Best 150 Words on Marriage Equality

Fresno, CA, was frothy with wild Armaged­don talk after the Supreme Court ruled the Con­sti­tu­tion applies to gay folk on mar­riage. The sky over Fresno was crash­ing with locusts, singing dev­ils, and slav­ery. Carol Fleisig, a res­i­dent of Fresno, finally had enough. Her let­ter is short — about 150 words — but she blew apart all the frothers with class. Here’s her Let­ter to the Fresno Bee Editor.…..

What a tem­pest in a teapot! The recent Supreme Court rul­ing allow­ing gay mar­riage has no impact on any­one who is not gay: no impact on Chris­tians or those of any other belief sys­tem that dis­ap­proves of homosexuality.

Let us be reminded that the Jew­ish reli­gion tells its fol­low­ers to cir­cum­cise their sons. Does that belief pre­clude other peo­ple from not cir­cum­cis­ing their sons? Of course not! Is there any pub­lic out­cry against allow­ing Jew­ish peo­ple to cir­cum­cise their sons? Of course not! There is not pub­lic out­cry because peo­ple rec­og­nize that Jew­ish cir­cum­ci­sion is none of their busi­ness. Each fam­ily is free to cir­cum­cise or not cir­cum­cise their sons as they choose.

Like­wise, gay mar­riage is none of our busi­ness if our belief sys­tem pro­hibits it. If you are against the prac­tice of some­thing, sim­ply do not prac­tice it. Isn’t their bib­li­cal scrip­ture about not judg­ing others?


It’s over. It’s complete. We won.

I am okay with the US for the first time in about 60 years. I did Gay-Lib in the early 1960s and anti-war in the late 60s. In the 70s, I tried to strike a bal­ance between gay rights in the work­place and being a jour­nal­ist at ABC and sev­eral Texas radio sta­tions. And so forth.

The White House; Washington DC. Lit on June 26, 2015, to honor marriage equality ruling from SCOTUS.

The White House; Wash­ing­ton DC. Lit on June 26, 2015, to honor mar­riage equal­ity rul­ing from SCOTUS.

Then came the most amaz­ing two days in my life­time. The Supreme Court of the United States handed down two opin­ions that changed every­thing. For a sec­ond time, the court said that ACA (Oba­macare) is the law of the land. Amer­ica has health insur­ance… not per­fect and cer­tainly not the “Medicare for all” that every social­ist bone in my body asserts is best… but it’s health­care. Most Amer­i­cans can afford to have health insur­ance. That’s com­pletely amaz­ing to me. Some (mainly Repub­li­cans) have done every­thing they could think of to kill Oba­macare, and they have com­pletely failed. The Supreme Court says ACA lives. It is the law of the United States. There’s noth­ing ambigu­ous or vague in the 6-to-3 ruling.

If Repub­li­cans sweep both houses of con­gress and win the White House next year, ACA may have prob­lems. It might already be too late because gobs of peo­ple now rely on ACA (rightly so).

The other thing out of the court: mar­riage equal­ity. Years ago, a boss asked me why I was always a pain in the ass on LGBT employ­ment issues. That rul­ing last week: that’s why. Imag­ine a 15 or 16 year old gay kid who’s already try­ing to fig­ure out hor­mone spikes will no longer have anti-marriage hate laws. Amer­ica has a base­line stan­dard of behav­ior, as laid out by the Supreme Court. If there aren’t any nur­tur­ing adults handy, the kid can always go to the source: Jus­tice Anthony Kennedy.

The court says…

Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the majority opinion in

Jus­tice Anthony Kennedy, author of the major­ity opin­ion in Oberge­fell v. Hodges, the mar­riage equal­ity case.

No union is more pro­found than mar­riage, for it embod­ies the high­est ideals of love, fidelity, devo­tion, sac­ri­fice, and fam­ily. In form­ing a mar­i­tal union, two peo­ple become some­thing greater than once they were. As some of the peti­tion­ers in these cases demon­strate, mar­riage embod­ies a love that may endure even past death. It would mis­un­der­stand these men and women to say they dis­re­spect the idea of mar­riage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its ful­fill­ment for them­selves. Their hope is not to be con­demned to live in lone­li­ness, excluded from one of civilization’s old­est insti­tu­tions. They ask for equal dig­nity in the eyes of the law. The Con­sti­tu­tion grants them that right.

The judg­ment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Cir­cuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.

Oberge­fell v. Hodges
Jus­tice Anthony Kennedy, writ­ing for the majority

I don’t recall any prose from the court that has so much oomph. Jus­tice Kennedy is a won­der­ful word­smith. What’s more, he laid out prece­dent clearly and deci­sively. It will be a bit dif­fi­cult to mis­un­der­stand the ruling!

So now, it’s over. This phase is com­plete. The court stole most (but not all) of my raisons de l’angoisse. I’m in my mid-60s… too late to come up with a whole new map of real­ity for rebranded sedi­tionsedi­tion
➤ (n) an ille­gal action incit­ing resis­tance to law­ful author­ity and tend­ing to cause the dis­rup­tion or over­throw of the gov­ern­ment
and lobbying.

I will always watch for peo­ple who will try to weaken the LGBT align­ment with Amer­i­can soci­ety. That part never ends. I will fight so we have no Weimar Republic.

But as a whole (for me, at least), it’s over. We won.

Tom Cassidy — journalist

Octo­ber 19, 1987 was such a bad day on Wall Street that we call it “Black Mon­day.” It started in Hong Kong, where their stock mar­ket shred­ded 45% of its value, and it slowly fol­lowed the sun to fron­tiers of Wall Street. The US mar­ket went down 22.7%, the largest one day crash in the his­tory of our stock mar­ket. By com­par­i­son, the first day of the Great Depres­sion of 1929 showed a loss of only 11%.

Tom Cassidy (1950-1991)

Tom Cas­sidy (1950–1991)

Enter TOM CASSIDY of CNN. He was their busi­ness and finan­cial anchor. On Black Mon­day, Cas­sidy stuck to facts, reject­ing OMG/Chicken-Little sto­ries. Other news out­lets went bonkers, but Tom Cas­sidy kept CNN calm. Journalistic.

What most peo­ple don’t real­ize is that Tom Cas­sidy got news from his doc­tors that he was HIV pos­i­tive. He was diag­nosed with AIDS on Black Mon­day, the same day the coun­try needed him to be calm on the air.

In fact, the dis­ease had already pro­gressed to AIDS before he was diag­nosed. In 1987, hav­ing full-blown AIDS was a death sentence.

Tom Cassidy, hosting Pinnacle on CNN

Tom Cas­sidy, host­ing Pin­na­cle on CNN

So Tom Cas­sidy anchored Black Mon­day on the very day he found out he was dying of AIDS, and he anchored cov­er­age calmly and factually.

He died on May 26, 1991.

Every­one would say Rest in Peace, with feel­ings of grat­i­tude on his cov­er­age of a scari­est day ever on Wall Street.

Not so much on CNN.


If one of my employ­ees cov­ered Black Mon­day with the class Cas­sidy showed, I’d be scream­ing his praise as loudly as I could. To CNN, it’s like Tom Cas­sidy never existed.

I don’t under­stand what was (and con­tin­ues to be) CNN’s fail­ure to acknowl­edge. AIDS fears? Homo­pho­bia (Cas­sidy died when DADT and DOMA were being for­mu­lated by so-called gay “friend” Bill Clin­ton. Why haven’t Ander­son Cooper or Don Lemon done any­thing? The whole thing con­tin­ues to be weird.

Rest in peace, Tom. Thank you for being a real journalist.

RIP Jim Wright

U.S. Speaker of the House, Jim Wright of Texas

U.S. Speaker of the House, Jim Wright of Texas

My friend Jim Wright died today. He was old (92), and I know he was tired of fight­ing health issues like the can­cer that popped up from time to time.

He and I drifted apart slowly and qui­etly lately. We didn’t even exchange our Christ­mas let­ters this year.

Jim Wright was a mem­ber of Con­gress, absolutely a Demo­c­rat of the Yella-Dawg ilk. That said, he was always ready to schmooze­dress code. and horse trade with any­body, even GOPs, to get stuff done.

He was aware of the guy who adopted me, Mr Repub­li­can. Dad would drag me out to Rid­glea Ciun­try Club for Sun­day buf­fet. No, I am basi­cally the oppo­site of a coun­try club belle. Often as not, the club would have to lend me a sport jacket to bring me up to the dress code.

And Jim Wright would see us. The plot was set. He’d sauntersaunter
➤ (n) a care­less leisurely gait
➤ (n) a leisurely walk (usu­ally in some pub­lic place)
➤ (v) walk leisurely and with no appar­ent aim
over — along with the eye­brows that always needed to be braided — and after some pre­lim­i­nary greet­ings, he’d want to talk pol­i­tics, as dad’s com­fort level sunk lower and lower.

Watch­ing the old man squirm inside the coun­try club was more fun than you’re sup­posed to have on Sun­day in Texas.

Jim Wright was in Con­gress for more than 30 years. He was also Speaker of the House… until Newt Gin­grich fig­ured out some weird ethics charges. I heard Jim beat him­self up for resign­ing. He should have stayed and made Newt famous as the sociopathsociopath
➤ (n) some­one with a socio­pathic per­son­al­ity; a per­son with an anti­so­cial per­son­al­ity dis­or­der (‘psy­chopath’ was once widely used but has now been super­seded by ‘sociopath’)
he really is.

Fort Worth and the US lost a good one. Please keep Jim and Betty (wife) in your prayers.

When a riot metastasizes

Sven Andreas Wallin

Sven Andreas Wallin

Vio­lence in Bal­ti­more. Some are there because it’s cool or because loot­ing gets you loot. But some are there because they can’t take the crap any­more. It’s a bad idea, but I under­stand it.

The peo­ple in charge shut down every dis­cus­sion to work on Baltimore’s riots. Those who want changes in soci­ety aren’t get­ting it. Vio­lence never works. It just doesn’t.

  • Trayvon Mar­tin was killed because he was a black kid in a hoodie. George Zim­mer­man got away with it.
  • Michael Brown was killed for being black while jay­walk­ing. Rightly or wrongly, offi­cer Dar­ren Wil­son got away with it.
  • Eric Gar­ner was killed in a choke hold on Staten Island. None of the NYPD offi­cers involved will ever be charged. They got away with it.
  • Tamir Rice, age 12, was killed by police for car­ry­ing a toy gun while black. So far, nobody’s charged the police shooter, Tim­o­thy Loehmann.
  • Eric Har­ris was shot because Tulsa gave a gun to a guy who couldn’t tell the dif­fer­ence between a taser and a pistol.
  • Akai Gur­ley (Brooklyn)
  • John Craw­ford (Dayton)

I could argue that some (or most) of these guys were doing shady things when they were killed. That said, this is a bru­tal list. Jay­walk­ing and car­ry­ing a toy gun are not cap­i­tal offenses. If there’s some kind of excuse that makes it okay, we need to look at police train­ing and technique.

Whether the cases on this par­tial list are bru­tal­ity or jus­ti­fied, I can imag­ine how furi­ous I’d be if these were all gay or trans­gen­der. I would be bang­ing on the door of every hate-filled douche noz­zle in the Texas or fed­eral capitols.

— — — — —

I’m wor­ried about the impli­ca­tion in the gay com­mu­nity. LGBTQ folks are tired of the insane scream­ing from reli­gious nuts. What they’re doing in Texas is shame­ful. There are more than 20 hate bills before the Texas leg­is­la­ture. You have all the trans­gen­der bath­room bills. And there are a few so-called “reli­gious free­dom” bills (your reli­gion gets no free­dom if it’s MCC or Wiccan).

Politi­cians aren’t happy unless they’ve beaten the sanc­ti­mo­nioussanc­ti­mo­nious
➤ (s) exces­sively or hyp­o­crit­i­cally pious
crap out of some drag queens. At some point, said queens are going to get their fill.

I will com­pletely under­stand when dykes and their bikes take to the street. If vio­lence breaks out, I will under­stand because I’ve been down­wind of leg­isla­tive stench.

The solu­tion is to stay on top of things. We have to keep the Austin mean-a-saurus cage in check. The prob­lem won’t be when they go too far once too often. That will just be the tip­ping point. Fam­ily and friends elected these bul­lies. Maybe fam­ily and friends need to expe­ri­ence post far­tum depression.

What I want is peace, and that’s a sim­ple formula.

If you want peace, work for justice.

Pope Paul VI, speech at United Nations

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.