CATEGORY: Music

Asian-American band to SCOTUS: review our trademark victory

by Amber Healy

It’s not often a winning party in a long-fought legal battle asks the Supreme Court in the United States to review a lower court’s ruling that had been made in its favor. But for the Portland, Oregon-based, Asian-American dance-rock band The Slants, that’s just what happened this week.

In December, The Slants won the ability to legally register and protect their band name, something the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had said was offensive to Asian Americans. It was a victory nearly six years in the making.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled that the USPTO was in violation of the Constitution by rejecting the band’s trademark application by a 9-3 margin. The court found that the section of the archaic and little-known Lanham Act used by the USPTO to deny the application, the “disparagement” portion, could not be used to prevent or deny the application. Continue reading

Trump Cook Out

Hypocrisy Watch: FOX reporter cares deeply about the liberty of those who agree with him

Donald Trump, Kim Davis and Cook Out: because the Constitution guarantees redeemed sinners the right to fast food.

First, the headline:

‘Hell No!’ Cashier refuses to serve Trump backers

Shannon Riggs and her cousins were famished after attending a Donald Trump rally last week in Richmond, Va., so they decided to drop by Cook Out – a regional restaurant chain known for its tasty burgers.

The group was decked out in Trump swag – from T-shirts to those iconic red hats emblazoned with the campaign’s slogan: “Make America Great Again.” Continue reading

Can we just repeal the Fourth Amendment?

We’re not really using it anyway

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

DUI checkpoints. Stop and frisk. Racial profiling. Total Information Awareness. CIA. NSA. AT&T. Surveillance state. Cheek swabs. No-knock warrants. Civil forfeiture. More civil forfeiture. Border searches, subpoenas instead of warrants, metadata, facial recognition, medical records. Expanded background checks. Continue reading

CATEGORY: Guns

Human rights vs gun rights: after Orlando and before the next Sandy Hook…

Human rights, gun rights and what is right.

by Michael Frantz

Here’s what is clear to me—we have by law and action made it too damned easy to kill and demean.

Let’s start where I hope there is less debate. Can we all agree that regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, color, religious (or not) affiliation, age, mental and physical differences, veteran’s status or any other “identifier” that all humans should be inherently endowed with equal rights? Continue reading

CATEGORY: Guns

To reduce gun violence, make gun owners and sellers liable for violence committed with their guns

GunShowLet me start this post with an admission. If I had the power, I’d happily ban assault weapons completely. I’d also round up the majority of assault-style weapons presently in circulation and destroy them, along with any magazine larger than about five rounds (if you need more than that for hunting, you’re doing it wrong). I think they’re disgusting and useful for only one thing – killing other human beings – and that every argument in favor of owning assault-style weapons (they’re safer, they’re lighter, and they’re great for varmint hunting are a few of the ones I’ve seen offered since Orlando) is bullshit. The fact that AR-15 style weapons were renamed “modern sport rifles” specifically to circumvent the original assault weapon ban tells me that even the gun makers know that they’re selling assault weapons, not hunting rifles. I’ll probably vote to support a ban in the future, and this is one of the many issues on which I grade candidates when I vote. I suspect that many folks reading this are probably very happy that I don’t have this power.

However, I recognize that a ban may not be politically feasible at this time, and even a ban won’t fix everything. Gun crimes, even mass shootings, would still occur- the murderers would simply buy their weapons from the black market or steal them. But there is something that would help reduce the number of deaths due to guns overall, not just gun crimes. Suicides, accidental discharges, and crimes all would be reduced by what I’m about to propose:

Make gun sellers and owners criminally liable for gun crimes committed using their weapons. Continue reading

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Sometimes a gun is just a gun

il_340x270-731368759_4lvuJust because you’re paranoid, don’t mean they’re not after you. – Kurt Cobain

Did you know that in Russia it is legal to own a handgun but not a rifle? If you are a gangster and you want to shoot someone at point blank range, to rob them or to exact revenge or to terrorize their fellow citizens, the government has no problem with that. It’s the medium to long range shooting that falls under regulation. As it happens, rifles are necessary to overthrow a government. Continue reading

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Mr. Cameron’s Brexit nightmare

t143872Brexit could be a model for what nations should do if the political leadership was there. But it isn’t.

I imagine when British Prime Minister David Cameron secured an agreement with European political leaders last winter on immigration and other issues relating to continued UK membership in the European Union, he thought he had dealt with this. He seemed pretty confident at the time that this would persuade British voters with concerns about immigration and EU membership in general that their concerns had been addressed. Now, even though I dislike Cameron and his politics, I used to think that he had pretty good political instincts—he has led the Conservatives to two election victories, after all, the past one giving him a majority in Parliament. I was wrong—Cameron’s political instincts appear to be as muddled as the Republican leadership in the US who thought that Trump would fold after every outlandish statement. It turns out that this is the year of outlandish. This is not Mr. Gumpy’s Outing. Continue reading

The American experiment continues

Hillary Clinton will lose in a landslide.

coetxg-ueaajfolWe can build a bridge to tomorrow, with hopes and dreams and renewable energy and some new alloy that US Steel is keeping under wraps. The common man has achieved equal status with the upper crust. We can come to some arrangement wherein power is shared and, gradually, peacefully, handed over. The future belongs to the folks who live then.

Hillary Clinton is not part of that future. She is a hired gun, an enforcer of the regime. Bernie Sanders is a visionary who sees it coming. He’s been consistent his whole life saying what the Chinese already know, that without internal stability there is no external security. Why do you think we fell apart like a dry rotted tapestry during a guerrilla attack? September 11th was scary. I was there. I inhaled the asbestos from the twin towers. It was not “uproot the foundation of the republic” scary. Why, then, did we uproot the republic? Continue reading

S&R Honors: Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali: The Champ for racial equality and social justice

Not everybody loved The Greatest: what Muhammad Ali meant to one racist Southern kid

That was always the difference between Muhammad Ali and the rest of us. He came, he saw, and if he didn’t entirely conquer – he came as close as anybody we are likely to see in the lifetime of this doomed generation. – Hunter S. Thompson

I grew up in the ’60s and ’70 in a rural Southern culture that was stereotypically:

  • racist
  • segregationist
  • sexist
  • homophobic
  • nationalistic
  • jingoistic

And, of course,

  • conservative Christian

As a kid, all you know is what you’re taught. Continue reading

2016 Battleground States

My dinner with a Trump voter

2016 Battleground StatesThis is the most important question Democrats face in 2016, and perhaps in our lifetimes.

I recently had dinner with a woman who plans to vote for Donald Trump, and the conversation was interesting for a number of reasons, not least of which was its implications for the Clinton campaign.

Betty (not her real name) is in her 70s and is a politically aware, active member of a prominent and well-connected Republican family in a red state. (This state supported McCain over Obama in 2008 by better than a 2-1 margin and it voted for Romney by ~2.5-1.)

Here are the things I took away from our dinner conversation. Continue reading

Hillary Clinton

Clinton’s agenda for first 100 days is underwhelming. And predictable. And paid for by the usual suspects.

On infrastructure and immigration, half measures and vested interests dominate Hillary’s planning. Duh.

There’s news about what would-be President Hillary Clinton has planned for her first 100 days in office. Pending details, there are things to be cautiously optimistic about.

A Clinton aide indicated today that within her first 100 days in office, the likely Democratic nominee would send Congress a bill to spend more federal money on infrastructure. The price tag for that bill isn’t clear yet, but the aide suggested it will be higher than the $275 billion proposal Clinton has already put forth. Continue reading

CATEGORY: BusinessFinance

On labor and survival of the species

I’ve had a political reckoning, of sorts.

CATEGORY: BusinessFinanceAs much as I hate boxes and labels, I think I’ve finally figured out where my political inclinations actually lean. I’m labor, but we have no party that I’d currently be comfortable with.

Basically, I think the workers should benefit equally with capital, and I’ll work with my own loosey-goosey definitions so I don’t get bogged down by not speaking fluent socialist or capitalist, and trust that a better-read reader will get the gist of what I’m saying. I’m open to correction, but it’s the point, not how I say it that matters. Now, if my gist is wrong, I need to know that for sure. Otherwise, this is what I’m going with.

Without labor, nothing happens. Our labor has worth. Push that idea far enough so that labor takes predominance and one lands somewhere in socialism or communism or some such -ism. But I’m not so quick to condemn the management and financial classes as I believe my comrades on the far left are wont to do. Continue reading

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Hillary, give ’em the bird

2dc1cb1bf5c2308b-birdie-sticker-500#BernieOrBust movement feels democracy itself is threatened. Sanders as VP candidate would ease those worries.

Hillary Clinton is worried about party unity. She should be. Bernie Sanders leads a grassroots movement larger than the one which swept President Obama into office in 2008. Ten million people have voted for him already. Worse, a large and vocal part of this grassroots movement feels betrayed by the Democratic Party, which has unsuccessfully waged war against the Bernie Sanders movement at every turn, beginning with a biased debate schedule, and culminating in the vulgar display of power by which the remaining Nevada delegates were assigned three days ago. Continue reading

Presumptive Secretary of Defense Ted Nugent

Trump is going to need a cabinet

And it is going to be GREAT

Presumptive Secretary of Defense Ted Nugent

Presumptive Secretary of Defense Ted Nugent

Okay, I’m a realist. I have to accept that there is a legitimate possibility that Trump will be president. In which case, the best thing we can hope is that he surrounds himself with a cabinet up to the task at hand. This will be a daunting task.

So now is the time to start thinking up his fantasy cabinet. Who are the very best people he should entrust to each of these critical roles? Continue reading

Moment of #Mansplanation

Actually…

I just had a chance to read this op/ed from last year’s NYT: What makes a woman? The subject is still timely, especially thanks to hijinks like those coming out of North Carolina’s statehouse. And I’ve riffed on it before, if with more vitriol. I was a meaner person back then. Now I can just rest on the laurels of my cis-gendered white male privilege, look at this modern debate and all those hoity-toity post-modern nonsensilists and be snide. It’s an important debate, exactly because it’s in the courts and involves human safety, but dammit people, bring your A-game.  Continue reading

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To get rid of a barbarian, pay him off

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image courtesy of Slate.com

The total number of votes cast in the primaries in swing states:

Democrats Republicans
Florida: 1,664,003 2,276,926
North Carolina: 1,076,699 1,109,048
Virginia: 778,865 952,714
Ohio: 1,192,815 2,011,357
Wisconsin: 1,000,703 1,083,574

If Trump wins those five states, he’ll have 276 electoral votes and become President of the United States. Continue reading

Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders

Is Clinton really the practical choice to beat Trump? The data says no.

Conventional wisdom says only Clinton can beat Trump. All the polling data says otherwise.

I keep being told that I have to get behind Hillary Clinton because she’s the only one who can beat Trump in November. That would be a more compelling argument if there were any evidence that it’s actually true. Instead, every single poll I have seen shows the exact opposite. Have a look at the latest from NBC News.

Clinton and Sanders vs Trump NBC poll

Now check the absolutely harrowing news from today’s Quinnipiac poll, which shows Clinton and Trump in a dead heat in three swing states. Continue reading

Politics: Democrats vs Republicans

Ralph Nader did not make George Bush president

It’s time to try to kill a certain meme that’s already going around, and which we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the coming months–that people voting for Ralph Nader in the 2000 election cost Al Gore the Presidency and handed it to George Bush. This will undoubtedly be used, as subtly as a mace, to guilt Bernie supporters to vote for Hillary. But the notion that what happened in Florida in 2000 provides a precedent for what people should do this year is fallacious, and here’s why. Continue reading