Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Amendment would allow mandatory school prayer

The Republican Right is so antithetical to the interests of the people that it thinks it can trot out nonsense like this to win back support.

Well, it won't work.

Right-wing Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Missouri) may be best known as the idiot who sent a constituent a letter that concluded, "i think you're an asshole." Now she's proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would in effect make prayer in public schools mandatory.

This amendment would read in part: "Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions."

I'm not concerned with the part about individual prayer - only the part about group prayer. Although the amendment also says states can't require prayer, some of today's matchbook jurists seem to view public schools as not being an arm of the states. That's how we've managed to end up with bizarre rulings lately allowing school policies that 30 years ago would have been overturned.

If this amendment passes, it would be the first time that anything in the Bill of Rights was ever gutted by a later amendment.

If the Constitution is amended, it should be to make the Bill of Rights an entrenched clause that cannot be repealed with new amendments. It's a sad day indeed when public officials seriously consider gutting rights that have not only been constitutionally established for over 200 years but had already existed in nature.

Right-wing suburbs continue War on Fourth of July

In America's outposts of Bushism, there has long been a War on the Fourth of July.

It's a war on you, a war on me, and a war on everything America is supposed to stand for. And each year around this time, this war seems to grow just a little bit more from the previous year.

In 2 right-wing suburbs of Chicago - Mundelein and Vernon Hills - authorities are threatening to throw folks in jail if they even use or possess any fireworks this July 4.

I'm talking about any fireworks at all - not just the artillery shells we've been known to set off at our Independence Day gatherings.

Indeed, Mundelein arrested 3 people last year just for possessing or using small fireworks items.

Frankly, that's fascist.

This prohibition policy has not made the public any safer. In fact, the rate of fireworks accidents has increased as the laws have clamped down harder. These laws are like blue laws. They exist only to keep people from having a good time.

Maybe the town officials are just mad because some residents know how to put on better fireworks displays than the town-sponsored displays.

Don't let anyone try to convince you there's no War on the Fourth. Science and the Constitution are on our side in this war. It's a shame a small number of extremists try to control our behavior, but I have no intent on being hamstrung by these blue laws.

(Source: http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun/news/1644828,5_1_WA30_SPARKS_S1-090630.article)

GOP leader sentenced over child porn

Thomas Adams was the GOP mayor of Green Oaks, Illinois. He also headed the Lake County Republican Central Committee.

In 2006, Adams, then 67, was charged with numerous child porn offenses. Prosecutors believed he used phony names to send child porn photos and videos online.

Republicans continued to praise Adams despite his actions.

Now that Adams has been convicted on 16 counts of possessing child porn, he's been sentenced to 2½ years of probation, 30 days of periodic imprisonment, 200 hours of community service, and a $10,000 fine. More serious charges of disseminating child porn were dropped because of a plea bargain. He must also register as a sex offender.

A state investigator said that in an online conversation, Adams discussed the possibility of sex with an undercover agent's teenage sons.

Another sick character in the GOP ranks.

(Source: http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun/news/1645023,5_1_WA30_ADAMS_S1-090630.article)

Pigpen concedes

Now that the Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled against Norm Coleman's babyish delay of the election outcome from 8 months ago, I guess Coleman has finally realized he has no choice but to tuck his tail between his ass and concede.

It's about damn time!

The Minnesota Supreme Court is hardly a liberal bunch (as they seem to be somewhere to the right of the U.S. Supreme Court much of time), but nonetheless they were at a loss to let Pigpen have his way.

This could have all been avoided if the Senate had seated Al Franken when they were supposed to. But with Harry Reid being such a pushover, seating someone who was known to have won the election was too much to ask, I guess.

Legislators try to pull states out of health care reform

Remember when Tommy Thompson tried to make Wisconsin its own country? The incompetent Republican governor of the '90s decreed that poor families in Wisconsin would no longer be allowed to get federal welfare.

Thompson's legacy of trying to make constituents poor and barefoot lives on in the upside-down world of the rightist brain trust.

Right-wing lawmakers in several states are now mulling legislation to pull their states out of the Obama administration's health care reform - even though such reforms haven't even passed yet.

Under these bills, folks in these states wouldn't even be covered under a national health program.

I'm also reminded of all these right-wing governors trying to bar stimulus money from being used to benefit the people of their states.

Believe it or not, Arizona lawmakers have actually passed a bill to allow a voter initiative to pull the state out of national health care reforms. The initiative though has no chance in hell of passing. Nobody other than the few who are wealthy enough to buy decent private health care are going to vote for it.

I get the feeling that a vast majority of voters are going to say this: "You don't get to decide for me that I can't benefit from a federal program." Not like I expect right-wing legislators to give a shit about people.

Right-wing Arizona State Rep. Nancy Barto, who sponsored the initiative, said, "Our health care freedoms are very much at risk by health care reforms proposed in Washington, D.C." Freedom from what? If anything, health care reform would give us more freedom than what we have now.

Under the current greed-driven system, about the only freedom we have now is to wait a month to see a doctor when we get sick and pay hundreds of dollars just to be glanced at for 3 minutes and get an expensive prescription that doesn't even work.

If Arizona and other states are pulling out of health care reform, then can the states pull out of the 1996 welfare "reform" too? What about that same year's Telecommunications Act? Or all this "preemption" bullshit Bush kept trotting out?

In Wisconsin, right-wing State Rep. Leah Vukmir cried that national health reform is a "federal power grab that flies in the face of the Tenth Amendment." Then what do you call the welfare "reform" law and Bush's "preemption"? Obama's proposals wouldn't force the states to surrender any powers to the federal government. But "preemption", welfare "reform", and the telcom law all did. Under these Republican policies, the states become little more than federally governed provinces.

Countless Americans who worked for media firms were left jobless and hopeless after 1996 just so the 104th Reich could appease corporate broadcasters with a bailout they didn't need. But heaven forfend any of the states restore the station ownership caps that existed before then. The Republicans sure didn't stick up for states' rights then.

ACLU wins homeless case!

The city of Laguna Beach, California, was the site of a living example of right-wing meanness.

The town had passed an "anti-camping" ordinance designed to chase out the homeless. It applied on public property, even public beaches.

But now the ACLU has announced it has reached a settlement with the city. Under this settlement, the city won't cite or arrest homeless people just for sleeping in town for a period of 3 years. There will also be a process for expunging citations and convictions that were issued under the rogue "anti-camping" law.

As far as I'm concerned, city officials reaped what they sowed when they decided to pass such a law. Now that this law has been effectively discontinued, I'd like to see thousands of homeless people descend on the city and sleep right there in front of officials' mansions. That'll teach these officials a lesson.

In my day, public property meant public property. If a person can't use a public beach, when the city won't provide any alternative, then the city deserves to be sued.

(Source: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/city-public-settlement-2475051-aclu-sleeping)

California's most Republican county lives off tax dollars

If you happen to travel through a politically conservative, relatively well-off community, don't just assume that residents' vast riches paid for all the amenities the community has. Some of it comes to town for free, courtesy of the taxpayers.

Modoc County now has the highest Republican registration of all 58 counties in California. It always elects diehard conservatives who scoff at tax dollars flowing from the rich to the poor.

Yet Modoc County benefits from reverse redistribution: Taxes paid by poor central cities flow straight to Modoc County. The most Republican county in California gets more tax dollars per person than any other county in the state except one.

Republicans demand cuts in health care, education, and assistance for poor families in the name of balancing the state budget. But all the money for Modoc County remains sacrosanct. Because it's Republican, you see, and therefore special.

The only county that consumes more tax revenue than Modoc is another conservative county. Conversely, the counties that send in the most tax money per person are among the state's most liberal.

It's right-wing machine politics at its worst. Republican communities live off a spoils system that we're all paying for.

This is a bit like how several years ago, Wyoming got 7 times as much per capita homeland security funds as New York state, even though Wyoming had no likely terrorist targets, while New York had many.

If there's a budget crisis, the least the Republicans can do is share the burden. If the state can't afford to fund schools and hospitals for the public, it's only fair that Republican constituents should have to shed some of their perks.

(Source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/06/30/MNUU18ETCF.DTL)

Hephzibah House protest a success!

The mischief rating for this trip sure is up there!

Our protest wasn't illegal, of course, but this point still stands.

I was invited to a protest against Hephzibah House in front of the Kosciusko County Courthouse in Warsaw, Indiana, yesterday. And I'd like to say this event was even more successful than our assaults on the KHK cult.

But I think it's pretty clear that nobody in that county supports the abusive Hephzibah House anyway. Among the few exceptions are a local Republican state legislator. But maybe people will take notice of this and vote him out next time.

Hephzibah House is so extreme that its opponents have a broad political base. I noticed that at least one car full of protesters had an Obama bumper sticker, but at least one car bore a McCain sticker. We drew about 70 - count 'em, 70 - demonstrators, from states at least as far away as Florida.

We attracted no counterprotesters. It was just little ol' us.

KHK sells building

Before I regale you with the smashing success (blub...blub) of yesterday's protest against Hephzibah House, I've just learned that Kids Helping Kids (the cult near Cincinnati we protested last year) is now selling its building.

It sells for a staggering cost of almost $800,000 - so at least we know the cult isn't "granting" the building to itself under a new name (which seems to be its modus operandi). And, because of this sale, it appears as if the cult won't be returning to that building - if it ever comes back to Cincinnati at all.

On the other hand, Pathway Family Center will have another $800,000 to throw at its other branches, like the one in Indianapolis.

But they won't be bringing back their Detroit branch, because they just had their license permanently "terminated" in Michigan. And if they want to come back to Ohio, they'll have to file a whole new application in the Buckeye State.

So it looks like this fraud is probably going to cling to Indiana for now.

(Source: http://www.fornits.com/?p=41)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Open thread

By request, it's an open thread!

I'm leaving later today so I can get to tomorrow's protest in time. I don't expect to be home from this fact-finding mission until pretty late tomorrow.

If all goes well within the next day, I'll see you in Warsaw, Indiana!

In the meantime, I expect to find many, many comments in this open thread. This blog gets thousands upon thousands of visitors daily, so let it rip...

Remember this oldie?

While I get ready to go to the protest against Hephzibah House, I thought I'd reminisce about this golden oldie.

This clip is from our protest against Kids Helping Kids on July 11 of last year:

I think that was shortly after KHK really started to worry about its own future. It lasted only 4 more months after this rally.

That was the same protest during which one of the programmies grabbed our sign and wouldn't give it back. That's commonly known as theft. And that's a criminal offense.

It was hotter than hell that day, so I was stumbling through my speech. We had a great time, but we were very serious about getting KHK closed.

And that we did!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bill would let utilities trash others' property

Environmentalists and farmers are outraged at a new bill in Oregon. And who could blame them?

This bill, which passed the Oregon House recently, would let private companies like utilities and railroads obtain permits to decimate wetlands - on other people's property!

Shockingly, statutes in Oregon - as in several other states - already give these corporations the same eminent domain powers as government agencies. Indeed, these companies have even more powers than the government. Instead of being able to just take your property for public use, they can take it for their own private use.

This is unconstitutional, of course. The Constitution gives corporations no rights or powers. None. I'd be damned if I'd let a utility company condemn my family's property.

But, as we've seen, the Constitution means nothing to the matchbook legal eagles who have filled our legislatures and who have our corporate masters in their back pockets.

Oregon law also gives corporations another special privilege: Records of such corporate takings have to be sealed - to benefit the companies that take the land.

The apparent purpose of the new bill is to make sure companies already have their wetland destruction permits in place when they actually condemn your property.

The bill would expedite construction of a natural gas pipeline that doesn't even benefit Oregon. All this pipeline would do is transport (ppphh!) gas to and from other states.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tidal wane (Bubble Gum Weekend)

Brands of bubble gum come and go - but mostly they just go.

It would take a while to list all the gum brands that seem to no longer be in business or have become impossible to find.

Case in point is Tidal Wave. This short-lived brand of bubble gum flourished around 1983. Supposedly it had a juicy center, but I never tried it myself to see if it was easily bubbled. In fact, I don't ever remember seeing Tidal Wave except in the commersh.

Despite this, every time a conversation turns to gum, someone inevitably asks, "Remember Tidal Wave?"

Here's a controversial old ad for this now-defunct bubble gum. I'm embedding it here only because this brand is no longer produced:

That commercial generated controversy because, according to critics, it seemed to depict cultures that were not European-American as being primitive and helped feed negative stereotypes. Despite this ad being highly offensive, it aired frequently during afternoon cartoons.

I only present it here as sort of a museum piece. If you're old enough to use the Internet, then you're probably mature enough to understand that this ad is a quarter-century old and not be influenced by its outdated theme.

On the other hand, defenders of this ad claimed that it likely wasn't intended to offend. They felt that the imagery in this commercial seemed to be simply to introduce a new product to people who had never seen it before.

After the explorers plundered their cultural artifacts, the locals seemed content to blow bubbles through a pipe. It's unclear if this inspired the website years later in which a hapless gentleman mentioned bubbling through a kazoo.

Hospital fined after 3 botched brain surgeries in a year (a blast from the past)

Is anyone still going to insist that America doesn't need health care reform pronto?

This story is from 2007, but it was largely covered up until now. (The media has instead been worried about folks in Britain and Canada waiting more than a week for cosmetic surgery.)

A hospital in Rhode Island was fined following its third instance in a single year of a surgeon performing brain surgery on the wrong side of the patient's head.

These 3 errors were by 3 different doctors. In one of these instances, the patient died.

And Richard Shelby calls this "the best health care system the world has ever known." Seriously, he said that.

(Source: http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/1127mistakensurgeries27-on.html)

Court guts ruling against bank

Sorry I have to use the L.A. Times (home of Andrew Malcolm's right-wing rants) as a source again, but it'll have to suffice.

This story is from early this month, but I had to put it on the backburner for weeks.

It seems like lately the California Supreme Court has taken a few cues from Bush's jurists by making up law as it goes along. This story is another like that.

California's high court has overturned a $1,000,000,000 jury award against Bank of America over its confiscatory fees.

A jury had ruled in 2004 that the bank had violated state law by taking fees from customers' direct deposit accounts they had for Social Security benefits. Over 1,000,000 poor, disabled, and elderly Californians had been affected by the illegal bank fees. Some of them lost 20% of their benefits in a single day just because of these fees.

But now the California Supreme Court has dashed this ruling to smithereens.

No apparent reason. Just because.

The law is very clear. The bank fees were illegal. The California Supreme Court pulled its decision favoring the bank clean out of its anus.

Even the court admitted that banks' policy of posting each day's checks in order from largest to smallest hurts the most financially troubled customers. Banks do this because they deem larger transactions more important.

The poor are always forced to be the last in line, aren't they?

If banks want to steal 20% of disabled Americans' money, then you know what? The American public should get its bailout money back.

(Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bank-america2-2009jun02,0,4121940.story)

Cincinnati neighborhood ranked America's most dangerous

Cincinnati has earned another dubious #1 ranking.

A study published on NeighborhoodScout.com has ranked Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine area as having the worst rate of violent crime in the entire U.S. and A.

I'm actually a little surprised. That area and surrounding neighborhoods have become known for their occasional gun battles, but I doubt if it's much more dangerous than some suburbs. Central Parkway itself seems mighty safe.

Seriously, I feel far safer in most of Cincinnati than I do between Cold Spring and Alexandria. Undoubtedly, I've been the victim of far more crimes in suburbs than in central cities. But suburban violent crime generally lurks below the popular conscience.

The ranking of the top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods includes quite a few in conservative cities. I notice rightist giants like Jacksonville and Dallas on the list. San Francisco probably has the most liberal leadership of any major American city, yet it doesn't have any neighborhoods in the top 25 most dangerous.

Cincinnati has a conservative history: In the '80s and '90s, much of its resources were spent censoring porn instead of battling serious crime. The city was also known for its ineffective "truancy sweeps", under which anyone on the street in the daytime who looked like they were under 30 was assumed to be playing hooky and hauled away. This was compared to Soviet authorities sweeping through subways and accusing young men of being draft dodgers.

Policies like those in Cincinnati at the time contributed to serious crime by forcing authorities to take their eye off the ball.

In fact, since the '90s, many other large cities on the list also have had surprisingly conservative policies. (It's hard to say New York has had liberal leadership.)

For all you hear about allegedly liberal corruption in big city governments, you have to realize that even in major cities, many public officials today are hardly progressive by any measure.

(Source: http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/family/19844389/detail.html)

Study finds benefits of "excess" pounds

I think we can safely say the "obesity pandemic" is a media creation.

You never hear of the fact that much of this phenomenon resulted from the government changing the definition of "overweight" to include more people. Using the current "official" BMI standard, a mild sniffle would likely kill you if you had the "correct" weight.

Now a new study says being slightly "overweight" may actually help you live longer. The report published in the journal Obesity says that people who were "overweight" were 17% less likely to die than those of "normal" weight.

This study isn't just a fluke. Scientists at the Center for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute reported similar findings in 2007. Interestingly, that study was hardly ever reported in the press.

This is as much of a media issue as it is a health issue. Much of the popular interest in unrealistic weight loss goals was fueled by vanity and elitism, which in turn was backed by makers of diet drugs and other hawkers of horrid diet products.

In recent years, this became more driven by a desire to cover up other stories, especially after the 104th Reich's 1996 bailout of media monopolies.

For instance, if some government scandal appears on the horizon, a glut of hackneyed stories about weight loss seems to swoop in from nowhere to knock the real news off the front page.

This also serves the purpose of shifting blame for bad health statistics onto the public. Instead of confronting environmental pollution, a broken health care system, tainted food, and overwork, our corporate overlords can just say our problems are our fault instead of theirs.

I am 100% convinced that's what's been going on.

Will the new study get much press? Don't count on it. At all. So far, I've only seen it covered in the New York Times.

I'd also be willing to bet that the cover-up is even deeper than it appears.

(Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/26/health/26weight.html)

Wal-Mart accused of unfair labor practices

Gee, ya think?

This week, Wal-Mart became the subject of a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board over its shrill practices at its store in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The complaint by a United Food & Commercial Workers chapter says that earlier this month, Wal-Mart reps held captive audience meetings with employees. No surprise there, as such meetings are a Wal-Mart hallmark.

Wal-Mart big shots also intimidated union supporters, boasted that they could acquire a list of signers of union authorization cards, and threatened to fire union backers. Managers also interrogated workers about their union support. The complaint alleges that this occurred around June 11 and ever since.

Well, yeah. It's Wal-Mart. This retail giant has a history of union-busting and illegal tactics.

Which is one of the reasons I haven't buyed a thing at Wal-Mart in years.

(Source: http://www.workdayminnesota.org/index.php?news_6_4088)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson dead at 50

I can't believe it either, but singer Michael Jackson has died at the age of 50 of cardiac arrest:


O, that silly Duke Energy

Since this is a day ending in 'y'. my power went out here again today - even though there was no storm anywhere in sight.

If the Cincinnati Tea Party shit-eaters want to protest against something, it should be Duke Energy.

I don't see how anyone can support keeping Dook as the local electric monopoly - especially after the Blackout of '08 and Duke's attempt to cash in on it.

Newspaper sat on Sanford scandal for 6 months

Since the Mark Sanford story broke, I've yet to see anyone deny that the media has a double standard that treats Democratic scandals more harshly than comparable Republican scandals.

But before anyone tries it, it's now been revealed that the State (the daily paper in Columbia, South Carolina) knew about this GOP scandal 6 months ago but didn't report or investigate it until this week.

But when folks in the media think they know about a Democratic scandal, it seems like they can't get it into print fast enough. The pop-up media pounces all over Democratic woes regardless of how true or how serious the story is, or how reliable or credible their sources are.

This is not a spang-new phenomenon. I noticed this double standard over 20 years ago, and I was only in high school then.

Meanwhile, there's no sign of Mark Sanford resigning. If he wasn't a Republican, he'd be gone by the end of the week. You know it, and I know it.

BTPers protest Channel 9

Brrrrring! Channel 9!

Many locals will remember that jingle as the mating call of Cincinnati's WCPO-TV in the '70s.

But to that comedy routine known as the Cincinnati Tea Party, it's: Brrrrring! Turn it off!

Yesterday, this band of right-wing galoots held a protest in front of Channel 9's headquarters. Their grievance was against an ABC special about the Obama administration's health care proposals.

This rally was a fraction of the size of the ones in March and April, and I didn't even know about it until after the fact. This shows that the LOSEianne crybabies are waning almost as quickly as they rose.

They seem barely relevant anymore. Not that they were very relevant to begin with. I considered them a circus act more than anything else.

The nobody who coordinates the Tea Parties in Cincinnati incoherently whimpered, "Government-run health care is bad and ABC is giving time for the President to run an infomercial is a bad thing for our country."

An infomercial??? Then what do you call Channel 5 preempting 'American Dreams' for a Bush rally?

Another participant in yesterday's event said, "Health care is not a right."


Health care is a right - not a privilege. Let's get that cleared up right now, before the BTPers try to run with the ball. And America's current corporate-run health care system is in shambles.

It's also true that ABC ranks up there with Fox News in trying to derail everything Obama. ABC has largely been a mouthpiece for his opponents on the right.

Gee. Don't you wish you were so lacking in a life that you had nothing better to do than spend your Wednesdays protesting TV stations over imaginary slights?

(Source: http://www.kypost.com/content/wcposhared/story/Cincinnati-Tea-Party-Members-Protest-ABC/3kdx56LpVEKqN_X6qlDPVQ.cspx)

School strip searches struck down!!!

I was waiting on the edge of my seat for months to see how the Supreme Court would handle this case. Now, at long last, the Big Nine has finally come to its senses!

In a smashing 8-to-1 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled today that an Arizona school violated the constitutionally guaranteed privacy rights of a student when it strip-searched her for ibuprofen. The search yielded no ibuprofen or other contraband.

The Supremes did not hold the perverts who conducted the search personally liable, because protections against such illegal searches had already been gutted so much by the time the search took place. But the court did rule against the school system on the much more far-reaching issue of whether strip searches violate students' rights.

Even most of the court's conservative wing realized they couldn't find an excuse for the school's evil ways. Only conservative Justice Clarence Thomas sided with the school. Thomas's stance isn't much of a surprise, because his earlier writings show that he views students as wards of the government who possess no rights.

The next step should be criminal prosecution and stiff prison time for the school officials involved in the search. And we should pass new laws mandating life in prison for such officials in the future.

I doubt that will happen though. I've been amazed myself at some of the things school officials get away with. To them, schools are their own personal fiefdoms where no real laws apply.

(Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE55O48120090625)

Actress Farrah Fawcett dies

Although this is a political blog, we often announce deaths of nonpolitical celebrities. Once again, we are saddened to announce the passing of another entertainment personality who was well-known back in my day.

Actress Farrah Fawcett died today at the age of 62 after a long battle with cancer.

She was best known for her role on the '70s TV series 'Charlie's Angels'.

More information:


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Disappeared GOP governor admits to affair

Why is there such a double standard?

If a Democrat had done something like this, it would be the talk of the pop-up media for years, and they could forget about ever winning elected office again.

But since South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is a Republican, little is said about it - even though the Republicans are usually the ones who try to run everyone else's lives.

Now Sanford has admitted to an extramarital affair, after he temporarily vanished over the weekend.

Mark Sanford, as you know, is an idiot. This is the man who allowed pigs to shit all over the floor of the state legislature because he had some point he wanted to make. (It was a bit like Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a chicken during a record company meeting.)

Laughably, Sanford has been considered a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. And he probably still is, because scandals that would destroy any Democrat forever don't seem to stick to Republicans.

Stand up and complain! ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Because this is Wednesday, that means we have to make sure the day gets Sesame Streeted in a big way.

Remember when 'Sesame Street' put out its first feature film? I'm talking about the 1985 classic 'Follow That Bird'. Now, I was a little too old for the ol' Ses in 1985, but I managed to catch 'Follow That Bird' years later when a local TV station aired it one afternoon.

One of the most memorable scenes in this movie was the opening song, performed by Oscar the Grouch. "The Grouch Anthem" implored folks to "stand up and complain!"

It's good advice from the ol' Osk, I'll admit. Sometimes, you have to "stand up and complain" just to be heard. I only wish I had done it more in life.

Something really is wrong with everything - except the way Oscar sings!

While I was watching this part of 'Follow That Bird' on TV many years ago, a neighbor in the same building must have been watching it too, because I heard the guy tell the kid that his mom was like the ol' Osk. "There's your mom on TV - Oscar the Grouch," the man declared.

Also notice how at the end of this clip, the animated Big Bird apparently seems to think the air pump is a control to detonate dynamite. He seems surprised that all it does is inflate a giant letter.

Destroying microwave OK; recording it is not

If a classroom is unruly, you'd think school officials would welcome a student who documents this misbehavior so it can be reined in.

But not at Clayton Valley High School in Concord, California.

In one class, rowdy students placed Play-Doh in the microwave oven, which made the Play-Doh explode. When the room filled with smelly smoke, the teacher refused to air it out. Students also set the garbage can in the classroom on fire and smoked cigarettes during class.

Although this is a public school, this lack of order sounds straight out of the pages of a certain Catholic high school I once attended.

The teacher also reportedly ridiculed and humiliated students in front of the class.

Finally, when disorderly pupils showed up for class and began flipping the light switch off and on, one student made a video of the incident with her cell phone - so school officials could be apprised of the situation.

The result? Suspension. But the unruly students weren't the only ones who were suspended. In fact, some weren't punished at all. Rather, this suspension was imposed on the girl who recorded their behavior.

The school said recording this misconduct violated the school's "zero tolerance" policy against recording devices.

So I guess the school has no policy against wrecking a microwave by cooking Play-Doh, or against setting trash cans ablaze?

In fact, the school falsely accused the student who recorded the commotion of participating in it herself.

Now the school district has had to expunge the suspension from her record, because the school didn't even bother to follow due process.

Somebody also needs to tell the school that its website is busted too!

(Source: http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_12666605;

Cincinnati remains cancer capital

The media created a feeding frenzy last month when it reported that the rate of cancer deaths in the United States had declined rapidly since 1990. This story was a last-ditch effort by media corporations to save face for the rightist revolution as it winks into the history books, and to pump up praise for America's broken health care system.

Now it turns out this story is as bogus as everyone knew it was.

A new study by the EPA gives us the most detailed analysis ever of cancer induced by air pollution. Not surprisingly, counties around Cincinnati still have some of the worst cancer rates in America.

Indeed, a handy map published on USA Today's website shows that some of the worst rates are around major cities.

Tax dollars flowing from central cities to wealthy exurbs is probably one of the reasons air pollution doesn't get the attention it deserves.

But how can we fight this toxic scourge?

It certainly doesn't help that there are almost no limits on development, forcing more people to drive miles just to perform simple errands - which adds to pollution.

It also doesn't help that environmental laws that applied to industries have been gutted in the name of "preemption" and the "free market."

It's time for public policies that save lives rather than end them.

(Source: http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20090624/NEWS01/306230076/1055/NEWS/Air+toxics+raise+cancer+risk+in+Butler;

Congress wants bailout for foreign automakers

One can't help but be suspicious when the government bails out companies, even if they're American firms that vow to keep jobs in the good ol' U.S. of A.

But since America itself has become a corporation, who should be surprised that Congress now wants a bailout of foreign firms to produce goods abroad?

You read that right: Congress is now demanding that American taxpayers' money should be given to Nissan - a Japanese automaker - to produce cars in Japan.

Who says America hasn't become corporatist?

(Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g6oX6lRgmi3TpK7RPDQSTaQWSYpgD990B18O1)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hasselbeck accused of plagiarizing book

The rightists don't seem to have many original thoughts in their minds anymore, after they've gotten most of their idiotic class warfare out of their systems.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck of ABC's 'The View' is known for her right-wing diatribes and her appearances at Republican rallies. No surprise there, as ABC lately has become almost as singularly dedicated to right-wing advocacy as Fox News is.

Now Hasselbeck is accused of plagiarizing a book about celiac disease. A federal lawsuit claims that she lifted content verbatim from the tome and used it for her own book.

Plagiarism is bad enough. But using it to sell a book is worse.

As if that wasn't enough, the book Hasselbeck allegedly plagiarized had been sent to her as a gift by the author! Plagiarizing a book that the author gifted to you isn't exactly what I call gratitude.

(Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j_45R86p21PatQFlrBzumh0sx7mQD990HGF00)

Supremes allow dumping of mine waste in lake

The hard freeze of the Federalist Society that has plagued the Supreme Court shows no signs of melting, and that's why we need court-packing pronto.

Yesterday, the SCrOTUS upheld a clearly illegal permit by the Bush regime that allows millions of tons of mining sludge to be dumped into Lower Slate Lake in Alaska. Although Sarah Palin supports the dumping of the sludge, this act will destroy almost all aquatic life in the lake by coating it with toxic waste.

This overturns a 9th Circuit ruling that said the permits violate the Clean Water Act. But the 9th Circuit was right when it said the permits were illegal. (Often, the 9th Circuit is about as logical as a canker sore, but that time, they actually made the proper ruling.)

I feel sad for the citizens of Alaska, who have an incompetent governor like Palin who supports the mine's dumping of the waste.

(Source: http://www.courthousenews.com/2009/06/22/Justices_Allow_Dumping_of_Gold-Mine_Waste_in_Lake.htm)

TV personality Ed McMahon dies

I've just learned that TV legend Ed McMahon died this morning at the age of 86.

McMahon, who was born in Detroit and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, was best known for his "Heeeeere's Johnny!" battle cry on 'The Tonight Show' and his distinctive laugh. He was also hired by the government to narrate a bizarre homeland security commercial a few years back.

In 2002, Ed McMahon filed a lawsuit over toxic mold that destroyed his valuable memorabilia collection and reportedly made his family sick.

Another broadcasting celebrity is gone, and will be missed.

Indiana wants you!

Indiana wants you!

And you're goin' back there! (As that song from the '70s would say!)

Seriously, folks, I'm fixing to do something I haven't done yet, and you're all invited to be at this event!

For the first time, I'm planning on turning a protest against an abusive teen confinement facility into an overnight trip. This protest is hundreds of miles from here, so I'll have to be gone overnight. And I do plan on going, barring some unforeseen circumstances.

This protest is against Hephzibah House in Warsaw, Indiana - a fundamentalist all-girls facility that is confirmedly abusive.

I've been invited to this protest, to show my support for the survivors of this abusive center. I also told you about protests against Hephzibah House last June and last October. You may want to read up on those episodes for more details about the program.

So here's the scoop about the upcoming event: It happens this coming Monday, June 29, from 10 AM to 1 PM Eastern Daylight Time! It's gonna be in front of the Kosciusko County Courthouse in the middle of Warsaw, Indiana! Be there or be square!

If all goes well this week, we're leaving Sunday and returning home on Monday after the event.

And I know what the naysayers are going to say, now that I know about a protest days in advance and am able to announce it here before the fact. Their argument against me this time is going to be how I already had a fact-finding mission this year, so I shouldn't go on any more, because it Kosts Munny. But this is only for one night - as was the last one. So smile and be happy.

See ya in Warsaw!

In the meantime, here's a couple clips about previous Hephzibah House protests:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Republican judge impeached

Samuel Kent is a federal judge appointed by the elder Bush.

Last month, Kent was sentenced to almost 3 years in prison for lying to investigators about a case in which he had been indicted for abusive sexual contact and attempted aggravated sexual abuse. He was also the first federal judge in this fine land ever to be charged with federal sex crimes. As part of a plea bargain, he admitted the sexual conduct was not consensual.

Kent claimed he would retire, rather than resign. Retired judges get their full salary for the rest of their lives; resigned judges do not. However, Kent is 6 years short of the age at which he is allowed to retire.

He then claimed he was retiring under disability, but the government didn't buy that shit and forced him to resign instead of retire.

Now the U.S. House has voted to impeach Kent, while he serves his prison time. Lawmakers were furious at discovering that he was still drawing his full salary while behind bars, as his resignation doesn't take effect for another year.

This is the first impeachment of a federal judge since 1989. This is also the first impeachment of any federal official since President Clinton in 1998.

The next step is a trial by the Senate, which may remove Kent from his post immediately, instead of letting him wait a year for his resignation to become official.

Of course, Republicans have expressed sympathy for the disgraced judge.

(Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hArT3lWtid4tX91JhgH69Q5FotmgD98TUPA83)

Graduation exam may face suspension

At least some Democrats still have sense - instead of just mimicking the right-wing Republican establishment.

In California, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been falling over himself to see what important state programs he can slash to ease the state's budget crisis. He wanted to abolish welfare altogether and dismantle important health and education programs.

But Democratic lawmakers have proposed a refreshing alternative to some of these proposed cuts: They want to save money by suspending the state's high school exit exam.

From the get-go, I have viewed this statewide graduation test with extreme suspicion. If a student passes all their classes, why should they take another test just to graduate? Indeed, tens of thousands fail this test each year despite getting decent grades.

The Democrats didn't count on something when they proposed suspending this test: Standardized tests like California's exit exam are the national religion now, remember? It's a cult, in fact. I'm convinced that the whole point of the test, which was first used in 2006, was to make sure more kids don't graduate. The effort to brand young people as failures in America's "modern" school system is frankly cult-like.

True to form, the Republicans are throwing fits about the possibility of a standardized test they worship being suspended. Schwarzenegger is threatening to veto the Democrats' plan.

The Republicks need to grin and bear it. They want to slash everything else so badly, so why is the graduation exam so sacrosanct?

Under the Democrats' proposal, however, the test would still exist - but it wouldn't be a graduation requirement. The test would still be given in order to comply with the No Child Left Behind law enacted by the Bush regime.

You know what? If I was in charge, I'd abolish the test altogether - No Child Left Behind be damned. Rogue dictators like Bush don't get to decide how a state runs its schools.

(Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/education/ci_12624623)

Wrestler-turned-politician accused of beating sons

Brian Blair is a former pro wrestler who became a right-wing county commissioner in Tampa's Hillsborough County. He ran on a "family values" platform.

Blair was named Conservative Fool Of The Day for 5/9/06 because of a lawsuit he filed against a restaurant. He blamed the eatery for allegedly causing him to get drunk and fall, which he claims ruined his wrestling career. However, footage was found showing him wrestling after the "career-ending injury."

Uproariously, Blair lost his reelection bid last year. After the election, Blair sued his opponent for what he claimed was "libel."

Now the Republican former commish is accused of punching his teenage sons on Father's Day.

Authorities say Blair punched one son in the face and injured him, and then he put him in a chokehold. Then, according to this report, Blair punched his other son and injured him too.

It turns out that Blair was also accused of beating up a woman once. He was supposed to be charged with battery, but because he had left the country, no attempt was made to retrieve him.

But now he's charged with a felony for the incident yesterday.

GOP "family values" in action!

(Source: http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/article1012183.ece)

Blocking Beale

The Constitution continues to be pulped to unrecognizable fragments.

Starting next month, Beale Street - a thoroughfare in Memphis known for its bars and entertainment venues - is going to be transformed into one of America's leading outposts of Stalinism.

Police and private guards are going to stand at the ends of that stretch of roadway and use handheld metal detectors to inspect every person who walks down the street.

Officials' excuse for this is that they want Beale Street to be considered one large establishment.

Cue the 'Price Is Right' loser horns: voopvoopavoop WRONG!

A public street is not an establishment. A bar is. A street is not.

This is like when Louisville officials tried establishing a dress code for a public street - and got their little pee-pees spanked for it.

Searching people on a public street without probable cause is unconstitutional. End of story. And that's precisely what Memphis authorities are planning to do.

I can guarantee you one thing: Sooner or later, somebody who gets arrested for refusing to be searched is going to sue the pants off the city. That's a given. But city officials have to learn the hard way, I guess.

Also, I'm pretty sure Tennessee allows concealed carry. So in addition to outraging Fourth Amendment watchdogs, the city has also angered gun control opponents by not recognizing the state's concealed carry law.

(Source: http://www.wmctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10551474)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Grassroots" Tea Party charges $175 for admission

The BTPers have managed to outdo their stupid selves, haven't they?

Amidst the ruins of this year's Tea Party self-parodies, right-wing hate website Free Republic is now sponsoring a national Tea Party "convention" scheduled for September.

This event will be held at the Sheraton in Arlington, Virginia - which ain't exactly a budget hotel. Organizers are charging each attendee $175 just for admission. And they're encouraging folks to also lodge at the expensive Sheraton.

Doesn't sound too "grassroots", does it?

This after they went through all that trouble denying (and occasionally admitting) that they stayed at the very expensive Westin in Cincinnati.

Nothing highlights the LOSEianne crew's mantra of simultaneous persecution and privilege quite like being able to pay $175 just to get into a stupid protest and then crying about how hard we big, mean libs have made life.

Feewinghurt looms for gum haters (Bubble Gum Weekend)

I found this legendary commersh on YouTube 2 years ago and blogged about it on MySpace.

But YouPube yanked it because it hurt someone's pwecious widdle feewings. The very moment someone complains about a video on YouTube, it's gone - no matter how ridiculous their complaint is.

Maybe the person who complained doesn't know how to blow bubbles, so they think nobody else should be allowed to see bubble gum.

So here's the story about this ad...

Ever since I was very young - maybe 4 or 5 - I swore up and down that Bubble Yum had ads at the time featuring a monkey puppet. Everyone said it was just a figment of my imagination - until 30 years later when the miracle of YouTube finally proved I was right:


The puppet in that 1976 commersh was known as Flavor Fiend. It's hard to tell it's even a monkey, though that was the impression I got from other ads with this character. Flavor Fiend actually resembled an orange Cookie Monster.

This ad also featured Flavor Fiend bubbling.

The gum-hating thought guardians are going to be furious that this commersh has reappeared on YouTube! It took them so much work to cry the last time it was posted, and now all that effort has gone to waste! All that work, wastage bastage!

Even better, this copy of the ad is in better condition than the one that was pulled, so some of the missing frames have been restored. It appears to have been taped off what was then WOKR-TV, the Already Been Chewed affiliate in Rochester, New York.

So even people in Rochester, New York, know of bubble gum's hilarious existence!

The Conservative Fool Of The Day is...Richard Shelby!

Is there any chance the Senate can lose this idiot in the next election?

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) continues feeding the debunked rumor about President Obama's birthplace.

He also has some strange ideas about health care. This month, Shelby went on Fox News (the serial bully run of the American media) and complained that health care reform would be the "first step in destroying the best health care system the world has ever known."

You're hilarious, Richard, you know that?

Only problem is, nobody is laughing. At least not in the United States, where everyone knows someone who has had at least one experience with the complete breakdown of the American medical system. That's assuming the person they know survived at all.

And the Republicans wonder why people don't, you know, vote for them anymore.

(Source: http://www.politico.com/blogs/politicolive/0609/Shelby_Obama_will_destroy_best_health_care_system_the_world_has_ever_known.html)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

When our bodies belong to Big Business

This development is so outrageous that I couldn't possibly let it slide.

In Cincinnati, Western-Southern Financial Group now imposes a "weight surcharge" on employees. Workers are docked $15 to $60 a month if their body mass index exceeds limits that have been promulgated by the federal government.

So the company weighs employees each month to see if they're in compliance?

Hell, according to the federal guidelines, even I'm "overweight", so it's not like this formula makes much sense anyway.

I think we can say that America has become a corporatist command state. Our bodies are now considered company property. It's not just an issue of authoritarian control. It's also an issue of discrimination on the basis of physique.

There ought to be a law. Employers should be prohibited from instituting policies like this.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Court strikes down forced drug tests!

Finally, a court ruling we can agree with!

This wasn't a federal court, however. This was a North Carolina state court.

The court has struck down mandatory drug tests for public school employees - saying that it violates the North Carolina Constitution's broad protections against unreasonable searches.

Of course, the drug tests violated the U.S. Constitution too, but who's counting?

Supreme Court dashes age discrimination law

The matchbox law crowd is at it again.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court made it even harder to prove age discrimination. In direct contradiction to longstanding law, the Supremes ruled that employees had to prove age was the key factor in an employment decision - as opposed to just one of many factors.

Before anyone asks: Yes, it was 5 to 4. And yes, it was the same 5 GOP-appointed jurists who are almost always behind activist rulings like this.

This decision has already been likened to a previous Supreme Court ruling that made it harder to sue over past pay discrimination that was based on gender. That decision forced Congress to pass a new law to remedy it.

(Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iVG5CC4eeQYpi3XTlAAWz8h-wnYQD98T8PFG4)

Conservative activist convicted of hate crime

If I didn't think raw racists were total fools, I wouldn't be in this blogging job.

Marcus Epstein is a conservative activist who boasts of his "free market" credentials. He is the executive director of a conservative PAC and founder of an organization for conservative journalists. He has worked closely with major Washington political figures.

Now it turns out that in 2007, Epstein committed a racially motivated assault on a woman. He approached the woman on a street, struck her in the head, and used a racial slur.

Now Epstein has been convicted of this incident and faces sentencing next month.

You'd think America's conservative brain trust would be trying to distance itself from Marcus Epstein after this ghastly episode. Instead, they defend him.

Bay Buchanan (former U.S. Treasurer under Reagan) said about Epstein's assault, "Who cares? This is something that happened 2 years ago that Marcus has paid a price for."

I'll tell you who cares. We care. We care that a person with major influence in serious policy issues commits major violent crimes. This isn't an issue of somebody merely being associated with someone who was once accused of saying something idiotic. The issue here is the firsthand commission of a violent hate crime.

And conservatives are defending the man who committed this crime?

(Source: http://www.onepeoplesproject.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85:youth-for-western-civilization-co-founder-faces-sentencing-on-hate-crime-assault-in-july&catid=34:ye-olde-white-power-chopping-block)

Woman fined $1.9 million for downloading 24 songs

Tim's gotta get out his trusty scientific calculator for this one!

Twenty-four music tracks costing 99 cents each comes out to - hmm, 24 times 0.99 - that's $23.76.

Hmm, my calculator must be broken - because the RIAA just said it comes out to $1,900,000.

That's the sum that a Minnesota mother of 4 has been ordered to pay in a federal trial, after she was found to have downloaded these 24 songs. (I'd also like to know what "evidence" the RIAA used to find that she had illegally downloaded them.)

She has to pay $1,900,000 for 24 songs? Is the RIAA crazy, greedy, or both?

Hell, people out there who have been pirating my book don't have to pay a penny.

I doubt the songwriters, musicians, or singers will even see a dime of this $1,900,000. The RIAA represents corporations, not artists. Most of the money you spend when you buy music goes to big record labels who gouge performers and writers.

In fact, I doubt anyone will see much of this $1,900,000. The defendant in this case doesn't have even close to $1,900,000.

The states or the federal government need to rein in the RIAA for its ongoing threats and court filings against members of the public, many of whom have never used a computer in their lives. The RIAA has even assembled a private force to impersonate police to raid folks' houses. Where I come from, we call the RIAA's acts racketeering.

(Source: http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/06/18/minnesota.music.download.fine)

Oppressed minority fights for its rights!

Did you know the Republican Party is an oppressed minority?

It is - according to, well, the Republican Party.

So the poor, oppressed, innocent GOP is now abusing congressional procedures to fight for its rights!

Congressional Republicans were so peeved at the big, mean Democrats that they fought back by demanding roll call votes 52 times on the same bill yesterday.

They kept asking for revotes on amendments to the bill that had passed unanimously. Then they asked for votes on whether they could vote again. When they were out of amendments, they whipped up a few more revisions to this bill for them to vote on.

Republicans claimed they had a constitutional right to gunk up congressional business with these frivolous votes.

Nothing like a hilarious partisan tantrum to put a little spice in your afternoon, huh?

(Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gr9mQukbtBIKhscJsgwXKCrg-tKAD98TCK280)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Right-wing radio host reads phony election release

I think it's time to add a new item to the key for this blog: election fraud.

Recently there was a special election for a seat in the Alabama legislature. A Republican narrowly won (in one of the few states that seems to be maintaining its level of GOP support).

It turns out though that Dale Jackson, a right-wing commentator at WVNN radio in Huntsville, had read a bogus list of election instructions over the air that had been released by Republican officials.

This release falsely stated that the candidates had flipped a coin, so that the Republican's supporters would vote on Tuesday, while the Democrat's backers would vote on Wednesday (which was actually after the election was over).

The release was also posted on Jackson's website - and it misappropriated Alabama's state seal in order to look official.

Republicans defended this as just a "prank."

Um, no. It's not a "prank." It's election fraud. It was deliberately designed to tell Democrats not to try to vote until it was too late.

This strategy has been used by Republicans before, most notably in several recent presidential and congressional elections. Similarly, in 2004 and 2006, folks in Democratic precincts were phoned by Republican campaign workers reminding them that the election was on Wednesday - a day late.

Now Democrats are seeking an investigation into this cheating in the Alabama case. Even Republicans now admit the results of the election could end up in federal court because of this hoax.

(Source: http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/local.ssf?/base/news/124462531383850.xml&coll=1)

Fox writer accused of hitting cyclist

Because this is a day that exists, we've received another account of some right-wing big shot being accused of intentionally mowing down a bicyclist. (In entries like this, if the assailant isn't someone with at least some celebrity status in right-wing circles, it's some everyday incompetent acting under the auspices of right-wing policies.)

Recently, Don Broderick, a writer for Fox News, allegedly plowed his swanky SUV into a cyclist in Central Park. The cyclist was dragged almost 300 feet.

Broderick is also a former reporter for Rupert Murdoch's New York Post - which is like a tabloid print version of Fox News (GOP bias and all).

This behavior is a pattern in the right-wing media. The fascist Clear Channel syndicate has been noted for its "personalities" at several different stations encouraging motorists to plow into cyclists.

It turns out Broderick has a long history of throwing temper tantrums any time he doesn't get his way. He was once suspended from work for throwing a punch at a colleague. In another incident, he told a production assistant that he would "tear your fucking head off" because she couldn't find a piece of video he wanted.

One former colleague called Don Broderick "a creep and a bully" who "really is crazy."

At least he's on the network that comes to mind immediately when you think of bullying and creepiness.

(Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/06/10/2009-06-10_fox_news_don_broderick_hit_me_with_his_suv_in_central_park_says_bicyclist.html;

Bill would enhance corrupt DEA's reach

The Democrats and the Republicans remain separate parties because...?

Because the sun rose in the east and will set in the west today, our so-called representatives are again thinking of ways to punish the innocent in the name of the failed War on Drugs.

After recent state and federal laws restricting over-the-counter allergy medicine have proven ineffective, Congress can't bring itself to do the sensible thing - which would mean repealing these laws. Instead, it's stiffifying them.

A new bipartisan bill would make sellers of these drugs register with the DEA - the most corrupt federal government agency, bar none. It would also require these retailers to certify employees regarding the existing draconian federal laws.

And of course, it'll pass by a veto-proof margin.

We really don't have a two-party system.

(Source: http://www.murfreesboropost.com/news.php?viewStory=17732)

Germany may ban all "violent" video games

After the right-wing German government banned paintball because it "trivializes violence", one starts to wonder whether Germans wouldn't have more freedom if East Germany had subsumed the West instead of the other way around.

Now this right-wing trend of regimenting personal conduct continues, as Germany prepares to completely outlaw all video games it deems "violent."

"Violence" would be defined as a video game in which players "play the killing of people or other cruel or inhuman acts of violence against humans or manlike characters."

In other words, it means practically every video game released after 1976 except Big Bird's Counting Game.

Since the European Union makes about 95% of member nations' laws now, hopefully it'll pass a law restoring the right to play video games. Don't count on it though, judging by the way the EU has gone.

Games that would be affected would include such bestselling titles as Grand Theft Auto. By the above definition, it also seems to include classic games such as Pac-Man, Dig Dug, or even Popeye.

Halo 3 would probably have to be modified so the only weapon you get is a paper airplane with a marshmallow taped to its nose, and every player has a bubble shield they can't escape.

The new law proposed in Germany would have dire consequences for the free flow of art even outside the country's borders. That's cuz some makers of these "violent" games sold in America and around the world are based in Germany, and the law would prohibit even developing such a game.

This follows the complete debunking of bogus claims that a German school shooting was inspired by video games.

Are there any free countries left, or just corporatist dictatorships? It's amazing how - just as with American attempts to ban these games - big retailers don't even have the courage to defend the games they sell and just go along with this censorship.

(Source: http://www.gamezine.co.uk/news/formats/xbox360/all-violent-video-games-be-banned-in-germany-$1301757.htm)

Supremes gut right to test DNA

I think it's time for the Obama administration to do a little court-packing.

The Supreme Court ruled today that people convicted of serious crimes have no right to prove their innocence by testing DNA evidence.

DNA tests have exonerated over 200 innocent Americans who were wrongly convicted of violent crimes.

But now this safeguard is bye-bye - unless you're lucky enough to have been convicted in a state that specifically allows DNA tests.

The court's decision was by a 5 to 4 margin. The 5 in the majority are the usual Federalist Society whack-a-doos.

Haven't they ever heard of due process? Doesn't it matter to them if someone is innocent?

I guess they can't let science stand in the way of costing the "corrections" industry some of its business.

(Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ix1c3b_XEnmXx0pcQHAss0mFFgiAD98T4PLG1)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

121 arrested for buying too much allergy medicine

Authorities in Evansville, Indiana, must have nothing better to do than snoop at everyone's over-the-counter cold and allergy medicine purchases.

Drug warriors there have collected logs from local pharmacies and used them to hunt down 121 people who buyed too much of the stuff. They were charged under a state law barring folks from buying more than 3 grams in a week.

Not 3 ounces. Not 3 pounds. Just 3 GRAMS.

Does this product even come in packages that are that small?

Needless to say, there's no evidence that any of the 121 have been making meth. Why, even in a mid-sized city like Evansville, there's not even enough market for 121 meth cooks!

Let's also get this abundantly clear: The drug cops' inspecting the logs in unconstitutional. It was a search without a warrant or probable cause. Period. End of discussion.

If these cases are prosecuted, and if I was the judge, I would tell the prosecutor not to EVER bring frivolous cases like these into my courtroom again - unless the prosecutor wants to do time for contempt of court.

(Source: http://tristatehomepage.com/content/fulltext/?cid=76461)

Petition site attacked over views

This is another story that illustrates the increasing political intolerance of those on the right who can't cope with being repudiated by the voting public.

Care2.com is a website featuring petitions for various causes. I try to receive their alerts, but these e-mails keep getting lost somehow.

Yesterday, however, I did receive a Care2 alert warning that the site was the target of a denial-of-service attack. This e-mail says:

"Someone is attacking our site – and several other activism sites – presumably because they disagree with the positions of some of the actions on our site.

"In effect, they are trying to silence the voices of Care2 activists who are working for positive change in the world."

That the other side would send out a denial-of-service assault against a website over its views is not big news. It's happened before, but everyone seems to ignore it. I got hit by the Swen virus once right after the Iraq War started, because I had the "wrong" views.

I wonder who is bankrolling these attacks. It takes some knowhow to launch attacks like this, so it's clear that someone in a high place is directing them.

The Bert and Ernie appliance war ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Ernie and Bert are the coolest people who have ever lived in the history of the universe. Experts agree.

Who doesn't love it when the comedic 'Sesame Street' duo has an appliance war, as they did in this rare 1969 sketch?

Uh, fellas? That's not a TV. That's a refrigerator. Bert and Ernie are watching the ice dispenser!

They must have the same power company we have around here, if they can blow a fuse with only 4 things running.

Notice how one of the Muppeteers' heads appears around :53. It pops up briefly on the right.

This sketch kind of reminds me of a couple years ago when the neighbors in my building kept having stereo wars.

School faces claim over suicide

This story is from the L.A. Times and is a couple weeks old, but it's so important that I have to cover it here - even though it's received no coverage outside southern California.

The Capistrano Unified School District is facing a $3,000,000 claim because it allowed a high school sophomore to be harassed repeatedly since 6th grade - which resulted in his eventual suicide.

If the parents win their claim, the $3,000,000 will go to a children's shelter. They have what seems to be an open-and-shut case, but I can't guarantee they'll win. Even though our schools fail at everything else, they're good at one thing: getting out of a legal bind.

If you ever need a good attorney, you might want to hire one who also represents a school system. If you want to find an even better attorney, hire one who represents a shitty school system. The worse a school system is, the more the school seems to emerge victorious in court actions.

School officials in this story should be tried on murder charges.

(Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/education/la-me-suicide-bully4-2009jun04,0,3806981.story?track=rss)

Reason #638,421,078,128 to homeschool

Homeschooling. It's not just for right-wingers anymore!

(Judging by my experiences with schools, it never was!)

Two elementary schools in southern California have opted to - on the spur of the moment - tack on an extra 34 days to the school year that was supposed to end tomorrow. This sudden schedule change has dashed summer activities and farming.

This despite the fact that school wasn't scheduled to end until June 18 in the first place!

What the fuck is wrong with these idiots?

The schools' excuse? Under state law, the schools' occasional "short days" were supposed to be at least 180 minutes, but they were only 175 minutes.

The "lost" time could be made up within a day. But the state refuses to count ANY of the 175 minutes.

America's corporatist brainwashing centers which are so loosely referred to as schools sure do want kids in their grip as much as possible, don't they?

"Clerical error", my knee. This was a carefully orchestrated fraud to make sure the kids were under the schools' spell for an extra 34 days. It's kind of like how every so often you read about schoolchildren being forced to take a standardized test twice because the school made some error in administering it or "lost" the results.

The good news? Most families are just ignoring the 34 extra days and going ahead with their summer plans. Regarding the 34 days, one mom said, "It's the school's fault. I'm not doing it."

If only everyone had that brave attitude.

I'd love to see how the schools react to having virtually empty classrooms all summer. They're going to look mighty silly when they cry "truancy!"

(Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hECDamfgm3lLhGwQI_ymYkDGyy2gD98RQAI00)

Jindal supports beating kids

Keep this in mind: A vote for Bobby Jindal is a vote for beating children.

Of course, this may be moot outside Louisiana, because Jindal is such an incompetent goof that it's hard to imagine him on a nationwide ticket.

Recently, when lawmakers in Louisiana voted on a bill that would prohibit paddling in schools, Jindal actually opposed this bill.

Hard to believe in 2009, but here we are. Electing outmoded idiots like Bobby Jindal has consequences.

(Source: http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/48214842.html)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ensign an even bigger hypocrite than I thought

I hate to dwell on a politician's screwing around, but man, did the other side ask for it!

It turns out that John Ensign was one of the harshest critics of John Edwards for doing something very similar to what he did.

And of course, Ensign was an equally harsh critic of Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky affair. When Ensign served in the House, he voted to impeach Clinton for it, even though we've established a thousand times that it wasn't even a criminal act.

So can somebody give me a good reason why Ensign should not be expelled from the Senate after this? If political ruin is good enough for Clinton and Edwards, why isn't it good enough for Ensign?

Right-wing senator acknowledges extramarital affair

Meet Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada). A fairly conservative guy, he is. Big Iraq War supporter.

He's been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate for 2012. When I read that, I rolled on the floor with laughter.

But now Ensign admits to an extramarital affair.

On its own, I don't believe that's a big deal, except among his own family. A politician can have a million affairs without impeding their political effectiveness one iota.

But Ensign is a Republican - the party that tries to run everyone else's lives - so it's only fair that he should be held to a little higher standard. If his party hadn't anointed themselves as the nation's morality cops, Ensign wouldn't be the grade-A hypocrite that this story makes him.

After the Nazi media utterly destroyed John Edwards for having an affair, it's only fair that John Ensign should resign.

Edwards is almost excluded from winning an elected office again, because of the media's treatment of his unfortunate errors. So the honorable thing for Ensign to do would be to give up ever holding an elected position again.

Either that, or the media should just admit they have a double standard favoring Republicans.

Of course, I'm not under any illusion that Ensign will resign, or that the media will let this story hurt him one bit. If you think I've been displaying a double standard, consider it even with the pop-up media.

A Nazi speaks

Of President Obama's leading critics, only those on the left are credible. And I can't say I disagree with them. Then again, the Democrats are the party that gives us DLC lightweights like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, so you can't say you truly expected Obama to be a giant of populism.

Obama's critics on the right, however, are as irrational as one would expect. And that's being kind. Many of them are frankly Nazi.

It's a harsh description, but it's entirely fair, considering this message I received from a follower of the rightist strain of criticism:

"Bandit, let me know if you'd like a link to a picture of Obama buddy William Ayres [sic] standing on the flag. You're too young to remember him, but he's a communist and in the 60's he was a homeland terrorist bomber connected to the 'weathermen', and he and Obama go back. You are who you hang with man."

If I'm too young to remember Ayers, then Obama probably is too. The spittle contingent has long been trying to blame Obama for what Ayers did when Obama was only 8 years old - even though the closest connection these two men have with each other is that they both served on the same antipoverty board.

That's like blaming Paul Wellstone for things Jesse Helms did just because they both served in the Senate at the same time.

To be brutally blunt, the Obama/Ayers controversy has appeal only to Nazis - because it is bogus. And I guarantee you if the commenter who sent me that message had the nerve to make this comment to my face instead of over the Internets (sic), they'd be looking at some mighty costly dental bills.

Anyone who truly believes there are any major links between Ayers and Obama is too stupid to vote. I have no patience for such deliberate ignorance.

The commenter who sent me that message is a Nazi. End of story.

The comment was prompted by my exposing the Cincinnati Tea Party terrorists for their disrespect of the national anthem during their March farce. Instead of standing respectfully, they decided to get up and dance like there was a big disco ball suspended from the sky.

Since that clip irritated the fascist brain trust so much the first time (because it exposed their lack of patriotism), here it is again:

(Facebook folks may want to hound Facebook some more if that clip isn't showing up.)

Digital TV going down in flames

Repeat after me...





I've explained for ages that digital TV is sensitive like a CD: Instead of getting a snowy (but still viable) signal, digital TV means a weak signal cuts off altogether.

And you thought I was just being paranoid, didn't you?

Now that analog TV has been discontinued, folks are learning the hard way about the rank rottenness of digital TV. And digital TV is going down like a lead gum bubble.

Cincinnati leads the nation in the number of calls to stations by viewers complaining about the loss of reception. Local stations have fielded almost 5,000 calls. Contrast this with nearby Dayton, where stations have logged only 33 calls.

I'm guessing Cincinnati earned this dubious distinction because of its high number of households with over-the-air TV and because of rugged terrain.

I've lost reception of at least 2 stations (not counting out-of-town outlets).

Give digital TV a few more months. I'm reminded of the ad for cable TV in which a distressed gentleman sings, "I want my cable back." I think we're going to see lots of people singing, "I want my analog back."

Digital TV is shaping up to be the New Math of the 2000s.

(Source: http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=PluckPersona&U=5c49394b12564ab6832411d82ad3a991&plckController=PersonaBlog&plckScript=personaScript&plckElementId=personaDest&plckPersonaPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a5c49394b12564ab6832411d82ad3a991Post%3a011d44bb-196a-45c1-a457-b053c0d33886&sid=sitelife.cincinnati.com)

Right-wing congressman wants to step up war on pot

If stupidity means doing the same failed act over and over and expecting different results, then whoever supports this proposal is either stupid or they're actively trying to prop up drug gangs.

Right-wing Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) is channeling Phil Gramm by encouraging even more ruinous penalties for minor drug offenses, even as he supports deregulation of Big Business.

Kirk plans to introduce legislation imposing 25 years in prison just for selling small amounts of a form of marijuana deemed more potent.

America is only now emerging from the worst economic times in 75 years, and the health care system is broken, yet this idiot is worried about a little weed?

The insane War on Drugs is in fact a price support for violent drug cartels. We've all seen how draconian drug laws have actually heightened gang violence. Those who doubt this must have been living under a rock for years.

An admitted child rapist just got sentenced to only a few months in jail. Yet Mark Kirk wants people to do 25 years for pot! That's his idea of "justice."

I'd love to see what the "regulation for thee, not for me" crowd has to say about this. Whatever excuse they come up with, it's got to be mighty laughable.

(Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-kirk-marijuanajun15,0,4381974.story)