Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Marine's father won't pay Phelps

After being ordered by a right-wing federal court to pay the legal fees for Fred Phelps's cult, the father of a Marine whose funeral was disrupted by the cult's protests now says he's not paying.

Good. I wouldn't pay either.

He says he's not paying "until I hear from the Supreme Court."

Even if Phelps's protests are protected under the First Amendment, Phelps doesn't deserve a penny from the plaintiff. I'd like to know what matchbook legal theory the court used to try to justify this windfall.

When SUV's go out of control

It's happened again.

Only in very recent years has there seemed to be a national pandemic of vehicles crashing through buildings. And in almost all cases, it's an SUV.

Now it's happened yet again - this time at a United Dairy Farmers store in suburban Cincinnati.

The reason for this is clear: SUV's are of a size and gait that make mishaps like this much more likely.

If the auto industry wanted a bailout, they should have had to first stop producing these death traps - which guzzle fuel, help keep America dependent on foreign oil, and needlessly endanger the public.

Naked Ziggy look-alike destroys flowers ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Another of the most terrifying segments ever to appear on the ol' Ses has been found after many years of oblivion!

In this animated sketch that reportedly dates from 1972, an unclothed male of an indeterminate age picks wildflowers - which kills them. Then, oddly, he smiles widely as strange Moog music plays:


The person in this sketch has been said to resemble Ziggy, Charlie Brown, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, or all of the above. But he is one cool peep!

Notice also that the flowers seem to be humping his leg at the very end! I thought only mammals could do that! (Actually, others have observed that if you look closely, this clip is full of naughty bits.)

There's general agreement that, even after 41 years of 'Sesame Street', this still ranks as one of the scariest segments ever to appear on the show - because of the ruined flowers and creepy music. It was reported to have sent many of the show's young viewers running out of the room. Many are still unable to view it even as adults.

Have no fear, ish #456 is here!

Have no fear.

Because the long-awaited issue #456 of the durable Last Word is finally here!

You're going to love the latest edition of this long-running populist bandstand - which includes articles about:

• Corporate personhood.
• Facebook's closure of a vile class warfare group.
• Our successful attempt to rein in a local city's war against the poor.
• New sidewalks that violate the ADA.
• A local public school district's rehiring of an abusive employee and its charging of tuition for students within the district.
• The library that babysits bratty middle schoolers who pee on the floor.
• The traffic fine that clogged a toilet.
• Luis.

You know where to look. Just click here:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Frivolous lawsuit by Giuliani's son tossed

Rudy Giuliani is a big advocate of tort "reform", as Bedbug Rudy accuses everybody else of filing frivolous lawsuits.

But a couple years ago, his son Andrew filed a frivolous suit all because he was kicked off Duke University's golf team because he was such a subpar golfer and because of his run-ins with teammates.

Now a federal judge has dismissed the younger Giuliani's idiotic lawsuit - after it tied up the court system for 2 years.

The fact that Giuliani's son sued over something like this just proves once again that the Republicans have an entitlement mentality.


Well, they screwed up again

I don't even know which of the icons from the key I should use for this entry, but if there was one for incurable stupidity, it would be suitable here.

Years ago, I conceived a computer game that would feature Ronald Reagan's voice saying, "Well, you screwed up again." I think that applies to the Oklahoma legislature in this story.

Because most Republicans in the Oklahoma Senate hate gays, they just passed a bill designed to make it illegal to enforce the newly expanded federal hate crime statute in the Sooner State. Their aim was to "nullify" the part of the law that protects people from hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation.

What the Oklahoma Senate tried to do is illegal of course, but they were undeterred by law, science, or reason.

However, the bill they passed cited the wrong federal statute to ignore. So, instead of sexual orientation, this bill refers to the federal law against hate crimes motivated by race or religion.

It's bad enough that they tried to pull Oklahoma out of a perfectly valid federal law, but they didn't even cite the right law!

And the Oklahoma Senate actually passed this shit? Of course they did. They're the Oklahoma Senate, after all.

Then again, I know that some right-wing legal eagles out there are thinking of ways to overturn the federal hate crime statutes as I write this. And when you have courts like the federal Fourth Circuit, which supports Fred Phelps, how can people be sure they won't get away with it?


Fourth Circuit, fifth column

This past Friday seems to have been windfall day for right-wing cults.

Not long ago, the father of a Marine who was killed in the Iraq War sued Fred Phelps's cult because they picketed the funeral.

For those unawares, Phelps is pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. This particular congregation is actually a cult. Its followers are known for carrying signs saying "God hates fags" at various events and for picketing the funerals of celebrities and military personnel. Like Sun Myung Moon, there's not a good thing to be said about Fred Phelps. He is truly a lost cause.

The Marine's father didn't win his suit against the cult, but that's not really the issue here. The reason we have courts is to decide cases like this.

The real story here is this: On Friday, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit then ordered the plaintiff to pay Westboro Baptist Church all of its court costs - including those that the cult incurred when it chose to appeal the case.

What message does this send? Extremist cults now know they can disrupt military funerals AND win thousands of dollars from the families of the deceased.

All because the Fourth Circuit doesn't appreciate our fighting men and women, I guess. And I truly believe they don't. The jurists who made this ruling are the enemy within.

Hell, if I was the Marine's father, I just wouldn't pay it. Fred Phelps is threatening to take his property and garnish his wages if he doesn't pay up, but if Phelps's cult tried taking money or property from me, I'd so dare them to.

How can a court even THINK of making a Marine's family PAY Westboro Baptist Church over something like this? Is this any way for the government to treat the family of someone who died for the country?


Monday, March 29, 2010

Teacher assaulted over Obama sticker

So when are the criminal charges coming?

Now. (Finally!)

In Nashville, a teacher and his 10-year-old daughter faced the wrath of the extreme right at a highway intersection. An SUV pulled up behind the teacher's car, which bore an Obama bumper sticker. The SUV's driver began pointing angrily at the sticker and honking. Then he repeatedly rammed the teacher's car, running it off the road.

When police caught up with the assailant, it turned out he was stinking drunk. He was charged with a series of counts that may land him in prison for years.

And he deserves to serve every minute behind bars.

This incident reinforces what many of us have known for years: We're up against violent sore losers who have absolutely no self-control whatsoever.


RNC squandered thousands at bondage club

Fascinating! Truly fascinating!

The Republicans try to control what grown adults do in private by passing laws to restrict nude dancing in nightclubs or what books people can read.

Yet they go and spend party funds at a sexually oriented business themselves!

What a bunch of hypocrites!

The Republican National Committee is now under fire for spending almost $2,000 at a Los Angeles area club known for simulated bondage and similar activities.

Why would someone place a bondage club expense on their party expense account? Remember, this account was held by some of the RNC's most talented operatives. If these are their best operatives, what are their worst like?

That doesn't bode well for the Republicans' future. But that's fine with me.

This is actually taxpayer money that was wasted. Through most of the 2000s, the RNC pretty much was the government itself. America was a GOP machine country. And with the Republicans' political power growing so meteorically at the time, donors also flushed more of their own money into the GOP's coffers.

Leave it to the Republican National Committee to squander it all.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Insurers already plan to disobey health care law

Under the new health care law, children with preexisting conditions must be covered by insurers starting 6 months from now.

But now the insurance industry says the law doesn't really say this. They say that the conditions themselves must be covered, but children with such conditions don't have to be. So they're not going to cover them.

When was the last time there was such a wholesale effort by a major industry to disobey a law in plain sight?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

How's that Real ID bullshit coming along?

How's that Real ID bullshit coming along? Hahahahaha!

Remember how all the states were supposed to be "compliant" by 2010? Damn, the states have sure fooled the Bush regime on that one, haven't they?

Last year, KOB-TV in Albuquerque reported, "A federal mandate says driver's licenses won't be accepted as identification to fly in 2010 if the license doesn't meet federal standards."


So far, the Tim mandate is winning out over the George mandate. Florida may be the only state that's changed it's driver's license requirements to comply with this unfunded federal decree.

Is the TSA going to set up a state-by-state no-fly list to weed out folks from the other 49 states and D.C.?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Some points of order about the comment feature...

Some clarification is in order about the comment feature for this blog.

First and foremost, impersonating others is not allowed. Period. End of discussion.

And yes, that is an Allowed Cloud.

To minimize abuse like this, the anonymous post option is now closed.

My blog, my rules.

Furthermore, there have been some reports that posts are not showing up. I have no control over this. Blogspot does. Complain to them.

The GOP's new school uniform

Because the Republicans and their fellow travelers in the Democratic Losership Clowncil love school uniforms so much, I think I've found the perfect uniform for them:

Make somebody wear something like that as a school uniform, and I guarantee you they'll never support school uniforms again.

This is the perfect example of the type of clothing item that, 20 years from now, people are going to see when they dig up a 2010 catalog and say, "Hahaha, look what everyone wore back in 2010!" - even though nobody wears anything like that.

Toledo ends fascist uniform policy!

Chalk up a victory for constitutional liberty and economic fairness in the Toledo, Ohio, public school system!

Several years ago, right-wing school officials issued a citywide policy requiring public school students to wear uniforms. The media cooed in support of this fascism.

But now the school district is abolishing uniforms, because this policy is costing the school system money and hasn't reaped any positive results.

Very few will miss uniforms.

What's astonishing is that it took this long. A lawsuit should have abolished uniforms as soon as they were implemented.


Kansas tries banning porn

Damn, conservaworld is like having the Taliban in power, isn't it?

The "small government" conservatives are hard at work in Kansas, as they've introduced a bill that would police private conduct. This bill would prohibit nude dancing or waitressing everywhere in the Sunflower State. It would also impose stiff controls on businesses such as porn shops.

A Republican supporter of the bill said, "This is Kansas, for Pete's sake. Let's start acting like it."

The Republicans are the ones who are always saying they're for "small government." Start acting like it.

How can anybody support deregulating Big Business while placing harsher controls on what individuals do in private? Has America become a country of Phil Gramms?


Island disappears because of climate change

All the whack-a-doodles who insist climate change is a hoax can kindly pipe down now.

New Moore Island was a prominent feature some 2 miles long in the Bay of Bengal. India and Bangladesh had long fought over what country the island belonged to.

But climate change seems to have resolved the dispute for the two countries.

Rising sea levels caused by climate change have now permanently submerged New Moore Island underwater. And this isn't even the first disappearance of an island at the hands of climate change. Nearby Lohachara Island was submerged in 1996 - which forced residents to relocate to the mainland. Other islands in the region may disappear as well - displacing more people and ruining their livelihoods.

If predictions hold true, 20,000,000 people in Bangladesh alone will be displaced by the middle of the century.

Are the climate change deniers happy now?


Laugh of the day: Tea Party whiners want you to pay to see them

Today I read something that got me rolling on the floor guffawing my little noggin off.

The Tea Party sore losers have invited Sean Hannity to appear for a book-signing at their April 15 rally at the University of Cincinnati's arena. But that's not the really funny part.

The real hilarity is that the BTPers are charging $5 just to attend their idiotic rally!

Like I'm going to spend $5 just to listen to a bunch of sore losers bash my President? The Tea Party is made up of people who think everybody owes them something - and now they've proven it by charging $5 for a POLITICAL RALLY, of all things!

I'd gladly pay $5 to go to an event that was worth a damn - but not this shit.

I learned about the upcoming event because the Cincinnati Enquirer is promoting the Tea Party by printing their press release verbatim - again.

Kentucky nuke bill about to get a whole lot worse

I thought this business of allowing nuclear plants in Kentucky had been exorcised for the time being, but I didn't count on this added layer of bullshit.

Kentucky lawmakers recently rejected a bill that would have allowed nuke plants by ending a quarter-century-old ban on these dangerous facilities. But with the Republican thought zombies, it's never over, is it?

Now there's a bill in the state legislature that would give utility companies eminent domain "rights" to take your home to build carbon dioxide pipelines. Giving corporations eminent domain powers is just so plainly unconstitutional that I can't believe there's even a bill like this. Welcome to the brave new world of corporate personhood, courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Republicans added a provision to this bill that would also allow nuclear plants to be built.

Well, that makes at least 2 bad things in this bill. What else does this bill do? Does it require people to wear name tags with a corporate sponsor's logo on them too?

Naturally, this bill is roaring ahead in the legislature.


Crybabies want Georgia AG impeached over health care

Now that the NFL is adopting new overtime rules, I guess the Republicans are following suit. Under the GOP's new overtime rules, if their candidate doesn't win, they kick and scream until there's a do-over.

After the health care bill was signed into law, Republican attorney generals of a whole gaggle of states are suing to have it ruled unconstitutional - even though it contains the insurer bailout they supported. In Georgia, however, Attorney General Thurbert Baker - a Democrat - refuses to join this suit.

Republicans think this gives them an opening to nullify Baker's election to this post - and sabotage his gubernatorial campaign. So now they're planning to impeach Baker for not joining the lawsuit against health care. (The sore loser symbol for this entry refers to the Republicans, not Baker.)

The GOP has collected at least 30 signatures of Republican lawmakers who want Baker impeached for not following the national Republican Party's order to sue over the health care law. Furthermore, right-wing Gov. Sonny Purdue says he's appointing a "special Attorney General" to join the suit because Baker won't do it.

I think Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said it best when he refused to join the suit: "I am not going to waste taxpayer dollars on a political stunt."


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ohio court destroys workers' rights

It's widely known that the Republican leadership of the Ohio legislature elevated fascism to new heights, but it got plumb ridiculous in 2005 when they passed a law to limit lawsuits by workers injured on the job.

This law was passed out of sheer meanness.

No real legal theory would consider the law constitutional - even under the Ohio Constitution. This law also robbed many workers of compensation to which they were rightly entitled.

Outrageously, the GOP-dominated Ohio Supreme Court has now upheld this law.

Why is this so bad? Because the law actually forces injured employees to prove that their employer acted deliberately. It lets workplaces off the hook for careless behavior - which turns centuries of workplace law on its ear.

The high court said the law is constitutional because the Ohio Constitution lets lawmakers make laws that provide for "the comfort, health, safety and general welfare of all employees." This law wasn't for employees though. It was for the comfort of employers, not employees. It also violates the constitutional guarantee of the right to a jury trial.

They really are trying to make sure Ohio joins Virginia on the list of states with no rights for workers, huh?


So when do the criminal charges begin?

The wingnuts are never satisfied, are they?

Even though the new health care law includes the insurance industry bailout that they supported, it's not enough for them. Now they're trying to kill members of Congress who supported the overall bill.

In Virginia, Lynchburg Tea Party organizer Mike Troxel wrote a blog post urging people to "drop by" the home of Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello. But he stupidly posted not Perriello's address, but that of his brother.

Following this incitement, someone cut the propane gas line at Perriello's brother's house - in an attempt to blow up the house.

Federal investigators are now probing the attack. But when are the criminal charges coming?

Sadly, this act is the latest in a long pattern of right-wing domestic terrorism that's gone on for nearly 20 years. You can see it in the deadly righist kook-outs of the 1990s, the arson of antiwar activists' homes in the 2000s (as in another Virginia incident), and other displays.


More proof Bush is a total nutcase

This man was allowed to lead the most powerful country in the world for 8 years?

In this clip, Bush appears with Bill Clinton in Haiti. After shaking hands with local residents, Bush wipes his hand off on Clinton's shirt:


This is almost as crazy as the time Bush fondled German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the G8 meeting.

School district blackballs students

Keep an eye on the broken, corrupt school system of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, folks.

Recently, Woonsocket wanted to institute mandatory uniforms, but school officials discovered that this specifically violated state law. So they pressured right-wing lawmakers into changing the law.

Now that they've got the green light for this fascism, the school district is proving just what a bunch of control freaks they are.

In addition to threatening to file truancy charges against students who refuse to wear uniforms, the school district also plans on blackballing them from economic advancement. School officials issued a detailed policy report that says the school system will send letters of recommendation to potential employers for students who follow the new uniform requirement. Students who do not follow it will receive no such recommendation.

Is there any starker illustration of schools' totalitarian, controlling attitudes than this?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ann Coulter whimpers and cries

Pity poor Ann Coulter.

Recently, right-wing loudmouth Ann Coulter was scheduled to give a speech at the University of Ottawa. (The Harper regime expels visitors from Canada if they've ever had to rely on welfare, but it invites a hatemonger like Ann Coulter?)

Dissidents organized peaceful protests against Coulter's speech. This prompted Coulter - being the weakling she is - to cancel the event.

Now Coulter is claiming she's the victim of the big, mean libs - because she chose not to give her speech. So she's hired Canadian right-wing extremist Ezra Levant to help her file a formal human rights complaint.

Doesn't Ann Coulter have to be classified as human before filing a human rights complaint?

Coulter then referred to the Canadian people as "a bunch of girls named Francois."

I'm reminded of that big tantrum Alan Keyes threw when he wasn't invited to that debate in Atlanta during the '96 campaign.

But one can't help but suspect the entire saga might just be an attention-seeking gimmick - as Coulter rapidly becomes a has-been. I wonder if Coulter deliberately set herself up for this just so she'd have an excuse to blame opponents for "scaring" her.


I want, I want... ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

This installment usually Sessifies your world by showing a memorable clip from 'Sesame Street'. But this is one where you're going to just have to use your imagination, because the skits in question haven't turned up yet.

I've compiled a top 4 list of 'Sesame Street' segments I want to find. I don't know of them appearing on any DVD collection, YouTube, or anywhere else. They're totally lost!

Here's my top 4, from #4 to #1...

4) BANJO BERT. I have a very, very, very vague memory of this from the mid-'70s, and NOBODY else seems to remember it, despite it being possibly the most bizarre segment ever to appear on the show. It featured Ernie playing basketball while banjo music plays, and Bert's head appearing in the upper left corner of the screen and trying to catch the ball in his mouth. It only ranks #4 because I know it's going to be almost impossible to find, and I don't want to get my hopes for finding it up too much.

3) LISTEN. This was a live action film of various sounds, particularly those made by wildlife. A female voiceover kept saying, "Listen." This is significant because I once witnessed a person saying, "Listen," each time they passed gas. This was apparently based on this sketch. (It was kind of like the "Here it comes" meme.)

2) 'SESAME STREET' GOES BALD. Around 1978, there was a storyline in which several of the adult human characters lamented the fact that Gordon kept shaving his head, thus keeping him a total chrome dome. Then it showed hilarious shots of what other characters might look like if they were bald. I think Maria might have been one of them, but I know for a fact Oscar the Grouch was. The segment showed the ol' Osk with the fur on the top of his head replaced with bare green felt.

1) BAWM BAWM BAWM. This was a musical sketch that featured the chubby blue Anything Muppet from Grover's restaurant and numerous other Muppets singing, "Bawm bawm bawm, bawm ba bawm bawm bawm, bawm bawm bawm...bawm bawm bawm..." There is a similar skit that goes, "Clap clap, clappity-clap," but that one proliferates wildly on YouTube. The "Bawm bawm bawm" sketch is the Holy Grail of lost 'Sesame Street' segments.

If you can lead me to any of those 4 clips, I promise you I'll never send you a rotting piece of poop in the mail.

Mandatory insurance actually Republicans' idea


As the new health care law makes it mandatory to buy insurance from greedy corporations, it turns out this portion was the Republicans' idea all along - as if that wasn't clear already.

A health care official in Florida says she first heard of the idea when John McCain endorsed it in the '90s. McCain was contrasting his proposal versus the Clinton administration's health care package.

Mitt Romney endorsed mandatory insurance in a Wall Street Journal piece in 2006.

The Business Roundtable - a secret society of right-wing CEO's - later announced its support for it. Right-wing former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson backed it as well.

Of course they did. In conservaworld, everything is mandatory - unless you're a corporation, that is. Conservaworld is a land of Allowed Clouds. You can't do this. You can't do that.

Now, however, Republican attorney generals in several states are trying to have the entire law ruled unconstitutional because of this provision - even though it's a provision the GOP supported.

One almost suspects they supported adding it just so they'd have ammo against the whole law.

In the unlikely event that mandatory health insurance is ruled unconstitutional, then at least that means mandatory car insurance (which is just as much of a rip-off) must be too, right? Maybe the attorney generals who are suing might end up getting what they didn't bargain for.


I guess Tantrum 95.7 is legal now

America is truly being ruled by an unelected "second legislature" wearing black robes.

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued what is clearly an activist ruling. This order blocks FCC rules that prohibited media corporations from owning a newspaper and a TV station in the same city.

Why? Simply because.

With this ruling, the far-right propaganda pipeline widens - if that's at all possible after Congress's 1996 bailout of right-wing media hadn't already made it pervasive.

Republican FCC commissioner Robert McDowell praised the ruling because it removes "burdensome ownership rules." Are you kidding me? "Burdensome" how??? The rule that was lifted appears to have been the only ownership rule that remained!

The only "burdensome ownership rules" are ones against independent micropower stations like Tantrum 95.7 - which was shut down by the FCC.

If ownership caps violate corporations' True Free Speach Now (tm), then doesn't that mean individuals have a free speech right to run a station too?

In the meantime, the states need to be defiant. The states must step up to the plate and break up newspaper/TV combos that may be allowed under this ruling.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Air Force wants to close Ohio's road because of "security"

This is one of these times when a city needs to stand up and be defiant.

The Air Force wants to close a mile-long part of State Route 444 in Fairborn, Ohio, near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base - citing a Bush-era "security" guideline. The city of Fairborn opposes the effort because of traffic problems.

Um, it's a state route. Thus, it's Ohio's road. Not the Air Force's.

No explanation by the Air Force was offered as to why the road must be closed - other than the fact that it's needed to comply with the Bush regime's fiat.

Hell, if I was the city of Fairborn, and if the Air Force put a barricade across my road, the barrier would be gone within the day.


24% of Republicans think Obama is the Antichrist

If there was any doubt that the Republicans have gone completely batshit, a new Harris poll should kablammo those doubts.

According to this survey, 24% of Republicans think President Obama "may be the Antichrist."

Seriously, they said that.

I actually thought this story was a parody at first. But nope, it's as real as the fact that the Republicans would be on the cusp of becoming a third party had the Supreme Court not bailed out the GOP with its corporate personhood bullshit.

If 24% of Republicans think Obama is the Antichrist, I guess I'm the Antichrist to the other 76%.


Tanning salons and the health care law

As the new health care bill was signed into law, here's one provision that I'm happy to say I wholeheartedly support.

This bill imposes a 10% tax on visits to tanning salons. And I'm all for it.

It certainly makes more sense than taxing food does. If consumers spend their time and money on artificial tans that put them at risk for skin cancer - which places a burden on the health care system - that's their choice. This tax affects those who choose to patronize such a service.

The tax is on a potentially unhealthy vanity product - not on a necessity such as food or shelter.

Last year, a World Health Organization agency even placed tanning beds in its highest cancer risk category. An Associated Press piece even said that cancer researchers now deem tanning salons "as deadly as arsenic and mustard gas."

If you opt for unhealthy activities that we all end up paying for, then you have to pay into this system. Those who insist health care is not a right can't very well claim that visiting tanning beds without having to pay a tax on it is a right.


Kentucky snubs nuke bill

Kentucky has a proud tradition: State law prohibits nuclear power plants from being built anywhere within the Commonwealth's boundaries.

Nuclear energy is perhaps the costliest and most dangerous form of power. The last thing Kentucky needs is a Three Mile Island or a Chernobyl.

But that was lost on state senators who recently approved a bill that would lift Kentucky's ban on nuke plants. This sellout to the power industry was met with widespread public opposition, but that didn't deter the fat-cat Kentucky Senate.

Now, however, this massively unpopular bill has stalled in the Kentucky House. Legislators don't expect it to come up for a vote in the current session.

Do you really want a Chernobyl in your backyard?


Monday, March 22, 2010

Newt still making us laugh

If you're feeling sluggish, you can always count on Newt Gingrich to cheer you up by saying something laughably idiotic.

The former House Speaker - who set the standards of fascism in the '90s - jabbered at length about the health care bill yesterday. He implied that he felt it was wrong for President Lyndon Johnson to sign civil rights laws, and that the health care bill will ruin the Democrats for the next 40 years - which he claims also happened following Johnson signing civil rights legislation.

There's some real problems with Newt's latest proclamations about The World According To Newt. In addition to his apparent belief that civil rights laws are bad, his view that the Democrats were ruined for 40 years because of these laws is simply wrong.

The civil rights laws were passed in the '60s. The Democrats didn't thoroughly collapse for another 35 years, when they moved to the extreme right. In fact, the Democrats racked up amazing majorities in congressional elections from the '60s into the '90s.

This is the same Newt Gingrich who hired a Nazi as a House historian, so what do you expect?


Week 32 of POOP

More Google stupidity...

As I've held vigil for months for the return of Google's post removal tool, I've noticed a strange thing. If you try going to the removal tool's webpage, you are confronted with a generic "webpage cannot be found" screen. But if you try going to any other page that doesn't exist on Google, you get Google's own customized "Not Found" page.

Google cares so little about maintaining features that it bragged about only a few years ago that it doesn't even put its own "Not Found" page on them when they break for 6 months?

Reelin' in the drug companies?

Despite insurmountable flaws in the new health care law, it imposes some much-needed regulation on big insurance companies. But what about big drug makers?

Does it finally let Americans import less costly prescription drugs from Canada? (No.) Does it do anything about drug companies' uncontrolled price-gouging? (No.)

Does it make medicines any safer? I was injured permanently by a series of prescription drugs that I should have never been prescribed, and I'm not too pleased at the drug companies. I place no trust in them whatsoever.

Does it force drug makers to stop lying about their products' side effects? What does the bill specifically do for folks who have already been harmed?

I'd like to see the federal government or the states make drug makers pay a huge settlement over the damage they've done - much like what Big Tobacco had to do (and deservedly so).

Well, I guess this means never

Last year, President Obama said it's "now or never" with health care reform.

With the bill that just passed, I guess it's never.

I guess I and millions of others are never going to be able to see a doctor again. And America's never going to have national health care.

A public option was a minimum requirement for health care reform. And this bill doesn't have it.

Thankfully, the bill does do some good things. For instance, it would rein in insurers' discrimination on the basis of preexisting conditions. (I'm told that Congress passed such a regulation years ago, but it was repealed under the fascist Contract With America.)

But I oppose this bill because it forces people to buy insurance from the same corporations that run the industry now - who have refused to approve life-saving care and have propped up psychiatric "hospital" scams. Luckily, this provision doesn't take effect for 4 years, so there'll be time to fix it. If it isn't fixed, I'm not obeying it, of course.

It makes no sense to make folks pay a fine because they can't afford insurance.

Meanwhile, America retains its status as one of very, very few countries without national health care.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health care bill = crap

Congress has had all this time to present a real health care reform bill, and they give us this piece of shit?

Dennis Kucinich was right when he initially refused to support this bill.

We were promised a bill that had (at minimum) a strong public option. But where's the public option??? It's completely absent.

Instead, the bill forces people to buy insurance from the same corporations that have micromanaged Americans' health care decisions for years and refused to approve life-saving treatments.

In other words, it's another bailout for big insurance companies.

The good that this bill does is outweighed by the bad embodied in this bailout.

This is not reform. At all. So I for one am not going to be supporting this bill.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nastea crowd on the attack

I hate spending a Saturday night talking about the Tea Party thought police, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

As the LOSEianne crew staged a protest today outside the U.S. Capitol against health care reform, they've let the mask slip again, as they've shouted racist and anti-gay slurs at members of Congress. Another member of Congress was spit on:

James Clyburn said the abuse was so vile that he heard things he hadn't heard since 1960 when he led civil rights demonstrations.

So the Tea Parties have come to this?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Crybabies block traffic

You don't need to tell me that there's a real problem out there with people thinking somebody owes them. I saw this phenomenon in action on Wednesday when a Lexus SUV driver got angry because I wouldn't disobey a traffic light so she could pull into a public parking space that she thought was reserved for her.

Earlier this week, folks in Tucson, Arizona, saw the same dynamic at work.

Opponents of health care reform repeatedly drove around U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's office, honking their horns. This display blocked traffic for commuters and others.

Believe me, if I lived in Tucson, I'd be damned if I'd let these sore losers block me. It would end very, very badly for them.

One is reminded of the violent tactics displayed by GOP activists in Miami during the 2000 Florida recount.

At an antiwar rally in Los Angeles several years ago, police arrested motorists who honked in support of the rally. These motorists weren't even driving around and around the block and disrupting traffic. But I guess there's a different set of rules for the Tea Party cultists.


GOP councilman accused of accepting strip club payoff

Let's play another boring game of "guess the party affiliation" - since press reports won't mention the affiliation of the politico in this story.

Aw hell, let's just cut right to it: He's a Republican.

Lincoln Plowman is a Republican city-county councilman in Indianapolis. Well, he was. Now he's been forced to resign in disgrace.

Plowman is being accused of accepting a $5,000 payment - a bribe, if you will - from an FBI agent posing as a strip club developer. This scandal forced Plowman to resign from council last week and retire from his job as a police major.

What's really amusing is the wingnut hypocrisy: They try controlling private conduct by shutting down strip clubs, yet they're so greedy that they can't live without accepting bribes from agents posing as strip club developers.

It's just like how the TV networks run sitcoms full of trite penis jokes yet support right-wing candidates who back censoring "indecent" content.


The monarchy of mean

I feel like I'm back in the days of Newt Gingrich and Phil Gramm!

It wasn't so long ago that politicians' slick veneer couldn't hide their deep-down meanness. Those days seem to have returned among Arizona Republicans.

Right-wing Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has now signed a budget that completely eliminates the state's Children's Health Insurance Program. This makes Arizona the only state to do so. It also drops over 300,000 impoverished adults from Medicaid.

This was an act of political extortion. Despite running on a platform of lower taxes, Republicans who control the Arizona legislature have been demanding an increase in the state sales tax to 6.6% - which would be one of the highest in the nation. They said if they didn't get it, they'd slash Medicaid and children's medical insurance. They're threatening to cut even more vital services if voters don't approve a sales tax referendumb that appears imminent.

The lawmakers are truly monarchs of mean. To the very bone.

They said it's about fiscal responsibility. But that's a lie. By making these cuts, Arizona actually lost hundreds of millions of dollars in federal matching aid.

The Devil better be speeding up construction of that new plane of hell.

Many of the same right-wing legislators who supported the state's new budget are among those who backed expensive social and economic engineering programs like the private school bailout of 2006 - a program that was ruled unconstitutional last year. They had money to give to wealthy private schools just to "prove" a political point, yet they don't have enough for poor children's medical care?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wingnutosphere made up health care survey

I'm a fair-minded man, but when wingnuts lie, I call them out.

Lately, the solons of wingnutopia have been talking about a survey that was supposedly conducted and published by the respected New England Journal of Medicine. According to this fabled survey, as many as 46% of doctors would quit the medical profession if health care reform passes.

Fox News repeated this survey ad infinitum.

But now it turns out that this survey was completely made up out of thin air.

Media Matters for America got suspicious about this poll and contacted the New England Journal of Medicine to ask whether they had published it. The New England Journal of Medicine says it never conducted, published, or had any role in such a survey. In other words, it was totally made up by the wingnut brain trust.

The closest thing to it was an unscientific e-mail survey conducted by an advertiser newsletter for doctor recruiting firms, but even this self-promotional poll did not suggest that 46% of doctors would quit because of health care reform. In fact, the survey was answered only by those who felt like answering.

Fox News touted a similar survey last year, but it turned out to have come from the far-right Investor's Business Daily.

Honestly, do you seriously think so many doctors - who spent all that time in medical school - are going to just up and quit over health care reform?

The FCC used to take a dim view of TV stations intentionally distorting news, but with the Fox News command state ruling the roost these days, that policy seems to have gone by the wayside.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My blog is back...Circus Vargas, Circus Vargas...

I've had a personal blog on another service for 7 years, and earlier in the week, I discovered its domain name had expired. It was reasonable to suspect that it would not be renewed, and that this service had gone out of business.

But apparently, they've returned! So my long-running personal blog is back there:

That blog is nothing like this one. Most of it is designed to be strictly silly, a hillock of dumb fun in this crazy world. But with this blog's return, all the work I put into it is not lost after all.

Another idiot with a sense of entitlement

I took the Peace Bike out for a spin in Cincinnati today, and I encountered yet another privileged crybaby with a sense of entitlement.

I was bicycling on the east-west stretch of Central Parkway, and I ended up right behind a shiny new SUV at a traffic light. This was no ordinary hulker. This was a Lexus SUV. Ooh, a luxury brand!

When we were stopped at the light, I was trying to think just how incredibly wealthy the driver of the SUV must be to afford a Lexus and all the gas it must take to operate such a big vehicle.

Then a strange thing happened. The woman driving the luxury SUV in front of me turned around and began flailing her arms at me. She expected me to move out of the way because she was trying to back into a parking space along the street!

If anyone needed to move, it was her, because the light had turned green. But nooooo! She kept waving her hands like a maniac.

Bikes are supposed to travel in the roadway, so I was doing nothing wrong. And why did she think that parking space was reserved for her? I guess it's because she's special and privileged and all, to be able to afford a Lexus SUV.

She had Kentucky plates, but I'm assuming she was NOT from Covington or Newport. I bet she was a monied exurbanite mooching off our central cities.

I was chased out of Villa Hills once for being too poor, but imagine if you can what the reaction would be if the Lexus driver was chased out of central Cincinnati for being too rich.

After today's display by the Lexus SUV motorist, I would have intentionally obstructed the parking space she thought was hers (she's dealing with the 2010 Tim, after all), except it was obvious she was trying to waste my valuable time. So why give an entitlement monarch what she wants?

What a big baby.

Court says death threats not free speech

Gee, ya think?

You know society has sunken pretty low when some spoiled baby makes a serious legal claim that death threats are protected by the First Amendment. But here we are.

Recently, students at a private school in Los Angeles spread a false rumor about a classmate being gay and made death threats against him. The victim of this campaign was forced to move out of town.

When the victim sued, the harassers actually claimed that death threats were protected free speech. Seriously, they said that.

No court was dumb enough to buy that argument. A California appeals court has now laughed this defense clean out of the courtroom.

What's really amazing is that the court's ruling was only 2 to 1 instead of unanimous. Where did they manage to find one judge who actually accepted this outrageously idiotic defense? Basic law classes make it clear that death threats aren't constitutionally protected. Even when I studied broadcasting in college, this was one of the first things we learned.

The fact that there's now such a culture of entitlement among the nation's elite that they tried claiming First Amendment protections for death threats against a classmate shows how far the country fell under all those years of Reagan and the Bush crime family. Nobody set boundaries for these spoiled brats, and now it's coming home to roost.


Bill would lower pseudoephedrine limit (sigh)

As much as the Democrats have tumbled into the abyss in recent years, the Republicans always manage to stay 10 steps ahead of them in futility and sheerly psychotic ideas.

The latest GOP bill in the Kentucky legislature proves it once again!

Right-wing Sen. Robert Stivers has sponsored a bill to lower the already-low limit that controls how much over-the-counter allergy drugs you can buy. It would also make it so anyone convicted of certain drug offenses wouldn't be allowed to buy any Sudafed at all for 5 years.

All this from the so-called "less government" party. When the Republicans say they're for less government, all you need to do to debunk this claim is to mention this bill. That should shut them up for a while. We know it won't shut 'em up, but it should.

You know this bill won't do anything to curb meth, because the prevalence of meth labs actually increased when they first imposed a Sudafed limit. These laws accomplish nothing except to inconvenience innocent people.

It's ironic that Stivers was also a lawyer for Republican politicians charged for selling dope. I don't fault Stivers for that, because GOP politicians deserve defense attorneys just like other criminals do, but the irony is hard to miss.

The War on Drugs - particularly, this ridiculous crackdown on Sudafed - is an exercise in chasing the wind.


There's a hole in the toilet, dear Liza, dear Liza... ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Wednesday wouldn't be Wednesday if I didn't Sessify it all up!

I've always claimed that 'Sesame Street' in the '70s frequently featured a sketch with a short-tempered backwoods Muppet couple and a song that went, "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza..." But everyone was adamant that I was making the whole thing up.

But once again, YouPube has saved the day...


I came up with a parody that went, "There's a hole in the toilet, dear Liza, dear Liza..." But all the other lyrics were the same.

Although the male Muppet in this sketch was voiced by Jim Henson, notice how his voice sounds like Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane of 'The Dukes Of Hazzard' when he stammers around 2:05. Also, I think the female Muppet was voiced by Rita Moreno, because when she gets angry, she sounds like Moreno's "HEEEEEY YOOOOOU GUYYYYYS!" yell from 'The Electric Company'.

I think it would have been funny if ol' Henry peed on the stone when Liza told him to "wet" it.

The song in this skit represents going around in circles while finding solutions that only bring more problems, eventually taking us back to where we started. It's kind of like the way the Republicans are acting about health care reform. Except they don't really even have solutions.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

PepsiCo to poison your kids

Even though I consume soft drinks regularly, I can't say that I'd miss soft drink machines in schools. With the exception of college campuses, I don't remember ever attending a school that had soda machines anyway. Maybe things have changed since the '80s, but I don't know.

However, PepsiCo now says that - while it's removing regular soft drinks from schools - it's going to continue selling diet sodas in schools worldwide. (It's unknown whether Coca-Cola has a similar policy.)

So while they expel soft drinks that use natural sugar, they're replacing them with Donald Rumsfeld's favorite poison - aspartame.

I guess the Pepsi people think brain cancer is better than cavities, huh?

Corporate America is giving your kids cancer, and everybody stands idly by.

Be on the lookout for census hijinks

I just received my 2010 census form, which helps me avoid a repeat of 2000, when I never received one. But this reminds me to warn you about the undercount that may be lurking.

The census forms are supposed to be delivered yesterday, today, or tomorrow. And I'm wondering whether everyone in my building even received one. I don't paw through the neighbors' mail, so I don't know. But if an apartment building receives only one form for the whole building, that calls the entire census into question.

If small apartments (as opposed to single-family houses) are being undercounted, I don't even need to tell you why that is. But I will anyway: It's because of a concerted effort to undercount population in areas that do not vote Republican. That's why GOP areas seemed to gain so much population in the censuses of 1990 and 2000, which were the least accurate ever.

If you don't get a census form this week, scream, cry, and stamp your feet until you do.

If there's any evidence that apartment buildings are receiving only one form, the government needs to correct the final count by multiplying the numbers from each building by the number of apartments the building has. That would be more accurate than leaving it alone.

Stuffy Duffy

The Online Lunchpail is part of American society - not a resident of a giant bubble that shelters it from the rest of the country.

Accordingly, we must call out other cities' mayors who disregard economic needs and the Constitution. And we actually have to be slightly tougher on Democrats, because the Republicans are already so far gone that people have stopped caring what they think. Besides, we have to keep the Democrats from becoming the rotting, stinking corpse that the GOP already is (though it may already be too late).

I've already joined the Facebook group to launch a recall petition against Tulsa's idiot Republican mayor, so now I'm turning my attention to Rochester, New York - ruled by DLC mayor Robert Duffy.

One of Duffy's first major mistakes may have been to shut down the city-owned ferry to Toronto. He then sold the ferry to a German company, instead of to a firm based in any country where the ferry actually runs.

Now, if the ferry was to Germany, I'd expect German companies to have some interest in it. But since it was owned by a U.S. city, and half of its route was on U.S. waters, why couldn't an American firm own at least half of it? America was approaching the height of its worst recession in 75 years, yet the Duffy administration was letting other countries get richer off the city's ferry?

Now Duffy wants to take over the city's school system - thus removing power from a school board elected by voters. Obviously, he doesn't even trust the voting public. He wants to do this so he can implement mandatory student uniforms (which are unconstitutional) and eventually turn the school system over to a private company.

Privatizing public schools has been proven as a failure in other cities, as firms that took over the school districts have fleeced taxpayers and failed to improve performance. It's also illegal, as it violates students' rights to attend public schools.

I'm calling you out on this, Bob.

It's not like I expect the current Democratic Party to give a shit. This is the party whose leaders are now trying to oust supporters of single payer health care and instead pass a bill that gives a bailout to big insurance companies.

These days, when you see the Democratic label next to a politician's name, you have to assume Republican.

Kentucky gives bailout to horse abusers

Outrage of the day: Did you know that the state of Kentucky gives taxpayer money to horse shows whose participants abuse horses?

Not all horse shows condone cruelty to animals, but there are some that permit it outright. And as Kentucky taxpayers, we're being forced to pay zillionaires to maim horses' hooves before showing them off to other zillionaires.

These sadistic practices are against federal law, but taxpayers in the Bluegrass State are being required to finance them anyway.

And it's all because of a cabal of extremely wealthy horse owners who demand ongoing taxpayer bailouts but won't change their cruel practices.

Monday, March 15, 2010

March 8: a big day for Roads Scholaring too! (WTS)

Roads Scholaring season beginned on March 8, and I was pleased to take the Peace Bike on a Scholaring on the west side of Cincinnati.

This outing yielded 33 road photos and videos to add to my burgeoning online museum. Most of them cover Price Hill and Fairmount - including many streets that are new to my photo site.

I just posted these pictures over the weekend, and you can find them here:

You're gonna read 'em, and you're gonna peep, dammit!

March 8: a big day for books! (WTS)

Because the only entry I couldn't rescue from my personal blog is the one from March 8, the day I made my second book 'A Mind's Smithereens' available, here's the ordering instructions again...

Simply point your pooper here:

Notice that my tome is available for the low, low price of only $14.91 (cheap).

Buy my book before it buys you!

Tim Brown's Blog (Why Today Stinks)

Blog blog blog blogga blog!

Blog blogga blog blog blog!

Blog blog blogga blog blogga blog blog blogga blog blogga blogga blog blog blogga blog blog blog blogga blogga blog blog blog blogga blog blogga blog!

I'd like to welcome readers of my personal blog - known as Tim Brown's Blog (Why Today Stinks). My personal blog had been hosted on Pitas since 2003. However, I've just learned that Pitas has apparently gone out of business (as its domain name has expired and has not been renewed), so my blog on that site is no more.

So from now on, The Online Lunchpail will be picking up my personal blog's slack. Every Roads Scholaring, every public bunker blast or bubbling, and any other personal observations from the files of the Great Royal Tim will be posted here! Nothing like mixing business with pleasure!

Luckily, I think I was able to rescue all entries from the old blog except the most recent. So all that work is not wastage bastage indeed!

Reverse redistribution!

The Online Lunchpail wants to know why the CEO of a particular telcom corporation just got a bonus of millions of dollars after he reportedly made employees show up on their own time and told them they wouldn't get their bonus unless they met sales quotas that were impossible to reach.

This while said CEO was firing workers or cutting their pay.

Naysayers get upset at me for supporting regulation of Big Business but not of personal conduct. But it's hard to justify a lack of regulation on major corporations when they reward CEO's with multimillion-dollar bonuses for slashing pay of average workers.

It's reverse redistribution!

Week 31 of POOP

So Google just thought I'd forget about this POOP business if they added bike routings to Google Maps, eh?

Actually, they've just handed me a golden opportunity. Now I can make even more Peace Bike videos to expose Google's wreckage of its message archive.

So the joke's on poor ol' Google, I'm afraid.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Campaign finance reform activist Granny D dies

Doris Haddock - a New Hampshire-based campaign finance reform activist better known as Granny D - died Tuesday at the age of 100.

Granny D was best known for her 3,200-mile walk across the country to support campaign finance reform. This year-long trek concluded when she was 90.

In 2004, Haddock was the Democratic candidate for Senate against right-wing incumbent Judd Gregg.

Granny D's work is of particular interest now, in light of the Supreme Court ruling giving corporations unlimited "rights" to spend on political campaigns - a ruling that gutted a century-old campaign finance law.

This ruling also raises the question of why court-packing hasn't been instituted yet. Seventy years ago, conservatives on the Supreme Court kept siding against New Deal initiatives - even though no real legal theory would have deemed these laws unconstitutional. To combat the court's legislating from the bench, President Roosevelt proposed court-packing: New Justices would be appointed in addition to the existing 9, and the Supreme Court would gradually return to 9 Justices when existing members retired or died.

The current Supreme Court is so out of step with basic constitutional law that President Obama and Congress need to enact court-packing. (Not like I expect them to.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Corporation runs for Congress

Well, it had to happen, I suppose.

After the Supreme Court absurdly ruled that corporations have human rights, many have speculated that corporations will soon start to hold office and vote. (One envisions a walking Pepsi can going into a voting booth.)

Meet Murray Hill, a Republican candidate for Congress in Maryland. But Mr. Hill's not a person. He's Murray Hill Inc., a public relations company.

You read that right: A corporation is running for Congress.

This campaign is just tongue-in-cheek, of course. It's designed to poke fun at the Supreme Court inventing corporate "rights" out of whole cloth.

"Until now, corporate interests had to rely on campaign contributions and influence-peddling to achieve their goals in Washington," the corporation declared in a statement. "But thanks to an enlightened Supreme Court, now we can eliminate the middle-man and run for office ourselves."

There may be a roadblock, however, as Murray Hill's voter registration form was rejected. Oh well. Maybe the Supreme Court will fix that, since it loves corporations so much.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Thimerosal ruling disappointment

Most scientists agree that thimerosal - a mercury-laden vaccine preservative - is a cause of the skyrocketing rate of autism in America's children. Some studies dispute this, but most of the studies that claim thimerosal is safe were bankrolled by drug companies. So it's not unreasonable to conclude that thimerosal is a dangerous additive.

This additive is clearly not the only cause of autism, and I'm sure it's not the biggest cause - but it is one of many, and it must be confronted.

But we live in an era in which drug makers are shielded from lawsuits no matter how harmful their products are. So who's surprised by today's federal court ruling?

The court ruled today that the link between thimerosal and autism is "scientifically unsupportable" - despite the evidence of such a link. The problem with the ruling isn't so much that it rejected 3 individual cases for lack of evidence, but that the court rejected the thimerosal/autism link altogether - a declaration that may dash thousands of cases.

Thimerosal cases are decided by a special vaccine court under a law signed by Reagan - not by a regular court. In these courts, government attorneys actually defend the drug makers - at taxpayer expense. So maybe it's time to pass a law to move these cases back to regular court.

Meanwhile, drug makers continue to battle the American public over the safety of other drugs - and courts are always eager to give them what they want, even ruling that design defect claims are barred by law. Outrageously, the Justice Department supports drug makers in this case. (Yet another reason Eric Holder should be replaced.)

Remember, this is the same drug industry that insisted for years that Cylert was safe (only to be forced to remove it from the market when cases of fatal liver damage came to light). And you can't trust the government either, after it allowed genetically altered products in our food supply.

Right-wing group forces ACORN out of Ohio

If you're a right-wing legal foundation, all you need to do to get what you want is yell at the courthouse for a few minutes. In conservaworld, right-wing law firms having their way 100% of the time is considered a birthright. Such firms don't need facts on their side.

And the taxpayers pay for everything they do.

Now ACORN has been forced to surrender its Ohio business license and leave the state following a lawsuit by the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law - a so-called "libertarian" group. The group said ACORN's voter registrations drives were "organized crime" because they allegedly turned in bogus forms.

What the plaintiffs didn't tell you is that these false registrations were submitted by Republican operatives who were trying to frame ACORN. If anyone's guilty of organized crime, it's the Republican National Committee.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is not "libertarian" as it claims. If it was, it wouldn't gunk up the legal system with lawsuits it knows are based on false allegations.

What does it say about the condition of our system when a handful of right-wing activists can successfully banish a community organizing group from an entire state?

James O'Keefe's hoax video was bad enough, but for ACORN to be banned from Ohio after being framed for fraudulent voter forms is totally ridiculous.


Wal-Mart illegally fires medical marijuana patient

Wal-Mart is nearly synonymous with corporate serfdom. And a Wal-Mart in Battle Creek, Michigan, is proving it.

Wal-Mart has fired an employee because he uses medical marijuana with a doctor's prescription. He was fired despite the fact that medical marijuana is legal in Michigan.

This is how Wal-Mart treats a man who was its 2008 Associate of the Year and who suffers from sinus cancer and an inoperable brain tumor? There ought to be a whole new plane of hell for whoever decided to fire him.

The man was fired after he failed a drug screening. This underscores why we need to pass a law against workplace drug tests.

In the meantime, Wal-Mart acts like it can make up its own laws by firing people over legally permitted activity. It doesn't work that way, Wally World. The Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws are designed to protect people from illegal firings like this.

But Wal-Mart remains undeterred in the face of law or common decency. Now the retail giant actually has the nerve to challenge the man's eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Maybe if Wal-Mart didn't want him unemployed, they shouldn't have fired him.

A corporation shouldn't be allowed to challenge the unemployment benefits of a person it fired. It's just common sense: If you choose to fire somebody, you can't expect them not to seek benefits that they're entitled to.

In the meantime, I will continue my long-running boycott of Wal-Mart.


Kentucky rejects Sudafed prescription bill!

Three things are certain in life: the failed War on Drugs, the War on Drugs expanding, and the War on Drugs expanding more.

But the drug war has now been unexpectedly rebuffed by Kentucky lawmakers, who have reportedly rejected a bill to make pseudoephedrine allergy drugs available by prescription only. This bill flew in the face of federal law that makes these drugs over-the-counter.

Rejecting the bill is one of few major roadblocks in recent memory against the growth of the disastrous right-wing drug war that has cost zillions and accomplished nothing.

In light of this, Louisville's city-county council has dropped a proposed resolution backing this bill. One of the reasons the city and the county were consolidated was to give the suburbs a platform for authoritarian batshittery - but this time it went nowhere.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Abusers go unpunished...again

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has just concluded a 15-month probe into the abuse that defined the Florida School for Boys. However, no charges are being filed against former guards who physically and sexually abused boys who were detained there.

Of course no charges are being filed. Adults who abuse kids in confinement facilities are almost never held responsible for anything. It's as if they have special license to abuse - and even kill.

Last year, the FDLE also claimed to have found no foul play in the deaths of boys who were beaten to death and buried in a cemetery on the facility's grounds. These boys were tortured and killed by guards, yet the FDLE is saying no crime was committed?

Isn't the FDLE the same agency that absurdly claimed to find no wrongdoing by officers in the "Don't tase me, bro" incident?


Virginia has worst rest areas

Back in my day, my mom vetoed any suggestion that we vacation in Mississippi, because she had heard that the Magnolia State had the worst rest areas in the country.

I envisioned Mississippi rest areas as being nothing but outhouses overflowing with poop.

When I finally made it to Mississippi, I was actually disappointed to find clean rest areas. I was eager for some laughs, but was met with only the boredom of cleanliness.

Shortly thereafter, however, Virginia's rest areas fell into a state of shambles. I noticed that this decline coincided with the reigns of right-wing governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore.

On a trip to Virginia Beach, I used a rest stop that was overpowered by a foul odor that I can't quite describe. It was not of bodily waste but of some chemical that I never detected before or since. A sign at this rest area actually boasted about this stench, which was so strong I could barely breathe.

I think it was billed as some sort of cost-saving measure - like when Wisconsin's right-wing Gov. Tommy Thompson got rid of all the trash cans at state parks. (All Thompson's move accomplished was to make the parks full of litter.) In that era, conservatives kept bragging that they were saving taxpayer dollars even as they kept awarding expensive contracts to their cronies and wasting money on a failed drug war.

And the restroom at this Virginia stop was in a semi-enclosed structure with no roof - so if it was raining, you'd have gotten leaked on yourself.

Now another website agrees that Virginia has the worst rest areas of all 50 states:

Virginia's rest areas are in the same condition as its weak labor laws, apparently. I guess it's not a right-to-poop state, huh?

Elections have consequences

Just a brief reminder of the link between politics and general quality of life...

Someone on another website has posted this observation:

1990-1994 was a liberal era
1995-2004 was a conservative era
2005-2009 was a liberal era

Isn't it interesting that the conservative era coincided with the era in which life sucked the most? The era from 1995 through 2004 was made of suck.

One hundred percent pure suck!

The era includes everything from the 1996 telcom act, the welfare "reform" law, and the economic "boom" hoax to the rise of terrorism, the Iraq War, and the fascist Patriot Act. And everybody has their own stories of personal struggles that dominated that era.

If the Evil Empire ever tries to win back its foothold, I will fight them. I learned a lot of things the hard way from the lost years.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

'Sesame Street' goes off to school ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Can you believe I almost forgot to Sessify today?

But the week has been saved, as I've found a 'Sesame Street' clip on YouTube about going to school!

You can tell this clip probably isn't any newer than about 1995, because the kids aren't crammed into hideous uniforms, and because there's no metal detectors. And because there's paper, which schools today probably don't have, because they're afraid someone might draw a picture of a knife:


Is the kid at :48 placing letters onto a toilet? And is the kid at :50 drinking beer??? It sure looks like it!

Trespassing charges for spyware?

Spyware may as well be called fryware: It burns up computers, wearing them out before their time should be up.

This morning, it took 40 minutes to shut off my machine, and I suspect it's because of spyware. When spyware programs slow down a computer to the point where it takes that long to turn off, they become viruses - not just clutter.

But since viruses seem to be legal now, judging by the Bush regime's inaction on the Swen virus, that may be moot from a legal standpoint.

What may not be moot is whether spyware is trespassing. In 2006, an Illinois lawyer quite rightly argued that spyware makers were committing trespassing: By polluting computers, they were using others' property without their consent - and putting unnecessary wear on said property.

In fact, I thought of charging spyware producers with trespassing even before I read that story.

If using a file sharing program is "stealing", then why isn't spyware trespassing?

If I can be arrested for "trespassing" for using a PUBLIC university library, why can't the inflictors of spyware be arrested for trespassing for using my PRIVATE computer without my permission?

Is it because corporations suddenly have "rights" now?

If spyware is harming my computer, I expect to be able to file trespassing charges. Corporate "rights" be damned.

Drug treatment law must go

Kentucky has many things to be proud of - like being a free-bargaining state, for instance.

But Kentucky has a statewide curse that seems to make it almost unique: Because of a 2004 law, Kentucky is one of very few states where adults can be involuntary placed in drug or alcohol treatment by family members - or even by people outside the family.

This statute lets people ask a court to involuntarily commit someone for their alleged drug abuse.

Why is this law bad? It chips away at the basic civil liberties of Kentuckians who might be targeted by this law. Also, many so-called drug treatment programs are frauds - or even cults. This is true not just of programs for young people but of adult programs as well.

A website describing this law says the court won't commit anyone unless they pose a danger to themselves or others. But we all know that's a dog-and-pony show - a mutually understood lie. The same terminology has long been abused to have people committed to psychiatric institutions.

Under this law, if respondents refuse to show up for their evaluation, they may be arrested and transported to a facility to be examined. You can be ordered to undergo up to 360 days of treatment - almost a full year. Failure to comply brings contempt of court charges.

Believe me, I've heard all the defenses there are of this statute. I don't accept the argument that a person's supposed need for treatment should take priority over their freedom (especially when they're old enough to make all their own decisions). Our constitutional republic is supposed to be based on liberty and fairness. Indeed, I believe the law allowing involuntary treatment is unconstitutional.

Even before this law passed, Kentucky was rife with abuses of laws allowing people to be sent to psychiatric wards. There was already a whole system in place to have people locked up over nothing. Machine-selected judges created almost a built-in bias against respondents.

I suspected Kentucky's drug treatment law might be unique - and I've now found only one other state with a law similar to Kentucky's. That state is Florida - which has long been known as one of the worst when it comes to the rights of those targeted by phony treatment programs.

Florida's law passed in 1993 - so it appears as if these laws didn't even exist in America until my adult life.

The Florida statue is unusual though in that it applies to people who don't even live in Florida. If even a nonresident sets foot in the Sunshine State, they're open for the fight of their lives. One law firm boasts on its website that it fields calls from people all over the country who want to take their family members to Florida so they can be locked up.

Be wary if those difficult in-laws offer you a free Disney World vacation.

In the meantime, the involuntary drug treatment laws found in Kentucky, Florida, or any other states that may have them must be repealed with all haste.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Week 30 of POOP

As this feature logs 30 weeks and counting, it underscores how companies these days won't even support their own products.

This is especially true of computers. I seem to recall that the maker of a computer I had wouldn't even provide folks with technical support after they had their machine more than a few months - unless they paid a hefty support fee.

Is that any way to run a computer manufacturing company?

If you're going to sell a product, the least you can do is support it.
Google's refusal to answer complaints on its help forum is similar. You don't provide a service and then just ignore complaints. That's bad form.

You can argue that Google is really just an advertising service and that its real customers are advertisers - not users. But Google wouldn't be able to sell ads if it didn't have users!

It's like when listener protests erupted when 'American Top 40' abandoned the Hot 100 (a chart that had been the show's bulwark since its inception). Producers of 'AT40' argued that the show was just trying to keep its affiliate stations and its advertisers. But it wouldn't have had affiliates or advertisers if it didn't have...listeners!

And the countdown continues, folks.

Virginia AG makes up his own laws

Homer Simpson once observed that international waters are the land the law forgot. But the high seas have nothing on Virginia under Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II.

Now Cuccinelli has ruled that state colleges and universities aren't allowed to protect gays from discrimination. Why? Because Cuccinelli says so.

Cuccinelli says that the state legislature hasn't specifically authorized colleges to have such policies. But the legislature hasn't prohibited such policies either. In other words, Cuccinelli is making things up as he's going along.

In issuing this ruling, Cuccinelli has singlehandedly invalidated antidiscrimination policies at colleges all across the state.

This elitist ruling speaks volumes of how the newly "elected" Cuccinelli will treat laws. If Virginia was a free bargaining state (which it isn't), would he ignore the state's free bargaining laws? Is he just going to say minimum wage laws don't apply? Ken Cuccinelli is quickly proving that he has an agenda.

In the few months he's been in office, Cuccinelli had already proven his disregard of the law: He's filed petitions trying to block an EPA ruling that correctly states that climate change poses a threat to people.

What may be the most important point is that Ken Cuccinelli doesn't even understand what the job of Attorney General is. His job is supposed to be to make sure laws are followed and enforced - not to act as a second legislature.


Failin' Palin the health care hypocrite

You'd think this callow buffoon would have dried up and blown away by now, but there's people out there who feed Sarah Palin's quest for world domination. So the circus continues.

Now Palin - who opposes health care reform - has told a Canadian audience that her family used to go to Canada to get health care when she was young.

If a public medical care system is good enough for the Failin' One, isn't it good enough for everyone else too? (Canada began its health care system in 1966, when Palin was only 2.)

Isn't this the same system that she says is a "death panel"?

Palin is either lying now or was lying back in 2007. In 2007, she said her brother was taken by ferry to Juneau, Alaska, to treat a burned foot. Now she says he was rushed by train to Whitehorse, Yukon.

Even if Palin isn't a liar who changes her story, her using a public health care system that she'd deny to everyone else underscores one of the reasons health reform hasn't passed. Just as rules don't apply to Sarah Palin, they don't apply to Congress either. Thus, Congress is covered by its own taxpayer-funded health plan - instead of the broken system that covers the rest of the country.

We should pass a law that says Congress has to live by the same disastrous health care system everyone else suffers. Then maybe they'll pass health care reform.


Monday, March 8, 2010

My book is now available!

The book is pub!

Yes, the doggone book is pub!

My second book, 'A Mind's Smithereens', is now available for purchase by you, the bespectacled reader, for only $14.91 (cheap):

It will soon be available from bookstores and online retailers, but that process takes a while now (largely because of idiot Bush).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Right-wing editorial channels programmies

Because this is a day ending in 'y', it means that a news organization somewhere in this fine land is spreading drug warrior lies in an effort to boost the burgeoning but ineffective Sudafed crackdown.

The culprit this time is the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, which is bragging in an editorial that it had cheered on the passage of a new Mississippi law that requires a prescription for over-the-counter allergy drugs - in open defiance of federal law.

I'd thought the Clarion-Ledger had turned over a new leaf following its woes of decades past, but I guess not.

The editorial stands out for its smugness. It seems to attempt to depict anyone who dares to oppose the new law as some sort of dope fiend. This line is especially sanctimonious: "The passage of the legislation brought howls of protests from users of those now over-the-counter remedies that their 'rights' were being trampled."

That the Clarion-Ledger puts "rights" in quotes in this piece shows how out of step the paper is. If I have allergies, I have every right to get medicine over-the-counter, because that's what federal law says - Mississippi laws be damned.

The Clarion-Ledger smacks of an absolute contempt of the very concept of rights.

Did Pathway Family Center use all its grant money to buy the Clarion-Ledger when nobody was looking? It already seems like PFC owns the Cincinnati Enquirer, considering that paper's articles supporting this discredited cult that yelled out "druggie druggie druggie!" every time someone disagreed with it.

The Clarion-Ledger editorial is erroneous, to put it politely. It says drug makers fought against the new law - even though big drug companies actually supported it, because it would let them charge more for their product.

The piece also lies about the effects of a similar law in Oregon. It says meth labs declined in Oregon by 96% after the law passed.

That is an out-and-out lie. I don't know where they got this statistic from, but it's my duty to call them out on it. Countering lies like this is literally my job. I guess they believe Mao Zedong's observation that if you want people to believe a lie, don't just tell a little fib - tell a real whopper!

The War on Drugs has been a war on the people. Drug abuse and crime have soared as the drug war has stepped up, while the prison state has expanded. Unfortunately, it shows no sign of ending - especially as right-wing editorials cheer it.