Happy Christmas Eve to all. Here are some links I've enjoyed recently. As usual, "read the whole thing" is implied.
The Cato Institute filed one of the more hilarious amicus curiae briefs
to the Supreme Court recently, in the matter of
v. Tam, on whether disparagement of "persons, living or dead,
institutions, beliefs, or national symbols" can be a basis for denial of
a trademark application. "Lee" is Michele Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for
Intellectual Property and Director of the
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). "Tam" is
Shiao Tam, "founder of the world's first and only all-Asian American
dance-rock band, The Slants". And the issue is whether "The Slants"
should be a trademarkable name, because disparagement.
Cato's brief is in support of Tam; one of the contributors is P. J. O'Rourke. To pick a paragraph at random:
Finally, band names are also chosen to convey valuable information about the music the band plays. It should come as no surprise that the Queers are not a Lawrence Welk cover band, the Revolting Cocks are not a string quartet, Dying Fetus does not play jazz standards, and Gay Witch Abortion would never open for Paul Anka. Similarly, The Slants have chosen a name that, through its insouciance, expresses something about their music—and the government’s jejeune label of “disparaging” fails to capture the many levels of communication inherent in that name.
The key question, as posed by Cato: "Does the government get to decide what’s a slur?" It's hard to see how anyone could answer "yes" after reading the brief. But then again, I'm not a Supreme Court Justice.
Reason magazine was, and is, understandably critical of Donald
Stossel likes some of Trump's cabinet picks. And gets off this
A Washington Post headline: "Ayn Rand acolyte Donald Trump stacks his cabinet with fellow objectivists." This is absurd. Trump likes capitalism, but he's no objectivist. Objectivists have firm principles.
I anticipate we'll see plenty of examples of unprincipledness in the coming year.
Jay Nordlinger is a tireless advocate for victims of totalitarian
Art of the Kowtow" he reminds us:
Norway and China have restored normal relations. Beijing cut off such relations in 2010, when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a leading Chinese dissident. The ruling Communists arrested Liu in 2008 and have imprisoned him ever since. They are also keeping Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, under a brutal house arrest.
I'm told my ancestral heritage is 100% Norwegian, but now and then I'm reminded why it was such a good idea for my ancestors to get the hell out of there.