Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Unconscionable: Supreme Court case may gut "one person, one vote"

A far-right group in Texas has a court case called Evenwel v. Abbott. Look it up sometime. I'm shocked they even filed a case like this.

This case would actually make it illegal to use the "one person, one vote" standard for congressional apportionment and redistricting - a standard that's been established for decades. Instead of districting based on actual population, states would be required to draw their congressional and state legislative boundaries based on the number of registered voters.

"One person, one vote" is supposed to mean "one person, one vote." Period. Full stop. This means that even people who are not eligible voters are supposed to be counted in redistricting. This has never been in doubt in modern times. For example, kids under 18 can't vote, but they still count in redistricting, because children use public facilities and programs.

That anyone would challenge "one person, one vote" would be laughable if it wasn't such a serious matter. This has become a serious matter now that the Supreme Court has - shockingly - decided to hear the case. Lower courts have quite properly rejected the plaintiffs' argument, but the Supremes have been launching a frontal attack against the Constitution and issuing a lot of ideologically based rulings in recent years.

Plus, this case is part of a larger effort to erase the groundbreaking Reynolds v. Sims ruling - which is what truly settled the "one person, one vote" question. Having failed so far at carving out North Colorado as the 51st state, the Far Right is chomping at the bit for activist judges to do their dirty work for them. If they succeed at this, it's hard to see how there's any hope for America.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Raining on Bevin's parade

It wasn't just the sky that rained on Tea Party gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin's parade this morning.

Each year, the Tea Party has a float in the Bellevue-Dayton Memorial Day Parade. The Tea Party float goes over about as well as a case of salmonella on Thanksgiving. This year was no exception, and this time they even brang along the Bevster.

Nobody cheered Bevin. Nobody.

I don't think Bevin saw me scowling at him, because he was swaggering along the parade path pretty quickly - with that same stupid facial expression he always has. The November election will be sure to wipe that smirk off his face.

Also, a person bubbled.

People plopped stuff at Baste of Cincinnati

I attended the Sunday installment of Taste of Cincinnati - or as I call it, Baste of Cincinnati. Baste of Cincinnati is said to be the most durable food festival in America.

It's not really that exciting, but it's more interesting than staying at home and playing with chunks of dead skin from my foot. I remember going to this event with my family when I was about 9 or 10, and thinking it was the dullest experience ever. I don't think I ever went back until 2 or 3 years ago.

Baste of Cincinnati is starting to rival Ploptoberfest for ploppings. At yesterday's festivities, I noticed somebody put a Dr Pepper bottle in the garbage can - and I don't mean the regular garbage can. I mean the funny garbage can - i.e., the toilet. Later, I noticed someone put a plastic cup in the toilet.

The day seemed to drag, and one of the food items I tried out was clearly spoiled. But later in the evening, I saw a young woman being arrested on Fountain Square.

Also, I saw 2 people who were in a festive enough mood that they bubbled.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Kasich busts health care unions

This is the type of story that'll make you miss the days when John Kasich was a congressman instead of Governor of Ohio (back when he looked like Jim Carrey's character in Dumb And Dumber). At least back then, Fox News Channel was pretty new and wouldn't have been able to cheer him on as much.

This week, Kasich issued an order that bans health care and child care workers under contract with the state from joining a labor union.

I don't even need to tell you this - because you're smart enough to already know - but this order is clearly unconstitutional. The right to unionize is guaranteed as part of the right to freely associate. A majority of the workers had voted for the union. Federal labor statutes also apply.

Maybe what workers need to do instead is form a cult, call it a religion, and sue the government for special rights and taxpayer-funded bailouts. That's what our "friends" on the right do, so why not?


Friday, May 22, 2015

All Bevin and we'll watch him fall...

With Matt Bevin the apparent gubernatorial choice of the Kentucky GOP (and by extension, the region's media), we have to steel ourselves for an extended cavalcade of Matt Bevin stupid.

Kentucky Republicans have a history of nominating outright fascists, and Bevin is no exception. And make no mistake, I would consider Bevin a fascist.

And a liar.

Not only does Bevin lie about growing up poor (he actually comes from a prep school background), but he also lied about attending MIT. On his LinkedIn page, he claimed he was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT officials say Bevin never even attended the school. Bevin was forced to revise his LinkedIn page.

This scandal actually got some coverage - a teensy-weensy bit - when Bevin challenged the hated Mitch McConnell for Senate. But don't expect it to receive any mainstream press coverage now. That's why I have to expose it again here.

Nonetheless, during Bevin's Senate race, some nobody from Jim DeMint's far-right Senate Conservatives Fund defended Bevin, saying Bevin was "certainly not the first person to puff up his resume." So Bevin is right to lie about his educational record just because other people did it too? What would society be like if everyone had this mindset?

I never thought I'd be this enthusiastic about voting for Jack Conway, but I guess there's a first time for everything.

There's more Bevin scandals where this came from. Trust me on this. Yes, scandals you probably haven't heard of yet. I research these things. Meanwhile, the latest poll has him losing to Conway by 11 percentage points.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Matt Bevin??? Really???

What a disgrace.

The race for Kentucky governor is the most important election in America this year, and the Republican primary was just won by...Matt Bevin???

This is yet more proof that the GOP is ready for the trash heap of history - though, to be fair, I'd have every justification to say the exact same thing if any of the top 3 Republican candidates had won.

Yes, the GOP field was that bad.

Kansas report suggests elections were rigged

Gentleladies and gentlemen, adults of all ages, I now present to you the biggest story about American elections that you've never heard - except from me...

Wichita mathematician Beth Clarkson, Ph.D., has discovered statistical anomalies in recent elections, particularly in Kansas. These irregularities have significantly favored Republicans. Clarkson's analysis says only 3 things can be possible:

1) That there is a "demographic trend that has not been picked up by extensive polling." But we know that's not what happened, since younger voters are becoming more Democratic.

2) That there is a built-in error in the state's voting system.

3) That there is widespread election fraud.

I have pointed out that the 2014 results - in many states, not just Kansas - show a very specific pattern of fraud that seems to be built into voting machines. I know this because partisan elections were generally affected, while nonpartisan elections and referendums typically were not.

Clarkson's study actually follows a 2012 report that found election tampering in many states - including Kentucky. The Kansas study confirmed this pattern.

Now - at long last - there are increasing demands for these reports to be taken seriously. But will they? Judging by The Media's past performance, don't bet on it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Eureka Springs: the town with guts?

Is Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the town with guts?

When fascist state lawmakers passed antigay legislation recently, City Councilor James DeVito countered by saying the state couldn't stop Eureka Springs from passing its own antidiscrimination ordinance. DeVito said, "We don't go by convention. If somebody tells us you can't do something, well, watch us."

Indeed, Eureka Springs did pass an antidiscrimination measure in February - issuing a bold challenge against the state law that would gut such ordinances. The Tea Party got a referendum on the ballot this week that would have repealed the Eureka Springs ordinance - but the town's voters rejected the Tea Party's bigotry by an overpowering 71% to 29%.

"Well, watch us." The world watched Eureka Springs, and Eureka Springs came through for the forces of justice.

Why aren't other cities and towns this brave? Eureka Springs is right to pass a human rights ordinance. But antidiscrimination laws aren't the only battlefront where the cities need to stand up and be counted. Municipalities also need to flex their muscle on environmental, labor, and other laws - in the face of state regimes that are running roughshod over the cities' autonomy. I'm waiting to see what will be the first city in a "right-to-work" state to nullify "right-to-work" laws. I can't believe it hasn't happened yet.

What's the point of incorporating a town if it can't act for the good of its citizenry?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Have no fear, the May ish is here (finally)!

Did you know that the latest edition of The Last Word is now up and bipping? Sure. Sure you did.

This ish talks about my recent travels - namely the roadmeet in Madison, Wisconsin, and my subsequent trip to Texas in which I saw the Bushes' right-wing propaganda mills.

So peep, weep, and eep...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

British election sparks protests

The British know how to react to stuff like this. In America, we've sat on our asses for the past 35 years. But in jolly old Britain, all hell breaks loose when elections go awry.

After the Conservative Party defied all polls by scoring an upset victory in Britain's recent elections, protests have erupted in London. Several hundred people have participated in the demonstrations.

Why hasn't there been something like this in America? Sure, we have Occupy, but where were they this past November? Where were the protests before Occupy? Why wasn't all of 1995 just one big protest?

What's wrong? Are people skeered? Bwok bwok bwok!!!


Friday, May 8, 2015

Another Tea Party legislator busted for sexual assault

Vermont State Sen. Norman McAllister is a Tea Party favorite in his second term as senator. The Republican has championed discredited ideas like mandatory drug testing of welfare recipients.

But now the wealthy, powerful legislator has been charged with sexual assault and human trafficking because of allegations that he accepted or solicited sex from 2 women in exchange for overdue rent. Plainclothes police arrested McAllister during a break in legislative debate.

Bye, Norm.


Bitter memories of Jim Wright's resignation

Former House Speaker Jim Wright died Wednesday at the age of 92. As with the defeat of his successor Tom Foley, bitter memories of Wright's resignation linger.

The Texas Democrat served as Speaker from 1987-89. One of the first things in Wright's Wikipedia entry is the statement, "Wright resigned from the House in 1989 because of a scandal."

This irritates me. In many ways, Wright was an above-average congressperson. He voted for the 1957 Civil Rights Act when most other Southern lawmakers did not. He chaired the 1988 Democratic convention that nominated Michael Dukakis for President.

Wright's downfall came when Newt Gingrich filed ethics charges accusing him of using bulk purchases of his book to earn speaking fees above the permitted maximum. Gingrich and the right-wing media actually targeted Wright largely because of his criticism of the CIA's illegal actions in Nicaragua. This pursuit of Wright's "scandal" boosted Gingrich's credentials among the Far Right - which eventually led Gingrich to become Speaker himself after the rigged 1994 "elections." As Speaker, Gingrich got in trouble for his own book deal that was far worse than anything Jim Wright did.

Later in life, Wright was denied a voter ID card because of unconstitutional voter suppression laws that had recently been enacted.

Do the Republicans have a lock on the U.S. House and the Speaker position now? Gerrymandering, right-wing media bias, and rigged elections have hardened GOP power. But Republican voters are aging, and America's schools would have to double down on their right-wing brainwashing to churn out enough new blood to keep the GOP alive.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

GOP doubles down over Work-for-Less Jamie's domestic violence scandal

While I was on my Texas trip, a major scandal involving Kentucky's Republican Party blew wide open: Jamie Comer - the serial liar who serves as Agriculture Commissioner and who is now running for governor - had been the target of allegations that he physically abused his former girlfriend Marilyn Thomas. Now Thomas has come forward with more details in a 4-page letter to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Thomas's former roommate has corroborated her account:

This isn't the first scandal like this in the GOP, and it's one of many reasons why the party has to be consigned to the sanitary sewer of history. Domestic violence is a serious matter, and the Republicans - a party that has displayed a pattern of harboring abusers - have to face the stiffest fallout possible for this scandal. I've briefly alluded to Comer's scandal in some of my past writings, but part of my job is to maximize the consequences for disgraces like this. I owe Kentucky nothing less than the permanent ruin of the Republican Party.

This is not a selfish political goal. The response by Republicans to the scandal shows why. After the story finally hit the papers, local Republicans haven't abandoned Comer. Shockingly, they've doubled down on their support for him. In fact, for the first time in months, Comer's chance of winning the Republican primary has improved. That's because the GOP base doesn't think like normal people like you and me.

Over the past few days, Jamie Comer has abused Marilyn Thomas nonstop in the media. Comer can't go 5 seconds without dishing out more abuse - just like how the Republican Party can't go that long without abusing the country.

I'm not letting up in my fight against Team Tyranny, but with stories like this, my work might not even be necessary to get them off the game board.

People didn't bunkeroo in Texas

Yesterday, I returned from a road trip in Texas and the Mid-South. In particular, I visited the official presidential museums in Arkansas and Texas. Let me just say, the museums for the Bushes are like an alternate universe.

Nobody farted on this trip, nobody plopped anything, and nobody wore a helicopter hat. I only saw one celebrity look-alike on the entire trip - namely, a Nancy Kerrigan look-alike.

But since I know you're going to ask, some woman bubbled at the Bill Clinton Museum.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

They thought I'd backed down. They were wrong.

Just because I helped scare the northern Kentucky Republican machine into backing down from their pet causes for the Time Being, don't think I've let my guard down now.

As you know, I'm the Tom Petty of northern Kentucky progressive populism: I won't back down.

I'm working on what might as well be called the Graphic Street Guide for local progressive populist activism. I plan to start unveiling parts of this project in the coming weeks. With the events going on in other cities lately, this is fine timing, and I'm prepared for the fight.

It's not a fight I chose, but if Team Tyranny had cooled their commodes a long time ago, I wouldn't have to fight them now.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Have a holly jolly isthmus...

A couple weeks ago, I goed to the amazing roadmeet in Madison, Wisconsin! I included a walking tour of Chicago on the way up, and the outing yielded 77 Scholarin' photos.

You're gonna peep every single one of these photos until your face falls off...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Comcast/Time Warner merger dead

For once, our side actually fought for something. And we won!

Comcast - the hated cable TV and Internet giant known for its right-wing bias and shitty service - had planned to take over Time Warner, creating an impenetrable media monolith controlling two-thirds of America's Internet traffic.

Usually, corporate mergers are rubber-stamped, because they say that not doing so would violate their True Free Speach Now (tm). Nobody did shit to stop the Delta/Northwest merger, for example, or Clear Channel's engulfage of almost the entire radio industry. The states sure didn't do a damn thing. Fifty states, no action. But Comcast/Time Warner was diff. People actually fought back.

Comcast officials now say the merger is dead. Even the FCC refused to back the merger.

This follows the FCC establishing new rules to protect 'Net neutrality - which our side also fought for.

See, we actually win when we fight for stuff. I don't give a shit how many people get skeered by it. We are at war, and I will fight.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hey mystery illness...Can I spend the night with you...

An entire Wednesday was spoiled by a mystery illness, and the timing couldn't have been funnier.

On Tuesday evening, I started feeling like I was run over by a toilet. It ruined the entirety of the following day, and no definitive diagnosis could be made.

Was it a repeat of the great gallbladder infection of 2011? Some aspects were quite similar, but others not so much. Was it merely exhaustion from walking 10 miles across the city of Madison, Wisconsin, on Sunday while wearing a backpack? If poo. Was it (shudder!) a common cold? My peroxide miracle cure didn't kill it within the day - but the mystery disease didn't last much longer than a day after I poured peroxide in my ears, so there's some suspicion it may have been a stalled respiratory infection. Usually, a cold lays hulk to many days, and this illness resembled the beginning and end stages of a cold, without the sheer torture that always lurks between. Given the average incubation period of a cold, odds are I caught it when I was entering the Madison library and frantically marching towards the drinking fountain to refresh my dehydrated bod.

If it was anything contagious, at least it likely immunizes me for my next fact-finding mission, which is coming up in the painfully near future.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tim scares Far Right

Once upon a time - more specifically, about a month ago - a man in northern Kentucky posted on Facebook that he was tired of local Republican officials trampling everyone's rights, so he was going to bring down the hammer in late April. The GOP got skeered and backed down. The end.

Never call someone's bluff when they're not bluffing.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Madison roadmeet rundown!

As today is the 25th anniversary of my expulsion from high school, what better way to celebrate it than with another hilarious roadmeet?

I returned home from the roadmeet in Madison, Wisconsin, this morning, and it was a spectacular one! I plan to publish a detailed account of it in the next Last Word, and let me say, it's gonna go down in history in the annals of Roads Scholaring lore!

More than one instance of flatulence was detected, and the trip home included some good old-fashioned upchuckin'! Even Megabus didn't have any delays of more than 50 minutes or so, which is better than I can say for Greyhound's shocking behavior following the St. Louis meet. But the hotel on this trip was among the most miserable I've ever experienced.

Also, I saw a Jared the Subway Guy look-alike!

Since I know you're gonna ask, when I was at the bus stop to leave Madison, a young woman walking down the street bubbled.

A toast to success! Blublublublublub!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Magoffin County rejects "right-to-work"

After Marshall County, Kentucky, passed a resolution rejecting unconstitutional "right-to-work" laws, Magoffin County has now followed in its footsteps.

But The Media wants to keep that a secret, so as not to encourage other counties.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Have no fear, the April ish is here!

There was a bit of a delay, but the April issue of The Last Word is finally pub-a-roo! Aren't you excited?! If poo.

This edition talks about the following things...

• How not to squander $30 at fancy restaurants.

• How to squander it on a buggy GPS receiver instead.

• CBS losing money in a hilarious way.

• OpenStreetMap uproariousness.

• A person pooping on a plane and stinking it up.

• More Greyhound stupidity.

• Personal responsibility!

You're gonna peep, you're gonna weep, and you're gonna oggle-beep! So point your pooper here...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Ben Waide convicted

Remember Ben Waide, the once-powerful far-right Kentucky legislator who actually got caught breaking the law?

Now he's been found guilty of illegal campaign contributions and unlawful campaign expenditures. Both counts are felonies.

As part of the plea deal, Waide had to agree never to seek elected office again.

Bye, Ben.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Scott Walker says something about roads

Adding another Interstate in a land that's already paved over must be really important to embattled Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Walker's office has just announced that the Badger State has received another major 2-digit Interstate highway spanning the state. The massively unpopular governor has declared that the US 41 freeway from Milwaukee to Green Bay via Appleton is now (drum roll, please) Interstate 41.

Anything to save Walker's failed administration, I guess.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

'SNL' star Gary Kroeger runs for Congress

I could be writing about something funny - like the Irene Cara and Colin Hay look-alikes I saw at the Opening Day parade on Monday - but instead I'm writing about something that seems funny but is actually very important.

Remember Gary Kroeger, who was a Saturday Night Live cast member in the '80s? Now he's running for Congress in Iowa. The comedic actor says he's running in the 2016 Democratic primary in Iowa's 1st District and is actually very serious about it. The Cedar Falls native says he wants to champion progressive policies.

If Scott Walker can be taken seriously as a presidential candidate, then certainly Gary Kroeger can be taken seriously for just about anything. If Kroeger was a Tea Party guy instead of a progressive advocate, The Media would already be anointing him as the frontrunner.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

NorthKey busted for bad food

For years, one of my top goals has been to bring about the closure of a gulag in Covington called NorthKey Community Care Children's Intensive Services - formerly Children's Psychiatric Hospital of Northern Kentucky. It appears that only the name has changed, and it's just the same old shit in a different package.

Now I have access to an official log of complaints that have been lodged against the facility. The log only covers the past few years, because older complaints are conveniently discarded, but it's a rather interesting document.

This log shows there have been several formal complaints against NorthKey just in the past few years. The nature of most of these complaints is unspecified. In some cases, "The allegation was substantiated." In other words, these allegations were confirmed, verified, proven.

This log has much more detail about NorthKey serving possibly spoiled food earlier this year. The document says NorthKey "failed to ensure implementation of a policy addressing safe practices for food handling." Among other things, food was improperly stored or not labeled. It appears as if the facility didn't even bother to tell an employee it had to be labeled - and served quickly after being removed from the refrigerator. NorthKey's food handling practices constituted a significant risk of spoilage.

The log goes into great detail about food preparation staff not wearing proper hair coverings. This is particularly ironic because the facility is known for making such a big deal about "clients" wearing the "wrong" kind of pants, saying it was because they "might" pull down their pants and expose themselves - even though there's no evidence that they did. NorthKey appointed themselves as pants police, but wouldn't provide hair coverings for food staff?

Granted, NorthKey is accredited by the Joint Commission - but the Joint Commission has been in trouble itself for not enforcing safety standards or patient rights.

Don't think the log is real? Here's the log...

Sunday, April 5, 2015

People bunkerooed on Easter

Spring is the season of hope. I hoped there'd be bunker blasts at an important family gathering today, and there were.

This evening, an LAP backdoor breeze was detected - providing much amusement. But it wasn't nearly as uproarious as the SBD air biscuit that wafted later. As we were getting ready to leave, that telltale stench began to hover, and those now-familiar gasps of frustration were heard. Why, it was a bunker blast!

Cries of accusation sprang up throughout the room, but no suspects could be indicted for the looming stinker.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Far Right says getting paid for working is "free money"

Hang on to your faces, because Team Tyranny is pushing a new argument against better wages. The biggest danger to America posed by this meme is that right-wing talking points like this always seem to be quickly treated as incontrovertible truths by The Media.

Recently, a woman was fired from her job at a Days Inn hotel in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, because she dared to express support for a minimum wage increase in a Washington Post interview.

In the Post's initial article, the woman's boss - the inn's manager Herry Patel - blasted Arkansas's wage increase (which was approved in November by 66% of voters). Patel was quoted as saying, "Everybody wants free money in Pine Bluff."

He thinks workers being paid 25 cents more per hour is "free money"?

The Far Right's new talking point is that being paid for actual work is a form of welfare. I'm reminded of Jeanine Pirro lecturing a litigant to get a job when she already had a job. True to form, the class warriors who spend their days posting on newspaper comment sections have attacked the minimum wage worker in this story under the assumption that she also gets welfare. If her boss would have paid her enough, she wouldn't need welfare. Understand?!

It's a downright miracle for the 1% that there isn't a nationwide general strike going on because of the economic tyranny of low pay. A lot is wrong in America today, and much of it has been rightly exposed. For example, Indiana's disastrous new antigay law has created such a backlash that it threatens to upend the entire Republican Party - and the Republican Right deserves every bit of criticism they've gotten for this law. But the economic leg of the progressive 3-legged stool is still underpowered - which is all the more surprising when you consider that America's working poor is such a huge constituency.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Obama vetoes union-busting bill

The Far Right's streak of stupid has continued, as the right-wing Congress recently passed a bill that would have gutted rules allowing more efficient union elections.

But today, President Obama vetoed the bill - his fourth veto in 6 years, but the second in just the past 3 months.

The union rules are still facing court challenges from business groups that say unionization violates free speech. Seriously, they say that.


Work-for-Less Jamie talks about an issue nobody cares about

The Republican Right has been a rapid generator of idiotic ideas lately, and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner and Republican gubernatorial candidate James Comer has been talking up an equally dumb idea that absolutely nobody cares about anymore: tort "reform."

Comer - who trails in most polls handily - says he would try to establish panels to screen medical malpractice suits before the suits go to trial.

That issue? The issue that 5 people used to care about for 10 minutes back in 1991? Nobody - and I mean nobody - except far-right hacks gives a shit about it anymore. At all.

What's next? The FairTax?

The more important point is that Comer is fighting a problem that doesn't even exist. There's no national or statewide pandemic of frivolous malpractice suits filed by patients. There never was. But there is a glut of frivolous suits filed by health care providers against patients. I know this, because our local newspaper used to list all the suits filed in some local counties. Most of the suits were like that.

I think we should have panels to weed out frivolous suits filed by greedy health care companies so they don't keep gunking up our courts. These panels should consist of patient advocates as well as industry representatives - and the lawsuits shouldn't go forward unless both sides agree to it.

Only in conservaworld do big corporations have more rights than people.