Friday, April 20, 2018
Celebrated activist bashed in gay bar during 'don't ask, don't tell' era dies virtually unnoticed by media
Thursday, March 8, 2018
|Tommy Robinson will likely die in prison.|
Tommy Robinson, a man who attacked, robbed and sexually assaulted a woman six years ago in Oak Lawn, hung out at a Cedar Creek Lake gay bar before his arrest in Dallas.
Surveillance video from 2012 captured Tommy Robinson running toward then 17-year-old Lida Nguyen in Oak Lawn as she walked to a bus stop to go to school. Robinson was convicted on Friday. On Saturday, he allegedly attempted suicide causing a one-day delay in the sentencing portion of his trial.
Robinson was sentenced Tuesday to 50 years in prison, although he was not in court because he remained in the hospital after the reported unsuccessful suicide attempt over the weekend. The prisoner, who was in intensive care, reportedly took an overdose of anti-psychotic medications he had stockpiled in jail.
Robinson, who was 59 at the time of his arrest and is now 65, was jailed in Dallas on a $1.5 million bond. Questions about his mental competency and several confinements in mental treatment facilities delayed his trial. His lawyer described him as a broken, mentally-ill man.
Robinson, also known as "Hollywood," due to the silver-framed sunglasses he always wore, was a frequent visitor to Garlow's nightclub, but he told other customers he was not gay. He also spoke about how he suffered from a mental illness, and he said that was why he could not drink alcohol. He was characterized as eccentric, but was generally viewed to be harmless.
A Dallas police detective in charge of investigating the crime confirmed he was aware Robinson had lived in the Cedar Creek Lake area prior to his arrest in Dallas. At his arrest, he was homeless and was taken into custody while bathing in a stream in Oak Lawn, according to multiple Dallas media reports.
Robinson is also said to go by the name Tommy King.
Gun Barrel City police report no unsolved sexual assault cases in the area at the time of Robinson’s arrest in Dallas.
The 17-year-old girl was attacked on Maple Avenue as she walked on a sidewalk to catch a bus to Skyline High School, where she was a student.
She suffered 20 stab wounds to her chest and back and was apparently left for dead behind a furniture store. Employees discovered her and called 9-1-1.
The girl was able to give police a description of her assailant and was able to pick him out of a police line-up.
When Robinson was arrested near the scene of the attack, he was naked from the waist down. He reportedly had a bloody knife in his boot and a cell phone similar to the one taken from the victim.
Robinson's bond was originally set at $500,000, then tripled.
The victim returned to Dallas to gain closure in the case and to thank all those who donated to a victim’s account at the time. The victim has since graduated from high school and college, gaining a degree in education. She lives out-of-state with her sister. The man who found her said she was the hero for surviving such an ordeal. Nguyen said during the attack he looked at her the whole time and before walking away told her to “have a nice life.”
“It didn’t make me any weaker,” she said in televised reports. “It actually made me stronger that he didn’t ruin my life and I did have a nice life. What happens to you doesn’t define you. You define yourself everyday through your actions.”
Friday, November 18, 2016
During Sunday television news programs after the Nov. 8 general election supporters of President-Elect Donald J. Trump probably reacted with as much shock as backers of Hillary Rodham Clinton did when she lost the election to the billionaire.
The television networks buzzed Sunday with discussion about why pollsters got it so wrong when they predicted Clinton would win the election, widespread reports of angry protests in the streets of major cities and speculation about who would get top spots in Trump’s Administration. That evening on 60 Minutes Trump, his wife Melania and his four children appeared for a wide-ranging interview about his plans for the Oval Office.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Although Chase Bank lacks a branch in the Cedar Creek Lake area, the ease of online banking and hefty bonus coupons of up to $300 can attract local residents to open accounts.
Residents with Chase credit card accounts get the offers in the mail and online.
The terms seem simple enough to collect the free cash. All you need to is go online and set up a direct deposit from your "paycheck, pension or government benefits (such as Social Security) from your employer or the government," the fine print reads.
The first deposit must reach the bank account within 60 days are the deal is off.
Unfortunately, what the statement from Chase does not reveal is that the Social Security
Administration moves slower than that. It takes more like 75 to 90 days to get the first check redirected to the new account.
In such a case, Chase refuses to honor the coupon, and it will assess checking account fees ranging from $12 to $25 to the new account.
A recent call to Chase customer service revealed that the 60-day expiration date will not be waived under any circumstances. You might be able to talk the representative into waiving the checking account fee, but you will get a stern warning that future waivers are unlikely unless all of the terms are met.
(UPDATE: Contrary to the statements of Chase customer service agents, a $300 credit in the referenced checking account appeared on Nov. 8 following the publication of this article.)
It is unclear whether Chase marketing experts knew how long it takes the Social Administration to redirect deposits when they designed the marketing materials.
Customer service agents simply say that they have many customers who successfully completed the terms and received their bonuses. Two agents repeated the statement verbatim so it apparently is a canned answer for unhappy customers who collect Social Security benefits and couldn't meet the terms through no fault of their own.
The agents also have another tool and their disposal. If the customer feels duped and gets hostile, they are headed for a recording that brands them abusive. "Please do not call us again," it says. "If you need to communicate with us, send an email."
How's that for friendly service?
Saturday, September 17, 2016
|Harry Hay, founder of the Mattachine Society|
|Brenda Howard, known as 'Mother of Pride'|
Another pivotal movement occurred in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders, reversing its classification in “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual” in 1952 as a mental disorder. Gay groups across the United States banded together and stressed the importance of that determination to counteract resistance by opponents such as conservative religious leaders and bigots such as celebrity singer Anita Bryant who led a fight against LGBT equality in Florida.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
I explained that cruise ships began using the term decades ago when homosexuality remained illegal to signify that passengers who wanted to meet other gay men or lesbians that they could at a designated spot, usually one of the smaller ship bars.
The term “Friends of Dorothy” gained widespread use after World War II, and investigators for the U.S. Military began to suspect that the mysterious organization might be a spy ring, according to the gay historians. Given that many gay activists prior to the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969 belonged to the U.S. Communist Party, it’s easy to see how the organization became somewhat notorious, even though it really never officially existed.
Then my friend asked me another curious question. “What is LGBT?” she said.
I looked at the schedule, and I told her that the ship apparently had dropped the “Friends of Dorothy” ruse and was outright publicizing a gay and lesbian party.
After I reported my observations in the Dallas Voice, travel agent Doug Thompson confirmed them.
"As a travel agent I sat on the LGBT Task Force for the Cruise Line Industry Association. In 2013 we began to petition each of the cruise lines to stop the use of the term "Friends of Dorothy." Our reasoning was simple. We no longer wanted to be treated like we were in the closet as some secret society."
Thompson added that younger LGBT travelers and even older travelers not accustomed to traveling might not understand the terminology.
Cruise lines now leave the decisions of onboard programing up to individual cruise directors, but all are enthusiastic about the recommendations that "LGBT Gatherings" be included in the schedules, according to Thompson.
Passengers who do not see the information listed on the schedules can contact the front desk for information where a community board also lists information.
So there we have it. The LGBT equality movement has reached yet another height. There are plenty of LGBT-only cruises available, but they are often more expensive than mainstream cruises and not what everyone wants to experience.
As Thompson points out, you can now call your travel agent or the cruise line directly and tell them what you want a LGBT-friendly cruise.
"Any of your local travel agents will be happy to help you plan for your cruise vacation," Thompson said.
Friday, June 10, 2016
It really doesn't get any better than this.
Here I am showing off my award from the Press Club of Dallas for "Excellence in Journalism" with the beautiful NBC 5 Anchor Kristi Nelson who hosted the 2016 North Texas Legends ceremony at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza June 9.
My nephew, Mike Webb and his wife, Angela, and my good friend Paul Stoker and his wife, Rebecca, attended the ceremony. Afterwards, the five of us went to Bouchan, a French restaurant in North Oak Cliff on Davis St. for drinks and dinner. It was a magical night.
Below, I'm pictured with my nephew, Mike, and my friend, Paul.