Monthly Archives: March 2013

Friedman on Today’s Teens – Need a Job, Invent It

(Community Matters) Interestingly, this has been a recurring topic of conversation the last few weeks – critical thinking skills, motivation, innovation and entrepreneurship.

We need lab schools where students earn a high school diploma by completing a series of skill-based ‘merit badges’ in things like entrepreneurship. And schools of education where all new teachers have ‘residencies’ with master teachers and performance standards — not content standards — must become the new normal throughout the system.” Friedman in the NYTimes


Pope at Easter

Vatican Pope Easter(Community Matters) Wearing the more humble white cap, washing prisoners’ feet – even more, washing womens, which sent the Vatican Curia into a spin. All good signs.

Kaufman, TX District Attny & Wife Dead

kaufman(Community Matters) Texas DA, wife killed — 2 months after his deputy is gunned down. I sure hope this isn’t Mexican drug cartel related. From what I’ve heard over the last two years, they are deeply embedded in Texas and war could break out if their US corridor through Texas is threatened.

Dr. Ben Carson

Ben Carson(Community Matters) Dr. Ben Carson, may you slip on a banana, be hit on the head by an apple and be pelted by peaches.

Dr. Ben Carson apologizing for comparing gays to pedophiles and people who have sex with animals. “What I was basically saying, and if anyone was offended I apologize to you, but what I was basically saying is there is no group — I wasn’t equating those things, I don’t think they are equal. If you asked me for an apple and I gave you an orange, you would say ‘well that’s not an orange.’ And then I’d say well there’s a banana…’that’s not an apple either.’ And there’s a peach…’that’s not an apple either.’ But it doesn’t mean that I’m equating the banana and the orange and the peach. In the same way, I’m not equating those things.”


Happy Easter

(Community Matters) 

Happy Easter



Austin’s Top Chefs

(Community Matters) Austin’s Top Chefs in Culture Map

austin best chefs


I concur with the names on the list and would have to add Paul Qui, Sonya Cote and Aaron Franklin. 

Spring Break w/ Cramers

cramer dio gabel 032713(Community Matters) Two of my favorite young people in the world, Dio & Gabel Cramer arrived in Austin today from Washington DC – the children of Sonya Cohen Cramer and Reid Cramer. They’re splitting time at our house and w/ the Graves twins.

After a very quick swim, Garrett & Hillary Weber-Gale joined us for a quick dinner and a preview of Garrett’s TEDxAustin Teen talk, then Michael Mitchell joined us for the Cohen New Works Festival guest artist reception and the premiere of Colossal.



Sorta blown away by UT Theatre graduate student & Chicago Dramatists Resident Playwright, Andrew Hinderaker’s new work – depicting the violent, masculinely intimate and physically gracious side of Texas’ national sport. Outstanding direction from Will Davis and choreography by our friend Andrea Beckham.

cohen nwf johnny meyer

Looking forward to Afghan war veteran, playwright Johnny Meyer’s show tonight – The Priceless Slave.

The Cohen New Works Festival is a a week-long showcase of new work created by UT students held every other Spring – named after Steven’s late partner, David Marc Cohen.


same sex(Community Matters) Links to audio and transcript here

Today the Supreme Court heard arguments on Prop 8 – the California voter  initiative overturning the right of same sex couples in CA to marry. Some court observers say the questions suggest SCOTUS might punt on this one by deciding there is not standing for an appeal – therefore refusing to overturn the Appeals Court Decision which ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional, saying it violated Equal Protection. They were reviewing a decision of the California Supreme Court which also found Prop 8 unconstitutional.

Reading the transcript from today, I especially found interesting Justices’ Kagan, Kennedy and Roberts’ interest in examples of harm as a result of same sex marriage.

Scalia even had to throw in to help those defending Prop 8. Their lawyer was unable to cite any compelling arguments of harm that comes from ruling in favor of same sex marriage.

I’m also encouraged by Justice Kennedy’s citing 40k children in CA who want their same sex parents’ marriage validated

Prop 8 & DOMA to SCOTUS

(Community Matters) I’ve intentionally not been focused on the upcoming oral arguments or the pending SCOTUS decisions. I have faith they will turn out our way – Kennedy wrote the Colorado decision; Roberts doesn’t want the legacy of perpetuating discrimination.

mehlman npr

I know I differ in my feelings toward Ken Mehlman from that of many friends. When he first came out, I reached out, met, became friends; Steven too in a different context. More importantly a handful of national LGBT leaders reached out and encouraged his participation too. He’s become a most important ally in the fight at the Supreme Court. In NPR

ok . . . how will I feel when we win? Finally recognized as an equal citizen. (recognized being operative. I have no insecurities about my equality).

if we lose? Horrible, discriminated against, embarrassed by & for my country, like I should live somewhere else, and probably just energized to fight harder.

On the Gatekeepers, More Thoughts

the gatekeepers 2(Community Matters) Really is a provocative movie. Following on my original post, in no particular order: 1) Israel didn’t launch the 1973 attack, Egypt and Syria attacked. Israel won. The West Bank & Gaza were won in the war launched by the Middle East countries. 2) the occupation of 1,000,000 Palestinians is humiliating and unusually cruel, 3) the occupation insidiously corrupts Israel’s moral high ground, 4) there’s a clash of cultures – not just religions but cultures which assign vastly different values on citizens’ lives, 5) religion scares me – the extremists within religions of any faith are the most dangerous people in the world, 6) extremist religious ideology can only be fought with religious ideology – ardent followers will only be persuaded by other ideas within their faith, 7) Americans should think about these matters since we provide over $4.5 billion in foreign aid to Israel & Egypt annually, nearly $165 billion cumulatively.

w/ A Fright

panic wakeup(Community Matters) Popped out of bed with a fright this morning. It was already 6am, somehow my head said 6am on Monday morning . . . . how the heck did I forget to drive to the ranch last night? . . . and I jumped, ran to call my parents and hop into the shower simultaneously. Had to get them on the road to Houston, and I’ll meet them there. As I hit send on the telephone, the date displayed, even the day . . . Sunday, really? . . . .think, think, think . . . cancel call while I think . . .  yes, maybe today was Sunday, not Monday after all . . . back to bed and cuddled up to Steven.

The Gatekeepers

(Community Matters) The Gatekeepersjust saw this w/ Steven at the Violet Crown. It’s an important documentary. One must ask, why would six surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency tasked with counterterrorism and intelligence gathering in the West Bank and Gaza speak out in this documentary? What does this say?


“I think, after retiring from this job, you become a bit of a leftist,” says Yaakov Peri, who ran Shin Bet from 1988 to 1994, during the first Intifada and the negotiations that led to the Oslo peace accords.

The resulting film is inevitably partial — it relies entirely on those six voices, without the usual documentary chorus of opposing views or disinterested experts — but also eminently, even thrillingly fair-minded. It is guaranteed to trouble any one, left, right, center or head in the sand, with confidence or certainly in his or her own opinions.