Monday, August 31, 2009

New AFL-CIO head challenges DLC

Before you start getting your passport ready for a media-stoked right-wing resurgence, we might want to see what the AFL-CIO's incoming head says about the DLC pining for a repeat of past defeats.

Richard Trumka, who is set to become the federation's president next month, is warning Democrats not to become a weak carbon copy of the Republican Right.

Trumka says organized labor will challenge Democrats who support the insurance racket in the ongoing health care debate - which lately has turned out to be a debacle.

One assumes Trumka is speaking of the DLC - the Democratic Leadership Council, which is the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.

I'm finding it interesting that most disapproval of the Democrats lately comes from those on the left such as us. I think this has been true for years, but is only now being highlighted by the Republicans' burgeoning stupidity.


Ohio amendment would pull state out of national health care

Now it's even clearer that sore loser fail guides the GOP.

The Republicans were big on federal "preemption" of state powers during the Bush era. But now they think they can pull their states out of federal programs that help the public, and call themselves champions of local autonomy.

Ohio State Reps. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) and Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania) want to amend the Ohio Constitution to bar national health care reform from taking effect in the Buckeye State.

In other words, Ohio's citizens wouldn't be allowed to get public health care, all because these 2 lawmakers decided not to let them have it.

Maag complained that the Democrats' national health reforms would create death panels - a criticism that was long ago debunked.

If anyone created death panels, it's the insurance companies, who have opted to withhold life-saving treatments from patients. Also, people seem to forget that it was Bush who enacted the Texas "futile care" law that allows hospitals to deny treatment to patients they deem inconvenient.

But Ron Maag keeps spouting his bullshit.

How does he expect the state of Ohio to override a federal program anyway? You'd think he can't, but then again, there is a dangerous precedent for his idiocy. In the '90s, right-wing Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson pulled his state out of federal welfare programs for needy families - telling his state's citizenry they could no longer collect federal benefits.

I guess Tommy Thompson, Barbara Sears, and Ron Maag think they can just form a separate country every time things don't go their way.

Shirt banned for showing evolution

Oh, the stupid. It burns.

Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia, Missouri, is taking issue with a t-shirt because it depicts scientific fact.

Recently, the school's marching band adopted a new slogan: "Brass Evolution." To promote this theme, the band issued shirts that featured a series of right-facing profiles showing an ape evolving into a human. (We've all seen a similar image before.)

But a group of right-wing parents complained to the school because the shirt defied their creationist stance. They demanded that the school ban the shirt.

So what did the school do? Why, it banned the shirt. Of course.

The school district's assistant superintendent required all the band members to give their "Brass Evolution" shirts back to the school. His excuse is that the district is required by law to remain neutral regarding religion.

Um, evolution isn't religion. It's science.

Ironically, by forcing students to comply with dominionist complaints, the school is violating the very law it's claiming to follow!

This is like saying math teachers can't teach that 2 plus 2 is 4.

Most parents though are outraged at school officials' decision to ban the shirt. One said that if she wanted her kids to be sheltered from science and the ability to make informed choices, she would have enrolled them in a private school.

This scandal is costing the town's working taxpayers dearly. By repossessing the t-shirts, the school is forced to absorb the $700 cost of the shirts.

Yet another school system has proven itself to be a poor arbiter of the working public's interests. Not unlike the checkbook clergy who tell congregants they're going to hell unless they vote Republican.


9th Circus allows offshore drilling

The right-wing U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has rarely met a major corporation it didn't like.

This federal court has probably never met a major oil company it didn't like. This is the same court that gutted most of the ruling against Exxon regarding the Valdez spill.

On Thursday, the 9th Circus issued a ruling that allows Shell Oil to resume its offshore drilling in Alaska's Beaufort Sea. This ruling favors the Bush regime's ridiculous contention that an environmental impact assessment wasn't needed for Shell's oil exploration.

This decision also guts the autonomy of local villages that oppose this offshore drilling.

On and on continues the matchbook law that has generally defined the 9th Circus lately.

Bush's totalitarianism aside, it's astonishing that Shell tries to get folks to think we can drill ourselves out of a looming energy crisis. All the oil is going to be used up eventually anyway, so by not investing in alternative fuel instead, Shell is accomplishing nothing except creating an energy shortage that our grandchildren are going to be forced to deal with.


Employers decide not to pay workers

Employers have discovered a new way to Make Money.

It's called not paying their workers. But I call it wage theft - and slavery.

On a weekly basis lately, the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers' Center has received calls from local workers who didn't get paid by their bosses. The stiffed employees range from construction workers to fast food employees. Most of them lack union protection.

The Ohio Department of Commerce has seen a 50% increase in wage theft complaints since 2007.

Why is wage theft becoming more common? You may blame the rough economy, but I think wage theft has been as much of a contributor to the bad economy as it is a result.

I suspect wage theft results more from the fact that this decade has seen almost a total lack of enforcement of federal labor laws. Our public officials have been more interested in listening to right-wing maniacs who yell at town halls than in making sure wage laws are followed.

They complain that minimum wage laws are too much government - yet they think laws that force unions to subsidize nonunion firms are fine and dandy. Brings a whole new meaning to "regulation for thee, not for me", doesn't it?

Elderly man fined for "wrong" political views

This story more or less begins at the 2008 Trigg County Ham Festival in Cadiz, Kentucky.

A Democratic activist - who was going on 80 years old - had been granted a permit to include a wagon with Democratic stickers in the parade. This wagon had appeared in the festival in previous years.

When the elderly man showed up at the parade wearing an Obama t-shirt, one of the parade organizers allegedly used a racial slur and called the police on the man to remove him from the parade. Someone else reportedly told the man, "Get the fucking thing on the trailer and get out."

Cops promptly showed up, arrested the Democratic activist, and refused to tell him what he was charged with. The police even shackled him in ankle chains.

He was charged with disorderly conduct. The city refused to dismiss the charges. Trigg County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, yet the city of Cadiz forced the prosecutor to squander an entire day on this bogus case just because city officials disagreed with an activist's political views.

Now the man has been fined $250 after being convicted.

The way Kentucky has gone lately, one always suspects he could have been walking down the street without any political gear at all and been hauled to jail. Clearly, however, the city pursued this case solely because of his political views.

And that's even more indicative of the way this state has gone in recent years. I was arrested for my political views at NKU, and I was nearly arrested for my politics during the Devou Park rally (before I darted out of the park). Local government in Kentucky has often become not just Republican, but Nazi.


Week 3 of POOP

Nothing new on the POOP front in the past week.

POOP stands for Protect Our Online Privacy - but Google is still failing to do that. Google continues to ignore the people's right to not have Google use their Internet posts they wrote.

It's as if anyone who posts on the Internet is forced to disrobe and run down the street in broad daylight.

Once Congress cleans up the health care mess and does the other things it was supposed to do 2 years ago, it can come up with some new online privacy legislation.

Why nobody listens to Dick Morris anymore

It's hard to see why the media still gives this idiot airtime, after his political ineptitude may have singlehandedly relegated the Democrats to almost third-party status for a decade before their 2006 comeback.

Yes, I'm talking about Dick Morris - the man who seems to have more of a knack for false prophecy than anyone else except William Kristol. Nobody takes Morris seriously anymore, but the media keeps showcasing his absurd claims anyway.

Stuart Rothenberg of the trusted Rothenberg Political Report has written that "the chance of Republicans winning control of either chamber in the 2010 midterm elections is zero. Not 'close to zero.' Not 'slight' or 'small.' Zero."

Just don't tell Dick Morris. As inept as the Democrats are in handling violent opposition to health care reform, they're still more ept than Morris is at anything political. Trust me.

Even though the Republicans don't have a chance in hell of winning even one chamber of Congress, Morris is off in fantasyland. A few days ago on Sean Hannity's fucked-in-the-brain show, Morris said he expects the Democrats to lose 100 House seats.

You're hilarious, Dick, you know that?

They'd need to lose less than 40 to lose the House (assuming these seats go to the Republicans and not the Greens), and there's not even a chance they'll lose that many! The GOP is going to have to wait until after the next census is rigged like the last one.

Morris's reasoning for the Democrats losing 100 seats is even sillier. He said it's because of "the massive debt that Obama is creating."

Funny. I don't remember the Republicans losing that many seats while Reagan was in office.

I saw this Dick Morris appearance discussed on a political site I read, and someone replied, "There are millions of unemployed qualified people, and Dick Morris still has a job?" Even avowed Republicans on that site mocked Morris's prediction.

Morris's forecasts aren't always too favorable to the GOP. They're way off regardless of what party they favor. Last year, he predicted Obama would win Louisiana, of all places. It's like he's never studied electoral geography in his life.

Who needs comedy clubs when they've got Dick Morris?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wal-Mart sued over defective flip-flops

Just in Kentucky in the past 18 months, there have been not one, not 2, but 3 lawsuits against Wal-Mart over defective flip-flops.

In the third case, Wal-Mart is being sued for its Sand-n-Sun flip-flops that reportedly caused chemical burns on a woman's feet.

Only one state, only 18 months, and 3 lawsuits just over flip-flops. Real smooth, Wal-Mart.


Bully threatens lawsuit over suspension

I think I've figured out why schools these days usually side with serial bullies while punishing everyone else.

Maybe it's because the few remaining schools that do penalize the bullies are threatened with a lawsuit complaining that the bully's "rights" are being violated.

A high school junior in the Tampa Bay area has received a 5-day out-of-school suspension because she harassed a Muslim student. By her own admission, the harasser told her schoolmate, "Take that thing off your head and act like you're proud to be an American." (The racism symbol at the top of this entry results from the harasser's bigotry.)

What's the harasser's reaction to the suspension?

SHE'S GONNA SUE!!!!!!!!!!

For what?????

Her father says harassing a schoolmate is a "First Amendment right." Seriously, he said that.

Only in BushWorld is a policy against bullying considered a violation of free speech while mandatory public school uniforms are not.

More hypocrisy? The harasser in this story claims she confronted the schoolmate because she didn't stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. But it turns out the harasser lived in Mexico for 6 months and refused to say Mexico's pledge to the flag.

Why did she confront a student over not standing for the Pledge when she did something very similar herself? In my day, we called that hypocrisy.

Maybe I should remind everyone how the Tea Party whack-a-doos refused to respectfully stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner." What the hey, I think I'll post that clip again:


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wright brothers, revisited (Bubble Gum Weekend)

The invention of the airplane was just so fucking awesome.

But that's suitable, because so was the invention of bubble gum.

A while back, I used this feature to link to a memorable late '70s commercial for Care-Free gum that featured actors portraying the Wright brothers. Some guy bubbled in the ad.

But someone's feewings got hurt by it, so YouPube took it down. Which resulted in someone reposting it, of course. Which, in turn, has led to me regaling you with it again:

What about that commersh can possibly cause feewinghurt? All I can think of was that a person who saw it didn't know how to blow bubbles, so they were offended by seeing that ad.

I could just picture some 50-year-old clod sitting at their computer, firing off hate mail to YouTube, complaining about how they never figured out how to bubble - so YouTube has to pull that Care-Free ad, or else!

I can't drink milk without getting diarrhea, so does that give me the right to force YouTube to yank all the milk ads?

That's like if some kid breaks their arm and tries having school recess banned all because they can't participate.

Granted, gum seems to evoke more fervent sentiment than these other items. Even so, that's no excuse for pulling the clip.

Also, the Wright brothers invented the airplane - not "discovered" it, genius.

Article blasts longer school calendar

Hell freezes over: The online-only predecessor of the Kentucky Post actually ran a piece against the scourge of year-round school:

Granted, that article was by an outside writer, not one of the Post's own editorialists. Still, it's unusual to see the Post tolerating such dissent, considering how the paper seemed to become an avid cheerleader for year-round school.

The longer school year that has plagued Kentucky lately has not improved academics, and it has helped stymie the state's economy.

I think the more important point may be one that wasn't touched on by that piece: By lengthening the school year, schools don't intend on improving academics. Their aim is to keep students under their cult-like control longer. I am convinced of that.

Even if you don't believe that's the goal of year-round school, it's the effect nonetheless. There's considerable proof that this trend has cost Kentucky some of its best and brightest by locking them into a rigid schedule instead of letting their talents bloom.

How to stop this nonsense? Visit this fine website:

Lockerbie terrorist freed; Peltier remains behind bars

If this isn't a mockery of justice, what is?

A terrorist involved in the Lockerbie bombing - which killed 259 people - has been freed from prison on "compassionate" grounds. Yet Leonard Peltier - who is a victim of evidence fabricated by the FBI - remains imprisoned.

Just days ago, Peltier was denied parole by Bush holdovers on the U.S. Parole Commission - despite the fact that a court has already determined that the FBI framed Peltier for killing its agents and gave perjured testimony.

BushWorld means terrorists go free while innocent people stay locked up.

11-year-old beaten by school officer over picture

Is this story a sneak preview of what life would be like if we let the Republicans get their foot back in the door? Nope. We're still waiting for the last wave of their fascism and hate to fully recede.

In Dougherty County, Georgia, an 11-year-old girl was beaten mercilessly by a school cop because she delayed having her school picture taken until she could fix her hair. The 6th-grader was thrown to the ground and arrested on an assortment of flimsy charges.

First off, why do we have police in the schools these days? Back in my day, you didn't see cops in schools. America got along fine for centuries without turning schools into fortresses.

Further, since when does a minor breach of a school diktat result in an arrest?

If I was the parent of a child who was treated like this by adults at school, I'd take strong action before even suing the school. I'd march right down to the school and not leave until the adult who assaulted my child was in intensive care.

When you're dealing with evil people, sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. We can't let people assault our children and get away with it.

This is the American school system in 2009, folks. Save your kids from this slaughterhouse.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Big Pharma to track sinus medicine purchases


Even fascism's own avowed followers have said that fascism is the fusion of corporate and government power.

So how is this not fascist?

Corporate America is always eager to appease government tyranny - and vice versa. This has become clear once again, as the pharmaceutical industry is now offering a database (made by a Kentucky firm) to help the states track anyone who buys cold or allergy medicine.

Big Pharma doesn't even have the courage to stand up for over-the-counter drugs that are perfectly legal? Of course not. It's in bed with the drug warriors.

Under the new database, you'd have to swipe your driver's license through a reader just to buy Sudafed. This would immediately launch a nationwide search to see if you've purchased any recently. Kind of puts the brakes on the Big Lie about the barcodes on the driver's licenses not being used for anything other than what's printed on the license, huh?

There's a reason I stuck an "I VOTED" sticker on the barcode on my license, folks.

This is just one of many reasons why it's time for a law to ban barcodes on licenses and state-issued ID's.

Less than 15 years ago, barcoded licenses were viewed as a serious privacy violation. Now they blaze like wildfire, and it's time we restore our freedom.


Lax penalty looms for athletes

It's unfortunate that this incident took place in a neighboring town (or anywhere), but it illustrates once again the lax rules that govern student athletes.

I have nothing against athletes in general. But in a society, there's rules.

When I worked at the public library or the Department of the Interior, I had to follow rules. What do you think would happen if I didn't? At best, I'd be reprimanded. More likely though, I'd be fired.

Do you think there's no rules that govern what I do on this blog and my personal website? If I don't follow the terms of service, I can lose my access and my livelihood.

Recently, a group of football players at Dayton High School in Dayton, Kentucky, harassed 2 gay men jogging on the levee, while the team was conducting football practice. The punishment for the offending players? They were ordered to run laps and write an apology.

That's all? They should have been kicked off the team.

If these players behave in this manner towards people outside the school community, just think how they act at school.

Why do players who are unwilling to follow rules that exist in the rest of society receive such a lenient penalty?

Kentucky's school sports association should require Dayton to forfeit every game until the offending players are kicked off the team.

The school superintendent's statement about the incident (in which he seemed to blame the victims) was particularly asinine.

If I was on a work assignment for the Department of the Interior and behaved the way these football players acted, I'd be fired instantly - and deservedly so. When I was in high school, I would have been mature enough to know better. I remember that once when I was a sophomore, a classmate used a racial slur, and I felt embarrassed and uneasy.

One suspects the soft punishment in this story is another indication of the largely greed-driven pattern of holding athletes to a less rigid standard than others.


Court guts cable ownership cap

What the media gatekeepers failed to accomplish for themselves with the rogue 1996 Telecommunications Act, they can just get their activist judges to do.

One of the basics that every American broadcasting student learns is that the nation's airwaves are a public trust, and the FCC is empowered to limit how many broadcasting outlets a corporation can own - in order to prevent oligopolies that stifle the free flow of ideas.

Since 1993, the FCC has said that a cable TV company can't cover over 30% of the nation's cable market. It was a reasonable guideline.

But now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has thrown out this rule - not for any constitutional reason, but because they simply don't like this rule.

If you want to talk about legislating from the bench, this ruling is it. What matchbook law school did these judges attend?

The court's decision is a boon for right-wing cable giants like Comcast or other cable companies that try to control the flow of news and commentary - and gouge the consumer.

With this, the states need to step in and start exercising the oversight that the FCC is hamstrung from providing.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Duke declares war on browser lock!

Anyone who has a computer that's more than 2 years old and runs Internet Exploder is probably eminently familiar with the scourge of browser lock.

That's when your browser starts running very slowly no matter what steps you take to remedy it - and slows down other programs too. It gets to the point where you can barely use your computer.

A bout of browser lock can usually be delayed for the rest of the day by restarting your computer.

Well, about 30 minutes ago, Duke Energy saved me the effort of moving my arm to restart my machine, when the electricity went out for no apparent reason - again.

No storms, no rain, no wind, no nothing. Just another good old-fashioned Duke power outage. Maybe they'll blame it on a snail crawling inside their transformer again.

Methinks it's time for me to switch electric providers. Wait, I can't. Duke is a private monopoly. Oops. Unless we want to go without power, we're required to buy energy from this union-busting outfit.

Wow! Capitalism!

GOP lawmaker attends concert at taxpayers' expense

Not to be partisan, but I find it interesting that the Republicans seem to have a disproportionate number of elected officials who squander public money on their own personal entertainment.

In June, Kentucky State Sen. John Schickel - a Republican - attended a concert in Cincinnati by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The $120.55 tab was all paid for by Kentucky taxpayers.

Schickel later reimbursed the state for this amount - but only after the Louisville Courier-Journal discovered the expense.

If this was all just a clerical error as Schickel claims, then he must not be too bright.

I guess you can argue the Republicans have improved their record by attending a concert by a church group. Earlier this summer, officials were found to be using state money to pay for strip club visits.


Unconstitutional forfeitures expand in Virginia

The expansion of the corporatist prison state means that not only are authorities illegally seizing property from folks who haven't even been convicted. Now - on an increasing basis - they're seizing items from people who haven't even been charged.

Police are now seizing wallets, money, cars, and other items from people just for acting "suspiciously." Authorities often claim the money came from drug dealing or other illegal activity. But no charges are ever filed. Cops just take the money, and you never hear about it again.

Carroll County, Virginia, has become an expanding hotbed of these forfeitures - which are clearly unconstitutional.

In one case in that county, a man had $17,400 taken from him without even being charged.

This high-handed theft has been going on to some extent for years, but the problem is still growing - with almost no legislative attempts to rein it in.

I think it's time for lawmakers to put their feet down against this modern highway robbery.


Dental clinic forced to pay up for lost teeth

Because this is a day that ends in 'y' and on which the sun rose in the east and set in the west, another story of our health care system's dire straits (not Dire Straits, but dire straits) has emerged.

This time, a South Carolina dental clinic extracted 13 teeth that were not supposed to be extracted from a 28-year-old woman. This left her with no upper teeth to speak of.

A jury awarded her $2,000,000 in the resulting lawsuit. From what I've read, she deserves every penny. An expert witness testified that the clinic even tried covering up its error by entering bogus information on the patient's charts.

For years, the Far Right's meme has been that there is no health care crisis - only a malpractice suit crisis. Judging by this story, however, it appears as if the malpractice suit system works reasonably well. It was the medical system that failed.

If the obstructionists on the right had their way, a lawsuit like this would be illegal. In fact, it probably already would be in some states, unfortunately - following the war on the working class in the '90s.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Census to be rigged again?

You can tell the Bush holdovers are still in charge.

Following next year's census, several states are expected to gain or lose congressional seats and electoral votes.

States that gain: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Texas, Utah.

States that lose: Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania.

See a pattern here? The only major outlier on these lists is Louisiana. Everything else is going almost exactly according to the script.

How do they know which states will be affected, considering the census isn't until next year?

This will be the third census in a row in which this same pattern of disproportionate gains in Republican states is seen. The 1990 and 2000 censuses were also manipulated by Republicans for political purposes. The 2000 census was so inaccurate that I don't even go by it. (I didn't even receive a census form in 2000.)

If this pattern continues in 2010, the states on the losing end need to ignore the results and do their damnedest to try to keep sending their representatives to Washington.


Oscar appoints himself civil engineer ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Oscar the Grouch is one happenin' dude!

But he wouldn't make a very good Roads Scholar - let alone civil engineer.

That's because he appears to be completely ignorant of the standards for stop signs.

Stop signs are supposed to be octagonal and red - except the yellow ones erected before 1954. But in this 1970 clip (which also includes the original 'Sesame Street' opening theme), the ol' Osk has little use for standards and rules:

That clip is so old that Gordon was played by the late Matt Robinson - rather than Roscoe Orman, who has played Gordon for decades.

Of course, in the madcap world of 'Sesame Street', ignorance is all relative. Oscar may look uneducated for not following standards for stop signs. But everyone else just looks downright foolish. Did Bob really think Gordon put up a bunch of stop signs?

Did Gordon really think Mr. Hooper put them up?

You can excuse them for thinking Big Bird put them up, because making his own fantasy world out of a public street is the sort of wacky thing Big Bird would do.

'Sesame Street'. It's where the stop signs are square!

Kentucky election waterworks


The obligatory Republican temper tantrum over yesterday's special election in Kentucky is approaching a howl.

The GOP isn't content anymore just to falsely claim an election was rigged by illegal means. Now they're expecting authorities to investigate practices that aren't even illegal.

On the website of the Cincinnati Enquirer (where else?), one Republican commenter suggested:

"They also ought to check the vote hauling in Carter Co."

(Democrat Robin Webb received her highest percentage in Carter County, her home county.)

What this complaint really means? The Republicans are mad because people (gasp!) voted.

Vote hauling is the practice of transporting people to the polls who would otherwise not be able to get there. The Republican trend in rural Kentucky over the past 10 years is partly accounted for by a crackdown on this practice. The media has promoted this crackdown in an effort to keep Democratic voters from getting to the polls.

The crackdown has taken place even though there's nothing illegal or unethical about vote hauling - as long as you're not buying votes. Nothing suggests that Democrats in Carter County or elsewhere were buying votes in yesterday's election.

The ongoing media war against vote hauling is nothing but high-handed voter intimidation to suppress Democratic turnout.

Yet the media remains silent about right-wing pastors who tell their followers they're going to hell unless they vote Republican. These churches buy buses to drive their congregants to the polls on Election Day year after year.

You never hear a peep raised about that - even though IRS rules state that tax-exempt churches cannot endorse partisan candidates.

Indeed, right-wing church leaders were responsible for high Republican turnout yesterday in other counties.

Why the double standard? Why do the Republicans cry about Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts yet ignore Republican efforts that violate IRS rules?

For years, Kentucky has had more outright election fraud by Republicans than you can shake a stick at. Yet now that a Democrat has won an important election, the meme put out by the media talking heads is "THEY CHEATED!!!!!"

I'm not being partisan. I'm a Green, not a Democrat. I've been perhaps more critical of the Democrats than anyone outside the right-wing blogosphere. But the Republicans' tears are as baseless as ever.

If the Republicans are so upset about vote hauling, maybe they should do something about the lack of polling places that are close enough for voters to reach. Again and again, the GOP has killed efforts to add more polling stations.

School employees made up crap about student

When most folks read stories like this, disbelief sets in - unless they're familiar with one of these really bad school districts where schools are known for their insane vendettas against individual students.

The Anoka-Hennepin school system in suburban Minneapolis must be one such district.

I've been informed that 2 teachers there launched a long-running harassment campaign against a high school student. They falsely claimed the male student had a "thing for older men" (because he did a report on Benjamin Franklin) and liked to wear women's clothes.

This wasn't just a matter of hurt feelings or the type of crude themes found in private conversation. This was part of an ongoing pattern of high-handed abuse.

The conservative intelligentsia criticizes me for being too crude and vulgar, yet they don't seem to mind when school staffers harass a teenage student by making false insinuations about his sex life.

The school system's attitude is borne out by its refusal to fire the 2 instructors who harassed the student. The school district fell over itself offering excuses for its lax treatment of the offending teachers - even though Minnesota law clearly says teachers may be fired immediately for such misconduct.

The sprawling Anoka-Hennepin school district has long been known for right-wing social engineering stances - a form of cheap elitism. True to form, this community is largely within Michele Bachmann's congressional district.

One gets the feeling that the Anoka-Hennepin school system is a strange, cult-like parallel universe that tolerates those who sheepishly follow the schools' ways - but leaves a life of wreckage for those who do not.


Sen. Ted Kennedy dies

Sorry to report sad news about a Senate legend: Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) died last night of brain cancer at the age of 77.

The long-serving legislator was widely regarded as one of the greatest senators in modern times - possibly ever.

Kennedy was known to TV audiences in recent years for his Democratic National Convention speeches - some of which were excellent, such as his 2008 speech about health care being a right.

The Senate has lost one of its few remaining great members.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Democrats gain Kentucky Senate seat

The Republicans continued to bleed support today - this time in Kentucky, in a special election for state senate.

The GOP spent the campaign attacking their Democratic opponent for being a victim of domestic violence. But the Republicans' strategy backfired. Badly.

Democrat Robin Webb's smashing victory might not be so significant but for the fact that this seat had been Republican. The GOP had held this seat for years, and few had thought it would be seriously contested any time soon.

With this, I believe the Republicans' edge in the Kentucky Senate slips to 20 to 17 to 1. I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but this appears accurate. (The DLC's dominance in the Democratic Party is another book.)

Also, I'm the first to call this election for the Democrat. If the Republican had won by this much, it would have been called by the major media by 7:30 PM.

Special election draws complaints

Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and Republicans trying to rig elections in Kentucky.

In today's special state senate election in northeastern Kentucky (which the Republicans are almost certain to lose), the state Board of Elections has received complaints about what appear to be aggressive exit polling tactics.

According to these complaints, the pollsters have been asking voters for their Social Security numbers and telling them to try to gather the names of people who have already voted (presumably by catching a glimpse of the voter ledger that you sign).

This is so plainly another Republican intimidation tactic that one wonders how the GOP expects to keep all of what little support it still has.

What, no jammed phone banks?


Monday, August 24, 2009

Week 2 of POOP

It's 8 PM. Do you know where Google is?

They're not deleting my material that I told them to remove last week, that's for sure. I just checked, and the writings remain posted - even though I never gave Google permission to archive it.

I'll give 'em a few more days before I send Google my eighth notice.

I think whoever at Google is in charge of its message removal tool seriously thinks people won't check to see if their posts are removed.

Shake-and-bake shakes up new laws

What did I tell you about the new laws that make you sign a log just to buy Sudafed being completely ineffective at fighting meth?

A new AP report says meth cooks have now developed a new shake-and-bake method that evades these laws entirely. This requires far fewer pseudoephedrine tablets than the old methods.

In other words, the laws (just as we predicted) don't affect meth cooks at all. These laws affect only the innocent allergy sufferer.

The shake-and-bake process that has been fostered by these laws is at least as dangerous as the old recipes. This method often produces large explosions and releases toxic waste. Because this process can be carried out in a moving car, countless bottles full of poisonous meth residue have been found along the nation's roads.

And it's all because the drug warriors wanted new laws that everyone knew wouldn't work anyway!

Mark my words: They're going to find something else to ban. And when that doesn't work, the vicious cycle is just going to keep repeating.


Enquirer blasted for promoting Tea Party

Ollie North's "charity" scam isn't the only questionable event promoted by the Cincinnati Enquirer lately. Now the embattled daily paper has resorted to reprinting Tea Party press releases verbatim - to promote the BTPer circus next month.

This event will be held in a far northern suburb, which is out of my territory. They know they can't keep holding events on Fountain Square and expect me not to spend the next week laughing at them. At least now they'll be among their own political ilk.

A commenter on the EnCRYrer's website observed:

"Any chance a reporter from the Enquirer will be on hand to take notes and cross reference with facts? Who am I kidding, that would require more than copying and pasting memos received from deceitful organizations. God forbid you post an article that challenges the views of the only people that still buy this rag."

Ha ha, in your face, Enquirer!

I wonder how many minutes will go by before that comment is deleted for disagreeing with the Enquirer's right-wing stance.

FBI paid Hal Turner to urge Cynthia McKinney's murder

This is how the FBI is spending the taxpayers' money?

Right-wing radio host Hal Turner - who is now being charged with death threats against lawmakers and judges - once delivered a racist rant that urged the lynching of former congresswoman and 2008 presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. Evidently, Turner was paid by the FBI to encourage McKinney's murder.

McKinney issued a statement yesterday saying that "it has just now come to my attention that a 'journalist' who suggested that I be lynched was actually being paid by our own government to say that. Now, when I reported it to the FBI, how in the world was I to know that he was at that time on the FBI's payroll?"

Indeed, Turner's "defense" for the death threats against others is that the threats were legal because he made similar threats while being paid by the FBI. Turner's lawyer says Turner was "trained by the FBI on how to be deliberately provocative."

Turner was apparently an FBI informant to help catch other dangerous right-wingers. But if that's the case, that means FBI officials think being an effective informant means encouraging violence against everyone else. This makes you wonder what FBI officials' real goal was.

This from the agency that spent millions keeping secret files on John Denver.


Hahaha, how did that BTPer strike go?

Silly me. I can't believe I forgot something important like the Tea Party sore loser work stoppage.

In early July, I read that the BTPers planned to skip work on July 30 as a protest against losing the election. They boasted about how this strike would bring America to its knees. That'll show 'em!

Show 'em what, I don't know. The only thing it shows is that the Tea Party organizers have the coping skills of a baby.

Well, I forgot all about how they were supposed to go on strike on July 30. And I bet you did do, because it turned out to be perhaps the BTPers' most hilarious dud so far.

Know of any significant nationwide disruption of commerce or communications that day? I sure as hell didn't notice it.

Who's the real Tenth Amendment champion?

I just had an exciting thought!

The Tenth Amendment is designed to safeguard the states' independence from federal abuses. But lately (as they have before), conservatives have been intentionally misinterpreting this amendment to try to deny federally protected rights and benefits to their states' citizenry.

For instance, right-wing lawmakers in Arizona think the Tenth Amendment justifies a referendumb to bar national health care from operating in their state.

If the Republicans are so worried about federal power, they sure didn't show it while I ran the famed New America project to shield myself from the many abuses by the likes of Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush. During those years, it was always their way or the highway.

The Republicans have as much chance of taking control of Congress in 2010 as the Whigs do. That said, it's dawned on me that I'd have more shield from them than I did in 1994.

For the first time in my life, my digs are within sight of a county that the GOP lost in a presidential election - a county that is within a state they lost. And Cincinnati surely has its share of urban prairie - land that's there for the taking. (Look up urban prairie on Wikipedia. LeftMaps just gave urban prairie its own land use shade.)

The Republicans do not get to decide how a Democratic city in a Democratic county in a Democratic state is run. It's not the GOP's county any longer, so it's not the GOP's rules.

It's my rules now.

If you think I've violated lots of Allowed Clouds lately, it's a far cry from what you'd get to read about if there's another 1994. Not like I have to worry about this, because a party whose public face is Glenn Beck and Orly Taitz can count on being laughed out of the voting booth.

Who's the real Tenth Amendment champion? Someone like me who fights for his own constitutional and natural rights, or a sore loser like Rick Perry?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hey bubble gum blowers! (Bubble Gum Weekend)

"Hey bubble gum blowers!"

This has been a favorite greeting for years - regardless of whether the person being addressed bubbles.

This salutation originated in a 1997 commercial for Extra sugarless bubble gum.

I was floored when I first saw the ad - not because it was for gum. It was because it referred to people who bubble as "bubble gum blowers." Ask a bubbler if they are a "bubble gum blower", and you will likely receive a blank stare.

The ad has been posted on YouTube, but unfortunately, the audio is missing:

I once discussed that ad in detail in The Last Word. And we kept ridiculing this commersh on a family trip to Chicago (the dreaded Par King trip). Although nobody in our group bubbled during this outing, we kept greeting each other by saying, "Hey bubble gum blowers!"

The commercial is also one of the most unintentionally absurd gum ads ever to hit the airwaves. It acts as if people build their lives around counting the number of bubbles they blow.

Also, the elderly man in the barber chair may be the oldest person ever to bubble in a commercial (though he has stiff competition from an aged woman in a Trident ad).

Gum. What an invention.

Bloomberg weeps for Big Pharma CEO's

If you've been reading this blog like cool people do, you don't need to be told that right-wing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is an out-of-touch elitist.

And now the billionaire mayor has done proven it yet again - this time by whining that CEO's of major drug corporations just don't make enough money, dammit!

Bloomberg complained that these rich execs shouldn't be criticized for the soaring costs of health care. "You know, last time I checked, pharmaceutical companies don't make a lot of money, their executives don't make a lot of money," Bloomberg said on his radio show.

Drug companies are among the most filthily rich corporations in the land. And their CEO's make millions a year apiece. One made over $25,000,000 just last year.

Gee. There's some kind of inconsistency here between the facts and the mayor's comment that I just can't quite put my finger on. Hey, I think I figured it out: Bloomberg is full of shit. That must be what it is.

Bloomberg also channels Leona Helmsley. Recently, the embattled mayor declared, "We love the rich people," while arguing against taxing the wealthy.

While Bloomberg thinks Big Pharma CEO's are underpaid, he thinks average workers are overpaid. Remember a few years back when he tried to bust the city workers' union?

All this from a mayor who got his cronies to illegally repeal the term limits law that the voters had passed, just so he could seek another term.

If stupidity is highly valued by the nation's elites, I wish I owned the copyright on Bloomberg's brain cells.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Vets wait while VA big shots get bonuses

The Department of Veterans Affairs has long been a priceless aid to America's brave war vets. In recent years, however, a few people at the top have deliberately mismanaged and looted the VA - which has diminished the quality of care the VA provides.

Much of this was a politically motivated effort to "prove" the VA doesn't work. Perhaps more of it was motivated by personal greed of Bush cronies.

While injured veterans have been waiting for their VA payments as the backlog grows, now it's been revealed that - throughout 2007 and 2008 - Bush political appointees at the VA were looting the department to give themselves and their friends huge pay bonuses.

This greed by highly ranked VA officials has cost our vets $24,000,000.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Aw, does the Enquirer need a huggy-poo?

After I exposed the Cincinnati Enquirer's efforts to suppress dissenting comments on its website, this far-right rag seems to have instituted some new methods of policing dissidents.

Now it's run a piece from one of its editors lamenting the lack of civility by commenters. The article complains that "anonymous trolls spoil the discussion with hatred, cruelty or boorish behavior."

It also boasts that the Enquirer will now be monitoring and moderating comments - but that this "probably won't eliminate the venom that seeps in."

Well, guess what? It hasn't. It's the EnCRYrer, after all. The nasty, spiteful comments by right-wingers continue. I suspect the new policy is just a ruse to asphyxiate dissent against the Enquirer's right-wing agenda.

This is the same Cincinnati Enquirer that has run pieces praising the Kids Helping Kids cult that recently went out of business after its abusive practices came to light.

It's the same Enquirer that runs puff pieces extolling Geoff Davis's supposed greatness.

It's the same Enquirer that continues to promote the so-called Freedom Concerts organized by Sean Hannity and Ollie North, even after North's "charity" (which claims to help soldiers' kids) has been exposed as a scam. (This "charity" received an 'F' grade from the American Institute of Philanthropy. I calculated that only about 0.66% of the cost of a concert ticket goes to the scholarship fund - while at least 5 times that much goes to paying officials of this "charity.")

Despite the gnawing right-wing editorial stance that defined the Cincinnati Post (which no longer has a print edition), I'm starting to appreciate the Post more and more.

Wells Fargo GOPer arrested for pointing gun

Big Business and government have become as inseparable from each other as salt is from piss.

Challis McAffee is a local Republican chairman in Idaho. He also helped organize those comedy routines known as the Tea Parties.

McAffee also works for a contractor hired by noted phone harassment mill Wells Fargo & Co. He bops about town and takes photos of homes that Wells Fargo says are past due on their mortgage.

Now McAffee is facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon following an altercation he started at his Wells Fargo gig. While photographing a house, the homeowner peacefully asked him what he was up to. Instead of giving the man his business card and explaining his activity, McAffee promptly pulled out a gun and threatened him with it. McAffee admits pointing the gun at the man.

The homeowner is now looking into legal action against McAffee and Wells Fargo. He said McAffee wouldn't have been near his home if it wasn't for "Wells Fargo strong-arming people." Which I'm sure is true, seeing how arrogant Wells Fargo was about its ongoing harassing phone calls to me - even though I've never even been a Wells Fargo customer. (Wells Fargo continued harassing me even after the Kentucky Attorney General's office sent them letters ordering them to stop.)

Challis McAffee is a false prophet of limited government. The homeowner in this story was within his rights to peacefully ask McAffee about his activity. McAffee is not entitled to point a gun at someone and claim it's just part of his job. The equally important point is that his Tea Party involvement pretty much dashes his pretenses of supporting smaller government. Many of the signs and speeches I've seen while monitoring the Tea Parties in Cincinnati smack of more intrusive government, not less.


5 imprisoned over inaccurate drug test

One of the most widely forgotten facts about the botched War on Drugs is that drug tests are often inaccurate. By some estimates, these tests are wrong nearly one-third of the time.

In San Antonio, Texas, 5 former probationers are suing because they were imprisoned over the false result of a urine test.

Apparently, one of the plaintiffs was a college student who was forced to miss midterm exams and the entire semester after being sent to jail over the false positive reading.

With this in mind, I'd be hesitant to subject myself to a drug test - especially if a false positive result meant I'd lose my job or go to jail.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Week 1 of POOP

This blog turns 2 today, and I believe today is also the 10th anniversary of the armistice in the Great Internet War. (Only one side was strictly held to this truce, of course. Some participants in the other side never did shut up.)

With that, I'd like to inaugurate a new campaign. I call it POOP - Protect Our Online Privacy.

It's about your freedom. Yes, I know the disastrous Communications Decency Act was overturned years ago, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about your liberty to control what happens to your own works.

This is a serious issue for many reasons. One ill-timed Internet post from 15 years ago could label you as supporting the wrong bozo in an election or give your employer a zillion unfair reasons to terminate you. At minimum, it can cause significant embarrassment.

Google has a tool that used to work for deleting these posts from its archive. Guess what? It doesn't seem to work anymore. I think I'm on the seventh try of trying to delete one of my old posts.

And that's not to mention the forged posts that you can't do anything about anymore even if this tool still worked. Google requires you to swear under penalty of perjury that the posts you want erased are yours. It currently offers no mechanism that even pretends to delete forged crap.

The larger legal issue is that I never gave Google permission to archive my posts in the first place. Google now owns YouTube, which is such a stickler about the DMCA that it accepts fourth-party requests to remove videos that don't even violate anyone's copyright. So why does Google violate your copyright by deciding what it can do with your posts? This is as bad as when a social networking site announces it can use your content without your permission.

I'm not the only person who's had this problem. Complaints about Google's failure to let people remove their own posts abound.

And I don't give a shit what anyone says about making Google's archive "incomplete" or "destroying" part of Internet "history." Doctors can't blab patients' medical histories. Lawyers can't reveal things clients tell them. So why are Internet posts considered special enough to be allowed to flap about cyberspace and infringe on the public's privacy?

Because Google won't voluntarily respect the public's rights, there ought to be a law. The law ought to require Google to let you remove your own posts - without having to give a reason. It would also require Google to let you remove forgeries that were made in your name.

POOP will continue until this matter appears to be satisfactorily resolved.

Ugh! UHG!

Early in the Tea Party movement, it came out that the rallies were bankrolled by right-wing think tanks and corporations.

The BTPers adamantly denied this. They said that these public temper tantrums had no corporate or think tank backing whatsoever. They lied.

Now it's been revealed that a major health insurance corporation is directly promoting the Tea Parties - by urging employees to attend them.

Just this month, United Health Group - one of America's biggest insurers - sent out a letter to workers telling them to call the company's "advocacy specialist." The job of UHG's "advocacy specialist" is to tell employees what to say in messages to public officials.

UHG employees were then given a list of events hosted by the right-wing America's Independent Party. One caller was told to attend a so-called Tea Party that opposed health care reform outside the office of Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio). This event was sponsored by a Religious Right activist.

If UHG is able to use its Tea Parties to gut health reform, this will prove again that the melding of government and corporations is nearly complete.


Man jailed over breath mints

Not long ago, a man was driving home from work in Kissimmee, Florida, chewing on some breath mints all the while.

Police pulled him over for a minor traffic violation. Then they jailed him, thinking the mints were crack cocaine. Because - in today's drug war madness - everybody is a druggie except the drug warriors, right?

It gets worse: The man wasn't released from jail for 3 months - because the mints had to be lab-tested to prove they weren't crack.

I'd hate to disappoint the drug warriors, but that's not how our constitutional republic is supposed to work. When someone is accused of a crime, the burden of proof is supposed to fall on the system, not the accused. A person is not supposed to have to wait 3 months to prove mints are legal before being released.

Even the very idea that the mints were cocaine is absurd. Anybody - especially police - should be able to tell the difference within seconds.

As a result of being jailed for 3 months for nothing, the innocent man lost his job and was evicted from his apartment. The Kissimmee Police Department also confiscated his car and auctioned it off - which is unconstitutional unless you've been convicted (which he hadn't).

More accurately, the police department stole his car. This type of high-handed theft has long been a fixture in Florida. Avid 'Cops' fans may remember an episode in which two young women stole a man's pickup truck and were caught using drugs in it. This resulted in the truck being seized from the man who owned it, even though he wasn't the one with drugs. No trial ever takes place before a vehicle is seized.

This policy shows nothing short of sheer, bubbling hatred for the Constitution. Those behind it do not have good intentions.

Now the man in the breath mint case is suing the Kissimmee police. I hope this lawsuit thoroughly bankrupts the city.


Ridge admits Bush exploited terror alert level

And in other news, the sky is blue, ice is cold, and 2 plus 2 is 4.

In a damning new book, Bush's Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge reveals that Bush wanted to raise the color-coded terror alert level for political purposes on the eve of the 2004 "election."

Even a right-wing partisan like Ridge was so put off that he considered resigning his post. Not like Ridge's misgivings usually stopped him from raising the threat level anyway when the regime thought it could reap political benefits. Ridge raised the terror level just 3 days after the 2004 Democratic National Convention, a move that was plainly political.

The color-coded system bears no relation to reality. It was a political gimmick from the get-go. If you turned on Fox News Channel through much of the decade, the threat level would always be featured in a crawl across the bottom of the screen, as if to scare people into voting GOP - or to rub everyone's faces in the fact that the Republicans were in power.

It would be interesting to see a scientific poll of how many Americans actually trusted the color-coded levels.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Only Orly

Oh, the stupid. It burns.

Get used to seeing the name Orly Taitz. She's like the new Jack Thompson in that she's a lawyer who files absurd cases and proves mind-numbingly incompetent throughout.

Also like Thompson, Taitz is just fixin' to be poked fun at.

Taitz is best known for her court challenge of Obama's qualifications to be President. Early this month, Taitz submitted to the court what she claimed was a real Kenyan birth certificate to prove Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. But this birth certificate was a bad hoax, and the judge rejected it because Taitz made so many mistakes in submitting it.

Now it's been found that Orly Taitz has misspelled her own name on at least 2 of her legal filings. She spelled her first name "Orley."

See, the great thing about today's right-wing crackpots is that, as they get stupider, they also get funnier (usually).

Oh, and it gets even better.

Now Taitz is demanding that the judge be removed from this case. The reason? She says the judge is being "hyper-formalistic."

What that really means is that it's because the judge expects words to be spelled right on important legal documents.

I'm no language arts whiz, but I'd say proper spelling makes court documents much easier to read. Wouldn't you agree? You expect professionals such as lawyers to at least be able to spell their own name.


Scalia says innocence no bar to execution

Right-wing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is often considered an originalist in matters of constitutional interpretation. But I don't see what's so originalist about this.

Regarding the case of a death row inmate who may challenge his conviction because of evidence showing he may be innocent, Scalia said it's perfectly constitutional to execute an innocent person.

Scalia wrote, "This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is 'actually' innocent."


Scalia really said that. He said the Constitution allows the execution of someone who a court finds to be innocent.

Where does Scalia come up with this shit?

That's sort of like if people keep blackballing me for things I was accused of saying in The Last Word which I can prove I didn't say. But there's a big difference that makes this story far more serious: Scalia is talking about a murder conviction and a death sentence.

Then again, Antonin Scalia is the man who said the "role model effect" should take priority over the Constitution - a claim that he pulled out of thin air. Scalia is so far removed from constitutional law that one wonders how he ended up on the nation's highest court.


Some Republicans... ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Look, everyone! 'Sesame Street' once again made a video of the Republican Party:

That sketch seems to perfectly parallel the Republicans' recent history.

Some Republicans.

More Republicans.

And more Republicans!

No Republicans.

It looks like that's the way the GOP has been headed lately.

BTPers let the mask slip

I swear they're getting dumber and dumber by the day!

The Tea Party contingent that's been disturbing the congressional town halls lately really let the mask slip this time.

This incident comes to us from a town hall event in Las Vegas. A local TV station interviewed an Israeli immigrant about health care. When he dared to disagree with the LOSEianne thugs who were standing nearby, the first thing out of a BTPer's mouth was "Heil Hitler!"

Think I'm making it up? Well, oops, there's video:

The "Heil Hitler!" cry is heard at :37. It comes from the Sarah Palin look-alike before she appears on camera.

If the wingnuts are going to let the mask slip, you'd think they wouldn't be dumb enough to do it in public. You'd think they'd do it only at their sheltered schoolyards - which I was a firsthand witness to.


Curfew laws. They're not just for kids anymore!

Modern America means every unconstitutional idea that flips out of a politician's mouth is allowed to grow unabated until nobody dares to challenge it.

The right-wing microinitiative in this story is one to watch - and the time to fight it is now. We can't afford to wait 5 years like everyone did with the Sudafed logs.

Officials in Paterson, New Jersey, are considering a nighttime curfew ordinance that would apply not just to young people but also to adults of all ages.

Under this law, nobody of any age would be allowed to be outside between midnight and 7 AM. This would likely be the first citywide all-ages curfew anywhere in America (except "emergency" curfews that are trotted out every so often, usually to suppress dissent). Violations would carry stiff penalties: 90 days in the slammer and a $2,000 fine.

I don't even need to tell you this is unconstitutional under the safeguard for freedom of association. Since you read this blog (as all cool people do), you know that.

Indeedity-doodledy, even youth curfews in nearby cities have already been ruled unconstitutional. How does the city of Paterson expect to be able to impose a curfew on adults?

Avidly DLC Mayor Jose Torres boasted, "We're trying to think outside the box." By putting the people of Paterson in a box?

Damn. I miss the '70s. In my day, we usually didn't have to worry about the Constitution being suspended wholesale just on a whim. I think this story proves once again that American society has actually moved backwards over the past 30 years.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Frida look-alike challenges Boxer (and is losing!)

Since the other side is in campaign mode 100% of the time, let's have some fun at their expense!

Carly Fiorina is the right-winger who gave that horrible, horrible speech during the 2008 Republican convention. (Yeah, I know: Which horrible, horrible speech?)

Fiorina headed Hewlett-Packard for several years. To hear the Republicans talk, you'd think she invented the Action Cam. But she's nothing but another out-of-touch corporate executive.

As a measure of Fiorina's arrogance, peep one of her infamous quotes: "No American has a God-given right to a job."

Uh, according to who? I guess we have a God-given right to sit at home and live off the fat of the land then. Unless she says otherwise, I'll interpret her statement to mean just that.

Maybe I'll just quit my job and not put out another book, and mooch off everyone else for a living. Carly Fiorina says it's OK, so why not?

And she's running for Senate against Barbara Boxer?

Of course, Republicans think they're owed that Senate seat that Fiorina is seeking. They think they're owed every public office. Why, they're the Republicans, you see, and are privileged and special.

But I don't think America has much to worry about. A poll conducted by Research 2000 says Fiorina is down by 21% against Boxer. I don't expect this gap to tighten much, as the Republicans just keep getting more and more idiotic.

The funny thing is that this is one of the seats that the Republicans keep bragging is in their grasp. If this is the most likely GOP pick-up, they may as well just pack it in and save themselves a lot of ridicule.

You mean there's 37 states worse than ours?

Introducing my first-ever ranking of economic fairness among the 50 states and D.C.

I've developed a formula that factors in various public policies to produce this ranking. To make a long story short, Oregon is the best state for economic freedom and justice; Texas is the worst.

This ranking may yield some surprises, but overall, it makes some sense. The Northeast and Appalachia tend to perform well, while the South tends to gravitate towards the bottom:

1. Oregon
2. District of Columbia
3. New Mexico
4. Delaware; Montana (tie)
6. New York
7. Missouri
8. Massachusetts
9. Wisconsin
10. Ohio
11. Washington
12. Kentucky; Maryland; West Virginia (tie)
15. New Jersey
16. Illinois
17. Colorado
18. New Hampshire
19. Michigan
20. Vermont
21. Connecticut
22. Hawaii
23. Pennsylvania
24. California
25. Maine
26. Rhode Island
27. Minnesota
28. Alaska
29. Indiana
30. Virginia
31. North Carolina; Oklahoma (tie)
33. Kansas
34. Arkansas; Iowa (tie)
36. Wyoming
37. Alabama; Georgia; Louisiana (tie)
40. North Dakota
41. Nebraska
42. Arizona
43. Tennessee
44. Idaho; South Carolina (tie)
46. Mississippi
47. Utah
48. South Dakota
49. Nevada
50. Florida
51. Texas

Now you know why Republicans in West Virginia are trying to pass a law to replace the state's entire legal code with that of Virginia. It's because Virginia is the more unfair of the two.

I'm not going to reveal the exact formula I used for this ranking, because this is part of my livelihood.

With unemployment soaring in Southern states that have some of the worst rankings on this list, this also shows that unfair economic practices don't exactly bring in jobs like their apologists claim.

Vick proves crime pays

In BushAmerica, crime pays.

Just ask Lynndie England - the war criminal who cashed in on her own crimes by writing a book that Fox News has promoted every chance it gets.

Another infamous individual who proves crime pays is football quarterback Michael Vick.

For starts, Vick only had to serve 18 months of his 23-month sentence for a felony dogfighting conviction.

You'd think this conviction would have been the end of Vick's lucrative football career. He was convicted of serious state and federal felonies. In other words, major crimes - the same thing all the TV shows warned everyone against back in my day.

But he's coming back! Now he's signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, in which he'll earn $1,600,000 in only a year.

Hey, I think I'll commit a federal felony so I can make $1,600,000 a year.

Why does the NFL tolerate this? The league doesn't tolerate tailgate parties, and it doesn't have much patience for fans who'd rather watch games on TV than endure pat-downs at the stadium. Yet it puts up with players who commit federal felonies? The NFL has more tolerance for felonies than it does for acts that aren't even crimes at all!

Three words come to mind: It's fucking ridiculous.

Michael Vick isn't as unrepentant about his dogfighting activity as Lynndie England is about her war crimes. But I used to think society had rules and consequences. When you break major laws, you should face the penalty.

Part of the problem is the poor example that public officials have set for years. When the elder Bush pardoned all those Iran-Contra figures, people realized crime pays.

America in the 2000s has become a predominantly crime-based economy - one of very few examples in the history of the world. Look at all the corporate scandals like Enron. Look at all the stories about major corporations violating laws and getting away with it.

Next time you hear of someone being rewarded for a serious crime, you have to consider that this has been a hallmark of American society for years now.

GOP signs people up for unsolicited White House e-mails

This is the story that Darrell Issa is screaming his head off about.

A couple days ago, there were some rumblings about folks receiving spam e-mail from the White House.

The White House initially said there was nobody receiving unsolicited e-mail. But now White House online director Macon Phillips says in a blog post that "outside groups" had signed people up to receive these e-mails.

In other words, Republican operatives randomly plucked e-mail addresses and signed them up for White House e-mails, just so Obama could be blamed for it.

I guess the Republicans realized when Jim Talent lost that it didn't pay to spam people with Republican e-mail. So now they're signing everyone up for Obama's e-mail list so the Democrats can be blamed.

Is there any sleazy tactic the GOP won't resort to?


Monday, August 17, 2009

Feingold may rescue public option

Since you read this blog (as all cool people do), you know the word 'win' is not part of the Democratic Party lexicon. Hell, they let 10 Republican loudmouths at town hall meetings control their agenda.

But it's possible that 'win' may still be found in the dictionary of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin).

After all, Feingold was the only senator who voted against the hated Patriot Act when it first came to a vote.

Now Feingold says he's "not interested" in a health reform bill unless it at least includes a public insurance option.

I think the Democrats might have found their presidential candidate for 2016. That is, if they want to reacquaint themselves with the concept of winning - instead of buckling under each time a Republican shakes their fist at a town hall.

GOP culture of corruption claims another?

Let's play another game of "guess the party affiliation" - since the paper won't list the party of a politician that's in trouble.

Eddie Price is the mayor of Mandeville, Louisiana. Since Mandeville is one of these "everything illegal" suburbs, I almost didn't even need to research what party he was, but it turns out my hunch was correct: Yes, he's a Republican. (Sigh.)

Now - along with a local police official - Price has been charged with perjury by a grand jury. Price has been forced to turn himself in at the local jail.

Some could say this is just an isolated incident, but if that's the case, the GOP sure is full of isolated incidents, isn't it? Make no mistake: The Republican culture of corruption is a web of connected events - not isolated acts.

The culture of corruption is so pervasive in the Republican Party that one wonders why it's on track to lose only 10 congressional seats next year instead of all of them.


Stephen Hawking blasts Investor's Bullshit Daily

Investor's Business Daily is known for editorials so extreme that they would have been previously considered unprintable outside Nazi Germany.

An editorial on July 31 was so far removed from the fact-based world that it's a miracle that it's only now prompting the outrage it so richly deserves. One wonders how this sorryass paper is even surviving at all after this.

This editorial ranted against health care reform and said that physicist Stephen Hawking "wouldn't have a chance in the U.K.", because of Britain's national health care program - known as the National Health Service (NHS).

One major problem with this argument: Hawking is British. He's been covered by Britain's public health system ever since it was created (almost his entire life).

In fact, Hawking has now issued a statement blasting IBD's piece. He said, "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS."

The fact is, if an American of modest means has ALS today, they now have very little chance of living with the disease as long as Hawking has. I'm not saying it's impossible, but the odds are against them.

I just can't believe there aren't more people calling out Investor's Bullshit Daily for not even being able to get its bullshit straight.

Huckabee: Health care crisis a hooooooooooaax!

I can't believe how close this moron came to getting the Republican nomination.

Wait, actually I can. Rank stupidity has almost become a prerequisite for that.

For years, we've known that tens of millions of Americans have no health insurance. Fifteen years ago, that figure was generally cited at just under 40,000,000. It grows a little each year, and now it's close to 50,000,000.

But according to Mike Huckabee - Mr. UnfairTax himself - it's all a biiiiiiiiiig hoax by "the liberals."

On his Fox News show yesterday, Fuckapee declared there are only 5,000,000 uninsured Americans. Most of the other 45,000,000, he says, just haven't filled out the insurance paperwork.

Seriously. He said that.

Maybe the reason they didn't fill out the paperwork is because they couldn't get insurance. Ever think of that?

Of course, don't expect logic to ever be absorbed by Mike Huckabee's meager brain cells.

At least Huckabee told this whopper on a network that is nearly synonymous with lies and bullying, instead of cluttering a more respectable channel. Then again, the FCC used to take a dim view of stations deliberately distorting the news.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Welp, no health care reform until at least 2017

The Democrats have a way to cave, don't they?

After pledging to enact health care reform by the end of August, the Obama administration now appears ready to abandon the much-praised public insurance option.

The public option should have been considered a minimum goal - not a maximum. Single payer would be better, of course, but a public option is the minimum we have a right to expect. If you don't have at least a public option, it's not reform at all. It just isn't.

Looks like I'm gonna have to wait another 8 years to see that ear specialist.

Why cave now? The Associated Press cites "mounting opposition" to health reform. But the only major opposition is from talk-shit radio, town hall disruptors, and the corporations, right-wing think tanks, and Republican hacks who bankroll them.

If the Democrats choose to be bullied by violent Nazis who attack Rosa Parks posters, the least they can do is not bring the country down with them. You don't compromise with out-and-out fascists like the Tea Party crowd, who have no interest whatsoever in fixing anything.

Ever hear the saying, "You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist"?

This triangulation policy is the same one that helped bring us the failed welfare "reform" law and Telecommunications Act in 1996. It also helped lead to Congress allowing Bush to carry out the illegal Iraq War.

The difference now is that the Republicans (thankfully) don't control the White House or Congress anymore, so what's the excuse? The Democrats can't even defend themselves against 30 people who rip up posters at town halls?


Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Dristan bubbling bag test (Bubble Gum Weekend)

Usually this feature deals with a commercial that either advertised gum or showed a person bubbling - or both. But the ad in this week's installment does neither.

About 30 years ago, the makers of Dristan decongestant ran an ad campaign featuring something called a breathing bag. It was a bag that people breathed into to demonstrate how well the product worked.

In those days, this decongestant may well have worked - at least better than what you can buy now. The War on Drugs wasn't as out of control yet, so it was still a few more years before companies started phasing out many usable products in the name of the failed drug war.

An example of the breathing bag can be found in this Dristan commersh that flourished in 1980 (and which I remember from my youth):

What does this have to do with bubble gum?

Well, much of the cost of a container of Dristan probably went towards its development of the breathing bag. But why did the Dristan peeps need to invent a breathing bag, when a bubbling bag had already been on the market for a half-century?

I'm talking bubble gum, folks. Instead of a breathing bag, it would have been cheaper if the woman in the ad chewed bubble gum, placed the wad over her nose, and tried blowing a bubble that way.

There must be some awfully strong stuff in that breathing bag, judging by the woman's reaction during her first successful attempt to inflate it. Does it have laughing gas residue or something?

Or maybe she's laughing because the breathing bag resembles bubbling - which is automatically funny because it has to do with gum.

Eek! Home nurse visits!

You can't make this shit up, people.

Time magazine reports: "Now conservative opponents of health reform have found a new threat: home nurse visits to low-income parents."


According to what passes for the right-wing mind these days, home nurse visits are just a means for the Obama administration to enter families' homes to seize their children.

This claim is ironic in more ways than one. For starts, both Republicans and Democrats had long supported home nurse visits - which have existed in some states for years, and have been quite beneficial.

For another thing, if anyone is guilty of breaking up families and taking children, it's not "the liberals." The lion's share of the American school system is right-wing, and it has your kids 10 months a year now.

"The liberals" aren't the folks who have called child protective services on parents who refused to drug their kids with Ritalin.

"The liberals" aren't the people who run abusive teen confinement cults.

The brand of right-wing statism that has grown in the United States over the past quarter-century is contrary to nature and human aspirations.

I wonder whether health reform opponents truly believe their own claim that home nurse visits are a leftist plot to kidnap your children, or if they've just exhausted every other excuse they've had to oppose reform.