In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Vanity plates: Some take too much license

By Erik Lacitis

No offense --- really!

JewishWorldReview.com |

M EATTLE— (MCT) When Tony Cava got a letter from Washington state about somebody complaining that his personalized license plate came across as "vulgar, profane or offensive to good taste and decency," he was, well, "pretty befuddled."

The plate on his white 1989 BMW says, "GOES211."

He thought, what's so vulgar about that?

Cava, 53, is a fan of "This is Spinal Tap," the 1984 mockumentary about a fictional heavy metal group. The license plate is an homage to the classic scene in which band member Nigel explains that while other amps go to 10 on the volume control, theirs goes to 11, "if we need that extra push over the cliff."

A man identifying himself as Johnny Dixon wasn't thinking "Spinal Tap" when he spotted the plate.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.

Last October, Dixon emailed the Department of Licensing: "I find it in poor taste that the great state of Washington would issue a plate that allows a driver to insinuate in public that his penis grows to 11 inches in length. The rest of the citizens of Washington should not be subjected to this vulgarity."

And so the case of GOES211 ended up before something called the DOL's Personalized License Plate Committee. Bureaucracies like committees, and lists.

State law gives the agency authority to determine what is and isn't offensive in a personalized plate. But even if the DOL approves a plate, anyone who spots a plate on the road and takes offense can make a complaint. Then, the agency investigates.

There are plenty of terms that can offend.

The agency has compiled a list of 654 "do not issue" terms for vanity plates since the state began issuing them in 1975. Using everything from Google searches that include foreign-language and slang dictionaries, to asking translators to explain what something means in Russian, the committee decides what crosses the offensive line.


The committee, made up of six people ranging from a State Patrol representative to a DOL administrator, is the last resort of appeal for questionable plates, and it's where complaints from the public about a specific plate usually end up.

In the case of GOES211, the committee let Cava keep his plate.

"The complaint was, pardon my pun, a stretch," says Brad Benfield, a DOL spokesman who's served 10 years on the committee.

Asked for comment about his complaint, Dixon emailed back, "What exactly is it that you want to know? I find it disturbing that you can access my emails to the DOL."

Public records for the story were first acquired by the nonprofit.

The committee handles about 12 cases a year, which is obviously a minuscule fraction of the 84,000 vanity plates out there.

Then there was the case of Fred Talbot, a Sammamish account manager who likes to hunt.

In 2010, he was denied the license plate "ELKNUT" for his Dodge Ram pickup.

He remembers the DOL calling him: "The lady said people might think you're referring to an elk's testicles," Talbot recalls. "I said, 'You've got to be kidding! This is silly!' "

Talbot wrote the committee: "This is a very well known name in elk hunting circles as it is the name of an Internet company called Elknut Productions which sells products to help elk hunters … I did not ask for 'ELKNUTS' or 'ELKSNUT,' yes, even I would agree that might be taken the wrong way."

The agency then found that it had issued 60 personalized plates with "NUT" as the last three characters — DUKNUT, PIGNUT, HOGNUT.

So the committee allowed Talbot his personalized plate that'd cost him $69.75. He now diplomatically says about it all, "I thought they were a little too conservative."

But it is in the documents from the committee that you see the emotions involved.

Randy Randall, 60, a retired quality engineer, is still steaming about how, in 2011, the DOL yanked his plate, "FUBAR."

He'd had it for 36 years on various vehicles he owned.

Then a complaint came from Tracy Brechbiel, a Camano Island engineer.

He wrote the agency: "I learned of 'FUBAR' in the military … Some may think of 'Fouled Up Beyond All Repair,' but I learned it as … (Bleep!) Up Beyond All Repair/Recognition.' I find this to be an unacceptable acronym … "

Says Brechbiel, "What about if a little kid asks their parent what it means?"

Randall has a different take.

He's a 1970 South Whidbey High School grad, and says that since those days, "All my friends know me as Fubar because I was all (Bleep again!) up. I was a child of the '70s."

But, he told the committee, to him the plate really stood for "Fun, Unique, Beautiful And Rare" because "that was my personality at the time."

The committee didn't buy his argument. The plate had to be taken off his pickup.

Says Randall, "We live in a politically correct world. I mean, it meant no harm to anybody. Come on, people, who was I hurting?"

In the case of "JUGALET," for four years it had adorned a 2003 Chevy Cavalier driven by Lisa Kleiner, 42.

She works at a Puyallup hospital as a representative for cancer patients.

She's also a big fan of Insane Clown Posse, the Detroit hip-hop duo whose fervent fans are known as Juggalos.

Kleiner says she has appreciated how the duo, whose lyrics are often violent but combined with spirituality, reaches out to those who've had troubled lives.

Officer Mike Lusk of the Puyallup Police Department thought otherwise.

On February 2010, he emailed the DOL about not only JUGALET, but another plate, JUGGALO:

"Regardless of the plate holder's activation in the gang the plate still refers to a known recognized gang in WA. It would be no different if DOL issued a plate titled Blood or Crips."

Kleiner wrote the committee, "I am a law abiding citizen and I have devoted the last 15 years of my life to helping others. I was shocked and offended that someone would make a complaint … "

But, unanimously, the committee pulled both plates.

Says Kleiner, "What happened to freedom of speech?"

Finally, we come to the case of "THE BOP."

Roger Baker, 68, used to be police chief in Des Moines.

He and his wife, Shirley Baker, 60, now run Business of Policing (BOP), a consulting firm.

So they were quite surprised when in September 2010, the state rejected their application to have "THE BOP" as their vanity plate.

It turned out the agency's staff had gone to Wikipedia and the Urban Dictionary. It takes work, trying to figure out hidden meanings.

They found "BOP" could mean everything from "early modern jazz" to … holy smokes!

"Sexually suggestive."

Says Shirley Baker, "Our circle of friends, even cops, were clueless about any kind of negative connotation."

Roger Baker wrote the committee, "My wife and I are members of the 'senior community' and the plates, 'THE BOP,' on our Ford Explorer should certainly allay any question of sinister meaning to anyone."

The committee allowed the plate.

Says the ex-police chief about having to fight the DOL's initial decision, "Why?"


Because the public's imagination knows no bounds about what's dirty.

Says Tracy Brechbiel, the guy who complained about FUBAR, "Give me any three letters, make one of them an 'F' and I can come up with something that would be obscene."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

© 2013, The Seattle Times Distributed by MCT Information Services