Saturday, June 27, 2015


Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, ruled in a 5-4 decision that same-sex marriage is legal in all of America.  It was a decision that was a long time coming ... more than forty years coming.

The first Supreme Court case regarding same-sex marriage was brought in 1972.  Baker v. Nelson was brought by a same-sex couple who were denied a marriage license.  The case was dismissed in October of that year.

The following year, in both Maryland and Washington state, rulings against same sex-couples were handed down.  In 1975, a marriage license clerk in Boulder, Colorado, issued marriage licenses to six same-sex couples after finding nothing in state law to prevent her from doing so.  Both the Federal Court and Court of Appeals agree that the law applied only to heterosexual couples.  This was pretty much the norm in legal cases brought throughout the remainder of the twentieth century.

Fast forward to the twenty-first century, specifically 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled, in the case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, that civil unions, for example, which were lesser forms of couples' unions, were insufficient to protect same-sex couples; only marriage could do that.

Just six months later, Massachusetts became the first state in the union to legalize same-sex marriage in 2003.

Setbacks would continue, but civil unions and domestic partnerships were put in place as a kind of balm meant to ease -- or, more correctly, appease -- same-sex couples.  It is important to note, however, that civil unions and domestic partnerships did not include all of the same rights of marriage.

In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiffs -- the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights -- that a state statute regarding marriage that excludes same-sex couples was unconstitutional.  Just six months later, the infamous Proposition 8, which denied same-sex couples the right to marry, was passed by the voters.  A challenge to Prop 8 was brought before the California Supreme Court ... the court upheld it.

During this time, the following states passed laws or statutes that legalized same-sex marriage: Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia ... all the way to the end of 2009.

In both the cases of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, a U.S. District Court ruled a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional in its restriction of marriage for only heterosexual couples.

Over a year after Prop 8 in California was upheld, the U.S. District Court of Northern California declares it unconstitutional.  (An appeal the following year would result in it remaining unconstitutional.)  In early 2011, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder declare they will no longer pursue to legally defend DOMA, citing it is indefensible under the Constitution.

More states would pass the freedom to marry with other setbacks along the way.  In the general election ballot of 2012, four states -- Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington state -- had questions regarding the freedom to marry.  The freedom to marry won in all four states.

Over the next couple of years, more and more states pass laws in favor of, or strike down bans on, marriage equality.  One setback came in late 2014 when the 6th Circuit Appeals Court upheld marriage bans in four states: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.  A review by the U.S. Supreme Court, brought on by all four states, was immediately sought.  Obergefell v. Hodges, along with three other cases, were brought before the highest court in the land.  By the time these cases were decided on by the court, thirty-six states and the District of Columbia, nearly three-quarters of the union, had allowed same-sex marriage.

That brings us to yesterday.  What a day!

The spire atop One World Trade Center

The top of The Empire State Building

The White House

Niagara Falls

Personally, the whole issue about marriage equality was a no-brainer.   While some religious persons and institutions have a position against it, citing biblical definition, this issue was, and always has been, a civil rights issue.  Sure, if your religious beliefs are in contradiction to the concept of marriage equality, you will be against it.  When it is being litigated, however, it is now a legal question, not a religious one.  When the issue goes before district courts, state supreme courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court, it does not, must not, and cannot be about religion.  It is solely about the law.  Period.  What all of the multitude of cases that have been brought before jurists and states' citizens have continued to address is the legality of suppression and denial.

In short, it is the determination of the legality of separate and unequal.  (Sounds familiar.)

Those opposed to marriage equality will continue to fight this.  Remember the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote?  And what about that other huge Supreme Court decision back in 1973, Roe v. Wade?  All these have been, and some still are, being fought against.  Sorry, folks, "a more perfect union" is not achieved by separation, denial, and inequity. 

While rightfully ecstatic at yesterday's landmark decision, the gay community is also cognizant of the other injustices still in place against them.  In addition to the numerous challenges and blocking of marriage equality already occurring, there are currently twenty-nine states where firing someone for their being gay is legal.  Transgender individuals are not protected in thirty-two states.  In addition, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit workplace discrimination against anyone based on sexual identity or gender self-identification, has been introduced in all but one of the past twenty-two Congresses!  (House Speaker John Boehner stalled it because he felt its passage would become "the basis for frivolous lawsuits".)

To those who say same-sex marriage undermines marriage, I ask, "How?"  Wanting equal rights and protections under the law in the context of marriage ruins marriage?  Really?  Again, these are persons who are misconstruing the difference between legality with religious beliefs. 

The fourteenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads, in part:
        No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or
        immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any
        person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to
        any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

No doubt, Justice Anthony Kennedy had that in mind in the final section of his majority opinion:
Stunning, simply stunning.

And now, marriage equality is the law of the land.  Under attack that it already is and will be, it is the law of the land.

Love wins.
Equality wins.
America wins.
Dignity wins.


Genul meu de artificii :)
Posted by DoZa De Haş on Sunday, December 28, 2014

Friday, June 19, 2015


Today marks this blog's third anniversary.  My gratitude to all of my readers who have kept this going and have kept coming back time and time again remains huge.  Thank you all so very much.

My intent was to wax nostalgic about the past three years.  However, something else has come up that needs to take the forefront. 

For my first and second anniversaries, I focused on the theme of time.  It appears that time will be part of my writing today, even though I had originally intended to go in a different direction.

I should also confess, dear readers, it will take all of my strength to refrain from the language I have been using privately regarding this matter.  This is that serious for me and I will use this forum to air what I feel.

The recent mass murder at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina this past Wednesday is where my focus today begins.  I will not name the horrible individual who fired the weapon -- the name of that miscreant is splashed all over the media already -- but I will name the nine victims of the massacre:

The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45, a pastor at Emanuel)
Depayne Middleton Doctor (49, a member of Emanuel's choir)
Cynthia Hurd (54, church member who also worked as a librarian for 31 years)
Susie Jackson (87, church member)
Ethel Lance (70, Jackson's cousin, church member and custodian)
The Rev. Clementa Pinckney (41, senior pastor and S.C. state senator)
Tywanza Sanders (26, church member and 2014 graduate of Allen University)
The Rev. Daniel Simmons (74, survived the shooting but died later)
Myra Thompson (59, wife of vicar of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church)

The intent of the massacre, according to this sorry excuse for a member of society, was to start a race war.  "[Y]ou've raped our women, and you are taking over the country.  I have to do what I have to do."  If you read that and agree, you are part of the problem.  If you read that and disagree, we are on the same side of this issue.

So ... no white person has ever raped a black person or taken over black people en masse?  I must have missed that history lesson.

When Barack Obama came into office in 2009, one of the things that was being touted as a result of his being elected President was that the country had overcome (or at least taken a huge step in moving beyond) racial tensions in the country.  An argument in moving forward could be made, whereas a cure or a solution for racial tension had no basis.

Over the past several years, we have seen many examples of racial tension as a lingering cancer on the soul of this country.  Emanuel AME Church has seen its share of the repercussions of these same tensions, including the organizing of a slave revolt by one of the church's founders, Denmark Vesey.  The plan for the revolt was discovered beforehand and the church was burned down. 

The short version (and very cleaned-up version) of my feelings is that all of this on-going tension is crap ... just pure, indefensible, undeniable crap.  Every single person who perpetuates this tension, and some of the mass media is included here, is full of crap.  It is such a waste of time, words cannot describe.  It is based in hatred, spewed by short-sighted, narrow-minded individuals and groups to other short-sighted, narrow-minded individuals and groups -- "If you say it often enough, people will believe it's true" -- with, as its seedlings, an antiquated mantra of "Equality is evil".  That same mantra, regardless of race being involved or not, has a history that goes back long before the formation of the United States.

So, life is sacred, but if that life is black (or any minority, for that matter), it is worth less or worthless.  The ignorance is staggering.

Racial tension is not confined to South Carolina, but since that is where the massacre took place, let us stay there for the moment.  The Confederate Flag flies atop the state's capital of Columbia.  Most times, the state flag and the U.S. flag are flown above a state's capital building.  It is commemorative of the state's own history and honoring that state's membership in the United States of America.  With the Confederate Flag flying atop the state's capital building, what is being honored?  With a nod to history, the answer would be the uplifting of slavery.  (That was, after all, the key issue underlying the American Civil War.)  In broader terms, the disgusting "Equality is evil" mantra would be the answer.  How does that encourage fairness and the valuation of all individuals worthy of fair treatment?  It doesn't.  How does that lend itself to a moving forward?  It doesn't.  How does that represent South Carolina's desire to learn from its past?  Same answer.

As a male and white -- arguably, the "best" combo for a person in this country -- what difference does this make to me?  What difference should it make to me?  Why not shut up, since I'm not the one who's getting shot, choked out, beat up, etc., and just enjoy my freedom?  Because that kind of freedom is hollow; that kind of freedom is worthless.  Then the question might be, "Well, freedom is freedom, isn't it?"  Well, no.  Freedom for an individual or a group of individuals is, indeed, freedom, but when that freedom is not shared equitably, it becomes selective freedom.  Freedom is supposed to be for all; selective freedom falls short ... far short.  In other words, my freedom serves me as an individual, but selective freedom does not serve me as a citizen of the Union. It is self-serving, not all-encompassing.

For those who might ask what the difference is, clearly, no answer will suffice.

Born in 1961, I was not old enough to observe the cultural sea change in its infancy that took place in this country in the 1960's as it happened.  As I have read and watched our history, and continue to read and watch events unfold in the decades since, the levels of disbelief and anger in me have been surpassed, although they are revisited at every moment of this shameful behavior, and replaced with pure disgust.  I am increasingly sick and tired at each disgusting expression of racial hatred.  The recurring question in my mind is ... When is this crap going to stop?!

For those who might argue that, hey, life is not fair, my concern is the necessity to willfully add to it.  I am not including having a bad day and you snap at someone, when you normally would not do so.  That can be included under the "life isn't fair" umbrella, but that is an example of unintentional actions.  The necessity to willfully make life inexcusably less fair for another individual used to just escape me for years.  I am at the point where that "necessity" is nonexistent.  It is a manufactured necessity, cloaked in a sheepskin of deception, and advertised as a panacea for the ills of society.  Ladies and gentlemen, let's go to the toteboard and check in on that "necessity"...
In the Past ... Bullshit
In the Present ... Bullshit
In the Future ... Bullshit

(So much for being reserved.)

Someone who was interviewed for a New York Times article was quoted as saying, "We’re not worth the air they don’t want us to breathe," and stated that his words described what he felt black people in Charleston feel on a daily basis.

What the hell is the justification for any group of persons to feel so shamefully inhumane toward another group of persons?!  What the hell is the justification for that other group of persons to sense that inhumanity and to be treated inhumanely and be expected to just deal with it?!  The answer to both is that neither is justifiable unless "liberty and justice for all" really means "liberty and justice for all white people".  I grew up believing, and still believe, that "all" means "all", not a specific "all".  It is obvious that the murderer at Emanuel AME Church could not disagree more.

Maybe the hate-bathed individual who killed those nine individuals needs to be angry at the white land and slave owners who brought such large numbers of black people to this country in the first place.  Along the lines of "How could they rape our women and take over our country if they were never brought here in such large numbers so quickly in the first place", the "logic" might go.  

It is far too lazy to say that, really, all tensions cannot be removed and it is an argument to just give up trying.  Of course, all tensions in the course of life cannot be removed, and not all huge tensions can be made small.  My personal opinion is that no society can exist without some sort of conflict -- certainly, the best novels can't -- but the kinds of tensions and how we handle them are far more important than pursuing an unattainable goal.  An individual or group mistreating another is a tension.  How they express that is part of the tension is just as much part of the tension as how it is addressed.  You kill a weed by killing the root, so addressing the reason for that mistreatment (the root of the problem) and changing it for the better is key. 

Whether you see this biblically or geographically, we create and define borders.  We have countries, states, towns.  We have social status and ethnicities.  We have maps and property surveys.  All the while, none of these, unless ascribed so, equate to divisions; they are just demarcations (i.e. family A is financially better/worse off than family B; when you leave this town, you enter that town).  In short, even without a physical wall, there are those of us who create and define what are really demarcations as walls, and those walls must never be broken down or jumped over. 

I have heard at this tragedy that it is so hard to believe that, in the year 2015, how these racial tensions can still exist and still run so deeply; I agree.  Often the phrase The time is now is used in the need for stopping this kind of senseless violence.  Well, yes, we are no longer in 1965, so what is going on?  However, now is not the time to end this downward spiral of society entropy, but it is a time for that.

The first two persons in the Bible, Adam and Eve, did not have to deal with racial tensions, but they had to do the right thing, and each generation afterward, the same.  The first animals of any species have to learn the right way and wrong way of doing things, all in the interest of their survival, as well as their offspring.  Even, on a smaller scale, domesticated animals have to learn what to "do what is right". 

I was just drawing a broader parallel for argument's sake, now back to humanity.  When someone says today, in the light of the Charleston massacre, that "Now is the time...", they are right.  Those who said the same thing fifty years ago were right.  The abolitionists who said basically the same thing were right. 

The time to do the right thing for and toward others HAS ALWAYS BEEN HERE!  From Adam and Eve, the time to do the right things has been here.  From the first Homo sapiens, the time has been here. From the first breaths of Aristotle, Jesus, Constantine, Maimonides, Sappho, Margaret Fuller, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, to each of their last breaths, the time was here.  Every single day you and I are alive, it is time.  Time can only wasted if there is time available.  It has ALWAYS been available and we need to spend our time better.

Has enough of the population of this troubled republic decided that the time has passed?  Is the struggle something for just the history books?  Has that good fight already come and gone?  Is being a concerned citizen now limited to only feeling bad (in whatever form) about these events?  Has it firmly become "their problem"?

Personally, I have no investment in specifically who is killing/hurting/maiming/mistreating whom.  It is all wrong, but this racial tension garbage is a blight on this country that continues to this day.  It is an illness, but I would caution on using that too much in our public and private discourse about these events.  For example, if it was seen by society at large as purely an illness, then think of the increase in temporary insanity pleas in our courts.  I see it as an illness, akin to dementia.  Cancer patients learn they have cancer; migraines sufferers learn they get migraines; heart attack or stroke victims learn what happened to them, and so on.  This cannot be fully described as an illness because the "patient", as it were, usually does not learn about his/her illness.  The illness, as seen by others, is viewed as a healthy outlook on society by the "patient".

So, let me attempt to get this straight.  I am white, so I should hate black people.  What about lighter-skinned black people?  Should I hate them less, or is their simply having black DNA enough for me to hate them?  How about white people who have great tans?  Should I hate actor George Hamilton, known for being well-tanned?  How about "tan mom", Patricia Krentcil?  She was REALLY tan!  And what about racial co-opter Rachel Dolezal?  Should I have a problem with her because she's acting like them when she's really one of us?

The lack of logic and overabundance of hatred are enormous!  The size of the mountain of crap involved is equally so!

Racial hatred is taught.  Being in the third century of this country's existence, it is still being taught.  Can we stop it from being taught?  That is a tough one, but I think it will take time.  I, too, know not when, and I share in the frustration of that glorious time when it is not taught not having yet arrived.  I also don't have all the answers.  Oh, how I wish I did!

We might not be able to completely end racial hatred, but we should try.  Why?  Why not?  More, not less, of what happened Wednesday at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston is why.  Only misinformed, subversive, pro-divisiveness, anti-equality-for-all malcontents, like the shooter, want to continue on their path.

When is this crap going to stop?!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Throwing away food ...most of us have done it.  Whether it is leftovers that no one wants, something you changed your mind about eating, or food that has simply spoiled, we don't discard solely paper, plastics, and other non-edible items.  Not just at home, but at businesses, the story is the same.  Don't finish your meal at a restaurant and you don't take the rest home?  What happens?  It gets thrown out.

Now what about food items that are not just leftovers or unfinished meals?  I mean food items that have never been touched other than when they were made or harvested and when they were brought into a location and then thrown away never used.  You might say that doesn't happen, especially in the United States, a land of abundance.

Then you might be in for a huge surprise with today's film of the day, Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story.  Grant Baldwin (the director) and Jenny Rustemeyer (the producer) both wrote and star in this documentary about, as stated on the film's website, "food waste and food rescue".  The film follows up their 2010 film The Clean Bin Project, in which they argued in favor of waste reduction with an attempt to produce no trash for one year. 

Just Eat It, however, will leave you stunned, both that it is happening and it is happening here in the U.S.