Friday, February 29, 2008

The Conservative Fool Of The Day is...Tim Goeglein!

Tim Goeglein is a onetime staffer for right-wing former Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana who now works for the Bush regime as its liaison to religious groups.

But now he's been caught with his pooey Underoos down around his ankles plagiarizing an essay. The piece he ripped off was written by Jeffrey Hart and originally appeared in a Dartmouth College publication. But Goeglein copied much of this work and presented this text as his own in a Fort Wayne News-Sentinel column.

Goeglein admitted it in an e-mail to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. "I am entirely at fault. It was wrong of me. There are no excuses," the disgraced GOP insider cried.

Actually there are no excuses for being a Bushist either. And he is entirely at fault for that too.


Homeowners' association allowed to control what goes on inside home

Everyone thinks I'm exaggerating when I talk about conservatives trying to control what people do in the bedroom. The usual response is that it simply can't happen in America in 2008. But this story proves it does.

In Longwood, Florida, a homeowners' association sued an owner of a house because she rented it out to residents who ran a porn website using a webcam. This was not a business that had customers coming to the home. Rather, the site's business came from people viewing it over the Internet.

There was nothing illegal about it. Producing porn that features only adults generally is not illegal. Distributing such legally protected material over the 'Net also is not illegal. So the homeowners' association needs to fuck off.

One of the association's excuses for filing the suit was that people in nearby houses might look in through the window of the offending house and see porn. Um, ever hear of not looking in other people's houses? If you don't want to see it, then don't peep through the windows. Simple.

Who would have ever thought any court would side with the homeowners' association? Well, it's Florida - a state with one of the most anti-people records of the past quarter-century. Homeowners' associations pretty much do what they want there. So the association in this case actually won its lawsuit, believe it or not!

Suppose your apartment lease has a clause that prevents you from a running a business from the apartment. Does that mean your landlord can evict you if you run a revenue-generating blog that you write on your home computer? If you make a living writing books, can you be evicted for working on your book at home? That's exactly what this is like. There's almost no difference whatsoever.

It shows you what a dangerous precedent is set by this ruling. About the only difference is that a homeowners' association doesn't even own the dwellings! It's essentially been allowed to become a private entity with government-like powers. If a homeowners' association that doesn't even own the buildings can go after someone for what they do in private, what's to stop a zealous local government from doing the same?


Sports league won't accommodate players' religion

Tell me if this isn't a double standard: The Colorado High School Activities Association won't allow games to be played on Sundays, because they want to accommodate Christian players. Yet the CHSAA is forcing a Jewish school to play on a Saturday, even though this violates the school's religious beliefs.

Is the CHSAA being fair? Certainly not.

The boys' basketball team at the Jewish school may be in a regional championship game that's coming up on a Saturday in March. The school requested a schedule change to avoid playing on a Saturday. But the CHSAA rejected this request and threatened to replace the team with another school's team if they refused to play on a Saturday.

Hey CHSAA, if you're going to make the school play on a Saturday, then why not rescind the rule against Sunday games? Try to be fair here. Don't be like Free Republic, which is intolerant of any views other than its own.

Several state legislators have pleaded with CHSAA to change its mind. Last I heard, however, the double standard has not been rectified.


Air Force censors blogs

Want to see yet another example of government censorship? Today's contender for the Golden Constitution-Shredder Award is, of all organizations, the U.S. Air Force, which has a new censorship policy that not only bans blogging by troops but also bars them from accessing blogs.

So while part of the Air Force's job is to defend the Constitution, it is instead violating it. The Air Force now bans troops from reading any site that has "blog" in its Web address. The excuse is that blogs are "not legitimate news sources", according to the Air Force. Other blogs and even some news sites are censored based on "content reviews." However, the website of an established newspaper would not be blocked, because it's an "authorized source."

This is almost like the Postal Service opening troops' mail. Or if the government tore articles out of newspapers before troops could read them.

This very blog is blocked because it has "blog" in the URL. I have a good mind to sue the Air Force right this minute for barring troops from reading this blog. Not only does this censorship violate the rights of Air Force personnel to read news sites of their choice, but it also violates my free speech rights as a civilian blogger.

Many Air Force personnel live on base, so the only computer network they have access to is the censored one the Air Force provides.

Joining the military is a commitment - but keeping fighting men and women in the dark by blocking the news isn't what I call building a strong national defense. It sounds more like something you'd expect from one of Mel Sembler's gulags than from the military of the most powerful country in the world.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Daylight Wasting Time

Guess what's coming?

Daylight Saving Time looms again! The annual lockstep ritual of moving the clocks ahead an hour occurs this year on March 9, marking the second year in which the United States is on the new, vastly expanded Daylight Wasting Time schedule. DST had already been expanded in 1987 following a corporate-backed effort. (One of the supporters was the maker of Kingsford charcoal.) The later law - this one supported by electric companies - extended DST again starting last year.

In 2006 Indiana observed DST statewide for the first time - a change backed by Big Business and put in place by right-wing Gov. Mitch Daniels, one of the worst governors in America.

That expanding DST is industry-backed is borne out by the fact the months in the dead of winter that need sunlight the most don't have DST.

Now a University of California-Santa Barbara study shows DST wastes energy in Indiana - a finding that should surprise nobody familiar with DST's support from energy companies. Maybe DST is of more use elsewhere. But not in the Hoosier State, and if you've studied maps a lot, you might see why. The same would be true of nearby areas in Kentucky and Ohio.

That's because Daylight Wasting Time puts these areas way off from natural time. In Cincinnati it's almost 2 hours off. In, say, Terre Haute, it's much worse. The human body can't keep up with a schedule so far off from the biological clock. Indiana farmers objected to DST because it forces them to work in darkness in the morning.

Indiana's switch to DST has cost households in that state a total of $8,600,000 more in electricity bills. A lot of that isn't from lights, but from heating and cooling.

Here's a realistic plan I have: Keep DST, but move the time zone boundary east into Ohio and eastern Kentucky. As recently as the '60s, Indiana and some Kentucky counties near Cincinnati were in the Central Time Zone. If we're going to have DST for 8 months a year, let's put Cincinnati and Indiana in the Central Time Zone, so they're not so far off from the natural daily cycle.

Simply put, we don't belong in the Eastern Time Zone as long as Daylight Saving Time is around.


Prison boom sets new record!

I believe it was Kentucky populist luminary Gatewood Galbraith who said that, under the burgeoning police state, full employment means 50% of the people are prison guards and the other 50% are in prison. If that's the case, America is approaching full employment slowly but surely. (sEe tHe eCoNoMy iS dOiNg gReAt lololololol!!!!!)

The prison-industrial complex has swollen so much since the tyranny-fueled prison construction boom of the '90s that now, for the first time ever, more than 1 out of 100 American adults is in jail or prison. To be more precise, this new record is 1 out of 99.1.

Not only is this an all-time record. The incarceration rate in the United States continues to be the highest of any country in the world. With over 2,300,000 people behind bars, America's rate far exceeds China, which has only 1,500,000 people imprisoned despite having a much larger overall population.

The report released today by the Pew Center on the States says that the states spend over 4 times as much on corrections now than they spent 20 years ago. The rate of increase for the ever-growing (and racist) prison business was 6 times as big as it was for higher education spending.

My home state of Kentucky - under its recently humiliated Republican machine - is the worst offender of all states. In the past 30 years, the state's inmate population has increased by an amazing 600%.

See, that's what happens when everything is illegal. Except when corporations do it, of course. There's no laws on Big Business, but there's so many laws on individuals now that each of us probably breaks the law without knowing it at least monthly. Victimless crimes carry stiff - often mandatory - sentences. A mother of 3 in my area was recently imprisoned for 3 years after being nabbed on a minor drug warrant from 8 years ago. Now those children have lost their mom for a significant portion of their childhood because of a zealous "justice" system that feeds a greedy corrections industry.

Because so many small-time drug offenders are locked up, real violent thugs have to be set free or given a light sentence to make room for them. Recently a man in Wisconsin was sentenced to only 5 years for beating and strangling his wife to death and burying her body - and he may be out after just a bit more than 3 years. Why? Part of the reason is so people can be imprisoned for 10 years over forgotten drug warrants.

The result of all this is that murder and other violent crimes continue unchecked, hard-working Americans who never committed a violent crime are locked away, and America becomes an anti-people prison state.


Mint rejects D.C. quarter

The District of Columbia has a slogan on its license plates: "Taxation Without Representation." Taxation without representation is what's suffered daily by the residents of the nation's capital - who must pay all federal taxes and are subject to the Selective Service System, but still do not get any representation in Congress (except one non-voting delegate). The United States is probably unique among modern federal republics in denying residents of the national capital the representation that the rest of the country gets.

This is especially vexing because an activist federal court ruled several years ago that D.C. can't have a payroll tax that's levied primarily on commuters who work in the city but live in wealthy suburbs in nearby states. This ruling was cobbled together from thin air. So D.C. isn't even allowed to pass a tax that other cities can!

"Taxation Without Representation" should've been my rallying cry when I had my first job and had to commute out to a wealthier suburb and pay a payroll tax to it. Much of this moolah effectively went to services for hostile former schoolmates who were spending their later high school years goofing off and chewing bubble gum while I toiled for them. If I had to pay a payroll tax to a relatively affluent suburb, why shouldn't suburbanites have to pay a payroll tax to a central city?

Now that D.C. has finally been allowed to be a part of the hugely successful state quarters program, the District has submitted several designs for its commemorative 25-cent piece. However, the U.S. Mint has rejected these designs because they include D.C.'s incisive slogan.

The reason? It's "too controversial." The Mint apparently thinks it's too much of a political statement.

The irony here is that the Mint's decision proves D.C. lacks representation, despite its high federal tax burden. You can bet that if some state submitted a political message for its coin that agreed with the ruling party's stance, it would not have been rejected. You can bet every quarter in the entire set and then some. I can almost guarantee it.


The Conservative Fool Of The Day is...Kay Rogers!

Kay Rogers is the county auditor of Butler County, Ohio. Big Republican.

A few days ago, K-Rog pleaded guilty to several federal felonies in a humiliating fraud investigation. Big Republican.

The charges included conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud and filing a false income tax return. The fraud that took place between 2004 and 2006 involved falsely claiming that a company was authorized to do business with the county. Big Republican.

K-Rog also failed to report over $56,000 she got from income tax preparation and accounting services over a 5-year span. Big Republican.

Several elected officials said K-Rog ought to resign. But she has arrogantly refused to step down. Big Republican.

Because Butler County is ruled by a right-wing GOP machine, the replacement if she does resign will be chosen by the party apparatus. Big Republicans!

And now K-Rog is Conservative Fool Of The Day! Big, big Republican!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tennessee GOP lies in press release

What? You mean to tell me a state Republican organization lied? Gee, what else is new?

The Tennessee Republican Party has put out a press release falsely implying that Barack Obama holds anti-Semitic views and falsely claiming that Obama tries to surround himself with advisers who are anti-Semitic. (Obama has condemned anti-Semitism, and has also denounced Louis Farrakhan.) The press release also tries to link the candidate to efforts to overthrow the United States government. The missive so reeks of Bushist demagoguery that one wonders how much spittle was spent writing it.

These accusations are outright lies - so what the GOP said is libel. Dirty, rotten libel.

The press release was accompanied by the now-infamous photo of Obama in Somali tribal garb, which the Tennessee GOP falsely claimed was Muslim garb. The party was forced to take the photo down when they were called on this.

For his part, John McCain publicly denounced the Tennessee Republican Party's narrow-minded, bigoted innuendo. Of course, McCain still opts to run under the disgusting banner of the GOP - a party that's been known for defamatory attacks like this for years - so he doesn't exactly have a whole lot of credibility.


Bushists vandalize Obama headquarters

The real right-wing whack-a-doos are crumbling. First, they're not satisfied with John McCain, as they claim he's not right-wing enough, and now they realize Obama is probably going to win anyway, especially now that he's leading McCain in a head-to-head match-up in Kentucky.

And when Bushists fall apart, they do weird things.

In Longview, Texas, right-wing vandals defaced the local Obama campaign headquarters, which is housed in a small phone repair business. They spraypainted "racist" on the phone business's vans and "racits" (sic) on the building. The vans are so badly damaged that they can't be used - thereby costing the company business.

Did the Freeper with the misspelled "GET A BRAIN MORANS" sign move to Texas? Judging by the spelling mistakes in the vandalism that afflicted the Obama headquarters, the mischief stinks of Freepers.

The vandalism is backfiring, as several locals have offered to chip in to fix the vans.

This is shaping up to be another 2004, with the wingnut mischief and all. The only thing that might be different is the partisan outcome of the election.


Meanwhile, the wingnutosphere claims...

The wingnuts are actually claiming the Arctic ice sheet is thickening!

An editorial on Monday by right-wing extremist Lorne Gunter of the National Post of Canada tried to debunk the science of climate change. But Gunter fell down so hard on his self-assured mug that all you could hear was the entire North American continent (and the rest of the world) guffawing at him.

Yesterday, talk-shit radio and the wingnutosphere dutifully picked up Gunter's piece as "proof" that the Arctic ice sheet is getting thicker - even though scientists have proven that it's melting. Potential assassin Glenn Beck, soak-the-poor chaosmonger Neal Boortz, and washed-up has-been Rush Limbaugh all quoted Gunter's op-ed almost word-for-word.

These losers sure have shitty timing, don't they? Yesterday also happened to be the exact same day the village of Kivalina, Alaska, filed a lawsuit over climate change melting sea ice and destroying their community.

Which do you trust: Do you trust a handful of right-wing commentators who have always parroted corporate propaganda? Or do you trust hundreds of hard-working villagers who have seen sea ice melt firsthand?

Village sues companies over climate change

Sometimes the most remote places are the catalysts for change to benefit us all. Just yesterday I was thinking of how weird it was that climate change hasn't prompted megabucks lawsuits against big corporations - but now this is changing.

Global warming exists and is caused largely by industrial pollution and other human-made emissions. I've known it for probably 20 years, and scientists have certainly known it for longer. I think global warming is something of a misnomer, because it doesn't always mean warmer temperatures in every area in every season. Every weather statistic lately is always a record though. You notice that? Record highs! Record lows! Record rain! Record drought! More accurately, it's climate change.

There's no question that human-made climate change is the reason we had that record-setting heat wave this past August or why we've had so many ice storms this month. None. The head-up-their-ass crowd will deny it, but science says they're wrong.

Overall, however, the average worldwide temperature has increased, and it's more so in the Arctic, where people for centuries had survived on the cold climate. Now the village of Kivalina, Alaska, inhabited mostly by the Inupiat people, wants Corporate America held accountable. The centuries-old village is eroding into the Arctic Ocean because artificial warming there is melting sea ice that protected it from storm surges and waves. So the community is filing a federal lawsuit against 9 oil companies (including Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron, and Shell), 14 power companies (including Duke Energy), and a coal firm over greenhouse gases that are responsible for much of this climate change.

Relocating Kivalina has already cost at least $400,000,000, and another relocation looms. Even official reports by the Army Corps of Engineers and the General Accounting Office confirm global warming has devastated Kivalina.

The village's lawsuit might be opposed by the "no regulations" cultists who constantly spew anti-science dogma to defend Coprorate (sic) America. However, fans of reason and fairness are 100% in favor of the suit. With Big Business constantly demanding and getting goodies from the government (it's called corporate welfare), the damage to Kivalina is certainly not the fault of Kivalina's villagers or other Americans who have been adversely affected by climate change.

The suit also charges some of the companies with conspiracy for misleading the public about the causes and results of climate change. I think these companies' actions should be punishable under RICO: There's been an ongoing campaign of intimidation against those of us who use science to challenge Corporate America's greed.

It's my hope that Kivalina prevails. Nobody can credibly doubt that at least some of the corporations named in the suit contributed to the damage to the village.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I watched the debate tonight!

I remember back in 1980 when I was in grade school how there was a school bus monitor who always complained about Jimmy Carter. One day she launched a diatribe in which she angrily declared, "I'm gonna watch the debate tonight!"

I was only 7, but I knew it must have been pretty important, because 'debate' was an important-sounding word.

I just watched tonight's debate on TV that took place in Cleveland. The 95-minute forum that featured Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was fairly uneventful as far as debates go.

Unfortunately it was on NBC, whose credibility was dashed about a week ago with the spliced tape hoax. About the only thing of note is Brian Williams's first question, which was nearly as idiotic as the question CNN's Bernard Shaw asked Michael Dukakis at the start of that one debate. It had to do with the photo of Obama wearing Somali garb in Kenya.

Williams was basing the question on something on Drudge Report, for crying out loud! Drudge Report! So trying to lend credibility to Drudge Report is what political discourse has stooped to?

So now I'm tired. A full month without sunlight will do that. So if the entries here lately aren't as animated as they should be, that's why.

Bush threatens to veto foreclosure bill

A bill in the Senate that would ease the foreclosure crisis is - predictably - now under a veto threat by the Bush White House. The bill that Bush is threatening to veto would let bankruptcy judges erase some mortgage debt and help fund the repair of abandoned and foreclosed properties. But Bush cries that the bill would give the judges too much power to modify mortgage terms and "undermine existing contracts."

Like Bush has ever given a shit about breaking contracts before? You can say the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions are like contracts, and he sure hasn't been too worried about following those over the years.

Like other private contracts, mortgage terms can be trumped by laws. There are some contracts between private parties that have not been able to be enforced, because a law prevents it. Sometimes when you sign a contract, it even says that it shall only be enforced within the terms of federal or state law. So Bush's excuse is bogus.

Bush is siding against consumers - and with the Mortgage Bankers Association, an industry lobbying group that has already succeeded in weakening the bill.

If Bush gets impeached this very minute over lying to start a war and his phone spying scandal, it would be such a relief.


Comcast shows why 'Net neutrality is needed

It amazes you. Cable and Internet giant Comcast tried doing to a meeting about 'Net neutrality what they've already been caught doing to 'Net access - and unwittingly ended up illustrating why they're wrong.

There was an FCC hearing recently at Harvard about 'Net neutrality. But the meeting went awry because Comcast paid people to fill up most of the seats at the meeting and cheer for their side. Supporters of 'Net neutrality - as well as journalists - weren't able to get into the hearing, because Comcast's paid cheerleaders monopolized all the space. Reporters and others had to be turned away because there was no room.

Then, many of the company's paid supporters fell asleep during the hearing! As if that wasn't enough, Comcast lied about what they did. The company admitted hiring people off the street to hold places in line before the event, but denied they actually took seats at the hearing - even though there were witnesses to the fact that they did.

If Comcast is willing to freep a hearing like this and lie about it, think what they'll do to Internet access if they can. Flooding a hearing with paid followers is little different from discriminating against types of data on its ISP. First they block the Internet, then they block the public from attending a hearing about it. That shows you what they'll stoop to.


Another reason not to vote for Hillary

There's a host of issues that should be used as a litmus test to automatically preclude you from voting for a candidate based on their stance. If a candidate supports continuing the war or work-for-less laws, I would not vote for them. The same is true of the unconstitutional idea of mandatory uniforms in public schools.

On all these issues, I would give the benefit of the doubt to any national Democrat - unless their stated position is otherwise. However, while Hillary Clinton has not come out in favor of unconstitutional right-to-scab legislation, she has favored the war all along and has unequivocally come out in support of school uniforms.

The latter stance is one you don't hear much about, because the media just expects it to not be a major issue. But it is. School uniforms are almost like a cult: The policy trains people early in life to accept groupthink. So it has a lifelong impact.

Support for uniforms is often associated with Bill Clinton's right-wing 1996 State of the Union address. Hillary Clinton supports the discredited idea too: This past fall, the candidate expressed her support for school uniforms in a speech to Iowa teachers.

At the same time, however, Chicago teacher Will Okun pointed out in a New York Times article that the highest-performing schools do not have uniforms. One public high school near Chicago that has almost no dress code to speak of is one of the highest-ranked in the whole state of Illinois. On standardized tests, the 3 highest-scoring schools in Illinois are public schools in the city of Chicago that do not require uniforms.

Are the uniform cultists going to claim standardized tests are wrong now? Usually they're the same people who also worship standardized testing, so they can't have it both ways. (This also reinforces my point that urban public schools often outperform suburban private schools by far - a fact that's always denied by the suburban Establishment.)

Furthermore, the article says studies prove uniforms are a failure. The most detailed study ever on uniforms, which was published in the Journal of Educational Research, says that "a negative effect of uniforms on student academic achievement was found."

School uniforms - considered a panacea by the Clintons, Bush, and other rightists - are such a shallow idea, but it affects people deeply. (Bush's support for uniforms has been swept under the rug by the media almost completely.)

Because of this, I would not vote for Hillary Clinton, even in the general election. Absolutely no way, no how, no when, no where. Her uniform support makes her seem like an Allowed Cloud personified. If any other candidate was known to support making uniforms mandatory in public schools, I wouldn't vote for them either.

In Midwestern cities, we take the Constitution seriously. If Clinton gets the nomination, it's not my problem if the Democrats want to bleed our votes to third parties.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Bush off in Loony Loony Land as usual

Today Bush predicted that the GOP will not only win the upcoming presidential election but will also take control of both houses of Congress and a majority the nation's governorships.

You know what I have to say about that?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

You're hilarious, George!

The Republicans have a tiny glimmer of hope of staying in the White House, but they don't have a chance in hell of taking back either house of Congress or most of the governorships. Those are gone. Gone into thin air.

Kind of like the thin air that fills Disgeorge's head.

And the GOP so fucking deserved every election loss they suffered last time.


House throws out challenge of rigged election

I think that whole thing about Congress being controlled by the Democrats now is just an urban legend. The Senate confirmed Mukasey, of all people, so what are we supposed to think?

Now the allegedly Democratic House has dismissed a challenge to a flawed 2006 House election that took place in Florida. In that so-called election, Democrat Christine Jennings "officially" lost to Republican Vern Buchanan by only 369 votes. But it was suspicious, because this vote - which used touch-screen machines - had 18,000 ballots that were counted as having no vote in that race.

So we're supposed to believe that 18,000 people just in one part of Florida went to the polling place only to cast a blank ballot? Does anyone believe that?

Apparently the House does, because they dismissed Jennings's complaint on a voice vote - which means we'll never know which lawmakers sided against contesting the sham election.

A state audit found no evidence of vote machine glitches - but from the recent history of corruption by Florida election officials (the same rightist poologs who deliberately sat on the complaint against Ann Coulter until the statute of limitations had expired), nobody can trust that.

In this year's election, there's gonna be a rematch. I wonder if Vern Buchanan is safe, because the 2006 woes led to Florida abolishing faulty touch-screen machines. There could be laughs on the way.


Peace Bike finds Allowed Cloud!

One of the saving graces of this job is that I don't have a rigid schedule - so I can work on this blog at night instead of normal business hours that I can use instead for going Roads Scholaring on the Peace Bike!

Today was the Ice Bowl of Roads Scholaring outings. But one of the first things that happened this morn was that the Peace Bike sniffed out one of the most detailed Allowed Clouds posted in a public place anywhere in the area:


That sign is posted on the Cincinnati approach of the Newport Southbank Bridge, a span over the Ohio River.

Is that an Allowed Cloud or what? Almost nothing is allowed on the bridge!

Some of these rules are just common sense and would have existed anyway - such as no littering. And of course, a bridge that was modified for nonmotorized traffic (and this span was) shouldn't allow cars (and this span doesn't). But skateboards are banned too? When this bridge - the former L&N Bridge - reopened in 2003, it was supposed to be for skateboarders as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. So somebody lied.

The bridge also bans "shoeless persons." What's next, outlawing hats and sunglasses too? And the rule against distributing flyers has got to run into a First Amendment challenge if they ever enforce it.

These blue laws were actually established before Kentucky's highway department washed its hands of the bridge. I'm almost sure it was the only stretch in the entire U.S. numbered highway system or any American state highway system that had an Allowed Cloud against barefoot travelers. (It was officially the unsigned US 27C until recently.)

If someone who travels by bike purchases beer at a grocery and returns home using this bridge (with the unopened beer in a crate on the bike), would the first rule listed on the sign apply against that? That's how illogical some of these rules are if they're enforced rigidly.

I'll give the bridge a pass on the security cameras - but only if I don't encounter trouble if I photograph the devices and post my pictures on a website. It's called countersurveillance, and it makes surveillance more honest by letting the system know we'll be on guard if they try to abuse the cameras.

It's ironic that a span colloquially referred to as the Purple People Bridge would be so anti-people as to micromanage footwear and skateboards (after promising skateboards would be permitted). It's actually a sign of disrespect to the people to have such a detailed list of rules, because most people are mature enough to conduct themselves in an orderly manner - without being told how.

Nader mounts third party bid

I was going to withhold judgment on this, but people keep asking me what my opinion is of Ralph Nader's third party presidential bid.

As you know, I'm a registered Green, but I wasn't endorsing or criticizing Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney after Nader won California's Green primary. Nader just announced his third party entry yesterday, but the media won't specify which party.

I was glad to vote for Nader's Green candidacy in 2000, and remain furious that he was kept off the ballot in Kentucky in 1996. To me, Al Gore was as much of a spoiler as Gore's supporters claim Nader was. Nothing personal against Gore, but I've had little appetite for anyone who was part of the Clinton administration since the mind-numbing cave-ins of the mid-'90s. Contrary to popular belief, Nader wasn't the Green standard-bearer in 2004, and I reluctantly voted Democratic in the presidential election.

Assuming he's not running as a Green, am I inclined to vote for Nader now? If it was him versus Hillary Clinton, yes. Versus Barack Obama, probably not. And versus a Green, even less likely.

However, I will say that if the media illegally excludes either the Greens or Nader from the debates again, or if the states illegally keep them off the ballot again, that'll just make me more inclined to support them. Vetting of candidates by the right-wing media must stop now. No matter how much of a longshot it is, the media has no business silencing candidates because of their views. (Notice the media gave Ross Perot a platform because he was actually more right-wing than not.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

What's a "dry druggie"?

Lately you may have heard a lot here about "dry druggies." What is a "dry druggie"? It's a completely bogus concept, and that's why I mock it.

Someone told me a few months ago about the "dry druggie" theory being a mainstay of youth behavior modification centers. I vaguely remembered hearing the phrase before, but I couldn't recall where. The sham "dry druggie" concept isn't so much guilt by association. It's actually guilt by lack of association. Under this concept, teenagers in confinement facilities are regularly called "dry druggies" if they do not abuse drugs but do not conform to the program's thinking.

Get it? They're not druggies, because they're not on drugs (and in most cases never were). So the program calls them "dry druggies." Yes, they use that phrase. The facility's stance is that the teens will become actual drug abusers if they don't follow the program or if they do anything the facility doesn't approve of, such as listen to the "wrong" music.

But the concept is a lie. It's yet another example of the War on Drugs being a War on People. And a lot of it is rooted in greed. Some of these torture centers are marketed as drug treatment facilities. Even ones that aren't specifically billed as such can use the "dry druggie" excuse to keep people confined longer and Make more Money.

I encountered this concept myself. I was illegally confined to a behavior modification gulag as a teenager. Nazis insist that I and other victims of this industry deserved it. But they're full of shit, because all I did to get put there was get expelled from a Catholic high school and disagree with a conservative. I encountered the "dry druggie" theory when they made us attend mandatory drug counseling - even though I did not use illicit drugs. They didn't use the words "dry druggie", but it was the same idea. At my first session, the counselor asked me, "What do you use?"

"Use?" I replied. I had no idea what he was talking about.

"Yeah, use. Everybody here uses," he said.

"I don't use."

He looked at me like I was just telling a childish fib. I'm sure a majority of the kids there didn't "use." But the party li(n)e was that unless we followed the program, we would all become dope fiends. We were expected to believe this. The facility's line was that even though I didn't use illegal drugs, getting in trouble at school was "druggie behavior."

I think I heard the words "dry druggie" at the school I attended later. This was sort of like an alternative school, because I was considered "bad" after getting expelled from my old school. We hardly learned shit at this school, but they had someone come in every week to lecture us about staying with the school's program so we don't become "dry druggies." (This incidentally was not the regular public school that I recall fondly as the source of my diploma.)

I've read and heard more about this scam lately. The "dry druggie" racket has cost American families countless dollars and destroyed an untold number of lives.

Station blacks out Siegelman report

Just a few days ago I mentioned the fact that a TV station in my area blacked out part of a newsmagazine's report on embattled Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham 20 years ago. Something similar happened just today in at least one market.

'60 Minutes' aired a story about involvement by Karl Rove and Bush's Justice Department in the bribery prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat. (He's the man pictured here.) The long and short of it is that the probe of Siegelman was politically motivated. According to the report, even a Republican former Attorney General of Arizona is suspicious of the prosecution, as are some other Republican and Democratic officials.

But the story wasn't aired in Huntsville, Alabama. WHNT-TV, Huntsville's CBS affiliate, showed a blank screen for 12 minutes. After complaints from viewers, WHNT blamed it on "technical difficulties", saying their network feed was "lost." Um. Yeah. Sure.

It turns out WHNT is owned by a company headed by a close friend of Bush. Oops! Busted! Now we know why WHNT has such Pravda-like ways.

Back in the '60s, a TV station got its licensed revoked by the FCC because it cut out stories about the civil rights movement from the network news. The FCC can and should come down hard on WHNT for doing basically the same thing to the Siegelman story.


Census ignored Native American village

The 2000 census - the one we're stuck with until 2010 - was known to have deliberately skipped several small towns and undercounted probably every urban area in the country. Conveniently, these were in Democratic areas that had only minimal Republican support. (The census dictates funding for cities and communities, and determines apportionment for Congress, the state legislatures, and the all-important Electoral College.) As an example, I live in a very heavily Democratic precinct but was never sent a census form. If you did not receive a form, you were supposed to call a hotline to have one sent to you. I did this, but I still did not receive a form.

At minimum, the census also skipped a town in Missouri, one in Pennsylvania, and other places.

The political bias is borne out by the fact that the 2000 census reported that Republican states and counties gained population much faster than Democratic areas - repeating a trend seen in the 1990 census (which itself was deemed the most inaccurate ever and was marred by Mad Dog Bush vetoing a bill that would have made it more accurate). In fact, if the Electoral College in 2000 was based on the 1980 census instead of the 1990 count, it would not have mattered who won Florida, because Al Gore would have been sufficiently ahead. If it had been based on the 2000 census, it also would not have mattered, because Bush would have been so far ahead.

Now I've discovered another placed skipped by the census - a miscount that's mostly been covered up. This time it was the village of Supai, Arizona, which is the capital of the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The 1990 census showed it had 423 people; the 2000 census said it had zero, despite the fact that it clearly still had hundreds of inhabitants. Wikipedia mentions the discrepancy here:,_Arizona

Supai is a remote town that gets its mail delivered by mule and has several beautiful waterfalls. Its economy is based on tourism. As proof the village is inhabited, it has a lodge, a store, a cafe, and at least one house of worship - even though there's no roads leading out of the area. If nobody lives there, why would the Postal Service still keep having a mail carrier ride a mule down there?

For the record (because I know you're gonna ask), Supai is in a heavily Democratic county - like the other places the census ignored.

I have yet to find any workaround for the 2000 census's mind-numbing inaccuracy, other than to keep using the 1990 numbers. Some have said that the census stupidly supplied only one form per building - causing urban areas with a lot of apartments to be undercounted - and that the proper workaround should just be to multiply each city's "official" population by the number of households per building. But Supai isn't a large city, and this doesn't explain why the census would give it a population of zero.

The 2000 census should have been declared null and void as soon as all these errors came to light, but now it's almost time for the next count. A couple years from now, we'll know whether the trend of censuses becoming progressively less accurate continues.

School accused of teaching that Obama is "scary"

America's schools have a record of indoctrinating children with right-wing propaganda, but a public elementary school in Ocean View, Delaware, takes it to extremes.

A 5th grade teacher has reportedly proclaimed that Barack Obama is Muslim and that he doesn't swear on the Bible and refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The instructor also reportedly declared that Obama "believes in different things and is scary."

These are commonly known as lies. Another word for it is bullshit. Obama has said, "My grandfather taught me how to say the Pledge of Allegiance when I was 2. During the Pledge of Allegiance you put your hand over your heart. During the national anthem you sing." Also, Barack Obama isn't Muslim.

Barack Obama isn't Muslim, but a student in that 5th grade classroom is. The student was deeply offended by the teacher's bigotry and scaremongering.

Who's surprised by a school teaching falsehoods about a presidential candidate? It's an outrage, but not a surprise, because the schools I attended used similar brainwashing techniques.

The school in this story is part of the sprawling Indian River School District, which itself has a history of intolerance. Although it's a public school system, school bored members have publicly stated that it's a "Christian district." The school system promotes conservative Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family was forced out of the area. Their daughter's graduation was ruined when a pastor who was invited by the school included these words in his invocation: "I also pray for one specific student, that You be with her and guide her in the path that You have for her."

In another incident, a local talk-shit radio show incited a right-wing mob to taunt the family's son at a school board meeting.

Among other things, school employees also insisted that students attend Bible club meetings.

This ain't exactly a pro-people school district. Then again, it seems like most school districts these days aren't.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

One block, 2 harassers

There's a fighting chance that the region might have another appointment with the Peace Bike next week. Maybe less than a 50% chance, but it's not inconceivable.

I've been getting the exact same harassing phone calls for the past 23 years (ever since 6th grade). I've traced some of the calls, and lately the Peace Bike has visited some of the neighborhoods peopled by the harassers.

Peep this pic:

If you want to see the pic in full, it's:

That's 6th Street in Covington, Kentucky. This outing was this past October, right after I received a harassing call from one of the properties pictured here. Coincidentally I just received another harassing call from a different property seen here. I don't appreciate being rousted out of bed in the middle of the night by some fuckhead who's had a babyish grudge since middle school.

With the amount of phone harassment lately, there's another address on a different street on tap to be faced down by the Peace Bike.

Because of the de facto legalization of phone harassment in Kentucky, the liars have to be fought somehow. I don't think I've encountered any other form of harassment from this pack of crybabies in a couple years. But phone harassment has been nonstop since the mid-'80s and has generally gotten slowly worse as enforcement of the harassment laws has been weakened.

Mall boycotted over anti-youth fascism

Clearview Mall is a shopping complex in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie. The 'is' in that last sentence may soon be replaced by 'was', as the mall seems to be unconcerned about losing much of its customer base.

Clearview Mall recently instituted a new rule declaring that teenagers who are 16 or younger must be accompanied by an adult 21 or over on Fridays and Saturdays after 4 PM. Yes, 4 PM! Four!!! So let's get this straight: If you're 16 (often thought to be perfect mall age), you have to be out of the mall by 4!

Certain legal principles deem malls to be public conveyances (even if privately owned). They are the commercial avenues of modern America. California courts have backed up this notion since at least the '70s. If Louisiana contradicts this, then I'd have to question the constitutionality of the Louisiana law. There's general agreement among the public that malls are places of public assembly. What's effectively a mall curfew thus would be a violation of the constitutional right to freedom of assembly.

But Clearview Mall's right-wing policy stands. There is hope, however. In the first week since enforcement was stepped up, over 1,000 area teenagers pledged to boycott the mall entirely on weekends to protest the unconventional curfew. The mall remains smug in the face of this boycott, and boasts that losing business isn't a concern. The curfew is enforced by sheriff's deputies at the mall entrance who card customers. Several adults have been turned away because they did not carry an ID.

The mall's excuse for the curfew is a series of unfortunate but isolated crimes. Among these incidents, someone tried to blow up a toilet with an M-80. Well, someone blew up a toilet with an M-80 once at my high school before I enrolled there, but that didn't seem to lead to any more adult supervision (unless you count that idiotic dress code in what was otherwise a discipline-free zone). The more important point is that the mall is unfairly punishing all teenagers for the actions of a few.

Other malls around the country have been enforcing similar curfews in recent years.

I think it's time for states to start passing statutes outlining what malls are allowed to do. They need to start with the principle that malls have - like it or not - become where people today assemble. I wish suburban malls hadn't helped kill the cities, but they have. As long as there's malls, we have to have laws. (That almost rhymes!)


Does anyone care that we're about to lose TV?

...Because I sure as shit don't.

The government-forced switch to digital looms a year from now, and hardly anyone is ready. I know only one household that says they've gotten a digital TV. It's at the point now where I'd just as soon lose TV reception than upgrade to a new set - except that my DVD player, which I need to watch older, better shows, won't work with the 1983 set I have now.

There's hardly any shows left I even watch, and just now it's dawning on me that they're jumping the shark. 'Cops' used to be much better, but ever since the scandal in which Bush's drug czar began coercing TV shows and magazines into smuggling "dry druggie" accusations into their material, it's gone downhill. I don't have cable, but I know it's just as bad as regular TV.

Technically, digital TV isn't even TV. The traditional definition of TV is analog. So it ain't TV. It's shit-V. In other words, the United States has in effect outlawed television.

Even if you get a digital set, there's going to be reception problems. Digital TV versus analog TV is like CD's versus records. Scratched records sound scratched; scratched CD's don't work at all. With digital, it's all or nothing. And it's going to be nothing much more often: Regulators could have developed a standard for better reception, much like a checksum that computer buffs may be familiar with. But the TV industry would never allow it, because the big stations are like the Mafia: They have territory. They don't want out-of-market stations competing with them. If your local network affiliate runs a slide of its logo over the first 5 minutes of your favorite show, the affiliate doesn't want you pulling in an out-of-town channel.

I'm really a stickler on that issue. It's been a conservative media market, and I know the value of trying to import a distant signal.

Quality of programming today is so awful that I'd be surprised if there aren't millions of Americans who give up TV altogether next year anyway.

The government should scrap the plan to switch to digital. It should also restore ownership limits that existed prior to the '90s: It should bring back the station ownership caps, and it should reinstate the rule that made it illegal for one company to own interests in more than one over-the-air network. Regulators must also bring back rules that limited how much advertising could be shown - and prohibit ads on stations licensed as noncommercial. (Unlike today, commercials on PBS were unheard of 30 years ago.) FCC rulings that bar stations from intentionally distorting news should be enforced.

On some of these issues (especially ownership caps), the states have the power to act, and should.

Goodbye, TV. My lifelong relationship with the medium appears to be sputtering to a sad end.

Trial over banned anti-bullying book ends

In 2005 a group of right-wing parents of 3 elementary school students sued the Ojai, California, school system because it failed to pull an anti-bullying book from its shelves.

Who's ever heard of suing a school because it won't ban a book? Because filing frivolous lawsuits has become a favorite right-wing pastime, probably lots of people have been forced to hear of it.

The book in question is the 2003 classic memoir 'Please Stop Laughing At Me...' by Jodee Blanco. The only conclusion any reasonable person can come to is that the Ojai plaintiffs support bullying. The plaintiffs claimed the book was sexually explicit. However, this is an out-and-out lie. I've read the book, and it is not explicit. In Ojai, the book was offered to 5th grade students, and I don't think there's anything in the book that's so graphic that any 5th grader hasn't already heard it before. In fact, the volume has been endorsed by many agencies.

The suit contended that the plaintiffs' kids were allowed to read Blanco's book without parental permission. Tough shit. When I borrowed books from my school library in 5th grade, I didn't have to get my parents' permission. The suit also charged that the kids' teachers retaliated against them when the parents complained about the book. That too was proven to be a lie.

Crazier yet, the plaintiffs said they'd settle the suit if the school would simply pay their legal fees. Um, isn't that extortion? Since when can a small group of terrorists who support school bullying file a frivolous lawsuit, then offer to settle it if the defendant would just pay their legal fees? I think this shit would stop if Congress would pass a law barring plaintiffs' attorneys from collecting fees in cases like this. This was clearly an attempted shakedown.

The school buckled under by taking the book off the shelves. But the people-haters pressed on with their lawsuit.

It begs asking how one community can even find 3 sets of parents to sue over something like this. Some towns do have a strong network of activist-type wingnuts. If just one of them reads a national hate website or newsletter that encourages filing lawsuits like this, they can get their friends together to join them. It's kind of like how the video store in my county got harassed for selling R-rated movies.

The Ojai suit has dragged on for almost 3 years and is just now reaching its end. The plaintiffs have now abruptly opted to end the case. I guess they finally got bored with it.

Nice to know they wasted 3 years of the court's time just to wring some concessions out of the school system. But I'm sure the wingnuts will be back with another attack soon enough.

(Source: Ventura County Star 9/16/05;
Ventura County Reporter;

Friday, February 22, 2008

Huckabee trying to hurt GOP?

Is Mike "Gomer Pyle" Huckabee actually trying to hurt his own party? Somehow I doubt it, but if he isn't, he sure has a hilarious way of showing it. Not like I mind if he does hurt it. I hope he really does hurt the GOP.

Even though McAin't is about to clinch the Republican nomination, Huckabee said in an interview with WOAI radio in San Antonio that he's not quitting the race. He's staying in just so there's a brokered convention in which the party ends up having to choose him as a "conservative alternative." (Now there's an oxymoron!)

He's an "alternative" that doesn't have a chance in hell of winning the general election. McCain at least has a sliver of a chance. Fuckapee has absolutely zero.

This has the potential to be really funny!


Impeached former Arizona governor dies

Former Gov. Evan Mecham of Arizona died today at the age of 83.

I remember Mecham, a Republican, being a fixture on the national news during his 1987-88 reign, due to his endless stream of offbeat and bigoted comments and actions. This finally ended when he was impeached for funneling state funds to his Pontiac dealership and removed from office. Later he was convicted in criminal court of violating campaign finance laws. Mecham claimed the whole impeachment and criminal trial were a big conspiracy by political enemies who wanted to ruin him.

Evan Mecham made such a fool of himself that the news became a form of entertainment. Nowadays, however, I realize he wasn't all that funny. The conservative governor's actions actually hurt Arizona tourism by leading to boycotts of the state. One staffer claimed Mecham actually believed he got the governor's throne by divine right. The governor was so paranoid that he once said, "Whenever I'm in my house or my office, I always have a radio on. It keeps the lasers out."

I'm actually going pretty easy on the guy. A lot of websites have been a bit rougher on Mecham today, because these sites are full of old dudes like me who remember how embarrassing his statements were. I feel guilty saying anything negative about someone who just died, but it's an understatement to say that Mecham was a controversial public figure. It's my job to educate and inform my readers who may be unfamiliar with him.

I remember one week when the big event in my household was an upcoming story on one of the TV newsmagazines about Evan Mecham. My folks were looking fiveward to the program all week, because we all knew Mecham was going to embarrass himself again. But, lo and behold, the station - it was either our local network affiliate or another affiliate that we got on cable - ran ads and promos over the first few minutes of the show.

That a TV station in Kentucky or Ohio was willing to lop off part of a TV show in order to avoid exposing Mecham shows how connected the media in my area is with conservatives.

The saga of Evan Mecham will be remembered for decades to come.


"Mandatory volunteerism" an oxymoron

"Mandatory volunteerism" is an oxymoron. Not an Oxy Moron - which is my name for the voiceover guy with a deep voice in the old Oxy acne chemical commersh - but an oxymoron.

But I think it's an issue you're gonna hear a lot more about. Fine with me, because it ain't gonna get much support outside of editorial pages and high-sounding political campaigns.

Perhaps the most widespread use of forced "volunteerism" takes the form of attempts to make unpaid "community service" a requirement for high school graduation. At least one state has this already, and about one-fourth of American public school districts have it now. But it's unconstitutional. It's forced labor, which is constitutionally prohibited. And it may also violate labor statutes, especially those regarding child labor.

The modern trend towards mandatory "community service" in public high schools began for several reasons. Big Business backed it because they could use it to squeeze unpaid labor out of teenagers - and they have. Political rightists backed it because they could use it for their political causes - and they have. (As an example of this, a school refused to count volunteer work for a marijuana legalization group, but it did count work for a group that railed against weed.) The soak-the-poor and anti-child crowds backed it because they thought the poor and the young were getting off easy. They wanted to impose strict obedience. (It was clear that those with money and clout would find a way out of the requirement.) All of these elements have significant overlap, of course.

In a word, it's Orwellian. And it would benefit the powerful more than it would benefit students or their community.

But the further the center of debate inches rightward, the more nebulous the arguments for it become. I'm glad I switched to the Greens, because the most recent Democratic platform recommended making forced "community service" a graduation requirement nationwide (which the Greens' much more detailed platform doesn't advocate). Occasionally you hear of some politician wanting all young adults to perform forced "volunteerism" - but with pay. This would still be unconstitutional, because involuntary servitude doesn't always mean there's a lack of pay.

The reason often given for ideas like this now is...well, it's hard to tell. You keep seeing nice-sounding words like "character", but this sounds like a moralistic few are just trying to use the schools to impose their ideas.

Forced "volunteerism" is fundamentally flawed. The message of this idea is that, even if you're a member of the underclass, life itself is a privilege that must be paid for. It teaches the false notion that the rights that every human in the world is born with come at a cost.

Mandatory "community service" is too much of a fusion of community and state. The community consists of the people around you. The state is a regime, a construct that rules from afar. Sure, we have laws and regulations, and we all pay taxes (whether it's a sales tax, an income tax, or other tax), but these are like contracts where we get something in return which we otherwise wouldn't. If you have mandatory "community service" in public high schools, it's as if the community becomes property of the school and the government.

But that doesn't stop one columnist from calling the major presidential candidates "stupid" because they haven't come out in favor of forced "volunteerism" yet. (Give 'em time.)

The Conservative Fool Of The Day is...Jennifer Miller!

Conservafoolery looms large in school systems in suburban Cincinnati.

Up in Mason, Ohio, a wingnut named Jennifer Miller serves on the school board. The 51-year-old Miller is a self-proclaimed "Christian conservative" who wants creationism taught in the town's public schools and rails against "non-Christian religions" and what she calls the "homosexual agenda." Although she serves on the public school board, she sends her own kids to private schools or homeschools them.

At a recent school bored meeting, Miller created a scene when the board voted to adjourn instead of listening to her anti-people stupidity. During Miller's tantrum, she went over to the school board president and began shouting. When the treasurer tried answering one of Miller's inane queries, she berated him too.

In a Cincinnati Enquirer piece, one school board member said of Miller's harangue, "I was so appalled by that. I was stunned." She said, "Mrs. Miller's most recent outburst was an embarrassment."

Part of Miller's screeching shitfit was captured for posterity on video:

But this isn't the first public display of Jennifer Miller's idiocy. Although she reportedly appears confused at board meetings, she has the nerve to make baseless allegations of misspending (even though she voted for the budget).

What a beezweezer.

Maybe Jennifer Miller should move across the river to Campbell County where she'd find a school board that's more to her liking.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Digital "rights" mismanagement

"Digital rights" is as much of a misnomer as "right-to-work" or "compassionate conservative."

When you pay for a legal download of a song, it's rightfully yours to keep. Forever. Or at least until the sun expands and renders the Earth a useless, fried husk. A whole era of common law backs you up, as have other laws. And since the file is yours to keep, you can do what you want with it, as long as you don't distribute it without authorization. If it's for your own personal use, decades of law are on your side.

But the "digital rights management" Taliban wants to limit your use of music you paid for by using methods that aren't allowed by legitimate copyright law. It's a truism that many individual files are not able to be readily converted to other formats, but the DRM worshipers actually try to stop people from finding ways around this even for their own personal use.

Now the digital "rights" crowd is threatening legal action against a Norwegian hacker because he released software that lets you play music and videos you got from iTunes on devices other than iPods, such as mobile phones.

Gasp! It's the crime of the millennium!

Let me break this down for you. Meseems iTunes files are now designed so only iPods can play them. (I'm not too familiar with iTunes, so I'm unsure of whether this is so.) This practice is anticompetitive and a violation of antitrust laws.

Let's suppose that 25 years ago, RCA was releasing records that were designed with the intent of only being able to be played on RCA turntables. So you invented an inexpensive adapter that let other brands of turntables play Alabama and Rick Springfield. Could RCA sue you for distributing a product that let other brands of record players play RCA discs? I should think not.

The program that lets you copy iTunes songs to devices besides iPods may violate digital "rights" - but that's too bad. And yes, I contend the writer of the program can distribute it all he wants. The program itself does not contain copied iTunes songs, you see. All it does is let you convert iTunes files for your personal use.

The San Francisco-based distributor of this software says it's legal - which it is. But now it's believed that Apple may try to halt distribution of the program by claiming the law bans software that circumvents DRM.

Its legality - at least in the United States - would have been beyond dispute until just a few years ago. Can you guess what's standing in the way now? That's right, my friends, it's the fuckheaded Digital Millennium Copyright Act, one of the many Hitleresque payoffs from the Contract With America to Corporate America. But as I've stated before, the DMCA (passed by a rogue Congress) is not legitimate law. Furthermore, while the Constitution protects copyrights, trademarks, and patents, it does so only with limits.

Nonetheless, the states can and should pass their own laws restoring the law as it existed before the DMCA. The fact of the matter is, even if the software is illegal now, it was unmistakably legal until a few years ago.

But the best way I can think of to settle this issue in the long term is for Congress to repeal the DMCA. That way the DRM thought police and the "entertainment" industry can't keep trotting it out to push people around with.


Nazis threaten violence over impeachment vote

If you meet a Bush conservative, ask them why they support threats of violence against public officials and private citizens. If they ignore you, ask them again. If they walk away, follow them. If they deny they support it, have a printout of the rest of this entry handy, and shove it in their ugly face. Keep confronting the Nazi until you get a coherent answer. (Good luck with that!)

The city of Boulder, Colorado, debated a resolution calling for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Immediately, child molesters bombarded the city with threats of violence. City officials received threatening e-mails from regime supporters. One of them said City Council "would make a fine target for a firing squad."

Most locals supported the impeachment resolution, but the City Council chose not to draft the measure, after being bullied by threats from the Nazis.

Real Americans don't threaten public officials over something like this. Anyone who supports these threats isn't fit to be called an American, and should leave the country. I truly believe there should be a law to revoke citizenship privileges of anyone who makes threats like this.

The bullying by private terrorists isn't the only coercion involved though. Boulder's mayor points out that there might be political concerns about the city backing an impeachment resolution, because "there are people who will be very strongly opposed to it who also get to vote on things like our appropriations." What that really means is that right-wing members of Congress might punish the city for its politics if it supports impeachment. (Jim DeMint would like that!)

Cities often send resolutions to Congress for items of varying degrees of importance. Congressional rules allow municipal resolutions to be accepted. Impeachment is a matter of urgency that all American cities must take up.

Now that Boulder has been cajoled into dropping its impeachment proposal, the terrorists really have won. The terrorists are the scuzzy fucks who sent the threatening e-mails.


Gonzales gets $30,000 for speech, compares self to Lincoln

Disgraced Constitution skeptic and former Bush-appointed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has it rough in life. He only gets paid $30,000 for making a speech that takes up a whole half-hour of his precious, precious play time.

Gonzales has hit the lecture circuit and makes $30,000 just to give a speech in which he answers pre-approved questions. (The liars who keep claiming there's no income gap between the rich and the poor can shut up now.) In his speech at Washington University in St. Louis, Gonzales compared himself and the Bush regime to Abraham Lincoln. He made this comparison not just once, but again and again. Gonzales portrayed himself as just a misunderstood genius and cried that the real facts about his embarrassing and illegal actions as Attorney General will someday come out.

At the event, Gonzales answered only pre-screened questions. The inane speech (which was marked by boos and jeers) was closed to the media.

Think of all the educational projects and amenities that could have been provided for students for $30,000. Instead the university squandered it by giving it to Alberto Gonzales for this delusional horseshit. The money came straight from activity fees paid by each student.

The speech also drew a demonstration by over 100 people, many dressed in orange jumpsuits (a reference to the Guantanamo Bay death camp). The demonstrators provided a long litany of human rights violations Gonzales presided over.

So while Gonzales gets $30,000 richer by spouting off egotistical propaganda for a half-hour, everyone else gets poorer.


Failed spy satellite shot down

Remember the American spy satellite that ran out of fuel and was set to crash into the Earth? It was ridiculed as Skylab II, because it dredged up memories of the failed United States space station of 30 years ago that crashed into Australia.

Last night the Navy succeeded at shooting down the spy satellite over the Pacific Ocean before it could hit the planet. Most debris will burn up, though some may still hit the Earth's surface within 40 days.

What could have been a humanitarian disaster may now be only a public relations disaster for the current regime. The satellite was launched in 2006, so I suspect its launch or construction was overseen by some Bush crony who doesn't believe in science and thought 2 plus 2 is 5 or that writing out 10 ^ 262 couldn't fit on one page or that the satellite could magically sustain itself in space without fuel. They obviously don't believe in history either, because they didn't learn from Skylab.

The debacle cost the Navy - and the taxpayers - $60,000,000. But - although the Navy had only a 10-second window to fire the missile to shoot down the spacecraft - they managed to do it.

When Bush takes a dump, he probably doesn't have as much precision as the Navy did when it shot down the satellite, preferring instead to cake his Hanes with the mess.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The smell of Bushism

Have you ever wondered what political ideologies smell like?

Just now as I was sitting here, a foul odor began wafting my way. It smells like shit. It doesn't smell like a fart. It smells like somebody actually dropped a deuce in their trousers.

I don't know where it's coming from, but it ain't coming from me. It's a building with 3 apartments, so it has to be from one of the other residences. In other words, one of the neighbors must be walking around in dirty drawers.

That's what I imagine the Bushist brand of conservatism smelling like. The older faction of conservatism I envision as smelling like paint thinner or burned rubber. But Bush smells like shit.

Some of the more obstreperous conservatives who just discredit themselves every time they open their mouths are imagined as smelling not of feces, but of the gas produced by flatulence - rendering them the mere joker to King George. Some of the funnier ones smell of a dog shit fart - a rare type of bunker blast that briefly stinks of canine excrement, only much more comical. But!

Pure shit!

So the next time you smell a poopy, you may not have to inspect your Fruit of the Looms. It could mean that a Bush conservative is somewhere in the vicinity. So the first thing to do when you detect a shit odor may be to lock all your doors and close all your windows, because a Bushist - perhaps Richard Perle, John Cornyn, or even the Decider himself - may be on the prowl.

Perle says war is over except it isn't

If they still give out the Doublespeak Award, this right-wing oaf is a good candidate for it.

Richard Perle is one of the big brains behind the failed Iraq War. But now he's spouting off a bunch of lies and contradictions in order to simultaneously paint the war as a success and to shirk responsibility for the fact that it's a failure.

Perle has written a piece called "We Won Years Ago", in which he: 1) says "we have already won in Iraq"; but 2) claims the war is "far from over" and that America still needs to be involved in it.

Kindly make up your fucking mind, Richard. Is the war over, or is it not?

Perle also repeats the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction at the time of the invasion of Iraq. It's as if he thinks that if he repeats a lie often enough, people will believe it.

Who but an evil Bushist warmonger can lie and contradict himself so shamelessly and actually expect people to fall for it?


Supremes gut medical device suits

This is yet more proof America has reentered the robber baron era of "buyer beware."

The U.S. Supreme Court has just gutted patient lawsuits against makers of medical devices, ruling against the estate of a patient injured by a burst catheter. The estate had sued under a state law over the catheter, a device that had been approved by federal regulators. But the SCrOTUS has now ruled that state lawsuits are banned if they impose requirements more stringent than federal requirements.

In other words, if the federal government approves faulty products, the state laws don't mean shit, according to the Supreme Court.

Uh. Well. Um. Weren't conservatives the ones who were babbling about "states' rights" 10 years ago? Or is this another case of "states' rights for me, not for thee"?

Nothing in any statute or in the Constitution prohibits such suits in state courts. Nothing. This ruling is essentially fashioned from whole cloth. In fact, the Illinois Supreme Court had already ruled such suits were allowed.

Naturally, the Bush White House sided with the makers of the faulty medical devices.


FEMA wastes trailer sale money

When Hurricane Katrina victims move out of FEMA trailers, FEMA is permitted to sell the used trailers to the public. But the law requires FEMA to use the proceeds from these sales to buy new trailers or give the money back to the Treasury.

So what did FEMA do? FEMA illegally squandered $13,000,000 it got from selling the trailers on snazzy FEMA decals, swanky SUV's, GPS systems, and tree removal services.

Damn. That's a lot of FEMA decals!

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) said, "Once again, FEMA has proven to be a poor steward of taxpayer money. In order to regain the public's trust, FEMA must ensure that this type of wasteful spending never occurs again." But FEMA says the trailer proceeds went to helping hurricane victims?

Yeah, I'm sure those decals really helped.

And where are the SUV's and GPS devices going? They're obviously not going to the hurricane victims.

This follows a 2006 congressional investigation that revealed that the Department of Homeland Suckyurity (of which FEMA is a part) pissed away hundreds of thousands of dollars on goodies for its own personnel like iPods, designer jackets, and beer-making equipment.

So while thousands of people are still digging out from the hurricane, the DHS is busy making beer and getting drunk! And at the taxpayers' expense, no less!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

MSNBC continues to lie

I'm not even going to provide the link to the MSNBC article, because their credibility is shot. But just now, in the article reporting on Barack Obama's latest win, it prints the modified version of the Michelle Obama quote (the version that lacks the word that changes its entire meaning).

This is a case of deliberate fraud and lying to harm the Obama campaign. It can be proven that MSNBC is lying, because the video of the speech is right there in plain sight on YouTube now.

Obama wins in Wisconsin blowout

Well, all of MSNBC's lies don't seem to be hurting the Obama campaign. Obama just won Wisconsin, and it wasn't even close (when everyone thought it would be). Reportedly this is his ninth win in a row.

I'm not even gonna check Hawaii, because that wasn't close to begin with.

NBC's got some explaining to do

NBC has some explaining to do for this obvious stunt MSNBC pulled. And I hope they do it soon, because I'm damn mad.

I wasn't even going to dignify the wingnutosphere's uproar over Michelle Obama's quote with a response, because I knew the story was going to be debunked somehow. But the way it was discredited just shows how eager the media is to swiftboat the Obama campaign.

It turns out MSNBC deleted a word from Michelle Obama's statement, which changed the entire meaning of it. This was intentional. Most people who studied broadcasting in college even in the pre-digital days could do this with a razor and splicing tape and make the modified clip look real, and do a much better job of it than MSNBC did. But when MSNBC edited the C-SPAN clip, they did such a poor job that I can't believe they expected people not to notice.

Real quote: "... I am really proud of my country ..."

Modified quote: "... I am proud of my country ..."

The word MSNBC deleted is the key. Here the adverb 'really' expresses reinforcement of an existing feeling. By deleting the word, MSNBC was trying to question Michelle Obama's patriotism. What she was actually saying was that she was proud of America before, but that this pride has now been highlighted. That she had pride in the country before is actually a good thing, but MSNBC is so untrustworthy that it changed her actual remark in order to change its meaning.

Here's an analogy: I was angry at the media before MSNBC's hoax was exposed, and I thought it was impossible to be angrier. But now this anger is reinforced by this story. If I used the word 'really' to describe my current feeling, it would be simply for emphasis and would just underscore the sentiment of anger that already existed.

You don't believe it was edited? Well, here's the original clip:

Here's MSNBC's bad edit of that C-SPAN clip:

Are we supposed to fall for that shit? MSNBC did a shitty editing job, and people are expected to think it's real?

After the media trashed Dukakis, we really shouldn't be surprised by the media pulling a stunt like this - other than the fact they did such an incredibly bad job of it. Not only is this dishonest, but the very quality of this fraud is simply horrible. If anyone actually believes the MSNBC version of the quote is correct after seeing the clips, they're stupid. That's all there is to it.

I'm a Green, but I'm almost inclined to endorse Barack Obama outright just because the media committed such a poorly executed deception that the candidate must not be too bad if they have to resort to this. (I haven't endorsed him, because the DLC still has months to get into his head.)

Here's what MSNBC's hoax is like. Let's say I want people to think I'm taller than I am. So I take a real photo:

And do this:

That's exactly what it's like.

The FCC ruled in 1969 that it's a serious offense for TV or radio stations to distort news. The FCC should come down hard on NBC for this fraud. Very hard.

DHS won't take resort and oil tycoons' land for fence

The border fence being built by the Department of Homeland Suckyurity is widely considered a joke, regardless of where you stand on the immigration issue. And now it's getting to be even more so.

That's because the DHS will only take your land for it if you're not some wealthy interest with a lot of clout.

In Brownsville, Texas, the DHS filed a condemnation suit to take a 72-year-old woman's property that she lives on. (This after the federal government already refused to pay her family a penny for taking their property to build a levee.) But just a couple miles away, the 18-foot-high border wall is proposed to simply stop where a swanky resort begins. On the other side of the resort, the fence is planned to resume - leaving a gap in the fence where the resort and golf course are.

You have to ask why they're leaving gaping holes in the border fence if the fence is so important. But like I always say: Follow the money! The resort is a large piece of real estate that caters to the very wealthy. By reflex, the government's position is that they don't want to mess with it simply for that reason. No evidence can be found that the resort's owner donated to a political campaign, but I think it's a case where the resort's opulence automatically brings a hands-off attitude by the government.

In Granjeno, Texas, a 76-year-old retired migrant farm worker and cancer patient is about to lose his small house to the serrated talons of Michael Chertoff's DHS. But the fence is slated to end at the edge of a neighboring property owned by the Hunts, a rich oil and gas family. The patriarch of this clan is Ray Hunt, a Bush pal who donated $35,000,000 to Bush's presidential library. (That's where they keep the coloring books, I guess.) As a member of Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Hunt also got access to classified government poop. The Hunt property has been developed into exclusive neighborhoods.

Not only that, but the Brownsville property that faces demolition isn't even on the border. It's a mile north of it. This further shows that politics was a big factor in deciding where the fence goes. It gets complicated, but you have to follow the trail of dough.

I know how this bullshit works, because I grew up in the Interstate highway building boom. As a lifelong Roads Scholar, I watched Interstate 471 - a radial running from near my digs in Kentucky into Cincinnati - grow from its infancy to its completion. When I was about 4, my favorite road in the area (Lourdes Lane in Newport) was torn down to build I-471, and that set off my decades-long study of the route that now translates into practical politics.

The Interstate ruined several small-lot working-class neighborhoods that spread out from the city. But if you look at a map, you'll notice I-471 bulges to the west to avoid tearing down Highland Country Club. On another stretch of I-471, there was a strip of empty land that would have been perfect for the route, but the road was instead routed clean through a heavily populated Newport neighborhood.

As another phenomenal act of border wall stupidity, the DHS filed a condemnation suit against the University of Texas in Brownsville to build part of the fence, claiming drug smugglers were crossing the borders there. But university police say this is bunk gas, as they've never heard of any international drug runners traversing the campus.

With the fence full of so many gaps, people crossing the border will all end up crossing onto a ritzy golf course or the Hunts' property. That's going to be the unintended result of this costly boondoggle.

How long do you expect the wall to last? It's concrete and steel, so you'd think it'll still be standing hundreds of years from now. But nope. It's expected to last...25 years. That's all. During this mere quarter-century, it will cost $49,000,000,000 just to build and maintain.

Much of the opposition to the fence comes from cities along its route. Since the fence is in their towns, the cities should have the real say, instead of being bossed around by Michael Jerkoff. Maybe the cities should pass laws barring the fence from being built. Or, if the DHS succeeds at condemning land for it, the cities should condemn the land right back for use of the cities' people.