Search This Blog

Sunday, April 22, 2012

OSU God vs. gay speaker

a speaker at OSU, Jay Michaelson, OSU Barometer, Apr. 20, 2012, p. 1

PHOTO: a speaker at OSU, Jay Michaelson who doesn't feel that being gay and being religious are in conflict with each other, is featured in a front page story by Katja Kozber, "God versus Gay author Michaelson speaks about religion, being gay, Michaelson's talk explored the relationship between religion, those who identify as LGBT," OSU Barometer, Apr. 20, 2012, p. 1, 3.

The story said, "The event was put together by OSU softball coach Kurk Walker." I am sure the women softball players on his team were very supportive of Kurk.

I am glad to see a new generation is ready to take over from the work of Rev. Mel White, Rev. Troy Perry and others who have worked to bring religion to gay people in an affirming and positive manner. Until recently at OSU, there were too many preachers at OSU trying to use God to "help" students "pray away the gay" with unethical ex-gay therapy programs. (For an example that predates gay-friendly student groups at OSU, see the history by Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," at OutHistory.org.

Photo of an ex-gay meeting notice in Barometer, Jan. 28, 1976, p. 2.

PHOTO: Ex-gay meeting notice: "How can a trend toward homosexuality be reversed?" (Barometer, Jan. 28, 1976, p. 2, predated the formation of gay-friendly OSU student groups. In Oct. 1975 an Oregon State University Experimental College classes on homosexuality included "Sexual Stereotypes in the Bible" with Instructor: Eric Landau, who represented the then anti-gay campus religious organization Westminster House. (See previous blog posts Doctors on homosexuality 1962, Doctors on homosexuality 1950 and the book "Anything But Straight," by Wayne Besen )

Tax errors and fraud should be reduced by automation

A letter from Congressman Peter DeFazio responding to my my IRS ADA complaint

PHOTO: A letter from Congressman Peter DeFazio responded to my IRS ADA complaint by starting a Congressional investigation on the matter. He had read the letter to the editor by me, Thomas Kraemer, "IRS ignores plea for help," Gazette-Times, Feb. 5, 2012, p. D5. (See previous posts IRS tax forms are not low vision accessible and violate ADA law (2/5/12) and Congressman Peter DeFazio responds to my IRS ADA complaint (2/19/12)

I thanked Rep. Peter DeFazio in a later letter to the editor and I shared my experience with trying to get my taxes done by a Certified Public Accountant who made several errors:

Before the April 15 tax filing deadline, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a letter from my U.S. Rep. Rep. Peter DeFazio. It said he had initiated a congressional investigation into the allegations I made in my Sunday, Feb. 5, letter to the editor, "IRS ignores plea for help."

Briefly, for no technical or financial reason, the IRS "free file fillable forms" electronic filing process doesn't provide equal access to taxpayers with the very common disability of low-vision blindness.

Last year, my vision deteriorated enough to notice this illegality.

Consequently, to make sure my tax return was filed correctly, I decided it would be wise to hire, for $250, an established certified public accounting firm.

Due to my low vision, it took me hours to catch only one of the errors made by my CPA. These errors almost caused me to pay a penalty I didn't owe and thousands more in taxes. Such errors are common according to Consumer Reports.

The root problem here isn't an incompetent CPA or web designer. It is that Congress has not mandated nor fully funded the IRS's efforts to reduce errors and tax fraud by automating the data collection and calculation of everyone's taxes.

Furthermore, Congress should require it to be implemented on a publicly accessible IRS computer, instead of by private companies with conflicts of interest, so it would be auditable by Congress.

Thomas Kraemer, Corvallis (April 7)
Corvallis

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Mailbag: DeFazio looks into it," Gazette-Times, April 22, 2012, p. D5)

UPDATE: the editor ran next to my letter: "Editorial: The mother of all mandates," Gazette-Times, Apr. 22, 2012, p. D5 that talked about Obamacare, taxes and automation of your taxes in the information age -- a nod to the point of my letter.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Student paper features 'cruising spot' at Oregon State University

Front page headline 'storied cruising spot at OSU' Barometer 4/19/12 p. 1

PHOTO: Oregon State University student newspaper front page story by Don Iler, "Trysting Tree a history of Love: Storied cruising spot for young lovers at OSU honored as state heritage tree during ceremony," OSU Barometer, Apr. 9, 2012, p. 1,3.

I'm old enough to recall the original century-old Trysting Tree that was replaced decades ago and so I appreciate that it is still stimulating students at OSU today. However, I had to laugh at the apparently unintentional double meaning of the headline calling this tree a "cruising spot for young lovers at OSU" because historically there have been many guide books to "gay cruising spots" to seek out quick and anonymous gay sex in a public setting, such as a park, under a tree, or other wooded area.

In the 1970s the favorite gay cruising area in Corvallis was along the Willamette River banks, which at the time were unimproved and overgrown with bushes, which made it a good spot to cruise for sex, hook up and leave without anybody noticing.

Seeking anonymous sex in a cruising spot was an idea that was roundly rejected by younger gay activists who at the time felt this was only done by closeted gay men who were ashamed of being publically out. Later, gay AIDS activists justifiably denounced cruising for anonymous sex as a public health hazard.

In bad weather, the type of men who cruised for sex in public parks would go indoors to one of the notorious "tearooms," which were typically out-of-the-way public restrooms that had a reputation for getting a quick blow job from the anonymous guy in the adjacent stall. OSU had active tearooms in the top floors of the library and the upper floors of the MU.

Of course, the Trysting Tree had a nobler Victorian-Era romantic notion associated with it than the homosexual's idea of seeking quickie anonymous sex. Perhaps, modern day gay marriage activists could use the Trysting Tree to demonstrate that gays can fall in love too and marry too just like heterosexual college students have been doing for ever.

Dan Savage Good, Giving, Game advice goes back to basics

Dan Savage so often gives the relationship sex advice to be "good, giving and game" that he uses the GGG abbreviation. It has even showed up on his new MTV TV show "Savage U" that follows him around to watch him talk at universities across America. (See the show's Web site MTV It's Your (sex) Life IYSL at ItsYourSexLife.org)

Having read Dan Savage for years, I have noticed that he will give gay boys instructions on gay anal sex by devoting a column to it every few years or so. For example, see the recent column by Dan Savage, "Ass Ed," The Stranger, April 17, 2012 that was also published in a local Oergon newspaper: Dan Savage, "Ass Ed," Eugene Weekly, April 19, 2012, p. 43. Also see the online piece by me, Thomas Kraemer, "Gay Anal Sex Ed: Learning the joy of being fucked in the ass painlessly," Nifty.org posted Jan. 1, 2006. Of course, now that an ischemic stroke has made me asexual, I have a whole different perspective, which I may write about in the future.

Another interesting sex advice column is written by an Oregon State University instructor for sex education Kathleen M. Greaves, Ph.D, "On another sex column, "orgasms without stimulation?" OSU Barometer, Wednesday, April 11, 2012. One student asks, "I was wondering if orgasm without any sort of physical stimulation is possible." Related to this question is the fact that orgasms from unconventional stimulation happens to many people. For example, see No handed cum Added: Nov. 11, 2006 and "Zusammen 2," Added: Dec. 12, 2007.

Toyota FJ Cruiser key case solves smart key problem

Custom nylon case sewn with zipper to hold the smart key for a Toyota FJ Cruiser

PHOTO: a custom sewn nylon case to hold and protect a Toyota FJ Cruiser smart key, which won't fit in a standard key case, and to prevent accidental pressing of the buttons, which open and lock the doors or initiate a panic alarm by honking the horn and flashing the lights. The key is very expensive to replace if it is damaged because it contains a microelectronic chip and a battery inside the head of the key to transmit the security codes needed to lock and unlock the doors as well as a unique radio frequency RFID number that is sensed when the key is inserted into the ignition. This code provides additional security that prevents a car thief from being able to steal the car by making a physical copy of the key or picking the locks because neither will start the car without the key transmitting the unique number in its chip to the car's security computer, which has also had the unique number programmed to its engine computer via a secure process at the manufacturer or dealership.

For convenience and to prevent car theft, more and more cars come with these big fat keys and even a separate fob. The problem with these so-called "smart keys" is that they are often bulky (even more than the one shown above) and very easy to damage or press a button if you just put it in your pocket. In addition, the bare jagged metal key is likely to rip your pocket, which is what key cases were invented for decades ago. I am sure that someday, there will be an app for all the handheld smart phones that will do the same unlocking function and it will eliminate the need for carrying a bunch of keys. Of course, this will require a secure standard that is hard to get every manufacturer to agree to doing.

Photo links:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gay marriage pioneer Jack Baker starts blog (confirmed)

Jack Baker and Michael McConnell shown in story on gay marriage in Look magazine Jan. 26, 1971, p. 69 (yes, that is the real page number)

PHOTO: (click photo to enlarge) Jack Baker and Michael McConnell were married May 18, 1970 in Minnesota when the state marriage law did not specify opposite-sex couples. Their story was featured in an article by Jack Star, "The Homosexual Couple, As far as Jack Baker and Michael McConnell are concerned, their relationship "is just like being married," Look magazine, Jan. 26, 1971, p. 69 (yes, that is the real page number -- I bet some editor thought it was a wonderful in-joke.) The cover of that issue featured multiple stories on "The American Family," including "'Married' homosexuals." Look magazine was a competitor to Life magazine before both went out of business after advertising dollars shifted to television. Both Life and Look provided large-format photographs of current news events. For years the cover price was 10 cents and subscriptions were virtually free, which resulted in a mass circulation of it to millions of readers across America. School children often clipped photos out of these magazines for school projects. (See my previous post Jack Baker 1971 Look magazine gay marriage story (7/23/09))

The gay marriage pioneer Jack Baker has been largely ignored by gay historians. The reasons are not clear whether it is because mainstream publishers in New York focused on what they knew best, or if it was due to back East elitism on their part to ignore the Midwest, or if it was because, as some gay historians told me, that the historians personally had political objections to gay marriage activism and Baker was "not willing to cooperate with them on writing a history." Other people told me that Baker had simply burned out of the politics of gay activism and retreated to focusing on his law practice. What ever the truth might be, Baker is now 70 years old and retired. Jack Baker has started a new "Now is the time" blog by Jack Baker, Esq. (NOTE UPDATE: April 9, 2012: I confirmed this really is a blog by Jack Baker, not a scam, by sending him a letter via the U.S. mail and I got a reply directly from Jack Baker via the U.S. mail confirming it is his blog. He said he was trying to learn Web design and said he had also noticed the serious problems with his blog template and formatting codes, which make it almost impossible to see with a standard Windows Internet Explorer browser.)

I am quoted in one of Jack Bakers' first blog posts "'Gay marriage - a retrospective' on the 'Now is the time,' a blog by Jack Baker, Esq' (Posted Mar. 2012 accessed April 4, 2012). Baker quotes my previous online article that I wrote for Jack Nichols's newspaper: "Jack Baker & Michael McConnell: Lunatics or Geniuses?" published June 21, 2004. My thesis is based on the fact that gay marriage activism was rejected by early gay activists who were mostly interested in sexual freedom and gay liberation. I argued that Jack Baker was a genius to see that gay marriage would become the litmus test for gay equality decades later because nearly all other gay activists angrily dismissed gay marriage as being contrary to the goals of gay liberation and even mainstream gay organizations worked against it back then.

My article was based both on my own experience at the University of Minnesota in and on the history that Jack Baker had cooperated with the writing of it by Ken Bronson, A Quest for Full Equality (2004), (PDF) available online from Quatrefoil Library, accessed Apr. 4, 2012. Note that this PDF was originally published on a custom domain that appears to be dead today: Ken Bronson, "A Quest for Full Equality," www.may-18-1970.org self-published May 18, 2004, p. 6-7, 48 (PDF) from Ken Bronson's Web site www.may-18-1970.org on Jack Baker's marriage. For a certified archived copy go to the Internet Archive Way Back Machine and view a copy of the Contents Page for www.may-18-1970.org that has a link to the PDF filename Quest.pdf that was archived May 10, 2006. (See previous post Life Magazine gay marriage 1971 (11/20/08) and my Jack Nichols Gay Today Archive (9/12/09))

More recently I published a history of Jack Baker's connection to the history I wrote about "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," published at OutHistory.org 2010

For a short overview history, see Jack Baker (activist) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A complete and accurate history of Jack Baker's gay marriage activism is by Ken Bronson, A Quest for Full Equality (2004), (PDF) available online from Quatrefoil Library.

Other good historical archives with information about Jack Baker include University of Minnesota, The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies -- see The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection, Outhitory.org (See previous post Magnus Hirschfeld, Jack Baker, University of Minnesota and Oregon State University gay connection (1/21/12))

Here are links to some pages on the OutHistory.org site that are related to Minnesota and Jack Baker:

May 18, 1970 Michael McConnell and Jack Baker married by Hennepin County Minnesota Justice of the Peace

PHOTO: May 18, 1970 Michael McConnell and Jack Baker were married by Hennepin County Minnesota Justice of the Peace. (See Ken Bronson, A Quest for Full Equality (2004), available online from Quatrefoil Library -- this was originally on a now dead Web site by Ken Bronson, "A Quest for Full Equality," www.may-18-1970.org self-published May 18, 2004, p. 6-7, 48 (PDF). (See my previous post Life Magazine gay marriage 1971 (11/20/08))

Reverend Troy Perry of the Metropolitan Community Church conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony. Life Magazine Dec. 31, 1971, p. 70. PHOTO: Reverend Troy Perry of the Metropolitan Community Church conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony in 1971. Google photo collection from article "Homosexuals in revolt: The year that one liberation movement turned militant," Life Magazine, Dec. 31, 1971, p. 70. (See my previous post Life Magazine gay marriage 1971 (11/20/08))

Brightly colored posterized Time magazine cover 'The Homosexual In America' Oct. 31, 1969

PHOTO: Cover of the Oct. 31, 1969 Time Magazine featuring the cover story written by Contributing Editor Christopher Cory, researched by Madeleine Berry, and reported by Ruth Galvin, "The Homosexual in America," Time Magazine, Oct. 31, 1969, p. 56-67 (See contents for Time magazine, Oct. 31, 1969, Vol. 94 No. 18, p. 9). This issue appeared on newsstands and in school libraries, used by children, just a few months after the gay bar Stonewall riot occurred in Greenwich Village, New York. Stonewall is often used to mark the start of the modern gay rights movement even though homophile groups preceded it. The brightly colored cover photo was modified using the "posterization effect" that was created by a then newly popular graphic arts photo biography printing process. It echoed the modern pop art paintings and artwork of the closeted asexual or gay artist Andy Warhol who became popular in the 1960s mass media. Frank Kameny, who was a homophile activist and member of the Mattachine Society (a pioneering gay rights group formed in the 1950s), was included as part of "A Discussion: Are Homosexual sick?" sidebar to Time magazine cover story, "The Homosexual in America," Oct. 31, 1969, p. 66-67. (See previous post Pre-Stonewall gay activist Frank Kameny dies - was he a hero? (10/19/11)..) Also included in this issue was a sidebar "Four Lives in the Gay World," Time magazine, Oct. 31, 1969, p. 62 and an introduction to the issue written by Henry Luce III, "A Letter From The Publisher: Time magazine, Oct. 31, 1969," p. 9 who comments on the cover story by writing, "It deals with one of the most delicate issues of the day: homosexuality in American society. Once taboo, it is now the subject of debate and concern. Yet, as Cory says, 'Basically it is still a topic that is explained piecemeal and in polemics. Like all study about sex, large-scale homosexuality research is really just beginning. And the findings seem to knock down many of the stereotypes.' [At the end of the publisher's letter is a note that says] The Cover: Color-key montage by Fred Burrell. The face and figure are those of a young homosexual who agreed to pose for the photographer." (See my previous post Gay marriage discussed in 1969 Time magazine cover story (11/1/11))

Here are links to some of Jack Baker's first blog posts: