals at last year's U.S. Open, Williams has played only 11 matches, and the WTA projects that her ranking will slide out of the top 100.

Goodwin Liu Likely To Join CA Sup Ct For Perry

2008's Proposition 8 is in court twice in the next two weeks. Last Monday, oral arguments were heard about whether the extant video tapes of testimony in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case should be released to the public. The judge, federal district court judge James Ware announced afterwards that he would not "delay very long" in issuing a ruling. Which the heterosexual supremacists will almost certainly appeal anyway.

Next Tuesday, September 6 oral arguments will be held before the California Supreme Court in a very important case which will determine who exactly has "judicial standing" under California law to defend a voter-approved initiative (like Proposition 8) when the executive branch officers (Governor and Attorney General) have declined to do so.

Happily, Governor Brown recently nominated marriage-equality supporting University of California, Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the California Supreme Court. It looks very likely that Professor Liu will join the court before Tuesday and participate in the oral arguments in the Perry v Brown case. There is no Republican neanderthal filibuster to prevent Liu from joining this court, unlike his unsuccessful path to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Instead he just needs to get the approval of the 3-member Commission on Judicial Appointments, and then he will be up for election for a 12-year term at the next statewide general election.

US OPEN 2011: Li Na Upset, Serena, Nole, Rafa Through

Defending champion Rafael Nadal looked anything but dominant in his first round match against Andrey Golubev, falling behind 2-5 in the second and third sets but saving an astonishing seven set points to prevail 6-3 7-6(1) 7-5.

Following yesterday's surprising exit of Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, 2011 French Open champion Li Na also lost in the first round, leaving no reigning grand slam champion left in the tournament after its second day. Li lost to Simona Halep in straight sets, 6-3 7-5. Reigning Australian Open champ (and defending US Open champ) Kim Clijsters is not playing in New York due to an injury. The losses by Li and Kvitova are disappointing follow-ups to their breakthroughs into the upper echelons of tennis earlier this year.

That basically leaves Serena Williams, despite being seeded #28, as the player most people want to talk about as the most likely player to win the tournament. She looked fabulous in her 6-1 6-1 beatdown of Bojana Jovanovski, a dangerous, hard-hitting youngster from Serbia.

Also, #1 seed Novak Djokovic won his 58th match of the year (against only 2 losses) when he was up 6-1 5-0 and his opponent retired.

#6 seed Robin Soderling suddenly withdrew from the tournament, citing an illness on Wednesday. Soderling was in #4 seed Andy Murray's quarter of the draw.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bloomberg Is Endorsing Lesbian For NYC Mayor

Christine Quinn, is the openly lesbian Speaker of the New York City Council and is widely considered the frontrunner to become the next Mayor of New York City, when billionaire Mike Bloomberg's controversial 3rd term ends in 2013.

This week comes word that Bloomberg is privately endorsing Quinn's bid as his successor.

The New York Times reports:

It is the worst-kept secret in City Hall. Michael R. Bloomberg has told almost everyone who asks — but only privately, so far — that he hopes the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, will succeed him as mayor in 2013.
While Mr. Bloomberg brings unprecedented personal resources to his political agenda, few other New York City mayors have succeeded in anointing a successor.
Mr. Bloomberg, in fact, was the only mayoral candidate in recent memory for whom an endorsement by the incumbent proved instrumental, even if it was a begrudging, last-minute nudge from Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Mr. Bloomberg, an independent, has refrained from specifying an heir publicly, since he seems to prefer to keep Ms. Quinn, a Democrat, and other prospective candidates as compliant as possible in the two years remaining before the next mayoral election.
Jamie McShane, a spokesman for Ms. Quinn, said, “She has never asked for nor has he offered his support.”
A spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg said the same.
Still, the mayor has made it plain in private conversations with other politicians and civic leaders that he prefers the City Council speaker.
Houston, the nation's 5th largest city, is the only other major U.S. city with an openly LGBT mayor, Annise Parker. However, Quinn being elected the  Mayor of New York City would be a historical moment for the LGBT rights movement worldwide, not just for America.

US OPEN 2011: Kvitova Upset 1st Round, Sharapova Survives Scare

2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was unable to continue her momentum in grand slam matches, hitting more than 50 unforced errors to lose in the first round of the US Open to Alexander Dulgheru 7-6(3) 6-3. Kvitova's disappointing loss eas the biggest upset of the day as the #5 seed on the women's side departed.

#3 seed Maria Sharapova gutted out her 12th consecutive 3-set match of 2011 against British phenom Heather Watson who seemed unfazed by the 3-time major champ's firepower. Sharapova won 3-6 7-5 6-3.

Venus Williams won her 1st round match winning 6-4 6-2 hitting 1 more winner than  unforced errors, looking in pretty good form even though she had not played a single hardcourt tour match this summer.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Jury Deliberating Anti-Gay Hate Crime Verdict

The trial of Brandon McInerney for the point-blank shooting (twice!) of fellow teenager Lawrence King has now reached the jury deliberation stage.

Towleroad posts the AP report:
"Jurors began their discussions on Friday to determine whether 17-year-old Brandon McInerney is guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of 15-year-old Larry King at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard. The panel is expected to deliberate for only a couple of hours because a juror has a prior commitment...McInerney has pleaded not guilty to one count each of murder and a hate crime. If convicted, he faces more than 50 years in prison. Jurors also can consider a conviction of voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum 21-year term."
MadProfesssah has been following the story of this case very carefully, from the reports of the shooting, to the debate over whether the death penalty should be a factor and jury selection and now the trial itself.

Rick Perry Signs Heterosexual Supremacy Pledge

Rick Perry has joined fellow Republican neanderthals Michele Bachman, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney in signing the odious National Organization for Marriage's anti-gay marriage pledge.

NOM issued a statement touting Perry's support:

"Kudos to Gov. Rick Perry for making it clear: he's a marriage champion," said Brian Brown, president of NOM. "The purpose of NOM's Marriage Pledge is to move from vague values statements to concrete actions to protect marriage. Gov. Perry joins Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum as a signer of NOM Marriage Pledge. By doing so, Perry makes crystal clear that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, gay marriage is going to be a bigger issue in 2012 than it was in 2008, because the difference between the GOP nominee and Pres. Obama is going to be large and clear. We look forward to demonstrating that being for marriage is a winning position for a presidential candidate."

Eye Candy: Carlos Jackson (reprise)

Carlos Jackson first appeared on the blog on May 23, 2011. Some of you may recognize him from his appearances on (gasp!) adult websites, but I found him through his pictures on Gorgeous Sexy Guys.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2011 Hugo Winners Announced!

The 2011 Hugo Awards were announced last weekend at the World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, Nevada. Two of my favorites, Christopher Nolan's Inception and Commie Willis' Blackout/All-Clear won the major prizes of Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form and Best Novel, respectively. Willis becomes the second female author to win the prestigious Nebula/Hugo double for the same book twice. She won the Nebula award for Blackout/All-Clear earlier this year and had previously won the double for an earlier book in the series, Doomsday Book, one of my favorite books of all time. The only other authors to win the Hugo/Nebula double for the same book twice are Joe Haldeman (The Forever War, Forever Peace), Ursula K. LeGuin (The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed), and the now-odious Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead).

Here's the full list and here's the list of the winners in the most important categories::

Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)
The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
The Emperor of Mars” by Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s, June 2010)
For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s, September 2010)
Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea (Mad Norwegian)
Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse,
written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by
Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner)
Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” written by Steven
Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)
What's nice about the Hugos is that they also release the detailed breakdown of the preference voting results every year as well. It would be incredibly awesome if other awards (Oscars, Emmys, are you listening?) did that as well.

Also, notice that the titles of the winners of Best Novella, Novelette and Best Short Story are hyperlinks. By clicking on the links you can see these award-winning pieces of speculative fiction for free. Enjoy!

List Of Top 10 Highest Paid Tennis Players

Forbes magazine has published the new list of the hghest paid tennis players, headed by Roger  Federer. Yahoo Sports goes into some detail of how the Top 5 players on the list make their money.
1. Roger Federer, $47 million
2. Rafael Nadal, $31 million
3. Maria Sharapova, $25 million
4. Novak Djokovic, $18 million
5. Andy Murray, $13.5 million
6. Andy Roddick, $13 million
7. Caroline Wozniacki, $12.5 million
8. Venus Williams, $11.5 million
9. Kim Clijsters, $11 million
10. Serena Wiliams, $10.5 million
This is a very curious list, because it seems surprising to me that Venus would be making more in endorsements than Serena. It's also interesting, that more than half of Djokovic's $18 million comes in prize money ($11 million) while a very small fraction of Federer's comes from prize money. ($10 million of it per year comes from Nike.)

Also, recently I blogged that Li Na had overtaken Sharapova as the world's highest paid female athlete. I understand most of the numbers used in the Forbes report are for 2010. It will be interesting to see where Li Na ends up on the list in future years, and also how much Djokovic can capitalize on his incredible, historic season.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

US OPEN 2011: The Draw Is Released!

Earlier in the week the seedings for the 2011 US Open were released, shockingly placing Serena Williams at #28, and unsurprisingly placing Novak Djokovic at #1. On Thursday the draw was released, on the men's side and the women's side.

If seedings play true through 5 rounds the quarterfinals will be:

Novak Djokovic SRB (1) vs. Gael Monfils FRA (7) 
Roger Federer SUI (3)  vs. Mardy Fish USA (8) 
Robin Soderling SWE (6) vs. Andy Murray GBR (4)
David Ferrer ESP (5) vs.  Rafael Nadal ESP (2)

and on the women's side:

Caroline Wozniacki DEN (1) vs. Na Li CHN (6) 
Victoria Azarenka BLR (4) vs. Francesca Schiavone ITA (7) 
Petra Kvitova CZE (5) vs. Maria Sharapova RUS (3)
Marion Bartoli FRA (8)  vs. Vera Zvonareva RUS (2)

I think it is very unlikely the four women's quarterfinals will look like this on the women's side. For example, in stead of Azarenka, Serena Williams (28) should replace her. On the men's side, it is more likely that the 8 quarterfinalists will reflect the seedings. However, I do predict that one of the Top 4 (on both sides) will mot make it into the final 8.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Celebrity Friday: Barbara Mikulski Avoiding DOMA Repeal?

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland, is the
second-longest serving woman in Congress in history
As support for legislative repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act gains steam with hearings being held in the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, attention has begun to fall on liberal members of the Democratic caucus who have inexplicably not yet co-sponsored the Respect for Marriage Act (S. 598/H.R. 1116). For example, in Maryland where marriage equality supporters are expected to move forward with another attempt to legalize marriage equality in 2012 with the strong support of the state's Governor after 2011's heartbreaking defeat, only one of that state's two Democratic U.S. Senators is on record in support of the Respect for Marriage Act or marriage equality itself.There are currently 18 US Senators who support marriage equality and there are 28 U.S. Senators co-sponsoring the DOMA repeal bill.

It's a perfectly reasonable position to be against DOMA (which even in 1996 was a truly shocking federal intrusion into an area of law ceded to the states for hundreds of years rooted in animus towards homosexuality) without publicly endorsing marriage equality, that's the current position of the President of the United States.

What's so surprising is that the Senator from Maryland who is supporting DOMA repeal is Benjamin Cardin, not Barbara Mikulski. Mikulski is a longtime liberal and is currently the longest serving female member of Congress. If she is still in office after March 12, 2012 she will become the longest serving female member of Congress of all time. She has also been widely rumored to be a closeted lesbian for decades. Regardless of what her sexual orientation, it is becoming unacceptable for prominent members of the Democratic party, especially someone as senior as Mikulski not to take a position in favor of marriage equality, especially when it is an important issue for her state and there is federal legislation pending before the United States Senate right now.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where The Gays Are

The results of the 2010 census on the movement of the LGBT population in the last 10-20 years are coming into focus. Gary Gates at UCLA's Williams Institute has analyzed the results and shown that "gay ghettos" like West Hollywood, CA and San Francisco, CA are becoming less gay. (The caveat must be that the census only measures people in same-sex couples, so that single gay men and lesbians are still invisible. There is a movement to have that changed for the 2020 census.)

Today's New York Times reports:
So much for San Francisco.

The list of top cities for same-sex couples as a portion of the population does not include that traditional gay mecca, according to new census data. In fact, the city, which ranked third in 1990 and 11th in 2000, plummeted to No. 28 in 2010. And West Hollywood, once No. 1, has dropped out of the top five.
The Census Bureau data, finalized this week and analyzed by Gary Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, gives the clearest picture to date of same-sex couples in America. In absolute numbers, they jumped by half in the past decade, to 901,997.
Most surprising is how far same-sex couples have dispersed, moving from traditional enclaves and safe havens into farther-flung areas of the country.
Consider, for example, the upstarts on the list: Pleasant Ridge, Mich., a suburb of Detroit; New Hope, Pa.; and this beach town in southern Delaware. All three have been popular destinations for gay people locally but had never ranked in the top 10.
The No. 1-ranked town is Provincetown, Mass., at the tip of Cape Cod.
What do you all think, should there be a sexual orientation/gender identity question on the 2020 Census? And do you think San Francisco and West Hollywood are becoming "less gay" as the gay community gets older and settles down in more geographically diverse areas?

Prof. Dawkins Responds To Rick Perry's Ignorance

Wowsa. I love Richard Dawkins. Texas Governor Rick Perry is right now the leading contended for the Republican Presidential nomination, and he recently said that evolution is "a theory that's out there" in response to a question. Professor Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and former Oxford professor, one of the more famous new Atheists, responds in the Washington Post with this excoriation (emphasis added):
There is nothing unusual about Governor Rick Perry. Uneducated fools can be found in every country and every period of history, and they are not unknown in high office. What is unusual about today’s Republican party (I disavow the ridiculous ‘GOP’ nickname, because the party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt has lately forfeited all claim to be considered ‘grand’) is this: In any other party and in any other country, an individual may occasionally rise to the top in spite of being an uneducated ignoramus. In today’s Republican Party ‘in spite of’ is not the phrase we need. Ignorance and lack of education are positive qualifications, bordering on obligatory. Intellect, knowledge and linguistic mastery are mistrusted by Republican voters, who, when choosing a president, would apparently prefer someone like themselves over someone actually qualified for the job.


A politician’s attitude to evolution is perhaps not directly important in itself. It can have unfortunate consequences on education and science policy but, compared to Perry’s and the Tea Party’s pronouncements on other topics such as economics, taxation, history and sexual politics, their ignorance of evolutionary science might be overlooked. Except that a politician’s attitude to evolution, however peripheral it might seem, is a surprisingly apposite litmus test of more general inadequacy. This is because unlike, say, string theory where scientific opinion is genuinely divided, there is about the fact of evolution no doubt at all. Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science, and he who denies it betrays woeful ignorance and lack of education, which likely extends to other fields as well. Evolution is not some recondite backwater of science, ignorance of which would be pardonable. It is the stunningly simple but elegant explanation of our very existence and the existence of every living creature on the planet. Thanks to Darwin, we now understand why we are here and why we are the way we are. You cannot be ignorant of evolution and be a cultivated and adequate citizen of today.


There are many reasons to vote against Rick Perry. His fatuous stance on the teaching of evolution in schools is perhaps not the first reason that springs to mind. But maybe it is the most telling litmus test of the other reasons, and it seems to apply not just to him but, lamentably, to all the likely contenders for the Republican nomination. The ‘evolution question’ deserves a prominent place in the list of questions put to candidates in interviews and public debates during the course of the coming election.
It should be noted that, in February 2009, on the bicentennial of Darwin's birth (same day as President Abraham Lincoln, February 12, 1809), Gallup released a poll which showed that a mere 39% of Americans believe in evolution. (25% says they do not believe in evolution and 36% have no opinion.) Hopefully someone will re-do that poll again (particular to minimize the no opinion category) as Rick Perry grows more prominent in the public eye, and perhaps Mr. Perry will recognize (and be asked about) the separation of church and state that American's founding fathers believed in.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

With Apple CEO Resignation, Openly Gay COO Takes Over

New Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Wow! This is big news! Tim Cook, the openly gay COO of Apple, has been named the new CEO, effective immediately  following the resignation of Steve Jobs earlier on Wednesday.

Here's the text of the letter co-founded and CEO Steve Jobs sent to the Apple community:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s C.E.O., I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as C.E.O. of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as C.E.O. of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
I have recently become a MacBook Air user and I'm loving it! I had previously blogged about the openly gay COO of Apple, who now becomes the one of the most famous LGBT people in America. Apple, interestingly, has been flirting with the #1 position on the Fortune 500 in terms of market capitalization as the largest company in the world this summer. The #2 company is the evil Exxon Mobil, which is the only company in the Fortune 500 to have rescinded a gay-supportive non-discrimination ordinance (when Exxon merged with Mobil several years ago).

Hat/tip to Joe.My.God

US OPEN 2011: Djokovic Seeded #1

Yesterday I talked about the ridiculous seeding that USTA gave to 3-time US Open champion Serena Williams by placing her at #28 when most people believe she is the odds-on favorite to win her 14th major there this year.

On the men's side things were far less eventful, with the seedings generally following the ATP rankings.
It does mark the first time since 2003 that either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal has not been seeded #1 at the US Open, and it is the new #1, Novak Djokovic who takes a stunning 57-2 record for the year into the final major of the year, having won 2 of the 3 so far.

France has an incredible four players in the top 12 and three of them are bolded, indicating they are players to watch who could make some noise at this years Open,which starts on Monday. Spain has three in the Top 10. The players in blue are the ones I expect to win the title on Sunday September 10 and 11. It could very well depends on the draw, which will be known tomorrow.

Men's singles
1. Novak Djokovic (SRB), 2. Rafael Nadal (ESP), 3. Roger Federer (SUI), 4. Andy Murray (GBR), 5. David Ferrer (ESP), 6. Robin Soderling (SWE), 7. Gael Monfils (FRA), 8. Mardy Fish (USA), 9. Tomas Berdych (CZE), 10. Nicolas Almagro (ESP), 11. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA), 12. Gilles Simon (FRA), 13. Richard Gasquet (FRA), 14. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI), 15. Viktor Troicki (SRB), 16. Mikhail Youzhny (RUS), 17. Jurgen Melzer (AUT), 18. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG), 19. Fernando Verdasco (ESP), 20. Janko Tipsarevic (SRB), 21. Andy Roddick (USA), 22. Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR), 23. Radek Stepanek (CZE), 24. Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG), 25. Feliciano Lopez (ESP), 26. Florian Mayer (GER), 27. Marin Cilic (CRO), 28. John Isner (USA), 29. Michael Llodra (FRA), 30. Ivan Ljubicic (CRO), 31. Marcel Granollers (ESP), 32. Ivan Dodig (CRO)

Women's singles
1. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN), 2. Vera Zvonareva (RUS), 3. Maria Sharapova (RUS), 4. Victoria Azarenka (BLR), 5. Petra Kvitova (CZE), 6. Li Na (CHN), 7. Francesca Schiavone (ITA), 8. Marion Bartoli (FRA), 9. Samantha Stosur (AUS), 10. Andrea Petkovic (GER), 11. Jelena Jankovic (SRB), 12. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), 13. Peng Shuai (CHN), 14. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK), 15. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS), 16. Ana Ivanovic (SRB), 17. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS), 18. Roberta Vinci (ITA), 19. Julia Goerges (GER), 20. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL), 21. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK), 22. Sabine Lisicki (GER), 23. Shahar Peer (ISR), 24. Nadia Petrova (RUS), 25. Maria Kirilenko (RUS), 26. Flavia Pennetta (ITA), 27. Lucie Safarova (CZE), 28. Serena Williams (USA), 29. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS), 30. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP), 31. Kaia Kanepi (EST), 32. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

US OPEN 2011: Serena Seeded #28!

Serena Williams has won all 12 of the matches she has played on hard courts this year, and has won the US Open 3 times (1999, 2002 and 2008) and the Australian Open (which is also played on a hard court) 5 times (2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010). But somehow the USTA seeding committee decided to seed her at #28, commensurate with her world ranking (at  #29). This is truly bizarre because she entered the tournament using her protected ranking of #1, which she had at the time she left the tour for 49 weeks in July 2010 after winning Wimbledon. She should have been seeded "Co-#1" similar to how Monica Seles was seeded when she came back from injury in 1995 after a 2 year hiatus. After all, Serena suffered a life-threatening malady which prevented her from playing for months.

The top seed at the final major for the year for the second year in a row is Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who despite being ensconced at the top of the WTA rankings for over a year has yet to win a major title and in fact has only reached one final, two years ago in 2009. The #2 seed is Vera Zvonareva of Russia who was in two major finals last year, while the #3 seed is the 2006 US Open champion, Maria Sharapova, who also made it to this year's Wimbledon final.

In the end it doesn't really matter where Serena is seeded, but she could end up hitting one of the Top 8 seeds in the 3rd round instead of the second week of the tournament. Bad luck for whomever she gets; the draw comes out on Thursday.

5.8 Earthquake on Eastern Seabord

I'm currently in Arlington, VA and I felt a rather large earthquake about 10 minutes ago, which AP is reporting as a "5.8 earthquake felt in DC, New York City, and North Carolina."

Sent from my iPhone 3GS...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Take A Virtual Tour Of New MLK Memorial

Today there's a new National Monument in Washington, D.C., and it celebrates the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. The official dedication will be Sunday, August 28th, the 48th anniversary of King's "I Have A Dream" speech, attended by our nation's first President of African descent, Barack Obama.

You can take a virtual tour of the monument online.

Hat/tip to Bill in Portland at DailyKos.

Eye Candy: Quentin Turnage (reprise)

Quentin Turnage is a smoking hot 22-year-old model from Califrnia who has appeared as Eye Candy before at before (June 20, 2011). There's not many models which I feature more than once, but Quentin is definitely one guy I'd like to see more of, and I bet you all agree with me!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Djokovic Retires Against Murray To Lose 2nd 2011 Match

Not even Novak Djokovic's amazing body could stand up to the punishment of winning 6 consecutive Masters series finals in a row. In his 59th match of the year, Djokovic looked sluggish and pained and finally retired after 13 games, losing 6-4 3-0 to his contemporary Andy Murray, who won his 7th career Masters series title (the most by any active player who has not won a major title).

For Djokovic, it was only his second loss of the year, so his record is now 57-2. He is chasing John McEnroes's 82-3 record in 1984 when the American won 13 titles, including the 1984 US Open and 1984 Wimbledon. More recently Roger Federer compiled a 81-4 record in 2005, winning 11 titles (including the 2005 Wimbledon and 2005 U.S. Open).

A Message From G-d...

Hat/tip to Wonder Man

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cincy Final: Djokovic vs Murray

Novak Djokovic improved to an amazing 57-1 record for the year when Tomas Berdych retired after dropping the last 3 games of the first set to lose it 7-5. Berdych had bested Roger Federer the day before but ha withdrawn from his doubles match afterwards and after about 8 games against Djokovic he basically could no longer hit the ball due to his injured shoulder.

The other semifinal match up between Mardy Fish and Andy Murray was a much more interesting affair. Murray was clearly the better in the first set, with Fish not showing the tennis that led to his stunning straight-sets defeat of World #2 Rafael Nadal. However, after winning the first set 6-3 Murray repeatedly relinquished service breaks until a second set tiebreak which was of high quality. Fish led 4-2 at the change over but Murray battled back to 5-all and then the most bizarre thing happened at the 8-7  match point, Fish serving. Fish hit a good first serve and Murray (mis)hit a service return which looked like it dropped in the corner, kissing the side line for a clear winner. Both players sheepishly approached the net and Fish challenged the (in) line call and the electronic review showed the ball had actually fallen out. 8-all instead of match over. However, the match did end two points later, with a forehand service error from Fish.

Djokovic and Murray will face each other for the fourth time in a final, with Murray leading 2-1 but Djokovic easily won their meeting at the 2011 Australian Open earlier this year and leads their career head-to-head 6-3 (which is a surprisingly low total considering how long these two have both been at the top echelons of tennis simultaneously).

Djokovic is clearly mentally tired and Murray has been playing well. Before Federer handed Djokovic his one loss all year in the French Open semifinals in Paris, Murray nearly beat the Serbian in a 3-set thriller in Rome. I would not be surprised if Murray wins tomorrow, probably in three sets.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Federer and Nadal Bounced From Cincy Quarters

At the Cincinnati Masters tournament World #3 Roger Federer and World #2 Rafael Nadal lost on the same day, to lower ranked by Top 10 opponents, Tomas Berdych and Mardy Fish, respectively. Nadal's loss was not unexpected, coming off of a hard-fought triple tie-break match with Fernando Verdasco that lasted 3 hours, 38 minutes. With his first win in 7 tries against Nadal, American Mardy Fish clinched his finish at the top of the US Open Series standings, potentially earning a $1 million bonus if he wins the US Open, which begins on Monday August 29.

World #1 Novak Djokovic lost the first set against Gael Monfils 6-3 and looked mentally tired doing so but came back to win the next two sets 6-4 6-3. He will play a semifinal against Berdych while Fish plays Andy Murray in the other semifinal.

Celebrity Friday: Clijsters Withdraws From US Open

2-time defending US Open champion Kim Clijsters today withdrew from the 2012 US Open with an abdominal strain. Clijsters had won the title in New York the last three times she played in the tournament, in 2005 (d. Mary Pierce), 2009 (d. Caroline Wozniacki) and 2010 (d. Vera Zvonareva) maintaining a winning streak which dates back to her final loss to Justine Henin in 2003.

Clijsters also won the Australian Open this year but Serena Williams did not defend her 2010 title. Since her return, Serena has won 12 hard-court matches in a row which netted her two titles and must now be considered the favorite to win her 14th major title in New York this year.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rick Perry's Top 10 Crazy Ideas (That Will Affect You)

Oh good grief. Maybe it's true that George W. Bush was "the smart one." His successor, Governor Rick Perry is now running for President and  has even crazier ideas about government than Michele "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann.

Blogger Matt Yglesias took his life in his hands and read Perry's book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington and posted the Top 10 craziest ideas he found inside:
— 10. Social Security Is Evil: According to Perry Social Security is “by far the best example” of a program “violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles.” (page 48)
— 9. Private Enterprise Blossomed Under Conscription and Wartime Price Controls: Not only does he argue that the New Deal failed to end the Great Depression, but he asserts “recovery did not come until World War II, when FDR was finally persuaded to unleash private enterprise.” (page 48)
— 8. Medicare Is Too Expensive But Must Never Be Cut: Both establishing Medicare in 1965 and expanding it to include prescription drugs in 2003 are examples of “an irresponsible culture of spending in Washington” (page 63), but establishing “‘councils of experts’ and panels of various sorts” to assess the cost effectiveness of different Medicare-eligible treatments is a “frightening” “scheme” that “undermines freedom” and can be fairly labeled “death panels” (page 81).
— 7. All Bank Regulation Is Unconstitutional: Criticizing the Security and Exchange Commission’s rulemaking process under the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, Perry asserts that “if the Constitution were shown the appropriate respect, Washington regulation writers wouldn’t have to worry about underrepresented views, because they wouldn’t have control over them in the first place” (page 94).
— 6. Consumer Financial Protection Is Unconstitutional: Further reiterates his view that all federal financial regulation is illegitimate, listing the SEC on page 44 as part of a “federal alphabet soup” in which “undemocratic unelected Washington bureaucrats” are “now (dubiously) empowered to dictate their own preferences to the American people.”
— 5. Almost Everything Is Unconstitutional: Regrets the existence of jurisprudence construing the Commerce Clause to permit “federal laws regulating the environment, regulating guns, protecting civil rights, establishing the massive programs and Medicare and Medicaid, creating national minimum wage laws, [and] establishing national labor laws.” Perry makes a partial exception for laws barring racial discrimination which he says fulfill “the intent behind the passage of the Reconstruction Era amendments.” (page 51)
— 4. Federal Education Policy Is Unconstitutional: Cites the willingness of Republicans to vote for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as a “perfect example” of “losing sight of the fact that perfectly laudable policy choices at the local level are not appropriate (much less constitutional) at the federal level.” (page 87)
— 3. Al Gore Is Part Of A Conspiracy To Deny The Existence Of Global Cooling:Jokes that the Social Security Trust Fund “must be somewhere in Al Gore’s lockbox, right next to his notes from inventing the Internet and that global cooling data he doesn’t want anyone to see” (page 60). Argues that moderates oppose curbing greenhouse gas emissions because “they know that we have been experiencing a cooling trend” (page 92).
— 2. Not Only Is Everything Unconstitutional, Activist Judges Are A Problem:Having called the majority of the duly enacted modern welfare state and federal regulatory apparatus unconstitutional, Perry pivots to the complaint that “the [Supreme] court too often chooses to take it upon itself to govern and to develop policy” (page 114).
— 1. The Civil War Was Caused By Slaveowners Trampling On Northern States’ Rights: Rather than simply citing chattel slavery as an exemption to his “states’ rights are good” principle, Perry argues that slaveholder activism in the 1850s was an example of big government federal overreach. “In many ways it was was the northern states whose sovereignty was violated in the run-up to the Civil War,” he argues, citing the Fugitive Slave Act and completely ignoring the human rights of the enslaved African-Americans of the south. He says “we can never know what would have happened in the absence of federal involvement,” ignoring again the fact that federalism would have bought peace at the price of continued slavery.
Please don't think that Gov. Perry just wrote these comments in a book nobody read and is now distancing himself from these extreme positions. In an interview with The Daily Beast last week, Perry repeated many of these extreme positions unapologetically.

Pick your poison: Perry, Bachmann or Romney. No thanks, I'll take Obama!


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