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The Daily Agenda for Thanksgiving Day

Jim Burroway

November 28th, 2013

J.C. Leyendecker’s Thanksgiving cover for the Saturday Evening Post, 1928.

Turkey, oyster dressing, mashed sweet potatoes, basmati rice with walnuts and raisins, green bean casserole, spicy tomato crumble, steamed asparagus, cranberry sauce, wine, and homemade bourbon-molasses-pecan pie. That’s what’ll be on our table for Thanksgiving. What about you?

Events This Weekend: International Bear Pride, Cologne, Germany; White Party, Miami, FL; Side-By-Side LGBT Film Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia.

25 YEARS AGO: Dallas Judge Gives Light Sentence In Gay Men’s Murder: 1988. It was a common sport among Dallas-area high school students throughout the 1980s and well into the 1990s: drive into the Oak Lawn gayborhood on a weekend night and spend the evening “gay bashing” — their term for it. (One of my friends was stabbed in the chest and spent days in intensive care in one such attack while walking along Throckmorton Street with his boyfriend. His assailants were never found.) In one case, nine guys from North Mesquite High School drove to Oak Lawn one night in May to “pester the homosexuals.” According to the New York Times’s description of the event:

Witnesses who were in that group said the boys were standing on a street corner and shouting at passers-by, and then Tommy Lee Trimble, 34, and John Lloyd Griffin, 27, drove up and invited the boys into their car. [Richard Lee] Bednarski was said to have persuaded one more friend in his group to get in the car. After the car reached a secluded area of Reverchon Park, Mr. Bednarski is said to have ordered Mr. Trimble and Mr. Griffin to remove their clothes. On their refusal, a witness said, Mr. Bednarski drew a pistol and began firing. Mr. Trimble died immediately. Mr. Griffin died five days later.

At first, the crime was thought to be a botched robbery. Former Dallas Gay Alliance president William Waybourn later remembered, “Reverchon Park was a notorious mugging point. We don’t even know they would gay at first.” But as details unfolded, it became clear that there was more going on. Bednarski, the son of a police officer, began bragging about the shootings, then he became worried that Griffin might live to identify against him.

Bednarski was found guilty of two counts of murder, but Texas law allows the defendant to decide whether the judge or jury would determine the sentence. Bednarksi’s defense lawyer sensed that Judge Jack Hampton was sympathetic and chose him. Prosecuters demanded the maximum: life in prison. But Hampton announced that he considered, among other things, that Bednarski has no prior criminal record, was attending college, and was raised n a “good home.” He then handed down the sentence: 30 years in prison instead of life.

The sentence was considered light. Hampton explained his reasoning two days later to the Dallas Times Herald: “The two guys that got killed wouldn’t have been killed if they hadn’t been cruising the street picking up teenage boys. I don’t care for queers cruising the streets picking up teenage boys. I’ve got a teenage boy.” He also said that he would have handed down a much harsher sentence if the victims had been “a couple of housewives out shopping, not hurting anybody. I put prostitutes and gays at about the same levee, and I’d be hard pressed to give someone life for killing a prostitute.”

Those remarks touched off a furor in the gay community. Paul Varnell of the Illinois Gay and Lesbian Task Force summed up the reaction and said, “It appears that we do have one law for heterosexuals and one law for homosexuals.” John Wiley Price, the outspoken African-American activist and Dallas County Commissioner, said, “The only difference between the Ku Klux Klan and Judge Hampton is that one wears a white robe and the other a black robe.” On December 19, 200 people attended a rally outside the county courthouse. The next day, Sen. Edward Kennedy joined another protest at City Hall Plaza, where he described Hampton’s comments as “bigotry at its worst.”

Hampton had his supporters though. Two days later, fifty supporters demonstrated outside the courthouse. The Rev. Donald Skelton of Victory Tabernacle Church said that his reason for demonstrating had less to do with supporting Hampton as it was to “protest sodomy.” “He explained, “Our sole thrust is against sodomy. I feel sorry for them [homosexuals].” That same day, Hampton called a press conference and apologized for his “poor choice of words,” although he also protested that the Time Herald reporter had “distorted” his remarks. “I did not intend to stat ethat any victim of crime was entitled to less fair treatment.”

The gay community wasn’t satisfied. Waybourn responded that Hampton had “raised the question of his judicial fitness and ability to be impartial.  This question cannot be answered with a simple apology.”

LGBT leaders filed a complaint with the Commission on Judicial Conduct, which publicly censured Hampton for making “irresponsible statements” which “created an additional burden for the entire judiciary.” But it fell short of condemning his prejudice or removing him from the bench. Hampton, who had been first elected judge in 1981 and would be up for re-election in 1990, remained unconcerned. “Just spell my name right,” he told the Times-Herald. “If it makes anybody mad, they’ll forget by 1990.” He was right. He was re-elected in 1990, but his judicial career finally ended when when he ran for an appellate court seat in 1992 and lost.

Bednarski was released in 2007 after serving less than nineteen years in Huntsville.

[Additional Source: Arnold Wayne Jones. "Jack Hampton's Injustice." The Dallas Voice (October 17, 2008): 1, 12-13, 16. Available online herehere, here and here.]

If you know of something that belongs on the Agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

As always, please consider this your open thread for the day.



November 28th, 2013 | LINK

A Turkey Porchetta (boneless turkey breast stuffed with herbs, rolled, and covered with the turkey skin), gravy, sausage and cranberry stuffing (or would that be “dressing,” since it’s not actually IN the bird?), green bean casserole, candied yams (NOT with marshmallow!), long grain & wild rice, mashed rutabaga, raw cranberry relish, and mincemeat tarts for dessert.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

P.S. That “spicy tomato crumble” sounds intriguing. Would you share the recipe?

Ben in Oakland
November 28th, 2013 | LINK

I had forgotten about that case, that judge, that comment, and that so called Christian.

It is amazing what you can accomplish when the myths you tell yourself about your Bronze Age myths allow you to ignore the truths about your Bronze Age myths.

Thou shalt not murder? Judge not lest ye be judged? do as you would be done by?

A spiritual sickness of the worst order, and all of the praying in the world is not going to heal it.

Jim Burroway
November 28th, 2013 | LINK

Spicy Tomato Crumble

1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheeese
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbps unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp capers, rinced, drained, roughly chopped.
2 tbsp finely diced pepperoncini
2 tsp honey
1 tsp basil
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 28-oz can whole italian tomatoes with juice, roughly chppped
1/2 cup Kalamata olices, roughly chopped

To prepare the filling:
Put all of the filling ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 25 minutes to reduce the filling slightly.

To prepare the topping.
Combine the dry ingrediants into a bowl. Add the butter and work it with your fingertips until the muxture is crumbly.

Preheat the oven to 350 (I just stick it in the oven just as the turkey is coming out.) Pour the filling into a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Sprinke the topping on top, place the dish in the center of the oven on a baking sheet. Bake until the topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.

This comes from one of my favorite cook books, Mary Cech’s Savory Baking: 75 Warm and Inspiring Recipes for Crisp, Savory Baking

November 28th, 2013 | LINK

Please tell me there was also outrage over the judge’s suggestion that murdering sex workers is okay.

November 28th, 2013 | LINK


Joseph Singer
November 28th, 2013 | LINK

Turkey, Brussels Sprouts, rolls, cranberry sauce, cranberry apple sauce (for),sweet potato latkes, orange carrots, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie (and lots of other stuff.)

November 28th, 2013 | LINK


Thank you for the recipe! It sounds yummy, and I think my daughter and I will try it very soon.

I also thank you for the link to the cookbook. I’m putting it on my wishlist (like I NEED another cookbook…I’m a cookbook collector!)

November 28th, 2013 | LINK

Had to look up what day it is for you guys. As it turns out, we’ve already had it. It’s now Friday.

(If you must know: we had homemade ricotta dumplings with whole tomato and basil leaf sauce, an Italian salad and a chilled rosé from South Australia. Light and simple to make after a workday – 30 mins – and not a turkey in sight.)

On another note, I remember that case and the comments. Including this one “Our sole thrust is against sodomy.”

They cannot help themselves can they? When we’re not ramming it down their throats, we’re thrusting it into them. Dr Freud, you’re wanted at the reception desk…

November 28th, 2013 | LINK

So, what is oyster dressing?

Jim Burroway
November 28th, 2013 | LINK

As the name implies, it’s dressing (or stuffing) with oysters in it. My mother made it for as long as I can remember, and it has been a very rare Thanksgiving that I didn’t make it myself.

November 29th, 2013 | LINK

Thanks. It sounds good, because I like oysters. And I didn’t think it would be that simple.

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