Sunday, February 28, 2010

Week 29 of POOP

"Look at all these rumors...Runnin' me every day..."

As Google continues to allow its message archive to rot into a husk, I've heard a rumor that it's going to drop its archive altogether.

Many will lament the fact that Google made such a big issue of acquiring this archive only to neglect it and later consign it to the depths of history. But because of the level of neglect, I couldn't possibly be more pleased if they did get rid of it.

As the saying goes: If you're not gonna shit, get off the pot.

On the other hand, this is just a rumor - so it could have about as much veracity as the rumors that have been going on for at least a year about Facebook becoming a pay site.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Real IDiocy in Florida

If there's one state that's been enthusiastic all along about complying with Bush's fascist Real ID program, it's not Kentucky. Unusual for the Bluegrass State lately, Kentucky has stood strong against this tyranny, as I discovered last week.

The state that's done the most to march in lockstep with this scuzzo unfunded mandate is Florida - which fell into compliance on January 1.

And now, countless Florida residents have found that they can't renew their driver's licenses all because their state bows at the Real ID throne. That's because Real ID requires 4 forms of identification - which is more than what many folks have.

I checked the new rules, and I wouldn't have even been able to renew my state-issued ID if Kentucky was a Real ID state like Florida.

Even some Floridians who have been able to renew their ID's have had to miss work to make numerous trips to the motor vehicle bureau just to get all their Real ID paperwork together.

Who was the fucking asshole who decided to make Florida a Real ID state? Almost the entire state is surrounded by international waters, so if whoever this person is hates the Constitution so much, why couldn't they just anchor a ship in the ocean and start their own country?

America has too much tolerance for quislings who hold our constitutional liberties in contempt.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Edwards scandal still gets more coverage than Steve King remark

This is simply unbelievable.

The media still gives more coverage to John Edwards's extramarital affair (a story that broke almost 2 years ago) than it does to Iowa congressman Steve King's recent outrageous remarks supporting the suicide bomber who attacked an IRS office.

If that wasn't bad enough, the media has outright lied all along about some of the details of Edwards's affair.

Steve King needs to be exposed as the extremist nut he is. Yet I haven't seen a single "mainstream" media source cover his latest humiliation. Not one.

King is also a hypocrite. Even though he supports bombing the IRS, he favors a national sales tax.

If there was any doubt that the media is responsible for the Republicans remaining even remotely competitive today, I think those doubts have evaporated.

Bunning singlehandedly blocks unemployment extension

If there's any recent story that illustrates Republicans' sense of entitlement, this may be it.

When senators tried to extend much-needed unemployment insurance, right-wing Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) threatened to block it. Kyl cried that he was blocking it until the estate tax was repealed.

In other words, Kyl thought unemployed workers shouldn't be able to keep their benefits until taxes were cut for the heirs of multimillionaires such as himself.

Then right-wing Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky) managed to block the unemployment extension altogether - thanks to filibuster rules that allow a party that's in the minority to gut important legislation.

Hey, don't blame me for being from Bunning's state. I've never voted for the loudmouth.

When lawmakers on the Senate floor groaned in disappointment over Bunning's action, Bunning blurted out, "Tough shit!"

Bunning's excuse for singlehandedly depriving millions of Americans of unemployment insurance is that he claimed extending benefits wasn't paid for. Yet he's supported tax breaks for the rich that weren't paid for.

Then Bunning blamed the Democrats for making him miss a college basketball game - even though it was Bunning's own obstructionism that forced the Senate to stay in session for so long.

If the Democrats had any sense, they'd beat the Republicans over the head with this.

Congress reauthorizes Patriot Act

If you thought you could start trusting Congress again, you better think twice.

The House has quietly voted - 315 to 97 - to reauthorize the far-right Patriot Act. The Senate quickly approved this measure on a voice vote.

Because it passed by a veto-proof margin, the President is powerless to halt it - whether he wants to or not.

This is the Congress that can't pass health care reform or the corporate personhood amendment - but it rams the Patriot Act extension plumb through, with no debate whatsoever. That's how far to the right the Democrats have become.

This also provides grist for the mill of states and cities that want to opt out of the Idiot Act. Hopefully, more places will.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Newt opens his stupid trap

Hey Newt Gingrich, you washed-up idiot, nobody cares what you think.

But since it's so funny to see the little fascist make a fool of himself, I'm going to regale you with what he said about the Obama administration's health care reform efforts.

Gingrich now says that Obama is a dictator because he believes in majority rule. N00t says "the United States is not going to tolerate" political leaders who apply "majoritarian rule" in the Senate instead of letting a party that's not even in the majority dictate policy.

So Newt thinks someone is a dictator if he uses majority rule to improve the people's lives and give them more freedom?

Now go away, Newt. We've gotten our amusement out of this freak for now, so now he needs to fuck off like the single-digit approval rating crybaby he is.

Credit card issuers try evading law

Banks that issue credit cards are already 10 steps ahead of any sensible law we might enact to control unfair practices.

Now that the CARD Act has become law, credit card issuers are inventing new fees to cover what the law doesn't. Don't get me wrong: The CARD Act does more good than harm. But this story shows how fast banks are at enacting new fees.

For instance, Cincinnati-based Fifth Third has introduced what it calls an "inactivity fee." If you don't use your credit card in 12 months, you get slapped with a $19 fee.

Fifth Third has a way to punish frugality, don't they?

Citigroup is worse than Fifth Third: It will charge folks a $60 annual fee if they spend less than $2,400 a year on their card.

Now you know why I didn't even bother to get a credit card until I realized it was required to order goodies off the Internet. If I got a card from Shittygroup, you know I'd be hit by their fee, since I don't come close to spending $2,400 a year.

It's like a fee for being poor!

Because Congress has proven how slothful they are in passing needed laws, I think it's time the states step in and ban credit card issuers from charging these fees.

Programmies sue!

I learned last night that a certain youth confinement program is suing the owners of a website for exposing the abuse that goes on there.

A few points are in order...

The truth is an absolute defense in a defamation suit. As long as what the website says is true, the programmies have no case.

Another point is that this is a SLAPP suit. The suit is designed to suppress criticism - not to remedy a legitimate grievance.

The suit is an attempt at censorship. Not only is it designed to bully websites, bit it also attempts to make government complicit in this censorship by trying to win a ruling forcing the website to be taken down.

And it's abuse of process.

The programmies filed the case in a Utah court, probably because they know Utah mollycoddles abusive programs (even more so than Kentucky does, if you can believe that). Even so, the truth is what it is, and suing to suppress it doesn't change the facts.

It's a frivolous suit, and the judge ought to come down hard on the program for filing it.

But I also believe youth confinement programs should be outlawed altogether.

License to kill

In Ohio, it's illegal to set off a firecracker or have a backyard satellite dish. But if you're an employee of a "treatment" center for teens, you get a license to kill.

Of course, Ohio is the home of the corrupt ODADAS (which refuses to revoke the licenses of abusive programs), so what else can we expect?

This month, 3 guards at a teen confinement program in Ohio were acquitted for killing a 17-year-old girl while restraining her. After the women tackled the girl and restrained her face-down, the girl suffocated and choked on her own vomit.

They didn't know that multiple people tackling someone and shoving her face-down for a prolonged timeframe would kill her? How stupid can you get?

Another death at the hands of those who seem to have a license to kill has gone unpunished.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nuclear America!

We all know we can't drill our way out of the energy crisis. But we can't nuke our way out of it either.

But with a whole generation of schoolchildren out there that can't remember Chernobyl or Three Mile Island, I guess the Democrats now think it's safe to adopt the Republicans' failed policies supporting nuclear power.

Nuclear is perhaps the most dangerous, costly, and inefficient form of energy. That doesn't deter the government from financing the first new nuclear reactors in over 30 years.

Talk about lessons not learned.

President Obama isn't entirely to blame. Much of the administration's newfound interest in nuclear was influenced by none other than John McCain - who absurdly said nuclear power is "green energy." And giving a bailout to the reactors is authorized by a 2005 law passed by a rogue Republican Congress and signed by Bush.

We must reduce foreign energy dependence, but the future is in biofuel and other real green forms of power - not nuclear. Even in our inner cities, we can find ways to grow plants that give us fuel - much as farmers grow food.

It's also a shame that the failed War on Drugs has made us reluctant to admit that hemp is fuel. If we let farmers grow hemp, that would solve a good proportion of our energy woes.

Instead of nuclear America, why not green America?

'Sesame Street' teaches hard work! ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

The Tea Party whack-a-doodles can learn a thing or three from 'Sesame Street'.

And not just the alphabet - although that might keep them from misspelling the idiotic slogans on their signs.

The ol' Ses also teaches the value of hard work and cooperation!

Take this sketch from the '70s, for instance. Whenever I heard that stirring chirping of birds at the start of this live action film, I knew I was in for a lesson in the value of teamwork, as a group of people transformed tree trunks into a log cabin:


This segment might actually be on one of the 'Sesame Street' DVD collections, but it's so important that I need to regale you with it here.

On the other hand, I don't know if the Tea Party totalitarians and their CEO friends who live off bailout money aren't too far gone to benefit from seeing that segment. I guess it's all society's fault for not coddling them enough in middle school, huh?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Small government" right-winger wants to expand government

Mark French, a longtime GOP big shot in Montana, scoffs at legislators who "vote for legislation that restricts our liberties and restricts our rights." But French - who is now running for Congress - would restrict Americans' freedom even more.

This makes Mark French just a face in the crowd in the Republican fold, of course. But what's stunning is that he's just so transparent about it.

French's website is full of biblical references that he distorts in an effort to excuse his authoritarian ideology. For example, he declares, "Corporal punishment is advocated in the scriptures and is therefore right." He also misuses the Bible to back up his other socially conservative stances.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with French about what the Bible says, the fact that he wants to impose his views on everyone else shows he has no understanding of separation of church and state. Only in the mixed-up world of the modern Republican Party can a "small government" conservative support reinstating corporal punishment in our courtrooms and regulating what consenting adults do in private just because he says it's in the Bible.

What's this really about? Elitism. Much like officials in a suburb that tries to keep low-income housing away, Mark French thinks his views are more important than others'. Just because he's a professional with a decent income, he thinks his beliefs should trump those of the countless Americans who struggle daily to get by.

This elitism rests near the core of the modern GOP.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Congressman urges supporters to blow up IRS offices

Why doesn't Congress expel this Nazi? Maybe it's because they're too busy trying to pass asinine laws against Sudafed, but who knows?

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has a reputation of being bullgoose crazy, but now he's gone too far.

King attended the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, along with other right-wing extremists like Newt Gingrich and Mitch Daniels. Glenn Beck was the keynote speaker. At the CPAC, King expressed support for the suicide bomber who recently attacked an IRS office in Austin. King also encouraged his supporters to "implode" other IRS offices, and vowed to hold a fundraiser to raise money for this nauseating deed.

If ANYONE attacks another IRS office, Steve King should be charged as the criminal he is for encouraging it.


The book is done!!!

The book is done
(Done, done)
The book is done
(Done, done)
The book is done
(Done, done)
The book is done
(Done, done)

The book is done
The doggone book is done

(Sung to the tune of "The Girl Is Mine.")

I've just completed my second book, and now all it needs is to be proofread and submitted.

That's it! Done!

I would have had it done by last month, but for my fight with Google and an unusual glut of fact-finding missions. But that's fine. It'll all work out in the end, because that's the natural order of things.

Uproarious editorial cartoon!

This is great!

You're gonna love this editorial cartoon that seems to have appeared in the Houston Chronicle recently:

I rolled on the floor when I saw how Palin's cultists were depicted!

Almost looks like something out of The Last Word, doesn't it?

Report details melting of Antarctic ice shelves

What are the Christopher Moncktons of the world going to say about this?

A new report by the United States Geological Survey says that all - I repeat, all - ice shelves on the southern portion of the Antarctic Peninsula have shrunken because of human-made climate change. The biggest changes have occurred only since 1990 (ahem).

This will likely cause sea levels to rise all over the world and flood low-lying areas and entire cities. We've all heard of icebergs, but have you ever heard of a waterberg? Water in its liquid state can't pile up as ice can, and the melted ice has to go somewhere.

Climate change denial is fatal for our children and grandchildren.


Lawmaker spouts off about something he knows nothing about (imagine that!)

Virginia State Del. Robert G. Marshall (a conservative and gun control supporter) is a demigod of the Far Right.

Bob Marshall is known for his right-wing social engineering stances, such as his support of outlawing birth control and his anti-gay legislation.

The legislator from suburban D.C. personifies the cheap elitism of the modern conservative movement.

His latest claim has generated perhaps more derision than anything else he's said. At a press conference at the state legislative building, Marshall said that women who give birth to disabled children must have previously had abortions.

Marshall's claim is outright false.

But he kept on twisting and distorting the Bible to back up his discredited view. Marshall said, "In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There's a special punishment Christians would suggest."

One commenter on a news site said, "Bob Marshall should tell his theory to Sarah Palin and see if she agrees." Many folks are urging Marshall to resign his seat.

Bob Marshall is the GOP's future, as the modern Republican Party distorts scripture. What's gnawing to me is that they also distort the Bible as an excuse for their stances on economics and taxation that rob the poor. Then they expect the poor to live by these policies - just because Republicans say it's in the Bible.


FBI investigates school webcam spying

After a Pennsylvania school district was caught using laptops to spy on students at home, lying about the reasons for it, and falsely accusing students of being on drugs, even the FBI is starting to take notice of the school's lawbreaking.

The agency is now investigating the school district to see if it broke federal wiretapping or other laws. Here's a hint: it did.

If the FBI hadn't squandered so much of its resources keeping files on Jim Morrison, it would have more to spend on the probe of the school system's disrespect of the law.


Week 28 of POOP

I don't need to tell you that Google looks incredibly ridiculous right about now for its refusal to act on users' complaints in its so-called help forum.

But I'm going to tell you anyway: Google looks incredibly ridiculous right about now for its refusal to act on users' complaints in its so-called help forum.

So we're going to be keeping up the pressure!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's...the Blackout of '10!

I think it's time for our local governments to throw down the gauntlet.

The power is back on here after yet another hours-long outage, courtesy of the famous Duke Energy. This one knocked out power to about 1,000 properties - even though there was no rain or wind anywhere in sight.

I know it's premature to call this the Blackout of '10, because - given Duke's record - there will almost certainly be others this year that are just as bad or worse.

That is, unless our local government representatives make Duke shape up.

Actually, Dook has had plenty of chances to turn over a new leaf, and hasn't done so. We're at the point where our governments should condemn Duke's assets and run the local electric system themselves. An arrangement like this already exists in much of the nation, and provides much more reliable and inexpensive service than Duke has given us.

School drug warriors defend laptop spying

Well, what a shock!

After the Lower Merion School District near Philadelphia became the target of a lawsuit for secretly taking pictures of students at home using laptops issued by the school, more details are emerging.

The school system now says it was merely trying to catch people stealing the computers. But that is an out-and-out lie.

How do we know that? Because the student who is suing isn't being accused of stealing a machine (as far as I know). Rather, the school is falsely accusing him of druggie behavior and druggie ways because the camera caught him eating a piece of candy that the school mistook for drugs.

So this isn't about finding stolen computers. It's about policing private behavior and accusing people of being on dope.

I bet the school has teamed up with some abusive teen "rehab" that recruits in the school district, so the school is trying to swell the program's ranks by making up bullshit. Hell, schools in my area have done it for years.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

County wants to opt out of federal labor laws

Just secede already, will ya?

The Board of Supervisors in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, has unanimously approved a resolution urging lawmakers to oppose pending congressional legislation designed to help workers.

They couldn't possibly be talking about the much-needed Employee Free Choice Act, could they? I ask this because Congress has sat on this bill for a year now - instead of passing it like they're supposed.

A county spokesman sniffed that Congress's bill would affect Virginia, "where you have right-to-work laws and collective bargaining is not allowed within the public sector." The interim county attorney whined that the bill means "we'd have to repeal our laws that currently say that you cannot engage in collective bargaining in the public sector."

Tough. If Congress's bill interferes with state laws that are unconstitutional, why is that a problem? It isn't.

It's already against federal law to prohibit public employees (or any other workers) from collective bargaining or joining a union. Yet Virginia has a clearly unconstitutional state law to defy this federal law outright.

I want to know if Virginia has been sued yet for banning public employees from unionization and collective bargaining.

Organized labor is often the only thing standing between corporate greed and the American family. It's hard to imagine a county's entire Board of Supervisors being hateful enough to defy a federal law that protects workers, but here we are.

I picture the Isle of Wight County Board of Snoopervisors as being made up of people like the smug exec at your workplace who responds to employees' complaints by telling them they have a "bad attitude."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Obama caught more Taliban in a month than Bush caught in 6 years

Here's a little known fact that's not likely to get much play in the pop-up media.

Under President Obama, more Taliban leaders have been caught in only a month than the Bush regime caught in 6 years.

Next time you hear someone praising Bush's supposed greatness, remind them of this fact.


Kentucky stands tall against Bush mandate!

When I stopped by the motor vehicle department today during my Peace Bike outing, I made a discovery that I'm pleased as punch to announce.

In the back of my mind, I was deeply worried about renewing my license. Although I was not aware of any changes in Kentucky law to bring the state into compliance with Bush's fascist Real ID program, I never heard of the Bluegrass State passing any law to fight it either.

Real ID requires several additional forms of identification just for folks to renew a license or ID. I brang none of these extra identifiers along today, because I had no desire to submit to Bush's scumbaggery.

That turned out not to be a problem. The clerk renewed my card without asking for additional ID's. There was no indication that Real ID has arrived in Kentucky.

Of course, that doesn't solve the problem of the infringing barcode. After my last renewal - in 2006 - I stuck an "I VOTED" sticker over the barcode on my license. After my 2002 renewal - which was the first featuring the barcode - I burned a corner of my license that had part of the barcode.

As for Real ID, however, Kentucky seems to be openly challenging Bush's unfunded fascist mandate. This is particularly satisfying, because the previous governor, right-winger Ernie Fletcher, was more or less a Bluegrass Bush.

Thank you, Kentucky, for proving you can still think for yourself - instead of toeing the party line.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Corporate personhood amendment up to 12 sponsors!

I have no idea why it takes this long to gather 12 congressional sponsors of an amendment that would restore a law that the Supreme Court needlessly gutted - especially after a new poll showed that 80% of Americans would support such an amendment.

On the other hand, how often does a proposed constitutional amendment get 12 sponsors as quickly as this one has?

The amendment to watch is the one introduced early this month by Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Maryland). The measure was languishing in committee, but now it's back on track!

Congress has a mandate to approve this amendment, and we have a right to expect the states to ratify it - because it would also restore state laws that the Supreme Court shredded with its talons.

School used laptops to spy on students at home

Just when you think you've seen it all, you discover you haven't.

Unlike schools in my day, the Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania issues laptop computers to high school students. This became problematic because it turns out the laptops have webcams that can be secretly activated by the school - enabling the school to watch what students do at home.

Few were aware of this until the school punished a pupil for "improper behavior in his home." As evidence, school administrators used a photo taken by the webcam.

It's bad enough that schools try to keep students in suspended animation by punishing them for what they do at home, when the offense has no connection to school. Now schools are using laptops with secret webcams to catch them?

Now the school system is the target of a class action lawsuit over this outrageous spying.

Who knows what other images the school has of students? People happen to use laptops in the same rooms where they undress and have private conversations. What sort of pervert thought of the idea of using computers to spy on high school students in their bedrooms?

There ought to be not just a civil suit but also criminal charges against the school.


Hastert paid to do nothing

Call it another form of wingnut welfare, if you will.

Republican former House Speaker Dennis Hastert presided over the congressional culture of corruption of several years ago. The House under Hastert was known for being perhaps the most useless, corrupt, fascist, incompetent bunch of fartpipes ever to set foot in the Capitol (its only competition being the Newt fiasco of the '90s).

So I guess it's better now that the taxpayers are paying him to do nothing instead of serve in the House.

Over the past 2 years, Hastert has squandered about $1,000,000 in taxpayer money on an office and staff near his home in Chicago's posh exurbs. This is a perk awarded to former House Speakers.

Part of this tab covers the cost of a hulking, gas-guzzling SUV he leases from his friend's dealership. It also covered the $618 cost of transporting a clock from Washington.

What the hell does Dennis Hastert do with his taxpayer-funded post-congressional office? The office is little more than a monument to himself, containing autographed gavels and photos of Hastert hobnobbing with Bush. It's not even clear that the former congressman actually does anything with this office.

The office seems to be nothing but a tribute to Hastert's bruised ego built on the taxpayers' dime.

This after Hastert voted to slash welfare for poor families.


Right-wing idiot tries to ban money

Oh, the stupid. It burns.

In South Carolina, Republican State Rep. Mike Pitts has introduced a bill to make it illegal for anyone to use U.S. currency.

The purpose of his proposed legislation is to let South Carolina "function through gold and silver coinage" - which, according to legal experts, can't be used as currency anyway.

Pitts admits his bill probably won't pass.

So why the hell is he wasting the legislature's time with this shit?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wal-Mart trains teens on taxpayers' dime

The melding of Big Business and America's education system may be complete.

The Detroit public school system is now getting together with Wal-Mart to train the city's high school students to work for the embattled union-busting retail giant.

Students get school credits for this program and for working at Wal-Mart, but what the program really does is train them to be docile workers. The Wal-Mart empire is being built on the backs of people from poor inner cities, as the students are transported from Detroit to Wal-Mart's suburban locations.

I guess financially secure folks in the suburbs don't want Wal-Mart jobs, so Wal-Mart expects less affluent people from the cities to be exploited instead.

In fact, one local activist objected to this program because it will "train students to be subservient workers."

But school officials remain undeterred (or unswayed by sense). They boast that the Wal-Mart program will expose urban teens to suburban culture. Of course, all it'll teach them is that the outer suburbs are a burgeoning disaster.

Still, it's chilling to know that Wal-Mart has now found a way to train people to work for its corporate monolith on the taxpayers' dime.

Corporate America doesn't care about students (especially the poor and working class) as people. The global greed merchants see students as dollar signs - machines to be exploited into adulthood.


Kermit and the 'T' Party ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Because it's Wednesday, that means it's 'Sesame Street'.

And because it's 'Sesame Street', that means it's loads of laughs for you and your cohorts!

In an attempt to Sessify your life, Kermit the Frog is back with another of his famous "News Flash" segments - this one from the late 1980s. In this "fast-breaking news story", our second-favorite little green guy finds himself back in 1773 to report on the Boston Tea Party.

Except he quickly finds out that it's actually the Boston 'T' Party:


I think some of the professional agitators at the current Tea Party farces must have also misunderstood what the real Boston Tea Party was about. They seem to have 'T'-shaped heads and all, so they must think it had something to do with that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ken Starr appointed Baylor prez

If there were still any lingering doubts in your mind about a tight web of right-wingers infiltrating organizations all over the country, this story should kablowie these doubts plumb out of your conscience.

Kenneth Starr has now been named as president of Baylor University, a Baptist institution in Waco, Texas.

Starr, 63, was Solicitor General under the elder Bush and is best known as the "independent" counsel in the sore loser Whitewater probe of Bill Clinton. This led to the impeachment spectacle in Clinton's second term.

Only in conservaworld can anybody keep a straight face while calling Bush's Solicitor General an "independent" investigator.

Starr has continued his right-wing activities in later times. For example, he represented an Alaska school district in the infamous Morse v. Frederick case - in which the school board censored a student's off-campus free speech.

Before being named president of Baylor, Starr had been dean of Pepperdine University's School of Law. This shows how extensive the right-wing revolving door had already become.

Why are prominent right-wingers being rewarded when they should be shunned and quarantined?


Climate change deniers debunked again by blizzard

It's another record!

No, I don't mean the Scott Brown kind of record.

In Cincinnati, yesterday's blizzard set at least 3 all-time records, in fact. It broke the record for total amount of February snowfall. It also shattered the record for that particular date - February 15. And it kablammoed the record for ANY 10-day period.

I think this ought to put the kibosh on those who insist climate change is a hoax by "libs", huh? But you know it won't. Although the assorted weather records set just in the past few years show the climate is changing, they claim this is "proof" it hasn't changed. They say it every time.

You read that right: The denial cultists say climate change is fake because the climate changed. There's no point trying to get through their thick skulls.

In the meantime, I've added 3 photos to my road picture site showing the severity of last night's blizzard:

74 teachers fired for disagreeing with superintendent

How totalitarian is the school system in Central Falls, Rhode Island?

Recently, the superintendent announced a plan to force the high school's 74 teachers to work longer hours and 2 extra weeks - while not increasing their pay.

The teachers' union refused to accept this plan.

So the superintendent fired 'em all. All 74 of them.

It's chilling to know the superintendent is bringing Wal-Mart-style labor repression tactics to her school district.

If I was one of the teachers who was fired, I'd be preparing my lawsuit right now.

Students are outraged at losing some of their best instructors.

State government in Rhode Island has drifted so far to the right lately that one can't depend on it to force the superintendent to reinstate the teachers. Right-wing legislators authorize schools to implement policies that are unconstitutional, but they won't intervene against illegal firings.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Book text completed

This blog may be a little slow for the next couple days because I'm working on pictures for the upcoming book. I believe that I've completed the text, and only a few pictures remain.

Week 27 of POOP

You thought I'd give up humiliating Google after 27 weeks, didn't you?

Well, I've got news for those who think I'm backing down: This feature continues until Google fixes its broken post removal tool and lets people remove posts that were forged in their name. I don't give up - especially after being emboldened by our success in getting Pathway Family Center shut down.

Now we have to ask ourselves exactly WHY Google is so insistent on not fixing a feature they know is broken, after this feature worked for 5 years or so.

There's been some speculation that lawyers advised Google to abolish this feature. The supposed reasoning for this is that if Google lets people delete some posts, Google could be held liable for posts that remain because nobody caught them.

But if nobody caught them, how does anyone know to hold Google liable for them?

If Google's lawyers really think this is valid reasoning, they must have gone to the same matchbook law school that Bush's judicial appointees did.

Google's arrogance in not even responding to the many people who have complained about the loss of this feature is astounding. It reminds me of my high school when I mailed it a bill for the money it stole.

Teacher fired for opposing paddling loses case


Utterly unbelievable.

In Booneville, Mississippi, a while back, a special ed teacher was fired all because she expressed opposition to corporal punishment of autistic students.

I guess paddling disabled children wasn't enough to satisfy the Booneville school system, so it began policing the thoughts of employees who dared to oppose this practice.

Firing the teacher violated her First Amendment rights - so she sued.

But now right-wing U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock has dismissed the instructor's suit - saying the First Amendment doesn't apply.

Um, yes it does. That's what constitutional amendments do. They apply. That's their function in life.

The court's excuse is that the Supreme Court's Garcetti v. Ceballos ruling of 2006 nixed the right to work-related free speech. Er, no. That ruling is constitutionally null and void.

Not surprisingly, however, Aycock is herself a Bush appointee.

Bush wasn't even a real President, so as far as I'm concerned, he doesn't get to appoint anyone. Bush was a rogue dictator who stole 2 presidential elections.

And it's time we get that clear.


Bye-bye, Bayh

Yet another senator is declining to seek reelection this year.

Sen. Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, is retiring - even though polls showed him demolishing any potential Republican opponent. Bayh, 54, has served 2 terms in the Senate, after 2 terms as Governor of Indiana.

For those who now worry that this seat is a potential GOP pickup, Bayh seemed to be rarely with the Democrats anymore anyway. A more progressive Democrat might actually perform better in November.

Bayh's attempts at compromising with Republicans helped dash recent health care reform attempts, and his 1996 convention speech echoed the Clinton administration's right-trending hallmarks. Just as bad as this, Bayh was one of the first major Democrats to support the disastrous Iraq War.

Bye, Bayh.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stinking is funny

Stinking is funny.

Stinking at Wal-Mart is even funnier!

This is the type of story that should be in The Last Word (as an ish looms in the very near future), but because it involves something as hated as Wal-Mart, there's a space for it here at the 'Pail.

In Washington state, a Wal-Mart store had to be evacuated last Sunday because a 51-year-old man stinked it all up.

The man released something called Super Fart Spray about the store.

He told authorities that he did it because it was funny.

Now he's been banned from Wal-Mart. When your punishment is to be banned from Wal-Mart, is it really even a punishment? I'd consider that a reward!

Because Wal-Marts often smell like a giant bunker blast anyway, I'm surprised anyone even noticed a customer stinking it up.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blood on the media's hands?

Avid readers of my work may know that the fascist Congress of the Contract With America era is responsible for the deaths of countless Americans.

Many of these deaths were caused by the welfare "reform" law of 1996. Phil Gramm admitted as much (not like he had any remorse over it, as he is a sociopath).

There should have been nothing less than Nuremburg-style tribunals for Congress. Congress committed an atrocity against humanity.

If America was half as civilized as it claims, Newt Gingrich would be rotting in prison right now - gnashing his teeth in a cage like the rabid animal he is.

But does the media share some of the blame for the deaths? Yes.

Let's take a step back to 1996.

How many innocent Americans had already died needlessly from the state of the health care system even then? Quite a bit.

How many had died from receiving too much welfare? Zero.

How many died after 1996 from Congress not fixing health care? Quite a bit.

How many died after 1996 from Congress slashing welfare? Again, quite a bit.

We can blame not just our political "leaders", but also the media. If the media hadn't played up the right-wing hoax about "welfare queens", public officials would have at least been encouraged to tackle health care reform before anything else.

The media also refused to expose the election fraud that defined the 1994 "election" and the ensuing fascist wave.

We can rightly call it the killer media.

I stood alone among commentators at the time in calling the '94 "election" a fraud and in calling the Contract With America a crime against humanity. I'm proud that I called it what it was. But it's a shame that the media - in its quest to manipulate public opinion - never even entertained the thought of calling the "election" a sham or in bringing the assholes to justice.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bill would let coal trucks block roads

Oh, the stupid. It burns.

A bill in the Kentucky legislature would grant coal companies the True Free Speach Now Right to completely block public highways for an hour at a time. Coal firms would also be able to buy a permit enabling them to block roads for 4 hours at a time.

What if it blocks the only road to a small community, leaving residents with no way in our out? According to this bill, that's just tough. What if you're violently ill or injured and have to get to the doctor? Then you're out of luck.

The bill's sponsor, DLC Rep. Ancel Smith, complained that unless this bill passes, coal companies whose trucks obstruct roads and cause accidents "get stuck with the cost because it's their fault."

Well, yeah. That's because it's, well, their fault.

If legislators approve this bill, that'll just show everyone their bizcream has truly slid out of their wafers. (As if the Sudafed crackdown didn't prove it already.)

If it does pass, you can bet your bottom dollar someone is eventually going to intentionally plow right through a stopped coal truck to get where they need to go. I'd do it myself if I could.


Nurse who faced 10 years in jail for reporting doctor acquitted

If a nurse feels that a physician is performing surgeries badly or prescribing drugs improperly, the nurse has an obligation to report on the doctor's practices.

But authorities in Texas don't see it that way.

When a nurse at Winkler County Hospital made a report with the state medical board about what she felt were improper practices by a doctor there, authorities went after the nurse with the serrated pages of their thickest law books.

It turned out the sheriff was a patient of that doctor, and he obtained a search warrant to confiscate the nurse's computer. Prosecutors accused the nurse of making an "inflammatory" statement to ruin the doctor's reputation, and they sought a 10-year prison term.

Thankfully, however, a jury acquitted the nurse yesterday, finding her not guilty of the charge.

Not only does this acquittal completely kablammo what was obviously a malicious prosecution. This acquittal also maintains the safeguard for those who blow the whistle against bad medical practices.


Utah lawmakers making us laugh

Legislators in one of the most right-wing states provide lots of competition for comedy clubs.

The Republican-run Utah House has now passed a resolution completely denying climate change science. The resolution says greenhouse gases are "essentially harmless" to humans - a statement that flies in the face of modern scientific findings.

The measure passed 56 to 17.

Science seems to be alien to the modern GOP. This is the same party that now thinks eating mercury is safe and that nuclear power is "green energy." The Republican Right rejects the very foundations of social science as well - by not recognizing basic human rights such as food, housing, and medical care.

The Utah House's action is amusing because it does nothing except prove what a bunch of whack-a-doos the action's supporters are. They try policing thought by passing resolutions that don't even do anything.

It's especially comical because Big Oil spent gabillions electing these idiots - only to have them turn out to be such a self-parody that nobody's even going to listen to them.

It's hard to fathom how idiotic this is until you realize how much money was dumped into these lawmakers' campaign coffers only to generate this latest nonsense.


One of the worst stories ever on this blog

I'm against the death penalty, but this disgusting story truly tests my principles:

If the parents in that story are guilty, they committed murder. Period.

Any website that endorses beating children is evil. Authorities need to keep a very close eye on websites like that. Any time there's a child abuse case, any connections to such websites must be probed.

There'd be a lot less child abuse if not for the right-wing checkbook clergy types condoning it from the pulpit and online.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Some things never change at WLBT

If you're a broadcasting student in this fine land, you've probably had to learn about the case of WLBT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi.

This case was instrumental in the FCC establishing that stations aren't allowed to intentionally distort news coverage. Back in the '50 and '60s, WLBT refused to cover the civil rights movement. The station cut off the network's coverage and replaced it with segregationist editorials.

Because WLBT distorted the news so flagrantly, the FCC ordered its license to be transferred to a different owner. Only then did the station mend its ways.

But now WLBT seems to be lapsing back into the wicked ways of a half-century ago.

When WLBT reported today on Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's signing of a new law that will inconvenience allergy sufferers, the piece I found online didn't bother to get the side of those who oppose this law. Indeed, the piece contains this remark at the bottom: "This press release was issued by the Governor's Communications Office."

So WLBT is just repeating state government propaganda verbatim?

At least WLBT is being honest by including the note at the end. These days, many news organizations don't even bother to do that, and just expect everyone to believe official propaganda without identifying its source. This is especially true regarding the very issue at hand here: the war on Sudafed. The media often amplifies drug warrior lies without noting that these fibs are put out by those with a vested interest.

Following Congress's 1996 bailout for corporate media, America now has an official media for spreading government propaganda. And WLBT is part of it.

When Monopoly abolished the income tax

If you want to learn how conservaworld works, I recommend the board game Monopoly to you and your children.

I played Monopoly back in my day, and I know that once a player is lucky enough to price-gouge their opponents, they've pretty much won. The winning player spends the endgame grinding all opponents into dust, as it becomes almost impossible for opponents to pay rents and fees.

Monopoly is a great illustration of how corporatism operates. You can learn a lot from Monopoly.

But I've just discovered that Monopoly made a major change to the game board in 2008.

In my day, if you landed on the income tax square, you could choose whether to pay $200 or 10% of your holdings. Now the Monopoly peeps have removed the 10% option.

Paying a flat sum of $200 really isn't even an income tax. It's called a head tax. (Hey Beavis, you said head.) That's a tax that charges folks the same amount regardless of income or wealth. It's a regressive tax.

I can't fault the makers of Monopoly much for this - because Monopoly is only a game imitating reality. Replacing an income tax with a head tax is an accurate reflection of corporatist goals (despite being unconstitutional).

I recall that one of the Chance or Community Chest cards required players to pay a poor tax. This is not a tax that gets redistributed to the poor. Rather, a poor tax is a tax levied against the poor. If there's anything in Monopoly that mimics conservative goals, this would be it.

While Monopoly moves to the right on income taxes, it shifts left on luxury taxes: Monopoly has increased its luxury tax from $75 to $100.

But overall, Monopoly is a very conservative game. There may be no better educational tool to lay bare the ravages of capitalism.

Mississippi requires prescription for over-the-counter drug

Today, Mississippi's Republican Gov. Haley Barbour - a longtime horse's ass - signed a new law requiring a prescription to buy over-the-counter pseudoephedrine cold and allergy drugs.

Mississippi joins Oregon in becoming only the second state with such a law.

This flies in the face of federal law - which says these drugs do not require a prescription. It also belies Barbour's lies about supporting smaller government.

And it will drive up the cost of health care, even as Congress refuses to fix America's broken medical system.

But that doesn't matter to a lying sack of shit like Haley Barbour.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

South Carolina accidentally requires Tea Partiers and corporations to register

You can't write funnier fiction than this!

South Carolina has a new law called the Subversive Activities Registration Act. This new law says that "every member of a subversive organization" and any "organization subject to foreign control" must "register with the Secretary of State" and pay a $5 registration fee.

"Subversive organization" is defined as "every corporation, society, association, camp, group, bund, political party, assembly, body or organization, composed of two or more persons, which directly or indirectly advocates, advises, teaches or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing" the federal or state government.

As far as I'm concerned, that means you, Tea Parties.

It also means that right-wing organization in Texas that's trying to set up shop in South Carolina so it can transform the state into its own breakaway dictatorship.

The way I read it, this law also requires all foreign corporations to register - regardless of whether they advocate overthrowing the government. It does apply to any "organization subject to foreign control", doesn't it?

Or are corporations above the law, like the Supreme Court thinks they should be?


You better run, you better take cover...from copyright laws!

An Australian court recently issued one of the dumbest copyright rulings I've seen in some time.

According to this court, the flute solo of the Men At Work song "Down Under" wrongly copied the 76-year-old folk song "Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree." Because of this, Men At Work is forced to pay 60% of the royalties from "Down Under" to Larrikin Music, which claims to own the "Kookaburra" copyright.

Larrikin Music is a bunch of pirates. "Kookaburra" was written by Marion Sinclair, but she chose never to sue Men At Work. When Sinclair died, Larrikin claimed they owned the rights to "Kookaburra" and filed the suit.

This despite the fact that, upon Sinclair's death, the copyright was actually supposed to go to the Girl Guides Association (a scouting group) - not Larrikin. That was stated in the contract when "Kookaburra" was written.

How does a corporation like Larrikin manage to claim copyright on a song they had nothing to do with? How are they able to sue after the song's writer declined to take such action?

Aren't works that were made 76 years ago supposed to be in the public domain anyway? I'd suspect they would be under American laws, but what about Australian laws?

Oscar likes Slayer ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Slayer is cool.

So is Oscar the Grouch.

And now the 'Sesame Street' kick-ass crew plays along with the legendary heavy metal band. The ol' Osk does lead vocals, while Ernie, Bert, and Grover do the music:


The preceding clip was not broadcast by Channel 48, needless to say.

Ninth Circus guts strip search rules

For decades, a firm national standard has governed strip searches of jail inmates: Strip searches can only be used when inmates are suspected of violent crimes or hiding contraband.

That's the rule.

But now these longstanding guidelines have been utterly gutted by - who else? - the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It's the court where everything we hold dear about America always comes to an end.

Can someone tell me again how conservatives manage to claim the Ninth Circus is too liberal?

Because of this ruling, jails can now do full cavity searches of inmates arrested even for nonviolent charges - even when nobody suspects them of bringing in contraband.

The case was filed by a woman who was arrested on suspicion of vandalism in San Francisco. She was forcibly searched, thrown face-first onto the floor of the jail, and left naked in a cell for 12 hours. The woman was later released with no charges.

The Ninth Circus's new ruling lets police brutalize citizens even for minor charges - or in this case, no charges at all.

Bushism lives on.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Climate change skeptics lied about scientist's quote

The cult of climate change skepticism is crumbling further after skeptics completely fabricated a damning quote that they claim was made by a climate scientist.

Skeptics quoted Welsh scientist John Houghton as saying, "Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen." This quote - which conservatives say is found in a 1994 book by Houghton - was cited as "proof" by skeptics that climate change science was nothing but alarmism.

But now it's been proven that conservatives made up the quote out of whole cloth.

Somebody went ahead and read the book, and discovered that the quote appears nowhere in its pages. In fact, nobody can find any record of the quote before 2006, when a right-wing columnist claimed to have seen it.

All the right-wing brain trust has these days is lies. They've lied about this, they've lied about John Kerry, they've lied about "death panels", they've lied about me. Nothing but lies.


Week 26 of POOP

POOP isn't just about protecting our own privacy and stopping Google from claiming people's Internet postings as their intellectual property.

It's also about forcing Google to cease its practice of reposting fraudulent posts.

Some years back, a user of an Australian ISP posted a racist rant under one of my old e-mail addresses. This was in retaliation for me criticizing a world leader who this user supported.

This user's post was disgusting, and I immediately wanted no part of it whatsoever. I oppose all forms of racism. But because of the technology of my ISP at the time, I was unable to delete this posting.

Sometime around last year, that post began appearing at the very top of the list if you searched for posts under my old address. There were hundreds of real posts under that address - yet a racist forgery appeared at the top of the list.

That right there is solid proof that somebody manipulated the results in an effort to harm my reputation.

To combat this fascism, I posted a nondescript message denouncing racism and signed it with my old e-mail address, so it would appear on top of the list. This worked for a while, but then the fraudulent post knocked it back to #2, because of others' manipulation of the results.

So I posted the anti-racist post again. This worked - until some Hitler deleted this copy of my post from Google's archive by abusing the "report spam" feature.

So I posted it again. As far as I know, this has worked so far, but I don't expect this to last.

I suspect that the person manipulating the results is somebody in local government. Trust me on that. I've gone around in circles with corrupt local government for years, and I know they will do anything they can to destroy me. If it's not someone in government, it's probably somebody from the teen confinement industry - a racket known for bullying critics and Internet companies that host them.

What a baby Ben Nelson sounds like

Aw, look at the widdle baby. Waaah waaah waaah.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) is a staunch DLCer - an albatross around the collar of the Democratic Party who has helped scuttle any hope of real health care reform for months (if not years) to come.

Now Nelson plans to filibuster President Obama's nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board - making it almost impossible for Becker to be confirmed.

Nelson's big complaint? Becker apparently opposes misnamed "right-to-work" laws. Nelson cried that Becker's views "fly in the face of" these laws - which I call work-for-less laws. In states that have work-for-less laws, these laws have depressed wages, busted labor unions, forced union workers to subsidize nonunion labor, and harmed workers.

So Ben Nelson is mad because Craig Becker opposes laws that are unconstitutional anyway.

In other words, Nelson has a personal agenda that takes priority over the Constitution and working Americans - so he's going to kick and stamp his feet until he gets his way.

Gee, Ben, you've got a hell of a way of showing everybody what an idiot you are.

Despite being labeled as a Democrat, Nelson voted to confirm probably every major Bush nominee. Yet he filibusters an Obama nominee for opposing a law that's unconstitutional?


Monday, February 8, 2010

Vinyl lives!

Here's a discovery that should delight the Senate's newest member, right-winger Scott "Records" Brown - since he seems to miss the warm, rich sounds of vinyl so much. (It's one of very few things he's right about!)

Since we've been on the topic of music today, I've looked up several currently popular songs on Wikipedia. To my surprise, at least one such song on a major label is available on a 45 RPM record - the vinyl singles we all know and love.

I'm not going to say which one I've found that has a vinyl single, because I'm going through them alphabetically.

This kind of takes the wind out of the sails of those who said 20 years ago that you couldn't still buy records in any other city.

Rep. John Murtha dies

Sorry to report the death of longtime Rep. John Murtha (D-Pennsylvania). The 77-year-old congressman died today following complications of gallbladder surgery.

Murtha, who represented a heavily Democratic district, was a former Marine and Vietnam vet who was best known for voicing support for an immediate pullout from the disastrous Iraq War. This made Murtha the target of right-wing extremists like Jean Schmidt, who delivered an infamous tirade on the House floor full of personal attacks against Murtha.

In keeping with his pro-labor record, Murtha was also a staunch opponent of the unfair NAFTA.

More memories of the great high school expulsion

After posting about songs that bring back memories of getting kicked out of high school, I just thought of another amusing item from the exact same era.

And I hadn't thought about it in years and years!

It was a radio ad for the Kentucky Derby Festival - probably placed by some sponsor.

Anyone know what I'm talking about? It featured a guy singing, "Kentuckeee Derbeee Festival," in a voice that sounded like one of the singers in the song played in the Enchanted Voyage at Kings Island before the Smurfs took it over.

If I ever find a copy of this radio ad, I will just be absolutely floored! So it's on my list of clips that I'll occasionally search for but probably have no hope of ever finding.

Music, memories, and getting kicked out of school!

Since this is a political blog, it's always interesting how hearing old songs you haven't heard in years brings back memories of political or personal events.

I was listening to some music earlier, and the memories of my expulsion from high school came rushing back! It's hard to believe it'll be 20 years in April, but hearing those old songs again reminded me of when the burden of that particular school finally lifted.

There were 4 songs in particular that were on the radio constantly around the time of my expulsion, and hearing them today brang back those fond reminiscences:

• "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor
• "Whip Appeal" by Babyface
• "Summer Rain" by Belinda Carlisle
• "I Live By The Groove" by Paul Carrack

The Paul Carrack one was particularly amusing because of how I always spoofed the line, "It can't be learned at school." Whenever that song came on the radio, I always sang, "It can't be burned at school." This was around the same time somebody set the toilet paper on fire at school, which wasn't long after we set a cardboard pizza box ablaze on the steps outside the school building.

All this at a Catholic school!

As for political memories, I don't have many from that immediate era. This was at the time when the media was planning on coronating Mad Dog Bush for a second term, so I wasn't exactly encouraged.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Article exposes anti-ACORN hoaxster's racist ties

Lest you haven't seen this yet, there's an interesting article in Salon about the racist links of James O'Keefe - the "filmmaker" who made the ACORN "sting" video and was later arrested for spying on Mary Landrieu's office:

O'Keefe attended a racist conference several years ago that distributed white supremacist literature.

This isn't an unproven allegation. O'Keefe was actually photographed at the event, so there's no point trying to deny it. I try to be careful not to outright accuse people of racist links unless there's lots of evidence. In this case, however, there's solid proof.

A university roommate once reported that O'Keefe kept using a racial slur, which prompted the school to kick O'Keefe out of the dorm. However, O'Keefe says the accusation is a lie. (And I'm not the person making the allegation.)

Of course, right-wingers are acting shocked over O'Keefe's bugging of a senator's office - after some of these same right-wingers cheered him all along.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New York crime numbers hoax unravels

Gee, tell me something I don't know!

Over 100 retired New York City police officials now say that the department was pressured to manipulate crime statistics for political purposes.

Ya think???

They actually expected us to believe the crime rate was falling?

The bogus statistics were used by right-wing mayors "Bedbug Rudy" Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg to make it appear that their unconstitutional and heavy-handed crime-fighting methods worked.

In numerous cases, police were pressured into lowering the value of stolen items so the thefts would be counted as misdemeanors instead of felonies.

If anyone was shot on New Year's Eve, hospitals were told to keep the victims on life support until New Year's Day and let them die then. By delaying their death, the murder statistics for the year in which they were shot would become lower, enabling public officials to brag about the "drop" in crime. But hospitals refused to go along with this order.

Victims of other crimes were often persuaded not to file charges or to change their stories so the perps would be charged with a lesser offense.

Unfortunately, this tampering with crime statistics isn't limited to New York. The same phenomenon has been found in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, New Orleans, and Washington.

The declining crime rate of the '90s and '00s was a hoax. It's one of the biggest frauds perpetrated on the American public in modern times. It was a coordinated propaganda effort to build support for the growing prison state.

This hoax bore so little resemblance to the public's actual experiences that I wonder if it was even effective. But now it's exposed as the sham that it is.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Even the fire marshal isn't safe from drug war fascism

How out of control is that massive flop known as the War on Drugs?

The fire marshal of the town of Lowell, Arkansas, may have found out the hard way.

Recently, he purchased over-the-counter pseudoephedrine cold or allergy medicine for his family. But police say he exceeded the state's limit of 9 grams and promptly issued a warrant for his arrest.

The fire marshal was arrested for buying over 9 grams of a drug that's perfectly legal? All it took was 9 grams???

I don't know the fire marshal, but locals say he's an upstanding, hard-working guy. They simply cannot believe that the drug warriors would arrest him over something like this.

How stupid can the system be to arrest the fire marshal for buying cold medicine?

This is the same system that flags customers for buying too much pseudoephedrine if they buy Tylenol and Nyquil at the same time.

How stupid!


Title IX makes a comeback after Bush neglected it

Until now, we've been disappointed with Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. But at least there's one field in which he's made some progress over the Bush regime's neglect of basic law.

Under Holder, the Justice Department is quite rightly intervening on behalf of students victimized by school harassment - invoking Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 when applicable. This is the first time the Justice Department has used Title IX in this fashion since 2000.

Why has it been so long since Title IX has been used? Because Bush's appointees shoved Title IX aside for 8 years. It was as if Title IX had never passed.

But why??? Honestly, who really knows? The Bush regime always arrogantly shoved aside laws it disagreed with. They probably considered Title IX part of a plot to interfere with their agenda for world domination.

The Bush regime's attitude reminds me of when there was some district prosecutor some years back who wouldn't prosecute a racial incident, despite what the laws said.

Thankfully, Bush is out of office now and in disgrace.

Lawmaker accused of (gasp!) calling colleague a "dick"

The buffoon pictured here is Kentucky's right-wing senate president David Williams. And he's above all criticism.

Last week, Democratic State Sen. Robin Webb met at her office with GOP opponent Dr. Jack Ditty and Kentucky Medical Association rep Dr. Henry Goodman. Goodman secretly videotaped the meeting - without Webb's permission.

Just like a phony "sting" against ACORN, huh?

Another legislator said Ditty and Goodman hoped to catch Webb picking her nose so they could use the footage in a campaign ad against her.

Of course, the Republicans are trying to portray themselves as the victims. Now they're claiming that the secret videotape includes Webb saying David Williams is a "dick."

Heaven forfend!!!

Actually, Webb said Williams is a "dictator." Which is true, of course.

Nonetheless, Republicans are now talking about FILING CHARGES against Webb for insulting Williams in a private conversation - which wasn't even supposed to be videotaped anyway!

What a bunch of BABIES!!!


Tancredo accidentally bars his own followers from voting

The laughable Tea Party convention in Nashville is under way, and right-wing former Rep. Tom Tancredo is already generating the guffaws at his own expense.

During the event's opening speech, Tancredo said that if a civics test was required for voting, President Obama never would have been elected.

Uh, Tom? Do you realize that a civics test would keep Free Republic members, Tea Party cultists, and your own supporters from voting? They obviously don't know shit about civics.

Or maybe they do but just don't care.

I know it would keep Justice Antonin Scalia from voting, because he thinks the "role model effect" should take priority over constitutional law.

I have to admit that few things peeve me more than people who know nothing about civics trying to force me to live by their "mandate." But we all know that has nothing to do with what Tancredo was talking about.

Many states once required a literacy test to vote. This was enforced inconsistently based on the voter's race. Blacks were (in at least one instance) required to read a Chinese-language newspaper, while the test was often waived for whites. Tancredo longs for the days of racist poll practices, but he didn't mention race directly.

Still, the Tea Party crowd knew what he meant. Wink wink, nod nod. After the racism that's defined the various displays of Lipton Lugnuttery all over the country, I think that's clear.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Embattled cable and Internet giant Comcast thinks changing the name of its services will fool people!

Reeling from a tarnished image caused by outages, shitty service, and political bias, Comcast is changing the name of its services to Xfinity. They said it's about "providing our customers with products that just keep getting better."

Seriously, they said that.

They think they can just change their name and people will forget how bad their service is!

Maybe next they'll change their name to Pathway Family Center, huh? I hear that name isn't being used by anyone right now!


Illinois court tosses malpractice caps!

Among the extreme right, the only item in their health care "reform" arsenal seems to be to limit patients' rights to win malpractice awards.

This harms consumers and allows improper practices to escape accountability.

Meanwhile, medical corporations file many more suits against patients than patients do against hospitals and doctors. Nobody dares to rein in suits by corporations - because corporations have True Free Speach Now (tm) and all.

Republicans and DLCers in the Illinois legislature passed a law to limit medical malpractice awards. Of course, DLC then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed this bill into law. (And look where his political career is now.)

But now this war against consumers is a mere husk of its former self in Illinois. The Illinois Supreme Court has just abolished the state's arbitrary limits on malpractice awards. That's because the legislature had tried using statutory law to illegally limit courts' judgments with no regard to the plaintiffs' losses.

Someone on DU said it best: If lawmakers are so worried about malpractice awards being too high, why don't they do something about medical errors instead of worrying that people injured by these mistakes get too much money? Is that so hard to understand?

Although the Illinois Supreme Court took a stand for progress by eliminating these limits, the Ohio Supreme Court has gone the other way. Ohio's all-Republican court has created a bizarre loophole that takes away the right of patients to sue in a jury trial or to collect more than $250,000. (This ruling arose from a case in which a man became blind and lost the use of his arms because of medical errors.)

So the people of Ohio have their work cut out for them to remedy this loophole.


The wheels do move!

You may notice that I don't post as many entries here as I did a year ago. There are several reasons.

For one, the Bush regime was so right-wing that the bar kept getting set higher and higher for me to even comment on a story.

For another, work on my next book has been taking up more of my time.

For yet another, I don't think this type of blog is as effective as it was then. It's a cyclical thing. It'll probably change.

But don't fret because you think I'm not doing enough. I'm also busy fighting the other side on what they think is their own turf. The wheels do move, and they'll continue to, as long as it's within my power.

Trust me on that. I'm not being lazy.

If we all work together, we WILL defeat the Evil Empire in the end. I've been encouraged by the past couple years, and I just wish I had this much encouragement over the preceding 20 years.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The battle of the amendments!

After Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) introduced a constitutional amendment to clean up the Supreme Court's mess by effectively abolishing corporate personhood, now another amendment has been proposed to do this.

Yesterday, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Maryland) sponsored a new amendment to rein in the evils of corporate personhood. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Michigan) signed on as a cosponsor.

This amendment cuts more to the heart of the matter than Boswell's amendment though. It reads:

"Section 1. The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds for political speech by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity.

"Section 2. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press."

Is Congress going to bottle up this amendment in committee like they've done with Boswell's? Maybe every member will introduce their own amendment for Congress to ignore.

Or maybe - just maybe - Congress can approve this amendment like they should and send it to the states for ratification.

Bert's balloon tantrum redux ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

One of the greatest installments of this feature is when I profiled a 1983 'Sesame Street' sketch in which Bert throws an absolute, complete conniption fit because of Ernie keeping him awake by talking about balloons.

This sketch was lengthy but it had a great ending - so everyone wants me to profile it again!

By request, here's Bert, Ernie, and the balloon:


'Sesame Street' historians can find only 2 instances in which this skit ever aired.

That segment has been likened to the original version of Michael Jackson's "Black Or White" video. That clip made its world premiere during an episode of 'The Simpsons'. The video had a long ending in which the King of Pop screamed and ripped apart a car.

When the thought guardians complained that Jackson's tantrum was over the top, the singer agreed to tell music video channels to remove that part so it would never be seen again.

Just think what they would have said about poor Bert's meltdown! Maybe that's why that segment was only shown twice.

University posts billboard with GOP candidate

Since the mid-'90s, the Kentucky university system has often seemed to represent the worst of the right-wing revolving door.

Now the University of Kentucky has posted a gigantic billboard featuring Ryan Quarles, a right-wing Republican state legislative candidate. The billboard looms large along Lexington's heavily traveled New Circle Road.

In other words, the university - a public institution - was using tax dollars to benefit a GOP candidate.

Surprised? I'm not. Over at Northern Kentucky University, officials have a history of favoring conservative causes - even inviting Bush to appear and suppressing those who protested his appearance. NKU also wasted mandatory student fees on a bulk subscription to Campus Report, a far-right hate paper put out by the misnamed Accuracy in Academia (an offshoot of the fascist Accuracy in Media).

When someone pointed out to UK the impropriety of using public money to help Quarles's candidacy, the university sputtered and drooled. The school claimed it had known of no political aspirations of Ryan Quarles and that the billboard was designed before it knew of his candidacy. According to the university, the billboard was developed merely to showcase an outstanding student.

Frankly, this excuse doesn't even pass the laugh test. Assuming they didn't know of Quarles's candidacy when they made the billboard, why did they keep the billboard up after they became aware of his candidacy?

The University of Kentucky has 30,000 students, and school officials just happened to pick the one who was a Republican candidate for public office?


Kentucky shocker: Democrat wins special election

I thought this election was such a lost cause for the Democrats that it wasn't even on the radar screen.

Yesterday, in a special election for the Kentucky House in rural southern Kentucky, Democrat Terry Mills defeated Republican Leo Johnson by about 9%.

This must particularly perturb the GOP, because the seat had been held by the Republicans for years. Every county in the district has gone GOP in every presidential election since at least 2000.

Following this election, the Democrats now control the Kentucky House 65 to 35 - but sometimes ya wouldn't know it!

Hopefully, Mills isn't just another DLCer.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

So where's the conservos now?

After the University of Kentucky fired a grad student from his medical center job for having a legally registered gun in his car, where's the conservatives to defend him?

Aren't conservatives supposed to be the ones who are for gun owners' rights? Or did that all go out the window under Bush?

Maybe they just don't want to criticize the Kentucky university system, which is run by right-wingers.

Incidentally, state law allows law-abiding people to have concealed guns in their car as long as they're legally registered. That's the law.

After the university fired the student, it had the nerve to challenge his unemployment benefits.

Where's the other side to defend him?

It's nice to know that I'm now more supportive of gun owners than the Republican Right is.


Contract...oops, Commitment to America


The Republicans don't have anything to base their congressional campaign on except recycled refuse from 1994!

Their '94 campaign was known as the Contract With America - which was such a failure that nobody is going to vote for that shit again. So now they've just taken the same ideas and given them a slightly different name: Commitment to America.

In case you've forgotten (and how could you?), let me refresh your memory of what the Contract With America was about: In a nutshell, it was about telling the rich what they loved to hear, manipulating public opinion to force everyone else to believe it, and demonizing the poor or anyone who had the "wrong" ideas.

They might as well just run on tinkle-down economics, since they seem to be stuck on decades-old ideas.


Bank accused of overdraft scam

If corporations want rights like people, they should be sued like people too.

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank is now the target of a federal class-action suit by a Georgia woman who accuses it of illegal overdraft policies.

The lawsuit claims Fifth Third processes transactions in order from largest to smallest - instead of in the order customers make these transactions, like they're supposed. The suit also says Fifth Third does this just so each of the smaller transactions incurs an overdraft fee. According to the suit, if the transactions were cleared in the right order, the customers wouldn't have had any overdrafts.

If the bank is indeed doing this, it's a scam.

And it's illegal under federal and Georgia law - as well as the customer contract.

But banks all over America pull this scam.

And people call me crazy for laughing when a teacher in grade school got mad because of kids pooping on the toilet seat.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Week 25 of POOP

Twenty-five weeks. Precious little progress - despite growing demands by others for Google to fix its post removal feature.


Reminds me of in the late '80s when I noticed songs being played constantly on the radio for months on end, after I thought they'd be forgotten within a week. (Cue "Kokomo.")