Thursday, June 19, 2014


A.F. Branco cartoon courtesy
The following is my reaction to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's ruling that the Washington Redskins' long-established logos and trademarks should not have federal registration that helps them legally protect counterfeiting of their merchandise, as posted at [and amended or corrected with brackets]:
 From the Washed-up Post article:
Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.” The ruling pertains to six different trademarks associated with the team, each containing the word “Redskin.”
Who said that the name "Redskins" "bring[s Native Americans] into contempt or disrepute? I contend that in the cases of all but a handful of team names, the purpose is NOT to adopt a name or a mascot that has as its goal making the team seem weak or silly, but one that inspires determination, strength, even fear. In the case of the Washington Redskins, the intent was certainly not to demean natives, but to honor them in the same way as did the owners of the first patch of grass the team played upon: The Boston Braves, later known as the Milwaukee Braves, and now known as the Atlanta Braves.
In the early days of the NFL -- back when baseball really was "America's pastime" -- pro football teams were the stepchildren of the Major League Baseball teams that hosted their games.
From the New York Giants history webpage (italics mine):
[Original Giants'] Owner Tim Mara “borrowed” the Giants’ name from the city’s Major League Baseball team of the same name. This was not unusual among early day pro football franchises. At one time or another there were NFL franchises named the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, and Detroit Tigers.
Such was the case with the then-Boston Braves football team, who played at the National
League Boston Braves' Field in Boston. So where did "Redskins" come from? When the football Braves moved out of the baseball Braves' stadium to the stadium built by the Boston Red Sox of the rival American League -- Fenway Park. They couldn't use the Braves' name while playing in the Red Sox's park, so they changed the name of the team from "Boston Braves" to "Boston Redskins" [which also could have been inspired by the phonetic similarities of "Red Sox" and "Redskins."] The team retained the nickname when they moved to D.C.
It's that simple. No "contempt." Zero "disrepute." There was no purpose in the switch from "Braves" to "Redskins" of reminiscing about the days when there were bounties put on the severed scalps of natives, or any other story that the detractors are using to ply their arguments.
Speaking of which: In answer to the earlier question of who said "Redskins" brings anyone into contempt or disrepute, the answer is five activist Native Americans who filed the complaint with the Patent and Trademark Office. But they are representative of the majority of the people they claim to represent, aren't they? In 2004, the Annenberg Public Policy Center (yes, from Walter Annenberg, the guy behind and who was responsible for putting Barack Obama and Bill Ayers in charge of a Chicago education reform project) published their election-year survey of Native Americans asking this question (verbatim):
“The professional football team in Washington calls itself the Washington Redskins. As a Native American, do you find that name offensive or doesn’t it bother you?”
As it turned out, the answer from the Native Americans was crystal-clear. A whopping 91% said that "Redskins" was offensive.
WHOOPS! Check that -- 91% said that the "Redskins" was NOT offensive.
Let me repeat that for emphasis: NINETY-ONE PERCENT OF NATIVE AMERICANS SURVEYED SAID THAT "WASHINGTON REDSKINS" WAS NOT, NOT, NOT OFFENSIVE TO THEM! With a margin of error of 2%, only 9 percent of the respondents were bothered by it.
Oh, but it must have been some white conservative guy who was in charge of that survey, right? Well, you've got the white part right. See if this name rings a bell: Adam Clymer, listed in the press release as the "political director" of the survey. If you used to frequent Free Republic as I did in the late nineties, you know who he is: He's the former New York Times reporter that then-candidate Governor George W. Bush referenced in an unfortunate "open-mic" moment.

Maybe one of the reasons why Bush was so moved to that description is because he (or his father) was the victim of Clymer's "Major League" hackery, which in later years produced this aromatic nugget about Ted Kennedy:
[His] achievements as a Senator have towered over his time, changing the lives of far more Americans than remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne..."
Even though he presided over the survey, Clymer has recently been dismissing it as irrelevant. Here he is quoted in a March 10, 2013 column by Washed-up Post sports scribe Mike Wise:
"Look, let’s suppose my numbers were 100 percent right, that 90 percent of American Indians were okay with it and that the people on the other end of the phone were actually what they said they were,” he said. “Given that, what if you had a dinner party and you invited 10 people. And by the end of the night it’s pretty clear that nine of them have had a tremendous time and really enjoyed the food and company. But one of them you managed to completely insult and demean, to the point where people around them noticed and it was uncomfortable. So, ask yourself: Were you a social success that night?”
That is a lame, silly simile, since this is not a matter of whether everybody had a great time at a dinner party. It ultimately is about whether or not an extreme minority opinion about a trademark is sufficient to make it a priority of the President of the United States to create a First Amendment crisis out of whole cloth.
This raises another question for Clymer: If it doesn't matter what the results of the survey were, why the hell did you bother conducting it in the first place? Seems to me that you invested eleven months (October 2003 - September 2004) in the hopes that your pre-conceived notions of tribal outrage would be confirmed, perhaps making it suitable for a divisive campaign issue.When it wasn't, you pretended it was meaningless that your point-of-view came up the loser.
Lucky for you, Clymer, you have a fellow "major-leaguer" in the White House, who doesn't care what the facts are. Screw the First Amendment. He's got a pen, and he's got a phone, and he's going to what he wants on his own. And from your remarks about Kennedy, we know you don't mind if a few rules are broken on the way to policy changes you desire.

Friday, April 04, 2014


From Fox and Friends, April 4, 2014:

Here is my contribution to Fox and Friends' Facebook post on the topic:
Mozilla is run by duplicitous, hypocritical cowards.
This is from the blog post announcing Brendan Eich's resignation, written by Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker: 
"Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all...
We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard."
Sounds good, right? Well, it's a crock. To paraphrase George Orwell in Animal Farm, Mozilla supports equality for all, but some Mozillians are more equal than others.
Mozilla was co-founded by Eich, and he was apparently able to function just fine working for a decade and a half with people who were ready to stab him in the back. Even Baker, in an interview with tech blogger Kara Swisher, said [this was her reaction upon learning] that Eich supported Prop 8 [...]: 
“That was shocking to me, because I never saw any kind of behavior or attitude from him that was not in line with Mozilla’s values of inclusiveness...” 
So, then, what the hell was the problem? He had already proven he WASN'T a Bible-thumping zealot who would tell his workmates they would burn in hell for tolerating homosexuals getting married. He respected others at Mozilla in line with its "culture of diversity." But when it came time for others to respect his diverse viewpoint, they couldn't take it. Their heads exploded.
Baker, in the interview, went on to babble some non sequiturs about how the world is "heading into a period of global mass surveillance and the role of those fighting against will be more important than ever.” Oooh, heady stuff. And they can't fight against it with a guy who doesn't believe in same-sex marriage? What kind of nonsense is that? For someone in the high-tech business, Ms. Baker says a lot of things that do not compute.
Eich was a threat to nobody. Mozilla's culture was untouched by his personal stance on the definition of marriage, and there not only was no indication that he was going to change it, he said he would not. It didn't matter -- they didn't want to be in the presence of someone whom they knew thought so differently than them. The facts can bring us to absolutely no other conclusion.
Mozilla's mascot is a dinosaur. I'm hoping it will become extinct.
I have stopped using Firefox, because I can't stand to look at it any longer. It's a shame because it IS the best browser around. But if Mozilla feels like it can just dump the man who brought it so far over having a belief that I share, it's almost my obligation to dump their product.

More coming on this subject. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 31, 2014


Today is Monday, March 31, 2014.  In 2013, March 31 was also Easter Sunday, arguably the holiest day of the year for most practicing Christians.  So when people fitting that description visited Google that day, they were surprised and pleased to see that contrary to the web behemoth's reputation of being anti-everything religiously Christian, a serene, Christlike figure was gracing its home page.  After all, the only previous note Google took of Easter Sunday was in 2000, when it presented its iconic logo with two decorated eggs for the "oo."

Upon a second glance, however, it was clear the saintly, white-clad person Google featured on the day designated to celebrate Christ's rising was not Christ. It was Mexican-American labor activist Cesar Chavez (d. 1993), honored on the 86th anniversary of his birth on March 31, 1927.
On the official Google Doodles page, this is how the portrait (as opposed to animated, more playful past doodles) was described (bold mine):

At times the simplest answer is the best answer. Early, more complicated compositions struggling to encapsulate the magnitude of Chavez’s contributions fell away to a simple portrait, hoping to provide a serene tribute to one of the great progressive figures of our time.

Google chose not to mention the fact that it was also Easter Sunday.  To many people, it seemed as if it was a conscious decision by Google to choose Chavez over Christ, since Chavez's birthdate and Easter Sunday would not intersect again until 2024. If the Doodle people at the Googleplex wanted to avoid controversy it had to know was coming (Google didn't get to be what it is because stupid people are running it), it could have waited until today, Monday, March 31, 2014, with Easter three Sundays into April. What was the rush? It is not as if Chavez was going to be more deceased this year than he was last year.

Here in California, I wanted to visit a state building today and was surprised to find it locked and nobody inside. Chavez's birthday is a state holiday. Government agencies are closed. It had totally slipped my mind that this was passed in California's Democrat-dominated legislature and signed by Governor Moonbeam.  But if some people have their way, none of us will forget Chavez's birthday.

Judi Gerber, who describes herself as "a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy," wrote a piece that popped up in my news links today called "Why Cesar Chavez Deserves a National Holiday." It read, in part (bold mine):

President Barack Obama has signed a proclamation declaring March 31st as Cesar Chavez Day in the United States to “observe this day with appropriate service, community, and educational programs to honor Cesar Chavez’s enduring legacy.” I would argue that we need to go even further and, once and for all, declare it a federal holiday. For that to happen, Congress has to pass the resolution recognizing it as a national holiday.
The proclamation explains the important role Cesar Chavez played in helping farm workers: “They were exposed to dangerous pesticides and denied the most basic protections, including minimum wages, health care, and access to drinking water. Cesar Chavez devoted his life to correcting these injustices, to reminding us that every job has dignity, every life has value, and everyone — no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from — should have the chance to get ahead.”
Further, his cause, the rights of immigrant laborers is still relevant today, even more so in many states. The declaration of Cesar Chavez Day, along with the release of the feature film from actor and filmmaker Diego Luna about his life, simply titled Cesar Chavez, which is now playing, will hopefully do a lot to make his work and legacy as recognizable as that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
His family is also calling on President Obama to make Cesar Chavez’s March 31 birthday a National Day of Service. It seems only fitting to take action, because as Chavez once responded: “If you want to remember me, organize!”
My comment, posted minutes ago, was as follows:
Until the elevation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday to federal holiday status in 1983 (signed into law by President Ronald Reagan), there were only two persons whose birthdays were recognized as deserving of such observation: George Washington, the first President of the United States, and a guy named Jesus Christ. I personally don't believe a King holiday was appropriate for national status because I don't believe that King was more deserving than Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday NEVER was a national holiday. (At this point, let me interject that I am a black man - twice as black as Barack Obama.)
But, now that for all intents and purposes, Rev. King's existence has been elevated to the status of perhaps the third most important person in the centuries since the pilgrims first arrived at Plymouth Rock, every multi-culti "social justice" type is whipping up a campaign to force everyone to acknowledge her or his own secular patron saint. Chavez, commonly spoken of as the Latino-American version of King, is the next logical activist up at bat; then, we'll likely have some drive to create a holiday in honor of a great American woman, maybe Susan B. Anthony. Then, get ready for the campaign to give everyone in government a day off to reflect on the greatness of gay rights martyr Harvey Milk (don't laugh, that nonsense is already underway in California). Of the four figures whose faces are carved on Mount Rushmore, only Washington has his own holiday. Move over, Abe, Tommy, and Teddy, here comes Harv.
Am I implying that Cesar Chavez was some sort of villain? Of course not. The bottom line is this: There are only as many as 366 days in a calendar year; we can't honor the lives of every significant American unless we want to close D.C. down forever (and NO, that wouldn't be a good idea). Billions of Americans have existed since 1776, and [only] the greatest of the great ones are [more than] brief mentions or mere footnotes in contemporary history books; many great ones are anonymous and have been lost to future generations altogether. It's short-sighted -- and frankly ridiculous -- to suggest that anyone whose activities were not integral to the formation and/or survival of the United States of America ought to be honored in the same manner as those whose lives match that description beyond any shadow of doubt.
To any rational person, Chavez falls well short of that standard.