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 that once she was told that Eich supported Prop 8, said this: 
“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.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


Watch the video below. If you're familiar with director George Stevens' 1952 classic film Shane, you know what it's about. If you haven't seen Shane, take a look, and pay close attention.

The legend of Shane is set in a valley in late 19th Century Wyoming where, as the story goes, the closest law enforcement was three days' travel away.  However, I'd like to know your answer to this hypothetical question: 
What if the laws of current-day Florida were in place in Shane?

I'm not kidding. If what you just saw had taken place in Florida, could Jack Wilson, (Jack Palance) the grinning, black-hatted shooter, be convicted of a crime? Or was he simply defending his own life against hot-tempered so-called sodbuster Frank "Stonewall" Torrey (Elisha Cook, Jr.), who clearly drew a gun on him in front of plenty of witnesses?

I want to know what you think. I've got Disqus on my blog now, so it's easy to comment. Knock yourself out.

By the way, Shane is well worth watching if you've never seen it. It's not #45 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 Classic American Movies for nothing. You can see it on Amazon or Netflix, and the Blu-ray is being released in August 2013.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


You know who Hank Johnson is, don't you?


What if I told you he has to be the least intelligent member of Congress currently in office, bar none? Would that help you?

What's that? You say he can't be as dumb as that guy who expressed his concerns to a Navy Commander about putting a Marine base on the South Pacific island of Guam because it might cause the island to capsize?

That was Hank Johnson!

From a March 26, 2010:

Here's a portion of the transcript of his comments in the video; the hearing's transcripts can be found here (Johnson's questions to U.S. Pacific Commander Adm. Robert Willard, U.S. Navy begin on page 26).  

When the video of Johnson's "capsize" comments went viral, he claimed that he was using humor to make a larger point about the potential damage a new military base could cause to Guam's infrastructure and environment. 

Let's talk about that. 

It's true that Johnson did voice those concerns, but his unsteady inquiries about the length and width of the island (although, shockingly, he couldn't get the words "length" and "width" out of his mouth) indicate to me he had in mind that the adding a naval base to the island might tip it over much like an unbalanced canoe would.  Hank should have no such fears; an additional 25,000 more residents shouldn't put Guam at risk of sinking under the weight of approximately 200,000 residents. After all, there is an island property of the United States that does just fine with one-ninth the acreage of Guam and 1,600,000 residents. What's the name of that island again?  It seems to have slipped my mind. 

Oh, I remember. It's called "Manhattan."

Now, that's comedy ... kind of. I'm no comedian, but I know I'm funnier than Hank Johnson for the simple fact that I know this: If you're the only one who gets it, you're not doing it right.  Good humor may at times be complex, but it's never so obscure that people have no idea what is being talked about.  Funny people learn this at a young age.  As we get older, the stakes get higher. When a mature adult flubs at telling a riddle much like kindergarten kids often do, it's not cute.  It's embarrassing at the least, and at the worst it's pathetic.  People wonder if you're just bad at being funny, or if you're dense.  Maybe Hank, in his own mind, thinks he's Bill Cosby or Richard Pryor. I think not. Try Stepin Fetchit. That, of course, is predicated on the notion that Johnson wasn't being dead serious.

Johnson is also on the House Judiciary Committee.  In the run-up to so-called comprehensive immigration legislation passed in the Senate with the aid of moderate Republicans of the "Gang of Eight," border hawk Trey Gowdy (R-SC) proposed the "SAFE Act," a bill that authorizes and funds the enforcement of federal immigration statutes by state and local governments.  On June 13, 2013, hearings were held regarding the bill.

You're about to watch one reason why I don't give Hank Johnson the benefit of the doubt when he offers explanations for appearing to be totally clueless.

Out of the nine persons seated before the HJC that day, two Californians had compelling accounts to relate. Jamiel Shaw Sr. (right, with his late son, Jamiel Jr.) testified about how local governments' refusal to deport undocumented criminals -- in this case, a young gangbanger who had just been released from jail -- led to his teenage son being murdered as he was walking home from high school. Ironically, Shaw Sr.'s wife and Jamiel Jr.'s mother was serving in Iraq at the time of his killing. She survived a war zone in the Middle East. Her son died in the war zone in his own neighborhood.  Here's a link to video of Shaw Sr.'s statement.
Sabine Durden (left, middle, following a court appearance) testified before the Committee about how laxity in deportation of undocumented criminals led to her adult son Dominic being killed in traffic by an illegal immigrant on probation for GTA & armed robbery and 2 DUIs. Dominic Durden was a well-respected volunteer firefighter and police dispatcher who had been recognized multiple times by government officials and politicians everybody has heard of.  Ms. Durden's statement can be seen here. 

Now, watch and listen to the way Hank Johnson wasted his five minutes to question the panel, and zeroed in on Mr. Shaw and Ms. Durden.  Then, watch as Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) responded, how HJC Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) intervened, and how Shaw & Durden returned fire.

Although Shaw and Durden got to say their peace, I don't think either of them believes Johnson got it or gets it.  The frustration of Durden was evident on her face as Johnson finally stopped talking. I was alerted to this situation after I heard Durden in an interview on The John and Ken Show on KFI-AM, Los Angeles. She made note of the "rude gentleman from Georgia."

I am in the Congressional District of Nancy Pelosi. She's not much sharper than a butter knife either,  but she neither has a law degree nor practiced law for a quarter-century. Apparently, Hank Johnson does and did.  I'm trying to imagine Johnson in court, and just thinking about it is excruciating. I don't know if he's had a motorcycle accident without a helmet or something, but there's nothing that has come out of that dude's mouth lately that indicates he can do anything more than read and regurgitate talking points he can barely grasp (thus the specious mumblings about the corrections industry and ALEC).  

Certainly whatever sector of his brain from which compassion should originate has been rendered inoperable.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Before the world is rocked by whatever the Supreme Court has decided regarding same-sex marriage in the cases regarding Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, I just want to remind people of how loving and tolerant the advocates of gay marriage have been over the years.

Here's alleged comedienne Margaret Cho, a San Francisco native, at the annual Gay Pride celebration in June 2008 (NSFW; language warning):

She was a Sunday School teacher? Well, you know what they say: "...those who can't teach."

Fast forward a few months to November, 2000; Barack Obama was elected President, but Proposition 8 was victorious in California largely because of African-American voter turnout.  Exit polls say that 70% of black voters approved of Prop 8. So naturally, gay activists came out in droves and marched on the black community.


Of course they didn't go after blacks. They went after Mormons, who were among the most generous and vociferous donors toward the cause of reaffirming traditional marriage as the norm.  If you march on a Mormon Temple, you're pretty sure there will be no pushback. You can't necessarily say that about your typical inner-city Baptist church. And when you're a minority group that is overwhelmingly white, the optics of going into a black neighborhood to protest are really bad.

Anyway, here's Cho again, making an appearance in Cincinnati, Ohio at what seems to be a gay rights rally the morning after the election.  She's written a song for the occasion targeting Mormons.  The lyrics are below.  The crowd was wildly supportive of all the lyrics, even singing along at the end.

What ever happened to democracy?
Everything equal and fair?
Mormons deny our humanity
And they wear weird underwear

All that we ask for is family
Free from homophobic complaints
Spare me your holy insanity
I protest the Church of Latter-Day Saints


Don't let the Mormons get away with it
Don't let their legislation pass
Why do you think that they give a $#!+
Shove Proposition 8 up their ass

Maybe we can get them audited
Cut the whole church down to size
They hate gays 'cause they're closeted
Protect our kids from their lies

I want them to suffer for what they've done
What would the Lord on high say?
A true Christian tries to love everyone
And Jesus was probably gay

They've flooded our airwaves with blasphemy
Distortion and misuse of wealth
They try to deny their polygamy
Oh Mormons, go #U¢< yourselves


As I typed these lyrics, the line "Maybe we can get [the Mormons] audited..."  Hmmm.  Cho seems to be suggesting using the tax code as a weapon against ideological Cincinnati! Were there any IRS employees in that crowd?


But seriously: More interesting is the way Cho refers to polygamy, which was abandoned by the LDS church as a condition of Utah Territory being awarded statehood.  Only dissident Mormons (such as the ones loyal to convicted felon Warren Jeffs) continue to openly practice polygamy, daring state and federal governments to prosecute them.  It sounds as if Margaret -- who is married, but counts herself among the gay community because she beforehand "went through seriously slutty phases" as a "trisexual" -- thinks polygamy is objectionable; I can't think of another context in which it enters the discussion.

Most of the time, same-sex marriage advocates don't talk about polygamy.  They don't want to get into a conversation about how it's the next logical restriction on marriage to fall.  Once it is stipulated that men are no longer limited to marrying women and vice versa, for what fathomable reason should the law limit the number of marriage mates to two?  What about "trisexuals," like Cho?  Why can't she marry a woman in addition to her man?  Why can't her man marry another woman?  Why can't her husband marry another man?  Why can't the man her husband also be married to another woman? Or another man? And so on, and so on.

When it comes to plural marriage and other laws based solely in common standards of morality, if both Prop 8 and DOMA are overturned, expect Justice Scalia to find a scholarly way to say "I told you so on Romer. I told you so on Lawrence. And I'm telling you now."

Mark my words.

P.S. I'm happy to announce that REACTOR has switched to Disqus comments, which are much more user-friendly than Blogger's, which don't allow blockquotes and have those annoying captchas.  So please COMMENT!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


From the document "Conway to Cook Interstate 5 Master Plan," published by the Washington State Department of Transporation in November 2008 (page 3-6)


I-5 was constructed through Skagit County in two segments beginning in the mid 1950’s and on into the mid 1960’s.Several more bridges were built in the 1970’s as interchanges were added to I-5 at Conway (SR 534), Old Highway 99 South, Anderson Road and George Hopper Road. The 2nd Street bridge in Mount Vernon was replaced with a new bridge that opened to traffic in 2006. Twelve of the 17 bridge structures in the I-5 corridor from Conway to Cook were built between 1953 and 1964 and are still in use today. All of the I-5 bridges are structurally sound and safe. Washington State has a meticulous inspection system which rates the primary components of bridges. The age and design of most of the oldest bridge structures in the corridor makes it economically unfeasible to modify them to accommodate I-5 widening for ramp or lane improvements or to accommodate wider arterial streets crossing I-5. 
I-5 pavement in the Conway to Cook corridor is primarily asphalt in both directions of travel except for a short section in the southbound lanes in the vicinity of the Cook Road interchange where the pavement is made of Portland cement. Through the years sections of pavement have been repaired or replaced on the mainline lanes and the interchange ramps. The pavement is generally in good condition but there is some rutting and cracking at a number of locations. Replacement and repair of state highway pavements, including I-5 from Conway to Cook, is prioritized regionally and statewide to ensure pavements remain safe for travel and that their useful life is optimized in order to make the best use of limited funds.