Sunday, August 31, 2008

Media driven mad by Democratic ticket (imagine that!)

If Labor Day is the traditional start of fall election season, get ready for the media hit pieces against the Democratic ticket. They're starting to appear by the dozens now.

All it proves is that - even though the DLC sucks 77 flavors of ass - the media has charged to the right at an even faster rate than the Democratic Party has. Not that the media wasn't right-wing to begin with, because for me it's already dredging up bad memories of 1988.

The AP has a lot of nerve harping on Democrats' military records when Republicans like Slim Cheney and Saxby Clueless were such chickenhawks that they refused to serve their country when they had the chance, even though they supported the war that they were eligible to serve in. What it really shows is that the Republicans are in such dire straits that the AP has to come up with something - anything - to "fix" things.

It's no wonder newspapers keep dropping the Assholciated Press.

Right-wing cartophobia challenged!

Eek! It's a map! Run for your life!

Because the Far Right now seems to be afraid of maps just like they're afraid of everything else, now is a good time to unveil what may be my next gainful project:

That page features a map that I made, which I plan to be part of a series. I made that map all in one sitting a couple weeks ago, and it features the town of Woodlawn, Kentucky. I started off with Woodlawn because it's a small area, but I'm working on other maps.

These maps are intended for bicyclists. The colors of roads and paths indicate bike suitability. The yellow roads on this map would be green, except they're too hilly.

Looks pretty spiffy for a couple hours of work on a home computer, doesn't it?

Rolling out the unwelcome mat

I'm saying it now, in case the brownshirts are already planning for their 2012 convention.

The Republicans ought not even think about holding their next convention in the Cincinnati area. They are not welcome here. I live in the area, and I say so. Republicans are only a small minority of registered voters in the area (even if you include most suburbs), and as voters, we all say so.

Our territory, our rules. Not the GOPstapo's territory, not their rules.

If they decide to hold it here anyway, and if I'm in town and am in reasonably good condition, I will be among those protesting. I will. That is a 100% ironclad guarantee!

After the way they've acted in Minneapolis, New York, and Philadelphia, they are not welcome.

More about the school cretins

After I got that strange Transformers-themed phone call a week ago that I traced to a small Catholic high school I last attended 18 years ago, the school's unfettered cretinousness is now even clearer than before.

I was kicked out of that miserable school on April 20, 1990. April 20 just happens to be Hitler's birthday, and I truly believe that the school chose that day to expel me because they considered both that date and my expulsion to be causes for celebration. I believe they admired Hitler, and they thought they could honor him by using his birthday to purge a student who had been scapegoated by the school for 3 years.

And now the school's kooky ways are even more obvious. Last night I went to a family event, and a family member brang up last Sunday's strange phone call. This family member pointed out something to me that I utterly missed last week.

Can you guess what it was? Read my initial article about the incident again.

Note the time of the call: 4:21 PM. At least that's what the phone company's record lists. Let me put it this way: I believe the phone company lists the time the call ended, and it was a minute-long call.

In my high school's world, I don't think 4:20 means what it means in cannabis culture.

I've made an issue of the connection between my expulsion and Hitler's birthday before, and the school knows it.

My school would be so screwed if people weren't conditioned to believe private schools are 100% perfect and live in denial when caught for something like this. But I'm 35 now (almost as old as the principal was when he seized power), so if folks are programmed to believe the adult world is always honest (which I don't believe at all), they must be torn whether to believe me or the school.

Weigh the facts: I traced the call directly to the school's number and posted a clip of the proof. Even without this prima facie evidence, you have to consider that the school is still more powerful than I am. So if they do wrong, they're far less likely to get caught than I'd be. They can get away with harassing people; I can't.

I'd still love to see the circumstances of last week's call. As it occurred on a Sunday, was it placed by a faculty member? Was it one of my former schoolmates visiting because their kids go to school there now? It was on the same day as the Freshman Welcome Mass, but the Mass wasn't on school grounds. Were parents transported to or from the school before or after the Mass?

It took 15 years to even start recovering from the repeated abuse I suffered at that school, and the school knows I don't want them in my life. Any attempt by them to contact me is harassment. I am willing to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

Twin Cities under siege!

The Minneapolis/St. Paul area is under siege, as the region seems to have been (all too predictably) deeded out to the Republican National Convention's unsavory partisans.

First there was the rental hall raid in St. Paul by gun-brandishing cops - for which authorities at first illegally refused to provide the reason. Authorities later claimed the raid was for a fire code violation (which wasn't true). Then they said they had a warrant to search for (gasp!) maps. Now there's been an equally outrageous raid in Minneapolis.

Police there raided a small house, accusing the residents of "conspiracy to riot." (?!?!?!) The charge was entirely baseless. After that, city inspectors arrived and boarded up the house, accusing it of code violations. The city refused to specify what these violations were. Later they said it was because there were too many people sleeping in the attic.

Then the city tried charging the residents $6,000 for the house being boarded up! It also tried making tenants fix the back door that the police kicked in.

With command state actions like this, at least now we know Freepers run the city of Minneapolis. You'd think Minneapolis would've learned from New York having to pay a multimillion-dollar settlement for its Nazi-like suppression of antiwar activists.

Twenty years ago, stormtrooper repression like this was much more limited in most major American cities. In conservative cities like Cincinnati, you'd hear of things like illegal sweeps where anyone who looked like they were under 18 was considered a "habitual truant." But most cities were relatively laid-back. But now the whole country is a police state.

I mean, come on! Minneapolis too?????

America is now BushAmerica.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Republicans sell racist $3 bills at state fair

I know better than to expect the Republicans of today to not be face-deep in racism, because of their own abysmal record in recent years. But that's still no excuse for their bigotry.

In the state of Washington, the Snohomish County Republicans set up a booth at the state fair. They sold fake $3 bills full of boring, idiotic mockery against Barack Obama. Much of it was racist. All of it was stupid.

The fake bills were made by a California firm specializing in conservative "humor."

And if you don't think the right wing is playing the race card in this election, you haven't been monitoring some of the racist comments the regulars on Freak Rethuglic have made.


Here comes something big... (Bubble Gum Weekend)

Here comes something big from the gum people!

It's a bunker blast! Just joking! Actually it's another hilarious installment in regaling you with the influence of bubble gum on modern society:

In that memorable commersh for Extra bubble gum from the early '90s, nobody bubbled - unless you count the person who was just offscreen blowing that gigantic bubble.

Extra of course is part of the sugarless gum wars. In addition to artificial sweeteners being extremely dangerous (you can find evidence of this from countless sources), folks long complained that these Frankenstein-like additives gave gum a medicinal flavor and prevented it from bubbling effectively. Extra did produce bubble gum before this ad: Once in high school, I saw a classmate eat a grime-coated stick of the stuff he found behind the radiator (next to a used Band-Aid). But this zany commersh acted as if Extra bubble gum was a new product with a "classic bubble gum flavor."

As further evidence of the hilarity of gum's mere existence, the colossal bubble that expands from offscreen (actually a pink balloon) is almost exactly like a monster in a Dungeons & Dragons parody that was a huge pink bubble that floated around in caves and engulfed people.

Gum. You know that, everyone? Gum.

The repression in the Twin Cities begins!

It happens every 4 years, peeps!

In whichever city the Republicans happen to hold their little brownshirt gathering, they always deputize the entire city government to carry out their dirty work. The whole city seems to be deeded out to them.

Without fail, the result is always unconstitutional suppression of dissent. Always. At least in this decade. It happened in New York in 2004 and Philadelphia in 2000.

Promises to the contrary notwithstanding, America is about to be treated to a big, stinky, wafto-like repeat. In preparation (H) for this year's looming Republican National Convention, police in St. Paul raided a rental hall used by protesters.

Nobody was arrested, but an army of about 30 cops temporarily detained at gunpoint and photographed over 50 people in the building.

The police claim they were executing a search warrant. For what??? Because BushAmerica is a dictatorship, they refuse to say for what. In other words, folks were detained without even being told why.

They had 30 cops with their guns drawn just to photograph 50 people who weren't even doing anything wrong!

If I was one of the people who was detained, I would be hounding the authorities until I got answers as to why. Someone said it was a fire code violation, but that's bunk gas. A rental hall would surely hold 50 without violating the fire code. If it was a fire code violation, wouldn't you try to get people out of the building instead of bringing in 30 officers and detaining everyone?

All this after the city said they'd leave protesters alone (which turned out to be a lie).

How many more examples do we need to show America has become an authoritarian command state?


Can you believe it? Another protest!

There's no rule that says we can't protest the teen torture center on the east side of Cincinnati on 2 Fridays in a row. So, by golly, we did precisely that!

I had an injured foot, but I got called to the scene again last night. It was a rainy day, but the rain ended just when we arrived in Milford. And not a moment too soon!

We arrived just as about 5 cars full of parents were pulling out of the cult's driveway. One of them zipped across the street to where the 3 of us were standing. It turned out the man in the car was the same guy who got out of his vehicle last week and charged towards us.

This time, the folks in the car began arguing with us. They were upset because we were filming our protest using a camera on a tripod. When one of our group replied that this was "perfectly legal", the man in the car angrily declared, "It's perfectly legal to sue you too!"

For what? Well, his argument the past couple weeks has been that one of our signs is "false advertising" because it says, "HEAR BOTH SIDES."

On an equally amusing note, we noticed that the 2 new private property signs that the facility had just posted before last week's protest were gone already. Apparently they were so incompetent at the simple task of posting signs that they either didn't fasten them tightly enough to keep the wind from carrying them away, or they were on the public right-of-way so they had to take them down.

After the initial rush, we stood around for about an hour, and nothing happened. But I was persistent. I knew we'd get more action if we were patient, so I voted not to leave yet.

My persistence paid off. Soon, more sets of parents streamed out of the abusive facility, and they saw our signs. The latest babyish strategy of this cult is for them to shine their brights right into our eyes - thus demonstrating their own immaturity and lack of a spine.

All in all, my 11th protest against this abusive program was a major success!

(More info:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Court lets Bush block mad cow tests

There's no end to the right-wing judicial activism and harmful policies that prevail under this stinky administration.

The right-wing U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has just ruled that the Bush regime can block farmers and meatpackers from testing cattle for mad cow disease.

Seriously. Bush has a regulation to make food less safe, and the court has upheld it. Evidently, the only regulations on businesses that Bush supports are those that actually harm people.

The Agriculture Department tests only 1% of cows. A small Kansas meatpacker wanted to test all its cows. But large corporate meatpackers opposed allowing this testing. They say that if the small packers start advertising that their cows have been tested, they'll have to test their cows too.

Well, boo hoo fucking hoo. There's no reason in hell why they shouldn't test them.

This fear of competition from smaller packers is what led the Bush regime to issue its diktat barring expanded mad cow tests.

The court's ruling is out of whole cloth. They pulled it out of their ass.

The Bush regime says the fact that only 1% of cows are tested shows how rare mad cow disease is. In other words, they think the disease is rare because they don't look for it. They apparently believe that the lack of testing has eliminated the disease. This is exactly like how that McCain adviser says that barring the Census Bureau from asking if folks have no health insurance will solve the insurance crisis.

A federal district court had earlier ruled that the small meatpackers have a right to conduct the tests. The Agriculture Department can regulate treatment - but it can't prohibit tests that may save lives. The Bush brain trust (as it were) argued that tests are the same as treatment, although they are not. But the right-wing circuit court has now overturned the district court's sensible ruling.

How are the Republicans going to put a happy face on this? They can't. Their policies help only large corporations and harm the American public.

It really is difficult to imagine a clearer instance of the government deliberately working against the people.


Man has face sliced off for supporting Obama

The thugs who are inspired by right-wing hate radio aren't getting any less dangerous. Just this week, a gang of 4 was caught in Colorado planning an assassination of Obama, so you know they're out of control. And now there's been yet another incident of right-wing violence.

Yesterday in San Francisco, a 35-year-old man who works for the Obama campaign was verbally assaulted and slashed in the face with a knife. The attack happened in plain sight of 2 police officers, who arrested the assailant.

If a man can have his face sliced off by a right-wing terrorist in what is supposedly the most liberal big city in America for supporting the "wrong" candidate - and the assailant is unbashful enough to attack the victim in full view of police - just think what the conservabots might get away with elsewhere if we don't keep an eye out for them.


Therapeutical correctness runs amok at Iowa college

Iowa Central Community College is as egregious as one of my alma maters - Northern Kentucky University - in giving special favors to athletes while overreacting to mere suggestions of wild behavior by the school community in general.

A few years ago, ICCC president Robert Paxton was charged with tampering with public records in a scandal in which student athletes were awarded false grades. Three other college employees pleaded guilty to changing athletes' grades to benefit them. Despite the fact that these 3 employees had changed students' grades, they were allowed to keep their jobs.

This is more evidence that the American education system not only gives athletes special treatment but also coddles those who allow it to go on. While hate papers like Campus Report cried about grade inflation benefiting students in general (which was a hoax), the right-wing media never raises a peep about real grade inflation and outright fraud that benefits only athletes.

Paxton accepted responsibility for the transcript fraud going on at his school, and the charges against him were deferred. Frankly, he should have been fired on the spot, but he too kept his job.

Now Paxton has made the news again. In the grade fraud scandal, he got off easy after accepting responsibility for the deceit taking place under his watch. But now the opposite has happened: He's been forced to resign over a party that occurred on his own time and where (as far as I know) he did nothing illegal.

Paxton went to a Fourth of July boat party and was photographed appearing to pour beer from a keg into a young woman's mouth. By all accounts, everyone at this party was an adult, and the keg was actually broken (thus no beer could come out). Also, because the people at this gathering were adults, they were old enough to be responsible for their own actions.

Also by all accounts, this was not a school-sponsored event. It was Paxton's personal life.

But when the photograph of Paxton pouring the keg got out, his bosses at ICCC forced him to resign.


Much clatter is generated about political correctness, but there's a flip side, which I've long referred to as therapeutical correctness. I call it that because of the Far Right's worship of Big Medicine. It is quite literally political correctness by the right wing.

The college's excuse for forcing Paxton out? The president of the school's board said the party "reflected poorly on the college."

It wasn't a college-sponsored event, smartypants. So who the fuck cares?

Paxton himself appears to be mighty conservative: He donated to a Republican congressional candidate's campaign. The irony is that he got forced out by a college that's so right-wing that it tries to police what employees do off-campus when such actions harm nobody.

As with NKU, this policy of trying to keep members of the school community in suspended animation is amplified when anything connected to beer is involved. When I went to NKU, the mere mention of beer - even by someone who was at least 21 - was the #1 taboo. At NKU, everything was refracted through the "evils" of drink. If someone wanted a serious discussion about a totally unrelated topic - like parking or the student radio station - campus officials would quickly corrupt the issue with their paranoia about beer.

To school officials, every student was considered a drunk by default - and if a school employee didn't toe the line, they'd catch hell. I guess ICCC is no different. And I'm sure this is also true of countless other campuses these days.

Another irony is that Paxton gets $400,000 in severance pay under his new contract. So the college is really costing taxpayers by forcing him out.

I don't know if there's anything else to this story. As always, there could be. I know how deep corruption runs in schools and governments, especially when there's no accountability and when schools fall over themselves to mimic the corrupt corporate world. But based on the facts I know, Iowa Central Community College clearly can't get its act together: The school allows athletes to cheat and won't fire those who help them cheat, but the school throws a screaming fit when someone is seen with a beer keg at a party on their own time.

Just like NKU.


Sarah Palin??? Really??? Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!

Hey John McCain, you're hilarious, you know that?

Time magazine reported a week ago that Mitt "The Shit" Romney was McCain's running mate. I believed this to be true, but this has turned out to be like in 2004 when the New York Post prematurely reported that John Kerry had selected Dick Gephardt. I run a fast-add blog, and I didn't want to sit on the laughable news of the Romney pick, so I reported what Time reported.

It's a death-defying life I lead, I'll take my chances.

But in reality, McCain has now picked Sarah Palin - SARAH PALIN, for crying out loud! - as his running mate.

If you thought Romney was funny, you'll think that selecting Palin - the right-wing Alaska governor and former sportscaster - is downright hilarious!

Palin, 44, is awash in scandal herself. She's been the target of an investigation by the Alaska Legislature over her firing of the state's Commissioner of Public Safety - a firing that the commissioner claimed was because of his refusal to interfere with the disciplinary proceedings of a state trooper who was in a divorce battle with Palin's sister.

Not only did McCain probably just lose the election (though he still does have a sliver of a chance). I think this choice may have destroyed the Republican Party for years to come. I can't imagine anyone taking the Republican ticket seriously now.

Child poverty soars in Kentucky

Are liars like Phil Gramm still going to insist that the worst economic situation in 75 years is a hoax?

According to new Census Bureau data, the poverty rate in my home state of Kentucky increased in 2007 - as it has nationally. But the big picture is that families did progressively worse as the decade trudged on.

The online remnant of the Kentucky Post preposterously called it "a period of economic expansion." What expansion? The so-called economic growth actually wasn't growth at all: The circumstances of the Bush years left Kentuckians with a lower median income in 2007 than in 2001, when adjusted for inflation. In fact, Kentucky incomes dropped from 2006 to 2007 - even when not adjusted for inflation!

So how ya doin' 28 years after the beginning of America's agonizing decline?


Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain adviser says uninsured don't exist

The McCain campaign appears to be hell-bent on living a life of delusion (as Joe Walsh might say). First, Phil Gramm (who McCain had foolishly hired as an economic adviser) said the recession was a hoax. And now this.

John Goodman, a health care adviser for McCain's faltering campaign, absurdly claimed that everyone in the U.S. already has health insurance. (Incidentally, this is not the actor John Goodman.)

What's Goodman's basis for this claim? He says nobody is uninsured, because everybody has access to a hospital emergency room.

He says an ER is the same as insurance? Does he really believe that? If you have to go to an ER, and you have no insurance, you can go broke later just paying for the visit. And are people supposed to run to the ER when they have better medical options? It sounds like Goodman is saying everyone should just clog emergency rooms when they should be just as well served by a nonemergency appointment.

After Bush issued an illegal executive order to gut EMTALA, does everyone still even have access to an ER?

Goodman also heads the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-wing stink tank funded by ExxonMobil. This organization focuses largely on attempting to privatize America.

What's Goodman's "solution" for the health care crisis? He says the President ought to sign an executive order barring the Census Bureau from categorizing people as uninsured. "Voila! Problem solved," he declared.

Yes, he's being serious. He's actually saying that denying that the health care crisis exists will solve it.

Man, the Republicans really have gone bugfuck insane, haven't they?

Now the McCain camp is denying that Goodman is an official adviser. Too late, geniuses!


McCain would wreck VA

It doesn't make sense that a former POW would support dismantling much of the Department of Veterans Affairs - but there's a lot of stuff in the current presidential campaign that doesn't make sense.

McCain has been talking about a proposal of his that would practically gut some of the VA's most important functions. Under his plan, brave veterans with noncombat medical problems would be sent to for-profit hospitals for care instead of getting care from the VA.

For much longer than most Americans have even been around, the VA has provided medical care for vets. When compared to the disastrous profit-driven system that defines America's civilian health care, the VA's care has been regarded as more reliable and of better quality. The RAND Corporation (a think tank that does research for the American military) says VA patients get better, faster care than they get from private health corporations. (Anyone familiar with what America's private health care system is like today knows that few things can possibly be worse.) McCain's plan would make veterans use the greed-driven medical system that's already failed everyone else.

What really drives McCain's idea is the fact that corporatism has become so firmly entrenched in his party. The Republicans would rather have important services provided by private for-profit monopolies than by government agencies.

A lot of that could be explained by the fact that powerful Republicans own or lead some of the corporations that would be in charge of such services. When a public agency provides a better service than a for-profit corporation, they can't stand it, because it pokes holes in their rigid ideology.

When conservatives take control in the government, they've been known to set public services up for failure, just to make it look like a profit-driven system is better. That's why the Bush regime chose not to hire enough VA doctors when Bush started the Iraq War.

There's also the question of what a noncombat injury is. McCain says he'd only make vets go to for-profit hospitals for noncombat injuries. But the Pentagon says that any injury that isn't caused by direct enemy fire is a noncombat injury. If a soldier is injured in a military vehicle that gets run off the road by hostile fire, the Pentagon calls that noncombat, because the direct fire was sustained by the vehicle, not the soldier.

The VFW opposes McCain's plan, because the plan would be potentially detrimental to vets.

In his Senate career, McCain is covered by the Senate health plan, but what would've happened to him if the VA hadn't been there for him? America can't afford to disassemble the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Kucinich speech butchered by party big shots

Although the Democratic National Convention that's in progress now has been graced by great speeches by Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Joe Biden, we can all agree there hasn't been nearly enough raw roughage. Not even close to enough. Meaning zero.

The party has become so lightweight that it looks like that's how it's going to stay. Party apparatchiks even ruined a Dennis Kucinich speech in an effort to keep razor-sharp thoughts and words at bay.

Kucinich gave a speech at the convention on Tuesday. (I didn't know it though, because I don't know of any networks that showed the speech.) Kucinich had planned on saying that the Republicans "want 4 more years, when they ought to get 10 to 20 in prison."

But the party bosses who screen each speech axed that line. Too inflammatory, you see.

Now do you see why the Democrats don't have a lot of pull with me anymore? (They certainly have more than the Republicans, but not much.) Kucinich's line was perfectly valid. It's the type of thing that's sorely lacking at this convention. But the party's so-called leaders want to be "consensus-minded", you understand.

When a party doesn't even stand up and fight, why should we spend our energy doing what party leaders fail to do? With the party's current attitude, the Democrats shouldn't be surprised if they have to get used to being perennial also-rans again like they were in the early 2000s.


Idiot steals book from library

Every few years you hear about some batshit loser borrowing books from a library and refusing to return them because they don't like what the book is about. It's a form of censorship.

Now a woman in Lewiston, Maine, is censoring a book by doing precisely this idiotic action. She borrowed a book from the library titled 'It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex And Sexual Health'. The volume is said to be a sexual health book that contains cartoon-like illustrations. The woman is refusing to return to book, saying it violates obscenity laws.

Who appointed this right-wing busybody as judge, jury, and executioner?

If I wanted to borrow a book from the libe, I'd be furious if I found out someone was censoring it by borrowing it and refusing to return it.

A judge has ordered the woman to return the book. If she doesn't return it by tomorrow evening, she may be jailed on contempt of court charges.

Wait a minute here! Of course it's contempt of court, but isn't it also theft? I worked at my local library for most of the '90s, and I know Kentucky has a law specifically dealing with depriving a library of books or other materials. If you borrowed a book and refused to return it after repeated warnings, that was considered depriving the library, and it was a crime. I don't know how specific Maine law is, but willfully failing to return a library book should certainly fall under theft.

I know that at least once, the library where I worked called in the Campbell County Sheriff because someone either ruined an item they borrowed or failed to return it.

If there's another nationwide conservative wave, get ready for more intolerant crackpots trying to decide for us what to read. With the federal law requiring libraries to censor Internet access, the Far Right already practices more library censorship in the United States than at any other point in my lifetime.


Richmond bawl

Richmond Mall - a shopping facility in Richmond, Kentucky - became the target of ridicule when it made a young woman leave because she wore a short dress.

Regardless of whether the mall had a legal right to escort this customer off the premises because of her dress, Richmond Mall looks mighty idiotic. A short dress is no more offensive than anything else you might see at a mall. (This dress was no more revealing than what's widely seen all over the country on a daily basis.) If someone is kicked out of a mall for a short dress, what's next? Blacking out all the cuss words in books at the bookstore with a marker? (The mall is especially hypocritical because the "offensive" dress was purchased at this mall!)

The story gets weirder. The Internet can be a seething cauldron of right-wing batshittery, and there's some folks on the 'Net who just can't accept it when a mall ends up looking stupid. So they get desperate. And they spread lies.

We've probably all seen these types. Any newspaper website that allows public comments on articles inevitably finds its comment section filled with right-wing harangues - claiming this and claiming that, with no proof. They bawl, they cry, they scream, they whine.

When the Richmond Register reported on the mall episode, some right-wing galoot posted a comment claiming that the customer who was escorted from the mall had exposed herself to children and adults who were shopping there. Although I don't know any of the people involved in the incident, this certainly sounds to me like a baseless allegation.

Baseless, almost certainly. But it's exactly the type of bald-faced lie wingnuts spread about people on the 'Net.

Many victims of false Internet accusations would just feel browbeaten into not doing anything about it - while their reputation agonizingly gets destroyed. But the young woman in this case isn't putting up with this shit. She's suing for defamation.

The Richmond Register had deleted the comments and banned the user who posted them. Now the company that manages the Register's comment forums is trying to find the poster's identity.

And I hope they do find it. Spreading made-up crap about people is known as defamation, and one can be held liable in a civil suit for it.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Medicine "suspects" not charged with meth

A minor detail has emerged about the 9 unrelated allergy sufferers in upstate New York who were charged with buying too much over-the-counter medicine.

I suspected this was so, but this tidbit reinforces my belief that they're all innocent of any real crime. The U.S. Attorney's office that's charging them admits that none of the 9 are accused of using the allergy drugs to make meth or run an illegal lab.

The only thing they're charged with is buying too much allergy medicine - which wasn't illegal until the Patriot Act reauthorization of 2006.

You call that a drug bust?

Despite the flimsy charge, each "suspect" still faces up to a year in prison and fines of $1,000 to $100,000 each.

The failed War on Drugs is about to make statistics out of 9 unfortunate people who may be guilty of nothing more than bad seasonal allergies. The drug warriors are always eager to make statistics out of the innocent.


9 arrested for buying too much allergy medicine

It's happened again - this time in upstate New York.

The Nazis' mid-decade reauthorization of the Patriot Act established draconian limits on buying over-the-counter cold or allergy medicine. The federal limit is a mere 9 grams in 30 days, and you must sign a log every time you buy the frigging stuff.

Anyone with allergies can easily burn through 9 grams in a week. I know I have - at least back when you could still buy this product without being hamstrung by the Idiot Act.

Bush's sad excuse for a Justice Department has now charged 9 people in central and northern New York state with the "crime" of buying too much cold or allergy medicine. From what I can gather, none of the 9 people had any connection with each other. They were probably all people with allergies.

Apparently they were caught because the DEA (which is corrupt beyond hope) checked the logs they were forced to sign.

When people read that the 9 "suspects" are being accused of "drug charges", they probably think they're trafficking coke or something. But nope. From what I can tell (unless the accounts I've seen left out crucial details), their only "crime" is having allergies.

Meanwhile, the government continues to spew its warmed-over propaganda about the Idiot Act's "success."


What's missing from the convention

I've watched the Democratic convention this week, and the parts I've seen so far (which are the parts PBS opts to show) haven't been truly miserable. They've generally been average. (Ted Kennedy's speech was certainly above average though.)

(This fact does not excuse the choice by the networks - public and commercial alike - to completely ignore the Green convention.)

But you know what the Democratic convention needs?

It needs a speech that refers to the Patriot Act as the Idiot Act.

Seriously. It needs a rip-roaring populist speech in which the speaker comes right out and calls it that. It could be a politician, a union leader, an average worker, or anyone. But they need to call it the Idiot Act.

I'm getting an idea here of what I'd say: "We must have the courage to repeal the Idiot Act! And we must have the will to wad up that Idiot Act and throw it right at the Republicans until paper cuts mar their oozing faces! Then we need to stomp on the Idiot Act until it becomes compost!"

I don't expect such an incisive speech, because the Democrats have to please the DLC that helped pass the stupid Idiot Act. The party would certainly be more credible if it purged the DLC from the big tent. (The fact that it didn't is why I switched to the Greens.)

Delta wastes concourse

Today, when I read that Concourse C at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport was closing, I hoped to holy high bejeepers that this wasn't the multimillion-dollar concourse that had just opened in the '90s.

I remembered that around 1994, The Last Word seriously questioned the fact that Delta was spending some $20,000,000 on a new concourse that was long on form and short on substance. Despite this expense, the doors frequently malfunctioned, causing a passenger to get bopped in the nose. But that was just a side plot to the airline's garish display of extravagance.

When I read about the closing of a concourse today, my heart sank when I got to the part about the airport "opening it in 1994."

Yep, they closed the same concourse that had been criticized for its cost only a few years ago. Twenty million dollars, down the portable poopot.

Concourse C was used by Comair, a Delta subsidiary. When the concourse opened, the local media (which always seems to have a booster's view favoring corporate excess) thought it was the greatest thing since poop knives. But now it's gone. It's closing up. Probably never to be used again.

You expect a concourse - especially one that cost $20,000,000 - to last more than 14 years. It's possible for buildings to stand for 200 years and be almost like new - so expensive concourses should at least last more than 14.

Talk about waste in the corporate world!

Part of the sticker shock derived from the fact that there was so much poverty locally. And there still is. Cincinnati - which was America's epicenter of corporatism in the '80s and '90s - still ranks as one of America's poorest big cities, because of this ideology of money worship. According to new census figures, an astounding 23.5% of the city's population lives in absolute poverty.

Under corporatism, money flows away from the average person - and to powerful corporations that squander it on concourses that they abandon after a few years. No wonder there's such a big gap between the rich and the poor.


Meet Eldon Smith

The man pictured here is Eldon Smith. Back in 1986, Smith spent hundreds of thousands of dollars remodeling an Arizona mansion. The mansion was not in the district that John McCain represented...hey, wait a minute!

Eldon Smith looks an awfully lot like McCain, doesn't he?

That's because he is McCain!

In 1986, McCain was a congressman from an Arizona district. That year, he remodeled a Phoenix mansion owned by his opulent father-in-law. The $225,000 project added such amenities as a pool and a jacuzzi.

Trouble for McCain was that, although he and his wife Cindy were moving into the mansion, it was outside the district he represented. So he submitted the blueprints under a fake name - Eldon Smith - in the hopes nobody would notice.

Isn't it illegal to falsify official documents like this?


So if you happen to bump into John McCain at your local supermarket or at work, be sure to say to him, "Hey Eldon!"


Beet, beet, sugar beet, beet, sugar beet, sugar beet-beeeeet... ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

You know what?

Beet, beet, sugar beet, beet, sugar beet, sugar beet-beeeeet! That's what!

Everyone loves classic 'Sesame Street', and this '70s-era segment was one of the all-time most memorable:

That entertaining little clip was filmed at a sugar beet farm and mill in Wahpeton, North Dakota, and shows sugar beets being grown and made into sugar. It's replete with a kid angrily throwing a sugar beet plant down on the ground near the beginning.

At the end of the segment, a Walter Cronkite look-alike extracts a handful of sugar out of a large machine that looks like either a washing machine or a toilet. He licks his finger and happily declares, "Sugar!"

When I figured out that the only word in the English language that rhymes with 'sugar' is 'booger', I came up with a parody in which the man at the end picked his nose, licked his finger, and said, "Booger!"

Is this clip still shown on 'Sesame Street'? One has a right to hope so, but the outlook appears grim in the cutesy 'Sesame Street' of today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bush appointee covers for suspects in Obama assassination plot

What's in store for the 4 suspects in the foiled attempt on Obama's life?

Although one of them reportedly admitted that the group was going to shoot the senator, and members of the group were found with arsenals of guns, ammo, and other gear, Bush's so-called Justice Department appears poised to drop the ball. Troy Eid (pictured here), the U.S. Attorney for Colorado, said the suspects posed no threat to Obama - despite all the guns and the reported admission.

What idiot appointed this idiot? Must've been a real idiot, I'll tell you that much.

You guessed it: Troy Eid is a Bush appointee. Prior to joining the Bush regime, Eid was a confidant to right-wing then-Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado.

So a Bush appointee in the Justice Department is covering up for clods who tried to assassinate a presidential candidate. Clearly that's what's happening. If a heavily armed group threatens a candidate's life almost in plain sight like this, how can you deny that they posed a threat to the candidate?

It just doesn't get any more corrupt than this.


Assaults up 89% in Nashville under uniforms

Another deathwatch for both the pop-up media and the American school system.

In the year since the Nashville school district implemented mandatory uniforms, assaults at school have soared 89%. Assaults are up over 200% in the high schools. Suspensions are also way up.

The dinosaur media has long carried water for school uniforms, but this ought to silence those who insist uniforms are a cure-all for disciplinary woes. Still, it does not. Regarding the spike in violence, the Tennessean (Nashville's daily paper) published a lightweight piece that the Nashville Scene's Bruce Barry called "a new low for lazy, incompetent local journalism."

Despite the fact that assaults have almost doubled, school officials still don't get it. They claim uniforms made the schools safer, despite all the proof to the contrary.

Who's surprised? I'm not. When I was in school, discipline problems were many times worse in schools that had uniforms than in those without. In all these years, that looks to be one truism that's never changed.


Obama assassination plot suspected

There's weirdoes, and then there's weirdoes.

At least 4 people are now under arrest in the Denver area over a possible plot to assassinate Obama during his convention acceptance speech.

One of the suspects reportedly said the group was going to shoot the candidate "from a high vantage point" with a rifle. The apparent plot is now under investigation by various federal agencies.

See what I mean when I talk about dangerous right-wing terrorists? If the suspects were indeed potential assassins, then these are the type of individuals everyone needs to keep an eye on - not bloggers who call Rick Santorum a "poopyhead."


Texas school district begs to be sued

The school system in Fort Stockton, Texas, is just begging to be sued.

With another grueling school year starting, the district has a new policy. Under this new rule, students can be paddled whether their parents support it or not.

In 2008???

Prior to the rule change, kids in that western Texas town couldn't get swats if their parents requested that they not receive corporal punishment. But now the school system has just decided to paddle kids even when parents don't want it.

I think most folks will agree that this is just crying out for a lawsuit. I'll almost guarantee you that sooner or later, they're going to paddle a kid, and the parents are going to be quite upset - not at their kid, but at the school.

I can absolutely guarantee you that if I had children who got paddled in school, I'd be calling a lawyer right quick.


Court upholds unions' right to picket malls

Gosh, the 9th Circuit has actually made at least 2 rulings lately that I agree with! The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is usually an outpost of Bushism, but this time they actually made a correct ruling.

In a 2 to 1 decision, the court has now ruled that union members have a right to picket malls and shopping centers. This ruling nixes restrictions that a mall management company in California tried to impose.

This follows a decision last year by the California Supreme Court that says unions have a right under state law to distribute leaflets in malls and encourage customers to boycott stores.

The union's lawsuit was actually against the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB (which is stacked with Bush cronies) had ruled that the mall had a right to bar the unions. Seriously. They actually said that - despite the fact that even state law supports the rights of the union to picket.

One would have hoped the 9th Circuit's ruling in favor of the union would be unanimous instead of merely 2 to 1. The vote against the union's free speech was provided by Judge Consuelo Callahan - a Bush appointee. Callahan ridiculously said that favoring the union "attempts to elevate expressive rights under California law" over the mall management company's "property rights."

Um, perhaps that's because California law (in addition to the U.S. Constitution) safeguards expressive rights? If a law says you have expressive rights, then that's the law. No real legal theory allows the alleged property rights of corporations to trump expressive rights in places that are open to the public if the law protects expressive rights.

Luckily, the flawed notion of corporate personhood didn't prevail this time.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Something funny I noticed

I'm watching the convention, and I noticed something funny.

It appeared as if Nancy Pelosi was chewing bubble gum throughout the first part of her speech.

But she didn't bubble.

Border fence causes flooding

No matter what you believe about immigration, one thing is clear: The new border fence is a disaster.

The government's fence along the Mexican border will cost millions and is expected to last less than 30 years. Now an incident in Arizona proves how out of control this project is.

Last month, debris and water backed up along the fence during a storm - blocking the entrance to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It turned out that the reason for the flood was that Department of Homeland Suckyurity Director Michael Chertoff opted to disobey environmental laws to speed up the fence's construction.

Now the fence will cost even more, because of flood cleanup.

Many of the areas where the fence is being built don't even want the fence! Here's hoping that these communities send law enforcement in to remove their respective portions of the fence. It would serve Michael Jerkoff right - especially after he decided environmental laws were just "damn pieces of paper" (to borrow Bush's phrase).


More social engineering crap from the Far Right

I'm an economic populist first and foremost. But conservatives' social engineering bullshit is what often makes them fall down so hard that it's difficult not to call them fools to their faces.

An upcoming ballot proposal in Arkansas will let voters vote on whether to make it illegal for unmarried couples to become foster or adoptive parents. Seriously.

If Arkansas voters approve this referendumb, that would just be downright shameful. There's a shortage of potential foster and adoptive parents already. If this passes, that would make a lot of people ineligible to be adoptive parents who would have otherwise been considered suitable.

It also raises a serious question: Would unmarried people who have already adopted lose their adopted children?

What prompted this measure? Well, in 2006, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the state to bar someone from being an adoptive parent because they are gay. Because the Far Right hates gays, the new ballot measure was concocted as a method to circumvent this ruling (as gay marriage isn't legal in Arkansas).

Conservatives are so consumed by their hatred of gays that they're willing to do anything to make sure that ruling is thwarted, even if it means a majority of the people adversely affected by the referendum aren't gay.

This is so far over the top that I don't think it'll pass even in a state that's fairly conservative. Stranger things have happened than it passing, but by supporting the measure, conservatives are just looking every bit the fools that they've long appeared to be.

Talk about a bunch of obsessos. This is as silly as the Far Right's catatonic hatred of the poor circa 1995.


The Conservative Fool Of The Day is...Curt Bramble!

There's no rule saying we can't have more than one Conservative Fool Of The Day! Especially today, which so far has been like a big 'Price Is Right' loser horn for conservatism. ("Voopvoopavoop...")

Curt Bramble, a Republican, is the right-wing Majority Leader in the Utah Senate.

Last week, Bramble made a fool of himself when a pizza driver delivered pizzas to his mansion. Bramble tried paying with a check, but when the driver told him the restaurant didn't accept personal checks, Bramble proved himself to be a complete dick.

Odds are, Bramble has piles and piles of cash. He is not poor. He could have easily paid for the pizzas with cash. But instead he demanded that the driver take the pizzas back to the restaurant and waste them.

Apparently the eatery does accept credit cards. I'm sure Curt Bramble has at least one of those. But he was reluctant to pay with a credit card and practically accused the driver right to her face of trying to defraud him.

The pizza driver posted about the experience on her blog and mentioned how Bramble tried abusing his position as a state senator to get his check accepted and how he left a meager tip. This incident was the only time ever that anyone told that particular driver to take pizzas back to the restaurant.

Bramble's wife had been given the option of paying with cash or a credit card when she placed the order. Nothing about checks. So Bramble must have a mighty short memory if he didn't know he couldn't pay with a check.

Maybe more businesses would still accept checks if not for Congress's check-bouncing scandal. Though it was a bipartisan scandal, Republicans (Bramble's party) were (per member) more prone to abusing the House Bank.

In a separate incident, Bramble reportedly once ate at a steakhouse where he demanded free dessert just because he's a senator.

The blog exposing Curt Bramble's pizza tirade became a sensation - and Bramble the would-be pizza waster is a humiliated disgrace.


Diaper Dave can't use campaign funds to cover prostitution expenses

Aw, boo hoo!

The Federal Election Commission has ruled that right-wing Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) can't use campaign funds to pay over $160,000 in legal expenses he racked up after he hired a prostitute to indulge his diaper fetish.

Gee, Diaper Dave, that's some expensive hooker.

Normally I wouldn't be concerned with a politician hiring a prostitute. It's their life, so let 'em do what they want. But when a politician has that nasty Republican label next to their name, we should expect them to hold themselves to a higher standard, because the Republicans are usually the ones preaching to everyone else how to live.

A lot of people don't understand that. But if that sounds like a double standard, the GOP has brung it on itself by acting so holier-than-thou.

A politician of any party should be held up to industrial-strength ridicule if they actually think they can use campaign funds to cover fees resulting from them visiting a prostitute. Somehow I don't think Vitter's donors thought they were paying for hooker visits.

The FEC let Vitter pay for about $30,000 of his legal tab with campaign funds, because that part covered an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. Everything else has to come out of his pocket. (Do diapers even have pockets?)


The Conservative Fool Of The Day is...Tom Davis!

Did you know the economy is in tiptop shape?

It is according to right-wing Rep. Tom Davis (R-Virginia). Davis says times have never been better!

How does he know this?

Because things are doing just fine in Fairfax County, Virginia. Which just happens to be the richest county in the entire United States.

Seriously. He thinks that because everything is going so well in America's richest county (much of which is in his district), that's a sign that the national economy is doing just as great.

He made this statement during a conference call arranged by the McCain campaign.

Still don't believe the Republicans are out-of-touch elites? Davis boasted that Fairfax County has "362 foreign-owned companies and tens of thousands of employees with foreign-owned firms."

Where's the American-owned companies, Tom?

Fairfax County's affluence reflects rich corporate lobbyists and executives of these foreign firms - not average workers.

I guess that in the mixed-up world of Tom Davis, as go executives, as goes America, huh?


Sunday, August 24, 2008

California nixes noncompete clauses

As another example of right-wing hypocrisy, the right-wingers who favor work-for-less laws are usually the same ones who support letting businesses enforce noncompete clauses. Noncompete clauses are rules that employers impose on workers that forbid them from working for a competitor for months after they've resigned.

In other words, the same people who back misnamed "right-to-work" (union-busting) laws support infringing on your right to work for your former employer's competitor.

But now the California Supreme Court has correctly ruled that noncompetes are illegal. They pointed out that state law has specifically forbidden noncompetes since 1872.

Noncompetes run afoul of basic rights of workers. Workers are people, not company property. If you're no longer working for someone, it's none of your former employer's damn business where you work next.


More pro-bullying tyranny

How far is the system willing to go to punish victims of school harassment while mollycoddling the harassers?

We've already seen this trend with the tyranny of "no pass, no drive" - which punishes students for poor grades but not for serial harassment. Now America is being treated to a big, stinky, bunkeroo-like repeat at the hands of a new program in Texas.

Several cities in Texas have implemented a right-wing program to track so-called truants by forcing them to wear a GPS ankle bracelet 24/7. School harassers are not punished in this fashion. But alleged truants are.

Tell me if that's not giving special rights to bullies.

And if you think this program won't expand, I wouldn't be surprised if students "at risk" of truancy are next. Harassers will be the last ones punished (as is clear from other right-wing gimmicks like this). Things like this always start off small, but before you know it, you're in an America you don't recognize.


Stupid school tricks

I'm emotionally numb right now.

I'm in complete, absolute shock that a party that I've spent the past 15 years publicly criticizing would target me personally with a gambit that I've publicly criticized for just as long - and not even cover its tracks.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not too surprised they did what they did. I'm only shocked that they were dumb enough to leave evidence in plain sight.

At 4:21 PM today, the phone rang. I ran into my front room as the answering machine picked up the call. I heard what sounded like a recording of a man talking in a deep cartoon superhero voice. It started off, "This is Optimus Prime. Take a break from blogging and listen to me." The voice said that it's "moving into Kentucky."

Most of the recording seemed to be talking about Transformers (the popular toy and the cartoon that it spawned). It urged me to visit a website advertising an upcoming Transformers movie.

The answering machine stopped recording during the call, but I figured it must have been a telemarketer advertising Transformers products. I figured one of the blog sites I use must have sold my personal info to the Transformers people. Otherwise they wouldn't know I was a blogger.

In any event, I'm on the no-call list, and I didn't want to get any more calls from them. So I dialed *69 so I'd know what part of the country the call came from. I figured I'd block 'em if I had any room left on my block list.

When the phone company's *69 recording read the number, I was a little surprised to find it started off with 859, which is my own area code. And that the exchange happened to be in my county - which made it all the more suspicious.

I went online, typed the full number into Google, and what's one of the first pages that comes up? My former high school. A Catholic high school that I got expelled from 18 years ago is making stupid-ass recorded phone calls about Transformers to my home.

My heart raced, and my palms sweated.

I was in disbelief at what I was seeing.

Here's the deal: I got an unsolicited recorded phone call and traced it to a number that belongs to my first high school - a school that I've lambasted in my newsletter and on my website for years.

I know you would not believe me if I didn't record both the call and the *69 recording right after the fact. But I did:

I'm not embedding the clip here, because I know my alma mater will cry "harassment!" But that's the link to the recordings.

I can hardly believe it either. Are the idiots who run my former high school that fucking stupid that they didn't think I'd save their calls?

What's their defense? They were caught red-handed this time. Their Transformers Underoos and hanging down around their ankles this time, and there's nothing they can do.

Are they going to make me see a shrink who says it's all in my head when the proof is in plain view? They've got no defense this time. None. They're screwed.

After years of listening to repeated denials that this is even going on, how does one react when the proof finally appears in plain sight, before God (or whatever you believe in) and everyone? I'm too shocked to know what to do.

Not like the proof does much good in court, because the system has covered for this so-called school for decades. If that wasn't the case, my former school wouldn't be dumb enough to risk being fined hundreds of dollars for phone harassment.

I'm in less disbelief than I'd be in if I hadn't seen how teen confinement centers (like the one targeted by our roadside protests) specifically pursue individuals who are their most vocal critics. If teen programs can do this, why wouldn't schools do it too? Nobody has publicly criticized my former school anywhere near as much as I have.

And the school absolutely cannot stand it when I criticize it. They hate it.

I still want to know what connection my former school has to the other parties who I've gotten harassing calls from - including Citizens United and an assortment of local businesses and individuals. Because my number is unlisted, I'm also wondering how they got that.

Verdict: guilty. Now I know the school is guilty, and anyone who clicks on the clip knows it too - unless they're so in denial that they're delusional.

My old high school has got to be much more desperate than I thought. Making bizarre calls like this isn't what people do when they're in the right frame of mind.

Heating costs to jump over 20%

The "regulation for thee, not for me" crowd has long propagated a Big Lie: According to them, deregulation lowers costs.

This story again proves what a lie that is - but they keep repeating it in the hopes people won't be fooled.

In the Midwest, the price of heating oil is expected to soar 29% this winter. The price of natural gas is expected to jump 23%.

Weird. I sure don't know many people who make 23 to 29% more money than they did last year.

And so, the handouts to Big Business permitted by regulators who won't regulate continue.


Court upholds state pollution laws

In the '90s, the Far Right wanted to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency - the EPA. They considered any reasonable regulation on Big Business to be a government "taking", even though no property changed hands.

It was the ideology of propertarianism taken to the point where (if the Far Right had its way) only large property owners would be allowed to participate in government.

The EPA almost has been dismantled under Bush. Now the EPA's only function seems to be telling the states that they can't place environmental regulations on Big Business.

A 1990 congressional change to the Clean Air Act clearly authorized states to limit polluting emissions from factories and utilities. Despite this, Bush's EPA began placing harsh limits on the states' power to monitor industrial emissions.

Weren't the Republicans the ones who were running on states' rights? Did they lie about that just like they lied about their other campaign promises? (Yes.)

But now a federal appeals court has slapped the Bush regime silly.

In a 2 to 1 ruling, the court says Bush's EPA can't restrict the states in this manner.

Gee, ya think? After all, the law is perfectly clear in authorizing states to curb polluters. Why isn't the ruling unanimous instead of 2 to 1?

At least Bush got smacked down - making this one of few instances in his whole lifetime of failure that someone's ever told him no.


Clear Channel pulls anti-nuke ads

What happens when most of America's advertising venues are concentrated in the hands of one greedy corporation with right-wing leanings?

You get bullshit excuses, that's what.

A few days ago, Clear Channel removed an ad from a billboard it owns at the Minneapolis airport. The ad was placed by the Union of Concerned Scientists and urged McCain to rethink the country's policy on nuclear weapons.

Crap Channel pulled the ad because of complaints by Northwest Airlines, the official airline of the Republican National Convention. (So much for corporations' alleged nonpartisanship, huh?) The airline called the ad "scary."

Now Clear Channel has pulled the UCS's billboard at the Denver airport that made the same plea of Obama that the Minneapolis billboard made of McCain. This time, Clumpy Channel appears to have yanked the ad on its own, instead of following airline complaints.

Clear Channel's rejection of advocacy ads on the basis of the ads' stance is more proof of how media monopolies are antithetical to democracy. The free flow of ideas is stifled when so much of the media is concentrated in one corporation.

Clear Channel and Northwest Airlines think the billboard is "scary", but nuclear propagation isn't? This is like when Jim Inhofe talked about being more "outraged by the outrage" over Abu Ghraib than by the scandal itself.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bush cultists force cancellation of media cookout

The spittle crowd doesn't just criticize actions. They police thoughts. Bush's cultists are un-American and intolerant.

The city manager of Golden, Colorado, invited Al Jazeera to broadcast from a cookout in his back yard during the Democratic National Convention. Al Jazeera certainly has better war coverage than the American-based networks, and its coverage even of American politics is also said to be vastly superior. (How can it be much worse than that of the U.S. press corpse?)

But when some local Bush followers got word of this, they went berserk. They hate Al Jazeera because its coverage isn't uniformly pro-war like most of the American media's is. They stamped their shit-caked little footsies until the city manager rescinded his Al Jazeera invitation.

Obviously there is no freedom of the press in America anymore. If there was, a handful of morons with the emotional stability of a baby wouldn't be able to drive out a news organization like this.


Age of majority can't be 19

I'd planned on touching on this issue months ago, and now I think it should be moved back to the frontburner. The media has become careless about factual errors, but this is one that it's actually repeated.

The age of majority is the age that a person is considered an adult. A common misconception is that minors have no legal rights. In reality, however, a minor is supposed to have a minority of the control over their decisions (as opposed to no control at all), and a major (adult) is supposed to have a majority of such control. As an adult, one is no longer subject to parental authority.

The error in question is the media's repeated claim that the age of majority in Nebraska is 19. Even the respected New York Times claimed several months ago that this is the case. Now the AP has repeated this mistake.

Nowhere can the age of majority be 19. Nowhere! Not any place in the world.

There may be statutes in some states and countries that claim it's 19, if not higher. But these laws are no more valid than a law declaring 2 plus 2 to be 5. Under common law, once you're 18 - kablammo! - you're an adult. States and countries can set the age of majority lower - but not higher.

I've heard other misconceptions too. For instance, I've been told that in Kentucky it's 19 if you don't have your high school diploma yet. While parents of 18-year-olds who are still in high school might be able to collect child support in Kentucky, that does not increase the age of majority for those who have yet to graduate.

I hail from Kentucky and turned 18 before I graduated - and I guarantee I would've raised hell if I was not legally considered an adult. Discriminating against someone based on their educational level would be so much like the vainglorious approach that Kentucky lawmakers take to education, but I've yet to find a Kentucky law that robs anyone over 18 of adult status - and if there is such a statute, it's void under common law anyway.

If I was from Nebraska, I would've raised hell too. You can't legally claim someone is still a child once they're 18. You just can't.

This has come to the fore now because Nebraska has a new law that would potentially allow parents to abandon unruly teenagers at hospitals. So Nebraska tries making adults live with their parents until they're 19, but lets parents abandon their kids before they even turn 18? How's that for legislative doublespeak?

I guess the fact that a law lets kids be abandoned just because they got in trouble at school or listened to "druggie music" is a sign that today's America is a throwaway society. If someone or something isn't 100% perfect, they get tossed out like food wrappers in the street.

More hypocrisy? I would bet you that the first people who'd support seriously enforcing such a high age of majority would be the first who'd favor lowering the age at which a minor may be tried as an adult for minor violations of the law. You can bet the farm on this.

Another problem with both the high majority age and the abandonment of teens: Both of these are likely a boon for abusive teen confinement facilities. With a higher age of majority, there's more people who have the potential to be placed in an abusive program by parents. With teenagers abandoned, there's also a greater chance that the system will place them in such a program.

Government doublespeak can be quite profitable for "the industry."


You're in the big leagues! (Bubble Gum Weekend)

The hilarity of bubble gum's mere existence just keeps on mounting!

Peep Big League Chew, for instance. Introduced in 1980, it's a brand of BG that comes in pouches which (to much controversy) resemble those in which chewing tobacco is sold. The gum itself looks like pink spaghetti.

It's funny stuff. You know why? Because it's gum, that's why. And gum is funny.

Take a gander at this uproarious commersh from the early '80s:

Although the ad talked about "man-sized wads" (hey Beavis you said "man-sized wads") of bubble gum, this brand enjoyed brief interest among men, women, and children alike. People bubbled with it.

Big League Chew gained renewed attention in 2005 in Newport, Kentucky - the same city where I was born some years earlier! A 25-year-old woman got busted for stealing several pouches of the stuff (along with 2 cases of Slim Jim beef sticks) from the Remke's supermarket on Carothers Road.

Now she's probably not in the big leagues but in the big house (jail)!

I guess she was desperate to blow the World's Biggest Bubble if she was willing to risk jail time to steal gum.

We protest a cult!

Last night I got deployed to my 10th protest against the teen behavior modification cult on the east side of Cincinnati. This roadside rally wasn't particularly long, but it turned out to be not uneventful, and it was certainly a success!

It started off slow as the 3 of us basked in the stifling heat with bottles of icy cold wawa. But when a police car pulled in to the facility's driveway, the real amusement beginned.

The cruiser drove back towards the building where we couldn't see it, but emerged about 10 minutes later. Then the policeman got out of his car and approached us.

I began to fear that our rally might be suppressed, but the officer quickly assured us we were in the right. He informed us that the facility has a new "policy" of calling the police every time we protest. But the friendly cop also told us that because we are not breaking the law, we can keep protesting.

What it boils down to is that the facility is committing harassment. If you keep calling the police on someone when you know they're doing nothing wrong, that's harassment, and it's a crime.

No normal person would repeatedly call the cops on someone for doing something they know is legal and rant at the officers for 10 minutes.

During the event, I also discovered that the facility had painted a white line at the entrance to its driveway and posted more anti-trespassing signs - just for us! This is of iffy legality, because it appears as if the white line may actually be on the public right-of-way.

The day's highlight came near the end of our protest. A parent of one the detainees pulled up in his car and fumed about how we were "attacking" the program. He then jumped out of the car and marched towards one of our protesters in a threatening manner. He adjusted one of the new signs along the driveway and drove off.

After our protest, we bipped over to some folks' house for some delicious lasagna and sodie-pop. Later we went to Perkins in Highland Heights, where we got more hydration. To celebrate our successful protest, we blew bubbles through the straws in our beverages until they rose to the top of the glass.

Here's to success! Blublublublublub!

(More info:

Obama picks Biden

Obama has picked longtime Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his running mate, just like I predicted.

I know a lot of folks are saying Obama could've picked a better running mate - but it could have been worse too. Much worse.

Put Biden up against Mitt Romney, and that's not even a contest.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pilot's career almost ruined by TSA list

Is there any doubt remaining that America has become a command state?

A pilot who works for a small regional airline has found his career in jeopardy after his name turned up on a Transportation Security Administration list. The TSA keeps telling him he is on "a list" - but it's unclear if this is the hated no-fly list that's been found to be discredited many times over. He and his wife have been stopped and harassed repeatedly by agents when they travel.

This is how the government treats a '91 Gulf War vet who served 13 years in the military?

It's believed that the TSA placed him on the list solely because his wife is from Pakistan and is a Muslim.

Because the man can't get answers from the TSA, and the TSA is refusing to remove his name, his career as a pilot is now at serious risk.

He's filed a lawsuit against the government to have the names of himself and his wife removed from TSA lists.

If America gets a real President any time soon, hopefully they'll tell the TSA to stick its watch lists where the sun don't glow.


Demonstrators win millions over bogus arrests

A 2003 protest in Manhattan against the Iraq War went awry when demonstrators were arrested on bogus charges.

Some of them spent 12 hours in jail on these phony charges, even though police video proved they broke no laws. But dozens of these dissidents sued the city of New York for its suppression of free speech.

Just a few days ago, the city finally agreed to settle the case for $2,000,000.

It's unfortunate that New York City incurred such a massive expense by arresting the demonstrators. If the city had left the protesters alone and let them exercise their free speech rights (like free countries do), the city never would've been sued. What's even more unfortunate is that city taxpayers have to foot the bill for the intolerance of the municipal regime they pay taxes to.

The voters need to just clean house in the next election.

Incidentally, New York City authorities didn't learn their lesson quickly enough. After that protest, they carried out even more heavy-handed suppression during the 2004 Republican National Convention.

I know these episodes are only a tiny fraction of the public repression that's plagued America the past 8 years, and the $2,000,000 settlement is just a drop in the bucket. You have to wonder how many incidents go completely unreported. (The Devou Park Showdown has probably never been reported outside The Last Word and this blog.)


Mitt Romney??? Really???

According to Time magazine, McCain has settled on right-wing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as his running mate.

Something tells me McCain just lost the election right there. Mitt "The Shit" Romney is bugfuck crazy. And that's putting it mildly.

Right about now, McCain's opponents (major party and third party alike) are probably saying, "Bring it on!" From Romney's record of incompetence as governor, it damn sure ain't gonna help the GOP win Massachusetts.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Alabama penalizes workers because of weight

This is something that - if it isn't illegal already - damn well ought to be.

Alabama is becoming the first state in the U.S. to place a surcharge on state employees who are deemed "overweight." The state will soon begin charging workers an extra $25 a month if their weight isn't within what the state considers an acceptable standard.

Charging workers now? Back in my day, people used to get paid to work instead of having to pay.

It's bad enough when big corporations try keeping their employees in suspended animation, but for a state to do it is just as ridiculous. Indeed, it's outright discrimination.

And what does "overweight" mean? Under new official guidelines promulgated by the federal government the late '90s, I'm "overweight." I fucking sure wouldn't appreciate being charged $25 a month over it.

I firmly believe one of the main reasons for the new guidelines was so more people could be classed as "overweight" or "obese", just so there'd be an excuse to micromanage their lives or shake them down for a few dollars like what Alabama is doing to its state workers (and what Big Business has tried to do).


John McCain and Mr. Monopoly: separated at birth?

Remember when it was discovered that Mike Huckabee bears a striking resemblance to Gomer Pyle?

Now someone on another website has discovered something almost as funny!

John McCain happens to look a damn lot like Mr. Monopoly, the typecast wealthy man who has long graced Chance and Community Chest cards in the Monopoly board game.

Here's McAin't:

This is Mr. Monopoly:

Now, if Mr. Monopoly shaves off his 1920s 'stache, we get this:

A clean-shaven Mr. Monopoly surely does look like the current Republican standard-bearer, doesn't he?

I guess it's fitting because McCain doesn't know how many houses he owns. He probably owns a hotel on Park Place or Boardwalk too.

Antiwar shirt ruled legal

Psychologists define camisaphobia as the fear of shirts. This disorder disproportionately plagues modern conservatives.

The only things I find fearsome in this story are the fact that several state legislatures banned a particular shirt, and the continuation of Bush's illegal Iraq War, which the shirt protests.

Lawmakers in Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas passed state laws designed to prohibit selling a shirt that lists names of thousands of soldiers who were killed in the war. It was surprising that any legislature would pass such a silly law. (Even in an era when lawmakers regularly hold the Constitution in contempt, this law was a shock.)

The law was clearly unconstitutional on free speech grounds if it was used to go after sellers of such a shirt. If this law was allowed to be used for such a purpose, what's to stop journalists from being prosecuted for reporting that a soldier was killed? You can't censor facts.

But now a federal judge has permanently barred Arizona from using this law to prosecute the shirt's seller.

Arizona actually tried enforcing this law? Prosecutors really stepped right into a lawsuit, didn't they?

The seller isn't completely free of legal troubles yet. He now faces a class action civil suit by a Tennessee plaintiff that seeks to make him pay $40,000,000,000 just for selling the shirt.


Right-wing sour grapes about movie "censorship"

The right-wing thought police has a weird idea of what censorship is.

To them, the Pentagon's suppression of journalists' coverage of war deaths isn't censorship. To them, a government ban of video games they don't like also is not censorship. But failing to release an unpopular TV miniseries on DVD quickly enough is.

In 2006, ABC (which now seems to stand for Anti-Barack Channel) aired 'The Path To 9/11', a miniseries that blamed Bill Clinton for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Company.

So what's the Far Right to do? They're blaming Disney for censoring the very miniseries that the company conceived, bankrolled, distributed, and broadcast. ABC aired the docudrama even after it was proven that it was full of errors.

If not for Disney, 'The Path To 9/11' never would have existed. So how are they censoring it?

Conservatives claim Disney is censoring the series because they haven't rerun it or put it out on DVD yet.

Maybe that's because there's no demand for it, perhaps? For all the visibility the wingnutosphere has, it has only a few diehard followers. There's probably not enough people out there who are willing to buy this shit.

The right-wing intelligentsia (or more accurately, stupidsia) is milking the bogus controversy for all its worth. Right-wing hatchet man David Bossie and talk radio loudmouth John Ziegler have teamed up to make a direct-to-video documentary titled 'Blocking 'The Path To 9/11'' - which is all about (you guessed it) the big, mean conspiracy to "censor" ABC's miniseries.

Although it's a direct-to-video release, it will be shown in some movie theaters just before the election.

When this turns out to be a box office disaster, what's next? 'Blocking 'Blocking 'The Path To 9/11'''?

If you want censorship, how about when conservatives cowed CBS into canceling its airing of 'The Reagans' because they claimed its depiction of Ronald Reagan wasn't positive enough? 'The Path To 9/11' was shown on network TV. 'The Reagans' was not.

Mmm! Mining waste! Dee-lish!

The dinosaur media hasn't exactly been on top of this story, has it?

I saw a blurb in the online version of the Cincinnati Enquirer today about Ralph Nader's ballot efforts in Ohio, and it mentioned yet another Bush fuck-up that I don't remember seeing anything about. According to this article, the Bush regime unilaterally gutted the 1977 Clean Water Act by letting mining waste get dumped in streams and wetlands.

So we're drinking mining waste now.

You mean the Decider's "unitary presidency" has fouled our lives yet again? This is like Bush's efforts to gut the Endangered Species Act or his illegal rule by decree that sapped EMTALA and promoted patient dumping.

There has been little coverage of any of these diktats, because why would the media want their friend Bush to take the blame for these things?