Friday, December 31, 2010

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Go To Dover, Grover!"

Go to Dover, Delaware, Grover. And do it now. It's for your own good!

I just arrived home from a trip to the Delmarva Peninsula, after leaving Dover this morning. I had enough time to throw together a brand spang-new 'Lawn Chair Quarterback' describing the trip's doings - including almost accidentally driving onto an Air Force base.

Ya know, the government really needs to sign its military bases better.

So peep our latest 'LCQ':

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More pharmacy fascism

As if today wasn't fascist enough, it's gettin' plumb worser!

Now the city of Peoria, Arizona, is trying to pass an ordinance to fingerprint everybody who picks up perfectly legal prescription drugs at the pharmacy.

The ACLU has already cited privacy concerns in opposing the measure.

Where's the teagaggers in opposing this?

Meth labs soar in Mississippi because of pseudoephedrine law

Oops. (Slaps head.) Didn't think this would happen, did ya? (Yeah, right.)

This year, Mississippi became the second state to require a prescription for over-the-counter pseudoephedrine allergy drugs. The law was signed by white supremacist Gov. Haley Barbour. And - as in Oregon - passage of this law was promptly followed by a sharp spike in meth labs.

One county alone has seen over 100 meth labs this year, including almost 30 just in the month after the law took effect.

Meanwhile, Mississippians who try to buy over-the-counter pseudoephedrine in neighboring states are illegally turned away by drugstores. As if that wasn't enough, a computerized system then alerts Mississippi authorities, who then set up unconstitutional roadblocks to bust these allergy sufferers when they try reentering the Magnolia State.

Gee, thanks, Haley Barbour, you idiot. As long as you're governor, I don't think the other states have to worry about being ranked #51 at many things. Still, that's no excuse, and it's time we fight the teabaggers who got this law passed.

Science chair doesn't believe in science

Any time the right-wing brain trust controls a legislative body, America learns anew the ravages of right-wing thought policing.

Congressional Republicans are installing Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas as the chairperson of the House's science committee. But Hall wouldn't recognize science if it jumped out of his TV screen during '3-2-1 Contact' and slimed him. He wants to subpoena climate change scientists because their findings contradict his ideology.

Nothing like putting discredited politics ahead of science, eh, Ralph?

Hall also praised BP for its recent oil spill and explosion that killed 11 people, injured many more, and polluted the Gulf of Mexico. Hall gushed, "As we saw that thing bubbling out, blossoming out – all that energy, every minute of every hour of every day of every week – that was tremendous to me."

Eleven oil workers were dead, survivors were barely clinging to life as they crawled through the wreckage of the rig, and Ralph Hall was acting like he'd seen the greatest porn website ever. Of course, Hall has received thousands of dollars in campaign dough from BP.

The Republican thought police doesn't care any more about social science than it does about physical science. This is a party that literally holds small-r republicanism in contempt. They don't deal with disagreements using the republican process. They scream, cry, bully, and bury all dissent in a sewage-filled chasm of elitist nonsense.

In 2011, our New Year's resolution is going to be to deliver the knockout punch the GOP has earned many times over. I've never broken a New Year's resolution, and I don't plan to start now. And I plan to take the DLC down with the Republican drug kingpins. The only reason I didn't do it yet is that I'm letting WikiLeaks work its magic. Trust me: We're getting more out of it this way.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "It's Beginning To Smell A Lot Like Christmas"

Farts. Bunker blasts. Trouser sneezes. Air biscuits. Letting the frippins out.

Christmasy all!

Every holiday season, people always rip SBD bunkeroos at family gatherings. I'm talking about passing gas here, folks. You know, the funny act.

It's how we celebrate the season. Well, not me personally, since I'm not the one who releases these air muffins. But somebody always does. After all the years - actually decades - that this has been going on, nobody can agree on who it is.

So I need to put on my Sherlock Hemlock hat and figure out who's filling the air with this hilarity. I've narrowed it down to the human members of the family. Dogs can express feelings of joy, but I don't think they realize that bunker blasts are what brings such laughter. Possible, but unlikely.

It can't be somebody on TV either, because it happens even when the TV is off.

Our latest 'LCQ' celebrates the holidays by exploring the phenomenon of Christmastime flatulence:

Happy Holidays from everybody here at the 'Pail! And may all your bunker blasts hover hilariously!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Radio? What's that? ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Remember when there used to be something called radio?

If you're an old dude like me, you might recall this invention. It was a device that let you hear talk and music through the air. Why, cars had radios. They still do. It's that little thing with numbers on it that nobody uses anymore.

What's radio? It's that thing that interferes with your computer speakers. That's what radio is.

But radio used to be quite influential. Americans my age were raised on this medium. It was often the arbiter of what music would become popular. Twenty years ago, station personnel even accepted payola (in the form of money and drugs) from record labels to play their music. That's why so much bad music became popular at the time. Even if the labels didn't own so many stations now, they wouldn't bother with this today, because nobody listens to radio anymore.

'Sesame Street' taught about radio during the show's very first season 41 years ago:

Reportedly, that segment was voiced by Casey Kasem - one of radio's most legendary broadcasters of modern times. However, it sounds nothing like him, so I can't be too sure.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Census brings GOP disappointment

We know to quake with fright every 10 years when the census numbers come out. It seems like Republican states always gain a stunningly high number of congressional seats with each decennial reapportionment, and that's a crying shame.

Now the 2010 results are rolling out, and the GOP is having a hard time hiding their chagrin that their net gains aren't as much as they hoped. ("Depressing," lamented one Freeper.) I doubt it's even close to what they gained in 1990 or 2000, when the 2 most inaccurate censuses in the country's history meant that the amount of seats a state gained was almost directly proportional to the state's Republican leanings.

With the right-wing base gone rural, Republican states should have cleaned up this time - since it's the rural areas that have room to grow. What inner city has room for new houses? But Republican states' growth is now proving to be anemic.

The Republican thought police takes comfort in Texas gaining 4 seats. But these will be in the state's most Democratic areas, so it won't help the GOP's congressional power.

The new census figures reinforce several important points. First, they confirm that the Republicans did indeed intentionally rig the census in 1990 and 2000. It's just too much of a coincidence that most solidly Republican states gained seats in those years while most reliably Democratic states lost seats.

Secondly, the new numbers prove that folks don't want to live in fascism-blighted regions even when they have room to grow. People would rather squeeze into a big city than live with the teabaggers' failed policies in the countryside. For years, I've always heard people talk about how they want to move to liberal areas. I've hardly ever heard anybody say they wanted to move to a conservative area.

If folks wanted to be governed based on the Tea Party model, why aren't we seeing a continuation of the trends of the previous 2 censuses? If conservative areas didn't have so much room, they wouldn't have grown at all. Just think of the waterworks we'd get to enjoy then. (Freepers are already accusing the Census Bureau of denying North Carolina an extra seat for being too Republican.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Call it the Crazy Amendment

I know you've been on the edge of your chair waiting to see how low the Tea Party thought police could possibly sink. But I think now the suspense has finally ended.

I call it the Crazy Amendment, and the teabaggers want to ram it through like the rest of their goofy-ass ideas. This proposal is a planned amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would let the legislatures of two-thirds of the states declare federal laws unconstitutional and overturn them. It has already been introduced in Congress by right-wing lawmakers.

This is loopy on so many levels. For starts, it defies the principles of federalism. It also guts separation of powers by giving lawmakers powers reserved for the other branches of government. It gives corrupt state political machines too much sway over national policy. And it lets blocs of small states run roughshod over the public's will: Remember, it would let two-thirds of the state legislatures repeal federal laws - not two-thirds of the public.

If the teagaggers are so up in arms about bossy federal laws, why don't they take it to the people instead of to the crooked state machines? There's a reason why our system splits federal and state powers, folks. And there's also a reason why our system has 3 branches of government.

This would be laughable if it wasn't such an utter mockery of our constitutional republic.

Meanwhile, they let the amendment against corporate personhood languish.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

GOP blocks bill against child marriage


On Thursday, the House voted on a bill to combat child marriages as a human rights violation. You'd think nobody would oppose this bill - but with the modern Republican Party around, guess again.

The bill failed to pass because almost all Republicans voted against it.

Nice to know the Republicans support child marriages. Then again, is it surprising? It's been obvious for 20 years that their party leadership thinks children are property, and I think they even touched on their hostility to children's interests in the '92 campaign.


"Don't ask, don't tell" repeal saves tax dollars

All American taxpayers should be breathing a sigh of joy today, as the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy has now just been repealed by Congress.

This will save tax dollars. Just think how much money the military wasted on the process of expelling gay personnel.

Of course, because the Republicans hate gays, the GOP tried blocking the policy's repeal. To them, their desire to ruin the careers of gay soldiers is more important than military readiness or saving the taxpayers' money. (After the Republicans just foisted a tax deal upon the country that will add almost $1,000,000,000,000 to the deficit, it's already clear they don't care about saving money.)

Oh well. The Republicans hate everybody. Let's not care what they think.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "The War On The Cities"

There's a war out there!

It's a war of suburban aggression - carried out by the Republican Party, which has controlled America's purse strings for most of the past 30 years.

These days - because of this war - residents of poor central cities pay a disproportionate amount of taxes, while wealthy exurbs get more than their share of the benefits. Call it reverse redistribution. Indeed, the cities are now about to have (in comparison with their size) less representation in Congress and state legislatures than at any other time since the '60s when a series of "one person, one vote" rulings was established.

Make no mistake: If you're a rich suburbanite, your vote counts more than that of a working-class city dweller. "One person, one vote"? That's not what we have these days.

Frankly, I'm sick of hearing the teagaggers whine about how "oppressed" they are out there in exurbia.

In a nutshell, our money is going to those who would deny us basic liberties.

'LCQ' to the rescue! Our latest 'Lawn Chair Quarterback' explores this phenomenon in hairy detail:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Outrage at the polls in Tennessee

Lately, the Tea Party freaks have been trying to spread their bullshit opinion that only people who own real property should be allowed to vote. Some of them have even said that only folks who pay income taxes should be able to vote - thus excluding people who don't make enough money to have to pay this tax. That would violate the Constitution's ban on poll taxes, but who expects the teagaggers to actually give a shit what the Constitution says?

Turns out though that Tennessee seems to have come very close to quietly reinstating the property requirement - and hardly anybody has noticed. The only difference is that instead of denying somebody the right to vote if they don't own property, Tennessee now lets folks cast extra votes if they do own property.

Under this law, cities and towns are required to allow nonresidents to vote in citywide elections if they own property within city limits. School districts may do the same.

Er. What ever happened to the days of "one person, one vote"? Now large landowners in Tennessee can cast one vote in each city where they own property. In fact, they don't even have to live in Tennessee - or even the United States!

I don't know of anywhere else in America that's had a law like this in modern times. Now we know one of the reasons why elections in the Volunteer State have such fucked-up results these days.

This is reminiscent of some right-wing whack-a-doodle some years back who wrote a book expressing his fantasy of letting folks cast one vote for each dollar they had. That's exactly what this is like - and the courts need to throw this law out at once. In a democratic republic, the limit's one vote per customer, folks.

Think I'm making this up? Here's a website that describes Tennessee's goofy-ass law that gives voting rights to property:

Stop denying the poor the voting strength that rich landowners have.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lawmaker wants to censor media outlets that support WikiLeaks

Congressman-select Allen West (R-Florida) - who is a nutcase and war criminal who pleaded guilty to assaulting a prisoner in Iraq - doesn't just want to censor WikiLeaks. He also wants to censor anybody who supports WikiLeaks.

In an Internet broadcast, West declared that the government "should be censoring" news outlets that are "applauding" the WikiLeaks release of damning documents.

So if some newspaper or blog somewhere runs an editorial praising WikiLeaks, it should be censored? You're an idiot, Allen.

I will praise WikiLeaks, because this is America, I am an American, and praising WikiLeaks is constitutionally protected speech. A war criminal like Allen West will not deprive me of this right.

On the other hand, who's ever seen the pop-up media praise WikiLeaks? In fact, the dinosaur press has barely reported on the WikiLeaks documents at all. The Citizens United ruling means the media can now be bribed not to report it, and that's exactly what's happening.

This comes on the heels of Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee trying to solicit the murder of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Palin said Assange should be "hunted down" and killed. Tom Flanagan, a senior adviser to Canada's right-wing dictator Stephen Harper, said, "I think Assange should be assassinated actually."

Transparency and freedom of the press really scare the other side, don't they?


You're an aardvark... ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Are you an aardvark? Sure! Sure you are!

Anybody who's ever gotten detention in school knows about aardvarks. That's because 'aardvark' was always one of the first words in the dictionary you had to copy down.

Just because 'aardvark' is near the beginning of the dictionary, I learned at an early age how important aardvarks are. It's sort of like how I thought Alabama was a really big state because it's first in alphabetical order.

But seriously, aardvarks are vital to our fragile ecosystem. Aardvarks really are very beautiful and unique animals. They've got big, pointy ears and nice, long snouts.

'Sesame Street' did a live-action sketch about aardvarks in the '70s that portrays this great mammal as defiant in the face of all adversity:

The late Joe Raposo - the legendary 'Sesame Street' songwriter - sings on that sketch. (In addition to the 'Sesame Street' theme and many of the show's songs, Raposo also wrote the 'Three's Company' theme.)

A segment like this these days would probably depict the aardvark as meek and subservient instead of defiant and proud. Nowadays, the media has a fetish for teaching people not to fight back. Unlike in the '70s, we're now raising a generation of wimps.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In most countries, people fight back

This is what needs to happen in America. Has to. If not, brace for another Lost Decade.

After Italy's right-wing dictator Silvio Berlusconi (pictured here) survived a no-confidence vote by Parliament, people didn't just uselessly stew about it in private. They took action.

Following the vote, Rome has seen some of the biggest public demonstrations in decades.

This is what the day after Election Day should have looked like in the good ol' U.S. and A. Not just in 2010 but also 2004, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1994, 1988...

I know you expect me to do it all by myself, but I'm only one man. The most I can do by myself is pee on an abandoned railroad track and run over a John Kasich campaign sign. There's strength in numbers, folks. You have to do your part too.

If the Tea Party authoritarians can get their 3 followers to show up at complain-a-thons at Goebel Park, think what our side can do. Here's a hint: A poll shows that 60% of Americans are dissatisfied with the recent "election" results. So we outnumber the teagaggers by at least 1½ to 1.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Such idiots

I knew the Republicans weren't too bright, and this only drives the point home more (though it's not as if the DLC is exactly Mensa material either).

After right-wing officials sued over the new health care law - citing the insurance mandate - a federal judge ruled today that the mandate is unconstitutional. Not the entire law - just that part of it.

See, the Republicans actually thought that suing over that part of the law would get the entire law struck down. They really are that dumb.

But nope. Instead the court struck down the only major provision that the Republicans had supported. (They favored the insurance mandate before it became part of this bill.) It's mighty hilarious that - by suing over the health care law - they accomplished the exact opposite of what they truly wanted.

Even better, doesn't this mean mandatory car insurance is unconstitutional now too? I sure as shit hope so, because auto insurance is as much of a rip-off as health insurance is. Like health insurance, it's another product that costs us so much but brings us next to nothing in return.

The fact that the only way they thought they could get the health care law struck down was to sue over the only part of it they had supported is proof they have absolutely nothing to go on to get the rest of it struck down.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Tim The Computer Programmer"

"My little program, my little program..." (Sung to the tune of "My Little Pony.")

Tim's a damn good FreeBASIC programmer. Naysayers laugh at any mention of BASIC or any derivative of it, but the BASIC family of programming languages can do wonders. I don't know Fortran or Cobol or any of those other newfangled languages that our economic gatekeepers expect you to know these days. But I'm quite fluent in BASIC.

So I wrote a little progie-wogie!

It's called LeftMaps Router, and I released the first version of it several months ago. I Make Money from it, don't ya know. However, it's free to download and use (since my revenues come from website ads, such a businessman I am).

LeftMaps Router maps out bicycling routes in much of the Cincinnati metropolitan region. Recently, I added complete terrain data, and my next release shall include updated road info. (Such as it were. The data I downloaded from the Census Bureau still thinks half of Pete Rose Way hasn't been torn down. Welcome to 1995, Census Bureau.)

Our latest 'LCQ' demonstrates how my program works:

Who ever thought BASIC would let you write such advanced programs?

LeftMaps Router can be downloaded here:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gag on a turd, Repubs

Republicans in Congress have just defeated a bill to award elderly Social Security recipients an extra $250 next year - after recipients were robbed of their cost-of-living increase 2 years in a row.

The GOP's excuse for defeating this bill? They said the country couldn't afford it.

It could afford a useless war and bailouts to big banks, but it can't afford this?

Congressional Republicans are hereby ordered to stand on the National Mall, disembowel themselves, and swallow their own intestines. They are to fucking do as I say, because I am paying their salaries.

'Sesame Street' has balls ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

Plop Day is over for another year, but the memories will last a lifetime!

Plop Day - November 18 - is the anniversary of a lecture delivered by my high school principal back in 1988 regarding the toilets at school getting repeatedly clogged with objects like scissors and books. (Many of the cloggings were a protest against the outcome of the '88 election.) Coincidentally, World Toilet Day was later established as November 19.

But a segment on 'Sesame Street' that aired in the '70s may have foreshadowed Plop Day by many a year.

In this skit, 3 balls of different sizes try to fit into their proper slots. This teaches the proper way to clog a toilet. If an object is too small, it'll just flush right down. But if it's too big, that's no fun either, because it won't fit in the drain.

If you're gonna stop up a johnnypot, you need to go for the gusto by using an object that's of just the right size! And the ol' Ses will show ya how...

I don't think I've seen that segment since about 1976, but it's finally been revived for the whole wide world to ogle (beep)!

The biggest ball sounds like the low-pitched groans generated by trying to play a 78 RPM record at 33 RPM. The smallest ball sounds a bit like Boomhauer of 'King Of The Hill' babbling. It is believed by some that the smallest ball was voiced by Jim Boyd, who played Crank on 'The Electric Company' - but this has not been confirmed.

'Sesame Street' teaches many useful skills.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Tuna Salad"

Our latest 'LCQ' episode shows the ingredients that go into making a mean tuna salad.

But the most important ingredient is a healthy dose of progressive populism, and this segment lives up to expectations. I also describe arguing with fascists on Facebook, as they display their complete ignorance of the Tenth Amendment.

The Tenth Amendment is supposed to safeguard state autonomy. Lately, right-wingers have been spluttering that this means the Tenth should keep a state's citizenry from benefiting from federal programs. But that's not what the Tenth means. The Tenth Amendment is actually supposed to keep the feds from running roughshod over individual liberties and rights. It has nothing to do with benefits programs.

So if a state legalizes marijuana, the federal government has no right to say it can't. Yet some right-wingers on Facebook - which is about the only place outside of Free Republic and Congress where people still support expanding the failed War on Drugs - insist that rogue federal drug war diktats reign supreme over the states.

Um, I thought conservatives we're supposed to be the ones who are for states' rights? Or is this yet another example of "states' rights for me, not for thee"?

Well, so right-wingers don't understand the Constitution. Or maybe they do but just don't care. So what else is new? In any event, here's the latest 'LCQ':

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hooper's hangover ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

That Mr. Hooper was one cool peep!

He was all business, that Mr. Looper was. But he ruled! So he's entitled - ENTITLED, dammit! - to get drunk every now and then.

In one segment back in 1976, Mr. Hooper seemed to oversleep one morning and ended up opening his store later than usual. He claimed it was because he was up too late studying for his GED:

Come on, Hoops! We know what really happened here. It's a hangover, obviously!

Mr. Hooper had it made by this point in his life. Why suffer the torture of going back to high school when you've got your golden years ahead of you? Mr. Hooper couldn't possibly be that much of a glutton for punishment, could he?

Nah. It's a hangover.

Lieberman the big bully

Is it too late for Al Gore to find a better running mate?

As the influence of WikiLeaks expands, Joe Lieberman now wants it shut down altogether. And he's bullying companies that host WikiLeaks into shutting it off. After Amazon apparently stopped hosting WikiLeaks, Lieberman has released a statement declaring in part: "I call on any other company or organization that is hosting Wikileaks to immediately terminate its relationship with them."

What's a matter, Joe? Can't stand the dinosaur media not getting all the glory? Tough shit.

Meanwhile, I'm still able to access WikiLeaks, so Lieberman's attempt at government censorship failed like everything else he does. What is it with you and failure, Joe?


Creationist theme park wants bailout

If your jaw hasn't hit the floor yet over some of the entries on this blog, I think the wait may finally be over.

A "young Earth" creationist museum in northern Kentucky founded by the right-wing Answers in Genesis cult has become a local laughingstock. (Then again, it's not in my county, so I can take comfort in the fact that it's other counties' turn to be embarrassed by elitist cults.)

Now Answers in Genesis is teaming up with Ark Encounters LLC - a for-profit firm - to build an 800-acre theme park. In doing so, Answers in Genesis may become the second AIG to get a government bailout: It may receive a $37,500,000 tax break from the state to build this park.

As a Kentuckian, that's my money. I'm paying sales and other taxes just to give Answers in Genesis a bailout?

The pretext for this handout is that the theme park will create jobs in a region that's been economically depressed for a quarter-century. I'm all for jobs. But doesn't giving taxpayer money to a creationist group violate the separation of church and state? Breaching the establishment clause in this manner is actually a form of cheap elitism.

An equally important point is that this cult is peddling its nonsense to children. I'd prefer not to have it in the area, even if it hires me as the theme park's CEO. You don't mess with our area's children - EVER!