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  1. #1
    USER1234 USER1234 is online now

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    Edith Windsor (the lead plaintiff in the Defense of Marriage Act case) Has died

    BREAKING: Edith Windsor Dies At Age 88

    The New York Times reports:

    Edith Windsor, the gay-rights activist whose landmark Supreme Court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and granted same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time and rights to myriad federal benefits, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 88. Her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, confirmed the death but did not specify a cause. They were married in 2016.

    Four decades after the Stonewall Inn uprising fueled the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in America, Ms. Windsor, the widow of a woman with whom she had lived much of her life, became the lead plaintiff in what is widely regarded as the second most important Supreme Court ruling in the national battle over same-sex marriage rights.

    The Windsor decision was limited to 13 states and the District of Columbia. But in 2015, the Supreme Court held that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry anywhere in the nation, with all the protections and privileges of heterosexual couples. Its historic significance was likened to that of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, which decriminalized gay sex in the United States.
    JoeMyGod - BREAKING: Edith Windsor Dies At Age 88



    1) R.I.P.

    2) Her case against the despicable defense of marriage act was an giant step forward for the rights of LGBT people to marry in America

    3) And while this is sad news I'm glad she was able to finally marry her wife and see marriage equality nationwide before she died!
    Last edited by USER1234; 13th September 2017 at 04:39 AM.
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  2. #2
    NYCKY NYCKY is offline
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    RIP - She has a strong legacy that will impact countless people she will never have met or known.


    She married her first wife Thea Spyer in 2007 in Canada. Spyer died in 2009 and it was that inheritance tax bill and the IRS that prompted the main case.
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  3. #3
    The Eagle of the Ninth The Eagle of the Ninth is offline
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    A truly remarkable person and the story of her marriage, which really began in 1965, is one of the most moving accounts of devotion.

    Windsor was a mathematician, and a top manager at IBM, when few women would ever have achieved such a position. She was a Senior Systems Programmer.

    She became "engaged" to the woman who would later become her official spouse, in 1965, and nursed her through progressive multiple scelorosis, and a serious heart condition. F*ucking IBM rejected her insurance form naming her spouse as the beneficiary when she retired.

    When her wife died in 2009, she had to pay full federal taxes on her estate because they werent considered married. I hate to make this sound about money, but Windsor had spent her own severance package on care for her wife.

    They were joined in life, they loved each other, they stood by each other. Thats marriage.
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  4. #4
    Des Quirell Des Quirell is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Eagle of the Ninth View Post
    A truly remarkable person and the story of her marriage, which really began in 1965, is one of the most moving accounts of devotion.

    Windsor was a mathematician, and a top manager at IBM, when few women would ever have achieved such a position. She was a Senior Systems Programmer.

    She became "engaged" to the woman who would later become her official spouse, in 1965, and nursed her through progressive multiple scelorosis, and a serious heart condition. F*ucking IBM rejected her insurance form naming her spouse as the beneficiary when she retired.

    When her wife died in 2009, she had to pay full federal taxes on her estate because they werent considered married. I hate to make this sound about money, but Windsor had spent her own severance package on care for her wife.

    They were joined in life, they loved each other, they stood by each other. Thats marriage.
    She achieved that status at a time when it was an accolade which really meant something in the mainframe area.

    Since then it has so debased by other companies that I've been in jobs with that title myself and (along with the term "engineer") I've always caviled at its abuse. IBM now seems to have retired the term, offering jobs with that description at a salary between $84k & $110k. She'd have been worth several multiples of that.

    These days, if presented with a hex dump we have sophisticated debug tools with instruction traces, register contents etc to allow us to locate the problem on screen. It's difficult enough as it is, but she would have had only the printout (many thousands of pages), her source code and assembler output (on punch cards) and after that a pen and her eyes. Her name is a legend in my circles. I think (I may remember incorrectly) that they have a Lab named after her in IBM Poughpeeksie.

    I'll take "Senior Sysprog" off my CV today.

    That's all without even beginning to mention her work in the LGBT area.

    I imagine her intelligence, her attention to detail and her drive and persistence carried easily from one arena to the other.
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  5. #5
    Des Quirell Des Quirell is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Eagle of the Ninth View Post
    ...
    She became "engaged" to the woman who would later become her official spouse, in 1965, and nursed her through progressive multiple scelorosis, and a serious heart condition. F*ucking IBM rejected her insurance form naming her spouse as the beneficiary when she retired.

    When her wife died in 2009, she had to pay full federal taxes on her estate because they werent considered married. I hate to make this sound about money, but Windsor had spent her own severance package on care for her wife.

    ...
    I think that the money aspect is crucial to her story. Not in the immediate pecuniary value of the legacy, but in the fact that it was the lever which was used successfully to change the law.

    I'd go easy on IBM; they have to pay taxes according to federal law. There's some really interesting stuff on the IBM intranet about their recruitment practices. They became early equal opportunity employers early in the 50s and at one stage had a black accounts manager who would *gasp* visit the sites of major clients. It's tempting to think that this was done in a spirit of equality. Tempting, but even there it is mentioned that by restricting their recruitment to specific demographics they were depriving themselves of access to a pool of talent which wasn't being exploited by competitors. It was a sound business decision and would have been without casting a glance at equal rights.

    Windsor would have been not only of great value to them in terms of being a female role-model, but in terms of breaking up a lazy and casual assumption among the males at that level that "No Ladeez Need Apply". That, in turn provided an impetus to other women to press harder for positions previously seen as unattainable. Even as she did her daily job she was making a point - and it was one supported by IBM.

    She was no token; her work on the architecture remains in place and is used unknowingly by billions of people every day.
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  6. #6
    The Eagle of the Ninth The Eagle of the Ninth is offline
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    Thats extremely interesting, Des. I became aware of Windsor primarily in her role as an activist, which went back as far as the Stonewall Riots, and of course followed the legal cases closely. It was only latterly that I read about her career at IBM and was intrigued she was considered to be so outstanding in the field. In fact she was given the first IBM PC delivered in New York City, as a token of their regard.

    Its only when you describe her work as you did, that I think you can grasp the level she would have been operating on. Fascinating stuff.

    "Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement" is an excellent documentary about her life with Thea Spyer.
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  7. #7
    statsman statsman is offline
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    RIP. Wonderful woman.
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  8. #8
    Jack Walsh Jack Walsh is offline

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    Yes, a fascinating life and a true modern heroine.

    Hopefully the hyenas wont descend on this thread
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  9. #9
    Des Quirell Des Quirell is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Eagle of the Ninth View Post
    Thats extremely interesting, Des. I became aware of Windsor primarily in her role as an activist, which went back as far as the Stonewall Riots, and of course followed the legal cases closely. It was only latterly that I read about her career at IBM and was intrigued she was considered to be so outstanding in the field. In fact she was given the first IBM PC delivered in New York City, as a token of their regard.

    Its only when you describe her work as you did, that I think you can grasp the level she would have been operating on. Fascinating stuff.

    "Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement" is an excellent documentary about her life with Thea Spyer.
    Believe me: IPLing, or booting up, a mainframe in her time would have involved toggling switches to direct to the operating system to the source of the load parameters and the load nucleus as well as toggling those switches when the system needed input. The systems were very basic, and as shown in Apollo 13 even at that stage the input was via numeric pad and you are speaking formats such as unpacked decimal or packed decimal formats or even zoned decimal in EBDCIC; it all gets complicated quickly.

    There is a subsystem vital to any mainframe system called JES; this is core to the system - the Job Entry Spooling Subsytem. It allocates priorities to jobs, swaps them in and out of the CPU, manages their output, manages their priorities. It keeps things going according to pre-defined priorities. It failed shortly before Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon. Predictable, since the LLM had just about as much processing power as a mid-80s BMW had.

    Fifty years later when I look at a system console I get the occasional HASPnnnC message. "HASP" stands for the Houston Astronomic Spooling Program". That stuff is still all over the place. Her fingerprints are everywhere. BTW, It works and it works bloody well.
    Last edited by Des Quirell; 13th September 2017 at 01:46 PM.
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