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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

CA Prop 8 documentary mentions Baker's 1970 gay marriage case

VIDEO: By Brandon Wolf, "University of Minnesota Student Video Project - Part 1 - HD Version" (14:10) CBS Station WCCO-TV (Minneapolis, Minnesota) anchor Dave Moore On Sunday show first aired on September 3, 1973 updated July, 1974, posted Aug. 9, 2013, produced by students at the University of Minnesota. It first aired on September 3, 1973. The video contains footage of the marriage of Jack Baker and Mike McConnell, on September 3, 1971. Dave Moore was a super liberal who Republicans hated and he was the father of a boy I went to public school with.

headline in the Advocate newspaper, June 20-23, 1970, p. 1

PHOTO: Jack Baker and Michael McConnell's 1970 gay marriage was mentioned in the headline to an article by Rob Cole, "Two men ask Minnesota license for first legal U.S. gay marriage, Take advantage of vague law, expect court fight to follow," Advocate, Newspaper of America's homophile community (los Angeles) June 10-23, 1970, p. 1. Notice that the other headline was about the Texas sodomy law against private consensual sexual activity between adults. Similar anti-gay state laws were common across the U.S. at the time until the U.S. Supreme Court declared them to be unconstitutional. Soon after this article appeared, Baker and McConnell's marriage was featured in two national mass-circulation newsmagazines that were commonly read by millions, including children who often used clippings from them for school assignments. See Jack Baker, "Marriage Equality was Inevitable, DFL Party demanded equal marriage in 1972," posted Aug. 15, 2013 and Ken Bronson, "A Quest for Full Equality," Quatrefoil Library Self published May 18, 2004, accessed Aug. 21, 2013.

The 1970 gay marriage of Jack Baker and Michal McConnell was mentioned approximately 9 minutes into the documentary film by Christie E. Herring, Producer/Director, "The Campaign," aired on PBS KOAC-TV Channel 7 (Corvallis, Oregon) Aug. 27, 2013 11 PM - 12 midnight. The documentary said, somewhat inaccurately, that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, but it is more accurate to say the court issued a boilerplate decision that said the case did not have any "substantial Federal question," which essentially meant the court decided marriage was a matter of only state laws and not Federal laws. Of course, the passage of DOMA escalated marriage to be a matter of Federal law, for sure. For more information about 'The Campaign' see

"The Campaign" documentary did a great job covering the history of California Proposition 8 ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriages, until lower court rulings and a June 26, 2013 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, allowed same-sex marriages in California to resume. The documentary starts out showing a clip from the 1967 Mike Wallace "CBS Reports on The Homosexuals." Mike Wallace, who Republicans hated for his liberal views, was a famous CBS TV reporter that repeated the anti-gay dogma of his day, including the assertion that "2 out of 3 Americans look upon homosexuals with disgust, discomfort or fear. . . The average homosexual is promiscuous" and unsuited for monogamous marriage.

For a film of Baker's wedding see my previous post PQ letter on Jack Baker gay marriage activism vs. Steve Endean political goals (8/2/13) and see previous posts:

I wonder if the book "Quake," is By Gail Karwoski, who is a friend of Jack Baker?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gay OSU dads with black kids 'Oregonian' opinion page piece

'Close encounters of the racist kind' - newspaper opinion piece graphic 'White dads, black kids: Close encounters of the racist kind' Oregonian, Aug. 11, 2013, p. B8

PHOTO: a newspaper's print edition illustration and layout for an opinion page piece by Rick Settersten, Oregon State University Professor of social and behavioral health sciences, "White Dads, black kids: Close encounters of the racist kind," Sunday Oregonian, Aug. 11, 2013, p. B8 and published online as "Race is personal for two white dads with two black kids: Guest opinion" posted Aug 10, 2013. (Note: author's OSU address is Richard A Settersten, Director, Hallie Ford Center, Oregon State University Public Health and Human Science (Source: accessed Aug. 12, 2013))

Oregon State University Prof. Rick Settersten's poignant and personal descriptions of the intersecting social issues of sexism, homophobia, and racism in America caught the attention of even the most jaded readers this weekend:

"Our family is uniquely positioned to have social adventures others cannot. That's partly because there are two dads and partly because there is no mother. But it is especially because we are two gay white dads parenting two black children, a daughter and a son, now 13 and 10. Both were adopted as toddlers out of the foster care system.

"I want to get personal about race, for this much I know: Race is real and tangible, not an abstract concept. And the racism that comes with it permeates our lives: . . .

  • It is in the home-seller who happily accepts our money but then walks the neighborhood to apologize: Not only is a gay couple moving in, but they also have a couple of black kids. There go property and community values. . . .
  • It is in progressive-minded people in Oregon, where we now live, who want to believe that race does not or should not exist. And it was in the people of Cleveland, where we once lived, who know better. . . . .

(Quoted from Rick Settersten, Oregon State University Professor of social and behavioral health sciences, "White Dads, black kids: Close encounters of the racist kind," Sunday Oregonian, Aug. 11, 2013, p. B8 and published online as "Race is personal for two white dads with two black kids: Guest opinion" posted Aug 10, 2013)

OSU Prof. Rick Settersten's implication, that his mixed-race family with two dads caused the person who sold him his house to indirectly warn neighbors about declining property values, is ironic because letters to the editor of the local newspaper have been more worried about declining property values due traditional neighborhoods being converted to student housing, which brings noise, parking issues and other nuisances associated with college student rental housing.

See previous post Businessweek puts gay marriage on page 69, OSU gay widow, also Wayne Dynes reflects on changing goals (7/22/13 and also see:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

OSU President Ed Ray still working after opening gay cultural center decade ago

OSU alumni magazine on cultural centers Fall 2011, p. 8-11 Winter 2012, p. 5

PHOTO: (click photo to enlarge) Oregon State University President writes in the alumni magazine about raising the money to renovate or rebuild four of the main cultural centers. See article by Ed Ray, "Ed Said, Consider what it's like to be the 'other,'" Oregon Stater alumni magazine, Fall 2011, p. 8-9 (left) and an anti-gay letter in response in the next issue where the editor said Ed's article had an unprecedented response (right). Christine Armer, 0'03, "Prefers Melting Pot," Oregon Stater alumni association magazine Winter 2012, p. 5. Ed ray responds that he meant to also emphasize in the original piece that the cultural centers are important places for everyone to visit and learn. See previous post OSU President in alumni magazine on cultural center upgrade and anti-gay backlash (7/12/12)

One of OSU President Ed Ray's first acts when he started work nearly a decade ago was to officially dedicate in 2004 the Oregon State University Pride Center for LGBT students. President Ray's support for all of the cultural centers was mentioned by a local newspaper article recapping his first ten years on the job:

In a major policy address titled "Setting Our Course," Ray laid out his plan for lifting OSU into the ranks of the nation's top 10 land grant universities over the next 20 to 30 years.

To measure progress toward that lofty goal, he set a series of benchmarks OSU would need to reach by the year 2025.

The university, he said, should have 30,000 to 35,000 students, an increase of up to 75 percent from the fall 2009 enrollment of 21,000. Tenured and tenure-track faculty would need to grow as well, from the current 780 to as many as 1,500. . .

Finally, to pay for all that excellence in an era of sharply declining state support for higher education, OSU would need to double its annual revenues from both private donors and research grants. . . .

Since Ray's arrival in 2003:

  • OSU's annual research revenue has nearly doubled, from $156 million to $281 million.
  • The university has substantially increased the number of tenured or tenure-track faculty positions, including 180 new hires in the past two years.
  • By consolidating some office functions in semi-centralized business centers, OSU was able to eliminate 150 administrative positions.
  • The University's academic units have been streamlined from 63 to 42, organized into four major divisions. In addition, 26 low-enrollment majors have been eliminated.
  • More than $600 million worth of new infrastructure has been completed or approved, including several new and refurbished academic buildings, a veterinary medicine teaching hospital, a dorm for international students, several student cultural centers, an outdoor rec complex and a major expansion of the football stadium.
  • The university's first campus wide fundraising effort, the Campaign for OSU, boosted its goal from $650 million to a staggering $1 billion -- and has raised nearly $950 million to date. Some $161 million of that total is for scholarships and $103 million is for faculty, including 74 new endowed positions.

The personal touch

People on campus give much of the credit for these achievements to Ray's leadership.

J. Michael Goodwin took over as president and chief executive of the Oregon State University Foundation in 2004, fresh from leading a billion-dollar fundraising campaign at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

From the start, he says, Ray was an eager participant in wooing donors for OSU.

"Being from Ohio State, you could tell that he got fundraising," Goodwin said. "Plus he has this really optimistic vision for Oregon State that you could really believe in."

Unlike many university presidents, Goodwin said, Ray likes having personal contact with donors, asking for big gifts himself and shepherding the donations to completion. And there's a directness to his approach that donors seem to appreciate.

"This is where Ed is so great: You have to have a vision, and you have to have a discipline when it comes to that vision," Goodwin said.

"Donors need to hear that there's a vision and there's a plan for that vision and it connects with them in some way."

Another key contribution made by Ray is to get OSU's deans personally involved in fundraising efforts.

When Goodwin arrived at OSU, he said, only two divisions of the university were consistently attracting significant donations: the athletic department and the College of Engineering. That's changed dramatically, with gifts flowing to all parts of the university.

In the process, the donor base has broadened as well. Instead of relying on a handful of deep-pocketed benefactors, OSU can point to 180 individuals who have contributed $1 million or more to the university.

"We've raised almost a billion dollars, and that's great. But what it's also done is it's left Oregon State with a fundraising infrastructure," Goodwin said.

"That infrastructure and that community of donors that gets it is really an important legacy." . . .

Coming to Oregon State from Ohio State, Ray said, he was immediately struck by two things.

One was the beauty of the Corvallis campus, with its stately old sandstone buildings, grassy quadrangles and lush vegetation. The other was a sort of friendly western optimism that he found a refreshing contrast to the cynicism he so often encountered back east. Here, he felt, was a place where he could accomplish something. . .

(Quoted from Bennett Hall, "Town & Gown, Agent of Change. In His 10 years at the helm, Ed ray has ushered in a new era at Oregon State University," Gazette-Times, Sun. Aug. 4, 2013, p. A1, A4)

I clearly recall how half a century ago OSU prided itself in being a teaching college and not an impersonal research university where professors don't talk to students unless they can further the professor's research project. I was fortunate to be employed by one of the few professors who had a well-funded research grant and after spending some time on the Stanford and MIT campuses, which are well funded by research and industry, I realized that to college educations are enhanced by having strong research programs on campus. Therefore, I have been very supportive of both the strategic growth and emphasis on research funding that OSU President Ed ray has brought.

Corvallis, Oregon, being a small college town, which still has a small town newspaper that recently printed an editorial gently criticizing the lack of any representation from the general town that has is being impacted by the growth of OSU. (See editorial by Mike McInally, "Think Too Much: OSU list of board nominees misses one bet," Gazette-Times, Sun. Aug. 4, 2013)

The OSU Foundation President J. Michael Goodwin, who is quoted in the above article about his ten-year-long working relationship with President Ed Ray, was the person in charge who signed on Jan. 31, 2005 my OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement to support educational and research programs at OSU concerning people or animals of a minority sexual orientation or gender identity, which I am the founding benefactor of a currently several million dollar fund.

I am glad to see OSU and Ed Ray continuing to support the OSU cultural centers and as part of this I documented the history leading up to the Oregon State University Pride Center cultural center, which OSU President Ed Ray dedicated in 2004 to LGBT students:

Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," posted April 30, 2010 is available on the Web site produced by The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS), located at the City University of New York Graduate Center. The shortened URL will also go to it more easily if you are text messaging or hand typing the link. I donated a hard copy to the Oregon State University Valley Library Guides and Collections Pertaining to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People in Oregon -- Thomas Kraemer Speech and Blog -- History of OSU Gay Student Groups 1976-2006, as documented through a speech and blog by Thomas Kraemer (PDF) (See previous posts OSU gay history at site (1/16/12) and OSU alum magazine gay history letter (9/16/09))

Fixed amortization option for IRA distribution versus required minimum distributions

HP-12C calculator and manual next to HP-41 scientific handheld calculator

PHOTO: A standard gold Cross pen sitting on top of the cover of the manual for the HP-12c financial handheld calculator that was manufactured circa 1982 and that I recently used to calculate the fixed amortization of my IRA. It is shown next to the left of a slightly older HP-41C scientific handheld calculator that was so advanced that it could be interfaced to the internet that is still used today. Both calculators were more advanced versions of the first Hewlett-Packard HP-35 handheld calculator introduced in 1972 that was literally lusted after by scientists and engineers despite its price tag of nearly $400 or $1600 in today's inflation adjusted dollars. Both the HP-12C and HP-41C calculators featured a then fairly new liquid crystal LCD display technology and low power CMOS integrated circuits that extended battery life several order of magnitude longer than the original PMOS or NMOS logic circuits and bright red LED light emitting diode displays used in previous calculators. The original HP-35 was developed in the HP Palo Alto advanced research laboratory on the Stanford University campus and it was first manufactured in the HP Cupertino, California facility until a new research & development lab and manufacturing plant could be built in Corvallis, Oregon, where the production of calculators was started in 1976. Calculator production was later moved elsewhere in the world to make space for the rapidly growing HP inkjet printer business that was started originally to provide battery powered printers for HP calculator, but was soon adapted to be used by the then new personal computers, including ones made by HP. (See previous posts History of HP inkjet printers in American Heritage Invention & Technology (1/19/12)), HP-35 scientific calculator anniversary (10/10/07) and HP 12c financial calculator history (6/21/06).

I recently needed to decide how I wanted to make the required money withdrawals from my Individual Retirement Account, also known as an IRA distribution, which the U.S. Internal Revenue Service requires be done at least annually by all IRA owners age 70-1/2 or older to avoid tax penalties.

My nearly 30-year-old HP-12c financial calculator proved to be useful for performing the financial analysis of my IRA options, given its built-in functions to calculate things such as amortizations, annuities and bank loans. My confidence that I still understood the complicated financial calculations and mathematics functions used by the HP-12c was corroborated when I was I was able to use the HP-12C to calculate the same answer, within standard round off error , as the Internal Revenue Service had provided in their examples of IRA distributions. With my HP-12c, I was able to compare using the "Fixed Amortization Method" against using the more commonly known and used "Required minimum Distribution" method of IRA distributions.

Similar to most people, all of my IRA assets were never taxed because my employer either directly took the IRA contributions out of my paycheck before it was taxed or my employer made a matching contribution to my IRA directly with pretax dollars. Also, all of the capital gains and earnings in the IRA are tax-deferred until the money is withdrawn or distributed from the IRA.

As a result, every dollar I take out of my IRA will be taxed the same as if it were ordinary income from a paycheck. This is not a problem if the IRA is small, but my IRA has been around since the IRA first became available in the 1980s and it has grown considerably in size to a point where I felt it was wise to figure out a way to withdraw the money that minimized the taxes I owed over time.

My first thought was to take the easy way out and buy an annuity (e.g. Charles Schwab Annuities), but I quickly discovered that it would be actually easier and better to annuitize the IRA following IRS rules without using a middle man to annuitize it. Later I read an article that used the same idea of amortizing an IRA as a loophole: Matthew Lubanko, "Rule allows withdrawals from IRA accounts before age 59 1/2," posted Apr. 3, 2005. I don't need the loophole, but the article did confirm my understanding of IRS rules for IRA distributions. It also suggests that I could have started earlier and lowered my tax bill even more over a longer period of time.

The bottom line that dawned on me that if your purpose is to legally minimize taxes on IRA distributions and maximize the amount that might be left over for a charitable contribution, where the charity is qualified by the IRS to avoid paying any taxes on the IRA, then the best way to accomplish your goals would be to lock in the low interest rates of today and set up a series of equal payments over your lifetime as allowed by the IRS. (See the charitable contribution I plan in my previous post OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement (1/4/12))

The U.S. Government's Web page "Retirement Plans FAQs regarding Substantially Equal Periodic Payments," Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 05-Mar-2013 gave me the confidence to ask that my IRA distributions be treated for tax purposes under the IRS-approved "fixed amortization method," as allowed by IRS Publication 590, dated Jan. 30, 2013, p. 56. Instead of using the "Required Minimum distribution method" option after age 70-1/2, I worked out an example of choosing IRA distributions to be "part of substantially equal payments" over a life expectancy of 37.8 years, as specified by the referenced "Uniform Lifetime Table" included in the "Rev. Ruling 2002-62" and published in the Internal Revenue Service Bulletin, bulletin No. 2002-4, Oct. 21, 2002, p. 710-712. (Access these documents by going to IRS forms and publications landing page ) Although not required after age 59-1/2 when unlimited IRA distributions are allowed, I calculated my requested monthly IRA distribution to also comply with the IRS rule of using a chosen "interest rate of not more than 120% of the federal mid-term rate," which was 1.47% in July, 2013. Also for my own notes, my choice to use the less common "fixed amortization method" of IRA distribution, instead of the "RMD method," was based on extensive financial planning advice.

I hadn't done many of these complicated amortization calculations in years and it was decades ago, when I was still in graduate school, when I was expected to be able to prove mathematically the formulas that were later used in the HP-12C. Given my experience, I believe that the slight difference between the HP-12C and the IRS calculations are not due to the HP-12C because I know firsthand that it uses 10-digit accurate, base-10 arithmetic instead of the less accurate 32 bit binary-word arithmetic used by most computers and freebie Web site calculators. In the days before calculators, these types of computations were done using either slide rules or big books that contained recomputed mathematical function tables, which often limited the accuracy of computations to a few decimal places. Of course, it is possible the IRS used a computer program that also factors in the odd number of days in the calendar and other factors that can slightly affect amortization calculations. I was able to quickly do a sensitivity analysis and I quickly realize that this type of accuracy is not required by the IRS and it is of academic interest only because the difference in payments is negligible over the years!

Also see "Index of Applicable Federal Rates (AFR) Rulings," accessed July, 27, 2013 and "Index of Applicable Federal Rates (AFR) Rulings," accessed July, 27, 2013 -- Each month, the IRS provides various prescribed rates for federal income tax purposes. These rates, known as Applicable Federal Rates (or AFRs), are regularly published as revenue rulings. The Fed 30 Year bond rate is an alternative rate for some purposes: "Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates," Friday Jul 26, 2013 30 year 3.5 percent accessed July 27, 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

PQ letter on Jack Baker gay marriage activism vs. Steve Endean political goals

VIDEO: The 1971 Minneapolis marriage of Jack Baker and Michael McConnell created a nationwide sensation. In 1973, WCCO Television's Dave Moore told the couple's story. "Good evening. Tonight on Moore on Sunday, we'll have some frank talk about a subject usually only spoken of in whispers: the subject is homosexuality," Moore said." See related story by Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota CBS network affiliate WCCO TV station, "A Rare Glimpse At Minn.'s 1st Gay Wedding In 1971," posted July 29, 2013 . This was also linked to in blog post by Jim Burroway, "The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, July 31," posted Jul. 31, 2013. Coincidentally, I went all through my public school education with the son of the WCCO TV anchor Dave Moore and I got to see firsthand that his father Dave Moore was a quintessential liberal press reporter at home who was sympathetic to Democratic Party causes -- something that right wing Republicans always complained about with CBS News Walter Cronkite and other "liberal media elites" as Republicans like to call them.

In response to an opinion piece by Renee LaChance, PQ quest opinion, "Embrace the rainbow. We've come a long way -- or have we?" Portland, Oregon Proud Queer PQ Monthly July-August, p. 13 (PDF) accessed Jul. 18, 2013 I wrote the following letter to a Portland, Oregon gay newspaper:

As somebody who actively supported the first U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, Baker et al. v. Nelson, Oct. 10, 1972, I've heard for decades all of the political arguments about how fighting for marriage equality distracts from gaining equality, which were made by Renee LaChance in the PQ July/Aug perspective, "We've come a long way -- or have we?"

In my experience, multiple political approaches, including both conservative and liberal ones are required. However, progress is too often undermined by activists wasting time arguing about political strategy instead of making positive changes.

For example, in the 1970's I painfully recall the future founder of the Human rights Campaign, Steve Endean, then employed as a closeted "coat and hat check boy" at a gay bar in Minneapolis, viciously criticizing the "gay marriage activism" of the University of Minnesota law student Jack Baker whose marriage had been featured in two national mass-circulation newsmagazines, which were commonly read and used for school assignments by children.

I was too young to appreciate it back then that I was witnessing a cat fight between two gay activists whose radically opposed political strategies would both turn out to be acts of genius.

Steve Endean was a genius to see the importance of starting the pro-gay HRC lobbying effort in Washington, D.C. where he helped Oregonians, including Terry Bean and others, to elect gay-friendly Senators and Congressmen from Oregon.

Similarly, Jack Baker was a genius to recognize the importance of marriage equality in an era when both women liberationists and gay liberationists viewed marriage as an obsolete institution set up by men only to oppress women. Steve Endean represented the majority who wanted to focus on repealing anti-sex sodomy laws and fight for sexual freedom.

Ironically, Stonewall era gay liberation activists, who were represented by Endean, actively rejected the earlier and more conservative political strategies of a homophile movement founder, the former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg, who later also founded the present day Log Cabin Republicans Club.

Tragically, in the 1980's all political resources were diverted to fight for the rights of AIDS victims, including Steve Endean.

Today, Jack Baker and his husband Michael McConnell are now retired and still happily married. No court, including the Supreme Court, has ordered their legally performed marriage annulled because Minnesota law did not specify gender at the time.

For more on Baker and Legg's Oregon State connection, see the history I wrote for the OSU library and available for free via the shorten URL link.

Thomas Kraemer, Founder Oregon State University Magnus Hirschfeld Fund for research concerning humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "To the Editor: Progress is too often undermined by activists wasting time arguing about political strategy," PQ Monthly, August-September 2013, p. 5 posted Aug. 15, 2013 - Blog post "August/September 2013 Print Edition" posted Aug. 15, 2013 - PQ print issue August-September 2013 (PDF 14 MB))

For more, see previous posts and links: