News Roundup

NFL: The National Football League has handed down a severe punishment to the New England Patriots for their role in the ball deflation incident. They are fined 1 million dollars and lose a first round pick next year and like a fourth round in 2017, and most significantly Tom Brady has been suspended for four games will this actually matter in the long run they are the first four games of the season and I’ve heard that Brady might appeal his suspension so it might be less. Now Harry Reid has spoken up about this and says that it is a shame that so much emphasis is on this and not the name of the Washington football team. While it is admirable that a politician is calling the team’s name offensive, that seems to be old hat right now as some 50 senators sent a letter to the NFL about this a year ago and nothing happened. I would really like it if Harry Reid actually cared about Native American and help push through whatever is need to actually federally recognized more tribes in the country. Since most of the tribes recognized are in the Western US while there are still some states with no federally recognized Indian tribes, notably in Virginia where I think the oldest recognition exist in the nation the Mattaponi and Pamunkey tribes have reservations based in colonial-era treaties ratified by the Commonwealth in 1658. I am sure that the name Redskins, will change sometime in the next decade, as Dan Synder really wants the team back in DC and the DC council/mayor want the team back as well but have expressed that if the team does return it should be with a new name.

Science: This is a cool story, scientist have found a new state of matter. Now this isn’t going to change the states of matter that you learn in school (solid,liquid, gas\plasma) but it is one of the more obscure ones like Bose–Einstein condensate, degenerate matter, supersolids and superfluids, or quark-gluon plasma. At this new state the Jahn-Teller effect happens and insulators can be turned into superconductors by just adding pressure. A whole bunch of work has to be done before anything really comes of this but it is pretty cool to think of what can come of this.


News Round Up

Sports: As per usual the off season is just starting  and the Washington Redskins have made a huge splash, and are once again looking to take home the off season banner once again. This is a brilliant development and the fans in Washington are sure to be thrilled with the upcoming announcement. The Redskins will have a GM, and one who is actually pretty good as well. Scot McColoughan it is said will be announced as the Redskins new GM. McColoughan was a pivotal figure in building the 49ers and Seahawks into what they are today, so will any luck he can do the same thing here in Washington, The Redskins have been without a good GM for a good long time, maybe all of Synder’s tenure as owner. This move signals hope for the future and there will be ever more good news coming soon as it has been reported that the Redskins are interviewing for new Defensive Coordinators.

Theatre: There was an interesting article up about High School Theater and Censorship. I found it to be an compelling read as I was involved in the drama program in high school and we did a wide variety of shows from the popular (Music Man and Our Town) to the lesser known (Once in a Lifetime and A Chorus Line), but time have changed. Sure when I did A Chorus Line, we toned it down a bit it wasn’t Tits and Ass but rather This and That, but the adult nature of the show was intact. My niece in now in high school and involved in the drama program as well and it seems at least with the musicals to have moved to a more younger appeal (Wizard of Oz, Once Upon a Mattress, Beauty and the Beast) it’s all cotton candy shows. There is hardly any deep though needed for these types of shows. Sure there could be some compelling musical done this year but it’s bound to be some other family friendly sugar coated look at the world. The article goes on about how censoring shows at the high school level is and perhaps always been done, but it seems to have gotten out of hand lately with the easy access to stories about censorship hitting the internet. They go on to wonder how we will be able to get new challenging works that will win Pulitzers.

Movies: The Ant-Man Trailer is out and I couldn’t tell you the first thing about Ant Man, but it look like it could be a good movie. I mean Marvel has made a bunch of decent movies lately and there haven’t been many stinkers, but who knows. This is the end of Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and there is bound to be some connection in the New Avengers movie. Which just so happens to have a new trailer coming out on Monday night during the National Championship Game between the Ducks and Buckeyes.

News Round up

Trains: This is a really cool story across the pond there is a new Transeurasian rail link. The link is going to be huge as it will cut down on ships to transport the items. This provides a direct link between Yiwu, China to Madrid, Spain. Yiwu is one of the big industrial centers in China and this will be a vital link to Europe for goods. This is the longest rail line in the world at 10000 km it surpasses that of the line that runs across Russia and is five time longer than the route taken by the Orient Express. It will take the train 21 days to go from China to Spain.

Bill Cosby: Bill Cosby has been in the news lately but not for good reasons, rape allegations have surfaced yet again. Then after this every network that was working with Cosby has dropped whatever they were doing, TVLand has stopped airing The Cosby Show, NBC has dropped the new show Cosby was working on and Netflix is canning/delaying? a new Bill Cosby comedy special. None of these claims have ever been brought to court and from the looks of it many of the alleged rapes took place a long time ago so isn’t there some sort of statue of limitations. Will the reemergence of these rape allegations change the way that many people view Cosby?

Washington Redskins: As the season under first year head coach Jay Gruden could get any worse, Griffin and Jackson among other players have spoken out about how frustrated they all are. As a long suffering fan this really isn’t news as it has been the status quo of the team since Dan Snyder took over. There is always so much dysfunction going on with this team. Now we have sports outlets saying that it is not Griffin’s fault. This upcoming draft the Redskins should have a full slate of picks and perhaps more if they trade a quarterback. Fans can only hope that the Redskins are patience and use their picks to start building a strong offensive line, strengthen the secondary and stop relying on trying to fill holes with Free Agents who are expensive but don’t show up to play as Synder has brought in so many busts over the past 15 years. Sure the team might not be winners automatically but in the NFL anyone can end up winning each weekend.


Native American Mascot Controversy: Part 8

We’ve gotten to eight parts in this series now.

To start off Phil Simms will not be using the term Redskins as he broadcasts tonight’s match up between the Giants and Redskins. This is something that he said he was thinking about doing before the season began. I read somewhere that the use of Redskins, to describe the team  during the games has actually gone down a bit over the first couple of weeks of the season, will this trend continue throughout the season.

The other this is that South Park did a whole episode about this and all the other issues that the NFL is currently facing. In the episode  the kids decide to start a start-up company using Kickstarter and they can’t decide on the name until one of them hears that the Redskins have lost their trademark so they have the logos and brand recognition already there. Dan Snyder with Kirk Cousins and Jay Gruden come and ask them to change their name as it is offensive to them. Stuff happens and Snyder goes to NFL headquarters and talks to Roger Goodell, about this issue, however Goodell just spouts off things from his recent press conference where he basically said nothing. The NFL gets the kids to change their logo so they tweak it a bit. The Kickstarter is the biggest thing to ever happen and people continually are donating money, but the team has had enough and they go and destroy Kickstarter. So Cartman and company step in to fill the void. Eventually the kids concede and go back to school

While the episode gives an interesting take on the Redskins’ name issue it doesn’t really come out on one side or the other on the issue. As they make light on the leader of the Washington Redskins being savagely beaten by Cowboys this is the rallying cry that end’s their dream of doing nothing. I felt the Kickstarter thing felt real and i really enjoyed the Apple-style press conferences . Will South Park be the thing that breaks the Washington Redskins and forces them to change its name. I highly doubt it. It does get the issue out to more ears though, especially to those not in the DC area where it seems like every week we have some new individual saying that they will not say Redskins in their publication/show or whatever.

With all the talk about how many Native American think that the term is offensive I am surprised that no one has though about doing some sort of paper survey of all Native Americans, as the most cited survey was conducted in 2004 and according to the poll 91% of the 768 self-identified American Indians surveyed in the 48 states on the mainland USA found the name “Redskins” acceptable. Sure the survey was 10 years ago and was a relative small sample size so why not have a new poll and try and get everyone. As I’ve said before the name will most likely change whenever the team moves from FedEx Field into the new stadium that Snyder wants to build in DC, and when it changes I doubt it will be a dramatic change from the current design of that the team already has used, if the logo changes perhaps it will switch back to the arrow logo or a simple script ‘R’ logo. The name might become Warriors, ties it with the military and still hold a connotation with the Native Americans, or Patowmacks\Potomacs, the Algonquin word for the river in the area or something like that.

News Roundup

Sports: Both my local team (Nationals and Orioles)clinched their divisions in baseball last night. Yes, I have two baseball teams, growing up I rooted for the Baltimore Orioles as they were the closest team and they had Cal Ripken Jr, as the years passed and Washington finally got another team (fifth time’s the charm) while I was in college. Now Peter Angelos really hadn’t done much with the Orioles since 1997 and I lost interest with the team. So when the Nationals came into town a more convenient location I started following them.  As the year have passed I’ve been following the Nationals more often but I still like to glance over and see how the Orioles are doing.  With both team making it to the playoffs there is now a chance that the Beltways World Series could happen. Speaking of the Playoffs, Tony Award Winner, Bryan Cranston does a wonderful one man show about the playoffs in a promo for the TBS coverage of the AL Playoffs it is brilliant.

Politics: On the other side of the sports world the Redskins are still making waves and Washington Senator Maria Cantwell is planning to introduce legislation that would strip the NFL of it’s tax exempt status if any of the teams contain a racial slur in their name. Since Congress need something else to do nothing about for the rest of this year. Earlier this week Congress met and listened to individuals talking about DC statehood. Individuals talked on both sides of the issue and from what I read about the hearing, it seems like this will not go any further for awhile now there were some great points, the quasi Home Rule that now governs DC does not work as they need Congressional approval for basically everything they do. They also noted that if a state would be formed the 23rd Amendment would have to be repealed or perhaps the DC Voting Rights Amendment could be reintroduced. This is some of the silly things that Congress does when the House is up for election.

NASA: In perhaps one of the best pieces of news to come from NASA in a while it has decided who will be building the Commercial Crew Program Vehicles . Now this comes as really no surprise to anyone who follows the space program but Boeing and SpaceX were both selected to build the ships. Both designs are a throwback to the design of the Apollo or the Soyuz and a nod to Orion as well, as they are both pod placed on the top of a rocket and sent into space. Boeing’s CST-100 will have a bit longer to get up and running as they still need to be built and tested, they have a tentative first manned launch in mid-2017. SpaceX on the other hand will be using the Dragon, the craft it developed for the commercial cargo missions. They have developed a crew vehicle which will be ready for abort test later this year, and it everything goes well with the abort tests there is a chance that SpaceX’s Dragon V2 could be sending humans up to space from America as early as 2016.

Food: In lighter news Dogfish Head Brewery is expanding with a distillery. The craft beer Juggernaut is beefing up it’s distillery, on it’s Milton DE campus  it is expanding to the realm of spirits, it already runs a microdistillery which makes things for the brew pubs in Delaware. In growing the distillery they are hoping that a similar boom happens with the spirits industry as has happened with the beer industry. Currently they make a brown Honey Rum and hop-infused gin and fans of Dogfish Head are hoping for some of their favorite brews ending up as a spirit.

Native American mascot controversy, an update again: Part 7

One of our favorite topics is yet again in the news. Yesterday I mentioned that Etsy is the latest to join in the change the name camp. So when later in the day the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) joined in the condemnation of the Redskins name it wasn’t that big of a issue. I would say that with the entirety of the Ray Rice situation has pushed this to the back burner of the NFL discussion. According to the reports FCC chairman Tom Wheeler condemns the name but he is not going to use his say to force Daniel Snyder to change the name.

All of this comes on the heels of a recent ESPN the magazine poll in which they asked NFL players if Washington should change it’s name. “Of 286 players polled, 167 — 58 percent — said the Redskins should not change their name, with 119 players — 42 percent — saying they should find a new nickname.” They also posed the question to a group of players from the Redskins and got a similar response “Of the 51 Redskins players, 26 (51 percent) saying they should keep the nickname and one saying it should be changed. 24 players said they didn’t want to answer — a handful saying it was up to owner Dan Snyder or team president Bruce Allen.” ESPN also had a recent poll about this as well for the show Outside the Lines, which had a whole episode on this issue. The general public was found to be also in favor of keep the name.

ESPN has a bunch of article about this that can be reached from the poll article about this issue as well. As I’ve said in one of the earlier piece it seems like Daniel Snyder will keep the name until he moves the team back into Washington DC into a new Stadium located on the RFK site, as for what the team will be called it is anyone’s guess. I feel that if it does change it might just be like to Warriors or Braves or the team gets permission from some tribe like the Patawomecks, like the Seminoles at FSU and if the logo needs to be changed the team can go back to the arrow design or it might be cool if they just when back to their most recent throwbacks, the one with the leather-like helmet.

News Roundup

Politics: An interesting development in DC’s quest for statehood, according to reports the Senate is holding a hearing on DC Statehood. This is the first hearing on the topic in two decades, Now many believe that the hearing will take place but no one will be listening at all. More importantly it is during this time right before the midterm elections when next to nothing really gets done in congress. Although with Puerto Rico wanting to join the Union there could be some movement here with DC, although I really hate the proposed state name of New Columbia, it might make some movement as the United States has typically added states as pairs over the years. The hearing is on Monday so we could expect to hear something about it then.

Televison: The television critics have weighed in on the upcoming fall season and have declared Gotham the most promising new show. They also named Jane the Virgin as another promising new show and that black-ish is the most promising comedy. This is the second year that The Television Critics Association has done this, last year naming Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD the most promising along with Brooklyn Nine-Nine as promising comedy and Blacklist as promising drama. All three of these show have found an audience and Blacklist has even been name as the show that will air after Super Bowl XLIX is over this upcoming February.

Late Night: The rumors have been proved true James Corden will be the new host of the Late Late Show. Now many people are up in arms about this selection as Corden is a relative unknown in the States and he is another white guy. Some people were hoping that it would be a woman, someone of color or perhaps Neil Patrick Harris. Corden is expected to be taking over sometime in 2015, likely soon after the new year, unless they want to go 6 months without a Late Late Show. We also have Stephen Colbert taking over The Late Show from David Letterman sometime in 2015 likely in September after Letterman retires in August as well.

Redskins debate: Well we can now add Etsy to the list of places where the Redskins name is not welcome. However this is not for all product just those that have the name or use the logo. It is rather ironic that Etsy is still allowing the sale of things with Chief Noc-A-Homa and Chief Wahoo both of which are more offensive then the Redskins logo. Although perhaps in a couple of day they will follow, as the New York Daily News got rid of the Redskins logo and name replacing them with “maroon and yellow stripes”then they got rid of Chief Wahoo a couple of day later replacing him with a simple C which is currently the primary logo of the Indians.  It seems that every other week there is some other place that has added it’s name to the list of places where the team name is not longer welcomed. I read before the NFL season began that Phil Simms or one of the other CBS football broadcasters will not be using the name Redskins when the Redskins play on Thursday night in a couple of weeks. This debate will be dragged on for a couple more years as the Redskins have appealed the trademark case yet again.

NFL Season begins

It is that time of the year once again for the NFL season to begin. Sure it starts on a Thursday for some reason now and usually pits the Super Bowl Champion against someone. This year we have the Seahawks facing the Packers to kick off the season.  Now if you are a betting individual do not take the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl again as this has been very hard to repeat as the last time it happened was a decade ago. The first game we can already pencil in a win for the Seahawks as the home team has won 10 of the 12 times this game has been played.

This season might be the last time some teams play in their cities the Rams might move back to LA, and it looks like the Raiders will be looking for a new home as well. This pass off season we lost many influential people in football from owners Ralph Wilson, William Clay Ford and Malcolm Glazer to legendary coach Chuck Noll. There has also been a heated debate about the name of a team in Washington that seems to be growing.

On to some predictions:

In the AFC we should expect the Patriots and the Broncos to meet up some time in the playoffs, as the Manning/Brady game has become a staple for years.Over in the NFC it seems likely that the Packers will make the playoffs and so will Seattle as they have continually been good the past couple of seasons. That is about as much confidence that I have at predicting what might happen with the NFL from year to year as the parity in the league mean that just about any team can make the playoffs, who expected the Chiefs and the Eagles to bounce back from disappointing seasons in 2012 and make the playoff the next year. It will be an exciting year all fan enter the season believing they can make it to the Super Bowl, this is one thing that I like in football compared to other sports where it seems like the same teams make it into the playoff every year.

We end this preview with a section of questions that I would love if this upcoming season could answer, if you have any please add.

Will the NFC East regain its place as one of the best divisions (strongest) in football? Can the surprise teams (Eagles, Chiefs, Bengals) from last year continue to be good? Who will be this year surprise team(s)?  Will the Redskins be forced to change their name? When will it happen? When will football return to Los Angeles and who will bring it back? Will Johnny Football make an impact in the NFL or will he fail like so many other over hyped players? When are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning going to retire? Will the Patriots be any good when Brady leaves or will they fall apart? Can Buffalo ever win the Super Bowl?

News Round Up

Redskins: There are news reports floating around that say that Daniel Snyder and the Redskins are in the early stages of building a new Stadium. According to the Comcast SportsNet interview the current stadium which is 17 years old will be replaced with a new stadium which will have a “retro vibe” (a bouncy lower bowl). The interview was very non specific about anything else. Daniel says that he’d be open to moving the team to Virginia, to a new stadium in Maryland, but it seems most likely that the move would be back to DC proper. I think it is a good idea for a new stadium as FedEx Field has a horrible game day experience, however what will be done with the stadium site after they leave.

NASA:  The Space Launch System has been announced but now NASA has announced that there will be a slight delay in when the rocket will launch. NASA have scheduled the first launch to take place in December 2017 but it looks like this date will not be met and the worst case plan that they were describing also seems a bit far fetched. In the worst case plan the first launch would take place in late 2018. This first flight would be an unmanned flight and the first crewed mission seems like it wouldn’t happen until 2021. That will be a complete decade without USA launching any manned missions. This is why I am very interested in the Commercial Crew option which according to their schedule should be ready by 2017 so at least there will be some way for NASA to get astronauts up into space without going to Russia.

Science: Ever wonder about the Sailing Stones in Death Valley? According to researchers the mystery has been solved, and the answer is a very unexpected one.  If you want to know more read the story

Star Wars: Over at The Atlantic there is a moronic article talking about how George Lucas doesn’t want to release the original version of his films. It goes on to talk about how there are many people out there who have made “despecialized” versions of the films more in line with the original print of the films. It is funny how many people are so up in arms about this, and now that Disney owns the films so people are now calling for an official original release, with none of the special edition amendments. So after the new trilogy comes out and they make a pack in which they release all 9 film together, or perhaps when Star Wars turns 50 will be when an official high definition release of the original print will happen.

Native American sports team controversy, an update.

Well, the Trademark case (Blackhorse v Pro-Football Inc) ruling has come down finally and the patent and Trademark office has once again said that the term “redskins” is an offensive word and since it’s a disparaging term to Native American, no one can legally hold a trademark with the name. Many people are calling this a victory, but and this is a big but it seems likely that the NFL/Washington Redskins will be taking this through the appeals process and the name will still be trademarked during that time. This appeals process can take a long time, since it it with the Patent and Trademark and the last time when this case was looked at Harjo v Pro Football in 1992 it took until 2009 until Harjo’s case ended with it being dismissed on grounds of laches. This new case Blackhorse v Pro Football is basically the same case but with younger individuals involved so it can not be dismissed on laches. The Washington City Paper and other sites have the board’s opinion online if you want to read 170-some pages of legal documents.

What does this really mean? Well currently it means next to nothing as it seems likely to be going through the appeals process which would give it back trademark during that process. Even when the appeal is over and if upheld the team can still produce and use the logo and name it just means that individuals not involved with the team can use the name and logo for their own profit i.e. making knock off shirts, hats and jerseys. However who can tell how much counterfeit products will come into the marketplace with the NFL out there. If the financial impact of this is as great as some people are predicting then I think the NFL would pressure Dan Snyder to change the name.

It seems that it might take DC getting the Olympics in 2024 and Dan Snyder “volunteering” to build a new stadium at the site of RFK Stadium for the use of the football team after the Olympics and the NFL giving him a Super Bowl in DC. Even if these requirements aren’t met it seems like the team will eventually become the Warriors and go to the spear logo they used from 1965-69 then again as an alternate logo in 2002, but it seems highly unlikely that there would be a full blown new look for the team. This way the colors stay the same and the only real change that will be needed is to rewrite lyrics for the fight song.