Net Neutralty

cartoonThe FCC issued a strong consumer-friendly rul­ing on the inter­net. ATT hates it because it’s ATT (which is South­west­ern Bell). Ver­i­zon (Bell Atlantic) hates the rul­ing so much, it issued a press release in Morse Code. Seriously.

The pop expla­na­tion of “Net Neu­tral­ity” is that no inter­net provider can offer a faster inter­net for the provider’s bud­dies or for those who pay more.

This is where the pop­u­lar story bogs down. The net all moves at the same speed: 299,792,458 meters per sec­ond. It’s,the speed of light. Elec­trons really love that tempo. You can send light through thick glass and get some­thing slower, but that isn’t com­mer­cially viable. Ver­i­zon could make your email bounce between earth and a satel­lite a dozen times before send­ing it down an under-ocean cop­per cable that leaks. They have to go out of their way to keep all your piti­ful elec­trons in a penalty box while let­ting the big-budget elec­trons truck along.

bondageBut the FCC has ruled in favor of you and me. Ver­zon, ATT, and the oth­ers can’t play the “speed” game. They can con­trol capac­ity but not through­put.  You can go rent your­self a great big hose or stay with your measly straw, but what’s inside all moves at the same speed.

That’s today’s FCC rul­ing. The inter­net is a util­ity, like water and elec­tric­ity. There are rules about how a com­pany can limit your access to ser­vices of a utility.

Some years ago, I did a speech at a con­fer­ence in Las Vegas. Respond­ing to a ques­tion about how seri­ous I thought the Net could be in the long run. I said it’s a thing, but I don’t know if it’s,going to be a thing like CB radio… or a thing like fire.

Today we got the FCC’s answer.

Texas’s Loonier-than-Thou Politician

Rep Joe Barton (R-TX)Joe Bar­ton is the US Rep for Arling­ton (home of the orig­i­nal Six Flags and Cow­boys sta­dium) and some ter­ri­tory south of Dal­las. The Chris­t­ian folk there like him so much, they’ve kept him in Wash­ing­ton for over 30 years.

Cit­i­zens in the dis­trict don’t see him as the one who makes us look the stu­pid­est con­stituents in the count Joe Bar­ton is a fine, Chris­t­ian (Methodist), anti-Obama tea party rep­re­sen­ta­tive. They want him in Wash­ing­ton to vote against wind energy and autism vic­tims. Most of all they want him lin­ing the pock­ets of Big Oil.

He is one of the most cor­rupt rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Con­gress (2011 CREW). He’s the oil con­sul­tant con­gress­man who apol­o­gized to BP oil for their treat­ment after their well spewed crap into the Gulf of Mex­ico. He thought BP should get no blow-back over their blowout.

Bar­ton is the anti-gay pro-family guy who’s divorced and remar­ried. The Bible-thumpers here don’t mind that, for some rea­son. Bar­ton blocked fed­eral money to help autism vic­tims. The ex-oilman is totally against wind energy because all those tur­bines will slow the earth’s rota­tion. I don’t make up or embellish.

Rep  Joe Barton (R-TX)

Rep Joe Bar­ton (R-TX)

This tea party loon has just done some­thing weird, even by Bar­ton stan­dards. He with­drew a bill, sup­port­ing his oil baron bud­dies. It would allow exports of crude. The trou­ble is that the auto­matic num­ber­ing sys­tem said his pro­posed law is “666.” Obvi­ously unac­cept­able, so Bar­ton pulled the pro­posal. Don’t worry though. Joe Bar­ton can still fun­nel favors to the oil indus­try. He refiled his bill, and the sys­tem gave it a less-Satanic number.

Bar­ton has your back. He is on a holy cru­sade to pro­tect you from super­sti­tious num­bers. You’re wel­come, America.

Texas 6th District

Texas Idiots

Heaven can’t help you if you get cross with the con­gres­sional from Texas. There was a hear­ing this week, and Rep. Alcee Hast­ings got everybyody’s panties in a wad. If you haven’t seen Louie Gomert… okay, put some cat poop on a mar­ble floor. Then stand back at a safe dis­tance, watch­ing the cat try to cover it. It’s more enter­tain­ment than should be legal.

In a hear­ing, Hast­ings called Texas crazy. I’m a native, and I have no prob­lem with that. We herd together the worst of the worst. We they seek calm enough to trans­port, we ship them north.

The Texas crowd didn’t like any­thing Hast­ings said. The Florida rep­re­sen­ta­tive men­tioned the famous law that is to pro­tect us from the rav­ages of the dildo. They are ille­gal here (even thoug Ama­zon sells them now). Hast­ings thinks it’s a silly law. It ISN’T silly… it’s the stu­pid­est law ever to be out on paper. I get embarassed at what the loons have done to my state.

The com­mit­tee aring where the argu­ing hap­pened was on Oba­macare. The dementeddemented
➤ (s) affected with mad­ness or insan­ity
Lone Star del­e­ga­tion was part of the House group try­ing to appeal Oba­macare for the’zillionth time. They have found mil­lions to have vote after vote, but they can’t find money to repair rust­ing bridges.

So they voted again. If at first you don’t suc­ceed, duct tape. There’s no repealrepeal
➤ (n) the act of abro­gat­ing; an offi­cial or legal can­cel­la­tion
➤ (v) can­cel offi­cially
for the law… noth­ing but duct tape.

Kalman Halasz

Kalman Halasz (1915-1972)

Kalman Halasz (1915–1972)

Kalman Halasz would have turned 100 years old this year (2015). He died young on this day in 1972 from pan­cre­atic can­cer. Kalman was the assis­tant direc­tor of the Texas Boys’ Choir when I was a member.

Kalman escaped his native Hun­gary dur­ing the 1956 revolt against Soviet occu­pa­tion. He left Peter (his son), wife, brother, and every­thing he owned or knew.

As his small group of escapees were sneak­ing across the fron­tier into Aus­tria, they were chased by an East Ger­man sol­dier. Kalman knew a zil­lion or so lan­guages, so he tried to explain … to ask them­sol­dier not to shoot … only Kalman was really nervous.

Nicht scheißen,” he screamed. He was star­ing down the bar­rel of a Sviet army rifle and didn’t notice he messed up the vow­els. What he said was “don’t sh*t” instead of “nicht schießen” (“don’t shoot”). Oops. The sol­dier was laugh­ing so hard, Kalman and his friend were able to cross in to Austria.

Kodaly Method

Solfège hand signs

I remem­ber Kalman lead­ing the choir in 4-part solfège (“doe a deer, a female deer”), using hand sig­nals. He coor­di­nated the parts using the posi­tion of his hand. Right hand too care of first and sec­ond sopra­nos. Left hand was for first and sec­ond altos. It was the Kodály Method, which made per­fect sense when you know Kalman and Zoltan Kodály were friends in Hungary.

The man knew every­body in mid-20th cen­tury music. He and I bummed around Europe together in 1966. In Vienna, he spent a delight­ful evening in the apart­ment of György Ligeti, the com­poser. His wife served us ice cream, apol­o­giz­ing the it was Thurs­day (i.e., not Sundae).

György Ligeti (1923-2006)

György Ligeti (1923–2006)

They laughed at how Ligeti was ban­ished from pipe organs in Europe. The com­poser went to record a new piece on a pipe organ in Lübeck (East Ger­many) that J. S. Bach famously played when he was vis­it­ing Dieterich Bux­te­hude in the early 1700s. So Ligeti is at the organ, only it was a kind of neg­a­tive song. Weights held down **all** the keys. The music showed which keys to let up. The man was cer­ti­fi­ably insane. Ligeti and his music blew out the organ. As it turns out organs that old weren’t designed to han­dle every key being pressed at the same time. “Who knew?” he said with a dev­il­ish grin.

That was in Vienna. We also vis­ited Zsuzsanna, his girl­friend dur­ing the yeas he spent in Vienna. We all went to Prater Park, an amuse­ment park. I thought it was bizarre to come all the way to Aus­tria to ride a Tilt-a-Whirl. Then I saw Kalman and Zsuzsanna off in the dis­tance. I was on a ride so they could have some alone time with­out the kid.

In Bayreuth (Bavaria) Kalman and I went to the,Richard Wag­ner fes­ti­val. I think I was being pun­ished because I don’t like opera, and Wag­ner­ian opera is the worst. Kalman went around to the stage door, where he asked for Mr. Böhm. In a few min­utes, an older guy appeared. It was Karl Böhm, the famous con­duc­tor of Wag­ner­ian operas. They were speak­ing in Ger­man (which I under­stand but not at a 90 mile an hour gait).

The opera was Meis­tersinger, a 6-friggin’ hour thing. SIX hours. SIX. It’s so long that they break for SUPPER. Kalman and Böhm took me to a nearby restau­rant where they got me com­pletely blasted on Bavar­ian Beer (Weiß­bier). I was passed out for the entire sec­ond half of the opera (which was a win/win sit­u­a­tion for me).

Kalman Halasz (1915-1972)

Kalman Halasz (1915–1972)
mas­ter organ­ist (Budapest Uni­ver­sity),
assis­tant direc­tory (Texas Boys Choir),

On choir tours, Kalman was pianist. Heaven help you if he caught you singing any note other than the pre­scribed note on stage. He also was the one who fig­ured out room assign­ments, using a hand-drawn chart that enforced an evenly. When I caught him chang­ing his chart in his front row bus seat, Kalman explained that he knew one kid was gay, and the chart was putting him with a really hate­ful prick. He got every­one into rooms with a min­i­mum of teeth gnash­ing. I don’t know what other cri­te­ria he used to over­ride the chart, but I know he qui­etly tried to main­tain har­mony on and off the stage.

Pan­cre­atic can­cer took Kalman away from us way too soon. I still miss him.

Tony Dungy: NBC’s trouble for gay kids

NBC foot­ball pun­ditpun­dit
➤ (n) some­one who has been admit­ted to mem­ber­ship in a schol­arly field
Tony Dungy thinks Michael Sam has been a dis­trac­tion. He isn’t kid­ding about it. Could some­body tell him that’s the same term used when Jackie Robin­son became the first black player in major league base­ball. Michael Sam is gay: get over it.Super Bowl XLVI

If piss­ing on Michael Sam’s parade were his only thing, I could live with it. Dungy is a pub­lic fig­ure, and impres­sion­able LGBT kids lis­ten to his demean­ing chat­ter on TV, but Dungy has a history.

In 2007, he helps fund California’s “prop 8” — the anti-marriage law that tried to undo exist­ing same-sex mar­riages. That was hate­ful. Oh but he didn’t stop with his own pock­et­book. Tony Dungy was a fundraiser for the anti-LGBT campaign.

Does Tony Dungy have the right to hate me because I’m gay? Sure. What he thinks about me is none of my business.

He crosses the line when he talks on pub­lic media (NBC) in a way that hurts gay kids. It’s hard enough to be a gay kid under the best of con­di­tions. When NBC broad­casts demean­ing and caus­ticcaus­tic
➤ (n) any chem­i­cal sub­stance that burns or destroys liv­ing tis­sue
➤ (s) harsh or cor­ro­sive in tone
➤ (s) of a sub­stance, espe­cially a strong acid; capa­ble of destroy­ing or eat­ing away by chem­i­cal action
opin­ions, they should be ashamed.

NBC SportsI per­son­ally turn to a dif­fer­ent chan­nel when his face comes on. Imag­ine what hap­pens when a fam­ily is watch­ing, and daddy jumps in with a few f-words after Dungy has his say. What’s a 14 year old gay boy sup­posed to think?

NBC is broad­cast­ing this year’s Super Bowl.

NBC needs to get their pun­dits to stick to foot­ball or get them off the air.

Tony Dungy: asshole of the year

Asshole of the Year

Ass­hole of the Year

Out­sports has names Tony Dungy as the Ass­hole of the Year. Here’s why.

There are two main rea­sons Tony Dungy is Out­sports’ Ass­hole of the Year.

The first is his very pub­lic homo­pho­bia. While it hap­pened sev­eral years ago, Dungy spent part of his social cap­i­tal in 2007 rais­ing tens of thou­sands of dol­lars to fight against mar­riage equal­ity in Indi­ana, say­ing that if you’re with God you have to be against equal­ity for gay peo­ple. Dungy was at it again this year pub­licly declar­ing that he wouldn’t have wanted Michael Sam on his team.

That leads us to rea­son No. 2. Instead of just own­ing up to his anti-Sam homo­pho­bia, Dungy tried hid­ing behind the “dis­trac­tion” non­sense and Oprah Winfrey’s TV show in claim­ing he didn’t want Sam on his team. What Dungy seems to for­get is the Book of Proverbs’ enu­mer­a­tion of abom­i­na­tions, sev­eral of which Dungy has com­mit­ted by not own­ing up to his truth­ful homo­pho­bia: a lying tongue… a heart that devises wicked plans… a false wit­ness who breathes out lies… and one who sows dis­cord among brothers.

Dungy’s lie was proven when he pub­licly said he would wel­come Ray Rice onto his team. Wife-beater Rice would attract far more ques­tions and media than Sam, yet Dungy would embrace him with open arms just as he did with dog-killer Michael Vick (who inci­den­tally had a real­ity show fol­low­ing him too) when he was released from jail.

Wife-beater and dog-killer? No prob­lem for Dungy. A man who loves other men? No way in hell!

That out­ward homo­pho­bia and clear dis­daindis­dain
➤ (n) lack of respect accom­pa­nied by a feel­ing of intense dis­like
➤ (n) a com­mu­ni­ca­tion that indi­cates lack of respect by patron­iz­ing the recip­i­ent
➤ (v) look down on with dis­dain
➤ (v) reject with con­tempt
for gay peo­ple has led many to openly won­der whether Dungy’s son, who killed him­self in 2005 (may he rest in peace), was gay. It’s the No. 1 ques­tion I get from peo­ple regard­ing Dungy. The lat­est round has brought that all bub­bling back to the sur­face, even though there is no pub­lic evi­dence to that effect (of course, the homo­phobes at Bre­it­bart call the ques­tion­ing of someone’s sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion an “attack”). But you can cer­tainly under­stand — with Dungy’s open, pub­lic attacks on gay peo­ple — why any gay per­son around Dungy, fam­ily, ath­letes or oth­er­wise, would feel uncom­fort­able around the man. His com­ments con­tinue to tell young gay kids they don’t belong in this world and will go to hell after it — and that is the sad­dest part of all. Whether it’s his son or some­one else, Chris­tians like Dungy, who manip­u­late the word of God, drive kids to kill themselves.

It’s shame­ful that NBC con­tin­ues to give this man a plat­form from which he can push LGBT ath­letes and youth deeper into the closet.

Just like most of the big play­off games he was involved with as a coach, Dungy ulti­mately lost the bat­tle to dis­crim­i­nate against an entire class of peo­ple, as Indi­ana has legal­ized same-sex mar­riage and the rest of the coun­try will have it soon.

On the flip side, until now Dungy has been suc­cess­ful in keep­ing Michael Sam out of the NFL (we’ll see if he can get Rice back in). His com­ments have also helped keep other gay NFL play­ers in the closet.

Peo­ple like Dungy are the worst part of sports: her­alded for their “fatherly” posi­tion to some play­ers and given a pass for cre­at­ing a dynamic in sports where gay ath­letes are dri­ven by fear. He need­lessly gives Chris­tians in sport a very bad name, and his des­ig­na­tion of “father fig­ure” in the NFL gives valid­ity to the anti-gay beliefs of others.

When we asked our Twit­ter fol­low­ers who they might nom­i­nate for the award, almost every sin­gle per­son men­tioned Dungy. Yes, he is that big of an ass­hole to the LGBT community.

Dungy was pre­vi­ously nom­i­nated for the award in 2007 when it was just “Jerk of the Year.” We’ve ele­vated the name of the award this year, and deservedly so.

Ass­hole of the Year runner-up: The fact that Dungy beat out Vladimir Putin, an anti-gay dic­ta­tor of a nation with 140 mil­lion peo­ple, should tell you how bad Dungy is for LGBT peo­ple in sports. Yet Putin was put in the runner-up posi­tion because LGBT ath­letes did par­tic­i­pate in the Olympics and won medals, and because much of his dam­age is being done polit­i­cally and socially, not in the sports world. Though his government’s attacks on the Open Games was par­tic­u­larly egregious.



Here is the text of my e-mail to TCU:

To: Vic­tor Bos­chini, Chancellor

Con­grat­u­la­tions on a first class foot­ball year. You deserved a play­off slot. Alas, you got a bowl invitation.

My whole life has been close to TCU. I grew up on High­view, about a block north of  Amon Carter Sta­dium. I have mem­o­ries of many hours swoop­ing around the sta­dium on skates or bicy­cle. This was long before you put up fences and barriers.

TCU is also the Uni­ver­sity that I attended.

When I was a stu­dent, I got the impres­sion that TCU wanted me to learn how to be a bet­ter per­son. Your uni­ver­sity taught moral­ity, not just facts, and not just hypotheses.I was a stu­dent who hap­pens to be gay, and I always felt safe at TCU. Jim Corder taught me the craft of writ­ing, and I’ve been blessed to have sev­eral dozen books in print. I grum­bled that a uni­ver­sity would force me to take a reli­gion class, but I took it. Many years later, I added to that fresh­man course­work by com­plet­ing a doc­tor­ate pro­gram in reli­gion at a sem­i­narysem­i­nary
➤ (n) a pri­vate place of edu­ca­tion for the young
➤ (n) a the­o­log­i­cal school for train­ing min­is­ters or priests or rab­bis
on the East Coast.

But when you accepted that invi­ta­tion to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, you slapped every les­bian / gay / trans­gen­der per­son who ever went to TCU. You do know you have had gay stu­dents, right?

Chick-fil-A is the most homo­pho­bic com­pany in the coun­try. Feel free to use Google to dou­ble check that. I am per­son­ally dev­as­tated by your choice, and it isn’t like the Hate Bowl was your only choice.

I have instructed my attor­ney to remove the dona­tion to TCU from my Last Will. I won’t give you any money after you showed this aggres­sive dis­re­spect to so many stu­dents (past and present).

Shame on TCU.

Berkleley Riots 2014


MLK Memorial, DC

The ulti­mate mea­sure of a man is not where he stands in moments of com­fort and con­ve­nience, but where he stands at times of chal­lenge and con­tro­versy. [MLK]

I can’t imag­ine what it’s like to live with skin other than my Scan­di­na­vian skin. I used to try when dat­ing or lov­ing an other-than-white guy.

Tony (black) in high school; RIP (AIDS).

His mother wrapped the two of us and drove to Louisiana to see / hear Mar­tin Luther King. I was scared shit­less with bully state troop­ers and their tooth-filled dogs. The calm one was Rev King. To this very day, I can’t imag­ine how he (a) didn’t run from fear and (b) got the crowd to stay firm but non-violent. It was an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence, and I am soooooo glad it was a one-time thing for me.

I’m not strong enough to life in this atmos­phere. If it’s your life, I am seri­ous awe of your strength.

Marty (brown) in col­lege; RIP (motorcycle).

Marty intro­duced me to that bar­rio thingy. It was home, where every­one was fam­ily. Even the fos­ter care kid (rais­ing hand). It was real and raw. There are idiots in the bar­rio… vio­lent idiots.

But if some­body called me “mar***n”, I would send back a quick “ch**ga tu madre.” I know… stu­pid. In my defense, I was mostly hang­ing out with sev­eral crazed bik­ers. The bik­ers thought my scrap­pi­ness and potty-mouth was cute.

Now I see so much pain and anger. The gov­ern­ment in and around Fer­gu­son behaved badly / stu­pidly. If you’re in gov­ern­ment, it doesn’t mat­ter whether you’re right or wrong. It mat­ters that you’ve cre­ated a sit­u­a­tion where some of your own cit­i­zens feel that vio­lence is their only option. The anger will last for years. Small busi­ness own­ers will be pay­ing the fis­cal price. If you can’t do gov­ern­ment with­out caus­ing this feel­ing, you shouldn’t be in gov­ern­ment. Period.

I saw that video of Mike Brown in the bodega. The cam­era showed a bully, pick­ing on a much smaller store worker. If he car­ried that atti­tude to the streets, I can see how a cop might react badly.

Truth: if you’re an above aver­age guy, you will try to be police chief in Chicago or New York. Same for the Dis­trict Attor­ney. Fer­gu­son MO doesn’t get the best peo­ple. Bad logic on my part, because police in the big cities are work­ing badly.

Whether the Fer­gu­son facts are  true, it doesn’t excuse officials.

There were mis­steps every­where. The kid shouldn’t have been a bully and a rob­ber. The cop should have had the smarts and tech­nique to arrest the kid with­out killing him. If you have to shoot, one pop in the knee will bring down most folks.

Mis­souri offi­cials should not have acted like idiots. The grand jury should have indicted the copy, so a crim­i­nal court could have sorted things out. Every­one on all sides of this mess have been idiots (at least to my eyes/ears).

To the cops and judi­cial sys­tem: if y’all for­got to inform the kid’s par­ents of the grand jury deci­sion before the pub­lic unveil­ing, you have screwed up a sim­ple and fun­da­men­tal less of deal­ing with peo­ple. Shame on you. Shame on your kids. Shame on all y’all.

It is still and open wound. The com­mu­nity in Fer­gu­son (and else­where) need clo­sure. Peace­ful clo­sure. If you’re a cop or a dis­trict attor­ney or a judge, you need to be able to bring clo­sure. If you can’t or won’t, you need to find a dif­fer­ent career.

To my broth­ers and sis­ters of color: you will get fur­ther if you approach racial prob­lems like Rev King used. I am about as white as a guy can be. I’m not per­fect. I’m a work-in-progress. Tell me where I’m stu­pid, but offer an alter­na­tive. If I need to work on the white dis­trict attor­neys or white cops, let me know what I need to do. I may not see what you know is obvious.

Every­body will get a bet­ter reac­tion from me (and oth­ers like me) if you take it down a notch. Stop scar­ing me, and tell me what I need to do/think/say/believe/hope.

The quote is by Rev King. It’s part of the MLK memo­r­ial in Wash­ing­ton DC.

NFL vs the Roman Pope vs kids/women

NFLSven Andreas WallinYeah for the NFL. They are doing some­thing about their domes­tic abuse cases.

I have an opin­ion about it (no sur­prise). One good thing this whole mess is that it reminds play­ers that domes­tic vio­lence is a major no-no. Seri­ously. Play­ers now have prece­dence. They see there’s no car­rot and only a big stick in hit­ting peo­ple off the field. Break­ing this behav­ior stan­dard gets a player more than just a yardage penalty.

One thing the NFL has done wrong is allow­ing this to go on far too long. There should have been edu­ca­tion and coun­sel­ing before things got out of hand.



I am a mem­ber of SNAP (Sur­vivors Net­work of those Abused by Priests). Way back when Mass was in Latin, I was abused by priests. Three of them. I have never asked for com­pen­sa­tion, but I made sure those preda­tors were kept away from kids.

pope logoSNAP is mark­ing its 25th anniver­sary. Goody for them.

The Coun­cil of Trent (1500s) could have threat­ened hell­fire to its ini­ti­ates and employ­ees over pedophilia, hebephilia, and ephebophilia. There were damn­ing words for gays, but Rome was silent about abuse.

I think it’s awe­some that SNAP has worked hard for 25 years. They are an out­side group, put together by vic­tims because Rome dug trenches and played games with the lives of their young adherents.

It’s shame­ful that the Vat­i­can has had an awful record of con­trol­ling the preda­tors on their pay­roll. Rome needs to say some Hail Marys for wait­ing until vic­tims started screaming.

Ditto for Amer­i­can foot­ball. Kudos for telling their employ­ees to stop beat­ing up spouses, mates, and kid­dies. I wish they’d done this the instant they detected a prob­lem (and I don’t believe for one sec­ond that the cur­rent cases are the league’s first).