Friday, October 31, 2008

The Conservative Fool Of The Day is...David Storck!

Racist attacks by the GOP are getting to be a daily thing now. Much as the toilets getting clogged was a daily thing in high school, Republican racism has become a daily event in this campaign.

David Storck heads the Republican Party in Tampa's Hillsborough County. Now he's distributed an e-mail from a party volunteer attacking black voters. It also assails Obama, calling him "at minimum a socialist and probably Marxist in his core beliefs."

The e-mail goes on to claim that Obama has "no experience or accomplishments but he is black."

Obama has a hell of a lot more experience and accomplishments than, say, Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney have. What did Romney ever do that was so great? He was governor of Massachusetts for 4 years, but he was one of the most unpopular and incompetent major politicians in America throughout his reign.

Now Storck says he didn't read the e-mail before he sent it out. You're an idiot, David.

There have been calls for Storck to resign, but the wingnuts want none of that. Their response to these calls? One wrote, "Is our free speach [sic] being threatened again?" Nice to know that newspaper comment sections have become like Usenet in 1998.


Cindy Sheehan office attacked by terrorists

Yesterday, Cindy Sheehan's antiwar congressional bid in California came under attack by violent right-wing thugs.

Someone smashed all the front windows of her campaign office and stole a computer.

Wonder what Freeper did this?

Sheehan is running as an independent, but this attack was clearly from the pro-war camp. The modus operandi itself is a pro-war calling card. The chickenhawks have carried out similar incidents countless times before, so I don't even have a shadow of a doubt about the allegiances of the assailants.

I've said it before: Keep an eye on the wingnutosphere. Some of the regulars on right-wing blogs are every bit as dangerous as the international terrorists you hear so much about.


I'm voting Democratic!

...for state representative, that is!

Yes, I know, I know: I'm a Green, as I've said before. But there's no Green candidate, so you know how that goes. And I don't like making full-on endorsements anymore, because I've gotten burned on those too many times.

Anyway, it appears as if I'm in Democrat Dennis Keene's district, which covers the more Democratic portion of Campbell County. I'm not 100% sure, because Kentucky state legislative district boundaries change every time some Republican throws a fit and sues over them, but articles seem to indicate that I'm in that district.

Keene at least got rid of Campbell County's outdated tax that applied only in the more urban northern half of the county. (And the exurbs think the cities are getting special rights?)

The incumbent Democrat's only opponent in this election is independent Pat Lucas, an ultraconservative who grumbles about "socialism", wants to eliminate funding for public schools, and backs a confiscatory 10% sales tax.

Well, I think it's pretty obvious I ain't voting for Pat Lucas, isn't it?

And don't groan about how Dennis Keene is running unopposed just because his only opponent is an independent. That B.S. won't fly.


KHK is R.I.P.!

Well, now we know why last week's protest against the Kids Helping Kids cult was so uneventful.

It's because we had gotten the place shut down, and we just didn't know it yet!

I've waited almost a year to be able to say KHK is R.I.P., and now I just can't believe that it's true! Very few real events in my life have been too good to believe. The 2006 electoral rout against the Republicans was one. The closure of KHK is another.

But it's a fact: KHK has fucking closed!

It's gone!

And it's because we protested them!

This is such a great event that I'm still in disbelief, and I don't know how to react. I'm completely numb!

For the first time in about a quarter-century, that particular program is not in business in the Cincinnati area. We exposed them, and folks didn't want that facility in their community - and parents pulled their kids out of the program.

And we're going to try to make sure Kids Helping Kids never comes back.

There's a maxim that says: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. I think that applies perfectly here. Incompetence reigned at this program for decades under its various names. Even the structure of the program itself was a sign of gross incompetence. And in the end, it didn't pay off.

(More info:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Every day a windfall for corporations (a blast from the past)

Are you a corporation? More specifically, are you a big drug company? If so, this is your lucky decade!

Every day is a windfall for Big Pharma. After reading about drug companies paying the government to publish a study encouraging the drugging of children, I did a little more research and found a little bit about a 2004 lawsuit involving Zoloft.

A California nurse sued Pfizer because the company covered up the drug's side effects. The suit was filed under a state law that lets average people file on behalf of the citizenry, much like an Attorney General.

The evidence supporting the plaintiff's accusations was clear. But the court thunk otherwise and rejected her claim in 2005.

It's one thing to just dismiss the claim. But it's another to make her pay all of Pfizer's legal bills - which the court forced her to do.

So Pfizer gets free legal help now? Since when do we make private citizens pay corporations' legal tabs?

I'm not against "loser pays" when a corporation that files a frivolous SLAPP suit loses. But when you're talking about real public interest suits filed by real, live people, there's nothing more chilling than "loser pays." That's why Big Business made tort reform that includes "loser pays" one of their major policy initiatives in the '90s.

Our corporate overlords think the world is so mean when a court makes them pay up for their SLAPP actions - but they make everyone else pay their legal fees every chance they get.


Pro-drugging study funded by Big Pharma

Be forewarned: A study that encourages drugging children has just been released, and the right-wing media is already parroting it.

This new study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, a government research organization, encourages pickling children's minds with heavy doses of the antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline) to control their anxiety. Isn't it nice to know our tax dollars are going to bogus reports encouraging forced druggings?

I'm reluctant to link to the AP piece, because it's so biased in favor of the drug, but the truth is buried in the article, one version of which appears here:

The thirteenth paragraph tells us all we need to know: "Several study authors reported receiving consulting fees or other compensation from drug companies, including antidepressant makers."

You read that right: Big Pharma paid the government to produce a report favorable to its product. You can't get any more corporatist than that.

Of all the studies that show such drugs to be harmful, I've yet to see any that were funded by any corporation or outside pressure group. But the ones that "prove" these drugs to be helpful seem to almost always be funded by the drug makers - so it's clear that these studies work backwards from a predetermined conclusion.

Zoloft is linked to suicidal thoughts and behavior - as even the AP piece points out (though that part too is buried).

So the next time some shrink or other self-styled expert trots out this study to extol sertraline's greatness, point out to them that it was financed by the drug companies.

Delta/Northwest merger rubber-stamped

Surprise, surprise, huh?

The merger of Delta and Northwest Airlines (which join under the Delta name) has now been rubber-stamped by Bush's so-called Justice Department, thus making the merger nearly final. This follows similar rubber-stamping by European regulators (who are also preprogrammed to serve corporate interests). U.S. government lawyers said the merger (which creates the world's largest airline) would ease prices for consumers without crimping competition.

I know, man. All those mergers in other industries in the past 15 years or so have really cut my costs and fostered competition, haven't they? (That's sarcasm, folks!)

Is the government really dumb enough to think a merger means more competition? Did they actually say this with a straight face? The whole purpose of a corporate merger is to boost revenues and reduce competition.

Even if the newly merged airline keeps all the same routes, somehow I don't think there'll be any fewer on which it loses your luggage, breaks the clasps on your suitcase, and worse.

Now the only barrier to the merger is a pending antitrust suit by consumers. That is, unless the states act - which they have every right to do (but won't).

It's a hell of a time for a merger, huh? This merger was approved at the same time yet another report came out showing that Cincinnati - where the airport has a near-monopoly by Delta - has by far the highest air fares in America, even as fares nationally have reached their highest levels ever.

Lovely. Now the rest of the country is going to get a taste of what Cincinnati has dealt with for years.

Because Cincinnati's main airport is in Kentucky, the Bluegrass State has a right to regulate this monopoly. The state needs to hop to it.

Any state affected by the Delta/Northwest merger ought to break up the new entity and restore competition at their airports.


AP calls MSNBC left-wing

How out of touch is the Associated Press?

I think the AP's playing up of the economic "prosperity" of the late '90s (which was a hoax) preceded the unasked-for rise of Dean Singleton, but it's even clearer where the Assholciated Press stands today.

Here's excerpts from an article from last night about MSNBC written by AP television writer David Bauder:

"... MSNBC's move to the left during this campaign ... MSNBC's left turn ... John McCain's coverage overwhelmingly negative since the conventions among all media ... MSNBC has been more negative toward Republican [sic] and positive toward Democrats in its coverage ..."

MSNBC has a few hosts who are generally liberal, but overall MSNBC's coverage has been well to the right. The network got shunned by this blog because early this year it made a shitty edit of a Michelle Obama speech in an effort to change the entire meaning of her statement.

I'm not a Democrat; I'm a populist Green. But come on! This incident was so plainly a smear that I can't believe it didn't receive more criticism from dissenting blogs.

The media in general has seemed for years like it's been out to kneecap anyone who diverges from the conservative order. In my adult life, major American news outlets have manipulated public opinion, shrugged off viewpoints that were perfectly valid, provided one-sided coverage, and launched hit pieces against political figures who seemed to pose a threat to right-wing hegemony.

November 4 is really going to be a long, difficult night for those in the media who think they can tell us what to think.

The Conservative Fool Of The Day is...John Toplikar!

John Toplikar. A weird one indeed.

Toplikar is a county commissioner in Johnson County, Kansas. The election is on a nonpartisan ballot, but he is known to be a right-wing Republican through and through.

Now he's in trouble because he got caught on video stealing his election opponent's campaign signs. Now police have cited him for misdemeanor theft after the signs were found in his van.

His opponent had witnessed him stealing signs before, but police couldn't do anything until he was caught on video. Well, now that's happened.

Want to argue with it, conservos? Well, the video's right there on the Raw Story - and it came from none other than ABC, which ain't exactly a left-wing stronghold.

Now John Toplikar is trying to deny stealing the signs, even though he got caught red-handed.

Isn't it fun to watch the GOP become a humiliating shadow of its former self? Who needs comedy clubs when you've got the Republican Party?


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wisconsin AG calls cops on voters

Now it's a crime in Wisconsin to vote?

I guess so - if you're not a Republican. Wisconsin's Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wants to place police officers and state prosecutors in polling places in Democratic areas to intimidate voters.

How is this even legal? It isn't. But why is it tolerated?

Incidentally, Van Hollen is also co-chair of the Republicans' presidential campaign in Wisconsin. (Van Hollen's rise is also due in part to the detestable former Gov. Tommy Thompson, one of the meanest major politicians in America in the '90s.)

If I lived in Wisconsin and was threatened in any way by J.B. Van Hollen's machine, I would sue him so fast it would make his stupid face spin.

Van Hollen's efforts follow demands by Republicans that police and military personnel monitor polls in Democratic-leaning Milwaukee - but not in Republican areas. The GOP also demanded that voters' ID's be checked only in Milwaukee - again, not in Republican locales.


Trick-or-treat, trick-or-treat, give me a propaganda sheet!

In the past few years, the conservative intelligentsia has usually painted Halloween as eeeeeeeevil (peep the War on Halloween in our schools), but I guess now they've figured they can use the special day to their advantage.

And they're spouting their crap to your children.

In Broward County, Florida, the local Republicans have gotten their followers to place something extra in kids' trick-or-treat baskets: a GOP propaganda sheet. Measuring about 3 by 4 inches, the pieces of paper admonish, "Don't Make Everyday Halloween in America! Keep Barack Obama from using your hard earned dollars as his own personal 'Trick or Treat' bag!"

They're teaching this shit to your kids. Lovely.


BYU rescinds diploma

Schools are rescinding diplomas now?

I've heard of schools not letting someone get a diploma, but who's ever heard of a school taking away someone's diploma after they've received it?

Brigham Young University is a private Mormon institution and a bastion of conservative ideals. Now the school has revoked the diploma of a 31-year-old alumnus who has been excommunicated from the Mormon church for publishing a calendar titled 'Men On A Mission' that featured shirtless missionaries.

That's like if a Catholic elementary school I attended retroactively revokes all my credits now because I stopped attending Mass.

Does BYU spy on each graduate to make sure they don't slip up? I don't understand how a school can come back and say that an alumnus's years of study don't mean anything.

Although BYU is a private school, the man in this story has grounds for a lawsuit. It seems deceptive for a school to revoke someone's diploma after they've graduated.

This isn't the only story like this involving BYU. It's also been reported that when a student was expelled for wanting to leave the church, she was ordered to pay back her scholarships. BYU also reportedly refused to release the transcripts of a former student who had left the church - causing her to lose 2 years of credits.

That to me sounds like fraud. And it's legally actionable. If there hasn't been a lawsuit yet against BYU, there ought to be.


Bush regime imports other countries' radioactive waste

Lovely. Two stories back to back about large quantities of toxic chemicals being needlessly stored near a large American city.

It turns out that regulators with the Bush regime allowed Canada and Mexico to send radioactive waste to the U.S. to be buried near Salt Lake City.

Utah officials never received the memo. The regional radioactive waste oversight committee Utah is part of never got the memo either.

Federal regulators admit they don't notify states if they consider the amount of waste to be "not significant." But how do you define "not significant"? "We don't have an exact number for that," admits one official. In fact, one license approved a shipment of 6,000 tons of waste.

Utah votes more reliably Republican than any other state. Yet the Bush regime still tries to turn the state into the world's toxic waste dump. That's because many of the Republicans elected by Utah are so willing to tolerate it. Some of the Republicans actually want this shit in their state! I guess they like to eat it or something.

Now the company that manages the Utah toxic waste site wants to import radioactive waste from Italy as well. This despite the fact that the regional committee does not allow foreign waste at the site - whether from Canada, Mexico, Italy, or anywhere else.

So poisonous waste is going to be flying from Italy to Utah over the airspace of many countries, including the United States.


Sarin leaks at Kentucky depot

I warned of a sarin leak months ago when mustard gas kept leaking at the Blue Grass Army Depot near Lexington, Kentucky. And now it's happened.

In addition to mustard gas, the depot also has sarin - a far, far deadlier chemical weapon. The nerve agent is considered a weapon of mass destruction under UN guidelines, and it's illegal for any country to make or stockpile it. It's much more poisonous than even cyanide.

But the U.S. government seems to stockpile it anyway - and they do it in Kentucky.

Didn't the government promise to clean up the sarin at the Kentucky depot? They promised it years ago, and then this past summer they pledged to get right to it. But the deadly sarin remains.

They never fucking listen, do they?


The grouch you can depend on! ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Oscar the Grouch is cool!

I learned early in life that you can always depend on the ol' Osk to comfort you and make you feel better. If you need something, Oscar will get it for you lickety-split!

Like when Ernie lost his prized rubber duckie...

The ol' Osk buyed Ernie a brand new duck to replace the one Ernie carelessly lost! How nice!

Count on Oscar. He'll do favors like that for you. He works all day collecting trash so his friends on Sesame Street can have nicer lives. He's the guy to go to for rubber duckie replacement. I don't think Oscar can replace my birth certificate that's lost (the original was lost several years ago, and the replacement that cost $40 has since been lost too), but he can replace rubber duckies!

At 22 seconds into this clip, notice that Ernie has a Poo-Poo Cushion.

There's a happy ending to this 'Sesame Street' skit. It turns out Bert didn't flush Ernie's rubber duckie down the toilet after all, nor did Mr. Snuffle-Upagus steal it to use as a sex toy. The duck is found safe and sound!

And Oscar the Grouch has a spare squeaky toy for emergencies like this!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stink again

Katherine Kersten is a far, far right-wing columnist for the declining Star Tribune of Minneapolis who writes a blog called Think Again. Her totalitarian bullshit has been in our backlog for months now, and it's time we expose this self-righteous, hate-filled crackpot - as we've done to so many other columnists and politicians.

Kersten is so extreme that her harangues have led many longtime readers of the paper to cancel their subscriptions.

In May, Katherine Kersten wrote a lengthy, psychotic pro-bullying rant. She absurdly claimed that efforts to halt school harassment were part of an "indoctrination" plot by gays. (?!?!?!) (Actually, parents are allowed to opt their kids out of the program she complains about the most.)

If you think you haven't seen the last of Kersten's extremism, well, think again.

One of her latest crusades involves her disgust for Al Franken, which manifests itself in a diatribe about the comedian-turned-politician. Kersten attacks Franken for some of his humorous monologues from years ago and accuses him of being anti-Catholic.

The strategy of smearing opponents as anti-Catholic has been a favorite of the right-wing intelligentsia in recent years. It is worse than a mere lie. It is a filthy lie. And it's spread by some of the most powerful political figures and commentators in America.

I think this vile lie stems from modern conservatives not believing in separation of religion and state. When someone challenges them, they have nothing to fall back on except personal attacks.

In the case of Kersten's attack on Franken, it's far more than simply annoying. The bogus talking point was promptly picked up by hate-spewing right-wing bigots like William Donohue.

The Star Tribune is declining largely because of its recent shift towards a far-right editorial stance - which some believe is to appease right-wing bloggers who had long blasted the paper. How fitting is it that the wingnutosphere bullied the Star Tribune, so it hired a columnist who supports school bullying in response? The wingnut blogs are laughing to themselves right now because one of their targets caved.

When people maliciously spread lies about political foes, we need to have a strong counterattack to swoop right in and expose what a lie it is.


Another case...of HUD abuse...

HUD, some regional housing authorities, and some private concerns seem to be complicit in a scam built on the backs of some of America's neediest families.

In many American communities, you'll notice that public housing seems to be disappearing faster than the Republicans' election chances. Media accounts invariably laud these efforts. Rarely are the residents even asked for their opinions.

I'm sure the residents wouldn't oppose it if the housing was replaced by better dwellings in the same general area and if the community isn't broken up - and if they were able to move into the new residences. But in my area, that doesn't seem to happen. You hear of new low-income housing being built once in a great while, but it's scattered and often substandard.

Public housing residents are unfairly viewed by governments and the media as objects to be moved around, not as people trying to build a stable community.

When public housing is razed, new housing is supposed to go up somewhere in the community to accommodate all the residents. Clearly though this does not always happen.

With much of it flung into distant areas, it's inefficient - and it's much harder for residents to get to work. (Most residents are employed: If you drive through any public housing development, you'll see people in work uniforms heading off to work or arriving home.)

New housing built with funds from HUD and regional housing agencies that is reasonably close to the old housing is often a sham. While they claim that these are supposed to accommodate everyone who lived in the old housing that was torn down, there's often a wait of several years between the loss of the old housing and the opening of the new residences. Further, the new housing often isn't even open to all the residents of the old buildings.

Often there is in effect a minimum income requirement. The very poor thus cannot get housing to replace that which they lost.

Another issue is that HUD or public housing agencies are enforcing policies that would be illegal if a private landlord had them. For instance, it's illegal for building owners to discriminate against prospective tenants on the basis of disability. In some locales, there are specific regulations that say that a person who collects disability benefits can't be denied an apartment if someone who earns the same amount from gainful employment would not be denied.

Some of the new developments, however, run afoul of these regulations - despite receiving HUD money.

On and on this descent continues, as the press - which always takes a booster's view - turns a blind eye to the community's needs.

Wingnuts complain about the darndest things!

Supposedly there was a TV series a decade ago called 'Kids Say The Darndest Things'. I don't remember ever seeing this program, but I'm told it was hosted by Bill Cosby and Art Linkletter. The hosts would ask children questions, and the kids would give a cute answer.

I think we should start a show called 'Wingnuts Complain About The Darndest Things'. In its first episode, our show should profile the right-wing blogosphere's ongoing tantrum against the poor - specifically, this imbecilic meme against "redistribution" they've been dwelling on lately.

The conservative intelligentsia of late likes to portray itself as a bunch of beleaguered little voices determined to get government out of your hair. But they actually represent only those who are well-off enough to be in higher tax brackets and make decisions about hiring and firing. They represent corporations, executives, and very large landowners.

Now some right-wing blog is crying about a bill Obama cosponsored when he was an Illinois state senator. Obama's bill would have required building new public housing to serve the homeless and other low-income people.

What's wrong with Obama's bill? As far as I can tell, nothing. I didn't read the whole bill, but from the description it sounds reasonable. In fact, this bill was such an obvious idea that I'm almost inclined to fault any legislator who didn't cosponsor it.

But the fuckheadosphere sees a conspiracy in everything. The right-wing blog that grumbles about the bill sarcastically sniffed, "Boy, that sounds like a great idea - housing projects for the homeless. This is exactly the type of 'economic justice' Obama will pursue if elected president."

Well, hopefully it is. Hopefully. I'm a Green, but I hope the Democrats regain the political will to pursue it.

If America is the world's wealthiest country, why are there so many homeless people? With a record rate of foreclosure vacancies and a record rate of homelessness, it's obvious the market isn't working. If there's so many homeless but still so many vacancies, then it's clear the market has housing costs set too high.

Make no mistake: The conservative platform appeals only to the well-off who worship the riches they have. Every time they groan about "redistribution", they don't have your interests in mind.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Spread the wealth!

I know this election is pretty much decided, and I think I know why the GOP keeps bleeding votes.

McCain's so-called strategy is to attack Obama for his supposed "spread the wealth" proclamation.

If Obama said to "spread the wealth", that's one of the best moves he's made in his entire campaign. As far as I know, he's done almost everything right since the debates began, but "spread the wealth" is a home run he should've been making from the get-go.

Other national Democrats had almost completely ignored this theme for 15 years. It was about damn time this idea resurfaced.

And McCain thinks it's a good idea to attack him for it?


I know the wingnutosphere keeps gloating about how Obama dug himself in deep when he allegedly said to "spread the wealth" and when he touted a more progressive tax structure, but clearly the wingnuts are wrong (again). That's why Obama's poll numbers have soared lately.

McCain apparently believes in "hoard the wealth." In keeping with the classic image of the Republicans being out of touch, he seems to think those who are born rich and get richer on the backs of everyone else should stockpile their millions and let the people be damned.

For the life of me, I can't possibly imagine why anyone wouldn't want to "spread the wealth" - unless they're unbelievably opulent. The hoarders of wealth and power will find doctrinaire excuses to oppose it, but none hold water.

Too wide of a gap between the rich and poor is disastrous. Goods fetch higher prices, but are more out of reach of the poor. No society has lasted long with such a wide gap, for the economic power of the poor and working class becomes agonizingly drained. In fact, most modern democratic republics are built on a progressive economic structure in which the tax system makes some effort to ask the rich to pay their fair share.

If there's any issue on which McCain can't possibly attack Obama and come out ahead, this has got to be it. His handlers aren't savvy enough to ever figure this out, so I have no objection to publicly pointing out how silly they're being.

McCain backed land swap to benefit friends

Short version of story: McCain pushed for a land swap that would've benefited billionaire Carl Lindner, an associate of Charles Keating. The land deal would've ruined a desert featuring rare cactuses and Hopi artifacts by allowing a golf course and luxury homes to be built there.

Long version of story:

This contrasts with McCain's efforts to paint himself as a maverick and a champion of congressional ethics.

Yes, I know that around the time this was going on, there was a wingnut-on-wingnut pie fight happening in my own region of influence, and it was hard to tell which side to oppose more. Hopefully this'll clear the air.

Ted Stevens found guilty on all counts

DU reports that the longtime Republican senator from Alaska has been found guilty on all counts at his corruption trial.

Every single damn count!

The GOP culture of corruption really has lived on, hasn't it?

Hopefully Bush won't abuse his pardon powers this time.


School sends drugged 9-year-old to jail

BushAmerica means children are drugged - then jailed and charged with a felony for fighting the staff at school.

This is precisely what happened to a 9-year-old girl in Fort Myers, Florida.

She had been prescribed several strong drugs for conditions like ADHD. The druggings later stopped when her mother would not agree to experimental "treatment." But these drugs often have lifelong effects.

Did the school ever stop and think that maybe it was the drugs that caused her to misbehave at school recently? Clearly, you can't charge a 9-year-old with a felony for an incident like this after her system has been filled with toxins for years.

But they're a school, so they do. BushAmerica means schools never have to act reasonably or admit they're wrong.

It gets worse: At the time the story was reported, authorities were threatening to use the much-abused Baker Act to forcibly "hospitalize" her. The Baker Act is a Florida law that's one of many frequently abused tools in the arsenal of the modern powermonger.

I think part of the issue may be that the school system is trying to gloss over its own failures. First the schools drug a child - then they blame the child for the disastrous results.

I'm also at a loss for words about how a school system can have a 9-year-old charged with a felony in this incident, while spoiled bullies run wild and don't face any punishment whatsoever (because that would violate the so-called "right" to be a bully that Samuel "The Veto" Alito created).


Palin calls herself "frugal" despite wardrobe debacle

You can't make this stuff up, people.

What does Failin' Palin have to say about her $150,000 designer clothes controversy?

In a Chicago Tribune interview, she whimpered, "Oh, if people only knew how frugal we are."

You're hilarious, Failin' Palin, you know that?

There's people starving in the streets all over America and worldwide, but this right-wing kook spends $150,000 on a wardrobe she wears only once?

The media went bugfuck apeshit when John Edwards spent more than $6 on a haircut, but when Palin spends $150,000 on her Republican National Convention outfit, hardly a peep is heard from the media.

Because the clothing seems to have been paid for by the Republican National Committee, the GOP's own donors ought to be asking some serious questions. They probably expected that money they gave to the RNC to be used for campaign ads and ground support, not $150,000 wardrobes.

Oh well. The more money the RNC wastes on clothes, the less they have to spend on other things.

And if Palin is so frugal, why does she force the taxpayers to pay for her and her family to attend basketball games and snowmobile races?


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Professional "badass" pulled similar hoax during primary

Does the media even bother to check things out before it lapses into noise machine mode? (No.)

Now it turns out that not only did the McCain volunteer who staged a phony robbery lie about having leukemia and about graduating from Texas A&M. Back during the primary, she pulled a stunt strikingly similar to her Pittsburgh ATM feat.

Early this year, back in her home state of Texas, she claimed her tires were slashed because of her political views and Republican campaign paraphernalia was stolen out of her car. This turned out to be a lie.

If only the media had just bothered to check this before reporting the staged Pittsburgh robbery as if it was real.

But get this: Following the Pittsburgh incident, she's blaming the media for eventually reporting the fact that it was a hoax. Boo hoo hoo!

On her MySpace page, she lists her occupation as "being a badass." Yes, I know, that's something you'd really want to have on your resume, isn't it? I really don't think the job market is that good out there for professional badasses.

But maybe Republican campaigns pay badasses pretty well.


Family loses home for protecting car from thief

BushWorld means working hard only to have someone take away what you toiled so relentlessly for.

A man in San Antonio, Texas, was tired of the crime in his neighborhood. He was sick of people breaking into cars and stealing them. Someone smashed his apartment window too.

Recently, when he saw someone trying to steal his car, he fired his shotgun at the thief. It's legal to use force to protect expensive personal possessions, and the police filed no charges against him.

But get this: The apartment evicted him and his family for the "crime" of owning a gun. Thing is, it's not illegal to own a gun. Not in any of the 50 states. Some types of guns may be illegal in some places in America, but not most shotguns.

You read that right: The family was evicted despite breaking no laws. If the law says you can protect your property with a weapon, then that's the law. The owner of the apartment building doesn't get to decide that a law doesn't apply.

I bet the man worked hard to buy a car and to afford an apartment. But he was forced to lose one to keep the other from being stolen. What's the point in even working when you can't even protect what you work for?

The apartment building owners gave the family only 3 days to leave - even though a much longer notice is required.

Where's the Republicans to defend the guy? They claim to be the country's great Second Amendment champions, so where are they?

They're hardly doing shit to defend him. Most of them are hiding behind the sacred banner of corporate "rights", which they believe trump personal rights. To them, property rights of building owners are limitless, while property rights of a renter protecting their own property from theft elicit a whiny sigh.

It's much like how Walt Disney World cries about a new Florida law that lets employees keep their guns in their cars when they park their cars at work. In the eyes of Disney World, everything revolves around who already has the most power. Corporate "rights" first, everyone else's rights last. The same smug mindset seems to have come to the fore again in this story.


Bush bombs Syria; 9 dead

The Chickenhawk-in-Chief is at it still?

Now Bush has bombed Syria - for reasons unknown. At least 9 were killed - mostly construction workers.

One is reminded of Bush's illegal 2001 carpet-bombing of a soccer field in Iraq. Like that attack, the purpose of this assault seems to be to draw attention away from the ailing economy.

Now can we impeach him?


The Conservative Fool Of The Day is...Joe McCain!

Meet Joe McCain, the younger brother of the embattled Republican standard-bearer.

And he's every bit as hotheaded as ol' Mr. Monopoly himself is.

This was evident when Joe McCain called Arlington, Virginia, a "communist country."

On Tuesday, his hilarious lack of self-control surfaced again. Confronted with heavy traffic outside Washington, D.C., he made a 911 call to complain about the slowdown.

As you know, 911 is supposed to be used only for emergencies. Only. There have been reports from my area of folks calling 911 to get football scores, but these were probably just drunken fans.

Anyhow, Joe McCain called 911 to gripe about traffic being too slow. I guess it was keeping him from getting home to watch cartoons. He told the emergency dispatcher, "Well, it's not an emergency, but do you know why on one side at the damn drawbridge of 95, traffic is stopped for 15 minutes and yet traffic's coming the other way?"

When the operator asked the hapless clod why he was using 911 to eep about traffic, Joe McCain declared, "Fuck you!" He slammed the phone down in anger.

Dispatchers called him back to warn him that it was illegal to abuse 911. Regarding this call, Joe McCain later whined, "Somebody gave me this riot act about the violation of police."

Following his freeway tantrum, he was so disgraced that he withdrew from all campaign activities for his older bro.

Oh well. After reading the polls, it looks like it doesn't matter at this point.


Wingnut accused of threatening Ohio election chief

A 51-year-old Columbus man was jailed after he allegedly made a telephone death threat to Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

Brunner, a Democrat, has been flooded with irate phone calls from right-wing activists because she opted to do her job right. One of her official duties is to make sure the election goes smoothly and follows all applicable laws. But the Republicans want a repeat of 2004 when all those votes kept getting lost. (Remember that?)

The man who allegedly made the death threat (who is a registered Republican) faces 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

Meanwhile, Ohio Republican big shot Kevin DeWine thinks the recent security breach at the Secretary of State's website was a hoax by the big, mean libs to make the GOP look eeeeevil. Well, the GOP's been doing a good job of making itself look evil lately. (Look at how they voted on the teen gulag bill in Congress. Contrast that with the Democrats.)


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bush regime interferes with Ohio vote

Is King AWOL actively trying to think of new ways to keep his cronies in charge after his shit-caked trousers slink out the door, or is he just on autopilot now?

Bush has now directed his sad excuse for a Justice Department to investigate Ohio voter registrations - a move that may bar over 200,000 voters from voting.

The move is unprecedented. No White House has ever openly interfered with an election in this manner.

I guess when you live in a totalitarian dictatorship like BushWorld, voting is a crime, isn't it?


There it went...Freshen-Up... (Bubble Gum Weekend)

It has long been customary in some circles for one to warn, "Here it comes," before passing gas. The bunker blast is usually followed by, "There it went."

That tradition brings even more humor to this already uproarious Freshen-Up gum commercial from 1982:

Freshen-Up is known for the liquid center in each piece of gum and for its miniature road atlas offer of long ago. People have been known to bubble with it.

Some have called that ad suggestive, but it's questionable whether it was intended to be, for it aired 24/7.

This commersh is ridiculously dramatic though, as the actress slowly places the piece of gum in her mouth. As that was the '80s, when gum was practically the national religion, you'd think she'd be so enthused that she'd shovel the whole pack of gum in her mouth as quickly as possible.

But nobody in the ad bubbled.

Another protest happened!

Yes, my friends, last night saw protest #15 against the teen torture gulag.

One thing is a fact: We've got them on the defensive. The exact extent is anyone's guess right now. They're cowards. I've known it for a year.

This was a relatively uneventful protest, but it was surely a success. (Blublub...) Anytime we know they're on the defensive, it's a success.

It rained about 5 drops, but I don't think we got any pictures of our roadside rally! Damn! But a good protest nonetheless!

(More info:

McCain hoaxster admits making up story

Yesterday I told you about a McCain campaign volunteer who claimed to have been robbed at an ATM in Pittsburgh because her car had a McCain sticker. She claimed the attacker carved a 'B' into her face.

I knew the story was false because the 'B' was backwards and because surveillance video showed she wasn't even at the ATM when she said the incident occurred. I expected the right wing to rake me through quicksand when I called it a hoax, but apparently they realized they had no defense.

Turns out I was right.

Now the alleged victim has admitted making up the story. Charges will be filed against her for making a false police report.

The sound of the 'Price Is Right' loser horn plays: voopvoopavoop...

It also turns out that the so-called victim of this hoax robbery has a history of fraud. She once claimed to have leukemia, which wasn't true. She also claimed to have graduated from Texas A&M, which also was a lie.

In the meantime, the opposition was practically burned at the stake because of the media's initial reports that the robbery was real. So the hoax accomplished its goal - at least at first.

Police and the media must investigate to see who else in the McCain camp conspired with the hoaxster to orchestrate this fraud.


Open thread

Friday, October 24, 2008

County clerk distributes anti-Obama letter at work

This is what passes for political discourse in BushAmerica?

In Johnson County, Indiana, County Clerk Jill Jackson is a big Republican. As county clerk, she's one of the individuals most responsible for making sure elections run smoothly.

So naturally, Jackson used her workplace to disseminate a preposterous chain letter that called Barack Obama a "young, black 'Adolf Hitler.'"

Obama hasn't sent anyone to a concentration camp or censored any library books, but that's not really my point. (Certain Republican politicians have sent people to concentration camps or censored books, but that's not my point either.) My main point is that Jill Jackson is out there abusing her office by distributing political material on the taxpayers' time and dime.

If you're a county clerk, you're free to speculate all you want about how elections in your bailiwick might go, as long as you carry out your duties properly. But if a county clerk engages in political activities at work by handing out incendiary letters to workers who they know will be angered by it, you have to seriously question if the clerk will be unbiased in overseeing the election.

Jill Jackson ought to resign.


Bloomberg machine guts term limits

Voters in New York City twice spoke clearly in the '90s: They want term limits for city officials. Two terms, and you're finished.

But in the world of conservative dinosaurs like Mayor Michael Bloomberg (who just donated $500,000 to the state GOP, despite his claims to independence), rules don't apply. Bloomberg wanted a third term rilly, rilly, rilly, rilly, rilly bad.

So now his friends on City Council have voted to let him seek a rilly, rilly, rilly, rilly, rilly bad third term.

Overturning a perfectly valid voter referendum with a City Council vote? How condescending can you get?

If a referendum is itself illegal, I can understand a City Council overturning it. City Councils have to follow the law. But the term limit referendum was wholly legit.

New York City Council voted to relax term limits - after it defeated a measure that would have put the issue to the voters again. I guess they knew their side would lose.

Because the new law also relaxes term limits for council members, a suit was filed calling it a conflict of interest. However, the Bloomberg machine doesn't agree: Inexplicably, the city's Conflict of Interest Board said this vote doesn't violate such rules.

The media isn't entirely blameless. They've dictated the framing of the term limits issue. In the early '90s, when Democrats controlled Congress, the media liked to prime the pump for congressional term limits. But after 1994 when Republicans seized Congress, the media quickly moved term limits clean off the radar screen.

No bias there, huh? (That's more of my sarcasm, peeps!)

I also find it interesting that Republicans seemed all in favor of term limits when the Democrats controlled Congress, but they never showed much support for the idea once they gained power.


AT&T hiking rates by 10 to 25%

Hey bubble gum blowers! Have you heard the minimum wage is going up by 10 to 25% on January 1?

What? It isn't?

Well, AT&T is hiking rates by 10 to 25% on millions of its customers in California (including many of its lowest-income consumers). It's only fair the minimum wage should go up by 10 to 25% too, isn't it?

(The minimum wage is scheduled to go up by about 10% in July, but that's under a law from 2 years earlier. Welp, AT&T just took that wage increase from us, didn't they?)

This is the same AT&T that conspired with the Bush regime in the illegal wiretap scandal and was granted retroactive immunity by an eagerly compliant Congress. Several years ago, America's Toilets & Testes also kept billing me for charges I didn't owe. They were practicing phone-slamming by signing me up for services I didn't order. Needless to say, I refused to pay. (Who knows what AT&T did to my credit rating in retaliation?)

AT&T has in recent years also been the top corporate contributor to Republican political campaigns.

The notice of the price increase comes right after America's Toilets & Testes announced that it had made a $3,200,000,000 profit in its most recent quarter. Hell of a time for a price hike, huh?

The California Public Utilities Commission - the Puke-O of the Golden State - is partly to blame. The Republican-stacked commission gave utilities the ability to automatically raise rates with inflation (even though wages were stagnant). They considered it to be the utilities' constitutional right to Make Money without having to earn it, you understand.

Just last month, the commission gave phone companies the "right" to increase the monthly cost for basic phone service by $6.50 over the next 2 years. The commission will stop regulating costs altogether in 2011.

Thanks a heap, Rethug-a-lugs.

We all know what happened when California regulators stopped regulating the electric industry, don't we?

Now that the California Public Utilities Commission has created a new "right" for utility companies out of whole cloth, how about if America's workers receive similar rights? There ought to be a law providing automatic minimum wage increases that keep pace with (whoosh...whoosh) inflation.

What's good enough for greedy corporations ought to be good enough for everyone else.


'B' is for bullshit

How much more fraud are we obligated to tolerate from the conservative intelligentsia? This isn't the first time an assault on some right-wing nobody has turned out to be a hoax, and I know it won't be the last.

A 20-year-old woman from College Station, Texas, has reported that she was robbed at knifepoint at an ATM in Pittsburgh because her car bears a McCain sticker and because she was wearing a Republican button. The alleged victim is a volunteer for the McCain campaign and has been a field rep for the College Republican National Committee. She claimed the robber was a large black man, and she said that he carved a 'B' into her face.

The story immediately thumped false, for the 'B' was backwards, as if the alleged victim carved it herself while looking at a mirror. The Associated Press, however, reported the story as if the robbery was real - even though it appeared off the bat to be a hoax.

It was clear that 'B' in this case stands for bullshit.

Investigators agree. A police spokesperson said, "We have learned that the victim's statement has a few inconsistencies in it and her statement has changed." Translation: the alleged victim lied. The young woman keeps adding new details about the attack.

Police say that the alleged victim's statements conflict with the evidence at the scene.

Now she says she doesn't remember being knifed in the face - another change in her story. She claims she didn't discover the injury until much later. This makes about as much sense as the urban legend about the man who got his scalp torn off when he got his hair caught on the axle of his car and didn't notice it until he went to the mall and got pointed at by other shoppers.

What really seals the deal though is the fact that the video of the ATM where the robbery of the McCain volunteer supposedly took place showed that the alleged victim wasn't even there! It's unclear if any man matching the description of the alleged robber was present, but I just can't help thinking of a line in an old Marky Mark song about the racial aspect of another case. In any event, the fact that the alleged victim wasn't present at the ATM is prima facie proof she wasn't robbed there.

The robbery was a hoax. If the video proves you weren't in a place where you claim you were robbed, that proves you're full of shit. That's it. End of story.

Naturally, the AP has yet to retract or correct its original story reporting the attack as if it was real. The AP continues to keep the story up, even though it's been debunked.

The robbery was a fraud just like everything else in the Republican Party these days. Their party's a fraud, their ideas are a fraud, and they're a fraud.


GOP bugs opponent, accuses him of stealing recorder

Mr. Elbow Care strikes again!

The unforgettable Senate contest in Kentucky - whose major party candidates include Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford - has taken another turn for the weird.

At a debate at Kentucky Dam, someone placed a digital recording device on Lunsford's podium in the hopes of recording things he might say under his breath. Lunsford found the device when he was leaving, but he didn't know whose it was, so he picked it up in the hopes of returning it to its rightful owner.

But then the McConnell camp accused Lunsford of stealing the recorder and erasing the contents. They've actually filed a criminal complaint against him, accusing him of larceny and destruction of property.

If the recorder already contained recordings that were so important, why didn't the GOP operatives copy them before putting the recorder in a place where it might get lost? How stupid can you get?

The Republican camp also changed its story about where the recorder was. At one point, they said they saw Lunsford take it from his own podium; at another, they said the recorder was on the moderator's podium.

If they can't even get their story straight, why should we trust them?

Only a real sleazy bunch of political hacks would try to secretly record an opposing candidate and then accuse him of stealing the recorder.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Conservative Fool Of The Day is...Douglas Chumbley!

Meet Douglas J. Chumbley, a Republican judge from Miami. Or at least he was.

Now the 51-year-old Chumbley has resigned after being caught allegedly exposing himself in the restroom of a Starbucks coffee shop on a university campus.

University police arrested the judge and charged him with a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure.

Chumbley's career was already in its final throes after he lost his reelection bid prior to the Starbucks incident.

Starbucks, of all places!


TV stations illegally give credit to congressman's campaign

When you see stories like this, you almost wish you hadn't dragged yourself out of bed in the morning.

Dave Reichert is a long-embattled right-wing congressman from the Seattle area who's now trailing in the polls. Reichert is known for storming out of debates and gloating about getting a school bus driver fired for opposing Bush.

Now it's been discovered that Reichert - who only has about $500,000 in campaign cash on hand - has purchased $1,100,000 of ad time on Seattle's 4 leading TV network affiliates.

How is that possible? How can you spend $600,000 more than you have? Records don't show Reichert to be a self-financing candidate, so he couldn't be paying for the ads out of his own pocket.

Clearly, the TV stations are extending credit to the beleaguered lawmaker. This isn't just dumb. (It seems foolish for a station to give credit to political campaigns that might not even be around after Election Day.) This is illegal.

Two of the stations have provided a weak excuse: They claim Reichert's campaign isn't getting the credit, but his media buyer, Media Plus, is. It turns out though that Media Plus boasts about influencing TV news content with ad dollars, which is bad enough on its own. It looks like Reichert plans on paying the TV stations later with corporate PAC dollars.

The Federal Election Commission has already made it perfectly clear that it's illegal for candidates to get a loan from TV stations in this manner.

If the FEC doesn't like it, what do you think the FCC would say? The stations should be in enough trouble already for news content being influenced by Media Plus. Maybe the FCC should be worrying about this instead of raiding 1-watt stations that don't harm anyone.


The ACORN nonstory

The right-wing intelligentsia is so politically bankrupt that they have to go after ACORN, of all people!

I didn't think busting ACORN would be on the forefront of what passes for the wingnut conscience, but apparently the rightists have exhausted everything else. So they go after a nonpartisan community group like ACORN.

Wingnuts hate it when people with political interests different from theirs vote. That's what all of this boils down to. So they fight ACORN's voter registration efforts.

I've heard rumblings about the Bush regime trying to bring racketeering charges against ACORN, but I have yet to see any details. This wouldn't surprise me, given Bush's record of abusing his power to go after political enemies.

Right-wing Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has gotten in on the act. The unsavory asshole has written a letter to Michael "Mucus Man" Mukasey asking him to launch a nationwide criminal investigation of ACORN. Cornyn even called ACORN a "criminal enterprise."

Like it ought to matter what someone who urged the assassination of judges who issue rulings he disagrees with thinks? If anyone in this story is a criminal enterprise, it's John Cornyn.

I don't place any credibility in the bleatings of America-hating terrorists like Cornyn, who deserves to be expelled from the Senate for threatening judges. Cornyn is under strict orders to go fuck himself.

ACORN itself has in rare cases suspected bogus registrations, but when it suspects such, it reports the matter to authorities. ACORN has what it calls "a zero-tolerance policy for deliberately falsifying registrations."

It's also known that right-wing activists in Cleveland have been turning in blatantly phony registrations to ACORN in an effort to set ACORN up and then reporting ACORN to the local elections board. (Republican supporters were found to have voted fraudulently in Washington state 4 years ago - but these weren't ACORN registrations.)

In short, the ACORN flap is as weak of an issue as all the other grievances the Republicans have pumped up during this campaign.

County map predictions, anyone?

After I saw the Quinnipiac poll today that shows Obama leading by 14% in Ohio, I figure there's no longer much point in trying to predict who's going to win the election, because that looks pretty obvious now.

Instead I'm working on something that political geography junkies might enjoy. I'm not just trying to figure out who'll win what states, but what counties. I've drawn up a map of some of the states in my part of the country in an attempt to predict it:


Fun, no?

McCain counties are in red; Obama counties are in blue.

Yes, I know, Obama is winning the sign wars in Campbell County by far, but with this county's past frightful record, you have to prepare for a different story.

Some of the counties in Illinois are a bit shaky, but I don't know as much about the politics of Illinois counties as I do about the other states on that map.

Rain, snow, sleet, or hail, Illinois city gets no mail

You know there's Bushist waste going on when the price of a stamp soars year after year without respite while the U.S. Postal Service offers less and less delivery.

For the past 2 weeks, an entire swath of the city of Harvey, Illinois, has been without mail service of any sort. No pickup, no delivery, no anything. The post office's so-called reasoning is that the town is too crime-ridden.

Like that's supposed to halt the mail? Many of the city's residents are elderly and do not drive. Many others are too poor to get a car. They can't very well drive across town to the post office each day to pick up their mail.

America is full of dangerous neighborhoods, but that's never supposed to stop the mail.

To add insult to injury, the post office didn't even tell anyone when it decided to stop mail service in that area. So residents didn't even realize they had important mail held for them at the post office.

Now the postal service says it's going to put a cluster box at the edge of the neighborhood, forcing folks to travel blocks.

Meanwhile, an important post office in my area is about to face closure, reportedly because of budget cuts. Talk about spending more money to do less. That's Bushism.

The Republican Congress gave the postal service an annual automatic stamp rate hike so it can close down post offices and cut off delivery to entire neighborhoods?

One wonders what's going on here. Some high-ranking officials must be taking home postal service property or something, if it has to cut services despite rising stamp costs. The GAO ought to look into this.

This isn't a problem that'll go away anytime soon. Regime change doesn't mean Bush's patronage cronies will just be replaced. They'll still be gunking up the works years from now.


No Fun League not a No Fights League

Is the No Fun League happy now?

I don't wish to turn the 'Pail into a sports gossip blog, but the NFL's tyranny isn't having quite the results the league claimed it would have.

Every time the Nazi Fascist League starts treating fans more like criminals, fans become more like criminals. This is the league that began frisking spectators and has instituted a laughable "code of conduct" for tailgaters, yet fan misbehavior seems to get more and more out of control each year.

When our locally favored Cincinnati Bengals (now 0-7) hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, it was a downright spectacle. A Bengals enthusiast reportedly joked to a Steelers buff that "you guys are going to be the L.A. Steelers", because of reports that the Pittsburgh team might relocate to California. When the man made this quip, someone sucker-punched him right in the snoot.

The man's wrist was broken, and blood ruined his prized Rudi Johnson jersey he was wearing.

What do those who claimed pat-downs were a cure-all have to say about this? This incident sure puts the kibosh on that claim, doesn't it?

It's just like what's been happening in America's schools. Every time students get treated more like criminals, there's more shootings, bullying, and other violence.

But I know what the response is going to be. The NFL will use the fight in Cincinnati as an excuse for even more stringent measures against fans. And then the fights will get worse. And the vicious cycle will continue.

Kind of like what's happened with the schools.

Turn the country into a prison state, and people become criminals.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Teens restrained and drugged

If you were shocked that this could go on in 1990, who'd have thought it would still be going on in 2008?

At a privately owned but publicly funded confinement facility in Connecticut, teenagers being "treated" for alleged drug abuse or "mental illness" have been physically restrained by the guards while they are shot up with drugs.

Now state officials are asking why the department that's supposed to oversee the program hasn't been on its case. The program incidentally is run by former State Sen. William Aniskovich. I'll let you guess Aniskovich's party affiliation. (Here's a hint: He's a Republican.)

Meanwhile, the department's own psychiatric gulag for young people is under fire for dangerous restraints.

What millennium is this again?


Violating an Allowed Cloud gets the old college try!

I'm still processing all my Allowed Cloud violations from a week ago!

This is one where I know I'm in the right: my appearance at Northern Kentucky University. For those unawares, I didn't have the greatest school record, but that's a story I don't have time to get into right now.

In 1995, when I was almost 3 years into my college studies at NKU, my previous school records caught up with me, and the school decided they didn't need me anymore. They sent me a letter that informed me that I was more or less expelled, and that I'd be arrested for "trespassing" if I showed up on campus again. The school did not follow its own stated policies regarding expulsions.

Months later, I tried using the university library, and sure enough, I was arrested for third-degree trespassing - even though it's illegal for police to arrest someone for third-degree trespassing in Kentucky, because it's such a minor charge.

All this despite the fact that NKU is a public institution. It has to follow the law when it decides to expel someone. They can't just wait until you're 3 years along and say, "Oh, this guy's got a history at other schools." And libraries at public universities are considered every bit as public as a regular community library is. Because they are public, it's impossible to trespass there.

The "trespassing" charge got more or less dismissed after a legal ordeal. Several years later, there was another protracted battle in which the university kept waffling and wavering about my status there.

I later continued my studies at a community college - without incident. But NKU apparently thinks it's still 1995. So this past May, I started challenging NKU again. I showed up on campus then just to be violating the trespass order.

And last Wednesday, I did it again:

I'm 100% within my rights. The trespass order had no validity 13 years ago, and it has none now. I pay for NKU with my tax dollars. It's public property, and I'm a member of the public.

If you don't like it, move to Russia.

56 to be arrested over cold medicine

The drug warriors and the media machine live a lie.

Every chance they get, they insist provisions in the Patriot Act reauthorization and various state laws are successful in curbing meth production and use. Arguing against this claim (a claim that is patently false) is not allowed. (Ooh, an Allowed Cloud!)

This isn't the only issue where only one side is permitted to be heard. With the media as one-sided as it is, other false claims and bizarre opinions are often repeated as indisputable fact.

Regarding the Patriot Act's new Rockefeller drug law against cold and allergy medicine, there's a concerted propaganda effort by law enforcement agencies and the media to tell people that the law has crimped meth - when it simply isn't true.

Now, in Auburn, Indiana, police are in the midst of serving 56 arrest warrants for the "crime" of buying too much cold or allergy medicine (which wasn't even illegal a few years ago). While one of the 56 has had drug-related charges before, the law of probability dictates that out of any group of 56 American adults, several will have had some illicit drug involvement. There's no indication that these 56 have had any more than any others.

There's no way that anywhere near all 56 planned on making meth out of the medicine they purchased. There just isn't the market for 56 meth labs in a town as small as Auburn. Nonetheless, this adds to 38 arrests from just 3 months ago. If there's no market for 56 meth labs, there's certainly no market for 94.

I'm not even linking to the TV station's article about this with all the street addresses of "suspects" listed. Other articles about similar cases have listed addresses, but this is overkill. With today's vigilante attitude in which people are presumed guilty, it's just dangerous for an article to include addresses.

O'Reilly to make $10 million a year

Mr. "We'll Do It Live! Fuck It!" strikes again.

Bill O'Reilly - one of the media's many champions of right-wing vitriol, who once threatened to blow up San Francisco's Coit Tower - has a new 4-year contract with the sorry-assed Fox News Channel. Under his new contract, O'Reilly will make $10,000,000 to $12,000,000 per year.

Ten million a year to spew bile on teevee??? Isn't this the same Bill O'Reilly who always talks about what a big working-class guy he is? (He grew up rich, but that's another matter.) How can O'Reilly's bullshit be worth $10,000,000 a year?

I have to take issue with the piece in the New York Daily News that said Faux News is "the top-rated cable news network." I've heard this claim countless times before, but I've yet to see any numbers to this effect. Apologists for the right-wing channel have also claimed that Pox News achieved first place despite being on fewer cable systems than CNN - though every system in the U.S. that I know of got Fox News when it started, and some now won't carry CNN (like that chain of hotels in the Midwest).

Everyone knows damn well that if I was conservative, I'd be given a national TV or radio gig worth millions a year, but since the media ain't big on balance, it ain't likely to happen.


All that paper, wastage bastage! ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

I'm a man who cries when paper gets wasted.

I've seen paper wasted all too often in my time. School was the site of much paper wasting. One of my teachers in 6th grade threw a shitfit because I wrote on both sides of a piece of paper for an unimportant assignment. He insisted I use only one side. That was the same year another teacher made us buy a whole pack of file cards just so we could write the symbol for a chemical element on each card. And in college, I rescued gobs of blank paper from the recycling bin.

But that's nothing compared to the wastage of high school. In typing class, people squandered so much valuable paper that - little by little - I took home much of the paper the classroom had so they wouldn't have much left to waste. Some of these kids in high school would type one word or draw one stick figure on a sheet of paper and wad it up and throw it in the trash.

'Sesame Street' has always been about good stewardship of the planet's resources. This '90s-era clip is no exception:

I was a little too old for the ol' Ses by the '90s, so I didn't get to see that segment in my youth. But it features Bob reading a storybook called 'The King Who Wasted Paper', which was about a king who wasted paper.

He wasted paper, and he wasted paper. That's all he ever did in life. Just like some of my old classmates.

Ironically, it appears as if much valuable paper was crumpled during the filming of this skit.

On another amusing note, notice that the Royal Paper Maker's voice sounds like Mr. Burns of 'The Simpsons'.

I'm waiting for Go West to record a new version of their song "King Of Wishful Thinking" called "King Who Wasted Paper" as a tribute to this 'Sesame Street' segment and to the monarch's change in his wasteful habits.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Church burns rare porn

Anyone who'd burn unique works of art or science that have no other known copies should be assessed for fascist tendencies.

If a person would incinerate the only known copies of porn movies, do you really think they wouldn't do the same to scientific treatises, rare music recordings, or other works?

A church in Jacksonville, Florida, scattered history to the wind on Sunday when it conducted a bonfire to destroy pornographic movies from 30 years ago that it found at a drive-in theater it had purchased. No copies of the locally produced antique porn are known to remain.

I'd be really wary of this particular church. To destroy art smacks of fascism. One of the first things Hitler did when he took power was have artistic and scientific works burned.

Art expresses and inspires. Every time you destroy art, you could be setting back humanity by years.


Dance teacher jailed for competing against former employer

Since when has it been the courts' job to protect a business's "competitive advantage" over another?

Since just a couple weeks ago, apparently. In Collin County, Texas, a dance instructor has been jailed for 30 days because he offered lessons that competed against those of his former employer. The court said he has no right to undermine his former employer's "competitive advantage."

I swear I am not making this up.

Only in BushWorld does the "free market" mean having courts back you up to shut a competitor down.

The case went to trial because the instructor was supposedly bound by a noncompete clause he signed with the dance studio where he once worked. Thing is, he didn't work there anymore. So how is he bound by a clause he signed with someone he no longer works for?

Contracts with employers are only legally enforceable if you're still working for them. Many states have laws that say this specifically. Even in those that don't, why should such contracts be valid? Contracts require a meeting of the minds. Dismissal or resignation clearly means the minds have become unmet again.

It also goes to show that "right-to-work" means just the opposite of what it appears to mean. In Texas, "right-to-work" only protects the nonexistent "right" of businesses to bust unions. It doesn't mean you actually have a right to work. "Right-to-work" is a filthy lie.

Hey, maybe I should move to Texas so I can sue all the other writers for "stealing" my business. That's about what this is like.

If you expect a "free market", don't go crying to the courts to punish your competitors.


Government may bribe banks to merge

We need this like we need a hole in the face, don't we?

As part of its quarter-trillion-dollar handout to the banking industry, the Treasury Department now wants to give some of the money to big banks just to swallow up smaller banks.

And this is supposed to help the economy how?

Now that everyone is realizing how catastrophic merger mania and deregulation have been, the Treasury Department wants to actually use taxpayer funds to pay banks to merge?

If this story wasn't so horribly real, suspension of disbelief would have to kick in.

Remember how many banks there used to be? At this rate, there's going to be just one bank soon. No choices. Just one giant bank that can gouge customers as much as it pleases, because there's no regulation or competition.

Maybe it's time the states step in and start regulating banks.


Another idiot steals library book

One of America's greatest Presidents, John F. Kennedy, once said libraries "should be open to all - except the censor." The right to read should be sacred.

But some busybody in Oregon doesn't think so. A parent of a 13-year-old student at Central Linn High School has borrowed a popular book from the school library but refuses to return it, because she doesn't want people reading it.

The volume, 'The Book Of Bunny Suicides' by Andy Riley, is full of drawings of a rabbit's attempt to end his own life. The tome's dark humor has found a receptive audience among high school students and others. It was even recommended by the American Library Association.

The woman who stole the book has demanded that the school review it. But for that to happen, she has to return the book. Otherwise, the school will buy another copy and bill her for it.

But she still refuses to bring back the book. Instead she is threatening to burn it. And if the library replaces it, she says she'll have someone else borrow that copy and demolish it too.

Censorship. The refuge of the modern scoundrel.


Woman billed after not seeing doctor

The American health care system means failure. Failure in every way.

It means broken emergency rooms, nonexistent doctors, and bogus billing.

One night recently at a Dallas hospital, a woman ambled into the ER with a broken leg. The leg had already been x-rayed at a chiropractic school she attended, and the school referred her to the hospital. After signing in, she propped her leg up on a chair and waited.

Minutes turned into hours. She ended up waiting all night. After 19 hours without a visit from a physician, she gave up. She hopped right back out the door.

That's the American health care system for you. If the ER was that swamped, you have to consider that much of the area (like other American communities) has inadequate health care. Hospitals within a 50-mile radius are often ill-equipped themselves, forcing patients to commute to Dallas.

Two weeks after the ER visit that ended with no treatment came the real shocker: The woman was sent a bill from the hospital for $162.

Let's get this straight: A patient shows up with a known leg fracture, is not treated despite waiting 19 hours, and is billed $162 for nothing? What did the hospital do that could have possibly cost them $162? A nurse saw her for several minutes for assessment, but that was it. (That assessment didn't happen until 3 hours after the patient arrived.)

If a broken leg goes too long without treatment, there's a greater risk of a less successful recovery. So the hospital is actually lucky if it doesn't get sued.

The same hospital is already under fire because last month a man died after waiting 19 hours in the ER. And while the woman with the broken leg was waiting, a victim of a motorcycle crash gave up and left the ER after he had been forced to wait for hours.

The leg fracture patient was forced to treat her leg herself, even though she is not a doctor. (That's what I had to do when I broke my hand at work.)

And she damn sure ain't paying the hospital bill. I wouldn't either.

Is the hospital going to sue her for $162 when it didn't even treat her? Judge Judy would laugh that case right out of court.

This story underscores just how broken the U.S. health system is. And it gets worse each year.


GOP hungry like the wolf for vote fraud stories

Hahaha, this is downright humiliating!

The Republicans thought they finally hit paydirt when they inspected the New Mexico voter rolls and found that someone registered under the name Duran Duran had voted in the primary this year. "Fraud!" the GOP cried.

The Republicans never explained why anyone would turn in a phony voter registration under the name of the popular new wave band (pictured here) and think they could get away with it.

Now it turns out Duran Duran was actually the voter's real name.


Sounds to me like the Republicans skimmed through a Hot 100 chart from 25 years ago to see what music people today are listening to and then went through the voter rolls to see if any names matched.

If some poor schmuck somewhere happens to be named John Waite, will the GOP falsely accuse him of vote fraud too?


Monday, October 20, 2008

EPA lies to cover up for Bush

Now it turns out that Bush's EPA has been lying to cover up for Bush's waste and corruption.

A report by the Government Accountability Office (Congress's investigative arm) says the EPA has been cooking the books. (The expression "cooking the books" is not to be taken literally - much to the chagrin of Failin' Palin and other library censors.) The EPA's deceptive accounting practices have been covering up the Bush regime's slashing of penalties against polluters.

The EPA says it's justified because it's been going on since before Bush seized power. Oh, so if someone does something wrong, it's OK for everyone else to do it too?

Besides, it wasn't going on nearly to this degree before the Bush years.


New wingnut talking point: tax cuts = welfare

The right-wing kookosphere has a new screaming point, and it's already been picked up by the McCain campaign: According to them, tax cuts are now welfare.

That is, if the tax cuts are for the middle or lower class. It's not welfare if it's for the rich.

Of all the idiotic arguments made by conservatives lately, this is about the dumbest.

This talking point comes as a response to Obama's pledge to cut taxes for 95% of Americans who make less than $250,000 a year. Conservatives cry that this is actually welfare, and they're kooking out about it as I write this.

Who originated conservatives' moronic meme? Right-wing columnist Donald Lambro, chief political correspondent of the far-right Washington Times, spread this bogus argument in a piece he wrote recently. He whined that Obama's plan is actually "income redistribution from wealthier taxpayers to lower-income Americans." Boo-hoo, Donald, you big fucking crybaby.

But Lambro seems to have picked it up from Phil Kerpen of the misnamed Americans for Prosperity, a far-right advocacy group.

Even those who are too poor to owe income taxes are paying some form of taxes. In particular, the working poor pay Social Security payroll taxes. How is tax relief for the working poor a welfare program? It isn't.

If tax relief is welfare, what do you call those "stimulus" checks that went only to people who made enough money to pay income taxes? What do you call Bush's tax cuts for the rich? What about the fact that most major American corporations haven't paid taxes in 10 years?

But what Donald Lambro picked up from Phil Kerpen, John McCain picked up from Donald Lambro. Right-wing foolishness is contagious.

I think I'm starting to get it now: Under the Republicans, I'm supposed to work my whole life just to be told to get a second job because the GOP can't handle the economy. (McCain actually said people ought to take a second job just to make ends meet - even though there's not even enough first jobs out there. If that doesn't prove he's out of touch, what does?) But when I get my paycheck, I'm supposed to share it with millionaire CEO's who use it to go on ski trips.

Meanwhile, the GOP's supporters consider most jobs to be beneath them.


Horrible Hephzibah House

Kids Helping Kids isn't the only teen confinement facility being protested.

In June, I told you about a confirmedly abusive facility for teenage girls in Warsaw, Indiana, that for decades has hid behind religion. The facility, known as Hephzibah House, is affiliated with a fundamentalist church and is based in part on Lester Roloff's dangerous practices.

The center was protested in June - and now another protest has occurred against the facility. I wasn't at this demonstration (or the June one), for it is hundreds of miles away. But the protest drew not only survivors of Hephzibah House but also those of other abusive programs.

It's a fight everyone is in together. Whether you were abused by a religious "boarding school", a cult-like so-called "rehab", or a money-grubbing "hospital", the fight is yours!

The Cincinnati media has mostly dropped the ball regarding KHK and other programs. But the media in northern Indiana has covered the Hephzibah House protests. Here's one clip:

Here's another: