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This Day in My History

2000:  Stranger in a Familiar Land
2001:  World AIDS Day
2002:  World AIDS Day
2003:  The Faces of AIDS
2004:  Trying to Understand the System
Remembering Old Friends

My 2006 Holiday Letter

"Probability Theories

Books Read in 2006
(Updated 11/25)


click here to download

click here for flash format 

Mefeedia Video Archive

My Favorite Video Blogs

Desert Nut

(for others, see Links page)

Look at these videos!
Two Fathers
The Big Voice in NY
(fun video--Playbills arrive!)
Thanksgiving Prayer
(this is Steve's song)
WKRP Thanksgiving Turkey Drop

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Thanksgiving 2006

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Support liberty and justice for all

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1 December 2006

If it's December, it must be time for my annual diatribe against the Boy Scouts of America...please note the distinction.  Boy Scouts of America, not the International Scouting organization.  We're the only country this stupid.

Each year the BSA puts up a Christmas tree lot in town and each year I write a letter to the editor explaining the BSA policies and encouraging people not to support the discrimination of the Scouting organization.

We've become the Hatfields and the McCoys of Christmas here in Davis.  This year the newspaper even ran a front page story about the Scout Christmas tree lot, with snide comments by the head Scoutmaster in Davis saying that he loves the negative letters to the editor because it only improves his business.

Funny thing, but his wife and I used to lead a Scouting troop together.  Those were in the days when there was no bigoted policy in the BSA, the days before the hierarchy was taken over by religious factions intent on bringing religious values in along with knot tying, first aid, and the Pinewood Derby.

I was a Scout leader in the 1970s, when there was no such policy.  It was not until 1985 when the official policy made Scouting in the United States (the only country to hold such a policy) incompatible with agnosticism and atheism and to refuse membership to gay Scouts and to refuse to permit gay men or women to serve as Scout leaders.  In some areas, the rule goes so far as to refuse membership to straight kids who have gay parents.

The Christmas tree lot here in town is the Boy Scouts' biggest fund raiser.  It is to them what Girl Scout cookies are to the girls (Girl Scouts do not, by the way, discriminate or refuse membership to anyone).

I don't think I wrote my letter last year.  It had started to seem like tilting at windmills.  But then we had the case of the boy who was taunted at school all of last year because his fathers were gay, whose house was TP'd and egged, who was suggested to change schools to avoid the problem.

I decided I needed to write again, and so once more I took keyboard in hand and wrote...

As the Christmas tree lots go up around the area, I debated about writing another letter to the editor reminding Davis residents that the Boy Scouts of America discriminates against gays and athiests and asking people, once again, to refuse to support discrimination by getting a Christmas tree somewhere else. I write this letter every year.

Is it time to stop writing? “Everybody knows the Boy Scouts discriminates,” Superintendent David Murphy said when asked why the schools did not send home a warning notice to families along with material about joining the Boy Scouts.

Are we all just tired of the argument?

But then I heard about the gay couple whose house was TP’d and egged and whose child has been verbally terrorized at school for the past year. At one point it was suggested that the child change schools. Blame the victim..

Here. In Davis. Where “everybody” knows about Boy Scout discrimination so there is no need to remind people that children are under attack even in this bastion of acceptance and tolerance.

Supporting an organization which openly discriminates--and brags about it--encourages terrorism toward gay children. It sets up an atmosphere where to be gay is to be “other” and it lets children feel that it’s ok to target the “other” for verbal and sometimes physical attacks.

I refuse to support any organization which contributes, whether actively or passively, to terrorism against gay children -- or any children and I sincerely hope that in this season of peace, people in Davis will look to their own conscience and decide how they feel about discrimination against children of any gender, color, religion, or sexual orientation and about groups which create an atmosphere where children are taught that some children are not socially acceptable.

I don't kid myself.  This will marshal the supporters, the anti-gay bigots in town who will go out of their way to support the BSA, but perhaps someone who never thought about it quite this way will look somewhere else for a symbol of this season of peace and love.

In any event, whether it affects sales or not, perhaps it gives a little jolt of guilt to people who want to support the local Boy Scouts. Maybe they'll at least think about what discrimination does to kids — and to all of us.

'Tis also the season for those obnoxious Christmas Letters.  What's more disgusting than someone writing an annual Christmas letter?  Someone writing an annual Christmas letter and then posting it on line instead of mailing it out.  Note that there is a link to my Christmas letter in the left column.  (Also note that there is NOTHING in there that you have not already read, if you've been paying attention all year!)

GREAT NEWS!!!!!  The Big Voice in its opening in New York has received a wonderful review in Variety!  If you are in the New York area, GO SEE THE SHOW!


                                                                                                                      cartoon by Darrin Bell



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