Running the Government Gauntlet

“An appeal board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the trademark registrations of the Washington Redskins on the grounds that the team’s controversial name is disparaging to Native Americans,” reported the Wall Street Journal. Since when does the Patent Office enforce manners?

Do you realize how many potentially offensive (to someone) and politically incorrect trademarks there are? (Swedes may object to Vikings; short citizens might find Giants offensive, Confederacy-related mascots could offend Blacks; horse lovers may find equine trademarks (Broncos and Chargers) offensive. Why do glorify pirates?)

Who decides? Someone in Hollywood or New York City? Was there a poll? A vote? As an citizen whose ancestry includes Native Americans, I could be among the offended, but no one asked me. Was this decision made by some white lawyer inside the Beltway?

Who gave the Patent Office the power to arbitrate? Is there a due process for rescinding a long-standing patent or trademark? Is the harm to the holder of the trademark or patent considered? (Of course not, we’re going for ideological purity.)

Why are we stand for this stupidity?


VA’s Audit Documents Delays

“A nationwide audit of Department of Veterans Affairs health care facilities found that about 57,000 patients have been waiting more than three months for appointments, while nearly 64,000 others have been enrolled in the system for a decade but have still not been seen by doctors,” reports the New York Times.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the VA internal audit also found “70% of facilities visited used an alternative to official appointment schedules.”

This bureaucratic, union-run mess is what all our medical care may look like in a few years.

Pre-review: J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Beowulf”

Never done a “pre-review” before, but …

The Tolkien family has published the Professor’s 1926 translation and later commentary of “Beowulf.” Within the last year I read Tolkien’s 1936 paper “Beowulf: The Monster and the Critics” and the 1940 “On Translating Beowulf,” both of which awoke a new appreciation for and understanding of that classic. I’ve backed off buying “new” Tolkien fiction as they often have not the quality of the material he actually published. But this was Tolkien’s day job.

Of the controversy over publishing Tolkien’s unfinished work, New York Times “Beowulf authority” Kevin Kiernan wrote, “It’s like Gandalf says, ‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’ He decided he didn’t want to waste it on a translation. He worked on ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord the Rings’ instead.”

For a professional reviews, see the Wall Street Journal or New York Times.

Looking forward to this one.

Putin on Russian Exceptionalism

An essay by Leon Aron in Wall Street Journal: “Why Putin Says Russia Is Exceptional: Such claims have often heralded aggression abroad and harsh crackdowns at home” makes thought-provoking reading. If we don’t understand how others think, we can hardly hope to deal with them effectively.

On one thing I agree with Putin, Russia is a unique civilization, apart from Europe. So are we, Britain, Canada and lots of others. Russia, like Britain, is figuratively as well as literally on a pole of Europe, sharing some aspects, differing in others. Treating Russia like another France is a mistake.

Still, resurgent nationalism, such as Putin seems to be fanning in Russia, may threaten to world peace. Especially when neighbors with delusions of grandeur bump.