In Search of a Name

The US Patent Office has ruled that the Washington Redskins name is “disparaging to Native Americans” and the federal trademark for the name must be canceled.

If the ruling is not overturned on appeal, I would assume that this would lead to more Redskins swag on the market rather than less, at least in the short run. But ultimately, if the Redskins lose the right to market gear with their own logo, this will create powerful incentives for Dan Snyder (and other NFL owners who profit from revenue sharing) to change names.

I could imagine a few possibilities for a new name (the Washington Rent Seekers, the Washington Overlords) but I am sure there are better ones out there (suggestions?)


The Surveillance State

Thanks to the Snowden revelations, we have learned much about the comprehensive data collection and storage programs run by the NSA. At the same time, one might suspect that the technological savvy of the federal government is not quite as great as one might fear. Yes, the IRS loses email records (when convenient). But even more striking, the FBI’s Intelligence Research Support Unit has developed the extremely useful glossary of internet slang. Why go to when you can spend taxpayer money? As the document (available here) notes: “This list has about 2800 entries you should find useful in your work or for keeping up with your children and/or grandchildren”). Caitlin Dewey (Washington Post) has a fun piece about the glossary, that was obtained through a FOIA request. Some of the selections, like IAWTCSM (“I agree with this comment so much) have been used rarely, in this case, 20 times in the history of Twitter. Others like NIFOC (“naked in front of computer”) may be used rarely (1,065 tweets) but might nonetheless be useful if you are investigating some members of Congress. Speaking of Congress, there is TLDR (“too long, didn’t read”) that might be most commonly used in connection with the legislative process (e.g., “ACA…TLDR”).

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