Monday, October 22, 2007

Another Planet

The antidote to Code Pink available at the PoliStew Cafe Store.

As I was refilling the salt & pepper shakers, the TV was on. Pundits, Code pinkers, politicians and all the rest had something to say. None of them were even listening to the other... or could. It's combat by soundbite right now, and the problem is when it's thrust in the face of those they want to take on. It's not so much to elighten one's own perspective, but often it's more for a play at power, a chance to take out your frustrations.

We're not all going to agree, and it doesn't warrant calling people names. Especially now, when the Code Pinkers have taken to using old stereotypical words, first dredged out in the 1960's when the Vietnam Vets came home. "Liars, uneducated, idiot, killer, baby killers," these are all ways to demean someone. I could also say the same about those on the other side. Commie, pinko, wimp traitor. These aren't words meant to encourage dialogue either. But I want to stay on this issue of soldiers.

Sometimes it's the press that wants to taint you with ink-stained kindness. There's no better example than in the patriarchal attitude in an editorial in the Berkeley Daily Planet by Becky O'Malley.

What she meant to say was, "Support our troops." But she ended up taking a lengthy detour and patronizing them all. Especially, one local recruiter.

"Captain Lund, I strongly suspect, is intelligent enough to realize that invading Iraq had very little connection with the problem it purported to solve, the attack by al Qaeda on the World Trade Center. I’d bet that like most Americans he knows by now that Osama bin Laden is alive and well and living in Afghanistan, and that we’ll never be able to catch him as long as our troops are tied down by the pointless exercise in Iraq."
Suspects? Yeah, Becky. I'd bet he's intelligent enough to know a lot of things. But as long as we're on the topic, did you ask? Why assume anything? Then again, he might not share his personal views with you. He is, after all, a representative of the US Army, a soldier for this nation. His Commander in Chief is the President of The United States, and it's policy that a lot of these guys just don't shoot off their mouths to people they know who already have made judgments against them.

It's a bizarre recommendation for supporting the troops. As a writer, she's annoying because she tries to please everyone. As a journalist, she does something fatal: she drifts.

This editor tries to act
as a scale of balance. Code Pink balanced by an honest military recruiter. Ehren Watada is mentioned, though as she says, he's no pacifist (meaning, he'll shoot if he has to). She drags in the history of military leaders speaking the truth, and fifty black soldiers in WWII who refused to unload munitions at Port Chicago. She points out that in this country four ethnic groups are always trying to kill one another. And at the end, she tries to pull it all together by telling the reader how impressed a visitor from Spain was because many houses displayed their flag (what she didn't tell the visitor, was that a lot of these were probably conservatives).

As long as she brought up her feelings that the US is becoming an increasingly policed nation, she might as well suck it up and look at what MoveOn tried to do to suppress free speech by writing C&D letters claiming trademark infringement to both Google and CafePress. They won with Google. But not with CafePress. The legal team at CafePress took the right stand by allowing shop owners to continue to post anti-MoveOn merchandise using their name. They understood it was parody, and that what her beloved MoveOn really wanted wasn't freedom, but control. That they did it by threatening litigation and closing off with the names of their lawyers (right there in Berkeley) is not only slick, it's repugnant. And this is the junk you won't find in the Berkeley Planet.

MoveOn and CodePink don't stand for all Dems or those who believe in peace (they're hardly buddhist in their approach), just as the religious right doesn't stand for all Repubs or those who support the military.
I've come to realize that will tear us apart as a nation is if we keep giving those with mean sound bites (and lawyers) the power to control through oppression.

Support the troops. That's all she has to say. No explanations, no apologies.

Back to wiping down counters.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Now, let's say I was a certain organization. And let's say I had lots of little minions to do things like meta tag searching my name. And let's say that I had the time to send out lots of C&D letters claiming trademark infringement, had the audacity to bandy about some names up of attorneys I really hadn't consulted, and in general, could make your life a living hell if I happened to disagree with you. And let's say I didn't give a hoot about karma, or hadn't ever watched "My Name Is Earl" and learned a thing or two.

But who would do that?
Not me. But a lot of people do. In fact, it seems their cease and desist letter to Google to stop running Republican Senator Susan Collins' ads, which criticized MoveOn was (as we know) off base.

Knickers Untwisted
Google decides to run the Collins ads.
Apparently, with the blessing of "the organization that shall not be named."

"We don't want to support a policy that denies people freedom of expression," says Jennifer Lindenauer,'s communications director.

This, made me laugh. I had to fan myself with the C&D letter that MoveOn COO Carrie Olson wrote to Café Press.

Amount today: $305.00

Sunday, October 7, 2007

So Polly Made A T-Shirt

Waitress Polly gives supporters permission embed this "remix" onto your blog, or send a url to your friends.
Hit the blue button "share" on the lower right. You'll pull up two url's.
To send it to a group on an email: Copy and paste the top url marked, "LINK."
To embed it onto your blog: Copy and paste the lower url marked,"EMBED" to a new post on your blog.

Amount raised: $296.00. Thank you so much.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Impossible?

I got news that my items had shipped. It's a zigzaggy course across the country!

When I put this together I wondered who'd give a hoot and a holler about a little fund raiser put together by someone who had never touched Photoshop before (when Michelle wrote they were
homemade, she wasn't joking. She know if I didn't have the internet, I'd be selling jars of jam). But hey, here you are!
I'm humbled by your support.
And the kids we help send to camp will be joyous and grateful.

As of this Morning, total raised: $234.27

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

She's Terrific

Michelle Malkin ran this piece in the NY Post today.
She, Jon Healy, Ed Padgett are the gutsy ones.
As well as all of you who have purchased items. You have no idea how much this means.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Making Something Good

out of something really bad.
Yup, that's what this is. It's so much better to do, don't you think?

So, please promote this fundraiser! On the sidebar is an image and also some text that you may use to promote this fundraiser. Remember, that all of the money goes directly from Cafe Press to the National Military Family Association, Inc. None of it will ever come to this shopkeeper!

Someone asked WHY the NMFA? I looked up several veterans organizations on Charity Navigator, and NMFA kept coming up. It's a four star charity, which means it spends most of its money on its mission of helping military families through stressful times.

84% of its budget goes to program expenses, with only 5.4% to adminstration and 10.6% to fundraising. Plus, I noted the both the COO and Executive Director only haul in salaries in the low thirties. I was also wowed by their Operation Purple, which sends kids whose parents have been deployed to summer camp.

So I made the decision on a Saturday night. I found their EIN number, entered it into the payee info on the Cafe Press Shopkeeper's site, and opened the doors to the cafe. And then on Monday, I called the NMFA. I left a message --no name. There is no need. What's important is that they know people are behind them.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Greedy Folks Masquerading In Organic Cotton

Were it not for our own Bill Of Rights and the Constitution, this country would have dissolved into suspicion and chaos ages ago. However, there are those who find other ways to suppress free speech in more nefarious ways.

Been Here, Done That: The Prior Slap Down
How Jefferson Airplane Got Toasted By Berkeley Systems

We're going to take you way back, before MoveOn even started. We're doing this to show you that the organization is
very savvy in terms of knowing how to maneuver through things using lawyers and sheer intimidation.

Legal tussles, such as the one Carrie Olson presented to the shopkeepers of Cafe Press, are something she, Wade Boyd and Joan Blades have been through before. Prior to founding Move On, they were taken to court over a genuine trademark infringement themselves.
As much as you'd like to think that Berkleyites are organic crunchers who bake bread, these ones aren't.

They're millionaires, and they have their fingers in everything from Berkeley city council, the preservation committee, to starting a group for moms who think just like them. George
Soros aside, these folks have plenty of money of their own. They made it when they were still young and have very little in common with the rank and trade, bible-thumping Democrats a lot of us grew up with.

They made their fortune with a company called Berkeley Systems,, which among other things, developed a screen saver with "flying toasters." These were winged toasters flying through the air on your computer in the late 1980's and 90's made by Berkley Systems. Remember it? Unless you weren't born, or you were completely oblivious, there's no way you could not have seen this iconic image.

But let's go back a bit.
In 1973,
Jefferson Airplane released an album with... you guessed it, winged flying toasters. It's such a zany idea. Who would have thought of it? It's not hard to imagine the album was popular, along with the smell of Herbal essence and patchoulli in the grimy apartments around Berkeley. (You can read about AfterDark Software and BerkSys on Wikipedia).

Anyway, by 1994 Berkeley Systems was big business. Their flying toasters could be found everywhere. Jefferson Airplane sued them for copying their iconic image. Read about it here, in an article by Lance Rose in Wired. In court, Berkeley Systems claimed it had grown organically from the brain of one of their engineers named, Jack. Yeah, right, and pigs fly, too.

However, Jefferson Airplane LOST in court. The reason? Jefferson Airplane had failed to register their trademark in 1973. (Well, it was a rock band you know. Who thinks of trademarks when you've got groupies?). Berkeley systems got off scot-free. In fact, Wade Boyd claimed to never have seen a flying toaster before they released their product. Either he's discounted the entire idea of a subconscious which liberals thrive on, or this just made them the squarest nerds in Berkeley. What was Boyd listening to in the '70's? Montovani?

Still, one can't notice a glaring similarity between the two designs. To the average looker today, it's hard to believe it was coincidence, that they aren't overgrown toaster hijackers. Only they know the truth, but someone was angry enough to write about it on not one, but several wikipedia entries tied to their company. What can I say? Sometimes things are put there as a gift.

So they
learned a quick lesson. Slap this trademark shtick on a t-shirt and mug shopkeeper who doesn't have an intellectual rights attorney and you'll get your way.

So Olson got her way again. Cafe Press weighed the risk of taking on this overgrown adolescent toaster hijacker in court... even though they disagreed heartily with her.
But boy, was she wrong.

From Jon Healy of the Los Angeles Times weighed in on this maneuver to suppress free speech by MoveOn:

"Trademark law doesn't confer monopoly rights over all uses of a registered phrase or symbol, however, and it wasn't created simply to protect the trademark owner's interests. Instead, it's designed to protect consumers against being misled or confused about brands. The courts have repeatedly ruled in favor of parodies and critiques; that's why doesn't violate famousbrandname's trademark. And most, if not all, of the items targeted by MoveOn were clearly designed to razz it, not to trick buyers into thinking they were the group's products."

So in reality, these do-gooders are no different than any other rich business titans who are used to getting their own way. Even if it means quashing the First Amendment to anyone who disagrees with them.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

How This Fund Raiser Started

Mind you, this story was reported last week by several diametrically opposite persons. I've heard from everyone on the political spectrum who believe in the first amendment.

The story was first run by Jon Healy of the LA Times and subsequently picked up by Edward Padgett and Michelle Malkin.

This shopkeeper
and several others were the subject of scrutiny by Carrie Olson, COO of Move On.Org. She requested to CafePress that our designs be taken down due to "trademark infringement." She closed with the name of her attorneys. Our crime? We'd used their name to criticize them when designing shirts that disagreed with their portrayal of General Petraeus.

Even though she was wrong, rather than face prolonged litigation with a
moneyed political organization, Cafe Press quickly took them down within an hour of her letter. Why? I only have to assume that the first round of CP staffers didn't understand trademark law. Maybe they were afraid of a bigger organization. Perhaps some in the Berkeley office of Cafe Press disagreed with the shirts. Maybe they really didn't understand the depths to which the First Amendment runs.

However, 2 days after they were taken down, the legal beagles at Cafe Press volleyed back to Olson, citing the First Amendment and several precedent-setting cases. They were brilliant. One only wishes they'd picked this up 2 days earlier. But it was too late. Everything had already been taken down. It appeared that Cafe Press had become a place where MoveOn.Org would never be challenged.

But Consider This

Because of the First Amendment, we have a nation that is shaped by discourse --civil or otherwise. We understand that the right to free speech is for everyone, just not those who can slap shopkeepers with the name of their attorneys at the bottom
of a letter. Furthermore, we put up with garbage like the Petraeus ad, fully expecting to be able to voice our dissent. What we don't expect is to be threatened with litigation over "trademark infringement." If we are not able to use a name (none of the original shirts taken down used their logo or font), how is anyone to criticize them?

That's why I'm proud to show you the newest design. The First Amendment design is coupled with the original Banned T-shirt logo. With apologies to Lord Voldemort, I hope that no one gets him confused with this "group that shall not be named." Even he deserves better.


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