Saturday, December 31, 2011

Peace Bike reopens path

New Year's Eve has given the world a stark preview of the 2012 Tim, and from the looks of it, it's not going to be pretty for the Evil Empire.

The Peace Bike will be 8 years old in 2012, and it still coasts along. Today I took the Peace Bike to downtown Cincinnati again, and on the way back, we showed the Far Right who's boss.

There's a path for pedestrians and bicyclists running from Pete Rose Way to 3rd, across from the Purple People Bridge. The path was fine on the way into town today, but on the way back, I found it blocked by an unusually wide and tall traffic cone. This wouldn't have been a huge deal, except that the closure of this path would require cyclists to detour all the way to Eggleston Avenue.

So I just kicked down the cone and plowed right on through.

The other end of the path presented an even greater obstacle. Not only were there oddly shaped traffic cones, but the path was completely blocked with yellow tape. So the Peace Bike just broke right through the tape and left it dangling from the toppled cones.

The attempt to permanently close this much-needed path was almost certainly driven by classism. There's no question in my mind about that. Why else would they close it except to keep us masses from marauding into Lytle Park? So I took it upon myself to reopen the path. Fair is fair.

Incidentally, I just checked the county property map, and I've confirmed that the path is indeed public property. So the Evil Empire loses again.

Congress throws its hands up in defeat with NDAA

I've been following the saga of the National Defense Authorization Act of late. This is the bill that President Obama threatened to veto unless Congress removed some unconstitutional provisions that would have gutted habeas corpus and allowed American citizens to be detained indefinitely without a trial.

Congress toned down the bill, but the end product was still alarmingly bad. Today, Obama signed the somewhat weakened bill and issued a lengthy signing statement vowing not to use the new law to detain Americans. Not like that'll do any good if some absolute nutcase becomes President.

Who in Congress decided to add Constitution-shredding provisions to what was otherwise a routine bill? I doubt these sections would have been signed into law if they weren't part of an important authorization bill that was otherwise unrelated. In other words, Congress exploited a must-pass bill.

The addition of these provisions really means that Congress has thrown its hands up in defeat. They know their approval ratings are in the johndola, and that they have no leg to stand on to go after dissidents, so - in frustration - they trot out laws that are blatantly unconstitutional and don't care what anybody thinks. The unconstitutional and unenforceable portions of the NDAA are a sign of sheer desperation.

This isn't how winners act.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Adults to be carded for cough syrup

After forcing adults to present an ID for many basic purchases and activities became a national religion, I guess it's surprising that it took this long for this story to happen.

Starting January 1, California will start requiring everybody to display an ID just to buy cough syrup.

Really? Carded for cough syrup? That's where America is at now thanks to the 28-year-long hard freeze of rightism?

With Americans being carded for just about everything these days, where does all their personal information go?

Armed thugs attack Occupiers

Not for the first time, an Occupy event has been physically attacked by right-wing thugs who oppose its message.

Early this morning in New Haven, Connecticut, an Occupy encampment was attacked by a group of gun-toting men. The assailants stampeded through the campsite and began kicking the tents where protesters were asleep. One of the men pointed his gun at a protester.

After the assailants fled, one was caught by police and arrested. Cops discovered that he had altered the serial number on his gun. The rest of the attackers remain at large.

I don't know of this story receiving any coverage outside Connecticut. Almost every news outlet in the land endlessly rehashes stories that might reflect negatively on Occupy supporters, but a story that reflects poorly on Occupy opponents is completely swept under the rug in 49 states.


Outcry defeats Verizon price-gouging

Telcom giant Verizon recently announced plans to charge cell phone customers an extra $2 fee every time they made a payment using any method that was invented after 1850.

I wondered to myself why the states or the federal government allowed this price-gouging, but now it looks like that's moot. The resulting public outcry was so deafening that Verizon has now backed down.

Chalk up another victory for the still-growing Occupy campaign. It was the Occupy movement that heightened awareness of this example of Verizon greed and allowed the story to reach more of the public. What's amazing is how effective this public uproar was. Some 10 or 15 years ago, Verizon's proposal would have largely been met with absolute, utter silence while the government rubber-stamped it.

See, folks, this Occupy business is mighty nifty.


Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Wasters!"

I'm sensitive about things being wasted or needlessly thrown in the dumpster. I come from a working-class background, and I've lived a lean existence. So I cringed when wealthy schoolmates wasted perfectly good items like paper.

You hear a lot about compulsive hoarding, but compulsive wasting is a problem too. To compete with Hoarders, I've come up with a schnazzy idea for a TV show...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Congress loots legal aid

Congress has the money to pay for the illegal Iraq War, bailouts for big banks, and D.C.'s unconstitutional school voucher program - but it doesn't have any for legal aid?

The Tea Party-dominated House is once again grinning its shit-eating smirk so broadly that you'll have a good mind to kick its teeth down its throat. Now they've slashed funding to valuable legal aid services - aid that has helped countless working-class Americans fight illegal evictions, foreclosures, and other assaults. The House is cutting the budget for the Legal Services Corporation by almost 15%. This after previous cuts have already forced legal aid organizations to turn away perhaps a majority of eligible clients.

Congress can complain that they had to cut legal aid to stay within its means, but I'm not buying it. If you can afford to spend trillions on the war, you can afford to fund legal aid. End of story.

I know that historically it's made sense for the House to be in charge of budgeting and raising revenue, but the House has proven it doesn't know how to budget. Since 1995, the House has usually been even more irresponsible than the Senate at this and every other task. When we have mob rule by the richest 1%, that's the result.

If this is allowed to continue, I think we may have to take a serious look at amending the Constitution to crimp the House's limitless budgeting powers. Why should the worse chamber of the worst branch of government hold the sole power to budget? Deciding how to spend the people's money should be the realm of a body that truly represents the people. When was the last time you felt you had decent representation in Congress?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "On The Floor...Vomit's Glistenin'..."

Happy Holidays from this fine blog! Our latest 'LCQ' regales you with hilarious memories of a beloved childhood pet eating tinsel off the Christmas tree and vomiting it back up on the rug...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dumbest right-wing idea of the year?

The year is almost over, and while 2011 started on an ominous note, it now appears as if the Evil Empire's ship has sailed for good. (Keep your fingers crossed.)

This year has been full of idiotic right-wing ideas, but I just stumbled upon what may be the most bippus-bustingly bad idea of them all. I don't remember hearing anything about it at the time, but it turns out that several months ago, right-wing members of Congress fired one of the most noxious missiles in their war on workers that I've seen in ages.

The Republican Study Committee (a group of congressional extremists) promoted a bill that would cut off food stamps from anybody who was participating in a labor strike. Then they lied about it. The bill had been introduced by right-wing Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who led the committee.

Evidently, this bill died - because it was crap.

I want to know where the Republicans learned such meanness.

If somebody works for a living and makes so little money that they have to get food stamps, isn't it only fair that they go on strike?


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

D.C. now fastest growing state

Still don't think Americans are moving back to the cities?

Well, a new report by the Census Bureau shows that the District of Columbia is the fastest growing state between April 2010 and July 2011 - although it's not officially a state. The nation's capital boasts a 2.7% population increase.

This illustrates several important points. First, it bolsters our view that D.C. should be made the 51st state. Pronto. Even before this report, D.C. already had more people than some states.

Second, it's another sign of the back-to-the-cities trend. Let's face it: People no longer want to live in exurbs that are 40 miles out of town. I can't think of anything in the exurbs that would attract anybody who wants to live freely.

The heyday of the exurban "values voter" is over.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Have no fear, ish #464 is here!

The latest issue of The Last Word is now pub-a-roony, and it's a beaut!

This progressive populist fanzine of freedom will turn 19 next year, and we're up to 464 installments. Our latest issue covers the following...

• Price-gouging by ambulance services and cell phone firms.

• Why the Occupy movement had to happen.

• The Tea Party's war against libraries.

• A local university wasting millions on upgrading its athletic program.

• Internet censorship!

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

So read The Last Word now before it's too late! Click here for our latest ish...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Unconstitutional drug treatment law coming to Ohio?

You can run from right-wing tyranny, but you can't always hide!

My writings have long been critical of a Kentucky law that passed in the 2000s that allows anybody (young and old alike) to be placed in a drug treatment facility without due process just because of somebody else's say-so. The only other state I know of that has this widely abused, unconstitutional law is Florida.

Now Ohio may follow suit.

Republicans in Ohio recently introduced a bill like this modeled on the Kentucky law. Outrageously, it passed the Ohio Senate unanimously. (What's this again about a two-party system?)

The bill's present whereabouts are unclear, but it apparently went to the Ohio House.

The NDAA is bad, but we need to fight this just as much. For all the fear of innocent people being held without charge under the NDAA, it's much more likely that they'd be "disappeared" under the type of bill Ohio is trying to pass. If it passes, you can be 100% drug-free and still be locked in an abusive "rehab." It's happened to teenagers because of phony programs like Kids Helping Kids, and under these laws, it can happen to anybody. Especially because corrupt judges take kickbacks from abusive programs.

Be on guard.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

America can't survive another rightist revolution

The 2012 electoral cycle may be make or break, folks. I feel mighty good about it, since the Occupy campaign continues to grow. But if you're still not clued in to these voices of reason, let me warn you of what looms if America elects the wrong clown.

Through most of my lifetime, in intervals of roughly 6 to 8 years, the United States experiences a revolution of sorts. Not a good revolution, but a fascist one. Each time, the Far Right tightens the vise of oppression and decimates more of our natural rights. They bring economic ruin, attacks on civil liberties, and more ideological allies to fill our judicial posts and gunk up the works for decades to come.

We may seem immunized for 2012 because of 2010's Tea Party jailbreak, but it's important to keep our guard up at all times. And there is no question whatsoever that America WOULD NOT survive a Newt Gingrich presidency. This is not hyperbole. This is a demonstrable fact.

The Establishment has masturbated at the prospect of a Gingrich White House for years. They want this more than anything in the world. This is their Holy Grail. With Gingrich at the helm, everything else comes easy to them.

Worst of all, it'll be on our backs. If your memory goes back further than 1999, you know Newt is mean. And evil. Evil to the very core. I'm not talking about somebody who's merely misguided. Newt Gingrich sets out to do people harm. He hurts people and he enjoys it.

If Newt is allowed to set foot in the Oval Office, that's it. It's over. America won't survive it. And it's not happening on my watch. When we used to sit on our hands, we lost. But the Occupy movement is about action. I do not think for one minute that Occupiers will allow one of the worst American politicians of modern times to go anywhere near the White House.

So Occupy!

Food shortages in the capital of capitalism (a blast from the past)

It's befuddling what lengths The Media will go to in order to distort or cover up facts and manipulate public opinion. As yet another example of this, the pop-up press finds it convenient to forget the food shortages that plagued America in the '90s largely because of George H.W. Bush's incompetence at dealing with a recession while he padded his corrupt cronies' coffers.

But The Media actually used to occasionally report what it now forgets. If you look at scattered articles from the era, you'll find reports of grocery freezers sitting empty, the prices of food soaring, and sellers having to ration items.

News articles reveal that prices of cereal and lettuce were artificially jacked up by collusion in the industry. Producers of other goods stockpiled their products to inflate the costs to consumers. But I don't remember anyone in the government doing anything about it - probably because Congress thought their pet bills like the Solomon Amendment were more important.

In almost any other country in the world, if you saw the level of inflation that America had 20 years ago, the government would issue price caps. But our so-called public officials cried that was "communism!" None dared to refer to our economic gatekeepers' activities as greed.

Next time one of the 1-percenters accuses you of not being able to make it under capitalism, remember that this is what capitalism is all about. Capitalism is for the 1% - not you.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "The Price Is Wrong"

Are you afraid of Dennis James?

The late Mr. James was well-known in my day as the host of the nighttime version of The Price Is Right. Lots of people feared this legendary TV personality because of the way he appeared to jump out of the screen. I've seen clips of him on YouTube, and his excitability reminds me a little bit of how strange Gatewood Galbraith has been acting lately. By that, I don't mean ol' Gatewood back in the days when he was sane. I mean the way he acts now, when he seems to exist only to agree with everything David Williams says.

(Somebody else told me Galbraith looks like a guy who used to appear in old Godfather's Pizza commercials. It's true! I found those ads on YouTube, and Gatewood Galbraith looks exactly like that guy!)

Our latest 'LCQ' explores your phobia of Dennis James...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bye, Drac

Well, folks, northern Kentucky's long national nightmare is over.

I've just been informed that right-wing Rep. Geoff Davis will not be seeking a fifth disastrous term next year - ending a congressional career full of many embarrassments to the 4th District.

Maybe now we'll finally get a congressperson.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Racist crap at a Cincinnati building

Even today, America is still fighting against unabated bigotry. The fight against the Far Right isn't just on purely economic grounds. It's also a fight against discrimination.

Recently, the owner of a Cincinnati apartment building posted a "White Only" sign at the building's swimming pool. I have no doubt whatsoever that her intent was racist, because what else could the sign possibly mean? The Ohio Civil Rights Commission agreed that it was racist, and found that she violated a statewide anti-discrimination law. Now the building owner is demanding that the commission reconsider.

This story is about not only bigotry but also the misuse of power embodied by somebody thinking they can get away with something just because. The building is in effect a business, and it violated individual rights by posting the sign. The rights of the people are the glue that holds our system together. But there's no right for any person or business to discriminate in violation of the law.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Stinky Money"

Money stinks. Literally.

Have you noticed how bad currency notes have smelled lately?

Our latest 'LCQ' explores this phenomenon...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

College students protest pseudoephedrine ban

When you see stories like this, you know there's lots of hope for today's young adults - unlike in my generation, when many of my contemporaries were brainwashed into thinking Ronald Reagan was their grandpa.

Walgreen's has a policy at all its drugstores nationwide that prohibits customers from buying cold and allergy drugs that contain pseudoephedrine if they're from out of state. This policy is probably illegal, and it certainly is fascist.

So who's up for an Occupy Walgreen's protest? Students at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, are planning a demonstration against the embattled pharmacy chain. Even the college president has approached Walgreen's in an effort to make it change its ways, but Walgreen's hasn't budged yet. Now he's teamed up with the school's NAACP chapter in organizing the rally, which will take place outside a Walgreen's in Muskogee.

This issue is of particular interest to college students because many live out of state and don't have an in-state ID. It's also of interest to anybody else who cares about liberty or crimping corporate power.

I'd be at this protest if I could. It's long overdue.


Snack Break

+ Can we finally put this issue to rest now? Yesterday, voters in Wellington, Kansas, faced a citywide referendumb on whether a prescription would be required for over-the-counter allergy drugs. This drug warrior measure was as idiotic as you might imagine. Well, it got defeated 74% to 26%.

+ After 2 aides to Maryland's right-wing former Gov. Bob Ehrlich were indicted in June for racially motivated phone calls to suppress the vote, now the verdict for one of the aides is in: GUILTY! The robocalls had gone out to countless voters telling them to "relax" because the election was already over - even though it wasn't. One of the aides was convicted yesterday on all 4 counts related to the deceptive robocalls. Unbelievably, he tried saying his attempt at election fraud was protected by the First Amendment. There's a word for that: stupid!

+ The TSA is at it again. This time, the TSA accused a teenage girl on a flight from Norfolk to Jacksonville of committing a federal offense because her purse had the design of a small Wild West-style gun on it. As a result of the TSA's panic, the girl missed her flight. Jeez, the TSA still keeps getting dumber by the day, don't it?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cops infiltrated Occupy L.A.

Remember a few years ago when the Maryland Police State Police infiltrated protests in that state? That was a national scandal.

But police in Los Angeles didn't learn from the humiliation that befell law enforcement because of that campaign. Now it's been revealed that cops in L.A. used about a dozen undercover police detectives to infiltrate the Occupy encampment there to gather "intelligence" about what protesters planned to do.

Valuable police resources - wasted.

Didn't the Maryland scandal establish that this type of surveillance is illegal?


Monday, December 5, 2011

Scott Walker's thugs busted!

As Wisconsin's fascist Gov. Scott Walker faces a possible recall election, it's clear his crazed cultists just can't handle themselves.

In West Bend, Wisconsin, a 30-year-old man has been arrested for defacing the recall petitions like a big baby. He walked up to a signature gatherer and scribbled all over the petitions. The charge is a felony. It would serve Walker right if he loses the recall election by one vote all because the suspect loses his right to vote for being convicted of a felony.

And in Chippewa Falls, a 68-year-old woman was arrested for tearing up a sign posted by recall supporters. Sort of like when some Nazi tore up the "George Bush, bite my tush" sign at Devou Park. The difference here is that the Devou Park thug is still on the loose after 11 years, because he wasn't arrested on the spot like he should have been.

Issues, fads, and technology may change over the years, but one thing remains the same: The Evil Empire can dish it out but can't take it.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fun with garbage

Who besides Oscar the Grouch ever thought trash could be so much fun?

I waltzed down to Occupy Cincinnati again yesterday, because they were hankerin' to conduct an amazing march through the neighborhood, in which they would pick up garbage and beautify the city. I brang a couple trash bags and donned rubber gloves - joining about 50 other folks in this endeavor.

I'm reporting on this event here because the pop-up media won't. As far as I can tell, The Media has completely ignored this beautification march. They report every negative story about the Occupy movement they can get their paws on (including stories that are completely made up) - but when we do something positive that turns out to be a success, there's not a word of coverage. Nothing.

We collected dozens of bags full of rubbish. We picked up broken CD's, soft drink cans, gobs of Frisch's Big Boy wrappers, and enough chewed bubble gum to blow a bubble the size of Newt Gingrich's head. I even found a couple pencils and a small amount of coinage! This went on for a couple hours.

This also lays hulk to the Far Right's laughable claim that Occupiers don't do any work. Yesterday, I met the hardest-working group of peeps I'd seen in recent memory. Contrast this with some of my old schoolmates, who were so damn lazy that I'd be surprised if they made the effort of moving their arms into a position to open a garbage bag. (Then again, they'd love finding all that old gum, so maybe it'd be worth it to them.)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Super Toe Is Cool"

Remember Super Toe? He was cool!

Yes, I'm talking about the '70s toy! Super Toe was a little football player who'd kick a ball when you pushed his head down. He ruled!

And for once, 'Lawn Chair Quarterback' lives up to its football-inspired name - by reminiscing about Super Toe!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Police riot victim releases miscarriage records

Remember last week when The Media accused a young woman of lying about having a miscarriage after being assaulted by police at Occupy Seattle? In addition, the right-wing spambots who flood website comment sections said the woman should be charged with child endangerment for "allowing" herself to be attacked. Seriously, they said that - even while they accused her of making the whole thing up.

Well, now she's released her medical records that confirm that she did indeed have a miscarriage. She was under no obligation to release them, because they are private. But she did release them - which confirms her side of the story.

Despite this, The Media has not retracted its accusations against her.

With the months-old Occupy movement still expanding, you'd think The Media would be prodded into investigating Wall Street and America's yawning chasm between the rich and poor. Instead, The Media sees an opportunity to launch smear campaigns against pregnant women, impoverished war vets, and others. These campaigns never prove that a person lied about their story, but they attempt to discredit them by suggesting they did. When the person proves they were telling the truth, The Media never corrects themselves.