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Sunday, June 25, 2017

OSU small town (gay) Pride event is 'family friendly'

Corvallis Pride front page newspaper story Corvallis Gazette-Times, Jun. Jun. 25, 2017, p. A1, A12

PHOTO: Oregon State University, with an enrollment of 30,000 students, is located in the small college town of Corvallis, Oregon, with a population of about 50,000 residents, but it is still big enough to hold a "family friendly" (gay) Pride event in June. See the local professional newspaper story by Lillian Schrock, "Pride Corvallis holds a picnic in the park. Celebration of Pride: Corvallis event attracts hundreds to Starker Arts Park," Corvallis Gazette-Times, Jun. Jun. 25, 2017, p. A1, A12 gazettetimes.com posted Jun. 24, 2017 as "Young and old picnic in the park for Pride Corvallis", which includes links to videos and photo galleries. The newspaper article says, "Dharma Mirza . . . was picnicking in the park for Pride Corvallis, a family-friendly event to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. As a Muslim transgender woman ... She said the queer community saved her life by helping her overcome a drug addiction, homelessness and sex work. ... Mirza, who is HIV positive, is a board member of the Valley AIDS Information Network, Inc. She also founded Haus of Dharma, which puts on drag shows and advocates on behalf of the transgender and queer community. She planned to host a drag show following the picnic. Hillary Fishler, who organized Saturday's picnic, said she wanted the substance-free event to be a calm, safe space for people of all ages and identities. She hoped the event would bridge the divide between university students and the Corvallis community."

As somebody who is old enough to recall the 1969 Stonewall riot in New York City, and the first Gay Pride celebrations, it is a marvel at how far Pride has come. When i was living in San Francisco in the in the 1980's the very gay Castro Street would fill with drunken revelers for June gay pride events. I left during the AIDS crisis and so I do not know if S.F. still has some gay merrymakers to celebrate LGBTQI+ Pride Month in both a traditional manner as well as a "family friendly" way.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Zero Population Growth is the elephant in the room

My local professional city newspaper printed a very good opinion piece by Therese Waterhous, "As I See It: The growing problem with growth," Gazette-Times, Jun. 15, 2017, p. A8, which says in part, "The PERS debacle in Oregon is another example of overly optimistic predictions about growth. Never did a leader step up and say that predicting what economies will do is like rolling dice. It is. Thinking that PERS would forever be funded by investments at a certain rate has proven foolish. Currently we have the Trump administration relying on overly optimistic predictions of growth to repair the economy."

I have also been similarly skeptical of "growth" and said so in a previous letter to the editor: Thomas Kraemer, "Population growth still biggest environmental problem we face," Gazette-Times, posted Jan. 8, 2013, p. A9. I say, "Zero population growth used to be a widely supported goal, but it is opposed by greedy Wall Street plutocrats who also reward companies for building products that must be thrown out frequently. If legislators sincerely cared about the environment, they would require manufacturers to sincerely make products that were supportable and repairable for decades." (See previous post Corvallis plastic bag ban and gay marriage (1/8/13))

However, in my experience with managing the managers of multiple businesses, giving these managers a goal of growth is essential because nearly all businesses will stagnate, go obsolete and then out of business if they do not do continuous improvement, and the easiest way to measure it is with sales growth, but it can also can be measured by customer satisfaction and other factors, such as staying in business despite changes in the world. High tech companies must constantly do new products, to replace old and obsolete ones, just to stay even.

I also know from experience that the problem of population growth is a real one nobody wants to address logically or unemotionally, and therefore I appreciated the following letter:

"The previously popular "Zero Population Growth" movement was not mentioned in the insightful June 15 "As I See It: The Growing Problem with Growth" by Therese Waterhous.

Zero Population Growth addressed the bigger problem of limits to population growth, based on Earth's finite resources, which has been disingenuously ignored by "climate change" (formerly known as "global warming") activists.

The latest catchphrase "climate action" encompasses many praiseworthy environmental goals, but it is also silent on the need to address the elephant in the room - excessive population growth."

(Quoted from Kim Wilson, "Letter: Reviving zero population growth," posted June 21, 2017)

I love living in a college town!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Baker included in new gay marriage history book

Cover jacket of 2016 book by Michael McConnell, with Jack Baker, about the world's first gay marriage

PHOTO: The front and back cover jacket of a book by Michael McConnell, with Jack Baker, as Told to Gail Langer Karwoski, "The Wedding Heard 'Round the World - America's First Gay Marriage," University of Minnesota Press, 2016. (See previous posts Book by Michael McConnell on his marriage to Jack Baker that led to the first Supreme Court case on gay marriage (12/29/15) and Baker on gay marriage in 1972 vs. 2015 reaction to Supreme Court ruling (7/17/15))

The pioneering gay marriage activism of Jack Baker and Michael McConnell is finally beginning to be included in the most recent gay history books. For example, Baker is included in the book by Nathaniel Frank, "Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America," Harvard University Press 2017. (See previous post Baker-McConnell marriage in 'The Advocate' 50th anniversary issue (5/22/17))

My low vision blindness has prevented me from checking it out to see if it contains any errors or other biases, which for decades has plagued the proper recording of gay marriage history and it led Baker and McConnell to write their own book shown above.

A very encouraging sign is what is said in the following book review in a New York City gay newspaper:

" In 2014, despite falling well short of the stated goal of the Prop 8 lawsuit, Becker released her controversial book, "Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight For Marriage Equality," . . . Olson and Boies published their truly awful book, "Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality." . . . The two books and the documentary were a media onslaught that was all the more offensive because they represented the organizations that had been battling for marriage for years as obstacles to winning the goal of marriage in all 50 states. Now comes Nathaniel Frank's "Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America," an exhaustively researched book that correctly attributes the basis for the ultimate marriage win to the case that the US Supreme Court heard at the same time as the Prop 8 case - Edie Windsor's successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 federal statute that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allowed states to do the same."

(Quoted from Duncan Osborne, "The Fight for Marriage in Broad, Informed Context," gaycitynews.nyc posted June 8, 2017)

Also see the following links:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Total solar eclipse will pass over Corvallis and OSU

Solar eclipse path Corvallis GT May 21, 2017, p. A1

PHOTO: The path and time of the total solar eclipse over that will be seen over Oregon State University and Corvallis, Oregon is shown in graphic for the newspaper story by Bennet Hall, "Summer of the eclipse," Gazette-Times, Sun. May 21, 2017, p. A1, A4. Corvallis is set for Aug. 21, 2017 at 10:16AM lasting about 1 iminute and 40 seconds. The last eclipse in Corvallis occurred on Feb. 26, 1979.

 Solar eclipse U.S. Postage stamp issued Jun. 20, 2017

PHOTO: "The Postal Service will soon release a first-of-its-kind stamp that changes when you touch it. The Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever stamp, which commemorates the August 21 eclipse, transforms into an image of the Moon from the heat of a finger." See press release U.S. Postal Service, "Total Eclipse of the Sun to be commemorated on a Forever Stamp," usps.com posted April 27, 2017

Some related links of interest:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cable fights Broadcast TV over retransmission fees hits Corvallis

The business press has been covering the fight between a large Cable TV company, Comcast Cable, and a large broadcast TV owner, who are quibbling over how much each company should pay to retransmit the over-the-air TV signal to cable subscribers. This fight has hit Corvallis because the Portland, Oregon CBS TV affiliate KOIN TV has been blacked out on the Comcast Cable TV system. See the local newspaper story by Bennett Hall, "Benton County cable viewers lose KOIN-TV," Gazette-Times, May 27, 2017, p. A1-A2 gazettetimes.com posted May 26, 2017, which says, "KOIN is owned by Nexstar media group, an Irving, Texas-based company that owns or manages 171 stations, making it the largest television broadcaster in the country. Comcast, based in Philadelphia, is the nation's largest cable company. It also owns NBCUniversal, making it a major producer of feature films and television programs."

My low vision blindness has prevented me from researching the latest FCC regulations and laws, but at one time there was a "must carry rule" for cable TV providers that required cable TV systems to carry all of the local channels receivable over-the-air in a city. In Benton County where Corvallis, Oregon is located, this has always included the Eugene, Oregon TV stations that are 40 miles south of Corvallis. However, the Portland TV stations have always been carried by the Corvallis cable TV system even though Portland TV stations are 80 miles north of Corvallis and not easily receivable without a huge antenna system.

Portland TV stations became easy to receive over-the-air via an antenna a few years ago when several of the stations installed a tranlator near Corvallis. I do not know if the FCC "must carry" rules are still in effect, and if they are, I do not know if they apply to translators or not. Trump Republicans want to deregulate everything, and so I am not counting on anything.

In any case, Comcast in Corvallis has for some unstated reason continued carrying the Portland network affiliates, as they have been doing for at least 40 years, however, when the HDTV transition occurred a few years ago, Comast is kept carrying the Portland stations only in low-definition -- at first they were rebroadcasting the station's 3:4 aspect ratio picture with the sides of the 16:9 aspect ratio picture cut off, but more recently they have been letterboxing the HDTV picture into a 3:4 aspect ratio picture and then pillar boxing that back into a 16:9 aspect ratio picture -- the result on a normal HDTV set hooked up to cable is a low-definition 16:9 aspect ratio picture with a smaller 16:9 aspect ratio picture inset inside of black bars all the way around it. On my 32 inch diagonal HDTV set, the final picture comes out to be 26 inch diagonal and none of the TV set's zoom functions will blow up the picture to fill the screen, probably because the TV set designers never thought that anyone would be so stupid to broadcast a picture in this format! Comcast Cable is doing the worst of all worlds for picture quality.

Why is Comcast doing this? Assuming they are thinking, perhaps it has to do with lowering the amount of bandwidth on their cable so they can provide more of their other services. Perhaps it is to be compatible with their cheap, legally mandated, basic cable that is regulated by law and they assume all of these low-end customers still have old fashioned 3:4 aspect ratio TV sets.

I can understand the business fight over retransmission fees, but I can't understand why Comcast in Corvallis can't retransmit both the Eugene and Portland TV stations, in the new HDTV format. Also, what has happened to the must carry rules? Have Trump Republicans eliminated it by deregulation? Corvallis has always been on the fringes of reception for both Portland and Eugene, which is why cable TV has been popular here for decades -- it avoids the hassle of using a big antenna system.

In any case, I wrote the following letter to the editor hoping to get the attention of the right people who can answer my "must carry rule" question. I am also curious if the reason for the two Portland stations installing translators in Corvallis was to avoid having to haggle over retransmission fees? The business press has reported that both Comcast and major broacasters want to fight over these fees. Since all of this is speculation, I did not include it in the letter, but it would make sense because other explanations don't add up, such as owners of both Portland and Eugene Stations not wanting to compete with their own station in another city.

Bennett Hall's May 27 story, "Benton County Cable Viewers Lose KOIN-TV," reported the fight between a giant TV broadcaster and a giant cable TV provider.

I am surprised that KOIN-TV has not bypassed Comcast cable by installing a high-definition TV translator near Corvallis, as did two other Portland TV stations Channel 2 KATU and Channel 8 KGW, to provide over-the-air HDTV reception.

Corvallis Comcast only provides Eugene stations in HDTV, which is why I now watch 2 and 8 via an antenna and could easily cancel cable service if it fails to meet my expectations.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: KOIN could set up translator," Gazette-Times, Jun. 6, 2017, p. A8 posted Jun. 4, 2017)

See previous posts:

Saturday, June 3, 2017

New Apple HQ on old HP site in Wired Magazine

Original HP Cupertino site before bulldozed for new Apple headquarters

Apple's new headquarters on old Cupertino HP site is shown by Google Maps

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) above, original HP Cupertino site before being bulldozed to make space for new Apple headquarters. Below, map of area surrounding the new circular building for Apple Computer in Cupertino, California as shown by Google Maps (accessed Jun. 3, 2017). The Hewlett-Packard Cupertino site was bulldozed to make space for it. This site was the second home of the HP Calculator division before it moved to Corvallis, Oregon in 1975. HP buildings were northwest and Southeast of Pruneridge Ave. and Tantau Ave., which is north of I-280 and south of E. Homestead Rd. as shown on the above map. (See previous post Apple to bulldoze HP site to build circular building for 12,000 employees (6/15/11))

HP Cupertino, California Silicon Valley site visitor's map circa 1984

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) visitor's map, circa 1984, to the Hewlett-Packard Company's Cupertino, California Silicon Valley site. This was the home to the new and growing HP computer business in the 1970s, including the HP Calculator division before it moved to Corvallis, Oregon in 1975. Steve Jobs recalls when it was an apricot orchard where as a kid he saw Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard walking the site before buying it. (Note: the above map was rotated so that North is pointing up on this blog page to match the other maps shown. Silicon Valley maps are often rotated to fit better on a page. (See previous post Apple to bulldoze HP site to build circular building for 12,000 employees (6/15/11))

A recent magazine article about the new Apple headquarters said:

According to Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, there was another factor. When Jobs showed a drawing of the clover leaf to his son, Reed, the teenager commented that from the air, the building would look like male genitalia. The next day Jobs repeated the observation to the architects, warning them that from that point on, "you're never going to be able to erase that vision from your mind." (Foster and Behling say they have no recollection of this.)

By June 2010 it was a circle. No one takes full credit for the shape; all seem to feel it was inevitable all along. "Steve dug it right away," Foster says.

By that fall Whisenhunt had heard that a former HP campus in Cupertino might be available. The 100-acre plot was just north of Apple's planned site. What's more, it had deep meaning for Jobs. As a young teen he had talked his way into a summer job at HP, just at the time when its founders-Jobs' heroes-were walking that site and envisioning an office park cluster for their computer systems division. Now HP was contracting and no longer needed the space. Whisenhunt worked a deal, and Apple's project suddenly grew to 175 acres.

(Quoted from Steven Levy, "One More Thing, Flawless curves, milled aluminum, Walled Gardens. This can only be Apple's new campus," Wired, JUn. 2017, cover, p. 5, 52-67 wired.com posted May 16, 2017 as "One More Thing, Inside Apple's Insanely Great (or Just Insane)New Mothership - Apple's New Campus: An Exclusive Look Inside the Mothership")

Ironically, if Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard (i.e. Bill and Dave) were still alive today, I am sure they would be happy that Steve Jobs was inspired by them. However, their Depression era frugalness and and engineer's sense of practicality would probably make them uncomfortable with all of the glitz of this new headquarters building. When I was the manager in charge of the HP building where Bill and Dave's offices were located, they wanted to look at my plans to remodel the building to make space for an advanced engineering lab, and they looked carefully at the costs of the Steelcase cubicles I planned to put in to be completive with other companies. Prior to that, HP famously had no walls, not even cubicle walls, but many engineers, especially software engineers felt the need for some sound buffering to help them concentrate. (See previous posts Apple to bulldoze HP site to build circular building for 12,000 employees (6/15/11) and Apple founder Steve Jobs cosmic connection to HP Corvallis (10/12/11))

Monday, May 22, 2017

Baker-McConnell marriage in 'The Advocate' 50th anniversary issue

Baker-McConnell marriage in 'The Advocate' 50th anniversary issue June/July 2017, p. 81

PHOTO: Cover of "The Advocate" magazine print edition (left) included inside (right) a photo of Jack Baker and Michael McConnell being legally married in 1970 as part of the article by Jacob Anderson-Minshall, "Marriage Equality Was Won by Widowers - the love stories behind the landmark cases both ended tragically," The Advocate, Jun.-Jul. 2017, p.80-81 advocate.com posted 5/3/2017. (Note: This was a special 50th anniversary edition of "The Advocate") As a law student, Baker took his marriage equality case to the U.S. Supreme Court (Baker v. Nelson 1972) where the court's decision essentially said that marriage is decided by State laws and not Federal laws. Baker believes his marriage is still valid because Minnesota State law did not prohibit same-sex marriage at that time, and so he has initiated legal proceedings to establish that fact. (See previous post Book by Michael McConnell on his marriage to Jack Baker that led to the first Supreme Court case on gay marriage (12/29/15))

The article describes how the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment and 5th Amendment were central to the two landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases on same-sex marriage, which in both cases involved a spouse that had died and the surviving spouse sought equal treatment under the law as given to any married couple:

". . . And it started decades ago. Before Michael McConnell agreed to move in with his boyfriend, he insisted Jack Baker . . . in 1970, they became the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license and took their fight to the Supreme Court (clearly, they lost). . .

"Lesbian couple Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer had been together for 40 years when a doctor told Spyer she only had a year to live. . . . They dashed up to Canada to wed in 2007. Spyer passed away two years later. Then the 80-year-old Windsor was hit with a $360,000 estate tax bill because the federal government didn't recognize their marriage. . . . took Windsor v. United States to the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. On June 26, 2013, in a 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court ruled that DOMA violated Fifth Amendment protection . . .

"Ohio residents Jim Obergefell and John Arthur had been together two decades when the Supreme Court struck down DOMA. . . . couple quickly flew to Maryland to get married. . . When Arthur died not long afterwards, Obergefell was denied the right to be listed as the surviving spouse on Arthur's death certificate. Ohio hadn't legalized or granted recognition of same-sex marriages, so the state didn't consider Obergefell a spouse. He sued in Obergefell et al. v Hines. A federal district judge ruled Ohio must recognize the marriage, but the Sixth Circuit reversed that decision. . .

"Then June 25, 2015, in another 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell's favor, arguing the U.S. Constitution required states to not only recognize same-sex marriages from other states, but also allow same-sex marriages in their own state. In the opinion, Justice Kennedy referenced the Fourteenth Amendment . . ."

(Quoted from Jacob Anderson-Minshall, "Marriage Equality Was Won by Widowers - the love stories behind the landmark cases both ended tragically," 50th Anniversary edition, The Advocate, Jun.-Jul. 2017, p.80-81 advocate.com posted 5/3/2017)

While it is true Baker "lost" in the sense that his case did not establish legal same-sex marriage across America, Baker won in the sense that the U.S. Supreme Court's "Baker v. Nelson" decision left marriage up to State law and at that time the State of Minnesota had no law against same-sex marriage. This is why Baker believes his marrage is still legally valid, and he has initiated legal proceedings to establish this fact.

One final unrelated note aside, my low vision blindness has worsen to the point where I am unable to read the print edition of "The Advocate," other than small portions with assistive devices that are not practical for reading very much. As a result, I am reluctantly dropping my mail subscription after five decades of reading "The Advocate" magazine. Online reading will never replace printed magazines, which have been curated by a good editor and printed in a way that can be easily browsed and skim read.