Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The case of the ruined apple ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

In the wake of my apartment being burglarized at least 3 times in the past 3 weeks, we need Sherlock Hemlock on the case pronto!

Sherlock Hemlock (the defective detective) was a fixture on 'Sesame Street' in the '70s. He was cool. He ought to be President of the World.

He solved major crimes and important mysteries. Like in this 1970 sketch, when Ernie found a ruined apple laying on the counter:


That apple was utterly, completely ru. It seems like nobody in their right mind would want to eat it after it fell through the bag and landed on the filthy ground (because Ernie was dumb enough to use a bag with a hole in it). But ol' Sherms wants the half-eaten, dirty apple as payment for his amazing services.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Siegelman conviction vacated

Today - in a surprise ruling - the U.S. Supreme Court vacated part of the corruption case against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

Siegelman, a Democrat, was convicted in 2006 in a case that later turned out to be politically motivated. The case was prosecuted by Republicans in the Bush regime who sought a return to power in that state.

When '60 Minutes' reported on the motivations of the case, the CBS affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama, blocked that episode. Then the station lied by claiming that the blockage was just technical difficulties.

Meanwhile, Karl Rove remains at large even after defying Congress's subpoenas regarding the case.


LetMaps shows evidence of forced relocations

Many of you know of the link between this blog and LeftMaps - and the latest LeftMaps offering exposes a very serious issue.

One of the big local and national stories throughout the '90s and '00s was the closure of public housing. Most residents were never asked whether they wanted their housing razed. It also elicited this very urgent question: Where were residents supposed to go?

Most people who supported eliminating this housing wanted them to go...away. That's where. Relocation plans were inadequate and were made with almost no input from residents.

In brief, these were forced relocations.

Often, these were relocations to the streets, to homeless shelters, and even to morgues. Hardly any new affordable housing has been built in the region in years.

LeftMaps shows evidence of this campaign: The maps' dull pink land use shading is used for urban prairies. Not all urban prairies marked on these maps result from loss of public housing. But the urban prairie on the west corner of Newport - north of 4th Street - did.

With the completion of our fifteenth map last night, it seems as if we can now add another urban prairie resulting from the forced relocation of the poor. When we read about the fact that almost the entire Cincinnati neighborhood of English Woods - which had consisted primarily of public housing - had been abandoned since the last time I was near it, we drew a LeftMap of this small neighborhood.

The pinkish shading coincides with the site of this pogrom.

Ironically, the housing project was demolished despite Cincinnati City Council's opposition to this relocation.

To view the LeftMaps of English Woods and other local neighborhoods, click here:

Facebook deletes anti-BP page

Facebook. It's where dreams go to die.

Facebook allows a group that tries to solicit President Obama's assassination. It also allows a group that openly endorses discrimination against the poor - including forced sterilization. But when anybody dares to criticize BP, they can kiss their group beddy-bye.

In the wake of the ongoing catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, somebody on Facebook started a Boycott BP fan page, which attracted 800,000 fans - making it one of the most popular fan sites on Facebook. Folks used this site to share clips and photos of the spill.

You can argue over whether boycotting BP would be effective. Some have argued that a boycott would just lead the greedy oil giant to declare bankruptcy and shirk its responsibility for cleaning up the mess it helped make. But the real issue here is Facebook's reaction to this fan site.

Facebook - fueled by its own adoration of BP - deleted the Boycott BP page. This deletion was in effect a media blackout of BP's pants-pissing.

All this from the social networking site that provides every excuse in the book to allow the Obama assassination page to go unchallenged. They allow that, but they won't allow a Boycott BP page.

This is more proof that America has become a corporation, folks.

There's a happy ending though. After a small article appeared on CNN's website about Facebook's attempts to muzzle criticism of BP, Facebook has restored the Boycott BP page.


Death exposes Republicans' racial hypocrisy

The death of a Democratic political figure brings out the worst in the Republican Right.

Following Robert Byrd's death, the right-wing blogosphere has shown glee in pointing out that Byrd was racist...70 years ago.

Um, that was 70 years ago. Seventy. Despite Byrd's racism as a young man, he was a reliable backer of civil rights measures in recent years.

Byrd's later civil rights support doesn't justify his earlier racism. There's absolutely no excuse for the bigotry he once displayed. But at least the change in his views shows that he learned from his mistakes and turned over a new leaf - something the Republican intelligentsia won't do. The GOP is the home of Rand Paul, who opposes much of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It's also the home of Jim Talent and other politicos who sport recent links to the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens.

And the Republican Party is the home of Trent Lott, who said only a few years ago that America would have been better off if Strom Thurmond had won his presidential bid, which was built on a racist platform. The GOP is also the home of the bulk of the Tea Party movement, which is fueled largely by racism.

Republicans attack a Democrat for being racist 70 years ago, but they give a free pass to the continuing racism of their own party.

My writings have made much of the Democrats' expanding mimicry of right-wing Republican stances. In fact, I switched to the Green Party because of it. But make no mistake: These days, the GOP has nothing short of a monopoly on racism. I can't think of a single major Democratic politician today who currently displays the brand of raw racism that now pervades the GOP.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sen. Robert Byrd dies

The longest-serving U.S. senator died this morning at the age of 92.

Sen. Robert Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat, served longer than any other senator in history. He was in his ninth 6-year term.

Details here:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

TSA picks on little girls

The TSA's no-fly list is like a Bushist Bible. The forces of doom rely on this list as gospel truth. But instead of targeting terrorists, the no-fly list has been used to disrupt the travels of little girls, college students, monks, journalists, and elderly grandmothers.

Now the ravages of the no-fly list have struck again. This time, a 6-year-old girl from Ohio has turned up on the so-called terrorist watch list.

Worse, the Department of Homeland Security refused to remove her from the list when her dad contacted them about it.

It gets worse still! A recent change by the TSA expanded the no-fly list to cover not just international flights but domestic flights too. All this after the no-fly list was supposed to be abolished altogether with Bush's departure.

The fact that nobody even took the time to remove a 6-year-old's name from the list proves what a sick joke the list is. And it's going to keep getting worse as long as the problem goes ignored.


Jindal holds up National Guard deployment and lies about it

Right-wing Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has a penchant for making things up out of thin air, and lately this habit has continued.

Jindal keeps blaming President Obama for BP's oil spill - accusing the President of not providing the resources to clean it up. However, President Obama has authorized 6,000 National Guard troops to fight BP's oil spill. But Jindal opted to activate only about one-sixth of them - letting the rest go unused.

In other words, Obama provided the resources, but Jindal just isn't using them. Jindal is holding up the National Guard so he can make political hay.

Jindal also said that he himself had requested the 6,000 troops but that the Coast Guard had denied his request. But Jindal's claim was an outright lie. The Coast Guard says it never denied any such request from any governor regarding this spill.

However, Jindal did use National Guard troops to stop CNN from covering the spill.

Meanwhile, Bobby Jindal supports more offshore oil drilling. Some folks never learn, I guess.


Friday, June 25, 2010

LeftMaps goes wild over Wilder

The Far Right plumb hates LeftMaps - the cartography business I run.

For this project, we produce detailed street maps of Cincinnati area neighborhoods. They're designed to show the best bicycling routes, and they're also good for identifying abandoned streets. Recently, we inaugurated a new feature that lets LeftMaps live up to its name: These maps now have a special symbol for political shrines around town, such as the infamous arrest at the Steely Dan Library, as shown on the southern Highland Heights map.

Now LeftMaps has finished its fourteenth map: the northern half of Wilder, Kentucky. This heavily industrial part of town offers much to local cyclists. LeftMaps plans to split Wilder in two, because of its geographic breadth.

So - if you opt to peep these fine maps - point your pooper here:

BP starts its own country?

While Joe Barton, Rand Paul, and their media fellow travelers demand that everybody get down on their knees and apologize to BP for daring to criticize it over the oil spill, BP has found a new way to circumvent rules against offshore drilling.

To avoid the moratorium on drilling off the delicate coast of Alaska, BP is building its own artificial island. By doing so, BP can now place an oil well there and claim that it's not really offshore - thus making it legal.

The island consists of nothing but 31 acres of gravel. The rig - which will drill 2 miles under the sea - threatens Alaska's wildlife reserve. It's also the longest extended reach oil drilling ever attempted, and it pushes technology past its known limits. Observers call the effort very unsafe.

BP has named its new landmass Liberty Island - because it thinks the big, mean government is so oppressive.

If BP can build its own island for offshore drilling, doesn't that mean I can also build an island in the ocean and start my own country? If I wasn't a landlocked Midwesterner, it would be no more farfetched than the shit BP pulls.

BP has already committed felonies in the Gulf of Mexico leak, and BP's execs need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Tim Makes A Spectacle Of Himself"

As much as I admire Oscar the Grouch, sometimes I see the beauty in things that other people - least of all right-wingers - don't.

Take the expression "to make a spectacle of oneself", for instance. My 5th grade teacher was the first person I ever heard using this idiom, and when I heard her say it, I started snickering because of the image it created.

Some on the extreme right might not appreciate the humor in this expression. Thankfully, I'm not of their political guild, so I can appreciate the exquisiteness of those words.

The latest episode of 'Lawn Chair Quarterback' delves into those words' beauty:


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Washington Times runs doctored photo of Elena Kagan

Never trust a convicted tax cheat like Sun Myung Moon to run a daily newspaper.

Moon's embattled Washington Times has once again proven it has absolutely zero journalistic standards - this time by publishing a doctored photo of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

The photo shows Kagan wearing a turban and accompanies a far-right op-ed that accuses Kagan of trying to introduce Shariah law to the United States. The accusation appears to be groundless. It's also unclear what the link is between Shariah law and turbans.

If anybody is trying to turn America into a theocratic state, it's conservatives who comprise the dwindling readership base of the Washington Times. Of particular note is Sun Myung Moon himself, who complains publicly that American-style democratic republics are Satanic.

Then again, it's not like many people even saw the doctored photo. If you want lots of people to see something, the Washington Times isn't where you want to put it.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cookie Monster interrogates Prairie Dawn ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

'Sesame Street' is cool.

And funny.

There was a sketch on the ol' Ses in which Cookie Monster had questions, and Prairie Dawn had answers.

Cookie Monster's question was, "Do people pop?" And Prairie Dawn's answer was, "If poo."

Just joking! Actually, the questions were all cookie-related:


This segment begs a cookie-themed question from us: Has Cookie Monster ever actually eaten a cookie? It seems like all he does when he tries shoveling cookies into his cavernous mouth is crush the cookies and let them fly all over the counter and the floor. Thereby wasting them. Kind of like how Republicans waste things.

Also, notice that oatmeal cookies are only the monster's second-favorite kind. That's because hemp cookies must be his favorite.

Cookie Monster. A king among men.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Activist judge guts drilling moratorium

After the BP oil spill began, the Obama administration issued a 6-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

But even this modest move is rendered a pile of dust by America's right-wing activist federal judges - who have become more or less a monarchy in black robes.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman (a Reagan appointee) has now gutted the drilling moratorium. Feldman's excuse for overturning a valid presidential order is that he thinks there's no evidence that offshore oil drilling poses any threat to anything.

Seriously. He said that.

The worst oil spill in history won't be plugged until Christmas or later, and some right-wing judge is standing there saying offshore drilling is perfectly safe. You can't make this stuff up, people. This reminds me of how all during the recession, the media kept saying how great the economy was.


Kentucky Democratic head honcho is a big GOP donor

By all accounts, Democrats in Kentucky should have their best year in recent memory - because the Republicans have giant targets painted squarely on their derrieres. But Kentucky Democrats are known for seizing defeat from the jaws of victory.

The Kentucky Democratic Party has now appointed Daniel Logsdon as its chairman and executive director. Problem is, Logsdon donates generously to Republican campaigns.

FEC records show that Logsdon gave $500 to Sen. Mitch McConnell's 2008 reelection bid. He also gave $1,000 to the failed 2007 reelection campaign of right-wing then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher. And he gave $250 to the campaign of GOP Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer.

Maybe if McConnell and Fletcher were worth a damn, Logsdon might be able to justify these donations. But the Republicans were a hopelessly tainted brand by 2007, and these 2 politicians exemplified the party's worst. Fletcher had already been indicted by the time Logsdon donated to him.

What's astounding is that Democratic "leaders" try to find excuses for Logsdon's GOP support.

This matter is already harming Democratic support in Kentucky. Some folks have warned that they will not support Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's reelection all because of this.

Just add another entry to the "Now you know why I switched to the Greens" file, folks.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Fox News called GOP "town square"

Interesting article from Media Matters, which describes how even the AP reported that Fox News is a "town square" for Republicans:

Fox's roster reads almost like a 'Who's Who' of GOP presidential hopefuls. The network now employs Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and even Rick Santorum.

Santorum is the funniest. Man, just think how many states the Republicans would lose if he was their nominee! That guy is so screwed.

Rick Santorum had more to do with the launch of the still-active war on the poor than almost anybody else. He actually ran on this platform in his 1994 Senate bid. Does he honestly expect the American public - which now has more access to Internet news sites than ever - to knowingly vote against its own economic interests in 2012?

One can almost hear the former Pennsylvania senator saying, "I hate you, your family, and your community, and I think they should be wards of the state. Now will you please vote for me?"

How positively stupid is this man?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rand Paul's foot-in-mouth disease worsens

I can almost hear a collective "Screw you, Rand!" emerging from the beleaguered public.

During a campaign appearance on WVLK-AM in Lexington yesterday, Rand Paul - much-ridiculed GOP Senate candidate in Kentucky - demanded that unemployed Americans can just solve their plight by simply going back to work. He told long-besieged America to just accept jobs that are far shittier and pay far less than the ones they had.

Um, Rand, it doesn't work that way.

If you invest years of your life in a career, that should earn you a chance for advancement - not consign you to a worse job.

Besides, companies are now publicly declaring their refusal to even hire the unemployed. Hey Rand, why don't you tell these firms to straighten out their hiring practices?

I'm all for hard work. But I have a saying: A lousy job is better than no job, but no job is better than a shitty job. Rand Paul's America would be one where people (even college grads) are forced to accept bad, unsafe workplace conditions.

This proves how out of touch the candidate is. Someone on another website said this reminded them of a police lieutenant's remark during a pogrom against the homeless in San Luis Obispo, California. The cop said of the homeless, "Why don't they just buy a house like everyone else?" Everybody who heard this remark was floored at the lieutenant's ignorance.

Hey, here's an idea: Maybe all the unemployed can just create their own boards to certify themselves at something - sort of like some people we know, huh, Rand?


Friday, June 18, 2010

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "ATM's Are Not Magic"

Are ATM's magic?

Michele Bachmann seems to think they are.

She accused the Obama administration of turning the BP escrow fund into an automated teller machine. Uh, Michele, isn't that a good thing? After all, ATM's only give you a limited supply of money. You can't get more money from an ATM than your bank account has. Or at least I can't. Then again, I've never tried to get more money than my account has, so who knows?

In our latest 'Lawn Chair Quarterback', the fallacy of ATM's being private mints is explored:


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Free checking checks out?

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday in depth about the looming demise of free checking at America's banks.

The article reports that free checking was almost universal throughout the land until the Reagan regime deregulated big banks in the early '80s, allowing banks to impose a fee for checking accounts. Later, however, many of these same banks saw dollar signs from low-income customers and decided to drop these fees in an effort to lure them in.

But now these confiscatory fees are roaring back with a vengeance, thanks to the almost total lack of banking regulations. This is expected to mean the end of free checking altogether.

Nothing like having to pay a fee to use your own money, huh?

Sillier yet, some banks apply these fees only to customers that have less than a certain amount in their account - so really it's yet another right-wing assault on the poor.

Congress needs to reinstate regulations of bank fees. If Congress doesn't act, the states must act with all deliberate gusto.

For most Americans, conservaworld means a life of Allowed Clouds. You can't do this, you can't do that. Unless of course you're a big corporation like a bank, which have almost no controls at all.

How long are our lawmakers going to sit back and stink?


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Herry rigs carnival game ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Remember Herry, the furry, blue monster on 'Sesame Street' with a voice like Patty and Selma of 'The Simpsons'?

That Herry must be a big Republican: Much as the GOP rigs elections, Herry rigs carnival games.

In this 1971 sketch, Herry even scammed our ol' pal Ernie:


Ernie should have known Herry's game was a rip-off, because the prizes are nowhere in sight.

Also, notice at the end of the skit that Ernie appears to start to pick his nose. I guess he figures he's entitled to pick his nose in public after being scammed so unjustly. It's kind of like the tradition of throwing garbage in the street on election night.

Bipartisan power grab of the day

Eat your heart out, Patriot Act.

Now there's a bipartisan bill in Congress that would revoke federal highway funds from states that don't raise the age to receive a full driver's license to 18. This despite the fact that the rate of serious traffic accidents among younger motorists has actually increased as some states have already started raising the driving age - which indicates that raising the driving age has been ineffective.

Naturally, insurance lobbyists are behind the federal bill.

What's next? A federal law to require year-round school?

Honestly, folks, if anybody seriously thinks this bill will save any lives at all, they're living in dreamtime (as Daryl Hall would say).

Meanwhile, BP goes uncontrolled.

While we're on the subject of congressional confrontations...

Why hasn't the media covered the incident last fall in which John Cornyn (who advocates assassinating judges he disagrees with) slugged a reporter?

Congressman fights back...then backs down

Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-North Carolina) said, "I've been spat at, pushed on, and threatened before, and that's no excuse for ... not walking on by."

Actually, it is an excuse - and a damn good one. If somebody spits on you or threatens you, you have every right to deck them square in the teeth.

"Walking on by" is why it took the Democrats 12 whole years to regain Congress.

And nice try, CNN, for relying on 2 incomplete Breitbart videos to try to fix another election.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Facebook site: expel the fascists!

Since we're in a people-faced mood today, it's time to introduce another Facebook fan site that we know you're gonna love!

While the right-wing media portrays 30-year-old men who start fights with public officials as just innocent "kids", much of Congress supports abusing kids by placing them in confinement programs.

But now there's a new fan site on Facebook designed to counter this fascism:!/pages/Expel-members-of-Congress-who-support-abusive-teen-programs/131624260189645

Why expel these legislators from Congress? All members of Congress must take an oath or affirmation to uphold the Constitution. The teen confinement industry is built on violating constitutional rights. To support "the industry" is to violate one's oath of office.

The Constitution allows each house of Congress to expel members if two-thirds of lawmakers vote to do so. And members have been expelled - 20 times before.

Make no mistake: We are in a war against evil, as we have been for many years. And now we have the Evil Empire in our crosshairs. The lawmakers we plan to have expelled aren't simply misguided dummies. They are bad people. Period. And it's time we get that straight.

The first congressmoron we're targeting for expulsion is Louisiana's Rep. John Fleming (a Tea Party favorite), because he may be Congress's most arrogant defender of "the industry." His website - which was full of asinine items with names like "Every Child is a Potential Drug Addict" - featured links to confirmedly abusive programs.

It's actually easier to try to have some of these legislators expelled than it is to defeat them in an election, because they're so overfunded. At minimum, this expulsion drive probably does more to draw attention to the problem than a plain old election does.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kentucky GOP official charged with vote buying

"But but but but the Republicans winned Kentucky fair and square lololol!"

Let's play another game of "guess the party affiliation", since the Cincinnati Enquirer won't list it. Here's a hint: He's a Republican.

In Monroe County, Kentucky, Judge-Executive Wilbur Graves and 9 others are accused of buying votes in the 2006 elections. (Judge-executive is the top county office in Kentucky.) Graves has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Of course, Rethug-a-lug vote buying goes on all across Kentucky in election after election. Usually, however, they don't get caught. We've seen the results of that.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Progressive points of interest mapped!

As the economic needs of yours truly grow deeper, LeftMaps has hired me to develop a whole new wrinkle in progressive populist mapping!

Since LeftMaps was founded in 2008, its name has thumped hollow. This set of Cincinnati area neighborhood maps has been great for finding bicycling routes and abandoned streets, but it hasn't lived up to what the name suggests.

But that's starting to change!

LeftMaps is now providing something unique for this region: progressive populist points of interest!

I plan to mark buildings and historic shrines of local progressive interest. These items will be labeled using the Lucida Sans font - NOT the ordinary Arial that otherwise peoples these maps.

Shrines are to be marked using a symbol based on Kentucky historical markers. Unfortunately, I only have one shrine mapped so far, as they are relatively few and far between. On the map of southern Highland Heights, the Steely Dan Library is labeled for the celebrated Last Word arrest. This libe has become a political shrine of sorts.

Another shrine like this is in Devou Park where the Bush rally went awry. But I haven't yet completed that map. Still another such shrine is the site of the now-defunct Kids Helping Kids cult, which faced a barrage of roadside protests a couple years back. But I haven't even started that map yet.

In addition to these shrines of recent political history, certain buildings will be labeled in italicized Lucida Sans for their current practical or educational interest. For instance, I believe the Freedom Center should receive this special font, simply because of its subject matter. However, I don't have that map finished yet either, and I haven't relabeled this building yet.

Want to see how our map of southside Highland Heights handles the Steely Dan Library? Point your pooper here:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Idiot Bloomberg defends BP

Right-wing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ought to have a few beers with Rand Paul sometime. They'd really hit it off, seeing how they both like BP so much. Then again, beer is too plebian for their aristocratic tastes.

Now billionaire Bloomberg has joined the embattled Kentucky politico in demanding that critics take it easy on poor, oppressed BP.

This guy has absolutely no sense of how most of America lives. None whatsoever.

This after Loonberg also defended banks that refused to reveal which execs got bonuses from bailout money and after he whined that CEO's of drug companies "don't make a lot of money" and should be held blameless in the health care debate. He even said Con Ed "deserves a thanks from this city" following its series of power outages.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Vacation, 'Pail style

For the next month, this blog is in vacay mode!

I'll still blog here, but only when I feel like it. Why? Because today, somebody pickpocketed $120 from me. So I'm just not going to do any real work for the next month.

I don't work for free, and I damn sure don't work to support some thief who doesn't want to make an honest living and chooses to steal instead. This is the second time within the past year or so that a large sum of cash was stolen from me (not counting Google's theft of my ad revenues), and I'm tired of having to start over every time this happens.

My money getting stolen means I don't work. Fair is fair.

The obvious question is this: How am I supposed to support myself for the next month if I don't work? Well, I can't support myself by working, because my money just gets stolen, so why does this make any difference? Book sales and LeftMaps will support me - or they better.

Vacation begins now!

School district bars girl from using sign language

School officials in Branchburg, New Jersey, need a nosebleed really bad.

This story is from April, but it's been almost completely covered up until now. Branchburg school officials have singled out a severely hearing-impaired girl by telling her she's not allowed to use sign language on the school bus. They've threatened the 12-year-old with suspension if she disobeys.

Sign language was the only way she had to communicate on the noisy bus.

The school system's excuse? They said sign language is a safety hazard. Seriously, they said that.

Fuck you, school officials.

Is the school district going to bar students who are not hearing-impaired from talking? If not, then school officials can look forward to a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (the law Rand Paul wants to repeal). I hope the school is sued for everything it's worth and then some.

But if I was the parent of a child who was being discriminated against like this, I wouldn't wait for the lawsuit. I'd march right down to the school and make them pay.

It turns out the girl's hearing loss developed when a classmate shot a bottle rocket too close to her ear. The girl's parents already sued the Branchburg schools over that occurrence. One almost suspects that the school is retaliating over this lawsuit. America's schools are full of bitter, vindictive administrators, so who'd be surprised? Stuff like this happened to me, and it happened to lots of folks.

Mitch Daniels wants to make it impossible to sue a school, but he won't do anything about schools' retaliatory behavior.

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Studmuffin"

This week's episode of 'Lawn Chair Quarterback' deals with one facet of the extreme right: the teen confinement industry.

"The industry" is made up of abusive centers ranging from phony "rehabs" to psychiatric gulags to goofy wilderness boot camps to checkbook clergy boarding schools. This 'LCQ' installment examines the attitudes the guards had towards various television shows:


Have no fear, ish #457 is here!

Finally, issue #457 of the time-honored Last Word is pub-a-roony!

This issue features several important pieces:

• The decline of a once-great Kentucky politician.

• Tea Party fascism.

• Facebook fascism.

• Google fascism.

• Sorority parties that trashed toilets and ruined tablecloths.

• And more! It's not sold in any store!

So point your pooper plumb here:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Turkey outlaws school uniforms

There are few more virulent enemies to economic equality than school uniforms. Not only do uniforms stifle creativity, but they are also sumptuary rules that heighten economic disparities.

But now Turkey has outlawed mandatory uniforms in its public schools - which follows similar moves by the Philippines and Australia's Queensland in recent years.

In fact, Turkish education officials had already decided against uniforms several years ago, but the school uniform industry demanded a delay in implementing this ruling.

This follows an online poll by Education Minister Nimet Cubukcu that showed overpowering public support for abolishing uniforms.

Maybe someday the United States will follow.


BP rigs search results

While BP's claims to environmental responsibility are in tatters, so is the credibility of Google and other search engines.

Lately, folks who want to learn more about BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have noticed that BP's own website appears on the top of the list when they do a search. The link is accompanied by text about how BP is "helping."

"Helping"??? Causing the biggest oil spill in history is "helping"???

BP's site appears at the top of the list because BP literally buys phrases from search engines. They pay search engines to produce favorable results.

All this after Google has spent the past few years scolding bloggers and other folks about how they can't manipulate the search results. Then again, it's been obvious for a while now that somebody is - like when websites for abusive teen confinement centers kept appearing ahead of those of critics.

We're supposed to trust Google after this?

What's amusing though is that BP is just wasting money by trying to stage-manage the news, because nobody trusted BP anyway, because of the spill.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hot Springs pillage

The election scandal that unfolded this week in Garland County, Arkansas, is even worse than I thought.

First, it was revealed that election officials in this Hot Springs-based bailiwick lowered the number of polling places in the Democratic runoff from 42 to 2. But now it turns out that one of these 2 precincts wasn't even accessible to most of the public!

That's because it was located in Hot Springs Village - which is said to be the largest gated community in the country. This polling station was located behind Hot Springs Village's gates.

If there's one thing you don't want to put in a gated community, it's a polling place. Polling places have to be easily accessible.

(I think gated communities should be outlawed, but that's another matter entirely. The city of Asheville, North Carolina, reportedly banned them a few years ago.)

I bet turnout at the Hot Springs Village polling station was next to nil - since there's probably only about 3 Democrats in the whole nation who live in gated communities.

True to form, Blanche Lincoln won Garland County in yesterday's runoff - even though Bill Halter carried the county in the May primary.

But it's not over yet. Now voters are planning a lawsuit against the county for trying to suppress their votes.

Congressman wants to prosecute flotilla activists

Now I'm really, really glad I switched to the Green Party.

Following the recent attack on the Freedom Flotilla in international waters, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California) wants to prosecute any American citizens who were aboard the vessel or involved with the humanitarian effort at all. Sherman cites a 1996 law.

The main problem with Sherman's argument is that he tries to claim Gaza's civilian population is the same as Hamas. But they're not the same. The flotilla was part of a mission to aid civilians - not Hamas.

What could Hamas officials possibly do with school supplies? These items benefit only the civilian public.

Prosecuting Americans involved with the flotilla would be like accusing Hugo Chavez of aiding the Republicans because he sent heating oil to the people of the United States during the Bush years.

And Brad Sherman is a Democrat??? He's not far behind the Republicans in their rightward march. He even attacked what he called "the liberal media" for not being right-wing enough regarding foreign policy.

Um, isn't this the same media that cheered the '91 Gulf War and the recent Iraq War?


You put 'em all together and they spell 'plop'... ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Now it's time for 'Sesame Street' to pay tribute to Plop Day - even though this is June, and Plop Day is in November. (Live every day like it's your last!)

In the '70s, the ol' Ses seemed obsessed with words ending in 'op'. I always liked these words, because 'op' is itself a funny sound. (Wasn't there a set of miniature plastic traffic signs for use with Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars that had a snappy name like Signy Ops or Oppy Signs or something?)

Anybip, around 1970, 'Sesame Street' made this memorable musical segment all about 'op' words:


But they missed one very important word. Can you guess what it is?


Those doggone hippie Muppets! How can they miss such an important word? What is America coming to?

I guess kids had to wait for 'The Electric Company' for more 'op' words.

Gibbony One loses primary

Nevada's right-wing Gov. Jim Gibbons is a gibbony, gibbony guy.

And soon he'll be gone. Yesterday, the Red-baiting governor who was known for his support of the fascist Real ID program lost the Republican primary to some nobody - by a margin of about 56% to 26%, no less.

Bye, Jim.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Senator from Wal-Mart wins runoff due to clerical error

I need to add a new icon to the yellow boxes on the side of this blog. This new symbol should stand for DUMB.

I watched tonight's results from the Arkansas Democratic runoff election using Politico's map, and I noticed Wal-Mart senator Blanche Lincoln was trailing Bill Halter in Little Rock's Pulaski County 60% to 40% (which is about what polls predicted).

Suddenly, however, Pulaski flipped to 60% to 40% for Lincoln.

I sat there and saw it happen with my own two eyes.

This was attributed to a clerical error. But - if it wasn't corrected - it would mean that Lincoln's statewide margin of victory was accounted for entirely by Pulaski County, of all the unlikely places.

Guess what? It wasn't fixed, and it was counted that way.

Of course, the media's not on the case (big surprise). I guess you don't dare cross Wal-Mart.

I wonder if this clerical error wasn't actually deliberate. It sounds to me like somebody cheated and got away with it.

And that's not to mention the polling place scandal that's unfolding in Garland County. (More on that later.)

Most maddeningly, the Republicans have a much, much better chance of picking up this seat if the anti-union Blanche Lincoln is the Democratic nominee than if Bill Halter had won. So today's events actually make a GOP pickup much easier. In other words, I don't think it was the Democrats who rigged today's election.

Mark Kirk: "I simply misremembered it wrong"

Mark Kirk is the GOP Senate candidate in Illinois. Mark Jerk's House career has been defined primarily by his "druggie druggie druggie!" cries, but now he's fallen plumb on that mound of flesh that's so laughably referred to as his face.

Kirk has referred to himself on his official website as "the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom." But that's not true. Kirk never served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

That means he lied.

Kirk also claimed that the Navy gave him an Intelligence Officer of the Year award for 1999. One problem with that though: The Navy has no award called Intelligence Officer of the Year.

When called on this, Kirk then claimed that this was all a misunderstanding, you see. The award he got was actually called the Rufus Taylor Intelligence Unit of the Year, he says. But there's no award with that name either.

Mark Kirk's habit of lying about his military record is an insult to so many of America's fighting men and women.

Finally, Kirk said about the whole deal, "I simply misremembered it wrong." Yes, he said that.

Gee, Mark Kirk, if you really were in Operation Iraqi Freedom, wouldn't you remember these things correctly? If I was in something like that, I'm sure I'd never forget it.

New world Rand

Rand Paul - embattled GOP Senate candidate in Kentucky - may think he's a "New World Man", like the title of a song by the band Rush, but his ideas are old and stale.

After the McCain campaign kept getting caught using well-known songs without permission from the writers or performers, you'd think Rand Paul wouldn't be dumb enough to do the same thing. But then again, Rand Paul is Rand Paul.

Paul is now using Rush songs in his campaign - without permission from the band. The band's attorney has asked Paul to stop, but he refuses to say whether he will.

In response to the request to stop, a Paul campaign official sniffed that the real issue is repealing the recent health care law. You read that right, folks: Paul is running on repealing a massively popular law.

I know of one Rush song whose title describes what's behind the Rand Paul campaign: "Big Money"!


Monday, June 7, 2010

Stadium greed may cost hospital

In the '90s, greedy sports team owners asked for - and got - 2 new stadiums in Cincinnati to replace Riverfront Stadium, which was still a perfectly good venue and was only 25 years old.

This was financed by a sales tax increase - a regressive tax. The county's poorest citizens were robbed to pad the inflated egos of rich team owners.

But the stadium fund is so unsustainable that county commissioners are seriously talking about fixing the shortfall by cutting the $22,000,000 that goes to University Hospital each year.

So health care has to suffer just because a stadium that would now be only 40 years old wasn't deemed sufficient by team owners?

I say cut the damn stadium funding before cutting hospital funding. It would serve the teams right for fleecing the taxpayers.

Bush regime conducted medical experiments on detainees

Happy now for voting for this little Adolf? (Of course, if you read this blog, you probably didn't. In fact, you probably didn't anyway, because the elections were rigged.)

Now it turns out that Bush regime officials conducted medical experiments on terrorism suspects. This violates laws enacted after the Holocaust that were designed to bar such experiments.

It's a shame that nobody will probably be punished for these atrocities, after Congress dropped the ball by refusing even to investigate anyone in the regime.

What's really ironic is that the purpose of the experiments seems to have been to see whether they fit the definition of torture. In other words, it was an attempt to cover Bush's ass - even while it caused harm to detainees.


Arkansas: watch for election hijinks

The Arkansas runoff election between Bill Halter and Wal-Mart senator Blanche Lincoln is tomorrow, and already the shenanigans have begun.

In Garland County - a major Halter stronghold - election officials have, without warning, reduced the number of polling places from 42 to 2. This makes it harder for people - most of them Halter backers - to get to the polls and vote. And this move is probably illegal.

This was such a blatant attempt to boost Blanche Lincoln that one wonders how much we can count on the results.

Week 43 of POOP

The "leap before you look" mentality at Google continues - and now it's spread to Google-owned Blogger, which hosts this very blog.

Last night, I started getting an error message when trying to post new entries here. The error message told me to check Blogger's status page. But it would have been nice if its status page had updates that were newer than 3 months ago.

Because "Customize" had been replaced by "Design" in the blue box at the top of my blog, it appeared as if the outage was caused by some change in the editing features. It looks like none of these features even add anything to Blogger's functionality. All it does is make it harder to use - even without this now-familiar error message. But the more important point is that this proves Blogger didn't even test its new features before unleashing them.

After much struggle, I found Blogger's help forum, where hundreds have people have complained about the same problem since last night. But remember, Blogger is run by Google, so tech support is virtually nonexistent.

Hours after the problem began, the Google/Blogger peeps claimed it was fixed. That was a lie. I woke up this morning to find it was still broken - and people were still complaining about it, to no avail.

When your business depends on your blog, you can't have shit like this happening. You just can't. A brief outage would be understandable, but this lasted a day. Worse, Google lied about it being fixed and gave no timetable for fixing it. It's bad enough to have an outage, but for Google to lie and to not even respond to hundreds of people is inexcusable.

Kind of like with the other problems I've reported regarding Google for 43 weeks now.

Another note: People were still able to post comments on Blogger blogs, even while blogmasters couldn't post new posts. This included spam. I just love the fact that a spam bot could post, but we couldn't.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

In Corporate America, unemployed need not apply

I now present one of the most preposterous stories to appear on this blog in months!

Companies are now placing job recruiting ads in which the unemployed are told that they won't be hired. For instance, a Texas electronics firm said in its ad, "Client will not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason." Another company blared, "NO UNEMPLOYED CANDIDATES WILL BE CONSIDERED AT ALL." Even a restaurant scolded, "Must be currently employed."

The policy of not hiring people who are unemployed is not new - but having the gall to publicly admit it seems to be. That's pretty damn shameless, if y'ask me. With the trends of the past quarter-century, maybe Corporate America now feels comfortable enough that they know they can get away with it.

Honestly, what sense does it make to not hire the unemployed? Aren't the unemployed the ones who need a job the most? Do employers even know what the word 'unemployed' means?

Actually, what this story really proves is that Corporate America is a fraternity. By not hiring the unemployed, it's easier for Big Business to continue blackballing those who have already been shunned by the New Economy.

So, to Corporate America and the rest of the conservative movement, I say this: Don't complain when people go on welfare, which is paid for with your tax dollars. If you'd just hire them instead of keeping them out of work, they might not have to collect welfare. Then again, with the shitty wages that are being paid these days, who knows?

In the meantime, the government should outlaw the practice of refusing to hire the unemployed.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Nevada abolishes Real ID

Well, this human experimentation lasted all of 4 months.

Nevada lawmakers had repeatedly rejected Bush's scuzzo Real ID program. They even urged Congress to repeal Real ID completely. But several months ago, fascist Gov. Jim Gibbons barked down an "emergency" order to bring the state into compliance with Real ID - making Nevada one of very, very, very few states to comply.

Trouble for the Gibbony One is that such regulations expire after 120 days - and lawmakers opted not to consider continuing Real ID.

This isn't over though. The Gibbons regime has vowed to seek legislation to restore the hated Real ID by next spring. Uh, Jim? Have you seen your poll numbers? You're not gonna still be in office next spring!


Stupid. S-T-U-P-I-D. Stupid.

ABC is guided by such towering greed that it dashed the integrity of the national spelling bee!

In order for ABC to fit the Scripps National Spelling Bee into its time slot, it had to suspend the semifinals - which allowed some spellers to move ahead based solely on where their home state was in alphabetical order. Other participants in the spelling bee were left out just because of the name of their state!

It irritates me when televised events go on too long and run roughshod over scheduled programs I'd planned to view. Apparently, however, ABC was worried that its coverage would run too short instead of too long. Either way, ABC should have thought of all this beforehand.

Given ABC's Republican bias, maybe somebody at the network noticed that the first 4 states in alphabetical order are Republican, so maybe that's why they decided to do this. Then again, that would have left out their Wyoming copartisans.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Rand Paul The Media Man"

Is Rand Paul a media creation?

Smell reality: Like Scott "Records" Brown, Rand Paul wouldn't have a chance in hell of winning his Senate bid if the media didn't coo and fawn over how great they think he is. That's pretty much a fact.

So our latest episode of 'Lawn Chair Quarterback' explores this shocking phenomenon:


Media cover-up of school thefts?

Here's an issue you'd think you'd find at least several mentions of on the Internet but almost never do: schools extorting money from students by falsely accusing them of damaging textbooks or other school property.

We all know it happens. You know it, and I know it. I even experienced it at several different schools.

Yet if you search for the topic on Google, you come up empty.

I cannot believe that nobody else has had money stolen from them by their school, or that parents aren't raising holy high hell about it happening to their kids.

Is there a media cover-up of this scandal? All we hear about is how schools think parents ripped them off by not paying the school's legal fees when the school has to be sued over some unconstitutional policy.

Is this like the problem of student bullying, which the assface media covered up for years and years - only to have stories start emerging later?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Obama against school uniforms?

Media propaganda notwithstanding, mandatory uniforms in public schools are one of the biggest enemies of the working poor. This policy fails to eliminate economic class distinctions, and it suppresses creativity. Plus, the media continues to ignore the fact that the lion's share of uniforms are being made in abusive overseas sweatshops.

So I hope this entry is an indicator that we can count on President Obama to fight this scourge.

A new book reveals that last September, Obama got in a heated argument with Rahm Emanuel. "This is about whether we're going to get big things done," Obama said of his presidency. "I wasn't sent here to do school uniforms."

Of course, uniforms aren't the main point here. The more important point is that Emanuel was begging and begging Obama not to pursue health care reform. Begged him for days on end, he did.

Obama made health care the centerpiece of his campaign, yet once he got elected, Rahm Emanuel had the nerve to try to get him to abandon it?

Rahm Emanuel was reading from the wrong manual - that of the DLC. Like party big shots' refusal to allow Jimmy Carter to speak at the 2008 convention, Emanuel's pleadings were pure DLC.

Nothing but DLC!

But at least now it appears we have a President who won't alienate supporters with school uniform nonsense when he runs for reelection.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stop thief, get fired

How does Wal-Mart treat its own employees who try to stop shoplifters? Like shit, of course.

A customer service manager at a Wal-Mart in Wichita tried to halt a thief who tried stealing a $600 computer. During the confrontation, the shoplifter even assaulted the employee.

Wal-Mart's response? Why, it fired the employee who tried to stop the theft. Wal-Mart's excuse is that only loss prevention personnel are supposed to stop shoplifters. The terminated employee had never even heard of this policy before she was fired.

This is how Wal-Mart treats the mother of a 4-year-old, who was just trying to prevent valuable merchandise from being stolen?

Maybe I'll lift my Wal-Mart boycott, since now I know I can just steal from the damn place without being stopped.


I am somebody ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

'Sesame Street' thinks positive.

Oscar the Grouch doesn't, but the rest of 'Sesame Street' is a good foil for the ol' Osk's uproarious antics.

And 'Sesame Street' in the '70s was far more uplifting than the bland, cutesy offerings of today. It made kids feel good about themselves. In those days, a smile was genuine, and not a mask that hid pent-up feelings of anger and frustration.

In fact, Rev. Jesse Jackson teamed up with 'Sesame Street' in 1971 to give this inspiring pep talk:


Jackson was later known for his presidential campaigns in 1984 and 1988. Most readers of my blog agree that Jackson would have been a much better President than Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, who won these respective elections.

Parker Griffith can lose

And he did.

Not long ago, Alabama congressman Parker Griffith switched his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican - even though the Republicans had been bleeding support for 5 years.

Griffith's switch didn't pay off. Yesterday, he lost the GOP primary to retain his seat.

So he's out of Congress at the end of this term.

What's more is that there's a strong chance that the Democrats will regain this seat in November. This is especially amusing, because the Republicans actually would have had a much better chance of keeping this seat if Griffith was their nominee.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Enough is enough

I was speechless when I saw this article:

For a peaceful protester to lose her eye is unacceptable, and the United States needs to be doing everything within its power to bring the soldier responsible for this to justice.

Even worse, the victim is an art student, so losing an eye is of particular concern.

This is also the first coverage I've seen of the flotilla raid that occurred yesterday. Somebody has to be held responsible for that massacre too, obviously. It's important to note that this incident took place in international waters, where the victims should have been completely safe.

Week 42 of POOP

I'm pretty sure we're already on week 42 of this feature, and with each passing week, Google looks sillier and sillier.

Now somebody has once again called out Google for its apparent failure to read its own help forum. This person declared:

"Apparently no one from Google ever reads this forum, since all you find here are people asking the same questions over and over year after year without getting any answers.

"What is the fucking point of having a 'help forum', and direction users here from everywhere, if its just a combined toilet/wishing well."

Because it bips. That's why.

But seriously, folks. I refer to this as Google's apparent refusal to read the forum, instead of an actual refusal, because I believe I've proven before that Google actually does read it but just doesn't care. I believe I came to this conclusion when I saw one of Google's staffers answering some minor issue that hardly anybody gave a shit about.

More than anything else, it proves Google's arrogance. Google knows about the more serious issues people have been having, but Google is so smug that it won't fix them or answer the complaints.