Monday, November 30, 2009

L.A. housing crisis boils over

This story lays bare the disaster that results when our public officials chisel away at individual rights but allow property to be used for unreasonable purposes. Because property thinks it's people and all.

A UN human rights investigator from Brazil recently met with folks in Los Angeles about the United States' growing housing crisis and the homelessness that has resulted.

She had been denied entry to the U.S. by the Bush regime - forcing her to wait until this year. The regime's idiotic excuse was that housing is not a human right, so it felt she had no business investigating.

The people of L.A. had no shortage of legitimate complaints about housing. For one, housing costs are too high. For another, failure to rein in foreclosures has made residents homeless - and then police throw them in jail for being homeless.

This despite the fact that vagrancy laws were ruled unconstitutional decades ago. If anyone is breaking the law, it's the city, for not obeying court orders. These illegal arrests, in turn, make it almost impossible to find housing later!

And they might not be able to anyway, because public housing has been torn down.

Other residents were angry that Los Angeles City Council no longer requires landlords to follow basic safety regulations that are on the books. This is the same City Council that passed a resolution demanding that schools require uniforms, but it won't require that building owners make sure their buildings are safe for tenants?

The city is so eager to suppress individual rights with uniforms and vagrancy laws, but it won't enforce reasonable regulations on large property owners - because they think that violates "property rights."

That, my friends, is fascism.

Most astonishingly, one resident pointed out that in Cuba, nobody goes homeless, because housing is considered a basic human right. Yet the U.S. won't even recognize this right!

Cubans have more rights than we do now??? Seriously, if Cuba can make sure everybody has housing, why can't the U.S.? What's the excuse for this? There is none.

What can we do in the meantime?

Los Angeles City Council should be arrested for contempt of court.

Also, we need to establish that housing is a human right - not a privilege that only gets doled out to those born into America's fraternity of wealth.


Rightists win sham Honduran election

Right-wing back-slapping over this development would be almost laughable if it wasn't such a serious matter.

After a right-wing coup earlier this year overthrew the democratically elected President of Honduras, the country has been sent scrambling.

Yesterday, the new regime conducted an election to pick a new President - which the conservative party predictably won.

Why was this so predictable? Because it was a sham election. Do you honestly trust a right-wing dictatorship to run an honest election?

What's oddly amusing is the way right-wing websites and editorial pages in the U.S. count this bogus election as a mandate for conservative principles. You're hilarious, conservos, you know that?

It reminds me of how Saddam Hussein claimed he had a mandate when he ran a phony election in which he got 100% of the vote. (It also reminds me of what some guy named Bush did.)

It's a dictatorship! They don't have free elections! Understand?!

The Honduran election was such a sham that several countries are refusing to recognize the results.

But in conservatives' funhouse mirror world, the only elections that count are ones they rigged.


Cop-killing suspect was released by Huckabee

Living anachronism Mike Huckabee now has even more baggage on his hands if he ever becomes the Republican presidential nominee.

Many of you are already familiar with the case of Wayne DuMond. DuMond was a convicted rapist in Arkansas who was released from prison because of pressure by then-Gov. Huckabee. Huckabee lied about his role in releasing DuMond.

Almost immediately after Huckabee had him released, DuMond murdered a woman in Missouri.

Now comes the case of Maurice Clemmons, the prime suspect in the shooting deaths of 4 police officers at a coffee shop near Lakewood, Washington, yesterday. It turns out that - like DuMond - Clemmons also has ties to Huckabee.

Clemmons served part of a stiff prison sentence in Arkansas for numerous felony charges there. But in 2000, Huckabee commuted his sentence. After Huckabee released him, Clemmons moved to Washington state, where he was recently charged with assaulting a cop and with the rape of a child.

And that brings us to yesterday's incident.

Upon hearing the news, an Arkansas prosecutor said, "This is the day I've been dreading for a long time."

In other words, everyone knew Maurice Clemmons was trouble, but Huckabee released him anyway.

You mean all this bluster by conservatives about being "tough on crime" was a Big Lie? Gee, I'm shocked.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Peeved in Pevely

Pevely, MO (11/27/09) - Greetings from fact-finding mish #59! There's nothing like combining business and pleasure, so I'm spending the evening writing new material for this marvelous blog!

Just now, in the motel parking lot, I noticed something rather bizarre.

There looms a red, outhouse-sized donation bin, which claims to accept shoes and clothes. Now that's fine, as long as all the donations go to charity. But in this case, they 'tisn't.

The donation bin features text blaring that donated items will be resold for profit, and that the bin is run by a for-profit company - not a charity.

If you see a Burger King or a Kroger, do you just walk in and give them $20, without getting any food or merchandise in return?

You do? Then you must be weird.

Seriously, nobody does. So why should people just give clothes to a for-profit business without being paid for it?

I'm prepared to say that this donation box is a scam. But that assumes anyone has actually been monumentally dumb enough to fall for it.

I'd hate to belabor this point, but it can't be stressed enough: You don't voluntarily give most proprietary businesses free money, so why should this case be any diff?

If you have new or gently used clothes you don't need, give them to a real charity - not a business that just resells them to Make Money. The profit sector has gotten something for nothing for far too long.

(Also keep in mind that charitable donations are tax-deductible; contributions to for-profit companies are not.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Missouri open thread!

Just think!

Much of a Thanksgiving weekend with no stories here of right-wing blundering!

Tomorrow morning, I'm leaving for my fact-finding mission in Illinois and Missouri. I plan on being home late Saturday.

While I'm gone, I'm going to be thinking over my options in keeping America's rightward drift in check.

In the meantime, consider this an open thread!

Right-wing lawmakers may investigate climate change e-mails

I think we can officially say Congress has jumped the shark.

The clattering class we call the wingnutosphere is generating much din over what appears to be recently leaked e-mails regarding climate change. The right-wing intelligentsia claims the e-mails show scientists tried rigging studies to play up global warming.

But I've yet to see any of the scientists in question admit the e-mails are even real. So I'm starting from the premise that the e-mails are hoaxes that someone put out to try to discredit the scientists.

Even if the e-mails were real, that doesn't change the key facts: Glaciers are melting, temperatures are changing, and it's because of human activity. In fact, most of the e-mails - if they're genuine - are perfectly justifiable. For instance, one of them laments having to "respond to more crap criticisms from the idiots" (which has been my sentiment for years). Nothing in the e-mails even suggests any studies were fabricated! The scientists' only "left-wing agenda" appears to be trying to uphold the scientific method.

Someone on another website really zinged the wingnuts: This user joked that if the e-mails are genuine, the e-mails must have been important enough to convince the polar ice caps to start melting faster and the oceans to rise just to prove these scientists right.

The debate is over: Climate change is real and is caused by humans.

Because the e-mails are probably hoaxes, this story has generated relatively little press among credible news organizations.

But in the halls of Congress, it's a different matter.

Right-wing Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) now want to launch an investigation of climate change scientists. They cite the e-mails as "proof" that they jimmied studies.

If they're going to investigate something, why don't they probe the right-wing e-mails that lied about Saddam having nukes, which were used to draw America into a war?

Inhofe, Issa, and other right-wingers are big beneficiaries of campaign donations from energy companies and other corporations that produce pollutants that contribute to climate change. So they have a vested interest in denying climate change.

In the meantime, somebody should do jail time over the e-mail scandal. If the e-mails are fake, someone close to the wingnutosphere should be doing hard time for fraud. If not, somebody needs to be locked up for hacking accounts. It's either one or the other. I'm amazed that the right-wing brain trust keeps bragging that they got the e-mails from a hacker.

If this apparent leak suggests that scientists rigged data, it also shows that their opponents illegally hacked computers.

Loose lips sink ships, wingnuts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

County settles over politically motivated firings

It appears as if the 3 major counties in northern Kentucky have long been in a contest with each other to see which can be the most corrupt.

This culture of corruption is of course led by the Republicans.

GOP officials in Kenton County were responsible for the Bull Connor-like tactics during the Devou Park incident of 2000. In 2002, they were so distraught over their failure to pick up the area's congressional seat that they falsely claimed on the county government website that the Republicans had won.

Now the Kenton County Fiscal Court has had to pay out a 6-figure settlement over politically motivated firings. A former deputy clerk said she was wrongly fired when a new county clerk wanted to hire campaign donors instead.

The Republican county clerk had also fired his election opponent from a chief deputy clerk post. Unbelievably, however, a judge said that firing was legal.

These and other firings came just before Christmas in 2006.

Democrats who held posts in Kenton County in the '70s and '80s were - by and large - competent officials. But the Republicans who replaced them have been hacks who have tried pursuing an agenda and rewarding their pals.

Because of these right-wing hacks, Kenton County is now facing its worst fiscal woes in decades. Yet these politically motivated firings are costing the county even more - all because of the idiots running things. Why isn't anyone circulating a recall petition? Considering that mayors have been suspended just for criticizing the media's right-wing bias, why can't public officials be removed for misusing their posts to hire cronies?

The Count gets mail ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)


Because the mere mention of 'Sesame Street' sends you into helpless fits of hee-hawing, today is yet another 'Sesame Street' Wednesday!

Back in my day, the ol' Ses was much edgier. Oscar was meaner. Cookie Monster was hungrier. Big Bird was dumber.

And the Count was the scariest little guy you ever saw on children's TV.

These days, the Count looks and acts like a marshmallow in a box of Kaboom cereal. He's barely even a vampire anymore. He's more like a soft news reporter.

But when I was being raised up in the '70s, the Count was scarier, edgier, smarter, and more entertaining. And he was always eager to remind people that he was called the Count because he has a number fetish.

In this 1972 sketch, the Count mails himself many sacks full of letters just so he can count them:

Do the Count's later appearances even have the clap of thunder while he counts? Or are the producers of 'Sesame Street' afraid it might scare some exurban "values voters"?

The Count may think he has no friends, but he's got the diehard readers of The Online Lunchpail.

Study finds school uniforms harm achievement

Mandatory student uniforms in public schools have long been touted by the Far Right as a panacea.

Uniforms are a blight against basic rights and economic populism, as uniforms force cash-strapped families to spend more on school clothes (contrary to supporters' discredited babblings). And most school uniforms are made in abusive overseas sweatshops - a scandal the pop-up media has ignored.

In its attempts to stage-manage the public's attitudes, the media is also ignoring this story: A new study by Ryan Yeung published in Educational Policy (a peer-reviewed journal for educators) says uniforms do not help academic achievement or discipline.

In fact, uniforms appear to be harmful: In reading and math tests, students in private schools that require uniforms scored below those in private schools with no such policy. Among public schools, uniforms also produced no improvement.

Where's the media in reporting this study? As far as I know, none of the major news outlets have covered it at all.

The follows L.A.'s right-wing city council passing a resolution demanding that the city's public schools require uniforms.

America is better off than it was a year ago. Few will dispute that. Except in one very important way, as the media allows the scourge of uniforms to expand in America's slaughterhouse school system and ignores negative stories.

Gee, fighting the right-wing media over their smug, petty crusade to require school uniforms is exactly where I expected to be in life at 36.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wingnuts play race card to criticize progressive taxation

A headline on the far-right Canada Free Press website and other extremist sites blares, "Higher Taxes on Rich: Discrimination Based on Race?"

In the article, writer John Lillpop claims that progressive taxation is racist.

But how?????

Lollipop groans, "There is a racist element in all this. For the most part, America's rich are Caucasian which means that they are 'fair game' for liberal tax abusers like Obama and Levin."

If progressive taxation is racist against whites, then wouldn't that mean regressive taxation (which conservatives usually support) is racist against nonwhites? I'm not saying it is or it isn't. I'm just pointing out the fallacy of the wingnuts' argument. I'll leave the race-baiting to right-wing loons like John Lillpop who have run out of other arguments. But one thing is clear: Regressive taxation hurts the poor and middle class - and the economy at large.

Even without his playing the race card, Lillpop's article is truly breathtaking in its sheer elitism. I guess he figures that since his articles are read primarily by rich conservatives, he doesn't have to hide his contempt for the poor.

1995 called, Dum-Dum. It wants its politics back.

My blog will not stoop to race-baiting as John Lillpop has. I find it quite ironic that Lollipop would cry "racism!" when his fellow wingnuts have been flooding websites with increasing volumes of thinly veiled racist invective. It's almost beneath my dignity to even answer Lillpop's complaints, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Authorities call census worker murder a suicide

After a census worker in southeastern Kentucky was found dead in the woods with a rope around his neck, there was little doubt that this was a murder.

Later, there was no doubt at all.

But today, investigators for the Kentucky State Police said the 51-year-old had actually committed suicide and tried to make it look like a murder.

Pardon my frankness, but I'm calling bullshit on that explanation.

Believe me, this was a murder. Unfortunately, authorities think people will believe this cockamamie story about it being a suicide that was poorly carried out. Authorities aren't even trying to sound credible.

Friends had warned the victim that he was at risk of violence while doing his census work. So are we truly expected to believe this was a suicide?

Anyone who'd believe this was suicide is playing right into the hands of the web of powerful individuals who have long given shelter to violent criminals.


Court takes land for NBA arena

Everything within corporations; nothing outside them.

The state of New York's highest court ruled today that a state economic development agency may seize private homes and other land to be turned over to build a new arena for the proposed relocation of the New Jersey Nets.

What anus did the court pull this from?

The Constitution says eminent domain may be used only for public projects - not private entities like professional sports teams.

This follows the U.S. Supreme Court's highly questionable 2005 ruling in the case of Kelo v. New London. This decision let a Connecticut city take private homes and turn the land over to right-wing pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

After demolishing the neighborhood, Pfizer recently abandoned this project altogether - leaving just an empty building.

This also follows repeated fleecings of taxpayers to fund professional sports venues.

Team owners can't stand having to use any facility that's more than 10 years old, so they cry and stamp their feet until either the taxpayers buy them a new facility or the government seizes land to build a new one.


Judiciary Committee approves Idiot Act extension

Behold! The downfall of a political party...

Twenty years ago, very few congressional Democrats would have supported the type of right-wing media bailout that defined the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Ten years ago (and ever since), very few would have opposed it.

Similarly, 10 years ago, very few would have supported the provisions that are now part of the Patriot Act. Today, very few seem to be opposing it.

Quietly and deliberately, the Senate Judiciary Committee has now approved extending major Idiot Act provisions that were supposed to expire at the end of the year.

And little dissent is allowed in the halls of Washington.

Honestly, what's the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans these days?

Since it's obvious both major parties are exactly the same now, what can we do? I seriously considered encouraging a nationwide labor strike to protest the Idiot Act extension - but why should people forego their entire livelihoods when the government won't listen anyway?

Maybe it's time for a little bit, fun, perhaps?

I think I'm going to step up the petty Allowed Cloud violations to protest the Patriot Act. The 2009 Tim has been a smashing success, but something tells me the 2010 Tim will put that to shame.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Homebuilders win multibillion-dollar bailout

These days, average Americans have to grovel just to get a minimum-wage job - but corporations receive billions of dollars in taxpayer money just for the asking.

Now big homebuilders have received a government bailout worth billions. This bailout was hidden in the recently passed law that extends unemployment benefits.

Homebuilders already plan to use bailout dough to buy more land, build more fall-apart mansions, and increase sprawl - thus wasting fuel and other resources.

So while the law as a whole helps ease the Bush recession by extending unemployment aid, the law also undercuts this goal by giving handouts to corporations that are already swimming in cash. Further, this bailout encourages sprawl, which will inevitably harm the economy even more - by increasing fuel costs and hollowing our urban centers.


Week 15 of POOP

Last week was quiet on the POOP front - despite Google's thunderous demand for a court order the previous week.

However, my eyes have detected a bit of an anomaly in my news feeds.

I subscribe on Google News to any news article that mentions Google Groups. Until about a week ago, Google Groups was hardly ever mentioned by the media - except when Wired published its pieces exposing its broken search engine.

But now, Google Groups is receiving repeated mentions by various major news outlets encouraging people to use it. This after Google Groups had been proven to be stonewalling user complaints and refusing to delete forged posts or items that compromise users' privacy.

It's as if there's a coordinated effort by the pop-up media to promote Google Groups because they think it can be used to catch political foes.

Surprised? We shouldn't be. The media is so clearly in bed with the GOP that it continues to mislead the public for political purposes - which is why several major news organizations were already blackballed by this blog.

"Zero tolerance" fascism expands off campus

"Zero tolerance" disciplinary policies in America's slaughterhouse schools make criminals of the innocent but let the guilty go unpunished.

And now you don't even have to be at school or at a school-sponsored function to be targeted.

In Willows, California, a high school student has been expelled not for anything he did at school, but for what he did off campus. It was because his pickup truck - which was parked off campus - contained unloaded hunting shotguns.

What gives a public school the right to control what students do off campus, when their actions have nothing to do with school? Here's a hint: nothing.

Except of course in BushAmerica where every movement is watched.

The school claims that it was operating under the doctrine of in loco parentis - but that's only supposed to apply at school, at school functions, or on school buses.

How were the hunting guns even found? They were found when the school conducted a warrantless search using scent-sniffing dogs. But how can the school even conduct a search outside its own property? (That's not to mention the fact that the school didn't even have probable cause.)

The school also cited a 1996 federal law that the school claims prohibits possession of guns within 1,000 feet of a school.

Well, you can't say "the liberals" were behind that, conservos. Since the law passed in 1996, that would have been during one of the most Republican (and corrupt) Congresses in modern history.

Even if the school is hiding behind a law passed by a rogue Congress, it appears as if the student's actions didn't even violate the law as it was written. If he was violating it, why didn't the police arrest him? Why is the school taking it upon itself to enforce the law instead of going to prosecutors?

If this happened to me, I'd be talking to a good lawyer right now.


What the BTPers' Fort Lauderdale video missed

Days ago, I discussed the November 14 incident in which Tea Party thugs in Fort Lauderdale started a fight with an anti-racist group that opposed them.

Ironically, the video of this episode was trotted out by right-wingers who claimed they were the victims, not the aggressors. But few people fell for that claim after seeing the clip.

Turns out though that there were lots of interesting goings-on just before the camera started rolling.

For one thing, the Tea Party that day included racist signs and chants. For another, the anti-racists did not cross over to the street corner where the Tea Party was. However, Tea Party fascists crossed over repeatedly.

Minutes before the video began, a Tea Party organizer strolled over and assaulted an opponent. He also tore up their signs. Afterward, the first assailant was met by another Lipton Loser, as he swung a tripod at the group.

In a separate incident that day, one of the Tea Party whack-a-doodles tried running over an opponent with a truck.

The video didn't catch these moments. But now that there are witnesses, we have more facts instead of just the 90-second movie - which didn't exactly help the Tea Party's cause anyway.

In fact, there's very little that has. The Nastea Plungers have made fools of themselves at every rally, but they keep at it.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Can't escape Cape!

Since we're on the topic of my planned road trip in Illinois in Missouri, I've discovered some interesting political facts and figs!

It appears almost unavoidable that we'll end up going through Cape Girardeau, Missouri - hometown of a certain has-been right-wing radio host (pictured here). To underscore this city's unusual right-wing leanings, I looked up its voting statistics.

It turns out Obama would have won Missouri if not for Cape Girardeau County. McCain won that county by 13,000 votes but won the state by only 4,000.

In other words, one Republican county is controlling an entire state's destiny. Or, as ol' Rush himself might put it: Day 382 of Missouri Held Hostage, folks!

Luckily, this trip will probably not force us to travel in any work-for-less states. With the exception of trips that were limited to just the 4 states nearest to me, this will be the first trip free of work-for-less jurisdictions since the famed Magical Mystery Tour in the Northeast 4 years ago.

So at least our gas taxes won't be financing right-to-scab states!

Fact-finding mission #59 looms?

I might - I repeat, might - go on a brief fact-finding mission in Illinois and Missouri next weekend.

My last 2 fact-finding missions were only for public protests, and I went no further than Indiana. The total length of my last 4 trips doesn't even match that of what the caviar crowd considers one trip. A mere 58 trips in 36 years is not an inordinately high number, especially considering how short most of them were.

I guarantee, however, that I'm going to catch hell from some quarters for going on a trip - because it happens every time. WITHOUT EXCEPTION, every person who complains that I go on too many trips is someone who can afford to go on many more than I do.

I work hard on this blog and my other writing gigs, and after everything I suffered in my youth, I feel as if it's not improper to take one teensy-weensy jaunt to a state that borders my own. If you're not intimately familiar with the pattern of abuse I was forced to tolerate in school, please withhold negative comments about my travels.

I live a life of peed-on records and other deprivations, so a one-night visit to a nearby state isn't too much to ask.

My planned trip is by no means a certainty. It's weather permitting - and illness permitting. Let's get this straight right now: If I have to cancel because of illness, I'm going to be very, very, VERY angry. Readers of this blog will not hear the end of it for as long as this blog stays in business.

I can handle canceling it because of weather. But if it's canceled by illness, it will be because of others' sheer thoughtlessness.

With that, I better charge up the Eyewitness Cam battery and plan out a route!

Gas company thinks it has eminent domain powers

You can argue until you're blue in the ears about government powers to use eminent domain for public projects.

But what if a private company thinks it has eminent domain powers for its own private projects?

In Kentucky (as in some other states), powerful corporations don't need to worry. That's because state lawmakers gave private companies this power just for the asking.

If you have a farm or even a small house in the city, a private corporation can just bop along and take your property for their own use.

It's happening right now near Bowling Green - where a gas company is using eminent domain to try to take land from some folks.

Yes, in Kentucky, corporations are awarded more rights than people.

Let me be perfectly clear: This is unconstitutional. The Constitution says the government can take private property for public use only if it provides fair compensation. It doesn't say private firms can take property for private use at all.

Period. End of story.

But in a country where corporatism is the official religion, it's not the end of the story, I'm afraid. In modern America, everything is within Big Business, and nothing is outside it.


When an Alice Cooper look-alike bubbled (Bubble Gum Weekend)

Gum is cool.

So is Alice Cooper.

I even have the shock rocker's "Poison" vinyl single that I got at a used record shop for 50 cents. (It appeared as if the previous owner of this record peed on it, judging by the condition it was in.)

I know I've profiled this Hubba Bubba commersh with the Gum Fighter before. But please tell me I'm not crazy for thinking that the Gum Fighter's adversary in this ad resembles Alice Cooper:

I bet Channel 12 didn't show that ad, seeing how they once refused to air a show that featured this music legend.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chewy, chewy mucus...

Hahaha, I forgot about this for 30 years!

Since this is the weekend, you'd rather read about old candy commercials than politics. And I would too!

There was a commersh for the Nestle $100,000 candy bar (later renamed to 100 Grand) back in the '70s that featured an Archies-like jingle that goed, "Chewy, chewy caramel..."

In this ad, people stretched the caramel portion of the candy bar out of their mouths and plumb into the sky.

When I found this ad on YouTube, the fond memories came rushing back!

I instantly recalled how back in grade school, classmates pulled strands of mucus out of their noses, so that a side view of this act looked exactly like the manner in which folks in this commersh stretched out the $100,000 bar.

Here's a version of the ad from 1979:

I burst out laughing when I saw that!

I wonder if Nestle has ever been sued for false advertising for charging only 85 cents for this candy bar when it says 100 Grand right on the wrapper.

Disabled veteran assaulted at McDonald's over service dog

The Americans with Disabilities Act means what it says - despite attempts by some organizations to circumvent it.

At a McDonald's in Brooklyn, a disabled Iraq War veteran was denied service because he had a service dog.

Later, the restaurant placed a sticker on its window saying service dogs were welcome. But the man was denied service again. Afterward, when he tried photographing the sticker, he was assaulted and injured by 2 men.

Now he's quite properly suing McDonald's under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Of course, the idiots at Free Republic don't appreciate the man's sacrifices, as they insist on calling him a "leftist wacko" because he sued the restaurant.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Music and baseball question!

Since this is a weekend, you probably don't care to hear about politics. You'd rather hear about baseball and music - even though baseball season is over, and this is the time of year when music radio always goes to shit (and never recovers).

A friend of mine who always has a lot of music questions insists I post this question here, so here it comes...

She says the song appeared on MTV around 1984. I should remember it just for that reason, yet embarrassingly, I do not. Anybip, the chorus of the song appeared to be singing, "Baaasebaaall." However, this was not the real lyric - just something that sounded like it.

I know there was a locally popular song about the Reds that sounded like this, but according to this friend of mine, the song in question here had nothing to do with baseball and that this was just a misheard lyric.

Can anyone help us out in answering this super stumper?

Texas suburb charges man with felony over pepper spray

Aren't you fed up with the big, mean cities infringing on our Second - wait a minute here!

What's this?!

This story comes to us not from a liberal major city but from a right-wing Texas suburb.

In Wylie, Texas (a Dallas suburb) a man has been jailed on a felony charge all because police found a small canister of pepper spray during a routine traffic stop.

Everything really is illegal in the Republican suburbs, isn't it? Suburbia certainly has the cities beat in terms of Allowed Clouds.

Actually, pepper spray is perfectly legal under state law. But with Wylie being the elite suburb it is, I guess it can make up its own laws, even if they violate the Constitution.

And violate the Constitution it does. You have a right to carry pepper spray. I don't give a shit what some local law says. It's a constitutionally protected right.

A grand jury declined to indict the man after he was charged. But he had to spend thousands in legal fees.

You can't blame "the libs" for this bogus arrest, conservos.


Bring it on, wingnuts!

Ooh, color me terrified!

Now James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles - the so-called moviemakers who made the hoax ACORN videos - are teaming up with right-wing media hatchet man Andrew Breitbart to issue THREATS!

The trio says they're going to release more videos just before the 2010 election unless Attorney General Eric Holder investigates ACORN pronto. And this time, they claim, "it's not just ACORN."

Go ahead, wingnuts. Make my day.

The ACORN videos were debunked as hoaxes almost as quickly as they appeared. Who the hell is going to believe O'Keefe, Giles, and Breitbart now?

The only result of the ACORN videos has been a possible criminal probe against the moviemakers in several states - though I think the charge should be fraud, not wiretapping.

One suspects their next clip is going to feature just an old newspaper photo of some politician they don't like, with the lower jaw being moved up and down as they try to mimic their voices. That's about what they've stooped to.

Bring. It. On.

Another beating injury in America's schools


What's particularly shocking about this story is that the school district where this abuse occurred - San Augustine, Texas - recently changed its corporal punishment policy so that now they don't even bother to get parents' permission before paddling a student. Now it's just paddle away!

I swear, if there isn't a lawsuit over this...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

EU chooses another conservative for top job

When the European Union chooses a top political leader, you can usually count on them being yet another conservative. That's because the EU is ruled by a right-wing elite that keeps putting its own political allies in charge. It's Europe's version of the Republican revolving door.

Now the EU has selected Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy as the first occupant of its newly created presidential post. Yep, another conservative.

Mind you, this is not an elected position. It's appointed by elite leaders who meet behind closed doors. But the EU now makes a vast majority of laws for its member countries.

All this in an EU that requires member nations to have corporatist economic systems anyway.


Bush feewinghurt case goes to court

The Decider's been out of office nearly a year, and we're still cleaning up the piles he left.

Back in 2005, 2 people were booted from a Bush appearance at a taxpayer-funded event in Denver because they had a "NO BLOOD FOR OIL" bumper sticker on their car. They were ejected because Bush might get his pwecious widdle feewings hurt if he had to see people who disagreed with him.

Unbelievably, when the ejected pair sued, a judge dismissed their case. But now it's going to a federal appeals court.

Not only did the taxpayers have to pay for a Bush event in which dissidents were excluded, but now the court has to spend time on a case that never would have arisen if Bush wasn't such a fascist.

Contrast Bush events versus the recent health care town halls, in which right-wing disruptors were allowed to show up by the dozens.

Ironically, attorneys for the Bush crew are defending their case by dredging up a long-forgotten act of Republican suppression from years earlier. Back in the '92 campaign, a woman wearing a Bill Clinton button was ejected from a public campaign event featuring the elder Bush. If the Republican legal eagles don't want to remind people what a bunch of fascist thugs the GOP is, maybe they should've kept their yips shut.


Poll says most Republicans think ACORN stole election

Projecting again, wingnuts?

A new poll by Public Policy Polling reveals that a majority of Republicans think the 2008 presidential election was stolen - by ACORN, of all people.

In this survey, 52% of GOP respondents harbored this delusion, while only 27% believe President Obama really won.

(Pollsters have long had a habit of oversampling Republicans, but this statistic refers specifically to the GOP.)

This after the Republicans stole 2 presidential elections in a row. (Remember that precinct in Ohio that only had 680 registered voters but somehow counted over 4,000 votes for Bush?)

Remember, this is the same party that believes Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, thinks climate change is a hoax, and says lowering taxes for the rich decreases the deficit.

It's no wonder the country is barely functional: A party that's clearly delusional controlled the government for 28 consecutive years.


Right wing hits new low

If you were waiting for the other side to hit rock bottom, I think the suspense has finally ended.

This disgusting story needs little comment here:

The wingnuts can't cope, so this is what they've stooped to?

When you see stories like this, there's not much further you can go.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wingnuts hallucinate about Twitter bias

The right-wing brain trust thinks there's a liberal conspiracy in everything, don't they?

Right-wing extremists recently complained that Twitter's suggested user list contained more Democratic candidates for Governor of California than Republican candidates - which they claimed was harming the poor, precious GOP.

These allegations were completely unfounded. If nobody got a Republican candidate in their suggested user list, it was probably because the GOP has so little support. (Indeed, the leading Democratic candidate has almost 1,000,000 Twitter followers, while each of the leading Republican candidates has fewer than 5,000.)

Despite this, Twitter is buckling under by abolishing this feature.

The moral of the story? If you're a wingnut, all you need to do is scream and cry for a few minutes, and you'll get your way. Gotta coddle the little babies, I guess.


Lawmaker wants Oklahoma exempted from federal hate crime laws

The Republicans just keep getting more extreme, don't they?

In Oklahoma, right-wing State Sen. Steve Russell plans to introduce a bill to pull the Sooner State out of federal hate crime laws.


He thinks a state can exempt itself from a federal law that protects the public from violent crimes? You're a nut, Steve.

He says the federal hate crime statute violates free speech. Seriously, he said that. He thinks hate crimes are constitutionally protected speech.



Grover's restaurant is owed a plopping! ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Today is Plop Day. The now-legendary Plop Lecture occurred 21 years ago today!

In the utopia of 'Sesame Street', however, this concept is alien - as nobody has ever had to go to the bathroom in the entire history of the show. Ever notice that?

The lack of restrooms on the ol' Ses is unfortunate, when you consider what happened in the sketch profiled here today. It's one of many that features the bald, blue, male Anything Muppet with a brown mustache attempting to buy lunch at Grover's restaurant.

In this hilarious skit (probably from the '70s), Grover's eatery runs out of every menu item except milk:

This is notable as one of the few 'Sesame Street' segments in which a character almost uses profanity. At :08, the mustachioed Muppet mutters, "Son of a..."

What does this have to do with Plop Day? If I was the blue Anything Muppet, I'd be so frustrated by this restaurant's poor service that I'd make sure something got thrown in the toilet. A menu, a napkin holder, a tablecloth, anything. If the guy had lots of time, he could just get up and leave and forget about the whole ordeal. But he's clearly on his lunch hour, and he works too hard to have his lunch break squandered by Grover's serial ineptitude.

So a good plopping is in order.

Grover's diner being out of every menu item kind of reminds me of that tourist trap restaurant I ate at during my North Carolina trip last year.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Insurance runs out for boy with missing arm

The greed that defines America's broken health care system never ends, does it?

In Michigan, a 12-year-old boy who was born with most of his right arm missing now has no way to pay for a prosthetic arm, which costs $30,000. That's because his insurer says he has already reached his lifetime maximum limit for health coverage.

Only 17 U.S. states prohibit insurers from setting lifetime caps on prosthetic coverage. Michigan is not one of them.

This is the condition the American health care system has fallen to?


"Transparency" group debunked over right-wing ties

If you come across any report put out by Transparency International, it's as good as a paper airplane or toilet tissue.

TI claims to be an organization to fight government corruption around the world. Ironically, the group's own lack of transparency and attempts to manipulate coverage of itself discredit its claim.

When someone noticed that the Wikipedia entry about TI was virtually identical to the group's own description of itself on its website, a red flag went up. When others attempted to correct this, however, suspicious commenters accused these updates of "smearing" TI.

Although Transparency International claims to oppose corruption, the group was funded by Enron, an energy giant that was the focus of a major accounting scandal in the early 2000s. It was also funded by Boeing while one of Boeing's top execs was imprisoned for corrupt activities.

TI also threatened to sue a German blogger in 2006 unless she removed a blog entry that criticized the group.

TI's Venezuelan bureau is staffed by operatives tied to organizers of a failed right-wing coup against democratically elected President Hugo Chavez. One of these staffers worked for a right-wing think tank that was funded by the Bush regime using American taxpayer dollars. Several personnel from TI's Bosnian branch have been accused of racketeering.

Meanwhile, TI refused to expose corruption in the U.S. government under Bush. TI's laughable Corruption Perceptions Index gave high marks to the Bush regime and has given a very high ranking to the totalitarian dictatorship in Singapore, despite widespread public corruption there.

Even though TI's idiotic blubberings don't square with the facts, the media machine still doesn't seem to have caught on.

Another abusive program closed!

Abusive teen confinement cults are dropping like flies.

Now, Mount Batchelor Academy near Prineville, Oregon, is closing for good.

This after the program had its license temporarily suspended by the state because of abuse. Mount Batchelor now says it will not reopen at all.

The Bend Bulletin ran an interesting article on Sunday about this program's troubled history:

Mount Batchelor was based largely on the old Synanon cult. But so are many other teen programs - from so-called "rehabs" to psychiatric "hospitals."

Sadly, many parents don't realize it's a scam until it's too late.

Assault by BTPers caught on video!

Cultists of the current Tea Party movement aren't exactly known for docility.

They're confrontational. After reports of racist invective and assaults on reporters that have defined the recent Tea Parties, it's important to catch their attacks on video. Not like the media will pick up the story, or that the BTPers' apologists will stop calling it a peaceful movement - but at least we'll have proof.

The video below is of an attack Saturday in Fort Lauderdale. In this movie, Tea Partiers violently confronted a group that supported immigration amnesty.

Now, immigration isn't an issue I usually get worked up over - unless raw racists try exploiting the issue. In that case, I come down hard against the racist exploiters. In this incident, Tea Party whack-a-doos decided to be confrontational about the matter:

Now here's the real bipper: Right-wing websites are trotting out this video and saying the Tea Partiers were actually the victims, not the aggressors!

Um, no.

When you get in someone's face in a threatening manner - as the Tea Party gent in this video did - the person being confronted has every reason to defend themselves.

The BTPers started a fight in a public place and had the nerve to cry that they were the innocent victims. Reminds me of a line in a Stevie Wonder song: "Yet you cry, 'Why am I the victim?'...When the culprit's Y-O-U."

In fact, that YouTube clip was posted by a right-wing activist! Isn't it odd that they just happened to be filming right before the confrontation started, like they knew what was going to happen? If the BTPers were at such serious risk of injury, why didn't the cameraperson jump in and help them?

I'm not the only one who knows this incident is a failed frame-up that ended badly for the BTPers. One YouTube commenter said, "Hate to say it. But it looks like the Florida Tea Party Protesters started it."

If the Tea Party crowd can't handle what happens when they physically threaten their adversaries, maybe they should have stayed home.

Teacher accused of placing "hit" on student

America is reaping the nauseating results of shoving standards and character aside. After Mad Dog Bush pardoned traitors in the Iran-Contra scandal, the lesson was that there were no limits on what an individual who can't cope with adult life or being in a position of authority could get away with.

This story comes to us from Clayton County, Georgia. The Clayton County school system is so bad that it recently became the first American school district to have its accreditation revoked in 40 years. But that's another matter entirely.

Now a high school teacher there has been charged with terroristic threatening for allegedly placing a "hit" on a student.

For no apparent reason, the teacher reportedly pulled the student out of class and asked him if he was gay. The student's attorney says that on the following day, the instructor "threatened to hit him in his 'f-ing mouth.'"

Days later, the teacher reportedly directed another student to "put a hit" on the first student. The teacher allegedly offered to pay him to kill him.

Naturally, the school district is stalling its investigation of the matter.

The teacher has not yet been convicted in any offenses surrounding this story. But after what I've witnessed in some of the schools in my area, I have no reason to think the student who made the allegations is lying.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Lawmakers debate (gasp!) breaking up big banks

Yet another story in the "laws aren't for corporations" department.

If you read this blog, you probably understand the people's power to break up big corporations. The government broke up Standard Oil in its early years. It broke up AT&T later. So why do global greed merchants insist we can't break up big banks?

A new Democratic bill in Congress would help restore some of the people power of breaking up banks. But banking lobbyists are crying foul.

It's one thing if they argue that the bill will cut into their deep profits. But their argument that the government has no power to break up large corporations is plumb silly.

Just ask AT&T and Standard Oil.

The more important point though is that corporations have no constitutional rights. None. Nor should they.

If someone wants to complain that there's too much regulation, why don't they worry about the mortgaging of individual freedoms instead? The insane War on Drugs has cost innocent Americans liberties that were once taken for granted. And it's illegal for an average person to buy or sell a fully assembled FM transmitter. In some locales, it's illegal to buy sex toys.

Yet banks and other major corporations enjoy an almost unregulated climate.


Week 14 of POOP

There were fireworks aplenty last week on the POOP front.

It was the week we learned what a bureaucratic mess Google has become. As one hand of Google doesn't know what the other is doing, they figure they're better off if they just try to hide it instead of fixing the problem.

First, they told me I need a court order just to remove my own copyrighted posts (which Google had reposted without my permission).

Then I caught Google red-handed stonewalling complaints by other users about the problem, as Google refuses to count positive ratings for their complaints.

Later, I discovered Google's YouTube was accepting fourth-party DMCA takedown notices from Fox News Channel designed to silence dissent - with no court order whatsoever.

The Fox News incident sort of proves John Edwards right about there being "two Americas", doesn't it? There's one set of rules for right-wing corporations like that which controls Fox, and another set for everyone else.

This saga reminds me of the pile driver chaos of about 4 years ago. I believe that was when the city of Bellevue allowed a noisy pile driver to disturb the city almost 24/7 for months. Nothing was done about it, despite repeated complaints by countless residents. Yet the city was willing to cite people who had their car radio up too loud for 3 seconds.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

When a Sarah Palin look-alike bubbled (Bubble Gum Weekend)

I've profiled this old Trident bubble gum ad here before, but it's so patently absurd that why shouldn't I do it again?

The ad appears to be a person-on-the-street interview about this brand of gum. The interviewee who blows a bubble looks very vaguely like a much younger Sarah Palin:

Now, if that was the real Sarah Palin, she'd probably exaggerate this appearance in her latest book. This book - which is part of Palin's campaign of self-promotion - has already been found to contain numerous errors designed to appear favorable to her.

If Palin had appeared in that Trident ad, her book would be claiming that she blew a bubble 3 times the size of her head. And she'd probably also blame the "stinky" media for bursting it in her hair.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Moon bombing a bust

I knew the bombing of the moon was going to be one of the year's big flops, but the media has been trying to put a positive spin on it nonetheless.

When NASA used a missile to bore a 100-foot-wide crater in the moon last month, they acted like there was going to be a big Lake Huron hiding underground. But the bombing yielded only enough water to fill a large refrigerator - about 25 gallons.

More significantly, it's all ice or vapor. It's not even water in its liquid form!

This is little better than if they had only found poo-poo!

Think how difficult it's going to be to even get any more ice or water vapor. Is NASA just going to keep shelling the moon every time it wants a few gallons of moon ice? And what's going to happen once they use it all up?


Friday, November 13, 2009

SOCin' it to SOC

Hard to believe we have to put up with bullshit like this in the so-called land of the free, but after the Sudafed logs, nothing surprises me anymore.

Major Hollywood studios want the FCC to mandate a new technology called SOC - selectable output control.

SOC would shut off the video output jacks on the back of your set during the airings of certain movies on TV.

It would also make existing VCR's and DVD players obsolete. They would no longer work, forcing people to either replace them or do without.

American consumers keep the economy afloat by buying all this keen new electronic equipment, and Hollywood shows its thanks by trying to take it all away from us.

That's not to mention the fact that the SOC would also stifle new technology and the free flow of ideas.

But since corporations want this, their word is law, right?


Fox News gets YouTube channel closed

The tin-pot dictators at Fox News are on the march!

An organization called News1News specializes in capturing Glenn Beck's absurd ravings and holding him up for the ridicule he so richly deserves. News1News had a YouTube account featuring such material.

News1News was protected by the fair use doctrine, of course. Fair use allows small snippets of copyrighted material to be used in this manner.

But because Fox News are a bunch of right-wing fucks who don't give a shit about the law, they complained to YouTube and got the News1News channel shut down.

A right-wing bleevodolf yip flipped open, and naturally, YouTube listened.

This after Google refused to allow me to delete my own posts without a court order. (Google now owns YouPube.) Where's Fox's court order to shut down the News1News channel?

That's right. They don't have one. They don't need one because they're a corporation, you see, so they're privileged and special. Nonetheless, Fox committed perjury, as I am reasonably sure they knew the "offending" material was protected as fair use.

News1News must have really been a true threat to Murdoch's Morlocks, considering Pox News was willing to lie in order to get their account yanked. Then again, it's not like Fox's so-called news operation is known for truth in its coverage.

This is also more proof of the DMCA's Nazism. If whoever introduced the DMCA is still in Congress, they need to be expelled from Congress lickety-split. And Fox News needs to be prosecuted for perjury.


Resignation hastens Washington Times deathwatch

Much has been said here (none of it good) about John Solomon's career in journalism. Solomon once worked for the Associated Press, where he produced hit pieces against major Democratic politicians. Until recently, he was executive editor of Sun Myung Moon's far-right Washington Times.

One of the signs of the imminent closure of the Pravda on the Potomac is the fact that Solomon had failed to show up for work for days.

Now the Times has finally announced Solomon's resignation - which was effective way back on November 6.

To my knowledge, no replacement has been named. This comes at the same time 3 top Times execs were fired.

So it looks like folks in the nation's capital are going to have to start buying toilet paper again very soon.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Have no fear, ish #455 is here!

An ish. An ish. An ish, an ish, an ish, an ish, an ish... (To the tune of the 'Pink Panther' theme.)

The latest issue of The Last Word (a fanzine of freedom) is now published, and this installment is sort of like a '90s flashback, as we mention the decade of helmet hair quite a bit.

This ish features articles about:

• The similarities between the Tea Party loon squad and the phony populists of old.

• A local city wasting taxpayer dollars just to spite us.

• The scam of credit scores.

• A phony plumber's toilet-trashin' fraud.

• More right-wing tyranny in our schools!

• How health care reform opponents channel gun control.

So peep, eep, and meep:

GOP senators face questions for vote against rape bill

As one of his first acts in the Senate, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) offered a measure designed to fight rape and sexual assault among defense contractors.

Franken's measure would withhold defense contracts from companies "if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court." This amendment passed the Senate 68 to 30. All 30 opponents were Republicans. In fact, a vast majority of Senate Republicans voted no.

The Republicans' idiotic excuse for voting no was that the bill interfered with private business. Um, no. The bill deals with defense contractors - who are hired to perform public business. The Republicans apparently wanted companies to use taxpayer dollars to deny rape victims basic legal rights.

And now the Republicans are facing some tough questions for their stance.

Right-wing Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) blames the entire controversy on everyone except the Republicans. He says Obama opposed the bill too. But that is an outright lie.

This story has been repeated countless times now: Republicans take a position they can't defend, blame everyone else when it backfires, and make up stuff out of thin air to justify it. No wonder they're the party of background noise now.


Church's tax-exempt status in jeopardy

A couple weeks ago, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (the official leadership body of the Catholic Church in the U.S.) ordered pastors to distribute material at Mass opposing health care reform. Priests were also told to read a statement to this effect during Mass.

Nobody here is saying they can't do this. It's not a question of whether they can do this, but whether they can keep their tax-exempt status. The IRS has guidelines about whether churches can keep this status if they engage in political activity.

According to these rules, some activities do not jeopardize religious bodies' tax-exempt status. However, lobbying efforts and attempts to influence partisan elections clearly do. And the Catholic Church's leadership has done both. It's done this on other issues for decades.

Now Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-California) has quite properly urged the IRS to probe the Church's tax exemption.

In a society with separation of church and state, a church does not get to decide public policy for the entire citizenry. It's time we get that straight.


New rules block overdraft fees

Progress! At last!

The Federal Reserve has finally adopted new rules that would prohibit banks from charging overdraft fees on ATM or debit card transactions.

This crimps banks that scam consumers by giving them money at ATM's when there's not enough in their account, and making them pay an overdraft fee later. This also means banks will process transactions in chronological order. Starting with the largest transactions trapped customers with less money into overdrawing their accounts without even realizing it.

My hope now is that banks won't find an ingenious way around the new rules. You know a big bank somewhere must be trying. It's like when your school principal glares at you while thinking of new dress code provisions to outlaw your new shirt. If banks do try to get around the new regulations, we'll be on their case again.


Terrorists threaten billboard

Life had been peaceful lately - until someone dared to disagree with the self-anointed moral elite that thinks it's their right to silence those who dissent.

A couple days ago, the United Coalition of Reason erected a billboard in Cincinnati as part of its nationwide campaign. The message of the billboard harmed nobody.

But right-wing terrorists made repeated threats of violence against the owner of the parcel where the billboard stood - forcing the billboard to be moved across town.

Aw, did the big, mean billboard upset the checkbook clergy types who try hiding behind religion to keep everyone else down?


Teacher fired because of Facebook photos

Since schools think they can keep students in suspended animation by controlling what they do on their own time (when their acts have nothing to do with school), I guess teachers are no longer safe either.

In Barrow County, Georgia, a teacher was fired because she had photos on her Facebook page in which she held (gasp!) beer mugs and wine glasses during a trip overseas.

The firing occurred after some crybaby complained to the school about the pictures. Aw, did somebody get upset?

Now the school district is being sued by the fired instructor.

Isn't there a union contract prohibiting such clearly illegal firings? Or is the teacher out of luck because of Georgia's work-for-less law designed to keep workers down?


Losing right-wing candidate wants to overturn election

This is hilarious!

After Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman lost a special congressional election in upstate New York, he's throwing a fit like the big baby he is.

Now he's decided - 9 days after the election - that canvassers didn't count the votes properly, so he wants the results to be thrown out.

Translation: A conservative lost, so said conservative wants the results tossed.

Methinks Hoffman would get along well with Louis Jenkins.

This comes on the heels of a Hoffman staffer slashing his own tire and blaming ACORN.

Washington Times on its last legs

It's usually a sad day when a newspaper goes out of business - but because it's the Washington Times this time, this story is almost too good to be true. The looming demise of the Times illustrates how the marketplace of ideas eventually prevails in the newspaper biz. (Right-wing papers haven't enjoyed the long-running government bailout that right-wing talk radio has.)

After the deaths of the modern incarnations of the New York Sun and Philadelphia's Bulletin, the toxic mold that has been claiming far-right scumbag rags is about ready to claim perhaps the most durable and influential of them all: Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times.

This Pravda on the Potomac may become an Internet-only publication. Or it may fold altogether. In fact, Moon's son - who now chairs the paper - reportedly almost shut it down just days ago.

Imagine if you can The Last Word outliving the Washington Times. Just the thought brings a grin to my mug!

The Times is the paper of record among America's right-wing poobahs, and its coverage resembles that of the state press in an oppressive dictatorship. Indeed, that's really what the Times was: Through the Republican era of the 1980s to the 2000s, the Times was an organ of ruling party propaganda.

Unfortunately, the nation's capital is a hotbed of conservative media, as the once-respected Washington Post has also charged to the right. If the city still has room for 2 or 3 daily papers, let's hope a more objective voice fills the void.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

School sued for racist harassment

The state without a school system strikes again!

The Grant County, Kentucky, school district is now being sued because of a pattern of harassment carried out by students and teachers.

The plaintiff says that from 2007 until last month, her 3 children were the repeated target of racial slurs and other harassment at an elementary school in the district. The Grant County Schools did nothing to stop this harassment. In fact, school personnel even blamed the victims for it, and required them to run laps because they complained.

Sounds like the Campbell County Schools, doesn't it?

I truly hope the judge throws the book at the school district. It sounds to me like there's some people in that district who need an attitude adjustment.


Are you fucking kidding me?

It's stories like this that make you wish you never opened the morning paper.

For years, I've publicly lamented the fact that schools accept payoffs from students seeking better grades. Now this story proves schools aren't even trying to hide it anymore.

Rosewood Middle School in Goldsboro, North Carolina, announced this week that it's selling grades to raise money.

I shit you not.

Students who donate $20 would be able to buy a better grade.

A parent council concocted this absurd idea, and the principal supported it.

Man, doesn't this just bust one of the most covered-up stories in modern American history wide open?

Thankfully, the school board has just issued a statement halting this "fundraiser."


Bert likes Figgy Fizz ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Bert is a lean, mean, bottle cap collectin' machine!

As a youth, I was so inspired by Bert (of 'Sesame Street' fame) that I launched a bottle cap collection of my own. This was back when Barq's still made orange, grape, and lime green sodas, so just think how much those lids would be worth today if they haven't become lost!

Figgy Fizz is like the green Barq's of the ol' Ses. Bert seems to love the stuff, but it seems to be in such short supply that he can never find a bottle cap for it.

That is, until his ol' pal Ernie saves the day in this sketch (believed to be from 1970 but still in circulation as late as 1992):

Notice that, mixed in there with all those rare sodas, Bert has a Diet Pepsi cap.

Bert's joyous reaction when he finally gets his Figgy Fizz cap he's wanted for years and years is priceless. It's sort of like the cheerful mood here when the Republicans lost control of Congress. Or what my reaction is going to be when I finally find the long-lost 'Sesame Street' sketch in which the blue Anything Muppet sings the "bawm bawm bawm" song.

This is also one of few Ernie and Bert skits in which Bert wins and Ernie loses. That is, if you consider making a complete ass of yourself over a Figgy Fizz lid to be "winning."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is Google stonewalling complaints? You be the judge!

I've just found strong evidence that Google is deliberately stonewalling complaints about its long-broken post removal tool.

The wreckage of this tool has prompted countless public complaints by users. When I tried giving another user's complaint a good rating, my rating wasn't counted.

I made a video of Google failing to count my rating:

This strongly suggests that Google's help staff knows about the removal tool being broken and has decided to reject positive ratings for those who complain about it.

It's also interesting that the post I tried to rate has been up for 6 days, but Google's help staff hasn't even replied to it. Of course, we all knew Google hardly ever reads its help forums.

Wouldn't it be easier for Google to fix its removal tool and not stonewall users than to have its apparent stonewalling caught on video? Google could have saved themselves loads of humiliation if they had repaired the broken removal tool. But now it's too late.

Would you agree with my belief that Google is intentionally resisting help complaints? Watch my video, and judge for yourself.

One giant leap for Bush's wingnut anti-science agenda

Bush is the man who believed climate change is a hoax and that the universe is only 6,000 years old - and thought that a manned mission to Mars would only take as much time as the first moon voyage.

This mind-numbing ignorance of science isn't harmless. It rubs off onto society - and certainly onto government agencies.

And society pays the price.

Now - in order to coddle Bush's Mars fantasy - NASA is using monkeys in experiments to model the effects of radiation exposure that might occur on a Mars mission.

This has resulted in criticism by animal welfare organizations.

Using monkeys in a potentially harmful test that won't even yield any useful results would be typical of Bushism. After all, Bush wasn't known as Curious George for nothing, and his administration was harmful and produced no useful results.


Bush regime demanded list of Indymedia readers

I guess there had to be a giant parting shot by the Bush regime just as the silly clown was headed home to his new mansion in Dallas (for which Texas taxpayers are forced to provide a gate for the street, even though the road is public).

It turns out that Bush's so-called Justice Department (led by Michael "Mucus Man" Mukasey at the time) demanded that Indymedia turn over a list of people who visited its website. This order directed Indymedia to turn over their IP numbers, names, street addresses, Social Security numbers, and other identifying data.

The order also required Indymedia "not to disclose the existence of" the Justice Department's demand.

Believe me, if I got a gag order like that, I'd tell the government to gag on its own turds. They're not going to stifle my free speech like that. I follow the Constitution - not some right-wing dictator like Bush who stole the election twice.

This order was part of a long-running war by the Bush regime against Indymedia. The government had previously raided Indymedia's servers for daring to publish news items that the regime disagreed with. In 2004, Bush's Justice Department ordered Indymedia to disclose who posted lists of Republican convention delegates.

I've read Indymedia's website, and if I'm on any visitor log that was turned over to the government, I will personally see to it that some people in very high places do some very hard time. After our success in helping get the once-mighty Pathway Family Center cult shut down, I'm not a person you want to be messing with. (I can't take full credit for the takedown of PFC, but I guarantee I'll have a lot of support if I fight members of the Bush regime on the visitor logs.)


Probe says Kings Island ignored safety concerns

There's many reasons I haven't been to the Kings Island abusement park in almost 20 years.

After it started making all patrons walk through metal detectors in 2003, that was the final nail in the coffin of me ever returning. It's absurd to spend $50 just to be treated like a criminal. (On the very first day of this policy, Kings Island started a fight with a 50-year-old man at the entrance and called the cops on him.)

Now there's a lawsuit over injuries incurred on Kings Island's Son of Beast roller coaster. An engineer who inspected the ride now says Kings Island knew about the safety concerns but kept the ride running anyway.

That's greed on Kings Island's part. The park didn't want to lose one of its signature rides, so it kept it in service even though it was dangerous.

The inspector said the coaster even had a loose bolt, and that park officials knew the ride swayed too much.

Kings Island spent more effort getting metal detectors than in making sure Son of Beast was safe.


Coburn delays disabled vets bill

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, yet right-wing Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) chooses this time to stab vets in the back.

Coburn is blocking a bill that would provide new health care services for disabled veterans. This despite vets' strong support for the bill. Coburn is single-handedly preventing the bill from passing.

His excuse is that Congress won't cut other spending to pay for it. Then why don't we cut funding for all these wars - wars that Coburn's fellow Republicans generally support?

Why don't we cut some of Coburn's ridiculous earmarks that he's proposed in an attempt to make political hay?

And how can a Republican senator block a bill all by his lonesome when the Senate has a Democratic majority? The U.S. Senate must be the only legislative body in the world where the majority does not rule.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Google's help department: clueless by design

Google's previous delay in complying with my requests to stop using my copyrighted material could merely be attributed to the fact that they hardly ever read their own help forums.

But the latest development showcases the deliberate cluelessness that now rules the roost at Google's help department.

Today, I finally got an e-mail response to last Wednesday's help ticket. Their response shows they didn't even have any grasp of what the problem I was complaining about was!

They denied there were any bugs on their end - which is a lie, because their post removal tool has been down for weeks. Then they said that all I needed to do was log on under my old e-mail address to delete the posts.

As I told them before, I no longer have that address. In fact, I'm pretty sure I followed this procedure while I still had it - only to see the posts reappear recently, when I no longer had this address. I can't get another account with this address.

If they bothered to read my original complaints, they'd know this.

So I had to tell them yet again.

This time, they sent back a form e-mail about how Google "does not monitor or control the content of" postings.

Idiots. I'm not asking them to "monitor or control" content. I'm asking them to stop using my copyrighted material. Is that so hard to understand?

Then they told me that in order to remove posts made using an outdated address, they need for me to get a court order proving that address was mine.

A court order? They expect me to spend money I don't have on legal fees for a court order just because they have no respect for copyright law? If they think I'm getting a court order, they can kiss my ass.

For another thing, this is also a lie. Google's post removal tool (which they won't fix) never required a court order.

Every time WMG or Universal opens its spleezox yip to get a clip pulled from YouTube (even though they don't own any of the material in the clip), YouTube (which Google owns) complies instantly - court order or not.

What about the Deja days when requests were accepted to modify posts that had already been archived? Clearly, Deja never required a court order. If they did, some of the fraudulent modifications by people impersonating other users would have never been accepted.

I know exactly where on Google I can find one of my posts that someone changed after it had been posted. I sure don't know of the person who changed it ever getting a court order.

Half the people I know who are of average intelligence haven't been able to find a job in 5 years, but Google's help department keeps hiring total idiots who lie to users and don't even comprehend their complaints.

Right now, I've shifted from being concerned about the content of the posts in question to being outraged over Google's double standard in demanding a court order and its complete disregard for basic copyright law that was passed even before the DMCA.

As for the fraudulent changes to my posts, at least now the other side can't have it both ways. My adversaries have insisted I wrote everything in those posts, just because my name appears on them. I did not. Now that Google is demanding a court order to prove the address is mine, I can point to the lack of a court order as proof that it isn't.

In the meantime, Congress or the states need to pass laws requiring Google to remove posts on demand, if the person who posted them requests it.

What? No more free Murdoch bullshit?

Damn. I'm crushed.

Waaah waaah waaah.

It appears as if right-wing media magnate Rupert Murdoch is getting ready to take his ball and stomp home. As part of his new business model - in which he actually expects people to pay to read his news organizations' propagandistic coverage - Murdoch says articles on his news sites will be made invisible to anyone who browses Google.

You mean I won't be getting Fox News and New York Post articles for free anymore?

Good. Because I don't want to see their bullshit anyway.

This is like when the AP discontinued its free news site a while back. Because that was during the "prosperity" hoax that accompanied the rise of the failed New Economy, I hardly missed the AP's site, because I was so tired of the AP stage-managing public opinion on matters economic.


List of things worse than health insurance?

It's official: Health insurance has now been called "the worst product in American history" by a former insurance pitchman.

Is health insurance "the worst product in American history"?

Is it worse than masking tape that's so flimsy that it flies off the roll and gets stuck in your hair?

Worse than that domino toy where the plastic snaps break off the dominoes so you can't place them in the track?

Worse than calculators that smell like someone shit their pants?

Worse than audiocassettes that unravel inside your boom box?

Worse than the counterfeit Billy Joel tour shirts in which the singer's face fell off after the first wash?

Worse than street maps of Highland Heights, Kentucky, that misspell Blange Road?

Worse than the Atari BASIC reference manual that fell apart when you threw it across the room?

Yes, health insurance is more faulty than all of the above and more!

Indeed, health insurance may in fact be "the worst product in American history" - with the exception of some other products that have resulted in some attempt to file a product liability suit.