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Friday, August 26, 2016

Gay marriage history summary by Jim Burroway's blog posts

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

PHOTO: On May 18, 1970 Michael McConnell and Jack Baker were married by Hennepin County Minnesota Justice of the Peace, which was not barred by law in Minnesota at that time and which led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in1972. (See previous post Gay marriage pioneer Jack Baker starts blog (confirmed) (4/4/12))

in my previous post Gay marriage history on PBS by Marc Solomon still omitting Jack Baker and Michael McConnell (3/2/16), I show two books about the history of the fight for gay marriage -- one by Marc Solomon, "Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits--And Won," Foreedge 2014 and the other book an autobiography 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, which chronicles Michael McConnell's marriage to Jack Baker, whose marriage activism led to the first U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in 1972. Also, in another previous post (PBS history of gay marriages in 1975 Boulder omits Jack Baker and Michael McConnell (7/1/16)) I mention how the history of gay marriage is often retold incorrectly as being a recent thing and I include a still from a PBS documentary that omitted any mention of Jack Baker's U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in 1972, but it did show the 1975 marriage of Richard Adams and Tony Sullivan who legally obtained a marriage license in Boulder, Colorado. The documentary fails to document how, these two men had been inspired to marry by Jack Baker's story.

Therefore, I was happy to see a series of Jim Burroway's blog posts that provide a good summary of gay marriage history over the last century, which includes Jack Baker's 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision and the 1950's and 1960's discussion of "homophile marriage" that was printed in a homophile activist magazine edited by the former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg. See the excellent series of Jim Burroway's blog posts as listed below:

Also, see previous post Jack Baker case still cited to bar gay marriage (3/12/11) and also the following links:

Finally, here is a list of some other and unrelated posts by Jim Burroway that you may find interesting:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Oregon state worker's pensions underfunded due to intentionally deferred liabilities

A notoriously rightwing letter writer to my local paper asserted that

". . . had PERS routinely invested required contributions in Vanguard's S&P 500 Index Fund, the system would be flush with cash and substantially more than 100 percent funded." (Quoted from John Brenan, "Letter: PERS returns could be higher," Gazette-Times, Aug. 19, 2016, p. A9, posted Aug. 16)

In my opinion, both political parties have caused Oregon state worker's pensions to be underfunded, but for different political reasons. I don't have energy to detail the politics of it, but I was able to summarize my opinion in a letter to the editor of my local newspaper:

John Brenan's Aug. 19 letter questioned why PERS returns were so low compared to historical stock market returns.

His letter fails to acknowledge that the biggest reason for the underfunding of PERS pensions is the fault of Oregon's Republican legislators, convincing financially naive Democrats to exchange lower wage increases to state workers for the future costs of health care and other retirement benefits, which has caused the unfunded liabilities of PERS to grow faster than any return rate he mentioned.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Here's another reason for PERS woes," Gazette-Times, Aug. 26, 2016, p. A7 posted Aug. 25, 2016)

Sadly, the way I think Democrats got duped by Republicans was with the idea of "balancing the budget" by giving state workers less money in exchange for netter retirement benefits, but unfortunately these benefits have been rising in cost much faster than hoped -- it is a classic case of pay me now or pay me later. As a former employer, I learned it was always better to have known current expenses instead of gambling on an unknown future liability that could be infinitely bigger in the worst case.

See the following links:

Monday, August 22, 2016

TV Guide jeers Speedo censorship by NBC Olympics coverage

Censorship of Speedo of Olympic diver Silver medalist Steele Johnson as printed in  TV Guide Magazine Aug. 22 - Sep. 4, 2016, p. 88

PHOTO: TV Guide Magazine printed an example of how NBC Olympics TV coverage is censoring the Speedos worn by divers. See the article by Damian Holbrook, "Cheers & Jeers to NBC," TV Guide Magazine Aug. 22 - Sep. 4, 2016, p. 88, which says, "Jeers to NBC, for some unnecessary censorship. Listen -- silver medalist Steele Johnson was only showing his diving goods, not his actual goods. Free the Speedo!"

The censorship by NBC TV coverage of Olympic athletes' Speedo swimsuits was also noted in a magazine article by Megan French , "You Need to See This Accidental Censorship of Men's Olympic Divers (The Internet Loves It!)," posted Aug. 10, 2016, which said, "While the divers are clad in tiny Speedos, the unfortunate placement of the information bars (you know, those ones with their name, country and total scores) on the lower third of the screen made it appear that they were competing totally naked. And of course, their ripped bodies and six-packs made them look even more like adult-film professionals. . . U.S. diver Steele Johnson, who took home a silver medal along with his partner, David Boudia, quickly became the subject of jokes for his name and the too hot to handle screenshots of the his censored bod."

Only a few Olympics ago, straight males, especially those who ran the TV cameras, were clueless about how Speedo swimsuits might be viewed sexually by women and gay men. Straight men viewed Speedos as being needed only to reduce drag in competitive swimming and not a fashion statement. Straight men did not see Speedos as being a sexual fetish item, even though most straight men would not wear them in public for some reason they weren't sure about if you asked them. As a result, Olympic swimming and diving coverage was like watching a gay porn movie for many gay men. Apparently, this hidden pleasure is being recognized by both prudes and network TV executives today.

See previous posts

Friday, August 12, 2016

Recreational marijuana now legal in Oregon

Loudlollies package and Oregon Health Authority warning card

PHOTO: I recently bought and taste tested the cannabis lollypops shown above, as packaged in a foil package imprinted with the brand name "Loud Lollies Very Potent Pops" ( (redirects to accessed Aug. 12, 2016)), which are now legal to buy in Oregon for recreational use, and not just for medical use with a doctor's permission as it was before. The dispensary told me they were required by law to also give me the Oregon Health Authority warning card that says it might harm a baby. The promotional website says, "Loud Lollies are the newest creation from Elevated, part of the Cannect Network. They are created by hand, each one with attention to detail. Many flavors are in the works but these are the originals, the ones that got much attention on the East Coast in medicinal communities. Crunch one now, lick some and save some for later, any way you go you can't beat Loud Lollies."

I haven't been high on marijuana since the 1970's (I hope the statute of limitations applies here). This was back when a joint was often passed around at social gatherings and marijuana brownies were often baked by college students. Of course, I stopped breathing or eating cannabis before obtaining a U.S. Navy top secret security clearance that was required by the research project I worked on, and I also never took it up again after going out into the corporate world due to the fear of being caught.

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon, I decided to taste test the cannabis lollypops "Loud Lollies Very Potent Pops" (see photo above), which I was able to legally purchase in Oregon for recreational use.

I clearly recall in the 1970's eating a marijuana brownie at a newspaper reporter's home in Omaha Nebraska, which made me so high that I laid on the floor in front of a TV set and watched a TV commercial for the Merrill Lynch stockbrokers showing a stampede of bulls running toward the camera. It literally felt like the bulls were running over me. (Coincidentally, I recently learned that this reporter was a pedophile see previous post I was unknowingly a boarder in the home of convicted pedophile and Omaha World-Herald reporter Peter Citron (7/2/16))

I also decided to compare the effectiveness of marijuana lollypops to relieve pain that I know is treatable with a prescription opioid medicine, such as Percocet. I confirmed what I had been told, which is that marijuana will work just as well as the prescription opioid medicines. Of course, the side effects of both treatments are dry mouth and general lethargy and so I will use either one only when desparate for relief from my stroke-related neuropathy.

In any case, it has been interesting to watch the oral panic over marijuana over the last half-century, starting in the 1960's it was a political statement by hippies, whose political philosophy was opposed by Presidents Nixon and Ronald Regan, who both escalated the war on drugs that has been costly. Today, most people no longer believe marijuana is dangerous as heroin, and sanity is slowly creeping across the country, but the Federal Government still legally classifies it this way, which means that my local dealer must use cash because no bank will accept his money. I hope to live long enough to see the day it is treated like the actually dangerous drug of alcohol, which causes many deaths annually.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Social Security requires text-enabled cell phone for online access blaming President's order to use multifactor authentication

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

PHOTO: A previous letter from Congressman Peter DeFazio responded to my IRS ADA complaint by starting a Congressional investigation on the matter, after he had read my letter to the editor, Thomas Kraemer, "IRS ignores plea for help," Gazette-Times, Feb. 5, 2012, p. D5. (See previous posts Congressman Peter DeFazio responds to my IRS ADA complaint (2/19/12), IRS tax documents belatedly provide low vision accessibility to comply with ADA law (1/9/14) and IRS tax forms are not low vision accessible and violate ADA law (2/5/12))

I recently received the following message from Social Security, blaming President Obama's executive order to use multifactor authentication, as the reason they are going to require the use of a text-enabled cell phone to access them online:

"If you do not have a cell phone, you will not be able to access your personal my Social Security account. To access your personal my Social Security account, you need a cell phone that can receive text messages. Each time you sign in, we send a text to your cell phone that contains a security code you will need to enter to access your account. Keep in mind that your cell phone provider's text message and data rates may apply. Please visit our website at (note: this link redirects to How to Contact Social Security) to learn other ways to contact us. " (Quoted from "Can I access my personal my Social Security account if I don't have a cell phone?" accessed Aug. 1, 2016)

This bad implementation of the President's order prompted me to write the following letter to the editor of my local newspaper:

President Obama's executive order makes sense to require federal agencies use multifactor authentication for online security, but the Social Security Administration's recent implementation is in violation of the Federal American's with Disability Act because it requires using a text-enabled cell phone, which is inaccessible to low-vision blind and deaf Americans.

It is inexcusable to require the use of a cell phone, especially given many people can't afford the cost of one and also there are many accessible methods that could be provided, such as an automated email or voice phone call, to your registered provider, giving you a one-time passcode.

Multifactor authentication for online access could also be implemented with a system many banks use to authenticate credit cards, which automatically detects your caller ID registered in their database after you call the toll-free number they provide.

I will be asking our U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio to demand that implementation of Obama's order for multifactor authentication be compliant with the ADA, just like he successfully did a few years ago with government websites that were inaccessible, even in browsers with built-in accessibility features, such as Microsoft's browser.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Federal government violates ADA," accessed Aug. 7, 2016 10 AM)

On a related note, my Congressman's newsletter, "Peter DeFazio Reports," August 2016, as mailed to all of his constituents, referenced the positions he holds on various issues of Social Security (see U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio, "Issues: Social Security," accessed Jul. 28, 2016) and it says, "DeFazio's plan would preserve the Social Security Trust Fund by closing a tax loophole so millionaires pay the same percentage of their salaries into Social Security as average American workers. Currently, 94 percent of Americans pay the Social Security tax on all of their income, while those who make more than $118,500 stop paying Social Security taxes once they reach the cap. His bill subjects all income to the same 6.2 percent Social Security tax rate that middle class wage earners must pay. According to the Social Security Actuary, this bill guarantees the Social Security Trust Fund will be solvent and pay full benefits until 2057."

Of course, Republicans ever since FDR have been trying to eliminate Social Security and the 1980's Republican President Reagan kicked off the most changes toward this goal by making people retire later and reducing future Social Security benefits for the Baby Boomer Generation. (See "History of Social Security in the United States," accessed Jul. 28, 2016)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

PBS kids cartoon features gender bending character Wendy as electrician and engineer

Bob the Builder feminist Wendy in TV Guide Magazine Jul. 11-24, 2016, p. 44

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) The "Bob the Builder" kids program on PBS is now featuring "a big dose of feminism" by showing his previously gender conforming and "former office manager Wendy," as now a gender bending "electrician and engineer," according to the article, "Bob the Builder: Preschoolers are getting a big dose of feminism," TV Guide Magazine, Jul. 11-24, 2016, p. 44. (SeePBS "Bob The Builder" and "Bob The Builder" for parents PBS explains Bob, the builder, and Wendy to parents as follows:

Bob -- Dedicated and hardworking, Bob is the resident builder for Fixham and Spring City. There is no build too big or too small for Bob and his enthusiastic team, who will always jump to assist their community in every way they can. Bob's optimistic attitude always shines through, especially when reassuring his team with his empowering catchphrase: "Can we build it? Yes we can!"

Wendy is Bob's smart and dynamic building partner. Her specialty is electronics, and she's always coming to the rescue when there's electrical work to be done. With a quick wit and an eye for spotting a problem, Wendy is on hand to point the team in the right direction. (Quoted from "Bob The Builder" for parents, "Meet the Characters," accessed Aug. 3, 2016)

I've seen firsthand the changes starting in the 1960's, when newspaper help wanted ads were completely segregated, with separate sections with jobs for men and another section with jobs for women, which led to feminists demanding Congress outlaw this type of overt gender discrimination, but today there are still many jobs, such as engineering, which are still not equally represented between men and women. If I am blessed to be alive in another 50 years, and if such gender bias in jobs remains, I would love to ask the "politically incorrect" question (at it is least today) of what are the reasons, including the reasons not related just to social constructions and cultural norms that have dominated the discussion for the last half of a century. In other words, does having a feminized brain (whether the brain part of a biological male or female body) naturally lead to an affinity for certain jobs that have historically been relegated to women, and similarly, do masculinized male brains have an affinity for jobs historically associated with men? In other words, how much does nature versus nurture determine the ratio of male of female engineers to male engineers? I base my conjecture on the observation that highly effeminate men are found working in professions historically associated with females, and masculine women in jobs historically limited to men, such as the female auto mechanic who has masculine traits. The asking of this question has been considered "politically incorrect" because it has been used by bigoted politicians as their reason for voting against equal rights for women -- an archaic position I optimistically hope won't be an issue half a century from now.