Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

Renaming the Washington Redskins

RenamingTheWashingtonRedskins  <–  PDF version

The Washington Redskins NFL football team has been criticized on and off for the past twenty years by some activists, supposedly representing Indian tribes, that the nickname “Redskins” is a racial slur.  Among the cases that have been litigated are Harjo et al v. Football, Inc. [1] and Blackhorse vs. Pro Football, Inc. [2], both objecting to the name under the disparagement clause of the Trademark Law. Apparently most persons of actual Indian descent are not particularly offended by the name (if we believe some polls taken among Indians).

More recently, two federal politicians, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) have voiced their opinion.  They wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on 10 Feb 2014, stating in part [3]:

“The terminology used by theWashingtonfootball team has been determined to be a racial slur.  It is, in fact, an insult to Native Americans.  We are calling on you and the National Football League to take a formal position on a name change.”

Team owner Dan Snyder, citing statistics indicating that the public generally favors the current name, and reluctant to incur the costs associated with changing it, has stated that the name will never change.  I believe that in the long run Mr. Snyder is wrong.  Given the continuous string of accusations of racism from all the “aggrieved” interest groups (real and imagined) it is likely that he will eventually have to change the name.

If there is going to be a name change, there are two ways to go.  The first type, under the category ‘maybe the complainants should be careful what they wish for’, is to rename the team to reflect what the natives actually stood for and what they were.  Then we could choose from several viable alternatives:

a.  Stone Age Barbarians

b.  Enslavers of Women

c.  Demon Possessed Primitives

d.  Merciless Indian Savages (as mentioned by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence)

But there is no point in that; after all, the Indian Wars are long over and members of the Indian tribes have not offended anyone.  They have in fact, suffered greatly from all the “help” given them by the government (not to mention the recurring violation of the treaties).   Since the federal politicians have weighed in (apparently not having anything else to attend to), I favor a second type of name change, one that honors the city of Washington as the seat of the federal government.  How about these for possibilities:

a. Masters of Corruption

b. Pathological Liars

c. Bureaucratic Incompetents

d. Marxist Crusaders

e. D. C.’s (Destroyers of the Constitution) – my favorite

Since all of them are provably true, it is hard to see any objection on the grounds of disparagement.


1.  Suzan Harjo sought cancellation of the team’s trademark in 1992 under the “disparaging terms” clause.  She won the initial verdict in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in 1999, but that ruling was overturned by the D. C. Court of Appeals in 2005, citing insufficient evidence and expiration of the statute of limitations.

2.  This suit makes the same claim as Harjo, but with younger plaintiffs, supposedly not barred from a complaint.  It was filed in 2013 and is still in process.



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The Central Lie of the 2014 Elections

CentralLieOf2014Elections   <– PDF version

Happy New Year, 2014.  This marks the beginning of the 2014 Congressional election cycle, ready or not.  At stake is control of the House (currently controlled by the Republicans) and the Senate (currently controlled by the Democrats).  Since the Democrats have more vulnerable Senate seats in play, and require only a small number of victories to take control of the House, it is important for the Democrats to capitalize on their successes to expand their power base.  Unfortunately, they do not have any successes.  Therefore, it will be important to turn their most important fiasco, namely, the roll-out and implementation of Obama “I Lied, Period” Care into a net positive.  To do so, the Democratic Party Central Lie must be repeated early and often (the same way dead people vote in Chicago).  The Democratic Party Central Lie this election year may be:

“Because of the interference of the evil Republicans, the Messiah/President has found it necessary in the public interest to make adjustments in the Affordable Care Act, which has resulted in its having been effectively repealed.  Therefore it is necessary to elect Democrats to large majorities in both the House and Senate so that the principle of free health care for all can be re-established without the undermining activity of the evil Republicans.”

It is possible that the talking-point narrative from the Democratic Party hacks, reinforced through constant repetition by the adoring sycophants at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS, and The New York Times, may be something like “More Democrats must be elected because….

a.  The initial difficulties with the health care exchange website were due to PATRIOT ACT restrictions imposed by the Republicans, which prevented the rollout from going as smoothly as planned.”

b.  The exemptions given to certain Democratic political groups were necessary in order to prevent the Republicans from taxing health care benefits of families whose main breadwinner are Union members.”

c.  The delay in the employer mandate was necessary because the Republican-driven government shutdown and sequestration prevented the economy from growing fast enough to allow employers to expand their businesses and provide free health care.”

d.  Over 350 million Americans have been provided with free health care already under the Affordable Care Act, but more needs to be done for minorities to counter the racist faction of the Republican Party.”

The Republicans are not politically clever enough to formulate a Central Lie of their own (and no one would broadcast it anyway).  It is better that way.  If the Republicans did attempt a Central Lie, they would inadvertently tell the truth about something and shock the entire political system.


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What’s Next for Obama “I Lied, Period” Care

WhatsNextforObama_ILied_Period_Care   <– PDF version

President Barack “I Lied, Period” Obama has suffered some bad press recently owing to the disastrous rollout of the website.  Enrollment rates are far below what is required to make the system work, and at this writing about 5 million Americans have had their health insurance cancelled.  It is expected that ultimately 90 million people will have their health care interfered with by government regulations and the enforcement bureaucrats run amok. Of course, the good news is that Barack “I Lied, Period” Obama, his family, Joe Biden, his family, administration officials, their families, the members of Congress, their families, Congressional staffs, their families, the wealthy, their families, the politically well-connected, and their families will be unaffected by the “Affordable Care Act” (ACA).  Therefore, there is no problem for the “people who matter”, if you know what I mean.

The website is supposed to re-launch tomorrow, and the administration will regard it as a big success if only 20% of the people who attempt to access it are unable to do so.  The good news is that the technical problems with the web site will ultimately be engineered out; and eventually it will work almost as well as any of the other 100 million websites offering products to the consumer.

The website is not the real problem.  The real problem is that the algorithm underpinning it must coded by software engineers, who are eminently logical people.  They are faced with coding a law written by bureaucrats and self-serving insurance industry operatives, put into legalese by Congressional staffers who are immune from it, passed by members of Congress who did not read it, and signed by a President who lied about it.  It was then transmogrified into incoherent bureaucratic “regulatoryspeak” by employees of the Department of Health and Human Services, all of whom are also immune from it.  The political part was about what we expect from the political elite.  But the software coders still must implement the bureaucratic maze.  With 25 years of experience writing software, I can tell you that there are four possible types of answers in the course of integrating any software process:

a)  The answer is correct, and is verifiably correct

b)  The answer is incorrect, and is obviously incorrect

c)  The answer is incorrect, but cannot be verified

d)  The answer is correct, but cannot be verified

Before one can declare success by achieving option a), he must first verify that none of the other possibilities occur.  The second item b) is the easiest to deal with: if the power company sends you a residential electric bill for $25,852,902.45 for the month of October, there is clearly an obvious problem, and correcting it is a matter of investigation and correction of some erroneous input somewhere.  Those types of problems with the implementation of the ACA will all be tracked down sooner or later.

The last two are the real problems, and are likely to be widespread in a system as complex as the ACA.  We are likely to see in the next year or two, many cases where the premiums and subsidies as quoted appear to be consistent with expectations (higher cost, lower access to care) but are actually wrong, and will have to be revised (another increment of higher cost and lowered access).  Or, we may see cases where the quoted values are actually correct, but there is confusion within the health insurance industry because the result of the government’s implementation is different from what the insurance companies expected (or were lied to about); again requiring an eventual re-adjustment (higher cost, lowered access to care, in addition to lower profits for the insurance companies).  Both of these are very bad insofar as instilling public confidence, and from a software standpoint, are the most difficult and time-consuming to correct.  But, given the inept nature of oversized government in general and this administration in particular, what else should we expect?

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The Antics of the Government Shutdown, Oct 2013

AnticsOfTheShutdownOct2013  <– PDF version

So we’ve had another “partial shutdown” of the federal government.  As usual, the administration did what it could to inconvenience the people for political gain; “essential” government employees worked as usual; and “non-essential” government employees received a two-week taxpayer-paid vacation.  Meanwhile, non-government employees who suffered from slowdowns and furloughs went without.  Situation normal: the ruling elite always look out for themselves and their non-essential government colleagues, first and foremost.  Finally the Democratic faction of the ruling elite came up with a temporary fix on 16 Oct 2013 which will cause the same debate to recur in Jan 2014.  In return, the Republican faction received a promise to negotiate spending cuts from the elitist President that would not even talk to them during the partial shutdown.

This shutdown started when the Republican faction attempted to link de-funding of Obamacare to a continuing resolution; they later reduced their demands to a delay in the individual mandate, but failed in the end to achieve even that.  The Democratic faction spent the two weeks busily claiming the shutdown was a conspiracy by the Republican faction, whimpering non-stop that it was unfair to link Obamacare modifications to a continuing resolution.  But, in their never-ending hypocrisy, the Democratic faction ignored the fact that Obamacare was passed originally as part of a budget resolution.  Therefore every budget bill would naturally allow a challenge to Obamacare.  The blame-stream media of course castigated the Republican faction at every turn.  What else should be expected from institutions that behave as if they were entirely owned and operated by the Democratic faction?

But the Republican faction is equally hypocritical when they pretend that they would behave any differently than the Democrats if Obamacare had been their idea.  After all, the main purpose of the law is to transfer power to the government by regulating the distribution of health care services, and the Republican faction desires the expansion of government power just as much as the Democratic faction.  As always, it is the people who lose out; in this case, the people will, in the long run, end up with lower quality or lesser quantity at a higher cost, typical of every one-size-fits-all government program.  If the problems signing up for Obamacare so far are any indication, the law is even worse than the analysts concluded.  Good thing the Democrats didn’t read it before they passed it — now they have plausible deniability.

The ruling elite cannot or will not do their jobs because they do not have the discipline to impose a budget process, hence the need for continuing resolutions.  This is especially true of the Republicans, who control the House of Representatives from whence all funding bills must originate.  In this instance the budget problem was coupled with a need to raise the debt limit because the government would be technically unable to meet all its obligations around the 17th of Oct 2013.  Once again, the hypocrisy of the administration was in full vigor, claiming that the U. S. would have defaulted on Treasury obligations (i.e., to pay interest on the debt) on that date.  But there is sufficient cash flow from the never-ending cascade of federal taxes being paid every month to cover those interest payments.  What Mr. Obama really meant was that the government would not be able to both service the debt and make full payouts on all the social programs, corporate welfare, and excessive regulation which the ruling elite together has imposed on the people.

In reality, both factions wanted a shutdown.  The Republicans wanted it for two reasons: a) to embarrass the President into allowing a cancellation of his signature “achievement”; and 2) draw attention to the excessive government spending (except for the part they voted for).  The Democrats also wanted it for two reasons: a) to distract attention from the scandal-of-the-week; and b) let the blame-stream media paint the Republicans as extremists for political advantage.

Look no further to the ruling elites in Washington for “leadership” or “solutions”.  If it’s not in the Marxist Handbook, the Democrats cannot understand it.  If it requires working together for a sensible objective, the Republicans cannot pull it off.  The good news is that they get to do it all again in a few months.

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