Saturday, July 31, 2010

Iowa GOP accidentally impeaches Reagan

When you think the Republicans can't get any sillier, they always do.

Every so often, you hear a rumor about a supposedly lost constitutional amendment from the early 19th century. According to this urban legend, this amendment - which would revoke U.S. citizenship from any American who accepts a foreign title of nobility - actually passed and became part of the Constitution, but was later suppressed.

In reality, this amendment was approved by many states - but it didn't win enough states to pass. And frankly, I'm sorry it didn't pass, because there's no reason why citizens of a democratic republic should bear noble titles.

But now Iowa's Republican Party has adopted a platform plank demanding that this amendment be added to the Constitution - because they think the amendment will strip President Obama of his citizenship and force him to leave office. They claim Obama's Nobel Peace Prize is a title of nobility.

A Nobel Prize is not a title of nobility, geniuses. But the Iowa GOP thinks it is because they think the word 'nobility' comes from 'Nobel'. I swear I am not making this up.

So even if the amendment had passed, Obama's citizenship would be safe.

However, if the amendment had passed, it means Reagan would have lost his citizenship. Around the time Reagan left office, he accepted knighthood from the British government. And that is a title of nobility. For the last 15 years of his life, he was Sir Ronald Reagan. All the Iowa GOP's platform would accomplish would be to retroactively remove Reagan from power.

It gets sillier.

If the amendment had passed all those decades ago, it would have been numbered as the Thirteenth Amendment. Iowa Republicans' platform says this amendment shall not be passed anew but shall be deemed the Thirteenth. The platform actually says that this amendment shall replace the real Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery.

So not only did the Iowa GOP just impeach Reagan, but they reinstituted slavery as well.

What a bunch of simpletons.

They actually expect to retake Congress with this nonsense?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Meet The News Newt"

'Lawn Chair Quarterback' has a new news anchor: the News Newt!

Now, I don't mean Newt Gingrich. I'm talking about newts - the beautiful animal of the salamander family. I saw a newt in a Cincinnati brownfield when I worked for the Department of the Interior. I love the little critters. Some are poisonous, but I love 'em!

The News Newt is a newt who brings you news. And 'Lawn Chair Quarterback' has now hired him for its news desk:

I bet the News Newt's shit stinks from eating all those insects and worms.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grouch computer, revisited ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

I know I profiled this 'Sesame Street' sketch once before, but circumstances demand it again!

As I've been working on my bike routing software this week, I've learned that my computer must actually be a grouch computer - much like the one Oscar the Grouch owned in this 1984 segment. That's because it grouches at me when I try to do certain things like plot bike routes to inaccessible stretches of road that were cut off by the Interstates.

I'm sure that's what the ol' Osk was trying to do with his grouch computer too, the way it yells at people all the time.

Ya know, I think I like having a grouch computer!

Week 50 of POOP

I've neglected this feature in recent weeks, because I was distracted by the repeated home invasions, but now I'd like to bring you back up to speed on Google's incompetence.

One of the issues we've had with Google isn't just its refusal to respect users' privacy and copyrights by failing to fix the post removal tool that once let users delete their own posts. (Now Google claims users need a court order - even though Google-owned YouTube accepts fourth-party DMCA takedown notices from entertainment companies.) It's also the fact that Google offers no method to remove forged posts.

Google also refuses to act against defamation. Now a teacher has alerted Google to vulgar posts from 15 years ago that defame him. His students keep looking him up on the Internet and finding these old posts. When parents saw the posts, they complained to the principal, thinking the teacher had written them. So now his career is on the line.

Naturally, Google refuses to do anything about the defamatory posts. Surprise, surprise.

The teacher then asked whether Google has e-mail support. Of course it doesn't. Google no longer has any customer support whatsoever. Instead, it has that so-called help forum, and the only time anyone from Google posts there is once every few months when they announce they've fixed some feature nobody gave a damn about anyway.

And that's why Congress needs to step in.

As for the defamatory posts in question, Google really has a way of opening itself up for lawsuits, doesn't it?

GOP bill would abolish Medicare

This is the kind of story that makes you wish you never dragged yourself out of your comfy bed in the morning.

Although mostly unreported by the media, far-right Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) introduced a truly putrid bill in January called the Paul Ryan Is An Idiot Act. Just joking. Actually he called it the Roadmap for America's Future Act.

This Republican bill is still pending, and it's a stinker. It would abolish Medicare, Medicaid, and S-CHIP. Medicare and Medicaid would be replaced by what would in effect be bailouts for medical corporations. And it would privatize most of Social Security.

Meanwhile, the bill would also slash income taxes for the very rich and abolish the capital gains tax and corporate taxes. The legislation would pay for this by raising income taxes on poor and middle-class families. It's welfare for the rich.

Paul Ryan (who of course supported the bank bailouts) touted his bill before the fascist American Enterprise Institute. Indeedity-doodledy, the AEI seems to have actually written the bill.

If there wasn't enough solid proof that the Republicans are intentionally trying to destroy the country, this legislation should put all doubts to rest. Congressional Republicans are enemies of America. If this becomes law, we might as well just give up on America and rove uncontrolled.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Cartoonist John Callahan dies

Portland-based cartoonist John Callahan died Saturday at the age of 59 from complications related to quadriplegia. Callahan became quadriplegic at the age of 21 and was known for his drawings that appeared in hundreds of publications.

If you've never seen any of Callahan's work, you really must. Right now.

Details about Callahan's death here:

LeftMaps goes downtown; Far Right becomes cloud of sawdust

LeftMaps - which helps support this blog (and vice versa) - has been on a roll lately, and now our mapping business has completed our long-awaited map of downtown Cincinnati.

Predictably, the Far Right hates it. They hate most everything. But they love Pepsi Light! (Just kidding about the Pepsi Light part. It's an '80s joke that only old dudes like me will get.)

Since downtown Cincinnati is the region's center of business, it's had a few political meltdowns of minor note in recent years. For instance, some right-wing thug tried starting a fight with me on Fountain Square during Oktoberfest in 2004. (If he did it now, I'd break his jaw.) Fountain Square has also been the site of several Tea Parties - for which many participants stayed at the swanky Westin across the street. (Almost all Tea Partiers are rich, so why not?)

Things are going to get bigger still for LeftMaps - as downloadable bike routing software looms on the horizon.

So if you want to peep the work of LeftMaps, point your pooper here:

LeftMaps. It's not just an adventure. It's a job.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Congressman pushes Tennessee's secession

I have a confession: In the mid-'90s, I firmly supported Kentucky seceding from the United States.

The reason was simple: The Republican Congress of the day was a rogue Congress. I mean that literally: It gained power through force, and it should not have even been regarded as a legitimate Congress. State government in Kentucky (a free-bargaining state) tracked to the left of Congress at the time.

If only Kentucky had the gumption to openly challenge Congress in the '90s, things could have been very different in the last decade. By that, I mean better. By far.

That's more than I can say for the sore loser bully runs by the extreme right that have been launched as a response to Obama's presidency. Last year, right-wing Texas Gov. Rick Perry advocated that Texas secede all because he didn't like the election results. Now Tennessee congressman Zach Wamp - a GOP candidate for governor - wants the Volunteer State to secede.

Wamp was Conservative Fool Of The Day for 3/6/09 because he claimed health care is a privilege, not a right, and because he didn't know the difference between communism and socialism. Now Wamp says that if he's elected governor, he'll push for Tennessee to secede because he doesn't like the recently passed health care law.

Zach, grow up! Your party lost because it sucks, OK? It sucks 77 flavors of ass. Get that through your head. Ironically, Wamp wants Tennessee to secede even though he came to Congress as part of the 104th Reich - the very crew of congresscritters that prompted Kentucky's efforts to secede.

Don't be fooled by the right-wing secessionists' phony populist pretenses and bluster. They're as elitist as it comes. Their coffers are filled by corporate dough.

But I think a lot of this is about Zach Wamp thinking he can do what he wants just because he's Zach Wamp. Nobody ever set boundaries for him in life. He grew up in privilege, so maybe the GOP's recent losses are the first time anyone has ever told him no.

Correction Connection: cell phone cancer risks

If the lamestream media bothered to check the facts before opening its piehole, this blog wouldn't have to keep running this feature periodically to correct the media's many errors.

San Francisco has a one-of-a-kind law that says cell phone stores must tell customers how much radiation each product emits. Naturally, CTIA (a cell phone industry group) is grousing about this new law, and it's filed suit - claiming it might make folks think one phone might be safer than another because of the amount of radiation.

Well, yeah. That's the whole point.

CTIA says the city is illegally trumping federal law by having such a law. Tough shit. Read the Tenth Amendment sometime.

But the Associated Press says, "Studies have not conclusively found that cell phone radiation is a health risk."


For years, cell phones have been known to cause brain cancer. In fact, a study just this year reported that "the 10% of people who used their phones most often and for the longest period of time - 30 minutes a day or more on average for at least 10 years - had a substantially higher risk of developing some form of brain cancer than those who didn't use a mobile phone at all."

In other words, the AP was wrong.

I guess the AP has moved on from publishing hit pieces against Howard Dean to carrying water for dangerous cell phones.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Crybaby Rand Paul"

Cue the crybaby music (whatever that is)!

This week's 'Lawn Chair Quarterback' deals with that stinking ship known as the Republican Party - particularly Rand Paul. The GOP vessel seems to float in its own tears, as Republicans cry about the big, mean media being so hard on it - when in fact the GOP wouldn't stand a chance if it wasn't for the media's favorable coverage.

Rand Paul is demanding that the media ask his Democratic opponent Jack Conway tougher questions. Uh, Rand? How often has the media asked you any tough questions? All along, the media has acted like Rand Paul is entitled to Kentucky's Senate seat just because he's Rand Paul.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Poor, poor Wall Street

Pity poor little oppressed Wall Street. It's had it so rough in life.

In New York City, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney is facing a challenge in September's Democratic primary in the form of Reshma Saujani. Saujani's embrace of Wall Street is pure DLC.

While Wall Street apologism may seem viable within the party apparatus, as New York Democrats keep trudging rightward, most folks are quite distressed by it. But Saujani remains undeterred when confronted by logic. The Washington Post quotes her as saying, "We need to extend a hand [to Wall Street] rather than a fist."

I think we should extend a middle finger to Wall Street - not cozy up to it as Saujani wants. While Saujani actually claims Congress has been too hard on big banks (aw, the poor things), her campaign has been funded by big bank execs and other major names from the ranks of the rich and powerful - many of them Republicans.

Saujani also has the backing of execs from Facebook, which lately has swung to the extreme right.

Is this what the Democratic Party has come to? Honestly, what's the difference between it and the Republicans these days?


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cookie Monster wastes peas and makes Ernie cry ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

We all love to see the 'Sesame Street' segments where Ernie defeats Bert. You know 'em all! But the poor ol' Erniemeister just can't catch a break from Cookie Monster.

Like in this sketch that is believed to have first aired in 1970. In this segment, Cookie Monster slops an entire meal everywhere - nearly bringing Ernie to tears:

See, back then, children's TV was actually educational. These days, we're raising a generation of slobs, because TV no longer teaches about dinner utensils.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this clip besides Cookie's wastage of all those peas and mashed potatoes is the picture on the wall of Ernie and Bert. Notice that it's not the usual picture. Instead it's a festive drawing.

It reminds me of the time in high school art class when my teacher threw an absolute fit because I hid Ernie and Bert on an art assignment I was working on.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hate crimes can't be prosecuted if victim dies

Only in conservaworld. The land of missed opportunity.

It's hard to know what to make of an outrage like this, but I'll try to explain it.

In Louisville, a 17-year-old was fatally stabbed. The killing appears to have been racially motivated, as the assailants reportedly used racial slurs during the attack.

This clearly falls under the hate crime laws, right? Not so fast, a judge has ruled.

The court ruled that it can't be prosecuted as a hate crime, because Kentucky law says it's only a hate crime if the victim lives.

The problem goes back to the Kentucky legislature. Surprise, surprise. It turns out that back in 1998 when the hate crimes statute was written, lawmakers conveniently "overlooked" homicide when they wrote the law.

For this reason, Kentucky stands alone as the only one of the 50 states that cannot prosecute murders and other homicides as hate crimes.

Kentucky lawmakers have a way to give racist killers a pat on the back, don't they? Is this anything like how some Republican in the state legislature refused to support a bill against school harassment because he considered harassment to be protected as religious freedom?


Saturday, July 17, 2010

BP refuses to pay fishermen


After BP hired over 500 fishermen to assist in the cleanup of BP's oil spill, BP is now refusing to pay the fishermen.

No particular reason. Just because.

I guess BP is borrowing a page from the life and times of Google AdSense - which still refuses to pay publishers whose accounts were yanked for having the "wrong" political views.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants a taxpayer-funded bailout for BP. And Republican congressional leaders agree.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Count Tim"

Why did Ronald Reagan accept a British title of nobility?

It's ironic that the President of a country that gained independence from Britain would accept a British nobility title, but he did.

Was that even legal?

If it is, should it be? Of course not. In a democratic republic, we don't go around sirring and viscounting each other. Equality must be the law of the land. Not privilege.

Our latest 'Lawn Chair Quarterback' explores the phenomenon of Reagan's knighting:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cop who assaulted cyclist won't do time

Many of you will remember this 2008 clip of New York City police officer Patrick Pogan body-slamming and injuring a bicyclist for no reason:

Pretty much an open-and-shut case against the cop, right?

Not in conservaworld! Outrageously, Pogan was acquitted of assault in April - despite the fact that he was caught on video. And he was acquitted of falsifying an arrest report against the cyclist.

Honestly, how did this happen? Were the jurors not allowed to view the damning video? Or were they just plumb loopy?

The only thing Pogan was convicted of was filing a criminal complaint containing false statements. And he's not even facing any real punishment for that! Although he was facing 4 months in prison, he has now managed to avoid jail time or even probation.

Probably the only penalty for Pogan is that he's not allowed to become a cop again, because that charge was a felony.

If a police officer lies on an arrest report, it's worse than just your average civilian fib. Honesty is central to justice and the rule of law. Cops who lie on arrest reports and assault people are a disgrace to the uniform - and should face nothing less than prison time.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

All those comic books, wastage bastage! ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions - and this 'Sesame Street' segment proves it.

I'm a hoarder. I save everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. But even if you're not a hoarder like I am, you have to admit that the other extreme - throwing everything away - is even worse.

I'm all for recycling. One hundred percent in favor. Except when it involves recycling something that's still useful in its unrecycled state.

So this 'Sesame Street' live-action film (probably from the '80s) is enough to make me cringe:


In that skit, a girl takes her comic books to the local recycling plant after she reads them - even though there's nothing wrong with the comic books. The comic books are in perfectly good shape.

If you're never going to read that comic book again, take it to a comic book dealer or a library - not a recycler.

As a publisher of an underground newsletter that uses editorial cartoons, I have great respect for comic books. They're an art form.

It's unfortunate that a well-intentioned clip unwittingly encouraged the destruction of timeless art.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tom Corbett goes on attack against unemployed

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett is the Republican candidate for governor of his state. He wouldn't have a chance of winning except that the media just loves him. Love him to pieces, they do.

But Corbett may have self-destructed with his latest meme. Now he claims that unemployment isn't caused by corporate greed, outsourcing, and other market vagaries, but by a bunch of lazy people who'd rather not work.

He attacked jobless Pennsylvanians by accusing them of choosing to collect unemployment instead of working. Well, Tom, maybe if there were still any jobs left after your Republicans got through with things, they might be able to find a job.

Weird how he claims every company is hiring, but he won't name any of these mystery companies.

Unemployment pays as little as $60 a week, and Tom Corbett thinks people would rather live on that than work?

I'd suspect that Corbett's refusal to grasp simple economics would dash his chances of getting elected governor, but remember, the Republican Congress of the '90s was built on a very similar meme to what Corbett displays.

All this after Corbett tried using subpoenas to make Twitter reveal the identities of people who dared to criticize him.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Woo-hoo! I've just been called a "druggie"!


I guess this means I'm legit!

My credentials as a thorn in the side of the extreme right have just been burnished further! Some right-wing loudmouth on Facebook said this to me:

"Tim, you're not only a druggie, but, you're a certified nut case."

Why did he call me a "druggie" and "nut case"? It's because I oppose mandatory drug tests for welfare recipients - an idea that's already been ruled unconstitutional. This idea is unconstitutional because it discriminates against the poor, it's an illegal search, and it operates from the presumption of guilt (forcing people to prove their own innocence).

If standing up for the Constitution and the rule of law makes me a "druggie", then take me to rehab right now!

The more important point though is that this proves how the other side deals with dissent: They attack dissidents as "druggies" in much the same way Joe McCarthy called opponents "communists."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Rand Paul keeps getting dumber!

When Rand Paul spews mind-numbing garbage like this, it ought to just utterly sink his candidacy. Sink it, I say!

The embattled Senate candidate's latest idiotic argument is that the poor have it easy.

No wonder they call Rand Paul the Internet candidate. It sounds like that's where he's getting his crap. The only question seems to be whether he gets it from Facebook or Free Republic.

At a candidate forum yesterday, Paul - in an attempt to defend his claim that criticizing BP (a foreign corporation) is "un-American" - said America's poor have it better than "the rest of the world." Uh, Rand, do you even know what the word 'poor' means?

With America having such a wide gap between the rich and the poor, it's actually worse to be poor in America than in lots of other places. Because of America's yawning economic disparity, goods can command higher prices, and there's less of a support network for the poor. (At minimum, this means America's poor are more likely to be attacked just for being poor.) Then again, the type of poverty that exists in America barely exists at all in some countries - which have a strong safety net.

As Rand Paul tries channeling Andre Bauer, all it proves is that Paul (like Bauer) is someone who's always lived a life of privilege.

Also, Paul's fable about Soviet propaganda films accidentally catching poor New Yorkers watching color TV sets is bogus. At the time the Soviets made these films, color TV's were almost never found even in middle-class homes - in any country.

Just keep talking, Rand. We'd love to see you lose.


Lawn Chair Quarterback: "No Such Thing As A Limousine Liberal"

There's no such thing as a limousine liberal.

Indeed there isn't.

It's a point I've proven for years. Elitism means political conservatism - and vice versa.

Unfortunately, there's still a few peeps around who can't grasp that somebody who is liberal on economics or welfare can be liberal on culture war issues. This misconception isn't as prevalent as it was on the Internet of a decade ago, but it still crops up occasionally.

Their failure to grasp the concept of a progressive populist is in fact elitist - which makes them conservative, in effect.

For instance, according to them, abolishing the corrupt system of credit scores is a conservative stance. Yet they think punishing people who receive unemployment benefits by making them take drug tests is a liberal stance. They have it backwards.

I could explain all of this in 10 seconds. But in this week's 'Lawn Chair Quarterback', I instead took 10 minutes - just to make sure the message sinks in:


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bush appointee continues to bash vets

Sally Satel apparently didn't receive the memo that said her side isn't supposed to be in power anymore. Guess the letter got stolen by a burglar from the mail slot at her place.

Satel - who was named Conservative Fool Of The Day for 8/15/06 - is a psychiatrist affiliated with the extreme-right American Enterprise Institute. She was appointed by Bush to run the despicable TeenScreen program.

Satel's meme is a familiar one to anybody who's had the misfortune of having to deal with shrinks: She exaggerates nonexistent conditions as an excuse to support having people involuntarily committed or drugged - but she denies that real conditions exist at all. True to form, Sally Satel may be the nation's most prominent PTSD skeptic.

Satel scoffed at Vietnam and Iraq veterans who were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She claimed PTSD is a scam devised by veterans looking for disability benefits, and she accused vets of "seeking a free ride."

Now the Obama administration is issuing new rules to streamline the way veterans with PTSD collect benefits. These new rules make the process more efficient and allow hundreds of thousands of veterans to access treatment that they were previously denied. The new guidelines also eliminate the burdensome requirement that forced veterans to provide paperwork from a specific war incident.

But what does Sally Satel think of all this? She said that "it is destructive to give someone total and permanent disability when they are in fact capable of working, even if it is not at full capacity."

You're an idiot, Sally.

If PTSD prevents somebody from working as much as they otherwise would, they're entitled to some benefits. End of story. I know, because I have PTSD from being abused by my former school.

Satel thinks America's brave veterans are just a bunch of lazy bums who'd rather collect disability than work.

Thankfully, Obama's White House doesn't give a damn what right-wing whack-a-doodles like Sally Satel and the American Enterprise Institute think. But the real tragedy is that the process for obtaining benefits wasn't streamlined earlier - all because Bush listened to morons like Satel.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wal-Mart wastes $2M battling $7,000 fine

Wal-Mart got off easy for the 2008 trampling death of an employee caused by a holiday shopping stampede at one of its Long Island stores. The retail giant had to pay an OSHA fine of only $7,000.

But Wal-Mart's greed and its desire to evade responsibility for this death are so counterproductive that it's spent $2,000,000 so far trying to fight this $7,000 fine.

Wal-Mart sounds like it's been getting legal advice from the Tea Party movement and Chris Chocola: The company's main argument is that OSHA doesn't have any real authority to issue fines - or do much of anything - even though Congress created OSHA for this very purpose.

The Labor Department's New York office has been forced to spend 17% of its available resources over the past 5 months on just this single case.

I think Wal-Mart is actually fighting OSHA in an attempt to try to weaken the agency so it can't go after Wal-Mart for anything else. Why else would Wal-Mart spend $2,000,000 contesting a $7,000 fine?

If the government's power to regulate Big Business is illegal as Wal-Mart claims, then shouldn't that create a precedent that would also put the kibosh on trying to police what individuals can do? I'm waiting for somebody to formally argue that the lack of regulation on Big Business means social engineering campaigns against the behavior of individuals are nixed too.


Waaah! I'm gonna sue bubble gum! ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Quick! Call the Alliance Defense Fund! I have an idea for a frivolous lawsuit!

Back in the days when people still gave a shit about MySpace (an era that may return, thanks to Facebook's scumbaggery), I posted there about how floored I was to find a certain forgotten 'Sesame Street' animation posted on YouTube. I am of course referring to the "5 pounds of bubble gum, please" sketch, which dates from the '70s or earlier:


Because the mere existence of bubble gum is funny, that was one of my favorite 'Sesame Street' segments when I was about 5. It mentioned bubble gum, you see, and therefore it was funny.

But now that I'm older, I have more serious concerns. Can 'Sesame Street' and the entire bubble gum industry be sued for false advertising? I wonder if any kids who saw that sketch thought they could fly if they blew a bubble that was big enough - and if they sued when they discovered they couldn't.

Notice also that the guy in the aviator goggles took the 5 pounds of gumballs without paying for it - and that the clerk looks like Mr. Wilson from the Dennis The Menace comic strip. Maybe the lesson here is that stealing gum is just fine if the victim of this theft is a Mr. Wilson look-alike in an Uncle Al hat.

As for the lawsuit, anybody should be able to see that the buyer of the gum in this skit has special properties that no other human being has. For instance, when he consumes the bubble gum that rests on the scale, he is able to levitate as he chomps down the pile of gumballs.

Maybe Congress needs to stem the looming litigation by passing the No Suing Over 40-Year-Old 'Sesame Street' Animations Act. Congress is always trying to ban lawsuits that are perfectly legit, so why not?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hospital denies emergency care to pregnant woman

Read the fifth paragraph - the one about a hospital in the Northeast:

In this incident, the pregnant woman who was denied emergency treatment ended up in intensive care for 10 days - and developed pulmonary disease, forcing her to be dependent on oxygen for the rest of her life.

I know this article touches on some contentious issues, but this was such a clear case of a hospital putting its own interpretation of religious doctrine ahead of patients' health that I'm astonished that any hospital ethics committee allowed this to occur. The hospital put a woman's life at risk even though there was zero chance the fetus could survive - and the woman was injured permanently because of the hospital's mandate.

In fact, what the hospital did is illegal.

The rest of the article describes similar events - but this was one in which necessary treatment was actually denied.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Schwarzenegger tantrum to be ignored?

You'd think a tough guy like Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn't be throwing a pointless fit like this, but I guess flying into temper tantrums goes with the territory when you're a Republican officeholder.

Last week, the embattled California governor ordered state workers to take a pay cut so they'd only make federal minimum wage - a measly $7.25 an hour (which isn't even enough to live on in most communities). He ordered them to be paid only $7.25 an hour despite the fact that the state minimum wage is $8 an hour.

In addition to that lawbreaking, Schwarzenegger has ordered workers who aren't covered by federal minimum wage laws to work for free. Hasn't he ever heard of the Thirteenth Amendment?

This pay cut, however, might end up being ignored by State Controller John Chiang. Chiang has vowed to disregard Schwarzenegger's ill-timed order.

If California really wants to save money while emerging from the worst recession in 75 years, maybe it should stop lavishing tax dollars upon a racist charter school.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Brit Hume Is A Maniac"

Fox News Channel is a scourge on the media landscape.

And one of the main figures behind the right-wing bias of this channel has been reporter Brit Hume.

Hume has continued to make a spectacle of himself. Lately, he has denied that any oil has washed ashore at all in the BP spill (despite the appearance of oil being documented by other channels). He says that any oil that appears in the water has emerged there on its own.

I know science isn't right-wingers' best subject, but come on!

Our latest episode of 'Lawn Chair Quarterback' explores and ridicules this phenomenon in hairy, helmety detail:


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fox incites threats by lying about Pledge ban

Recently, Fox News reported that a school in Arlington, Massachusetts, had banned the Pledge of Allegiance.

But this story has (not unpredictably) turned out to be an out-and-out lie - and Fox refused to retract the story.

The result of the bogus story? The school and members of the school board have now received threats of violence from Fox viewers. Some of these threats are anti-Semitic.

Fox's report occurred after followers of the local Republican Party disrupted a school committee meeting by shouting vulgarities at committee members.


GOP wants to raise retirement age to 70


This story needs to grow legs pronto!

If your party doesn't control Congress or the White House, the wise thing to do is to give folks reasons to vote for your party. But this lesson is lost on the Republicans.

When I read this jaw-dropping story, I almost lapsed into suspension of disbelief:

You read that right: Republicans are boasting that if they regain control of Congress, they plan to raise the retirement age to 70.

Well, I think that little announcement pretty much guarantees that the GOP won't win back Congress. That is, if the media picks up this story. Then again, I think there was zero chance of the Republicans winning it back anyway.

American workers PAID for these benefits. If Social Security goes broke, it's because of mismanagement. And guess which party has controlled the government for most of the past 30 years? So it ain't the Democrats who mismanaged it.

If you want to talk about not getting what you pay for, raising the retirement age would be a perfect example.

Social Security is a contract. Folks pay into it with the expectation that this money will be there for them later. I doubt most people in my area live to be 70, and if they do, their bodies are usually shot long before then. All too often, I read obituaries of former schoolmates who are only about my age. (I'm going on 37.)

Even without raising the retirement age, these folks are never going to see the money they paid into the system. Why make things even worse?

The Republican Congress in the '90s raised the retirement age to 67 for folks born after a certain date. The retirement age should be lowered back to 65.

It's easy for Republicans to sniff about everybody else's "entitlements", when GOP lawmakers have it made for life, thanks to their own unimaginable wealth. This is exactly like how all the extremists on the Internet who complain that the poor have it too easy never have to worry about being poor themselves.

No more credit checks of Oregon workers!

Items like this are why Oregon continues to place so well on our rankings of freest states (despite Oregon's expansion of the failed War on Drugs).

A new law in Oregon quite rightly prohibits almost all employers from conducting credit checks of workers or prospective workers. This law was much needed, and it was high time legislators lowered the boom.

Under this brand new law, the only time Oregon employers may do a credit check is if they can prove that a check would be substantially related to the job. Bad luck with that!

The states of Hawaii and Washington have reportedly already enacted similar laws. Oregon lawmakers passed this law on almost a perfect party line vote. I think you can guess which party voted against it.

This should be a federal law - not just a state law. In fact, the system of keeping credit scores needs to be banned altogether. That's because the credit score system is a fraternity that shuts out large swaths of the American public from employment, buying homes, and other activities.