George Takei walks through prejudices past

From a wonderful George Takei column in The Washington Post.

The trial judge in the case Loving v. Virginia , which overturned such laws in 1967 — yes, less than 50 years ago — defended marital segregation. He wrote: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Assuming that trial judge was white, shouldn’t he have been packing up to head back to Europe?

Back to Takei’s main point: If “ick” were a valid reason to keep people from marrying, I know a lot of heterosexuals who shouldn’t be allowed to marry, either. If you walk around thinking to yourself, “Well, *I* wouldn’t want to have relations with that person,” you’re going to be limiting marriage to magazine cover models. It’ll be up to Ryan Gosling and Jennifer Aniston to populate the Earth.

Yes: A Three-Album Tour ….

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a complex band
They’re on their fourth lead singer now
But still never bland

The setlist needed something fresh
To draw a crowd for sure
Five Yes members set sail this year
For a three-album tour …
A three-album tour …

Yes’ Steve Howe Talks Three-Album Tour: ‘We Wanted Some Challenges’ | Billboard.

(On another Yes note, I had somehow missed the news that Peter Banks, Steve Howe’s predecessor, passed away. Glad to see Billboard do an apt tribute with an old video, albeit with the audio and video amusingly out of sync.)

Contrarian talk: The epic cease-and-desist response from West Orange, N.J.

The great law blog Above the Law has a funny exchange between a big bullying government employee and a private citizen’s pro bono attorney.

Or is the pro bono attorney the bully?

Here’s the original exchange, in which a town attorney asks a local citizen (and one-time town council candidate) Jake Freivald to stop using the domain name westorange.info because it could be confused with an official site. As blogger Staci Zaretsky points out, the attorney’s letter has the occasional typo and some mangled legalese.

So then one Stephen B. Kaplitt, a fancy New York lawyer, stepped up on behalf of Mr. Freivald with three pages of snark and ridicule. In the first two paragraphs alone, he faux-congratumalates the town rep on his “legal satire,” then immediately jumps into victim mode, dropping the words “bully” and “big meanie.”

Just when you start to think we don’t need to take Mr. Kaplitt seriously, he lists 14 sites that also use “westorange” in the domain name, of which maybe two sites (at most) could reasonably be confused with a government site. Reading comprehension may be a dying art, but I don’t think someone who goes to westorangemassagetherapy.com is expecting Town Council info.

Mr. Kaplitt continues with a remarkably weak First Amendment argument, begging the question of how Mr. Freivald’s constitutional rights would be trampled if he used the domain name westorangechat.com or westorangeantitaxers.org instead of westorange.info.

Then it’s typically snide stuff — a rip on the township lawyer’s choice of words, a reference to the bar exam, a shot at the ACLU, and a couple of off-topic jabs at the township government.

(Gee, you mean this guy is ultimately all about tax bleating? I’m shocked!)

I don’t mean to say the people involved have no sense of humor except at the expense of others. If you go to westorange.info now, you’ll see this:

  • No, this is not the official web site of West Orange, New Jersey.

  • Nor is it the official or unofficial web site of the West Oranges of FL, TX, or CA. Nothing against those guys — just not what I’m here for.

Good stuff. Then he starts whining that this issue was in the Huffington Post before it was in The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, a recent law grad has written the response letter that the township lawyer should have written but probably won’t. And he cites actual relevant case law instead of just smacking this poor dude around and beating his chest about the First Amendment.

So who’s the bully? I’m inclined to think it’s not Mr. Richard D. Trenk, who probably sent this out as a routine bit of legal business and had no idea he would end up as the legal equivalent of the news reporter who fell out off the platform while she was stomping grapes.

I for one salute Mr. Trenk, a guy just doing his job. And is probably right on the merits of the case. But he used the phrase “guided accordingly,” and for that, he must be punished. So sayeth the Web.