Here comes today's horror story about America's broken health care system...
In Florida, an oral surgeon broke off a drill bit inside a patient's head. The inch-long piece of steel remained lodged in the woman's head for almost a year - and it had to be surgically removed. She may have nickel poisoning as a result.
Now a lawsuit seeks damages.
If the booger eater contingent in the Republican Party had its way, the patient would be out of luck. Their idea of health care "reform" is outlawing malpractice suits, so nobody can be held accountable.
And this is the party that the Senate lets filibuster everything?
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Here comes today's horror story about America's broken health care system...
Posted by Bandit at 11:16 PM
Members of Congress must really like losing elections.
After Leonard Boswell introduced his constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood, the House Judiciary Committee has sat on it for over a week.
Not a single action has been taken on this proposal (which was supposed to see easy passage) since it was introduced.
What the hell does the House Judiciary Committee do then? Baste?
Posted by Bandit at 7:29 PM
Folks, there's been somewhat of a delay in the next book.
I just discovered there's a whole other chapter left to write!
But it'll be a quick one, as these really aren't even full chapters. Each chapter in my upcoming book is really just a quick vignette, not a lengthy diatribe.
Posted by Bandit at 4:14 PM
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Did you know Wal-Mart was selling 'The Princess And The Frog' pendants tainted with cadmium?
Cadmium is a cancer-causing chemical, and alarmingly high levels of this carcinogen were found in the pendants that were made in China by FAF Inc. Wal-Mart is the only store that sold them.
Now FAF has had to recall the pendants.
Even paint that has cadmium requires warning labels. Yet Wal-Mart was selling cadmium-laced children's jewelry with no warning in sight.
This is the first time EVER that a product has been recalled in the United States over cadmium. Leave it to Wal-Mart to be the first!
Posted by Bandit at 2:45 PM
Golly, this is dumb!
After the Haddonfield, New Jersey, school system was sued because of its outrageous 24/7 anti-drug policy that applies even to students who aren't members of any extracurricular activities, the court has punted the case to the state's education commissioner.
So now Bret Schundler gets to decide it???
I find it rather perverse that a constitutional matter gets to be decided by someone whose post does not require them to have any instruction in constitutional law.
Posted by Bandit at 1:03 AM
Friday, January 29, 2010
Remember, the regime discussed in this article is made up of Bush's friends:
For those who didn't click on that link, the government of Saudi Arabia has sentenced a 13-year-old girl to 90 lashes and 2 months in prison for the "crime" of taking a cell phone to school.
This barbaric punishment is much harsher than that imposed even for real crimes such as robbery.
The Saudi regime has long been a friend of the Bush crime family, as you may know.
I am absolutely convinced that the Pat Robertson types and talk radio droids want a Saudi-style legal system in America. One hundred percent convinced. After their reaction to the Michael Fay story (in which they praised the government of Singapore for flogging a vandalism suspect), it's pretty clear that's what they want.
Extremists are extremists, regardless of what country or culture. Of course, support for or by the Bushes seems to be a common thread among every country's extremists.
It's also interesting to note that the Saudi royal family is the second-largest shareholder of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which owns Fox News Channel.
Hugo Chavez would never order a 13-year-old to be flogged 90 times for bringing a cell phone to school. I guarantee you that.
Posted by Bandit at 3:11 PM
Just when you thought it was safe to start existing again, along comes ACTA - the misnamed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
ACTA is supported by the content industry but would stifle new technology and art. It's been secretly negotiated by countries around the world for almost 2 years, and it has several worrisome anti-consumer provisions.
One provision being discussed would force ISP's to cut off customers if someone so much as accuses them of sharing copyrighted files. (They won't even have to prove the accusation is true.) Another would dash the interactivity of legally acquired digital content. It would even make ISP's spy on customers.
Consumer advocates are fighting ACTA, as elites hash out the treaty in secret.
If the United States agrees to these provisions, it would violate the Constitution. The Constitution is supposed to reign supreme. But the DMCA has already nibbled away at our constitutional freedoms. Our rights listed in the Constitution weren't created by the Constitution itself: We are endowed with these rights just by being human.
Posted by Bandit at 2:39 PM
I know the day is young, but this story is going to be hard to top, so here goes it...
Longtime right-wing Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Indiana) won't be seeking reelection this November because he's now the target of an ethics probe.
The 9-term congressman founded the Frontier Education Foundation, which purported to be a nonprofit organization to fund scholarships. But it aroused suspicion because it never awarded any scholarships. Watchdog group CREW claims Buyer abused the foundation's nonprofit status for his own private purposes and swapped legislative assistance for donations.
The IRS and the Office of Congressional Ethics are investigating.
So when are you gonna give back the money you raised, Steve?
Posted by Bandit at 1:58 PM
Instead of critiquing what President Obama said in Wednesday's State of the Union address, I can't help but critique what he didn't say.
Was there even a single mention of civil liberties?
Ever since the '88 campaign when Mad Dog Bush attacked Michael Dukakis for being a "card-carrying member" of the ACLU, politicians have seemed too afraid to discuss civil liberties.
I'm not even sure who or what Bush was trying to appeal to. Why would anyone oppose an organization dedicated to civil liberties?
Infringing on civil liberties is as much of an economic war as it is a culture war. Trampling civil liberties is often designed to keep "dangerous" ideas at bay or remind the less powerful of their status.
So why no mention of it on Wednesday? The William Bennetts and Michael Chertoffs of the world are no longer in power, because their party loses. So how can civil liberties do any political harm?
Or does the Democratic Party just not care anymore about civil liberties? Would it rather reauthorize the Patriot Act than keep winning elections?
Posted by Bandit at 1:39 AM
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Not for the first time, right-wing hackers have laid hulk to websites read by many.
Last night, the websites of 43 members of Congress were hacked. The sites were defaced with political tirades.
It's unknown whether visiting the sites poses any security risk. But after the Bush regime failed to prosecute the Swen virus, which targeted progressive websites, the hackers probably think they can get away with anything.
Posted by Bandit at 5:08 PM
In the wake of the James O'Keefe-led effort to wiretap a federal office, it turns out one of O'Keefe's suspected conspirators has long had Republican ties.
The suspect pictured here, Robert Flanagan, was once a staffer for right-wing Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Oklahoma).
Fallin's office had tried dodging the issue, but now her office has confirmed it after being pressed by journalists.
Flanagan's father is an acting U.S. attorney in Louisiana.
Meanwhile, Fallin - who cosponsored a congressional resolution to honor O'Keefe - still wants to be listed as a cosponsor, despite O'Keefe being charged in this scandal. Fallin is now running for Governor of Oklahoma.
If authorities or the media had the resources or the will to dig deep, I bet we'll find that the wiretap scandal is just the tip of the iceberg.
Posted by Bandit at 4:13 PM
For all the Democrats' travails, the Republicans always manage to stay at least several steps further from reality.
And if that includes lying outright, then I guess that includes, well, lying outright.
After President Obama's State of the Union address last night, right-wing Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky) issued this statement: "When the President took office, Kentucky's unemployment rate was at 7.6 percent, and it is now at 10.7 percent."
In the immortal words of Depeche Mode: wrong!
When was the last time the state's jobless rate was as low as 7.6%? I think we were all bopping around in polyester pants under a big silver disco ball the last time it was that low.
In fact, Kentucky's unemployment rate has improved during Obama's first year in office - for the first time in ages.
But nobody calls out Jim Bunning on his lies, because he's Jim Bunning, after all.
Maybe I should bring up how Bunning abuses his foundation's nonprofit status to pay himself a huge salary.
Posted by Bandit at 2:49 PM
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Because both Oscar the Grouch and Bob Barker are cool, I couldn't resist regaling you with a 'Sesame Street' sketch in which the ol' Osk does his best Barker imitation.
This '80s-era 'Sesame Street' segment features an exciting parody of 'The Price Is Right' titled 'The Trash Is Right':
Among the most amazing discoveries in this sketch is that Bert makes pigeon sculptures out of oatmeal. Who knew?
Apparently, the sculptures make their way to the trash receptacle because Ernie complains that they start to stink.
From the discarded feathers, we also learn that Big Bird molts - much like other birds.
Notice also that people boo when the camera pans onto the photo of Big Bird.
Oscar is cool. And funny.
Posted by Bandit at 4:57 PM
The modern-day book burners who compose the Texas Board of Education are made of fail.
Their cheap elitism is so enveloping that they don't even know what books to censor.
In an effort to bar what they call "Marxist propaganda" from Texas schools, they recently banned the children's book 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?' by the late Bill Martin. Right-wing board member Pat Hardy said it was because of other books by Martin - namely, a big people book that contained "very strong critiques of capitalism and the American system."
It turns out though that this Bill Martin never wrote the "Marxist" book in question. The book Hardy was referring to was 'Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative Of Liberation' - by a different guy named Bill Martin.
When someone pointed this out to Pat Hardy, she said she was relying on information sent to her by fellow right-wing board of education member Terri Leo - who admitted never even reading the "Marxist" book. Still, Hardy said that writing such a book is "a good enough reason for me to get rid of someone."
As a result of this witch hunt, both authors named Bill Martin are now banned in Texas schools.
In their haste to protect their sheltered, privileged world from ideas that seemed to threaten them, the Texas Board of Education banned a book by an author who had nothing to do with these ideas!
Censorship is about protecting elites. If the Texas Board of Education is so quick to censor a writer because he has the same name as a more controversial author, their elitism must be so strong they can't even see the forest from the trees.
Posted by Bandit at 3:09 PM
As Mississippi threatens to become the second state to defy federal law by requiring a prescription to buy over-the-counter pseudoephedrine allergy drugs, a rare poll has been released to gauge public support.
This survey conducted by David Binder Research says 74% of Mississippi voters believe this prescription requirement would create an "unnecessary burden" on law-abiding people. It would create not just an inconvenience, but it would also drive up the cost and hurt the state's finances.
At a time when health care reform should be on the front burner, Mississippi lawmakers are actually trying to make medicine even more costly - even though 74% of the state's voters oppose their effort!
Posted by Bandit at 2:21 PM
Why, it's our daily dose of DLC dumbness!
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska recently introduced a measure to block the EPA from trying to control dangerous greenhouse gases.
That's like if the measure tried to block the postal service from delivering mail, isn't it? What good is the EPA if it can't oversee environmental protection?
Naturally, 3 so-called Democratic senators signed on to Murkowski's effort: Nebraska's Ben Nelson, Arkansas's Blanche Lincoln, and Louisiana's Mary Landrieu.
It's kind of funny that anti-ACORN fraudster James O'Keefe wasted his effort spying on Landrieu, considering that - despite running as a Democrat - Landrieu sounds like a pretty solid Republican lately.
Who'd have ever thought the DLC would listen more to Christopher Monckton than they do to Al Gore?
Posted by Bandit at 2:01 PM
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
So much for the conservative comeback everyone's been talking about, huh?
Today, Oregon voters decided on 2 referendums - Measures 66 and 67. These measures would raise taxes on big corporations and the very rich.
The measures were supported by almost everyone except major corporations, right-wing think tanks, and the state's biggest newspaper.
And the balloting today proves it: Both of these keen new referendums have now passed - apparently by about 11% each.
Just in time too! Last week's Supreme Court ruling would have let corporations spend unlimited money to defeat the proposals - without even disclosing that they were behind the expenditures. It's pretty amusing that the forces of good were able to pass the measures just in the nick of time.
Now get ready for some right-wing waterworks!
Posted by Bandit at 11:32 PM
Big, big news, folks!
Longtime right-wing activist James O'Keefe - one of the 2 losers involved in attempting to frame ACORN by making doctored videos - is now among 4 people arrested for spying on Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana).
Authorities say O'Keefe and 3 others were involved in a plot to wiretap the senator's New Orleans office. O'Keefe allegedly aided and abetted 2 men who posed as phone company employees and tried to bug the office's phone system. All 4 arrestees are charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.
This modern-day Watergater is the type of guy the media trusted to make a "documentary" about ACORN? And this is the man whose "work" led Congress to defund ACORN???
Unbelievable! America is being run by those who trust liars like James O'Keefe!
Posted by Bandit at 4:04 PM
President Obama's first State of the Union address looms tomorrow at 9 PM EST.
In the years I've run this blog, I've been repeatedly sent stories of Democratic blundering and asked why I don't cover it as much as I cover the Republicans' ineptitude. Well, I'm a Green, so I can assure you I didn't write Obama's speech. So if it turns out to be a dud, I'm not responsible for it.
It's not my party, so it's not my problem.
And I'm warning you right now not to get your hopes up for the State of the Union. The Democrats are the party that gave us Bill Clinton's insufferable State of the Union speech titled "The Era Of Big Government Is Over", which was essentially a rant supporting school uniforms.
Like the Republicans (who are still worse), this indicated the Democrats had begun supporting smaller government only for Big Business - while trampling individual rights more and more.
This is the current state of the so-called two-party system.
I better not hear one word blaming me if tomorrow's speech is the stinker that we should have all steeled ourselves for by now.
Posted by Bandit at 3:22 PM
Friends, I think we've got a first.
For the first time I can remember, I believe that a majority of new posts on Google's help forum are spam posts that advertise Bangalore escorts.
This spam has gone on for months, but has only increased. And now we know Google knows about it, but just doesn't give a shit.
Posted by Bandit at 2:54 PM
Monday, January 25, 2010
Twenty-two years ago today, Americans saw what real journalism looks like:
That clip contains Dan Rather's now-famous interview of the elder Bush during the 1988 campaign. While the interview sent conservatives into a years-long tantrum against Rather, the interview was a good example of incisive, tough reporting.
Can you imagine a reporter questioning a politician like that now? If the politician was anything other than a Republican, they might, as long as the questioning had to do with something less serious than the Iran-Contra scandal. But you can probably forget about any American journalist seriously questioning a GOP politician over any major issue these days.
Posted by Bandit at 3:54 PM
Much bellowing has been generated by the media against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and it's only expanded thanks to a recent story.
The media reported it like so: In their narrative - which few dare to question - Chavez blamed the United States and President Obama for the Haitian earthquake. According to this story, Chavez said the earthquake was caused by U.S. military tests involving a futuristic tectonic weapon. (Sounds like something out of Halo, doesn't it?)
But Chavez said no such thing. The entire story was made up.
The story apparently originated with a right-wing commenter on a Venezuelan news website falsely attributing nutty quotes to Chavez. A newspaper in Spain picked it up, and the American media repeated the story endlessly as if it was real.
Some right-winger made up a story outright, and the media ran with it! They didn't even bother to check the facts!
That's exactly like if the media bases its stories on comments posted on Free Republic. Wait a minute, it already does.
The media's lies go unquestioned because America no longer has an objective media source that possesses the resources to spend that the pop-up media has. I think some serious dough is going to have to be invested in a media that tells the truth instead of parroting lies by right-wing operatives who flood news sites.
Posted by Bandit at 3:19 PM
I've made much here lately of corporations' bottomless war chests that they use to fight workers. This was aggravated by the Bush regime's refusal to enforce federal laws that protect the right to form unions - and by last week's Supreme Court ruling creating corporate "rights" from whole cloth.
But now the United Brotherhood of Carpenters is finding its free speech under assault in one Bay Area town.
In communities all over the region, the union has posted signs criticizing builders for paying shitty wages. But in Santa Clara, California, town officials have been confiscating these signs - simply because they disagree with the message.
Now the carpenters' union is quite rightly suing the city for blatantly violating its free speech rights.
The union's banner was taken down when a developer firm complained of feewinghurt. The company also claimed the union was handing out leaflets on company property - but this turned out to be a lie.
This after the company expected workers to take a wage cut in 2008 - when inflation was at the worst it's been in my lifetime.
Unfortunately, the Bay Area is stone at the center of the Ninth Circus, which (despite being thought of as a liberal court) has often been downright hostile to free speech.
Posted by Bandit at 2:47 PM
Actor James Mitchell - who played the wealthy, gruff Palmer Cortlandt on the daytime soap 'All My Children' - died Friday at the age of 89.
I'm well aware of Palmer Cortlandt, because my mom watched that show daily for years.
Mitchell's last regular appearance on the soap was in 2008, but recently he appeared again on the show's 40th anniversary special.
Posted by Bandit at 2:03 PM
Sunday, January 24, 2010
After the right-wing media put Scott "Records" Brown in the Senate, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the Republicans think they can get away with open racism now.
Bob Kellar is a Republican city councilman - and apparently a former mayor - in Santa Clarita, California.
Last week, at a rally against illegal immigration, Kellar gave a speech in which he referred to himself as a "proud racist."
In an interview later, Kellar kept defending his description of himself. "I'm a conservative. ... I stand by everything I said," he bragged.
We've just seen the future of American politics, now that the Supreme Court has given corporations a "right" to bankroll political campaigns. Bob Kellar conservatives are typically awash in corporate dough, but now there's no limits (unless the corporate personhood amendment passes).
Posted by Bandit at 3:10 PM
With stories like this, I think we can be assured that the Democrats aren't going to catch up with the Republicans' level of fascism anytime soon. The GOP just keeps getting more outrageous!
Andre Bauer, a Republican, is the Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina and currently a gubernatorial candidate. He was the Conservative Fool Of The Day for 4/18/06 because he wanted to sell corporate naming rights of state highways and because he kept arguing with the police about how he should have the right to break traffic laws because he's lieutenant governor.
But now Bauer has proven what a heartless little prick he is.
In comparing giving poor people government benefits to "feeding stray animals", Bauer demanded that the poor give their benefits back.
Bauer sniffed, "My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."
He went on to say, "If you receive goods or services from the government, then you owe something back."
Kiss my ass, Andre.
How can he get away with saying something like this in a state where a majority (58%) of schoolchildren are poor enough to get reduced price school lunches? That someone who hates the poor has a chance to get elected in a state where so many people are that poor is grotesque.
It boggles the mind that so many people would vote against their own interests when the facts are in such plain sight.
Posted by Bandit at 12:22 AM
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I can't believe it! It's finally happening!
On Thursday night - hours after the Supreme Court charred 200 years of law by giving "rights" to corporations - I heard a rumor that Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) introduced a constitutional amendment in Congress that would remedy this ruling. I couldn't find the text of it anywhere, so I had to assume this rumor was mistaken.
But now I've found the text, and it's no rumor. It's actually happening as we speak!
The text of this possible Twenty-Eighth Amendment is different from what I've seen proposed. For the record, I support organized labor. But this amendment limits both big corporations and labor unions - just as the recently overturned law did. While conservatives hate unions, everybody else hates corporations, so Boswell's amendment should satisfy everyone.
Then again, unions are a mere David to the Goliath of corporations. In effect, this amendment wouldn't limit unions much, simply because unions already have far less money than corporations to throw at political campaigns. I'm pleased to know the amendment would effectively hit corporations much harder. If we don't pass an amendment like this, unions will probably eventually be outlawed.
The proposed constitutional amendment reads:
"No corporation or labor organization may use any of its operating funds or any other funds from its general treasury to make any payment for any advertisement in connection with a campaign for election for Federal office, without regard to whether or not the advertisement expressly advocates the election or defeat of a specified candidate in the election."
The amendment would effectively restore the century-old statute that was gutted by the Supreme Court - and then some!
And you know something? I think it's going to pass! Can anyone in Congress find a compelling argument not to abolish corporate personhood after the Supreme Court created this doctrine out of thin air?
So get ready for the first new amendment in 18 years!
Posted by Bandit at 2:41 AM
Friday, January 22, 2010
Right-wing judicial activism by the federal judiciary seems to be the story of the day.
Yesterday, U.S. DIstrict Judge Vaughn Walker (who was appointed by the elder Bush) dismissed the case of Jewel v. NSA. This case was filed by AT&T customers suing over the NSA's surveillance scandal - in which telcom giants helped the government spy on millions of average Americans' phone calls and e-mails. (AT&T was one of the worst offenders at conspiring with the Bush regime's spying.)
The judge's "reasoning" was that the privacy harm wasn't a "particularized injury" because almost everyone in the country has phone or Internet. In other words, government and corporate spying is legal as long as almost everybody in America has the potential to be affected.
Is this some sort of sick joke?
Posted by Bandit at 4:05 PM
It's another record!
No, not the Scott Brown kind of record.
The year 2009 saw the most meth labs ever found in the state of Kentucky. The 716 illegal, dangerous labs shatter the previous record of 600 labs.
Why is this significant?
This absolutely kablammos any pretense that tighter restrictions on over-the-counter allergy products are effective at reducing meth.
And we're all paying for the sheer insanity of the War on Drugs. Not just in inconvenience for innocent people trying to buy Sudafed. Not just in the $1,000,000 in taxpayer money that was needed to clean up the labs. We also pay for it in lives lost or destroyed by meth or by exploding labs.
All this because of the ineffective Sudafed restrictions that punish only the innocent.
We need to repeal the recent state and federal laws that force people who buy cold and allergy drugs to sign a log.
Posted by Bandit at 3:09 PM
So much for conservatives' support for states' rights, huh?
After yesterday's extremist U.S. Supreme Court ruling bestowing limitless "rights" on corporations, state laws that limited corporate campaign spending are gutted.
The ruling even invalidates the law of my home state of Kentucky. The Kentucky Constitution prohibits corporations from giving to political candidates. This provision has been in force longer than anyone even cares to remember.
But now it's just a husk - a damn piece of paper, as Bush would say.
Because of yesterday's ruling, corporations are now able to use investors' and consumers' money to buy candidates right here in the Bluegrass State. In short, this money will go to union-busting and other greed-driven efforts.
Is this the sort of insanity you want in Kentucky?
Maybe this will prod Kentucky legislators to endorse the proposed constitutional amendment banning corporate personhood. The Supreme Court has run roughshod over our state, and we need to restore our laws.
Posted by Bandit at 2:21 PM
In the wake of yesterday's fascist Supreme Court ruling that created corporate "rights" out of whole cloth, everyone - including President Obama - is outraged.
Now that coprorations (sic) are allowed unlimited political expenditures - flying in the face of 200 years of jurisprudence - America no longer has free and fair elections. There is not a single democracy in the world that allows limitless corporate money for political campaigns. Not one.
As we speak, big corporations are taking advantage of the ruling by making partisan political ads.
In light of yesterday's Supreme Court shocker, the Fascism Advisory System is being raised to orange (Ernie). In other words, the advisory level rises from elevated to high. It will be raised to severe if the new ruling brings the electoral disaster that many now fear.
That ruling is the ONLY thing that can bring such an electoral result.
While the Fascism Advisory System is at high, it is still lower than it would have been between 1994 and 2009.
Posted by Bandit at 12:11 AM
Thursday, January 21, 2010
By...bipping. (To the tune of the old "By Mennen" jingle.)
With a corporate personhood amendment looming on the horizon, how do we pass this amendment? Well, amending the U.S. Constitution can only happen in a few ways.
Amendments can either be proposed by two-thirds of both houses of Congress, or by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states in the form of a convention. Then, either the legislatures of three-fourths of the states must ratify the amendment, or a convention in three-fourths of the states must ratify it.
This is possible - because the Constitution has been amended 27 times before. The most recent amendment passed in 1992 - after being first submitted way back in 1789. The Twenty-Seventh Amendment bars Congress from granting itself pay raises during the middle of a term - an amendment Congress has routinely violated.
Congress and courts disobeying existing amendments raises questions of whether they'll even pay any heed to new amendments. Even so, amendments have been an effective tool in the arsenal of constitutional law.
The trick here is to either find a member of Congress valiant enough to introduce a corporate personhood amendment - or have your state lawmakers propose the amendment. I can't expect Kentucky to lead the effort, because after all, this is the state that gives eminent domain powers to corporations (of all the stupid things).
Just finding someone to introduce the amendment may be the toughest part. If a lawmaker introduces it, that lends the amendment some serious oomph. But after that, it still has to go through all the steps of being approved, ratified, and enacted.
The last amendment to pass before 1992 was the 1971 amendment that lowered the voting age to 18. On the very day Congress approved it, 5 states went ahead and ratified it - all in one day. Less than 4 months after Congress approved the amendment, it was law.
It became law only a year after several states screamed and cried about how they had a Divine Right of Millionaires to prevent 18-year-olds from voting. The speed at which the amendment passed shows how quickly things can change if people act.
Put your mouth where your face is by making sure your elected representatives support the amendment to outlaw corporate personhood.
Posted by Bandit at 10:32 PM
It's finally happening, folks!
A proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that this blog has endorsed almost from the get-go is now the subject of a major grassroots movement!
But it needs your help. It can't pass if you don't work for it.
After today's Supreme Court outrage, a major effort to pass a constitutional amendment against corporate personhood is forming.
Neither the First Amendment nor any other constitutional right was ever intended to protect corporations. Our organisms-only constitutional rights club is supposed to be just that. But activist judges and lawmakers have nibbled away at this doctrine - even as they deprive people of the same rights they bestow upon corporations.
The new push for the corporate personhood amendment is designed to remedy today's ruling. The current proposal reads:
"Section 1. The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, no corporation, limited liability entity, or other corporate entity created by state or federal law or the law of another nation shall enjoy the rights of free speech and expression protected for the people by the First Amendment.
"Section 2. Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity in public election activity.
"Section 3. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press."
I'd broaden the first clause to say corporations shall not enjoy any of the rights that are supposed to be enjoyed only by people - not just the First Amendment. However, I'd leave unchanged the third clause in this work of brilliance, which safeguards the free flow of ideas - which has always been a right of the people.
You can read details about this amendment here:
Will this amendment pass? It can be done. We fought a seemingly invincible giant like Pathway Family Center - AND WON! So surely we can pass this amendment.
Brings a whole new meaning to "Yes, we can!", doesn't it? We can. And we WILL. If you think we can't, ask PFC what we did to them.
I plan to post more details later about how the U.S. Constitution is amended. As it has not been amended since 1992, constitutional scholars are going to have to blow the dust off a procedure that hasn't been successfully used in 18 years.
Posted by Bandit at 3:54 PM
Charles Dyer, a featured speaker at a recent BTPer complain-a-thon in Oklahoma, has now been arrested for rape. During the investigation, police also discovered he had in his home a grenade launcher stolen from an Army base in California.
Ironically, Dyer had whined, "We come home and those bastards want to talk about how we're domestic terrorists and a threat to this country."
Tea Party organizers are collecting stolen grenade launchers now?
After today's outrageous Supreme Court ruling that granted unlimited "rights" to corporations, I'm worried for the first time in years that this is America's future.
Posted by Bandit at 3:22 PM
A ruling in this case is expected on January 26, so I assume it hasn't been issued yet. But keep an eye out for it.
Public schools in Haddonfield, New Jersey, are so Nazi that the district has a 24/7 drug and alcohol policy that applies to students even for conduct that takes place away from school and has no connection to school.
It applies to all students - not just those in extracurricular activities. Repeat offenders are sent to mandatory drug counseling. Worse, it applies to students even if they're only accused - not necessarily convicted.
Courts bar schools from punishing bullies for actions that take place at school, because that violates their "rights." But they can punish students for acts that have no relation to school?
Well, maybe not. Now the school is facing a lawsuit by a student who was punished by the school because of an alcohol possession case that occurred at a party away from school.
Let me be perfectly clear: The school district's policy (which was modeled after a similar policy in Springfield, Pennsylvania) is illegal and unconstitutional. It violates due process and search protections, and it grants schools unlawful policing authority.
Suffice it to say, it's fascism at its ugliest.
If this policy is not thrown out, it'll only confirm that we no longer have a country.
Posted by Bandit at 2:42 PM
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued one of its worst rulings EVER. And it's received strikingly little coverage.
In the case of Citizens United v. FEC, the Supremes gutted limits on campaign spending by corporations. The ruling claims that corporations not only have rights that are supposed to be accorded only to people, but that spending is the same as speech - and thus it is protected by the First Amendment.
There is no legal basis whatsoever for this decision. None. In fact, this ruling overturns the court's relatively recent (1990) Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce ruling - as well as over 200 years of settled law.
Today's ruling was 5 to 4 - with the usual culprits ruling for the majority. Right-wing Justices Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas ruled in favor of corporate "rights" to unlimited spending. The more moderate Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Stevens dissented from the conservatives' extreme stance.
The majority's ruling is unconscionable and disastrous. Corporations ranging from telcom firms to drug makers to oil companies to insurers to big banks can now spend as much as they want on campaigns supporting partisan candidates or causes. They can even make false statements in their campaigns.
If you liked the Swift Boat liars from '04, you're gonna LOVE what's coming thanks to this ruling!
Suffice it to say, it's now official that corporations are being accorded more rights than people. The 5 Justices who ruled for the majority in the case are the exact same 5 who voted to deny a teenager's free speech rights in the infamous Morse v. Frederick decision of 2007.
In both cases, these 5 legislated from the bench.
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida) says today's ruling is "the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case."
There have already been serious calls for a constitutional amendment to remedy Citizens United v. FEC. But if it passes, will the conservative wing of the Supreme Court even abide by it? They've proven for years that they have zero regard for the Constitution. Absolutely zero.
Posted by Bandit at 1:42 PM
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
If you want to read what a baby John McCain sounds like, peep this.
The National Labor Relations Board was essentially gutted under Bush. This is one of the reasons enforcement of federal labor laws (especially laws that safeguard the right to join a union) has been almost nonexistent.
Now President Obama has nominated several people to the NLRB who are considered to be pro-labor. But - according to this article in the Nation - the Senate has stalled these nominations for almost a year:
Among the leaders of the effort to stall the nominations are DLCers as well as Republicans such as John McCain.
Why is this important? Because the Senate blocking these nominations creates vacancies on the NLRB - so it has too few members even to have a quorum. And because it doesn't have a quorum, it can't issue any rulings.
Thus, the NLRB is prevented from overturning Bush's actions. It's also prevented from enacting policies similar to those in the much-needed Employee Free Choice Act - which Congress still refuses to pass.
It's as if we no longer even have an NLRB!
Posted by Bandit at 5:02 PM
Looks like Scott Brown mania is ending just as quickly as it started. Poor things, those Republicans.
Ron Erhardt was a longtime Republican lawmaker in Minnesota. But in 2008, he was forced to run as an independent, because the Republicans considered him not sufficiently conservative. He ended up losing to a right-wing Republican who won with only 37%.
But now Erhardt is switching parties altogether to become a Democrat. He plans to run for the legislature again - this time under the Democratic banner.
Hopefully this isn't like what happened in Utah when a far-rightist named David Hogue bolted from the GOP to become a Democrat. The last thing the Democrats need is to be dragged further right. But if Erhardt stays out of the far-right fold, I don't expect his switch to hurt the Democrats.
Posted by Bandit at 2:36 PM
I think I know what the Democrats' problem is in failing to ward off a Republican who should've lost hands-down: They're allergic to clues.
In the Senate election in Massachusetts yesterday, ballots were found by several voters in more than one city that were pre-marked for Republican Scott "Records" Brown.
But the AP now reports that Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin is "discounting reports of voter irregularities" in yesterday's so-called election.
Uh, William? Are you OK?
There were several reports of pre-marked ballots in different cities by people who had no connection with each other. How is it that not proof that the Republicans rigged it? Hell, they've done shit like this for years! Nobody who's paid attention is even surprised by it anymore!
And Galvin's a Democrat??? Honestly, who needs Republicans when the Democrats just ignore GOP election fraud that's staring them in the face?
Also, the pre-marked ballots were conveniently destroyed to get rid of the evidence - instead of being examined by investigators.
William Galvin's inaction reminds me of the old Peanuts strip where Charlie Brown was at bat and refused to swing at a perfectly good pitch.
We need to tell the media: You WILL cover this story.
Posted by Bandit at 1:57 PM
Man, that Kermit the Frog thinks he's a Roads Scholar, doesn't he?
But he can never be a Roads Scholar - let alone a civil engineer.
That's because (like Oscar the Grouch) Kermit has no regard for the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices - called the MUTCD by those in the know.
The MUTCD says stop signs "shall be an octagon with a white legend and border on a red background." The all-powerful Wikipedia says ordinary stop signs shall also be 30 inches across and that the letters shall be 10 inches high. You can have stop signs as wide as 48 inches but none narrower than 24 inches. Stop signs shall also be reflective.
But on 'Sesame Street', rules don't apply. It's anarchy!
Or at least it is when you hire Kermit the Frog as the neighborhood's civil engineer.
Kermit-made stop signs are not red and octagonal. They are green and square. And they don't even use a standard highway font:
In that sketch, Kermit asks some 5-year-old kid what he's supposed to do if he's driving a car and sees a stop sign: STOP!!!
I think I had a shirt like that around the time I was in kindergarten, circa 1977.
Posted by Bandit at 1:31 PM
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
After today's display of Republican fascism, how can you combat it? Hopefully, the same way I'm going to fight it.
Hit 'em plumb in the pocketbook!
They want to play hardball with the American public, so I'm going to make them sorry for what they wished for.
For starts, let's boycott going to the movies. Until the current situation is remedied, I refuse to see a major theatrical release unless it's by Michael Moore.
I'm not buying any new music either unless it's from indie labels.
Furthermore, all commercial radio and TV will be boycotted. In addition, no newspapers will be purchased. The media was largely responsible for what we saw today, and the media WILL pay.
I'm also boycotting attendance at all professional sporting events.
Too often, we forget we're at war with evil, and have been for many years. There's good, and there's evil. You can't compromise with evil.
Now it's our turn to bring the country to its knees with these boycotts.
Over 1,000,000 people voted against Record Man today. If 1,000,000 Americans have the guts to join my boycott, that'll show Brit Hume who's boss. Make him wipe that sneer off that ugly helmet head.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. So get out of my way, because the other side ain't getting my hard-earned money.
Posted by Bandit at 10:49 PM
If you told me that, say, Droopy the Dog could be elected to the Senate, I might say, "Well, maybe."
But Scott "Records" Brown?
Alright, so we know he cheated. I get it. Anyone who's read my work for more than a microsecond gets it. The Republicans have become almost synonymous with cheating. (In addition to the pre-filled ballots discussed earlier, Massachusetts also uses Diebold machines.)
Is it just my imagination, or did Democratic support drop right when Ron Wyden decided to open his stupid mouth about pseudoephedrine? The DLC had to keep right on flapping about that, didn't they?
Does Scott "Records" Brown winning confirm a belief held by many that Republicans are most dangerous right after suffering their biggest defeats (like those of 2006 and 2008)? Of course not. When Record Man kills health care reform, everyone will know the Republicans are the party of no - more so than the Democrats have been, which says a lot, considering their own refusal to pass health care. And that'll be the end of Record Man mania.
We shouldn't have to find out though. Brown's ongoing threats of violence are criminal conduct, and that alone is grounds for the Senate not to seat him. They waited months to seat Al Franken, even though Franken committed no crime. So why should they seat a criminal scumbag like Record Man?
Another reason not to seat Record Man? He cheated. Since when has that been not enough of a reason?
Posted by Bandit at 10:04 PM
It's only 3 PM, and already reports of Republican fraud in the Senate election in Massachusetts are emerging.
In several different cities and towns, voters have been handed ballots with the circle for Scott "Records" Brown already filled in.
One voter thinks it's more likely an honest mistake than fraud. So somebody happened to accidentally drop a pencil right smack-dab on Brown's circle on several ballots? Call me paranoid, but I'm not quite sure how an entire circle could be filled in on so many ballots and have it be just an accident.
Kind of reminds me of what happened in Kentucky in 2004.
Posted by Bandit at 3:42 PM
CBS owns radio station B-94 in Pittsburgh. Several years ago, this signal underwent several format changes before becoming B-94 again. By far, the least successful format of these was FM talk.
But CBS didn't learn shit from that debacle. So now it's changing B-94 into an all-sports format.
Even on AM, this format hasn't seen boxcar success.
Seriously, they're using one of the market's strongest FM signals for that???
This follows another incident in Pittsburgh in which WAMO-FM was sold to become a religious station. The FCC refused to intervene to block the sale - despite public outrage.
In B-94's case, the bad format changes occurred because the station is owned by a major group owner that owns more stations in the market than would have been allowed prior to the '90s. Everything about the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has fail written all over it, and its repeal is long overdue.
Posted by Bandit at 3:08 PM
This past fall, a California school district cited a Republican-passed law as a rationale for punishing a student for keeping hunting guns in his truck - even though it was parked off campus.
Now reports are emerging about the student's previous run-ins with the school. Suffice it to say, it sounds like he'd be a Republican himself as soon as he becomes old enough to vote.
That is, if you assume the school's reports are correct. The school could have made up something out of thin air, like my high school did when it accused me of punching out a teacher (which wasn't the reason I was expelled, incidentally). I want to be careful not to accuse the student outright unless I'm satisfied with the evidence.
If there's one thing the Republicans still have a near-monopoly on, it's nasty-mouthed, disruptive, not-so-nice talk by those who should be old enough to know better. And - assuming the school is being honest - there's absolutely no excuse for the statements the student allegedly made in previous incidents. None whatsoever.
But let's look on the bright side: Being targeted by other conservatives is one of the leading factors that makes conservatives turn over a new leaf.
So there is hope even for the most nasty-mouthed youths. Well, some of them, at least.
In other words, the other side has made themselves into a circular firing squad yet again.
Posted by Bandit at 2:40 PM
What? Republicans bullying opponents?
I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell ya!
Here's a piece by Joan Venocchi in yesterday's Boston Globe about Scott "Records" Brown's ongoing bullying of Martha Coakley:
According to this piece, Brown's followers posted death threats against Coakley on Facebook and laid down on the road in front of Coakley's car.
Posted by Bandit at 2:26 AM
Monday, January 18, 2010
Damn. Those Democrats are so anti-gun that they - hey, wait a minute! What's this???
Now the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence - a gun control organization - is lambasting President Obama for not advancing gun control during his year in office. Today, the organization gave the President an 'F' for him not enacting stricter gun laws.
In other words, Obama has a better record of supporting gun owners than Bush did. By far.
Hey, aren't Bush conservatives supposed to be the ones who are against gun control? Yet Bush supported gun control far more often than Obama has. Remember the Bush regime's efforts to take guns away from veterans?
One must assume Obama's doing something right if he gets an 'F' from a gun control group.
Posted by Bandit at 6:09 PM
As I've fought Google for months over its unauthorized reposting of my copyrighted posts - and its failure to let folks remove posts by people impersonating them - a glimmer of hope is on the horizon.
Google now says it's going to stop censoring content that the Chinese government tells it to censor.
Why was it censoring it in the first place? Google forces individuals to get a court order just to remove their own material, but it blocked everything the Chinese government told it to just by demand?
Granted, even that didn't approach the level of evil of what Yahoo! was doing. Yahoo! was ratting out journalists to Red China to receive years-long prison terms. I'd also like to know why Congress hasn't passed that bill yet that was supposed to prohibit companies from doing stuff like this.
Does Google standing up against the Chinese regime mean it will start respecting Internet users' control of their own material again? I hope so. But don't count on it.
Posted by Bandit at 3:51 PM
If you're Scott "Records" Brown, and a political opponent says something you disagree with, what do you do? File charges, of course.
The Record Man campaign is filing a criminal complaint against the Massachusetts Democratic Party because of a campaign mailing. The flyer said, "1,736 women were raped in Massachusetts in 2008. Scott Brown wants hospitals to turn them all away."
Uh, Scott? You can't file charges against political foes when they make a true statement about you, you big crybaby. Hate to be the one to say it, but that's the way it is.
Posted by Bandit at 3:28 PM
In 2002, the Republican National Committee jammed Democratic phone banks in New Hampshire by making repeated hang-up calls to them.
This resulted in a series of criminal charges against GOP operatives.
But they didn't learn, I guess. Because now the right-wing RedState blog is encouraging its readers to do the exact same thing in tomorrow's Senate election in Massachusetts.
The blog encouraged readers to get phone banks' numbers and "put it on autodial."
OF COURSE the GOP didn't learn from the criminal charges last time. Didn't they get some right-wing judge to throw out the convictions?
Posted by Bandit at 3:05 PM
Sunday, January 17, 2010
The Far Right went absolutely bugfuck ballistic when I went on my Mid-South fact-finding mission around New Year's.
They hate it when I do this. Just HATE it! Even if it's in a conservative region of the country such as the South.
The main fact I found is that it rains a lot on my fact-finding missions. But I did collect 166 road photos and videos from Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. All of them of course had that 'Pail feel - so point your pooper here:
Posted by Bandit at 11:24 PM
What does a real Democrat sound like? Like a registered Green from Campbell County, Kentucky.
Not to be egotistical, but a real Democrat sounds like me when I singlehandedly subdued the Tea Parties in October.
I wouldn't be tooting my own horn if the Democratic leadership would put on their listening ears. All they do is yap and flap. Everything to them is about "compromise" with the other side - if not mimicking them outright.
If they'd shut up for once, I can show them a thing or five.
This is not 10 years ago. These days, I fight. And it works.
I showed the Tea Parties who's boss during their I-275 protests in October. I can't say I beat them for good, since that'll take your help too. But man, did I really show them!
They threatened to hold a rally at every exit off I-275 around Cincinnati. When I made rumblings about keeping an eye on them, they mysteriously ducked out of their planned appearance at the AA Highway exit.
They didn't show up. At all.
One person (me) kept their entire movement out of the county. And of all the counties for this to happen.
They are weaklings. As I said back in October, this proves I have more guts in my typing finger than they have in their whole movement. All I did was make one itty bitty reference to watching them, and they ran like the cowards they are.
I had proven over the preceding few years that I back up my words with action. It's not unlike what happened with the takedown of the Pathway Family Center cult - though I can't take full credit for that. With PFC, all it took was several rallies with about 3 to 15 people. But, man, did we fight hard! It paid off.
If every Democrat in Congress was like me, I don't think the blogosphere would be seriously debating whether the party will gain seats in November.
Posted by Bandit at 4:33 PM
Here's an interesting recent poll by Research 2000.
Americans disapprove of congressional Republicans 65% to 18%. But they also disapprove of congressional Democrats - by a margin of 55% to 41%.
What does this say about the Democratic leadership?
If you abandon your base, your base goes home. The Democrats abandoned us, so we went home.
Not to the Republicans (where we can expect to be abandoned). But home.
We know the Republicans are a damaged brand. That's been established. The GOP digs itself in deeper in every cycle. But the Democrats aren't going to keep benefiting at the polls unless they make a concerted effort to make its officeholders stick to forward-thinking principles. If that means the party has to withhold support from incumbent senators, SO BE IT.
That means you, Harry Reid and Ron Wyden.
Since we know the Democrats don't have the guts to do this, we can expect the Greens to pick up the Democratic base.
I have a right to expect to see a Green candidate in every congressional district this year - unless the Democratic candidate is clearly dedicated to progressive populism.
Unless this happens, expect a repeat and rinse of the DLC's electoral failures - which the DLC has yet to learn one fucking thing from.
I feel like my high school biology teacher when he told the class, "Don't cry to me at the end of the quarter when you fail."
Posted by Bandit at 2:02 PM
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I think I figured out the lone remaining difference between the 2 major parties: The Republicans think they should be able to force their religion on everyone else; the Democrats don't.
Confronted by right-wing host Ken Pittman of WBSM radio in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley quite properly said ER workers should be required to follow the law allowing rape victims to receive emergency contraception. Coakley asked Pittman, "If someone has been the victim of a rape, an assault, and she goes to an emergency room to get contraception, someone else should say, 'Oh, no, I don't believe in this, so I'm going to affect your constitutional rights'?"
Coakley's Republican opponent Scott "Records" Brown thinks so. Brown introduced a bill in the Massachusetts legislature that would have let hospital workers deny such emergency contraception - thereby forcing their religion on rape victims. (This bill did not pass.)
Naturally, right-wing blogs are accusing Coakley of being anti-Catholic. This accusation is particularly idiotic, as Coakley is herself Catholic! Further, the wingnutosphere made up a different Coakley quote out of thin air (and the Washington Times of course repeated it as if it was real).
Posted by Bandit at 7:01 PM
Friday, January 15, 2010
I've been doing some serious consideration lately - especially with the growing right-wing extremism of the Democrats as well as the Republicans.
I am once again seriously considering seeking elected office - possibly this year, if the filing deadline hasn't passed.
I was going to run for the U.S. House as an independent in 1998 - but I ended this campaign early. Why are things different now? It's because the Internet has grown up. Back in 1998, I was the victim of an Internet carpet-bombing campaign. Today, the Internet is much more balanced.
(Of course, most of those who would have voted for me ended up voting for the Democrat, which was the deciding factor in that race.)
This time, as a registered Green, I'd plan on running under the Green label. For what office, I don't know. Here's a deal: If the Kentucky or national Green Party wants to reimburse me for all my expenses, shuttle me to the filing office, and help collect my signatures, I'll run for whatever office they want. But they'd have to be willing to put their money where their mouth is.
Also, numerous statewide offices in Kentucky are up in 2011. So the same deal will apply to most of these offices.
Considering the quality of the Democrats lately, I'm not worried about being a spoiler. They've been just asking for it.
Posted by Bandit at 6:53 PM
From the "Now you know why I switched to the Greens" department...
This story shows again that once a drug warrior proposal takes hold, it's almost impossible these days to keep it from spreading.
DLC Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon now wants a federal law modeled after the ineffective Oregon law that requires a prescription just to buy Sudafed.
Wyden is against single payer health care, yet he supports this shit - which will just make it harder for people to receive health care. Now I know why real Democrats have said for years that Wyden isn't worth a damn: It's because he doesn't understand the Constitution for one thing.
It's also because he doesn't understand why pseudoephedrine is over-the-counter in the first place. The idea of prescriptions for some drugs was never meant to combat secondary abuses, because that would just inconvenience people who need the drug the most.
OK, we get it, Ron: The 2 major parties are identical. You don't have to keep proving it to us.
In the meantime, hopefully some states will opt out of this bill if it passes. Oregon ignored the law that says Sudafed is over-the-counter, so why can't states opt out of a law that says it's by prescription?
Fuck this stupid party!
Posted by Bandit at 6:21 PM
File this story under the predictably stupid category.
The school system in Mesquite, Texas, has suspended a 4-year-old boy from prekindergarten all because he has long hair.
Why is the school system's Nazism so predictable? Because the Mesquite schools were already known to be some of the most authoritarian around. I received a series of reports from that very district several years back about its serial tyranny and its snobbery.
Posted by Bandit at 6:03 PM
You're gonna CRACK UP LAUGHING when you see this!
I just love finding old TV bits on YouPube. They pib in a big way like so many other things we know and love.
And I've found another unintentionally hilarious bit that was connected with someone from 'The Lawrence Welk Show'. It seems to be a music video made by Larry Hooper for his 1958 song "The Fourth R" - a parody of the gospel song "Old-Time Religion":
If you're not laughing your way off the edge of your seat from that, your funny bone must be busted!
Damn, that video is hilarious!
"The Fourth R" is one of very few songs or music videos that seems to advocate teaching religion in public schools. In the video, Larry Hooper demonstrates his lack of familiarity with separation of church and state by disrupting a classroom by lecturing the teacher about "the fourth 'R'." Then the whole class bursts into song.
It's unknown whether this song ever charted. That ridiculous "Battle Hymn Of Lt. Calley" made it into the top 40, so anything is possible.
Posted by Bandit at 3:49 PM
Too often, we forget that we're at war with individuals who are basically just bad people.
Folks like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sun Myung Moon, Pat Robertson, and Chris Christie - New Jersey's new sorry imitation of a governor. When Christie isn't fixing traffic tickets and getting corrupt county bosses to rig elections for him, he's busy appointing right-wing extremists to important posts.
Such as Bret Schundler (the idiot pictured here).
During his 9 years as mayor of Jersey City, Schundler left the city in shambles. He abused the city's official website to attack political opponents. During his ill-fated 2005 run for governor, Schundler found a photo of Howard Dean surrounded by cheering supporters and pasted a photo of himself over Dean. Some of the people in the photo threatened to sue Schundler for misappropriation of likeness.
Leaders of education groups have described Schundler as "the antithesis of everything we hold sacred about public education." So naturally, Chris Christie has selected Bret Schundler to serve as New Jersey's education commissioner.
Schundler has long advocated unconstitutional private school voucher programs that lavish taxpayer money on private schools even when public schools are strapped for dough.
Although Bret Schundler's serial incompetence has made him a national laughingstock, his nomination has received praise from other far-right nutcases and DLCers like State Sen. Raymond Lesniak.
America is supposed to be a constitutional republic, a fact that should stymie Schundler's pet cause. Then again, it's hard for the country's public or private schools to get much worse, because America pretty much doesn't have an education system anymore. It's kind of like the health care system.
Schundler still has to be confirmed by New Jersey's Democratic-led legislature. If New Jersey lawmakers are anything like the wusses in the U.S. Senate, they'll probably just confirm him - when what they should be doing is calling Chris Christie and Rupert Murdoch before the chamber to answer some very tough questions.
Posted by Bandit at 2:37 PM
When you accept a job to be a control freak, I guess we shouldn't be surprised when you live down to expectations.
Gil Kerlikowske - drug czar for the Obama administration - is conducting an electrifying world tour of the state of Oregon.
The main purpose of this fact-finding mission seems to be to spread one of the drug warriors' biggest lies of the past few years. Namely, Kerlikowske praised Oregon for being the only state to defy federal law by requiring a prescription to buy pseudoephedrine allergy drugs.
Kerlikowske falsely claimed that Oregon's law reduced the prevalence of meth labs. That is an outright lie - one that can be debunked by even a cursory Internet search.
But who's surprised at Gil Kerlikowske lying and getting away with it? The very job of drug czar is to be a control freak. The post was conceived by the Reagan regime for that purpose. The aim of creating the drug czar post wasn't to improve the American people's lives but to regiment their personal conduct.
Contrary to popular belief, Kerlikowske never supported legalizing marijuana. When he was Seattle police chief, he even fought against a measure that would have made busting people for marijuana possession a lower priority. Kerlikowske was also responsible for the illegal arrests of labor leaders and other peaceful activists during the WTO conference.
When you're a drug warrior, lying to advance the failed War on Drugs goes with the territory. The only way you can excuse the drug war is by lying.
If I was President, and if there was one major government post I had to eliminate, drug czar would be it. We can't afford to keep squandering taxpayer dollars on an office whose goal is to control private conduct, while big banks have almost no regulation whatsoever.
Posted by Bandit at 1:38 PM
Next Tuesday's Senate election in Massachusetts features Democratic frontrunner Martha Coakley, Republican Scott Brown (no relation to this blogger), and independent Joe Kennedy (no relation to the Kennedy political family).
Scott Brown is a sorry shell of a man who has attracted significant white supremacist support and has been caught lying about whether or not he's heard of the Tea Party movement.
And now it turns out he's been making threats against Kennedy.
Kennedy writes on his Facebook page, "Please have Scott Brown supporters stop sending threats of violence to me and my family." He told one commenter, "Me and my family have been threatened with violence from Brown Supporters. ... I have had to go to my local police department due to the nature of the interactions we are getting."
Even if Scott Brown had a chance in hell of winning, his making threats against opponents is cause enough for the Senate not to seat him. He should be in jail, not the Senate.
Posted by Bandit at 1:10 AM
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Another right-wing talk station in Boston of all places?
The people of Massachusetts - the Boston area being no exception - have had considerably less tolerance for right-wing garbledygoop than most other states. But why does Boston - like other American cities - have so many right-wing stations?
Now it's gaining yet another, courtesy of the far-right Clear Channel syndicate. Crap Channel is ditching the Latin music format of WKOX and replacing it with fascist talk, under the call letters WXKS. WXKS will carry assassin supporter Glenn Beck and smug idiot Sean Hannity, and it's trying to wrest Rush Limbaugh from a competing right-wing station.
This after Clear Channel did away with WKOX's popular liberal talk format in 2006.
Suitably enough, the station's conservative format is scheduled to begin on...April 1.
Posted by Bandit at 7:50 PM
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I once pledged to use this blog to help interpret dreams that I've had.
My recurring dream of escaping my former high school is pretty easy to interpret, as it shows just how close to the surface this notion lurked in real life.
But I've also had another recurring dream: In this dream, I repeatedly return to an apartment I had years ago and use it as sort of a second home. According to this dream, this occurs without the knowledge of the owner.
To "squat" in that apartment in real life would be unrealistic, since that building is still maintained and is still inhabited by others. But I think the dream shows just how easy it would be to do in other buildings - particularly, empty ones that nobody seems to maintain.
If such an act becomes necessary because of the government's failure to rein in the country's housing crisis, it's not really "squatting." It would actually be homesteading, because it would be necessary.
The United States probably ranks just behind North Korea as having the least tolerance of such homesteading. Still, I bet there's buildings in my area where it's possible.
Posted by Bandit at 5:00 PM
If there's one place where no adult is allowed to enjoy the right to disagree with somebody in power, it's America's corporatist slaughterhouse schools.
A New Jersey woman has learned this the hard way after confronting her daughter's middle school principal about the school's refusal to deal with an apparent pattern of student harassment. This visit was prompted by an incident in which a male student yanked her daughter's pants down in front of schoolmates.
When the school stonewalled, the parent quite rightly told the principal what she thought.
The result? A disorderly conduct charge against her.
But hey, bogus charges like this are nothing new under Kentucky law. Kentucky pioneered the right-wing trend of criminalizing dissent against school administrators. But this story happened in New Jersey.
After a 13-year-old was assaulted by a schoolmate, you'd think the school would have more decency than to try to have the victim's mother thrown in jail just for confronting the school.
But America's schools are run by an impenetrably smug right-wing elite that no law controls. In the eyes of the law, they are never wrong.
Posted by Bandit at 4:35 PM
If you thought the Democratic Losership Council was slow to pick up political cues, the Republicans make them look like geniuses in comparison.
Republican congressional leaders are now planning a Contract With America "redux" - a retread of the platform they ran on in 1994, when it was already stale.
Because we all see what that did for the GOP's approval ratings after 1994, huh? There's no way in hell the voting public is going to let a party running on that shitty platform back in power, after seeing what it did to the country last time.
The Republicans have nothing to run on but retreads from 1994? Quick! Somebody break out the Chicago font and helmet hair!
Posted by Bandit at 3:35 PM
During my New Year's fact-finding mission, I had a mighty fine time, yep (as the guy in the old cough drop commercial would say).
But at one point, it seemed as if Ernie's old buddy Bert was at the helm.
It was New Year's Eve in Mena, Arkansas. And Bert was allowed to operate the Eyewitness Cam for us as we bipped into town.
It just so happens that Mena has a Bert Street - which flattered our favorite banana-shaped Muppet's delusions of grandeur:
Bert, you are a hero to us all.
Posted by Bandit at 1:48 PM
Poor Republican babies. They seem to have forgotten how to win elections, haven't they?
Yesterday, the Democrats scored an upset in a special election for the Virginia Senate, winning a seat that had long been Republican-held - in a district that went heavily GOP in the recent gubernatorial election. The seat had previously belonged to right-wing extremist Ken Cuccinelli II, who was elected Virginia Attorney General back in November and who has threatened to bust unions by pulling the state out of the Employee Free Choice Act (even though the state has no power to do so).
How are the cave dwellers at Free Republic reacting to the Democrats winning the Senate seat yesterday? One observed:
"Read 'Rat vote fraud....."
Oh, I get it now. Every election in America is supposed to be won by the Republicans just because it's their birthright. And if they lose, it's always because their opponents cheated, isn't it?
What's that sound I hear?
It's looming closer!
Why, it's the WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHmbulance again!
Grow up, Freepers!
Posted by Bandit at 1:15 PM
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
What the American public has a right to look forward to every 10 years is now beginning. But not with a sense of hope. It's with a sense of dread, because of the shenanigans of 1990 and 2000.
I speak of the decennial census - when Americans are supposed to be able to stand up and be counted (literally). But even the census is corrupted by Republican rigging. After all, the census is the basis for congressional and electoral vote apportionment.
The 2000 census was the most inaccurate ever. I did not even receive a census form - even after I asked for one. So I was not counted. This oversight was intentional.
Now - for the 2010 census - the Census Bureau is openly ignoring some 1,700,000 addresses nationwide.
And - generally speaking - they're not in the Republican exurbs. Without explanation, the census has removed almost 13,000 addresses that are in the now-Democratic city of Cincinnati. Only a handful of suburban addresses were removed. For instance, the Census Bureau removed only 9 addresses in the Republican suburb of Union, Kentucky.
Not only that, but the addresses that were removed in Cincinnati are in the city's most heavily Democratic neighborhoods, such as Over-the-Rhine and Corryville.
Cincinnati is urging the Census Bureau to restore some of the 13,000 households it inexplicably removed. About 2,000 other cities have made similar pleas.
If you see any fishy population figures when the results of the 2010 census are released, I think you can safely say that much of it was because the census missed so many addresses that should have been counted.
Posted by Bandit at 4:25 PM
How's that Delta/Northwest merger working out again? You know, the one that they said would lower costs for travelers?
Welp, now Delta is raising its fees for checked bags. Again.
This story kind of speaks for itself, doesn't it?
Although airlines used the oil industry's price gouging as an excuse to hike fees in 2008, airlines didn't lower their fees when fuel costs dropped.
Methinks it's time for the states to start regulating airline fees (since the federal government has long permitted airlines to do whatever they want).
Posted by Bandit at 2:43 PM
The idea of Kentucky losing public schools is almost redundant, as its school system seems to be private in terms of who may attend.
I know this firsthand.
But the Bluegrass State may be on the brink of losing schools that are even run by public agencies.
The Kentucky House has unanimously approved a bill that would shift management of "low-performing" schools to for-profit companies.
Guess they didn't learn a thing from the scam that was pulled in Hartford a few years back.
The excuse for this bill is that it has to be passed in order for Kentucky to receive federal education funds. Then why aren't all the other states trying to turn their schools into profit-making businesses as well?
Not like this effort isn't also nearly redundant. What is the modern American education system but a massive indoctrination camp that molds our children into cheap, docile labor to serve Big Business? Sadly, that's what it's become.
Posted by Bandit at 2:19 PM
Remember Dale Robertson, the Houston area Tea Party leader who was photographed carrying a racist sign?
Well, Robertson isn't content to just leave the matter alone. So he's doctored the photograph to make the sign appear less offensive by replacing the original words with a Prince-like "I WORK 4 U." He's posted the doctored version on his own website.
Robertson didn't even do a good job at doctoring the picture! It looks like he used a half-broken ball mouse on an old Windows 98 machine to write in the new slogan.
Uh, Dale? I think you might want to go to work for MSNBC. They're known for bad right-wing hoaxes.
I also find it interesting that Robertson calls his movement the 1776 Tea Party - even though the real Boston Tea Party was in 1773.
Posted by Bandit at 1:38 PM