Just yesterday, I was telling somebody that Gulf Coast shrimpers ought to sue the bejeepers out of BP for the oil spill that the company is responsible for.
And they are.
Louisiana shrimpers are now suing BP and others for ruining their livelihoods. Among the other defendants is Halliburton, which had worked on the offshore well that exploded. The suit says Halliburton "improperly and negligently performed these duties, increasing the pressure at the well and contributing to the fire, explosion and resulting oil spill."
If the shrimpers win (as they should), hopefully activist courts won't reduce the award like the Ninth Circuit did in the Exxon Valdez case.
Meanwhile, the BP spill has dashed interest in allowing offshore oil drilling in regions where it's been prohibited for decades.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Just yesterday, I was telling somebody that Gulf Coast shrimpers ought to sue the bejeepers out of BP for the oil spill that the company is responsible for.
Posted by Bandit at 4:10 PM
The cheap elitism of Arizona's hated new immigration law is about to get even worse than it already is.
A legislative committee has already approved changes to the law to make it even more draconian. These changes would require city, county, or state officers to determine folks' immigration status even when responding to minor complaints like loud parties or unmowed lawns.
If these changes pass, this will almost certainly be the only time in my lifetime that officers in the U.S. could make natural-born U.S. citizens supply their birth certificate and immigration status just because someone reported a loud party.
I can't wait for Arizona to be sued as it so richly deserves.
Posted by Bandit at 3:45 PM
Thursday, April 29, 2010
The prison-industrial complex has had a racket going on for years.
For starts, they criminalize everything and everybody. The batshit War on Drugs has been a major contributor to this policy. Because of this, America's prison population has increased 5 times in only 30 years. So it's probably fair to say that 80% of people in prison don't even belong there.
Right-wing lawmakers from exurban districts know they can use this to scam the census. They pass laws that make everybody a criminal, which forces more prisons to be built. And they get these prisons built in their districts.
Thus, the census shows a huge increase in the population for these areas - which gives these areas more legislative seats and more funding. Most states don't allow people imprisoned for felonies to vote, so the lawmakers don't have to worry about inmates voting them out of office for passing the laws that got them locked up.
But now Maryland has taken a step towards nipping this scam in the bud. (Maryland???)
Maryland has a new law called the No Representation Without Population Act. This law says that - for the purposes of state legislative redistricting - inmates will be counted as residents of wherever they lived before they were imprisoned, not as residents of the prison.
That way, conservative districts that have prisons won't get free legislative seats on the backs of people who can't vote. In fact, in one prison district, 18% of the population is made up of inmates. With the new law, however, this 18% won't be counted in that district but will instead be counted where they previously lived.
All states should follow Maryland's lead. In fact, I'd expand this law so it applies not just to state legislative redistricting but congressional redistricting as well. Right-wing legal foundations will cry foul - but if they don't want a law like this, maybe they shouldn't have made felons out of everybody for things that weren't even illegal 30 years ago.
Posted by Bandit at 1:35 PM
Corporations get away with everything - and I mean everything.
But the essence of conservatism means that while there's no regulation of corporations, there's more and more regimentation of what individuals do. "Regulation for thee, not for me" is the policy that guides conservaworld.
The town of Kure Beach, North Carolina, seems to be trying to embody this maxim. The town has now adopted a "zero tolerance" policy against thong swimwear on its beaches - requiring offenders to pay a stiff fine.
Really? Come on!
Oil companies are polluting our water, retail chains are abusing workers, telcom firms are ripping off consumers - and Kure Beach officials are worried about swimwear being too revealing?
Wikipedia can have photos of people in thongs, yet people can no longer even wear them to the beach?
However, Mayor Dean Lambeth worried that the ban might end up being challenged in court. He complained, "The way this country is leaning so far left, it wouldn't surprise me."
You're hilarious, Dean, you know that?
He said Kure Beach is taking a stand for "decency" and bragged, "I'm sitting out here looking at the ocean and don't see a damn thong in sight."
Oohhhhh! (The sound everybody makes when you say a cuss word.)
Conservaworld means more laws, more control, more regulation of what you do with your body.
Posted by Bandit at 12:56 PM
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Did you know that Mr. Hooper - the friendly store owner on 'Sesame Street' - was a big Pac-Man junkie?
Mr. Looper was played by the late Will Lee. In the '50s, Lee was blacklisted for alleged communist ties. But after Children's Television Workshop hired him and began Sessifying the airwaves all up, Lee began landing parts in TV commercials like there was no tomorrow.
He even appeared in this commersh in the early '80s for the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man:
Since I assume Atari no longer makes anything related to Pac-Man, I feel I can maintain my integrity by embedding that ad here.
Many folks today lament what a disappointment the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man was. I had the Atari 800 version, but I believe it was much different from the 2600 version, as it looked different from that which appears in Mr. Hooper's ad.
In fact, when the little girl says, "Those are supposed to be the ghosts," it's fitting because they don't look anything like the ghosts in the 800 or arcade version.
I think this came out just before Atari squandered zillions promoting a video game based on 'E.T.' that was such a disaster that nobody purchased it - forcing Atari to bury all the unsold copies.
The 'E.T.' debacle was widely blamed for a decline in interest in video games lasting for years.
Posted by Bandit at 9:33 PM
Let's play another game of "guess the party affiliation", since the Tea Party rag the Cincinnati Enquirer won't list it.
Aw, hell, let's just skip it: He's a Republican.
Charlie Kenner is a GOP county commissioner in suburban Boone County, Kentucky. (This is the county that nixed its greenway proposal because the Tea Party idiots told it to.) Now his elderly mother is seeking a protective order against him because she fears for her personal safety.
It's almost impossible to get a protective order in Kentucky. I tried getting one against somebody, and I was told that no such thing exists until after the person has already physically harmed you. Nonetheless, Charlie Kenner has been issued a summons to appear at a court hearing about the matter.
More Republican family values, huh?
Posted by Bandit at 5:20 PM
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I released my new book 'A Mind's Smithereens' in early March. Seven weeks later, however, it still isn't available from online booksellers - or presumably from stores.
This is in contrast to my first book 'The Fight That Never Ends', which was picked up relatively quickly 5 years ago. The delay is almost certainly due to some Bush "free trade" ukase, because I don't see what else it could possibly be. (Some blame this for having to charge more than I wanted for the first book, but I blame bookstores' price-fixing.)
In the meantime, however, you can still order 'A Mind's Smithereens' fresh from the publisher:
Posted by Bandit at 1:35 PM
Why doesn't this asshole just dry up and blow away like the useless piece of dog shit he is?
South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer may be worst remembered as the elitist scumbag who said poor people are "stray animals." Now he's attacking the American worker once again.
Regarding unemployment, Bauer asked, "Why do we have so many vacancies?"
We don't, you idiot. If there were vacancies, why does South Carolina still have a 12% unemployment rate? (So much for the lie about work-for-less laws putting people to work, huh?)
Bauer also said unemployment is caused by "flat-out lazy" American workers.
Fuck you, Andre.
Bauer reminds me of that right-wing politician in Japan in the '90s who issued similar vitriolic attacks against America's working men and women. The striking difference here is that Bauer - unlike foreign politicians - has to answer to American voters.
Anyone who'd vote for this dipshit ought to have their head checked.
Posted by Bandit at 1:17 PM
Monday, April 26, 2010
I haven't reported on this feature since week 34 - for economic reasons.
The real Google story with this blog lately hasn't been its disrespect of users' privacy or its misuse of their copyrighted materials. If you've read this blog this month, you know what the story is.
Meanwhile, nothing else has changed for the better on the Google front. In fact, Google's YouTube is yanking 'Downfall' parodies because of copyright reasons - even as Google won't respect our copyrights.
Posted by Bandit at 2:05 PM
Say what you want about the new federal health care law. But at least it cracks down on preventable infections that have been growing at an alarming rate in America's hospitals.
In recent years, to be hospitalized anywhere in America all too often means becoming even sicker than you were before. That's because of the rise of infections like MRSA. These infections are preventable, but many medical facilities did little to prevent them - often engaging in unsanitary practices or ignoring simple procedures.
In the 2000s, American health care clearly became a Fourth World system. If you got seriously ill, you'd better hope it was during your vacation out of the country.
But the new health care law imposes stiff penalties on hospitals for infections that can be prevented.
Posted by Bandit at 1:57 PM
A massively unpopular new law in Arizona would require police to use racial profiling and demand identification from anybody they suspect is an undocumented immigrant - even if the person turns out to be a U.S. citizen.
If I was profiled in this manner, I'd file a lawsuit so quickly it would make Pat Buchanan's head spin.
The law was sponsored by fascist State Sen. Russell Pearce - who has ties to known white supremacists and once forwarded a National Alliance e-mail claiming that Jews control the media.
Make no mistake about it: The new law is intended to be racist. And it is.
Now, however, supporters of this law are blaming the Obama administration for "inducing" Arizona lawmakers to pass it. They say it's because federal immigration laws aren't strict enough.
So Arizona makes up its own immigration laws and claims it's just enforcing federal laws?
A lot of folks will argue that America's immigration laws are ineffective - but that doesn't give any state the right to practice racial profiling or to demand an ID from U.S. citizens just for appearing in public.
Scapegoating people because of their ethnicity does nothing positive for the country or the American worker. If legislators wanted to help the public, they'd instead take a stand for workplace safety, better wages, and organized labor. If Arizona lawmakers want to stand with workers, why won't they repeal the state's unconstitutional work-for-less law?
Posted by Bandit at 1:32 PM
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I could be writing about abandoning my longtime support for certain politicians, but I may save that for another day. This piece is not about political figures but about people I have contact with on the Internet or in person.
I'm writing about it here because I don't feel as if I've truly eschewed the hate that has lately lurked in their hearts unless I've aired my disgust about it openly. It's a shame it has to be this way, but a man has to do what a man has to do.
This isn't just a matter of differing opinions. I also don't think this is a matter of the individuals in question having an organic disorder that affects their judgment. It's a matter of intentional ignorance and hate.
I've worked my whole adult life to fight this type of virulent ignorance, and the persons in question have crossed the line into danger. When they call for the death of respected political leaders just because of their own poor coping skills, it's over, as far as I'm concerned.
I don't know who plants this garbage in their heads. Nutty preachers? Talk radio droids? Far-right websites? Either way, it's a sign of a life full of hate, and I want no part of it. What amazes me is that they try calling themselves Christians even as they spout this trash.
They choose to make their stances public on various online venues, so it's only fair that I publicly register my disgust at their disgraceful, embarrassing behavior.
As human beings, we have a duty to isolate and disdain this type of hate - and those who spread it. This is our calling in life.
So to these folks, I say this: Goodbye. Have a nice life. Hasta la vista. Sayonara. Aloha. See ya. Auf wiedersehen. Adios. Ten-four.
Posted by Bandit at 3:20 PM
This blog's Correction Connection feature is designed to correct potentially damaging factual errors made by news organizations and others. And the Associated Press just muffed it big-time.
After Congress refused to pass health care reform with a public option, Vermont lawmakers have approved a reform package for that state that calls for designing a single payer system - which would be even better than a public option.
But the AP says this of states passing either a public option or single payer: "Either system would require federal approval."
Um, no. It would not. Ever hear of the Tenth Amendment? Vermont is using its own money - not federal money - to set up its health care program. If a state wants single payer, it can have single payer - federal diktats to the contrary be damned.
The right-wing brain trust thinks states can misuse the Tenth Amendment to deny their own citizenry the benefits of a federal program. But I think states ought to instead invoke the Tenth Amendment for what it's meant for - and that includes starting a single payer health care system.
Posted by Bandit at 4:19 AM
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Is the media happy now that they got this jerk elected?
Right-wing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has spent his 3 months in office bashing labor unions, gutting state services, and showcasing his incredible arrogance. And it's paying dividends - for his opponents, that is.
Even a new poll by the Republican-leaning SurveyUSA shows Christie's approval ratings are in the toilet where they belong. While 63% disapprove of his job as governor, only 33% approve.
How the hell did he ever get elected? Well, the Republicans made an issue of the imaginary "war on the suburbs", and we know the rich suburbs have most of the clout.
What's Chris Christie's reaction to SurveyUSA's poll? "I could care less," he sniffed.
After he said that, I can just imagine his advisers whispering in his ear, "Election in '13. Election in '13." Kind of like that scene from 'The Simpsons' with Mayor Quimby.
Posted by Bandit at 2:12 PM
Friday, April 23, 2010
Jackson County ranks as the most Republican county in Kentucky - in election after election after election.
I know Campbell County may have seemed just as bad to many of you, but that's because it has a much higher population density, which lets right-wing garbage become amplified. Statistically, however, Jackson County is worse - especially as the GOP becomes more rural.
Here's a story of a recent disgusting incident in Jackson County:
This incident is a sign of a political milieu that frankly doesn't serve the public very well. I probably don't even need to tell you that, but I might as well drive home this point. When bad politics rules the roost, hateful acts like this always seem to follow.
The same elitist sentiment that drives economic injustice also drives pointless violence such as this.
Posted by Bandit at 4:37 PM
Nice to know that mandatory student fees are being squandered on shit like this.
At Western Kentucky University, College Republicans just can't understand why nobody else likes their hero Bush. So they've established "W" Day - an entire day set aside to heap praise upon the disgraced former dictator.
Its backers say the purpose of "W" Day is to preserve Bush's legacy. I guess they like having their phones tapped and their houses foreclosed upon - because that's pretty much the sum of the Bush years. Plus that illegal war, the recession, and websites being raided.
College Republicans plan to make "W" Day an annual event - thus embarrassing themselves further.
It's interesting that half the students who expressed their support for "W" Day aren't even from Kentucky. After the state university system established itself as favoring conservative causes in a nationally publicized incident several years back, I guess that opened the floodgates for right-wing students from other states invading Kentucky.
Posted by Bandit at 2:04 PM
Thursday, April 22, 2010
If I was as irresponsible as the Tea Party whack-a-doodles are, I could sue them right now for tearing my rotator cuff.
But I won't, because I accept responsibility for my own actions - like a grown man, not like the little crybabies they are.
Yesterday evening, it occurred to me that they're probably going to take a swing at me sooner or later. After I completely humiliated the Tea Parties last week, their tempers have got to be running short by now - especially considering their weak coping skills.
So I figured I better get in shape so I could defend myself.
I started practicing my defensive jabs by punching the air to represent an imaginary assailant. I had a bottle in my right hand, and I took a swing with my left.
I could feel my left rotator cuff ripping. That was the end of that self-defense lesson.
I looked up torn rotator cuffs on Wikipedia. The good news is that the likelihood of this injury increases with age - and the Tea Parties don't seem to be attracting many folks younger than me. So if they start a fight, they'll likely tear their arm out of their socket even before their fist lands.
I don't go around beating up the elderly. That's not what I stand for. But if a 45-year-old man takes a swing at me, I will defend myself, even though I have an advantage of 9 years.
If the Tea Party thugs start a fight, it could end very badly for them. They are on notice. And if I lose the physical altercation, they will be sued if they injure me. And their movement cannot afford the bad publicity, even if they can afford the legal costs.
You have been warned, Nastea Nazis.
Posted by Bandit at 12:13 PM
Florida probably ranks as one of the worst states for locking up children and adults in abusive confinement facilities. This story shows that Florida is about to make it even easier to lock kids up who haven't even committed a crime. It also shows the increasing melding of government and Big Business.
The Florida Department of Corrections has teamed up with IBM to develop software that claims to predict which children will break the law in the future - so the "best course of treatment" can be chosen.
Profiling kids so they can be locked up? That's exactly what this is.
Then again, it's not as if this represents a huge change from the ruinous policy that's afflicted American youth for the past quarter-century. The unconstitutional practice of locking up kids in psychiatric or other facilities without a trial seems to already fulfill the role of IBM's software.
What does this teach our kids? It doesn't teach that actions have consequences. All it teaches is that whatever actions you take, the consequences will always be negative. In the world of the teen confinement industry, all roads lead to the same punishing end.
Posted by Bandit at 11:37 AM
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
That Oscar the Grouch is such a ladies' man!
One of the most memorable plots on 'Sesame Street' was the cast's late '70s fact-finding mission to Hawaii. Even the ol' Osk went along, and he came up with countless hilarious ways to ruin the trip for everyone else - just as any good grouch should.
Like this scene in the airport's bastage claim area (as I thought the sign said):
Near the end of this clip, Oscar gets leied by Maria! Not laid - but leied.
Oscar the Grouch. He will cut your taxes!
Posted by Bandit at 7:10 PM
Here's a serious question about Facebook...
Does Facebook exist so people can throw temper tantrums over the result of a legitimate election?
Does it exist so people can post public threats against the President and expect the Secret Service not to notice?
If someone new logs on to Facebook and sees the stuff that people have posted there, they'd get the impression that Facebook's users are the most unpatriotic, hateful, racist bunch since Free Republic.
I'm on Facebook, but I'm becoming increasingly wary of its misuse.
If some of these folks hate America so much, why don't they just fucking leave? Facebook is rapidly becoming a hangout for future John Walker Lindhs. (However, I do think it's great that somebody just called the users of one of these right-wing fansites "heehaws.")
Posted by Bandit at 2:24 PM
Everywhere you turn, there's somebody or something telling you that you're doing something illegal.
If you're an adult of any age trying to buy beer in some counties in Kentucky, well, that's illegal.
If you're an allergy sufferer buying too much Sudafed at Walgreen's, that's illegal now too - thanks to the Patriot Act.
Shooting off a firecracker in Ohio? Illegal.
Cohabitating in certain American towns? Illegal.
You can't do this. You can't do that. No fireworks, no beer, no nothing.
But it appears to be perfectly legal now for any corporation or individual to commit the fraudulent act of caller ID spoofing. Spoofing is kind of like forging a phone number: It involves somehow making your phone number appear as a different number on the caller ID of the person you're calling.
When was this legalized?
I never in my foggiest imagination thought such an obvious falsification and fraud would be legal, but apparently it is.
Now, however, the U.S. House has finally approved a bill to outlaw caller ID spoofing.
The question is, why has it taken this long to approve this bill??? Congress wasted absolutely no time in renewing the scuzzo Patriot Act.
Do the states have laws against phone number spoofing, which should be considered fraud in all cases? I am absolutely floored that there are no longer any federal laws against it. If there were, they wouldn't be passing a bill against it now.
I want to know whose idiotic idea it was to gut the federal laws, and when it happened - because I am quite certain that this was absolutely illegal back in the early days of caller ID.
I know exactly why it was legalized: Some corporate hucksters or maybe some collection agency said that not being allowed to defraud the public violated their True Free Speach Now (tm), so they lobbied to repeal the laws against it. To them, forging a phone number is "free speech."
Posted by Bandit at 12:32 PM
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Add another page to the Republicans' criminal record.
Andrew Zukowski is a Republican candidate for Congress in central Ohio. A while back, Zukowski was accused of stalking a couple that lived in his former home - which he lost due to foreclosure.
Zukowski has now been arrested for allegedly violating a protective order by continuing to stalk the couple at their new home - this time by placing his campaign literature in their mailbox.
The irony here is this: What party's fault is it that there's so many foreclosures? Here's a hint: It ain't the Greens.
Posted by Bandit at 10:10 PM
Monday, April 19, 2010
The Tea Party rallies in my area are bad enough. Like last week when they distributed flyers saying, "Sterilize Welfare Mothers." But folks in York, Pennsylvania, have also been forced to deal with their fair share of BTPer lunacy.
On a recent Saturday, a mail carrier tried collecting mail from the public mailbox in downtown York. But Tea Party participants stood in his way and blocked his access to the mailbox. One of them said, "You don't have a job. You work for the government." (Huh???)
After several minutes, the mailman grew frustrated and asked the people standing in his way, "What is your problem?"
One of them replied, "I don't have a problem. You're the problem - the government."
Then the rest of the crowd began pointing at the mail carrier and chanting at him, "You're the problem - the government."
When the mailman tried picking up a letter that had blown out of the mailbox and onto the sidewalk, one of the Tea Partiers stood on the letter and refused to move. Then, the crowd tried blocking him from getting in his mail truck.
Let's examine the apparent basis for the Tea Party's attack: They think that a uniformed worker working on a weekend doesn't have a job? How ridiculous is that?
Apparently the BTPers think working in the public sector isn't really work. I worked at a public library for years, and somehow I don't think I would've lasted very long if I'd showed up and refused to work.
The Tea Parties' insistence on contrasting public versus private sector work is a thinly veiled appeal to decision makers who support underpaying their employees. I'm convinced of that. It's an appeal to greed of wealthy, powerful executives who accuse workers of having a "bad attitude." Admit it: You've had a boss like this before.
Interfering with the delivery of mail is a federal crime. The Tea Party thug who stood on the dropped letter committed a crime, and I hope postal inspectors come knocking soon. Unfortunately, the Bush regime gutted many of the postal service's functions, so now it doesn't even seem to have the resources to investigate stolen mail - let alone mail ruined by protesters standing on it.
Posted by Bandit at 4:30 PM
Today is the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building by right-wing terrorists. But Tea Party leaders and Republican legislators in Oklahoma are choosing this time to reopen these old wounds.
The lawmakers say they plan to introduce a bill to create a right-wing state-sponsored "militia" all because they're mad that they didn't get their way in the presidential election.
This "militia" sounds to me like a terrorist group. For the past 15 years, I've seen how this goes: Right-wingers get angry because the election didn't go their way, so they stockpile weapons, intimidate people, and commit terrorist acts. Repeat and rinse. If they don't want me to suspect that the Oklahoma effort is state-sponsored terrorism, then maybe they shouldn't have committed terrorism before.
Nobody is more suspicious of abuse of federal power than this blog. The Bush era reinforced this feeling as never before. And nobody is more willing to stand up and fight for constitutional liberty than this blog.
But there's a big difference between defending your basic constitutional freedom and blowing up stuff just because your guy lost the election.
Where were they when the Bush regime kept abusing federal power? Siccing the DEA on glaucoma patients in states where medical marijuana is legal was one of the worst misuses of federal power, yet I've never seen the Tea Parties speak out against this abuse. Bush's "preemption" of state laws was another abuse, yet I've never seen the Lipton Losers oppose this either.
Posted by Bandit at 3:31 PM
In Pitt County, North Carolina, there's nothing uniform at all about the way the schools enforce their fascist uniform policy.
A high school in Pitt County is selectively enforcing uniforms to discriminate against minorities. As a result, a group of parents has made a formal civil rights complaint against the school district.
What? School uniform supporters are selectively enforcing the rules? Gee, color me surprised - not! I've mentioned before that mandatory public school uniforms are supported only by those who are intolerant of those who they see as different from themselves. It might not always be on the basis of race, but it's always on the basis of some factor. So they put unfair controls on what they fear or dislike.
Unreasonable rules were often designed to be selectively enforced. That way, authorities can have an excuse to bust somebody they don't like, while looking the other way when somebody else does the same thing.
Posted by Bandit at 2:49 PM
Every time the Tea Party movement comes to my immediate area, ridicule of these racist hypocrites sets the tone of this blog for days to come - and the past few days have been no exception.
Now this so-called "grassroots" movement has teamed up with Newt Gingrich, Steve Forbes, and Grover Norquist to release what they call their (drum roll, please) Contract From America.
Seriously, they're calling it that.
And I bet they printed it up using the Chicago font, huh?
I know when I think of "grassroots" activists, I think of Steve Forbes. (That's sarcasm, people.)
What does the Tea Party's Contract From America consist of? The first "bedrock principle" in this document says every bill in Congress shall identify the specific provision in the Constitution that authorizes the bill.
Then what part of the Constitution authorizes the Patriot Act (which the Tetley Tyrants generally support)? What part of the Constitution authorizes Congress to censor library Internet access (another law with strong Republican support)?
But the fourth plank in their Contract From America proposes gutting the system of progressive taxation and replacing it with a flat tax that forces the poor to pay as much as the rich. Under this plank, the tax code would also be required to be replaced with one that is no longer than the original Constitution.
This actually violates the first plank of their own "contract"! What provision of the Constitution limits the tax code to less than 5,000 words? So much for "bedrock principles", huh?
The Constitution is effective because of its brevity, which lays the foundation for fair and purposeful governance. That's why no government system has ever been as durable as America's constitutional republic.
A progressive tax structure has been a mainstay of probably all modern democratic republics. Through most of the 20th century, it helped keep prices relatively low even while most working-class Americans still had enough money after tax day.
The only thing the Contract From America proves is that the Tea Parties represent the financially well-off who think hoarding wealth at the expense of society is a constitutional right.
Posted by Bandit at 12:59 PM
I know firsthand that Countrywide Financial was as much of a racket as Wells Fargo was, because Countrywide made repeated harassing phone calls to me right at the same time Wells Fargo did (even though I've never been a customer of either Wells Fartgo or Countrywide).
But now Countrywide is the target of a federal criminal probe. The exact charges are not yet known, but the charges are apparently connected to the financial industry meltdown of 2007-08. Coincidentally, I'm pretty sure that was the same time I kept getting the harassing calls.
While the feds are at it, they need to prosecute Countrywide and Wells Fargo for the calls.
Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to filibuster the financial reform bill.
Posted by Bandit at 12:21 PM
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The right-wing Tea Party movement claims to be about freedom, but I don't think I've ever personally seen them take a stance that supports expanding liberty.
Where are their signs against the disastrous War on Drugs or the fascist Patriot Act? Why won't they speak out against Real ID or work-for-less laws? I don't think I've even seen them carrying signs supporting the Second Amendment - or the First.
And the Lipton Loudmouths also don't seem to be speaking out against the type of elitist tyranny unfolding in Hilliard, Ohio.
The zoning appeals board there has voted 6 to 1 to require a woman to remove a mural of a sunflower that she painted on her garage. The reason is that the mural has (drum roll, please) too many colors.
Gee, I thought these were supposed to be zoning officials, not art critics.
Coal mines owned by Bush cronies dump skillions of gallons of toxic slurry and manganese into Americans' water supplies, yet officials don't bat an eye at them. Yet officials go after somebody for a painting of a sunflower because they think it has too many colors?
Posted by Bandit at 1:37 PM
Friday, April 16, 2010
One of the unfortunate things about following current events in recent years is that there's a lot more negative than positive. So you remember the names of foes much longer than you do of allies.
As with Jesse Helms, longtime Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates was one individual who I was highly suspicious of - due to his ultraconservative rants and actions.
Gates died today at the age of 83 after a long illness.
The career of L.A.'s top cop was marked with controversy. He helped found the ineffective DARE program, which grew into such a spectacle that all it did was encourage kids to turn in their parents for smoking a joint.
I often confused Gates with William Bennett because they both claimed that recreational marijuana users should be shot on sight. He also claimed that even casual drug use was "treason."
Daryl Gates's years as a police chief were also marked by allegations of racism in the police department.
Posted by Bandit at 1:00 PM
I monitored the Tea Party malcontents in Covington, Kentucky, yesterday, and I took several photos. Some of them are quite damning.
A side note: I no longer have the patience or finances to keep using this blog for all the things that deserve this blog's attention. So you'll just have to bear with me for the time being, I'm afraid.
The above photo is Philadelphia Street in front of Goebel Park. Since most of the Tea Party folks are professional out-of-town agitators, the red Heartland Tours bus with Minnesota plates is their tour vehicle.
The sign says, "YOU CAN'T DEAL WITH STUPID PEOPLE YOU CAN VOTE THEM OUT." Hmm, I thought we already did that to Ernie Fletcher.
The LOSEianne crowd was placing these flyers on cars. This one was placed on a news van. The flyers say, "Sterilize Welfare Mothers." A Tea Party speaker tried to distance himself from these outrageous flyers. But if the Tea Party didn't support the flyers' message, why were attendees distributing them?
The Tea Party peeps also posted their flyers on a railroad trestle nearby.
Remember, last year in Cincinnati, they displayed "DON'T PUNISH SUCCESS" and "THANK THE RICH" signs, so it's obvious what they think of the poor. The message of yesterday's flyers is the same as that of an infamous Facebook fansite that they frequented until it was recently shut down. (The most recent Last Word did an expose of this fansite.)
The Tea Party movement is pure poison.
Posted by Bandit at 12:17 PM
Ryan Alessi of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports:
"Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul said he wants the tea party movement that has fueled his primary campaign to morph into a broader government reform effort that would have appeal beyond conservative circles."
It's a little late for that, Rand.
If the Nastea crowd didn't want to limit their appeal to just the extreme Right, then maybe they shouldn't have supported that FairTax bullshit. And maybe they shouldn't have been racist. And maybe they shouldn't have done most of the things they've done.
The Tea Parties trying to appeal beyond conservative circles would be like The Last Word trying to appeal to the Heritage Foundation.
Posted by Bandit at 10:54 AM
Thursday, April 15, 2010
As of Tuesday, I can now make this comparison between myself and most of the Tea Party sore losers: I'm jobless because I was fired over politics. Most of them are jobless because they can afford not to work. Right-wing think tanks pay their entire living. Going to Tea Parties IS their job!
This coincidence enabled me to utterly humiliate them in Covington, Kentucky, today. While most people were at work, the Tea Partiers invaded Goebel Park and showcased their idiocy.
They received the most unwelcome reception I've ever seen them get. When 2 of them held signs along 5th Street opposing health care reform, a motorist who drove past said to them, "Fuck you!"
The speeches at the rally consisted of nothing of any importance. They started off warning the crowd that they'd heard there'd be "organized" opposition to their event. I think they meant me. I'm an "organization" to them, after I chased them out of Wilder just by mentioning them on this blog.
The speaker also assured the crowd that if anyone opposed them, police would haul them away. Considering what happened at the Bush rally in 2000, that wouldn't have surprised me. Kenton County doesn't have a strong record of tolerating dissent.
The online remnant of the Kentucky Post accurately reported that only about 70 people showed up. However, the Cincinnati Enquirer absurdly claimed 300 to 400.
The real story is the Lipton Lugnuts' march to the IRS building. Seventy people is more than enough to block 4th Street for an inordinately long time, and motorists grew frustrated. You see, the Tea Party sore losers think they shouldn't have to wait for a walk signal at a crosswalk like everybody else. So they jaywalked en masse.
When this held up traffic, folks angrily blew their horns and yelled at them. I was standing up the street watching them, and I yelled to the Tea Party crowd something like, "Quit blocking traffic, you stupid morons!" I yelled it more than once, just to make sure more of them heard me.
And they did hear me. What's especially amusing is that they said that part of the march was supposed to be a "silent protest" - so they couldn't very well yell anything back without ruining their silence pledge. However, the first time I yelled, one of them began chanting something like, "Someone said the word." So their promise of silence was spoiled anyway.
When they walked back around from behind the IRS building, I heckled them some more. This time, I yelled something like, "Don't you idiots have some traffic to block?!"
Had they not held up traffic on a busy state route, I would have left them alone. But they chose to make nuisances of themselves, so I had to call them out on it.
What's even funnier is that the speaker at Goebel Park was adamant that anyone who said anything to them during the "silent" portion would go straight to jail. I think I was just far enough from the cops that they couldn't do anything to me.
It doesn't exactly help their cause that they created a mile-long traffic jam and threatened to go to the police if anybody dared to disagree with them. But they'll keep doing it, because they don't learn.
I was fired on Tuesday precisely because of idiots like them. So I'm going to enjoy this bout of unemployment by making them look like every bit the fools they are. I guess they should have been more careful about what they wished for.
Posted by Bandit at 10:28 PM
Here's some news that shows there's a glimmer of hope for America still!
Sidney Thomas, 56, is a judge on the federal Ninth Circuit who's now on the short list of possible appointees to fill John Paul Stevens's Supreme Court seat. He was a lawyer in Montana before Bill Clinton appointed him to the court.
The bad news here is that the Ninth Circuit is not the progressive bastion that the media portrays it as. This court has generated countless activist rulings in the past few years creating windfalls for irresponsible corporations and chiseling away at civil liberties. The good news is that Sidney Thomas's most important legal opinions have been dissents from the Ninth Circuit's majority - so he's not responsible for the Ninth's rightist tilt.
With the Ninth Circus upheld a fascist school uniform policy, Thomas dissented. He correctly observed that mandatory uniforms in public schools violate Tinker v. Des Moines.
Thomas also opposed an unconstitutional policy in San Francisco of strip-searching all newly arrested inmates regardless of the charges.
If Sidney Thomas is nominated, you know the GOP is going to pull out all the stops to make sure he gets rejected. If this piece is any indication, we can't let 'em get away with it.
Posted by Bandit at 7:19 PM
With the Tea Party's march today in Covington, Kentucky, they've managed to make bigger fools of themselves than ever.
In the press release on their website, these crybabies proclaim, "It is guaranteed that George Washington and James Madison and possibly Paul Revere will attend this event."
What hallucinogens are they putting in their tea?
They also stupidly refer to Goebel Park as "Goebels Park."
That's fitting for the occasion, I guess.
More details about the laughable event that took place today loom on this very blog!
Posted by Bandit at 6:54 PM
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
There's some disagreement over whether this segment was on 'Sesame Street' or 'The Electric Company', but either way, it pibs nonetheless.
Back in the '70s, one of the aforementioned Children's Television Workshop shows offered this catchy ditty about a guy named Fred:
Fred is just like me in a certain way. That's because every night when he gets tired, HE GETS FIRED! Sort of like how I got fired yesterday.
Supposedly, the father of a child who was frightened by that sketch called CTW and got it yanked from the airwaves, but that's probably just an urban legend. It's hard to see how that segment is scary - unlike several other well-known 'Sesame Street' sketches.
Posted by Bandit at 12:14 PM
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I didn't even know there was a special congressional election in Florida today, until just this evening when I read the pundits babbling about how this was a likely Republican pickup.
But it was not to be!
In the election to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler, Democrat Ted Deutch has utterly decimated Republican Ed Lynch by a margin of 62% to 35%. A minor candidate named Jim McCormick trailed with 3%.
Some GOP "comeback", huh?
Posted by Bandit at 11:45 PM
Would you believe it? I got fired this morning from this very blog!
More specifically, the idiots at Google yanked my AdSense account, which supported the 'Pail.
In 2007, I started this blog to produce a steady stream of revenue to keep food on the table and a roof over my head - and to inform the masses with incisive commentary. The 'Pail wasn't just an adventure, you see. It was a job. And I raked in thousands.
Almost every single solitary day - including weekends and holidays - I cobbled together several entries to keep this blog in business. Sure, this blog is a useful service - but the bottom line is, it was my job.
But this morning, I received an e-mail from Google telling me my AdSense account was yanked because it "poses a risk of generating invalid activity." That's a lie - because it's impossible to click on your own ads. Is my account being pulled because other folks clicked on them? If so, then why even get an account? The whole purpose of using AdSense is for people to click on the ads!
And if that's so bad, why doesn't Google design its AdSense system so people can't click too much? It already doesn't let you click on your own ads, so why doesn't it prevent other folks from generating excessive clicks?
Nope, the real reason Google is pulling my account is because of this blog's political views. That was obvious almost immediately. Funny, I don't know of a single right-wing blog that's had its AdSense ads disabled by Google.
It gets worse. In the e-mail, Google says it's not paying me the revenues it still owes me. It reads, "Your outstanding balance and Google's share of the revenue will both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers."
No, Google. You pay me every penny of what you owe. Or I'll see you in court. The contract I signed in 2007 makes it very clear that even if your account is disabled, you still get the money you've already earned. For Google not to pay me is illegal anyway!
This is exactly like if your boss fires you and then decides not to pay you for work you've already performed.
I'm not appealing AdSense's decision, because I don't deal with people who are liars, thieves, and idiots. If they were merely idiots, I'd appeal. But you can't reason with people who are out to deliberately steal your money.
I'll still run this blog, though on a looser schedule. But it'll be a labor of love. (Love, my little woocap, love.) And I'm not worried too much about financial losses, because people out here have my back these days.
What's next? Is Google going to sue me for the past 3 years of revenues?
Posted by Bandit at 9:36 PM
Monday, April 12, 2010
One of the myths about this blog is that it recently disallowed all anonymous commenting. This blog actually allows it, as long as you post under the screen name of a particular account. The account name doesn't have to reveal your own name.
I've been dumbfounded for years by the amount of hypocrisy surrounding Internet anonymity. For years, Usenet posts have required an easily traceable IP number. Big ISP's and Usenet admins wanted it that way, and in the martial law of Usenet, their word was binding. Yet, when people abused anonymous remailers to illegally and fraudulently impersonate others, the originating IP number was nowhere to be found - because they claimed that would violate their "rights."
For a long time, message board services always publicly displayed users' IP numbers when they posted a message. At the same time, however, somebody kept signing me up for a bunch of spam I didn't want - and their IP numbers were nowhere on the confirmation messages, so I couldn't track who was behind it.
Around the mid-2000s, the practice of displaying IP numbers on message forums other than Usenet pretty much vanished. I guess they finally became hip to privacy concerns. But it was years too late for many folks.
Now journalists are starting to question whether allowing anonymous commenting on news websites is a good idea.
Then why don't they stop quoting anonymous sources in their articles? I'm not talking about whistleblowers who need protection. I'm talking about government officials who remain anonymous because they don't want to accept responsibility for their policies.
It's been argued that disallowing anon posts will increase the level of maturity and civility on news websites. But I doubt that. Even in print newspapers that use the real names of readers who write letters to the editor, there's enough class-baiting and other illogical right-wing garbledygoop to make Phil Gramm blush.
I think the push to abolish anonymity is actually a gimmick by the corporate media to reclaim their hegemony over public opinion that's been whittled away at lately. Until about 5 years ago, they had succeeded at consolidating their control over public sensibilities. But that trend began reversing when more people began learning how to use the Internet more effectively.
The corporatists don't want the current trends to continue. They want a fully controlled media, like that which the 1996 Telecommunications Act attempted to grant them. The free flow of ideas is the enemy of those who long for a corporate command state.
Posted by Bandit at 5:13 PM
Add Oakland Park, Florida, to the list of twilight towns.
A new right-wing city ordinance likely to pass soon will make it a crime just to help the homeless.
Anybody who gives food, blankets, money, or anything else of value to a homeless person faces a fine of up to $100 and up to 90 days in jail. So does anybody who buys anything from a homeless person such as newspapers or flowers.
If I want to give a snack to a homeless person, that's my right. Whiners on city council have no business telling me I can't.
Make no mistake: This legislation is driven by evil. Civilized societies do not imprison people for helping the disadvantaged - unless there's a deep undercurrent of bad intentions behind the law.
We have a duty not just to criticize the law but to call it what it is: evil.
Posted by Bandit at 4:06 PM
It's bad enough to keep people locked up at Gitmo without ever placing them on trial. But it's outrageous to keep them there when you know they're innocent.
But Bush did exactly that.
The American media is ignoring this story. The only place I've seen it covered is in the Times of Britain.
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, said in a signed declaration that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld knew that hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo Bay were completely innocent.
The Bush regime kept the men detained because they were afraid releasing them might harm support for the looming Iraq War.
Now can we finally prosecute Bush?
Seriously. Isn't this enough to imprison Bush for life?
This proves once again that Bush wasn't just incompetent. He was a sociopath. He had no concern for anybody except himself.
It's actually not surprising that he knew that so many of the men held at Gitmo were innocent. A vast majority of Gitmo inmates were actually purchased by the Bush regime from Afghan warlords as if they were human chattel.
What's worse is that the innocent men were subsequently waterboarded even though they were already known to be innocent.
I've been trying to have Bush appear in court for 10 years over the way his minions attacked me at that rally, but he's got bigger crimes to answer to.
Posted by Bandit at 3:25 PM
Garland Barr IV is a Republican candidate to challenge Democrat Ben Chandler for Congress in Kentucky.
Barr, who usually refers to himself as Andy, may be best known as a lawyer for disgraced former Gov. Ernie "Hey Bert" Fletcher. But his own travails ought to sink his candidacy.
Barr was once convicted of having a fake Mississippi driver's license - then lied about this conviction on his application for state employment. Lying about it on his application is itself a crime under a Kentucky law against presenting false information to authorities.
The embattled politico - a pet of the fascist Tea Party movement - says that although he supports congressional term limits and a ban on pork barrel spending, he wouldn't hold Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Hal Rogers to these rules. I wasn't kidding when I said Republicans think rules shouldn't apply to them, huh?
The former Jim Talent aide also attacked Bill Clinton for not serving in the military - even though Barr never served either.
I know Barr has no chance of winning the general election (especially after the Fletcher administration's incompetence), but it's best if he gets absolutely humiliated. That way, he'll be less likely to someday run for something he actually has a chance of winning.
So spread the word.
Posted by Bandit at 2:58 PM
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Remember the radio payola scandal of the late '80s and early '90s?
Of course you don't, because it didn't get hardly any coverage outside the trade papers. After all, why would the media report its own scandals?
It was nothing like today, when big record labels are allowed to own hundreds of radio stations outright, so they can get their garbage played automatically. In the scandal of 20 years ago, record execs paid off radio programmers with money and illicit drugs to get their crap played on the air.
That's one of the reasons so much bad music started filling the airwaves. Payola was the only way to make such rubbish popular.
Meanwhile, anybody who preferred other music was accused (usually falsely) of drug involvement. Their music was criticized as "druggie music" even when no drug lyrics or payola were evident.
How hypocritical is that? It's bizarre enough that such a significant portion of America's popular culture was financed by drugs. But it distorts logic outside the realm of the sane that apologists for this trend accused people of being on drugs if they liked other music instead.
It reminds me of how those who push Ritalin on America's children are usually the same folks who think there's a stoner hiding under every bed.
Posted by Bandit at 10:03 PM
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I almost never get worked up about sports anymore - but now I'm making an exception.
In fact, I might even suspend my Scott Brown-induced boycott of commercial TV just for this.
I'm told that the Masters tournament finishes up tomorrow (Sunday) - and I'm rooting for Tiger Woods. Why? Because newsman Brit Hume hates his guts.
Why does Brit Humanoid hate Tiger Woods? Hume hates Woods because Woods is Buddhist, and Hume hates adherents of any religion he disagrees with.
Of course, I'm talking about the same scowling, arrogant Brit Hume who gloated about a terrorist attack that took place several years ago, because he said it would be a good time to invest in the stock market. Hume didn't give a damn about all the people who got killed. He cared only about his money.
Yet he had the nerve to attack Tiger Woods - the man who donated $3,000,000 of his golf earnings to earthquake victims in Haiti.
Remember a few months ago when Hume demanded that Woods convert? That should have earned Hume another Conservative Fool Of The Day entry right there.
Brit, I can't stand you. Ever since the early days of Fox News Channel when I saw Hume applying his smug affect to his biased reportage, I haven't been able to tolerate him without a barf bag in the room.
Hopefully, Tiger Woods will humiliate right-wing talking heads like Brit Humanoid tomorrow.
Posted by Bandit at 11:16 PM
Friday, April 9, 2010
Conservatives are always for the free market - unless of course it interferes with their precious War on Drugs, which hasn't accomplished anything positive.
This week, a Los Angeles man was sent to federal prison for 6 months for selling a device that let people cheat at drug tests.
What's the crime??? As long as the product worked as advertised, there is none.
Yet, by selling the device, he was accused of "conspiracy to defraud the United States", because some drug tests are mandated by the federal government (under an order of the Reagan regime).
Talk about a trumped-up charge! Who's running the Justice Department? Boss Hogg? (This case, incidentally, was launched under Bush.)
Gee, I feel so much safer with this dangerous, dangerous man off the streets! (That's sarcasm!) Meanwhile, Dick Cheney walks free.
What's really amazing is that the government violated workers' constitutional rights by treating them as guilty until proven innocent by making them take a drug test - and then it had the nerve to go after somebody for selling a product that helped people beat a test that was unconstitutional anyway.
Posted by Bandit at 3:49 PM
Did you know that Newport, Kentucky, had a James Alley and a Boyd Alley within a block of each other, as an apparent tribute to the actor who played Crank of 'The Electric Company' (even though the alleys were probably built before he was born)?
Well, LeftMaps knows.
It knows because it's just completed bicycling map #13 - central Newport (that portion of the city north of the rail line).
And it's a fine map indeed, because it also shows what may be the only urban prairie in northern Kentucky.
If Newport is considered an "industrial suburb" of Cincinnati, then LeftMaps has a similar relationship with The Online Lunchpail. And we're proud of it.
We're also glad to be unveiling maps in PNG format - which lets us show more detail with less space. So far, 10 of our 13 completed maps have been converted to this format.
So - if you dig detailed Cincinnati area bike maps as much as you ought to - peep LeftMaps:
Posted by Bandit at 2:38 PM
Government and Big Business are once again melding to advance their agenda.
Police in the Cincinnati suburb of West Chester are urging hotels not to rent rooms to anybody under the age of 21.
Why is this so bad? Because the age of majority is 18 - not 21. In other words, the cops' order represents a bias against adults. If they said not to rent to those under 18, I'd let it go. But they said 21, not 18.
Once you're 18, you're an adult. End of discussion.
What's worse is that the "no rights for anybody" crowd is exploiting a terrible tragedy to justify this order. But the point remains: To compare a minor's behavior with that of adults is a false comparison. Adulthood is supposed to bring responsibility. Once a person turns 18, the bulk of life's responsibilities are theirs alone. Police and businesses can't be expected to micromanage adults' conduct.
Yet they do. Several inns in West Chester say they already refuse to rent to adults under 21.
As heartbreaking as the tragedy in question was, excessively policing what adults do accomplishes nothing.
Posted by Bandit at 2:19 PM
"I read it in the Enquirer...The Cincinnati Enquirer..."
I can't count on the Enquirer for very much, but I can surely depend on it to tell me when there's a sore loser Tea Party coming up for me to humiliate.
Next Thursday - tax day, you see - the crybabies are holding what they call a Tax Relief Rally at 3 PM in Covington, Kentucky. These spoiled whiners will meet at Goebel Park and march to the IRS building.
The last thing I want to hear these losers talk about is taxes. They're the ones who have advocated an outrageously high national sales tax at previous rallies. And the last place I want to see them desecrate is a park named for a Kentucky governor whose goals were vastly different from those of the current Tea Parties.
I can't promise I'll be on hand to monitor the upcoming Covington event, because their most recent Cincinnati appearance that I saw was so lifeless. On the other hand, I wouldn't be doing my job if I took my eye off of these boring entitlement monarchs for too long.
I'm also painfully cognizant of the fact that authorities in Kenton County are considerably less tolerant of dissent than in many other jurisdictions. I know this firsthand after what happened at the Bush rally 10 years ago.
Posted by Bandit at 12:30 PM
Justice John Paul Stevens - the longest serving member of the U.S. Supreme Court - announced today that he is retiring this summer.
Stevens, who turns 90 later this month, was appointed by President Gerald Ford and was widely considered a moderate Justice. In recent years, however, Stevens has appeared more liberal simply because the majority of the court has gone so far to the right.
Stevens's retirement will also set up an interesting confirmation fight as President Obama picks his replacement. Republicans in the Senate are already threatening to block Obama's choice no matter who it is.
I guess the GOP slept through the election coverage on the night they lost their majority in the Senate.
Posted by Bandit at 11:45 AM
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Kentucky is one of few states that doesn't authorize charter schools - but that may be changing because of pending legislation.
More or less, charter schools are schools that operate as private except that they are fully funded with public money. The charter school movement has been hyped largely by conservatives who think they can prove a point.
Conservatives clearly aren't in favor of competition or choice when it comes to public schools though. They've long been against allowing families to choose what public school district to send their kids to. If they supported it, I wouldn't have had so many battles with the Campbell County Schools.
I'm not against charter schools per se - because they could be a useful tool against the abuses I've seen. I'm more disturbed at the way the idea is implemented.
It seems to me that most charter schools that exist seem to just be the same old same old. Most seem to just be doing the same things that have rendered other schools so disastrous. If they're doing anything different, they're usually just expanding failed practices instead of eliminating them.
Charter schools should offer something different and workable - not a duplication of existing travails.
The reason charter schools don't live up to what the American public has a right to expect is that individual charter schools are approved by the same officials (translation: right-wing ideologues) who approve the practices of other schools. If you have ideas that differ from the extreme-right orthodoxy that already dominates our schools, your proposal for a charter school likely won't be approved.
So we're stuck.
I don't see how anyone can seriously deny that there's a right-wing agenda in America's public and private schools. With charter schools appearing to mimic it, this underscores the importance of homeschooling.
Posted by Bandit at 4:24 PM
The Evil Empire has been dealt a harsh blow in Gadsden, Alabama.
On Tuesday, the city's board of education voted to abolish its mandatory school uniform policy. See, there may yet be hope for Alabama.
What's amazing though is that the policy had been in force since 1996! This blatantly unconstitutional dress code went 14 years without being struck down in a lawsuit? That, my friends, is downright shocking.
The lack of a lawsuit doesn't say a lot for the strength of civics education in today's schools, does it?
The uniforms are being abolished because parents are worried about finding proper uniforms and the added cost.
A lot of things were wrong in America in 1996. Workers' rights were gutted, civil liberties were trampled, corporate power was expanding, and the drug war was growing at a record clip. But the lack of school uniform requirements was not a problem. Those who advocated mandatory uniforms did nothing but waste everybody else's time.
Posted by Bandit at 2:47 PM
Much has been made here about James O'Keefe's hoax video that has been accused of bringing down ACORN. But we need to clear up a misconception about O'Keefe's unpunished fraud.
The press has typically reported that O'Keefe posed as a pimp in the video. That's actually a misunderstanding. That this misconception has been repeated may have harmed ACORN further.
O'Keefe did, however, pose as what he thinks a pimp looks like in a different scene (pictured here).
Still, the damage by the hoax video is done - and O'Keefe needs to be punished for it (and for his wiretapping of Mary Landrieu's office).
Posted by Bandit at 1:41 PM
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The pirates of the high seas during the Golden Age of Piracy weren't always as sinister as they appear in popular lore. Some of them were hard-working guys like me who were squeezed out of society by greedy elites. Pirates like that would never hurt a gnat - let alone raid anybody.
But there's nothing more sinister than a 'Sesame Street' pirate.
One day back in 1982, Gordon, Bob, Olivia, and Mr. Hooper took to the high seas (what Homer Simpson calls "the land the law forgot") and became pirates.
This piracy mission yielded a treasure chest full of rubber duckies:
That segment ends right before we see Ernie tied up on Gordon's pirate ship, with Mr. Hooper holding him hostage at knifepoint.
Posted by Bandit at 2:10 PM
I didn't bother to do a report for week 33 of this fine feature, because nothing had really changed on the Google stupidity front that week. Admit it: You missed us.
But we're back with a vengeance for week 34!
Last week, Google's YouTube went offline for hours to implement a new layout that everybody hates. It doesn't seem to have added any new features, and it's harder to use. Even if you tell it to show all the comments for a particular video, it only shows some of them, and they're no longer properly formatted.
Worse, this new layout crashed some browsers for days afterward.
Google remains undeterred despite scads of complaints about this new layout.
The immoral of the story is this: Google can spend all this money, time, and effort designing a new YouTube layout that adds no functionality and crashes browsers, while it won't lift a finger to fix its post removal feature or let people delete posts that were illegally posted under their name without their permission.
Google is the biggest search engine in the world. It's high time they start acting like it again.
Posted by Bandit at 12:42 PM
Before the 2010 census count got under way, the Census Bureau arbitrarily removed thousands of addresses in inner-city Cincinnati.
The purpose of this act was as transparent as Scotch tape. These urban neighborhoods had some of the lowest Republican support of any in the area. You could tell right away that some Bush holdover had made the decision to delete these addresses.
Most of the deleted addresses were in Over-the-Rhine, Corryville, North Fairmount, or Clifton Heights. The Census Bureau's excuse for deleting them was that they weren't actually within Cincinnati city limits. Yeah, because we all know Over-the-Rhine is actually in Claryville, right?
If this was allowed to stand, the city itself would be undercounted - and that would effect funding as well as legislative apportionment.
But the city appealed to the OMB, and now it's won its case - at least with 91% of the addresses.
As a result, thousands of Cincinnati residents are finally receiving their census forms this week.
This still doesn't account for the 9% that remain outstanding though.
Posted by Bandit at 11:56 AM
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I found a video on YouTube that shows somebody who behaves exactly the way some of the spoiled brats at my high school did. (I'm talking about the suburban private school I attended - not the inner-city public school I went to later.)
Sadly, I think this video is actually real - not staged.
I think it's real because I remember the kids at my high school acting this way. Somebody else said it was just part of a series of ads for Domino's Pizza, but I don't see the connection.
Supposedly, the spoiled brat in this video later sold this car for only $9.99 because it was the wrong color.
If my parents had given me an old Edsel that was any color of the rainbow, I'd be happy. (Hell, when I was that age, I had to WORK for everything!) But this spoiled crybaby throws a fit over a brand new car!
That's a future Tea Party activist right there.
If she wants a blue car so badly, maybe she should be forced to buy my parents' old Horizon.
Posted by Bandit at 11:17 PM
The fascist Tea Party movement was supposed to spur a growth in Republican organizing.
But it's fallen plumb on its stupid face.
This far-right movement - which supports expansion of government as long as it helps a financially secure few - has actually coincided with a drop in GOP registration.
It's clear even in Kentucky - despite the state's large rural base, which is where Republican strength has become concentrated. With the GOP becoming more rural, they shouldn't have major recruiting failures in Kentucky. But they do: Since early 2009 (when the Tea Parties began), Kentucky has seen 50,000 new registered Democratic voters and only 41,000 new Republicans. (This is the Democrats' biggest advantage in years.)
That doesn't mean the Tea Party whack-a-doodles don't have influence they don't deserve. Money buys a lot. "Tea Party activists tend to be people with high socioeconomic status," University of Kentucky political scientist Stephen Voss correctly observed. So they have more money to throw at political campaigns.
Not exactly a populist movement. They're about as populist as the companies that stand to benefit from the Supreme Court's approval of corporate personhood. If they were genuine populists, they'd rally against this ruling.
I'm usually not in favor of kicking people when they're down, but the Tea Parties deserve every bit of it.
Posted by Bandit at 7:19 PM
The U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. ruled today that the FCC lacks authority to require broadband ISP's to practice 'Net neutrality.
But I ruled today that it doesn't.
The FCC clearly has this authority, because that was supposed to be the FCC's whole reason for being. If the FCC can shut down Tantrum 95.7 because some Nazi told it to, then it can DAMN SURE tell ISP's they have to follow 'Net neutrality rules.
This case surrounded Comcast's interference with customers who used file sharing services.
This court's decision strikes at the very core of social science. As a sovereign people, we are endowed with the right to rein in corporations with reasonable measures. Today the court swung a hatchet at our very rights. The panel of judges also decimated the Obama administration's 'Net neutrality plans.
So this is one ruling that ought to be defied. If the FCC won't, then the states need to stand up and require 'Net neutrality.
Posted by Bandit at 5:49 PM
Monday, April 5, 2010
It could be me who's $8,100,000 richer right now.
Hell, it could still be - that is, if only Kentucky's laws were as strong as other states'.
For years, I was harassed by debt collectors even though I don't owe any debts. They often called asking for people I don't even know - and kept calling even after it was clear I wasn't paying them shit. My new book 'A Mind's Smithereens' has a brief piece describing how I seem to have gotten rid of these greed merchants several months ago - but there's no guarantee they won't come back.
Well, a Dallas woman was facing similar harassment by a debt collector called Midland Funding. They demanded that she pay them $9,000.
But she really didn't owe them a damn thing. So she sued them to court for making harassing phone calls.
And guess what? She won $8,100,000 under a Texas law that governs debt collections. And she deserves every penny.
Midland Funding is part of Encore Capital Group - which specializes in debt harassment. It makes harassing phone calls to people all over the United States from its call centers in America and India. When people don't buckle under and pay up, the company sues them and garnishes their wages. Plus, it makes them pay creditors' legal fees. (Fred Phelps would love this company!)
Kentucky might not have state laws that are as strong as those in Texas, but there are federal laws. Believe me, if I thought I could get a fair trial in Kentucky, I'd sue over the harassing calls I got.
I'm not worried about getting the money, because I don't expect to live long enough to spend more than a tiny fraction of it. But I want total, punishing ruin for the debt collectors who harassed me.
Posted by Bandit at 4:52 PM
Several years ago, California became a national model when it passed a law to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. Refineries, utilities, and other major industries must start cutting their emissions by 2012, and emissions must be down to 1990 levels by 2020.
But laws are just "damn pieces of paper" in conservaworld.
California's leading Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is known for that really awful speech during the 2008 Republican National Convention. (Yeah, I know: which really awful speech?) Now Whitman says that if she's elected, she'll stop enforcing California's climate law the moment she takes the oath of office.
Yeah, ignoring a popular landmark climate law will really get you votes - not!
Meanwhile, 3 Texas oil corporations are financing a referendumb to delay enforcement of California's law until the state's unemployment rate is cut by half.
Something tells me unemployment won't be down by half until the law takes effect. This greenhouse gas legislation is vital to the state's economy, and it will promote clean energy and reduce fuel expenses.
In brief, the Golden State is faced with out-of-state firms trying to gut an important climate law - and with a gubernatorial candidate who won't even enforce this law anyway! That's the Republicans' idea of the rule of law - sorry, the rule of "damn pieces of paper."
Posted by Bandit at 4:23 PM
Sunday, April 4, 2010
I think I'll become a corporation - Tim Inc. That way, I'll never have to worry about paying taxes.
As the tax burden has fallen more and more on the working poor in recent years, many major corporations have paid no taxes whatsoever.
Last year, General Electric - one of the biggest and most profitable corporations in the world - had to pay no federal taxes. This despite the fact that GE had an income of $10,300,000,000.
ExxonMobil paid corporate income taxes in other countries - but none to Uncle Sam.
Bank of America also paid nothing - despite being a recipient of generous bailout dough.
Must be their True Free Speach Now (tm), I guess.
Posted by Bandit at 12:00 PM
Saturday, April 3, 2010
If CNN wasn't so full of shit these days, it might actually have viewers like it used to.
And yesterday, CNN really done did it.
In a blatant effort to pump up support for the right-wing Tea Parties, CNN reported that as many as 4% of Tea Party activists are Democrats.
You're hilarious, CNN, you know that?
Believe me, it's not 4%. It just about 0%. The only followers the Tea Party movement has who claim to be Democrats are about on par with Jim Naugle.
CNN gets even more funny. It also called the Tea Party "a movement that champions less government" and "lower taxes." Seriously, they said that.
Remember, this is the same movement that invites FairTax speakers to its rallies and whose followers carry signs that smack of dominionist ideology. CNN calls that "less government" and "lower taxes"?
Um, April Fools' Day is over, CNN.
It would be funnier if CNN wasn't engaged in such an obvious propaganda effort supporting the Nastea crowd.
Posted by Bandit at 2:04 PM
Friday, April 2, 2010
The Labor Department reported today that American employers added 162,000 jobs just last month - making this the most sustained period of economic growth since...who knows?
When was the last time the economy improved this much for such a long period? I think we were all wearing polyester the last time that happened.
Of course, this statistic is no comfort for those who still haven't regained their jobs that were stolen by the New Economy and the Bush recession.
Posted by Bandit at 8:41 PM
Um, no, it isn't. For once, something actually isn't the media's fault - but they're being blamed for it anyway.
The Vatican chose Holy Thursday to lash out against the American media because it has dared to cover the Catholic Church's ongoing sex abuse scandals. Singled out for particular criticism is the New York Times - after the paper reported about the Church's inaction regarding a priest who was accused of molesting deaf boys.
Last week, L'Osservatore Romano - the Vatican's semiofficial paper - absurdly charged that the media had a "clear and despicable intention" to attack the Pope.
If anything, the media hasn't covered the scandals enough.
Posted by Bandit at 1:42 PM
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Gee, what a surprise.
Lately, one of the big boasts among the right-wing thought police is that their cable channel of record - Fox News Channel - leads its competitors in the ratings. They cite Nielsen reports to back up this claim.
Folks are skeptical, because they know very few people who think Fox News is worth a shit. On the other hand, Fox News doesn't have a liberal competitor, because other cable channels also have a right-wing bias.
But now it's been revealed that the Wegener Corporation - which makes the ratings devices used by Nielsen - has links with Fox's parent company, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. The rise of Fox News Channel's ratings began in the early 2000s when this technology was first unleashed.
Because of this, Fox News Channel is now being accused of using the devices to commit ratings fraud.
Well, that would explain why Fox News keeps doing so well in the ratings even though so many people hate it. This channel's ratings seemed to go up even more right at the same time the Republicans' political fortunes were dwindling. If Fox News had so many viewers for its round-the-clock bandstand of manipulating public opinion, why weren't these efforts more successful at securing GOP victories?
This entire story kind of reminds me of how the Republicans previously kept winning elections even though nobody liked them. Much of this was because of voting machine software that was easily tampered with.
Posted by Bandit at 8:38 PM
Here's another idea from the GOP's Department of Crazy.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) wants to remove Ulysses Grant from the $50 bill and replace him with Ronald Reagan.
No, I'm not making this up.
McHenry's measure has several Republican cosponsors, mostly from the South.
McHenry merely says it's because Reagan is generally regarded as a better President than Grant. Um, no. He isn't. Much of the effort to replace Grant with Reagan is motivated by the continuing disdain for Grant held by neo-Confederates such as McHenry.
As a general, Ulysses Grant led the North to victory in the Civil War. Grant was also the first President ever to sign a civil rights law. His administration also prosecuted Ku Klux Klan terrorists.
Reagan, on the other hand, received KKK support (albeit to a lesser degree than the younger Bush did).
A lot of times, people will argue over whether some public policy was motivated by racism. But I'm 100% convinced that racism is behind the proposed $50 bill change. It's not a coincidence that McHenry's measure would replace the first President to sign a civil rights bill with one of the few who received Klan backing.
The Republican Right seems to have this seething, bubbling hostility regarding civil rights. This plan to change the $50 bill symbolizes the enmity that lurks in their very hearts.
Posted by Bandit at 5:20 PM
No, this isn't an April Fools' Day joke.
In Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, a "focus group" has been put together to explore the right-wing idea of mandatory student uniforms.
One of their ideas? Corporate logos on each uniform. There's some speculation that McDonald's would be the sponsor.
Hell, if I wanted to wear a uniform with a McDonald's logo, I'd go work at McDonald's. Putting the golden arches on a school uniform is so preposterous that I can't believe they're actually considering it.
What's a matter? Is the "focus group" upset that folks don't want to spend their entire lives working at fast food restaurants? Apparently so. So that's why they try to make everybody think they ought to.
Posted by Bandit at 4:00 PM