Friday, December 28, 2012

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Room-Clearing Roo"

Tim critiques recent holiday flatulence...

Chiquita, tell me what's wrong...

Are corporations people? They are according to some Cincinnati city officials, who offered banana giant Chiquita a seat on the local airport board late last year.

The offer was supposed to be an incentive to get Chiquita to keep 270 jobs in town, but oftentimes when you talk about giving incentives to corporations, it's shorthand for caving to a company's unreasonable demands. The more important point though is one that highlights Americans' growing sentiment against corporate personhood: Chiquita is a corporation - the business kind - not a person or nonprofit group.

One gets the image of one of the seats at airport board meetings being held by a giant talking banana.

In addition to the airport seat, the city also planned to give Chiquita a handout of $25,000 to use for whatever it wanted.

This story of corporate personhood is separate from an earlier scandal after which Chiquita was fined for hiring Colombian paramilitary groups, or another in which the company has been accused of using a private militia to intimidate workers. These sagas were preceded in 1998 by a local media piece charging Chiquita with a series of offenses ranging from employee mistreatment to environmental pollution. Regrettably, I dropped the ball regarding that probe, thanks to the right-wing harassment campaign that was being carried out against me at the time. Remember that? So wipe those smirks off your faces, conservos.

There's lots of cruelty built into corporatism - a system that's failed worldwide.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lanza took psychotropic drugs

I've explored the hypocritical values that have been an underlying factor that leads to mass shootings - and this story highlights one major facet of these values.

Almost without exception, modern America's spree killers had been prescribed psychotropic drugs prior to the killings. In fact, there might not be a single exception. I withheld saying this about Newtown shooter Adam Lanza until I knew for sure - but now the truth emerges.

According to Lanza's uncle, Lanza had been prescribed Fanapt, a powerful antipsychotic. Side effects of Fanapt include delusion, paranoia, and mania.

Big Pharma has as much blood on its hands as anybody else. Militarization of our schools and society is ubiquitous and highly visible. But the toxins hawked by Big Pharma's drug lords are the active ingredient in firearm massacres.

Furthermore, Fox News lied when it reported Lanza hadn't been drugged. This is just the latest of the Fox News distortions that have piled up like flapjacks for years - all courtesy of the channel without which the discredited Tea Party would not have been possible. (It's fair to say Fox News practically built the Tea Party from the top down.)

What a pathetic lot our society has become. A pathetic, sad, miserable lot. But if people wise up, history will look unkindly upon Big Pharma's dominance. Before long, psychiatry will be widely viewed as the quackery that it is. But that assumes there will still be anybody alive to make this judgment - for the pharmaceutical companies seem to be rapidly killing everybody.


KickApps gets kicked

Another nail in the coffin of what was once touted as a wide-open Internet.

The KickApps content hosting service has been taken over by a corporation that - without warning - has promptly deleted all content. KickApps is now reportedly being used solely for corporate content - but I just checked it, and it's down completely.

All the work that KickApps users have put into their websites is now gone into thin air.

Government inaction has killed yet another valuable Internet service - not unlike when Yahoo!'s takeover of Geocities was rubber-stamped by the Justice Department's failure to intervene.

For an Internet that was once hyped as being a boundless frontier, the government sure hasn't done much to ensure the free flow of ideas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "WSBD"

Tim celebrates the holidays by talking about how flatulence is like owning a radio station...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Conservatives who put guns in schools now want more guns in schools

This is another story of how the militarization of American society and the rise of the right-wing police state have accomplished nothing except to worsen gun violence - and how those who cheered the rise of the police state use the increased violence as an excuse for even more police state measures.

It is believed that in the 1970s, no American public school (outside of juvenile detention) had gun-toting guards roaming the hallways. And gun violence in schools back then was practically nil. Today, 68% of American high schools have armed guards. Is there less violence as a result? Of course not. It's also believed that no democracy in the world except the United States has armed guards in schools. Yet what country has more school shootings than every other nation put together?

America puts guns in schools - then acts surprised when somebody brings in a gun and shoots up the place.

Now - following the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut - the right-wing brain trust is demanding even more armed guards in schools. Far-right former Education Secretary and drug czar William Bennett says he endorses this increased militarization.

It brings a whole new meaning to the school-to-prison pipeline. Indeed, it makes it redundant, as our schools have essentially become prisons. It's a fact that American schools are violence central. News reports keep trying to assure us that school is one of the safest places to be. But it isn't. I've known this firsthand since 1984.

The right-wing talking heads who come up with ideas like this are as out of step as the jumbled, blustery, corporate-minded leadership of the NRA is. (Incidentally, I thought I'd warn you that "Occupy the NRA" is not a bona fide Occupy chapter. They've been deleting legitimate Occupy-related posts from several different people on their Facebook page. The project is really just a ham-handed attempt to "tone down" Occupy - not unlike how the DLC mutilated the Democrats.)

The militaristic ravings generated by the wardens of our prison-like school system have gone unchallenged for far too long.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Arkansas town to switch to martial law

If we're so determined to perform an effective exorcism against America's gun culture, we should start by demilitarizing our streets. But the town of Paragould, Arkansas, seems to be revving up in reverse.

Starting in the new year, Paragould plans to check the ID of anybody seen walking downtown - regardless of age, regardless of time of day. This right-wing "papers please" plan is endorsed by Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall. This martial law proposal will involve police in SWAT gear openly carrying military-style assault guns.

Stovall said, "If you're out walking, we're going to stop you, ask why you're out walking, check for your ID." Ask me all you want, but you ain't gonna get it. How 'bout that? As a free people, we are constitutionally protected from such arbitrary government acts.

Gaskill said of Paragould's citizenry, "They may not be doing anything but walking their dog, but they're going to have to prove it." Because everyone is guilty until proven innocent, right?

Stovall provided more details of how his martial law plan will be carried out: "We will be asking for picture identification. We will be ascertaining where the subject lives and what they are doing in the area. We will be keeping a record of those we contact."

Is anybody still laughing today over my earlier warning that "America is fast becoming a police state"?


Monday, December 17, 2012

Tea Party blames unions for Newtown shooting

Time for the Tea Party to recline its shit-caked jaws to an unopened position, methinks.

After Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, we try to find solutions. But the Tea Party predictably tries to affix blame. Tea Party Nation's Timothy Birdnow has posted a piece on the group's website somehow blaming the shooting on labor unions. It is unclear how.

The article also blames "sex" in movies and TV shows - a complaint that has been an evergreen of right-wing outbursts almost since movies and TV were invented. Birdnow complains that young people's "passions are eternally inflamed, and they wander the Earth with no outlet for their overstimulated glands", and he demands government censorship of entertainment. The piece also cites the lack of corporal punishment in schools as a supposed cause of the shooting. This despite the fact that America is one of few countries that still has paddling in schools - and countries that have abolished it very rarely experience school shootings.

All that from the "small government" Tea Party.

Looks like another Congress full of no solutions. Might as well make it 10 Congresses in a row, I guess. Somebody needs to tell the Tea Party they lost the popular vote for Congress.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Video shows Fox contributor assaulting labor demonstrator

Last week, as you know, labor supporters held a rally in front of the Michigan State Capitol against the state's Hitleresque new "right-to-work" law. Fox News endlessly replayed a video that purported to show labor union activists attacking Fox contributor and "comedian" Steven Crowder.

Witnesses had said Crowder started the brawl, but nobody could find video to prove it. But the video has since surfaced...

Ironically, the source for the full video was none other than Fox News itself! They mistakenly forgot to edit it when they first showed it.

And it is clear from the tape: Crowder assaulted the union man. He shoved him clean to the ground. I can see that with my own two eyes. Crowder started a fight, and the guy fought back. Steven Crowder is damn lucky he didn't shove me like that.

What a shock! A guy who probably busted his ass 40 hours a week his whole life is met with ridicule and violence by Fox News, the Tea Party, and the Republican Party of Michigan. Who'd have ever thought that deliberately knocking a man to the ground would get you punched?

An employee of Michigan's agriculture department said of Crowder, "There was no question he was there just to start a fight, to start some kind of trouble." He also said Crowder "wasn't going to go home until he got punched."

This is why I support the right to self-defense. Some who claim to be of my political ilk think we should be forced to fight with both hands tied behind our backs. But what's good enough for the other side should be good enough for us. If some right-wing hooligan lays a hand on me, they're done.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Foil Fail"

Tim tries to eat aluminum foil...

Why what can't happen in your town happens

Millions of Americans think mass shootings can't happen in their community - until it happens.

We've seen it in schools, malls, and other places. School shooters have sometimes been students, but at other times adults from the community (as is believed to be the case in Newtown, Connecticut).

When we look at America's spree shootings dating back some 20 years, one feature is a common denominator in almost all cases. I'm going to anger a lot of people by saying this, but the truth has to be told: Most of these incidents were in overbuilt outer suburbs.

Shooting sprees are significantly less of a threat in inner-city America. Cities have a few rough parts, but nothing like that. If we were to weigh mass killings by population density, I'd think we'd find astounding evidence of cities' safety.

Let me be frank: The problem is the hypocritical values honored in suburbia. The further from the city you go, the more you have to listen to people preaching to everybody else how to live their lives - when these dour scolds can't get their own lives straightened out. I know this from experience, so don't tell me to be quiet. I will speak about this problem because I am American.

What do you think this does to a person who might not fit the community's economic or social mold? I know we can't tolerate somebody killing innocent people (especially children), but we must get to the root of how the shooters became shooters. There's no evidence that the assailants were simply born bad. What factors allow them to become mass killers?

Start with this: Suburban life means being surrounded by people who just don't give a shit. In the city, people care. I regularly perform community work in what is reputed to be Cincinnati's roughest neighborhood, and if a young person there is in trouble, at least somebody in the neighborhood takes the time to care about their plight. An attack against an innocent teenager is considered an attack against the whole community.

Contrast this with suburban Campbell County. I grew up in that part of town, and one thing became clear to me in the mid-'80s: If you're in trouble in the suburbs, people...just...don' You can't depend on anybody. Anybody! You can count on years of beating your head against the wall.

I felt like if I was shot in the middle of the street, people would just step over my body and go about their lives. Everything was all about them, them, them. They only cared about who their favorite celebrities were screwing - and policing what ordinary people did. These are individuals who are so preoccupied with gossiping on the phone that they consider people falling apart around them to be mere objects.

I remember a couple of teachers who liked to lecture students about how they were all on drugs or how the country's morals were going down the dumper - yet it turned out later they had their own issues they didn't want to deal with. And while school personnel called us druggies, they force-fed us Ritalin and other toxins.

Let me repeat: In outer suburbs, Understand? You are considered a mere machine to them.

That's how spree killers are made. They're raised in the wrong environment.

Despite today's terrible events, school shootings in America have declined precipitously since 2009. Last year, the number of deaths resulting from such sprees was the lowest in 20 years. But society clearly has more work to do to reestablish the principles of community that we have a right to expect in a civilized society.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Do you speak English?"

Remember Inside/Out and Self Incorporated? These were very similar educational TV series from the '70s. They aired on PBS. Each episode was 15 minutes long and was supposed to include an important life lesson.

That doesn't mean it always did include a lesson. But it was supposed to. These shows were well-intended, but when we watched them at school in 5th grade, I just thought they were laughable. In those days, I lacked the cerebral acumen to appreciate the lessons.

I remembered one installment that featured a boy roaming around a city in Quebec and asking folks, "Do you speak English?" After people kept answering in French, he would whine in frustration, "This is an English-speaking country!"

Nobody believed me when I said this show was real. But once again, YouTube saves the day. This show was an episode of Inside/Out...

What a find! I didn't think I'd ever find that one!

I didn't realize it when I first saw it in 5th grade, but the installment was intended to be a serious lesson against bigotry. When we watched it at school, I think I only started paying attention halfway through it, because we must have spent the first 8 minutes throwing paper airplanes, spitting loogies into the radiator, arguing about Rocky movies, eating staples, and pulling strands of burst bubble gum out of our hair. I didn't remember the jaunt through Quebec being precipitated by a scuffle filled with ethnic insults.

The best part of this clip may be around 9:33 where the kid gets a look on his face like he's taking a dump.

What a brat.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Michigan to revive emergency manager law

Lately, the Michigan legislature is making Kentucky's legislature look like an Occupy general assembly in comparison.

One of the first things Michigan lawmakers did in the lame duck session was pass a so-called "right-to-work" law nobody wanted - knowing they wouldn't have the votes for it once newly elected legislators were sworn in. Now they've continued to ignore the voters' mandate by reviving the hated emergency manager law.

The emergency manager law was a Tea Party-backed piece of legislation that allowed the state to gut local governments and school districts and replace them with unelected managers to do as they please. But the law was repealed by voters in a referendum in November.

Now - although voters repealed the law - the legislature is ignoring that vote and plans to pass it again. The Michigan House has just approved it, and the Michigan Senate is expected to follow.

They don't get it, do they?


Tea Party burns its bridge (again)

This story is just the latest example of how the Tea Party wants Free Stuff without ever having to pay for it.

As the replacement for the Brent Spence Bridge lurks, transportation officials say this freeway span will need to charge tolls. Few are enchanted by this plan - but the Northern Kentucky Tea Party is (as usual) crying the loudest.

But tolls wouldn't be necessary if the Tea Party hadn't killed the American Jobs Act, which would have fully funded the bridge - without tolls. So whose fault is it that it needs a toll?

Teazilla waste comes to the fore yet again. This is just like how the Tea Party cajoled Campbell County Fiscal Court into rejecting funding for a new library. This decision forced the library to seek a tax hike - and the Tea Party had the gall to oppose that too.

Don't want tolls? Then revive the American Jobs Act. It's that simple.

Only a teagagger could think a bridge is free. The Tea Party is an onion of unworkable ideas: Peel one layer of kook talk away, and there's more underneath. The Tea Party has dysfunctional weirdoes piled atop each other in a swaying tower, all grumbling about how the world is so mean to them. In reality, however, they're spoiled whiners who have enjoyed a free ride their whole lives. At the same time, their policies lead to tax increases and tolls paid by folks who have already been paying to support them.

The Tea Party is just like a strand of Christmas lights: They all hang together, half of them don't work, and the ones that do aren't very bright.

The November election was a mandate for the opposition to reject Teazilla ideas. Since the teaburglars have already proven they're not wise enough to pay heed, it falls on us to make sure the will of the people reigns.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tea Party thugs stage fight at work-for-less rally

As protests get under way at the Michigan State Capitol against the fascist "right-to-work" law, 17,000 people who oppose the law have been met by one or two tents that contain the law's supporters. The tents are maintained by the far-right Americans for Prosperity (AFP) - a group that has helped prop up the Tea Party.

Fox News has been endlessly running a video that purports to show labor union supporters tearing down one of the tents and starting a fight. But it turns out that AFP tore the tent down themselves so they could blame it on the union folks. One witness says he saw one of the AFP operatives who had been inside the tent loosen the straps on the tent poles. Then the tent collapsed from the inside.

Fox News conveniently caught on camera most of the ensuing altercation - but not the collapse of the tent or the actual start of the fistfight.

Is this anything like the time Scott Walker was caught on tape talking about staging fights at the labor rallies in Wisconsin?


Michigan GOP self-destructs with right-to-scab law

Gentleladies and gentlemen, we have just witnessed the death of the Michigan Republican Party.

In most states, passing a misnamed "right-to-work" law is fascist. But ramming through a "right-to-work" law in the fifth-most unionized state is both fascist and loldumb.

Today, Republicans in the Wolverine State did just that: Right-wing lawmakers passed a work-for-less law today - and the already unpopular Gov. Rick Snyder signed it into law. They hastily shoved the law through with no public hearings. They did this during a lame duck session, because they knew it couldn't pass once the batch of new legislators elected in November took office.

If last month's defeat of a labor-related referendum emboldened the GOP, they sure didn't learn the right lesson. After all, most stupid people don't learn. While that measure would have added a provision against so-called "right-to-work" laws to the Michigan Constitution, it didn't lose because of that. The measure lost because of a different provision, which would have made it illegal for public workers to go on strike. For that reason, I would have opposed this referendum too.

Meanwhile, 13,000 labor supporters are Occupying the State Capitol in protest - by far the largest protest in the Capitol's history.

Snyder ran on a platform of opposing right-to-scab laws. Now that he signed such a law, everyone knows he's a liar. The more far-reaching point though is that the Democrats and Greens just got a nice holiday gift wrapped with an accordion bow - a gift that will become apparent the next time there's an election. Republicans can get away with passing work-for-less laws in places like Utah. But how in the Wide, Wide World Of Sports do they think this will help them in Michigan, of all places? Even when Indiana fell to the Evil Empire, there was serious talk of shutting down the Super Bowl. So this has the potential to grind Michigan to a standstill.

Granted, the Republicans today seem like little more than a Southern rump party. But its power goes well beyond Dixie. They want to impose their will on people who have rejected it.

And we call it a work-for-less law for a reason. Why do you think work-for-less states are so poor? And, if the Republicans cared about the right to work, where did all the jobs go during their reign? The American economy is much smaller now than in 1980, despite population growth.

American workers need to be armed and ready.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

No 95

Since this is a weekend, you don't want to read about politics. You'd rather read about tame radio stations from 30 years ago.

Here's an exhibit that'll make you roll on the floor in helpless guffawing...

After being exposed to that as a youngster, it's a miracle I didn't grow up to become a thoroughly fucked-up individual.

Don't get me wrong: I enjoy hearing some of the songs on that top 20 survey every now and then. But Yes 95 was an entire station full of nothing but!

When I was 8 or 9, almost every weekday evening was the same: In the run-up to dinner, my mom always blared Yes 95 on the stereo in the living room - filling the entire house with that station's laugh-o-septic music selection.

Incidentally, by late 1981 when that survey was printed, Yes 95 was AC, not top 40. Why in the fuck did Billboard still include them on the Hot 100 panel? (I discovered this recently when Google Books posted old Billboard issues.) Even when I was 8 years old, I could tell the difference between Yes 95 and Q-102.

That survey also brings up a fond memory of a misheard lyric. One day, I was playing with Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars in the bedroom when I first heard Dan Fogelberg singing, "I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band." Yep, it was Yes 95 thumping in from the stereo! When I heard this song, I thought to myself, "What in the hell is a 'living magazine'?"

I'll bet you this: That survey has to be only a few weeks away from when I thought Bertie Higgins sang about "boogies in the car."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Restaurant owned by right-wing congressman refused to serve Muslims

If there's a prize for worst member of Congress, fascist Rep. John Fleming (R-Louisiana) might win the award hands-down. (Naturally, he's also the only congresscritter the Northern Kentucky Tea Party has fanned on its Facebook page - despite the geographic distance.)

Fleming is known for requiring employees of Subway restaurants he owns to distribute campaign literature. The "low tax" Fleming supports a 30% national sales tax, and his website has featured links to confirmedly abusive teen "rehabs." He also posted rambling, semiliterate responses to people who gave his self-published book bad reviews on Amazon.

Now the asshole is under fire again. Recently, a Muslim couple was turned away from one of Fleming's Subway shops in Shreveport, Louisiana. When I first saw the story, no mention was made of Fleming owning that particular Subway - but I knew it would turn out to be one of his shops.

The couple's side of the story goes like this: After the couple entered the Subway and used the restroom, the husband briefly left the restaurant to retrieve his medication from his car. An employee then noticed their Muslim clothing and asked, "Are you Muslim?" Upon discovering that the couple is indeed Muslim, the employee locked the man out, and locked the woman in. The employee reportedly said, "We can't serve you."

Fleming denies most of this, but he refuses to release security video of the incident. He then went on to accuse the couple of vandalizing the bathrooms - but he offered no proof. He did admit the restaurant asked the couple to leave - but only because the restaurant thought they were homeless. Oh, so John Fleming is denying religious discrimination, but admitting to economic discrimination. You're an idiot, John.

But Congress is policed by only Congress. Just like how the other 2 branches of government are also policed only by (you guessed it!) Congress. This is a structure that made sense when the Constitution was written. But not today. In a House of Representatives full of hacks who lack the sense of shame that it takes to expel Fleming, expect Fleming to keep stinking things up for as long as he dares. That's why we need constitutional reforms to weaken Congress - especially the broken House of Representatives.


Lawn Chair Quarterback: "The Plague Of '12"

It's another cold and flu season, which The Media always smirks and grins over...

Chicago school performs illegal strip search

Here's yet another reason why we need to stand up and exercise our constitutional liberties at all costs.

Last month at a Chicago high school, an assistant principal, a city police officer, and a pair of school security guards illegally strip-searched a 15-year-old boy. They claimed to be searching for drugs - but no drugs were found.

During the strip search, a guard molested him. "He started grabbing and searching my privates," the boy said.

Now the school district and the city are being sued.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled several years ago that school strip searches are illegal. Disobedience of this directive is nothing short of treason. Anyone who would carry out such an illicit search does not represent American values, and has destroyed their own soul. Such individuals are enemies of America, enemies of humanity, enemies of nature. The piping hot cauldron of a civil suit isn't severe enough punishment for them.

(Also, I've blackballed CBS as a source for this blog, because some of its owned-and-operated stations have lied about Occupy. However, I'm making an exception for this story, because I haven't seen it covered elsewhere.)


Friday, November 30, 2012

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Brrrrring! Channel 9!"

Tim reminisces about a memorable jingle once used by a local TV station...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

7 more weird dreams!

I have lots of strange dreams - the most common theme of which is escaping the poopy clutches of the catastrophic Bishop Brossart High School. But I've amassed several dreams over the past 14 months that are truly bizarre....

• While I was camping out at Big Bend during last year's fact-finding mission, I had a dream about an episode of Leave It To Beaver in which Ward and the Beav were playing the board game Sorry! along with Aunt Bee from The Andy Griffith Show. Every time something didn't go his way, Ward yelled out, "Goddammit!" Aunt Bee eventually tired of this behavior and left. Then Ward gave Beaver a lecture about the Federal Reserve and "sound money."

• In another dream, rapper Humpty Hump hired me to guard a disk drive.

• In yet another dream, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez visited Cincinnati and paid for a chauffeur to drive me all over Boone County.

• I also had a dream in which singer John Mayer stabbed somebody on Fountain Square during a rally and then tearfully confessed to it.

• I had a dream in which I was a teenager again and started a pirate radio station that illegally rebroadcast college football and basketball games. In this dream, my dad punished me by requiring me to write a letter of apology to all the stations that were duly authorized to carry these sporting events. The letter was to be read over the air at each station. However, this did not apply to New York stations, as they were assumed to be profitable enough.

• In another dream that placed me back in my teenage years, an insurance company sent a letter to my parents accusing me of accidentally burning down an abandoned limestone mine in Highland Heights. The letter was hand-delivered by a Highland Heights police officer who was on the force years ago.

• In the latest weird dream, some towering fratboy type walked past a map of Campbell County on display in a public building and sliced it with a box cutter. He almost decapitated me by not putting the box cutter away fast enough as he walked past.

These dreams will puzzle psychologists for centuries to come.

Monday, November 26, 2012

More right-wing brainwashing in Kentucky schools

The more things change, the more the Kentucky school system stays the same.

Since today is a day ending in y, Kentucky schools are indoctrinating students in right-wing dogma. This time, it's happening at South Laurel High School, a public school in Laurel County.

A teacher at this school wrote on a classroom board, "You can't be a democrat & go to heaven." Since I'm a registered Green and not a Democrat, I guess that means there's still a chance for my salvation.

A student tried challenging the instructor's scrawlings and ended up being harassed for it. In response to this harassment, the student's mother said in frustration, "You don't send them to school to have someone else's opinion shoved down their throat and demand they agree with it." Actually, in Kentucky, you do: Kentucky schools have endorsed a far-right agenda for decades. No dissent is tolerated. (You should have heard what they said about Dukakis.)

As Kentuckians, we have several options in dealing with the Tea Party zombies:

1) Sit on our asses and complain.
2) Move to Illinois.
3) Fight back!


Abortion rate up under Bush, down under Obama

The media elite likes to accuse everybody else of promoting abortion, but this story should silence these claims. The more important point though is that this story shows that nobody should be more furious at the Republican brain trust than abortion opponents.

Statistics for 2009 - the first year of the Obama era - have just been released by the CDC. According to these numbers, America's abortion rate dropped 5% in 2009. This is the steepest drop in a decade, and it follows years of increases under Bush.

Isn't one of the Republicans' main themes their pledge to stop abortion? There's little doubt that people have voted GOP over the years based solely on this promise. Since it's clear the Republicans don't deliver on this promise, what now?

There was a video on YouTube a while back about how Mississippi votes Republican despite being the poorest state. In this clip, an impoverished man talks about how he's going to keep voting Republican because he thinks maybe it'll work someday. The same principle applies to this story: If you want abortion to be less prevalent, voting for the discredited GOP hasn't accomplished a damn thing. So why keep voting for them?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "It's Always Better When It's Basted!"

Tim regales you with a funny story about an R-rated saying...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sore loser boycott of Electoral College fails hilariously

The Tea Party has not just the coping skills of a 6-month-old, but also the weak literacy skills that go along with it.

Because President Obama was handily reelected over the Tea Party's Mitt Romney, the teabumblers are in meltdown mode. In addition to trying to get states to secede from the U.S. in protest (even states Obama won), they're trying to boycott the Electoral College.

They said the Twelfth Amendment requires the Electoral College to have a quorum of two-thirds of its members before they can vote. So they've been urging Romney's electors to simply not show up. That way, there's no quorum, so no President can be chosen.

But now somebody has pointed out to them a fatal flaw in this scheme. The Twelfth Amendment's two-thirds quorum rule doesn't apply to the Electoral College. It applies to Congress in case no candidate gets an electoral majority.

Does the Tea Party not know how to fucking read? It's very clear that the quorum rule covers Congress, not the Electoral College. It's completely unambiguous.

Tune in next time when the Tea Party claims Congress can veto an Occupy general assembly with a simple majority of state delegations.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TeenScreen closes down!

TeenScreen was a totalitarian vestige of the "do as you're told" Bush era.

This aggressive, unscientific "mental health screening" program was activated in most U.S. states and several foreign countries under the auspices of Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health - which itself aimed to increase Big Pharma's profits. The program was quickly discredited, yet it continued with almost no limits.

Among other things, TeenScreen interrogators asked intrusive, personal questions of children as young as 9, and kids were wrongly profiled and drugged based on their answers. Children were lured into this trap with promises of pizza parties and other gifts. A goal of TeenScreen was to screen every young person before they were out of high school.

Now the failed TeenScreen has been suddenly discontinued.

Good. Let it fade like everything else the Tea Party supports.


Right-wing lawyer arrested on child sex charges

The misnamed Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) is an anti-American hate group that constantly files frivolous lawsuits crying about how rotten everything is for the 1%.

This group of legal terrorists was founded by Religious Right leaders including Donald Wildmon, D. James Kennedy, and James Dobson. The ADF is a haven for sick minds.

Lisa Biron is an attorney with the ADF in Manchester, New Hampshire. She's received official honors from the ADF for giving the group over 450 hours of pro bono work. She has also served on the board of directors of a religious school.

Now Biron, 43, has just been arrested by the FBI on federal charges of child pornography and sexual exploitation of children. Biron is accused of going on Craigslist and offering up a girl under the age of 18 for sex with adult men. Authorities say Biron transported the girl to Canada to engage in illicit sexual activity.

Biron also allegedly issued a text message containing a death threat against the person who turned her in to the police.

So when is Congress going to bring down the hammer against the Alliance Defending Freedom? They need to pass laws to crack down on the ADF's frivolous suits - as well as everything else they do.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gun shop won't sell to Obama supporters

In conservaworld, it really is "Second Amendment for me, not for thee."

The right-wing brain trust (such as it is) has spent the past 4 years bellyaching that President Obama is taking their guns away - even though Obama has had a better record on the right to bear arms than any other President in decades. Now they've once again let the mask slip, as they've announced their intent to keep Obama's supporters from exercising this right.

Southwest Shooting Authority - a gun shop in Pinetop, Arizona - has produced a newspaper ad announcing that they won't sell to Obama backers. "If you voted for Barack Obama your business is not welcome at Southwest Shooting Authority," the ad scolds. "You have proven that you are not responsible enough to own a firearm."

As if the Tea Party is a model of responsibility and levelheadedness?

The right-wing Establishment's view that the Second Amendment should protect only them isn't new, and it proves just how power-hungry they are. Back in 1993 or 1994, when I was in college, I got in an argument with some ultraconservative hack about this very matter. According to him, nobody who wasn't to the right of Jim Bunning was responsible enough to own even a pair of scissors. Meanwhile, a local conservative politician was out roaming the streets with a pistol pointed in the air because he mistakenly thought some kids had vandalized his campaign signs.

It's over, conservos. Done. Finished. The only thing that's kept the conservative movement going is corporate money, and I believe this is their swan song.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Homeless man jailed for recharging phone

Police in Sarasota, Florida, haven't learned shit from the Occupy campaign.

On Sunday, a homeless man was arrested there because he dared to use a public electrical outlet in a public park to recharge his cell phone. He was jailed overnight because he couldn't make bail.

Cops accused him of "theft of city utilities." Bzt! Wrong answer! The city can't install a public outlet and then say people are stealing if they try to use it. This underscores the point that the law is being selectively enforced. Would they have arrested attendees of a Tea Party rally for using the outlet to plug in a microphone? Somehow I doubt it. Indeedity-doodledy, the city erects public outlets all over town for people to charge electric cars for free. The city can't very well claim energy is free only if you have a car.

The city of Sarasota is lean and mean regarding the homeless community. In 2006, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and the National Coalition for the Homeless ranked Sarasota as the nation's meanest city towards the homeless.

But there's a happy ending to this story. On Monday, the judge threw out the charges against the man because the police had no case.

I'm waiting for the Fox News worshipers to clutter the Sarasota paper's comment section with trite complaints against the homeless and "Obamaphones."


Lawn Chair Quarterback: "In The Toilet"

Tim celebrates Plop Day and World Toilet Day by regaling you with a funny saying...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dickhead levies "Obamacare surcharge", tells customers to reduce tips

Here's a guy who needs to be put out of business pronto.

Meet John Metz, a restaurant owner from West Palm Beach, Florida. Metz owns dozens of Denny's, Hurricane Grill & Wings, and Dairy Queen locations.

To protest the 2010 health care law, Metz is now adding a 5% "Obamacare surcharge" to customers' bills. And he's telling customers that they should offset it by reducing the tips that they pay to servers. Metz's reasoning for that is that the server "is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare."

Of course the server is supposed to benefit from Obamacare. That's how health care reform is supposed to work, John. It's not meant only for wealthy business owners who do all the hiring. It's meant for their workers too.

What kind of a boss encourages undertipping employees? If you're angry about the big, scary Obama being reelected, don't take it out on your workers.

Metz is also encouraging other restaurant owners to levy a similar surcharge.

Greed and being a sore loser are a bad combination.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dan Lungren loses

What a hilariously satisfying loss this is!

It took a week to count the votes, but now it's in. Longtime fascist congressman Dan Lungren of California is yet another key voice of Republican extremism to be defeated. This is the clod who - when he was California Attorney General - tried throwing people in prison for selling an anti-DARE t-shirt.

But now he's gone and in disgrace.

Monday, November 12, 2012

GOP releases redistricting map

Poor Republican Party. They've spent the past several millennia bragging about how they're gonna win control of the Kentucky House, and once again, they've fallen well short.

Kentucky lawmakers were supposed to redraw state legislative districts this year, but Republicans in the Kentucky Senate made such a jumble of the process that the courts threw out the new maps. They were still legally required to do it this year - but didn't.

For months before the election, some guy on the Internets was talking about the prospect of the GOP winning the Kentucky House. I kept explaining to him how this was impossible in this year's election, but he kept on talking about it.

Finally he had the nerve to ask what the new map would look like once the Republicans took the House. So I posted this map to show what it would look like...

That silenced him for a while.

If the GOP takes control of the House now, it won't be at the ballot box. It will be because they used force like they did in 1999 when they took the Kentucky Senate via party switches. If they don't take the House that way, the question for 2014 isn't whether they'll gain the House, because that's going to be nearly impossible. The question is going to be whether they lose the Senate.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The teabaggin' trio

Three states.

There are 3 states where noted Tea Party devotee Mitt Romney won every single county.

Two of them - Oklahoma and Utah - might not be a surprise. The other could have never been predicted just a few years ago. Can you guess what it is? Not Kentucky.

The third state in this teabaggin' trio is - of all places - West Virginia. This is particularly suspicious because Obama won numerous counties there last time - one by 11%. The results this year are prima facie evidence Republicans committed election fraud - but that's hardly news, because there's probably not a single state where they haven't been doing so for decades.

Fifty-state strategy begins now, folks. If you live in one of those 3 states - or in any city or county that votes the same way - show the Tea Party the door. Not only are these Grey Poupon right-wingers gumming up your state, but also the rest of the country. We can't let them expand their map again.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Welfare for bullies

Since the right-wing thought police insists on dredging up zombies like Steve Stockman and Roy Moore, I'm gonna do them one better by bringing up an even older calamity they've never allowed to be honestly discussed in any mainstream venue. They've led a cover-up for almost 30 years of one of the worst campaigns of school harassment ever recorded, and while I've covered it extensively, the painstream media has flatly refused to hold the culprits accountable.

Here's an aspect of this crusade that's truly baffled me. While the perps talk smack about everybody else being lazy, is there any evidence that a single one of them has ever sullied their hands with actual work? They do come from privileged backgrounds, but is there any evidence of their parents ever doing any work to get where they were? How did they afford their mansions and fleets - I'm talking fleets - of cars?

I know they didn't work, because - once they were old enough to work - I used to encounter them almost all hours of the day at sites that were obviously not their workplaces. When they did have jobs, it couldn't have been for very long, because what employer would tolerate them using office phones to make harassing calls 24/7?

If they did have a job for long, it was actually a form of welfare from their employer - since they clearly didn't perform any labor. I do know some of them got some very high-paying positions because of their clout. But they didn't work.

For many of these wealthy criminals, I've never found proof that they've even nominally held a job. So it's safe to say they're probably secretly being given free money by local government because they have friends in high places. It's welfare for rich felons, if you will.

Because their families' clout let them coast through school, they never learned shit. So what jobs are they even qualified to do? For them, it's been easier to loaf on our dime than to work their asses off all through school like I did. I have dyslexia, and I've never been rich like them, so think how much harder I had to toil just to get passing grades. I don't think they'll ever turn over a new leaf, so they're never going to feel the shame of living lives of sloth.

Maybe this is why - even now - there are still millions who vote to continue this unsustainable swindle. They thrash about as they retreat further into the hinterlands, but they're still out there, running on empty. Our side is bold and full of new ideas to promote economic justice and civil liberties. Their side has...Steve Stockman and Roy Moore.

The Far Right doesn't want their campaign of school harassment discussed on level terms, because they have no defense.

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Mitt Romney Lost!"

Indeed he did...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The return of Roy Moore

As with Steve Stockman, here's another far-right Southern political figure who I remember from the days of 2400 baud Internet and who I mistakenly thought had gone away once that awful era ended.

Roy Moore was best known as the Alabama judge who disobeyed court rulings regarding the display of the Ten Commandments. You can say what you want about whether the Ten Commandments should be displayed in courtrooms. The real issue here is Moore's refusal to follow lawful rulings.

Moore's streak of ultraconservative opinions in which he supported legislating personal morality earned him a cadre of followers who praised his war against "permissiveness." Now that's "limited government"! But his refusal to follow a legal ruling is what led him to be removed as Alabama Chief Justice.

After he was out of office, Moore was still heard from occasionally - like when he said Muslims should be barred from serving in Congress. He went on to speak at Tea Party rallies - because the Tea Party just loves a "limited government" guy like Roy Moore. But I thought he was gone from elected office for good.

Now guess what? Guess who was elected Alabama Chief Justice again on Tuesday? It was with only 52%, but it still represents an astonishing exception to most of America's rejection of the Tea Party.

Roy Moore. He's back and as idiotic as ever!

GOP rioting continues

Aw, the Republicans are upset. What ever shall we do?

Because the GOPstapo's fee-fees are hurt by losing the election, they're continuing with their rioting. At Hampden-Sydney College - an all-male private school in Virginia - a mob of about 40 Republicans started a riot because they didn't like how the election turned out. They screamed racial slurs and threw bottles outside the Minority Student Union's building.

What a sad spectacle.


The tragedy of gerrymandering

"Tragedy...When the feeling's gone and you can't go on..."

For the entire election cycle, the spoiled brats who control the white supremacist Republican Party gloated that they were going to make gains in the Senate this year and maybe even retake it. That didn't happen. Indeedity-doodledy, the Democrats made a stunning net gain in the Senate.

But the Republicans should have lost the House - and didn't. The Democrats did make a net gain - but not enough.

It turns out that even though the Republicans won most House seats, the Democrats had more support. Nationwide, the Democrats got over a half-million more votes for the House than the Republicans did.

Why is there such a gaping disconnect between voters' wishes and the House's partisan makeup? Gerrymandering. You don't see this in the Senate, because Senate seats don't have gerrymandering. But House seats do.

And who gerrymandered all those House districts? I did. Just joking! What party has long had control of most of the state legislatures, who are entrusted with redistricting? Ponder, ponder.

Fact is, the Republicans would have lost control of the House but for gerrymandering. Would have happened in 2002, in fact, if they hadn't rigged the 2000 census. That brings to mind another instance of Democratic caving: In states where the Democrats held the legislature, why did they even abide by a census that was itself blatantly jimmied by the GOP? If I was in charge of redistricting then, I would have used the previous census and dared the thuggish Bush regime to try to stop me.

What's remarkable is that many of the redistricted maps vomited by the GOP are illegal, but they got away with it anyway. In the '90s, the Supreme Court threw out redistrictings that were far less grotesque than what the Republicans produce today.

To protect democracy, courts must be given greater power over redistricting. As many legislators are incapable of doing anything except gnashing their teeth in a cage, they've proven time and time again they're too irresponsible to be allowed to have as much power as they do.

California city rejects aspartame bailout

On Tuesday, voters in Richmond, California, were confronted with a referendumb that would have imposed a tax on soft drinks - but would have absurdly exempted those that contained poisonous artificial sweeteners.

Some folks seemed to ignore the fact that this measure featured the fatal sting of an aspartame bailout. They were gonna vote for it, dammit, and the hell with anyone like us who was worried about letting toxic chemicals off the hook.

Well, the measure lost. A smashing 67% of the city's voters voted against this bailout.

If the referendum hadn't exempted diet sodas, I probably never would have discussed it here. And it may well have passed.

But nooooo! It had to be their way or the highway, didn't it?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In election postmortem, time to show Tea Party the door

Since the Tea Party has declared war against America, it's time for you to take a side. Sorry, peeps, but it's true. The Evil Empire is already starting violent riots because the election didn't go their way, and we can't be caught off-guard.

Many of you live in places that utterly missed yesterday's rejection of Tea Party fascism. And it's time for you to get off your bunker and show the Tea Party the door. I began doing that years before the Tea Party even was the Tea Party.

If you don't deal with your rubbish, it's up to the rest of America to do it for you. Why? Because it's still holding back the whole country.

Frankly, our own area still hasn't done enough to evict the Tea Party. So, if you live in a more forward-thinking area, I'd like to invite you to help me out a little. We're in need of some outside aid. That's why America is a nation - not just a collection of scattered fiefdoms.

The Tea Party is not American. Inaction is submission, and if you don't fight back, you're making a choice to side with the enemy.

After yesterday's election, the Evil Empire is writhing and heaving in agony. But they're not vanquished yet. WE CAN PUT THEIR WHOLE AGENDA AWAY! I've seen what Occupy has accomplished so far, and since the Tea Party already has very little public support, defeating the Tea Party for good should be a slam-dunk compared to most of Occupy's past achievements.

The Tea Party sees the world through a haze. They have their own specialty media where they mostly just repeat discredited talking points to each other. They've opted to remove themselves from mainstream society even as they try to control it. They complain about others getting "free stuff" from the taxpayers - even while they demand handouts themselves. They cry that the rich pay too much taxes - even though America's government is funded more by the poor than that of almost any other country in the world.

Get 'er done, folks. This isn't just a matter of a political disagreement. The fact is, millions of Americans can't live safely with the Tea Party threatening their economic integrity or their life.

Corporate personhood fail and the Occupy effect

What a waste.

What an unmitigated, unprecedented waste!

After the Citizens United ruling of 2010 declared corporations are people, President Obama's reelection prospects were written off by many as a casualty. One could have expected the Republicans to dominate American politics until unicorns could fly.

Think how much money Republicans spent in this cycle to install Mitt Romney as dictator for life.

But there's been an equally strong force to mitigate this trend just over the past year. It's called Occupy. Occupy does not endorse candidates, but make no mistake: The Occupy coalition affected this election deeply.

By the summer of 2011, the press corpse wanted to talk about nothing but austerity - which is shorthand for making the 99% pay for the mistakes of the 1%. But after Occupy appeared, nobody wanted to hear that shit anymore.

Romney personified the failures of the 1%. Did Americans still want to elect a skipper of corporate excess after Occupy exposed the yawning wealth gap?

Whether Occupy wants to take credit or not, the Occupy effect was good for shaving perhaps a couple of percentage points off of Romney's national vote total. It may have been just enough to cost him the election. If anybody doubts this, I've already noticed that Republican vote totals have faltered in places with the strongest Occupy organization. (Occupy activities generally don't gravitate towards the cornfields and deserts.)

As a result, the seemingly bottomless Republican money machine saw its own efforts go to waste. They must have spent billions - only to come up short.

The most costly campaign in history yielded nothing. Poor things, those Republicans.

It's happening: GOP starting riots over election results

There's a clear chasm between protesting and starting violent riots, and the Republican Party has now crossed it.

In Oxford, Mississippi, right-wing activists are starting riots on the campus of the University of Mississippi to protest the outcome of the presidential election. Mobs of Republican voters are burning Obama campaign signs and yelling racial slurs.

With that, a major political party edges closer to its collapse.


GOP loses Minnesota legislature

The Republicans can get away with quite a bit in the right-wing führerbunkers in some states, but Minnesotans have had enough.

Yesterday, the GOP lost control of both houses of the Minnesota legislature - another stunner to be reckoned with.

It's called democracy. Live with it, conservos.

Obama gets only 3% in Texas county

Who's ever heard of a major presidential candidate getting only 3% of the vote in a county?

Well, it happened yesterday in King County, Texas - when President Obama received a whopping 3%, compared to Mitt Romney's 96%.

Obama won a mere 5 votes in that rural county 90 miles east of Lubbock.

Honestly, did Brossart take over that county?

Voters in 2 states legalize marijuana

The fuckheadedly named War on Drugs is finally starting to crack.

Voters in Colorado and Washington have just approved measures to legalize marijuana - not for medicine, but for recreation. A similar measure in Oregon lost because it was under-funded, but 2 states are finally making progress.

Suck it, Facebook!

GOP fails to win Kentucky House

I shouldn't even have to report on this, but since the Republicans have considered capturing the Kentucky House to be their Holy Grail for as long as I can remember, I must.

All year, the GOP has been gloating about this was gonna be the year when this shoe drops. But nope. They didn't even come close. In fact, at least one Republican incumbent lost.

It's only gonna get worse for the Republicans, because the state legislative districts haven't even been redrawn yet. That's not to mention the fact that the GOP is collapsing anyway.

Disaster in 6th District

How in the Wide, Wide World Of Sports did this happen - especially considering Obama won a county in the 6th District that he lost last time?

In a shocker, Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Kentucky) has just been narrowly defeated by his Republican opponent, serial liar Garland Barr IV.

Of course, Chandler won the counties with Lexington and Frankfort - losing only because of small counties.

On the other hand, maybe it would have helped Chandler if he voted more like a Democrat should.

DesJarlais survives

How in the world did this loser get reelected?

The scandal-tainted Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tennessee) managed to hang on for another term - much to the embarrassment of Congress and the nation.

See what I mean when I say the House has too much power?

War criminal Allen West defeated

Remember when that lunatic Allen West got elected to Congress in Florida 2 years ago?

Well, that national nightmare is now over. He lost too.

And Michele Bachmann ain't exactly certain to win either.

Florida voters reject private school bailouts

Good news out of Florida: Voters in the Sunshine State have resoundingly rejected a measure that would repeal the provision in the Florida Constitution that prohibits taxpayer funding of religious institutions.

The measure was designed primarily to permit taxpayer-funded bailouts of private schools.

Anyway, it's gone.

That does it: Time for Campbell County to split in two

The need to liberate northern Campbell County has never been clearer than now.

This map is all you need to see...

As you can see, Obama won the river cities plus part of Highland Heights, while Romney won the suburbs. I don't even need to tell you how that battle turned out countywide.

Even sadder is the sheriff election. Known Tea Party supporter Jeff Kidwell just barely got elected sheriff - but didn't win a single damn thing in the cities.

(Not surprisingly, the library tax hike was defeated, but it won a couple urban precincts.)

The debut issue of Occupy Campbell County's newsletter seriously floated the idea of splitting the county. Now I know exactly how I'd vote at the general assembly.

The current arrangement has to go.

Freeper whimpers and cries (more Freeper Madness)

Hahaha, this is hilarious!

I just checked fascist website Free Republic to see what their reaction to Obama's reelection is. Here's a hint: It's pretty damn funny.

One Freeper whined:

"This man is going to make our lives a living hell the next four years!"

What do you think the Bush crime family did? If you want to talk about a White House occupant making people's lives a living hell, the Bushes were tops at that.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

GOP humiliated in Colorado

Not only did Romney lose Colorado, but the Republicans also lost control of the Colorado House - giving the Democrats control of the governorship and both houses of the legislature there.

This wouldn't be so remarkable except that it's Colorado. Who would have ever thought Colorado would become one of the nation's leaders in rejecting the GOP?

Obama reelected

With President Obama declared the winner of Ohio, the specter of a Romney presidency is now dashed.

Rough night for the Romney campaign, huh? Pretty uproarious when you think about it.

Joe Walsh defeated

One of the most embattled Tea Party members of Congress is bye-bye: Illinois's Joe Walsh (not to be confused with the musician of the same name) has been defeated.

Suck it again and again, Repubs.

Alan Grayson returns to Congress

The legendary Florida congressman's absence from Congress didn't last long, did it?

After being defeated by Taliban Dan Webster in 2010, Alan Grayson has now been restored to Congress in a new district.

Suck it again, Repubs.

Elizabeth Warren defeats Record Man

Great news out of Massachusetts!

Right-wing race-baiter Scott "Records" Brown is the first Senate incumbent to lose tonight! He was defeated by consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren - who is often credited as being the mother of Occupy.

Suck it, Repubs.

Outrage in rural America

Good grief!

I thought this was shaping up to be a pretty good election night until I saw the returns for rural areas.

I've never seen any other election where urban and rural America voted with such diametrically opposing results. This pattern is evident in Kentucky too, which is seeing counties flip to both the Democrats and the Republicans at the presidential level.


Machine flips votes to Romney

The Republicans have to cheat in order to win - just like they've been doing since at least 1988.

Now voters in Pennsylvania say their efforts to vote for President Obama have been stymied by voting machines that flip their votes to Mitt Romney. And don't deny it, conservos. Somebody posted a video on YouTube confirming it...

Voters throughout the Keystone State report this exact same problem.

I had a similar problem once back in the brief era when my precinct in Kentucky used touchscreen machines, and I'm pretty sure I mentioned it on my personal blog when it occurred. Did anybody listen? No. (When I voted today, we had paper ballots instead.)

Now we all better listen. Obama was leading in Pennsylvania in 53 consecutive polls and New York Times statistics expert Nate Silver gives him a 98.6% chance of winning the state. If Romney is declared the winner of Pennsylvania, we'll know why.

Meanwhile, Romney supporters have been posting racist comments on the YouTube video.

True the Vote caught forging signatures

This is only the latest in a long series of stories that shows why it's long past time for authorities to drop the hammer on Republican election fraud.

True the Vote - a project of the Tea Party - has placed election observers at polling places all over America to harass voters, but now they're running into trouble in Ohio. The Franklin County Board of Elections discovered yesterday that True the Vote forged signatures on their poll watcher forms. True the Vote copied down candidate signatures from an earlier batch of forms - after most of the candidates had withdrawn permission for True the Vote to use their signatures.

This offense is a felony in Ohio, and election officials have now promised an investigation of True the Vote.

One member of the election board said he was "amazed that a group that goes to such extreme lengths to claim voting fraud in Ohio would knowingly forge or misuse signatures to try to gain access to Franklin County polling locations."

True the Vote ought to change their name to False the Vote!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Time to revoke Congress's power to pick the Prez

You can make some strong arguments both for or against the Electoral College. But as long as this peculiar body looms large in American presidential politics, here's one aspect of it that I think must be changed before it's too late.

Under the Twelfth Amendment, which was ratified in 1804, if no presidential candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives "elects" the winner from among the top 3 candidates - which in effect becomes the top 2, if only 2 candidates receive any electoral votes, and it's a tie. Similarly, if no vice-presidential candidate garners a majority of electoral votes, the Senate picks the winner from the top 2.

I know this won't be a problem this year, but the House has chosen the President once under the Twelfth Amendment - after the 1824 election. It can happen again someday, and we need to stop this crisis before it starts.

The Twelfth Amendment must have made some sense when it was passed. But not today. When the House picks the President, each state delegation gets one vote. Instead of giving one vote to each congressperson, who are allocated in proportion to a state's population, the Twelfth Amendment gives one vote to each state - regardless of how many people a state has. Although the District of Columbia has cast electoral votes since 1964, it does not get a single vote in this process.

In modern times, only 2 parties have even been competitive at the presidential level, so letting the House choose from among the top 2 or 3 candidates completely nullifies voters' wishes.

The House of Representatives is the more chronically corrupt half of the legislative branch - which is the most chronically corrupt branch of government. They can't be trusted to produce a budget, crack down on Wall Street, or defend civil liberties, so how can they be trusted to choose the President? If anything, the House's powers should be reduced - at least as long as the hecklers' veto by the 1% holds sway. The Senate is no model of progress either, but it's become more of a "people's house" than the House is.

Here's a sensible change we should all be able to agree on: We should amend the Constitution to say that if no candidate wins a majority of the Electoral College, then whoever wins the popular vote becomes President. Same for Vice-President. If the House is supposed to be the "people's house", wouldn't it make sense to give the people a greater voice in the presidential election, considering they would have already gone through the trouble of voting?

Good luck getting that through Congress. The crooked House doesn't like surrendering any of its power, because they think it's their birthright to control everything. The states, however, should love my proposed amendment.

Friday, November 2, 2012

State-by-state election prediction

Since it's obvious President Obama is going to be reelected, the question that remains is by how big of a margin.

I'm going to go out on a limb and make an unembellished forecast of what states he will win. I predict Obama will win each and every state he won last time - plus Arizona. Simple, huh?

I know Indiana looks rickety, but remember, it's difficult to get accurate polls of the Hoosier State because of its laws on phone polling. The "right-to-work" debacle and Richard Mourdock's fascism are seriously jeopardizing the Republican cause in Indiana, so it's a mystery why it would be a lock for Mitt Romney.

Conversely, one may be equally surprised Obama is even winning nationwide, after the far-right Citizens United ruling decimated our electoral system and permitted corporations to literally buy positive media coverage for the Republicans - as they did in 2010.

Don't count on all our troubles grinding to a halt even if Romney loses. The right-wing media has lately been reduced to hyping possible GOP gains in the House - a body that has already surrendered its legitimacy. Voting is necessary - but not sufficient. We must - and will - continue to fight after the election is over.

GOP caught rigging election in Oregon

And boom goes the bubble gum.

Some folks have insisted for years that elections are rigged. Now there's proof, as a Republican operative in Oregon has been caught red-handed.

A Clackamas County poll worker is accused of filling in blanks on voters' ballots after they were turned in. Whenever a voter left their preference blank, she reportedly filled it in with the Republican candidate.

This form of vote tampering is a felony in Oregon, and a criminal investigation has been launched.

You have to wonder how many times the Republicans have rigged elections like this and have just never been caught.


Lawn Chair Quarterback: "The Perils Of Electioneering"

Tim produces a short play that shows why you shouldn't campaign in the polling place...

GOP candidate supports Westbozo cult

Does anybody still think the Republicans and the Tea Party aren't ready for the scrap heap of history?

Jack Wu is a Republican candidate for Kansas Board of Education. He says he's running for this seat because Kansas is "perverse" and schools are teaching "crap." He wants to make it illegal to teach evolution in Kansas schools. "If you're mainstream, you're going to hell," he warned.

It turns out that Wu moved to Kansas just so he could attend Fred Phelps's Westboro Baptist Church. This Topeka congregation is not part of any mainstream Baptist body. Westbozo is actually a far-right cult known for picketing the funerals of celebrities and soldiers.

This is just the latest preposterous chapter in Kansas politics. Another was written this year when a Libertarian candidate for Congress legally changed his name to Thomas Jefferson.

Just goes to show that anybody can run for office. The sad part is that if Jack Wu wins, the DLC will try to "compromise" with him - as if you can reason with crazy.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

More Obama?

In all my years, I've never supported or voted for an incumbent President for re-election. In fact, I've given up on endorsing candidates altogether, after being let down once too many.

But here's one I almost can't resist.

It's fair to criticize President Obama from the left. I wouldn't hesitate to vote for Green candidate Jill Stein if only we had instant-runoff voting. After all, Stein - not Mitt Romney - is the credible opposition to Obama. You may remember that I flatly refused to endorse Obama in 2008, simply because he wasn't progressive enough. Given the realities today, however, a vote for Obama sends a message against an increasingly dangerous media consensus.

The Media's cocky efforts to manipulate this election are unprecedented. Particularly shocking was the reaction to the first debate between Obama and Romney - popularly known as the Big Bird debate. After Romney sneered and rambled his way through the forum, The Media not only insisted for weeks that he had won it, but vilified anybody who dared to dissent from this unshakable precept. But none of this should be a surprise, because this is the first presidential election after the Citizens United ruling, and right-wing groups have been caught buying positive media coverage.

That doesn't mean I've settled on voting for Obama - though it's tempting. Obama is personally likable, but we have a right to expect his policies to be more progressive.

Some on the left may have hoped for us to snub Obama outright, but that ship sailed in 1996 when we were denied the chance to vote for a stronger alternative to Bill Clinton - whose legacy was in shambles by this point in his term. Obama has built a much stronger record than the disappointing Clinton. We were told by Democratic hacks to keep quiet and vote for Clinton then, so people can't very well tell us not to support Obama now.

Obama has had more positive accomplishments than any other President in decades. He signed a major health care bill - though it had been weakened by Congress. He also enacted a long-overdue economic stimulus package, much-needed financial reform laws, and the popular Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Plus, the Obama administration effectively ended the illegal Iraq War and took down Osama bin Laden.

We should all agree on this: The Republican Party no longer represents American values. They've produced a stampede of one intolerable act after another. What's more to say? Now that we've established this, we're torn on who to vote for instead, and this dilemma will hamstring us until instant-runoff voting is implemented. In the meantime, I want to see Romney lose by a wide enough margin to drain the swagger from the GOP establishment for years to come. I can't wait to laugh right in their faces.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Electronic Hoarding"

Tim's an electronic hoarder.

This is not always a bad thing, because sometimes you never know when you're going to want or need a computer file from over a decade ago. But in this clip, Tim throws away files he got 13 years ago and hasn't opened since...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hey, more right-wing violence and racism talk

In response to illegal voter intimidation by Tea Party groups like True the Vote, officials have asked observers from the United Nations to monitor balloting. The UN will be sending poll monitors all over America to watch out for True the Gloat thuggery.

Right-wingers are fuming.

In addition to trying to pass laws to stop anyone from monitoring True the Vote, now they're endorsing shooting UN monitors. A commenter on one Republican blog says:

"Arrest or shoot them for trespassing. Ditto for the black panther pussies that may show up at White polling areas."

As far as I know, the Black Panthers have nothing to do with the UN's poll watchdog efforts. And I didn't know America in 2012 had segregated polling areas.

The wingnutosphere should be investigated by authorities for threatening to kill Black Panthers and poll observers. A probe of right-wing bloggers would make more sense than spending taxpayer dollars investigating high school students for not pooping their pants.

Tea Party follower runs for Campbell County Sheriff

The last thing any county needs is a Tea Party follower with a sheriff's badge. Why, that's like appointing True the Vote members as election judges.

The Democratic and Republican parties in Campbell County seldom fail to disappoint, and I'm declining to endorse any of the 3 candidates for sheriff. But Republican candidate Jeff Kidwell appears to stand alone in publicly supporting the wasteful, much-maligned Tea Party.

This is not hyperbole. This is not a debunked conspiracy theory like the Tea Party's birther garbage. This is a verifiable fact: Jeff Kidwell backs the far-right Tea Party!

The Tea Party has an atrocious track record in Campbell County. Years before it was even called the Tea Party, it chugged along in Campbell County with almost no limits. I personally learned the hard way what the Tea Party in Campbell County is capable of, so wipe those smirks off your faces, teagaggers.

I shouldn't have to rehash the local right-wing machine's activities one by one. It's hard to say what incident represents the crest of their arrogance, but I think their successful efforts to have teenage victims of school harassment locked up without charges or a trial takes the cake. The political guild that later became the Tea Party had no respect for basic human rights, civil liberties, economic justice, or the Constitution. This is why Campbell County became nationally known as shorthand for incompetent right-wing government and authoritarian rule. (It's also related to the region's historic glut of teen confinement cults, for the industry thrives on totalitarian appeals.)

When the future Tea Party wasn't covering up cronies' misdeeds and punishing the victims, it was also engaging in other social engineering such as trying to outlaw contraception. It finally boiled over in the late '90s when local citizens held a demonstration against that effort. But the county has never fully recovered from the right-wing machine's peak. Ghastly ideas continue to be honored by our public officials.

It's become an attractive nuisance that draws right-wing carpetbaggers. Poking around a bit, I'm not seeing much from past suspects (with the exception of a former school principal who posts anti-Muslim harangues on Facebook); rather, I'm seeing more vitriol from new hacks who are also involved in the Tea Party in other counties.

For years, Democrats in Campbell County have let down constituents, including me. But the Republicans are of course worse. And Jeff Kidwell - the GOP sheriff candidate - openly supports the Tea Party. The prospect of a Tea Party sheriff is a very, very troubling notion indeed. Sheriffs in Kentucky have full police powers even in urban areas. They're also in charge of enforcing involuntary commitment orders, which are already widely abused, as many dissidents know. Plus, if Kidwell is elected - which is entirely possible - we can forget about a foreclosure moratorium.

If Kidwell wins, we in the northern half of the county will have yet another justification for breaking away and forming a new county. Since the Tea Party doesn't want to get along with us, what business do they have imposing their will on us?

Sooner or later, Campbell County voters will come to their senses and oust these extremist whack-a-doodles once and for all. Occupy has proven anything is possible. Occupy is a David-and-Goliath story that shows the power of action and conviction in fighting all the shit the Far Right shovels out.

But until the Far Right's last stand comes, enjoy watching the Tea Party clown car. That is, if they don't come for you.

Vote yes on library tax

There's no better value for the taxpayers than public libraries. Libraries are like universities for the common person - and they're necessary for democracy. What other institution asks us for so little but gives us so much?

The Campbell County Public Library wants a small property tax hike to fund a new branch in Alexandria. Voters will get to decide on Election Day whether to approve the tax, and it's quite a bargain. Supporters point out that the tax would cost the owner of a $100,000 house only $20 extra per year. But most folks in Campbell County don't even have a $100,000 home - so for you, it'll be much less than $20.

We're constantly bombarded with ads that try to induce us to buy designer polo shirts and call dial-a-monster hotlines. Isn't a few dollars a year on a library a much better use of our money?

I don't think we'd be talking about this if Campbell County Fiscal Court hadn't fumbled so spectacularly. Fiscal Court could have easily found money in the county budget for the new libe. But instead they pre-clear every budget item with the Tea Party. The unelected Campbell County Tea Party (which boasts all of 6 fans on its Facebook page) has been granted veto power over every public expense. Although the violent Tea Party claims to be fiscal watchdogs, it is their actions that have forced the library to propose the tax hike.

Yet the Tea Party has led the opposition to the hike even though it wouldn't even be an issue if it wasn't for them. They spread misleading, unverifiable talking points and attack library employees' pay raises. Evidently, they expect library workers to work for free.

If the tax is rejected, a significant chunk of the county will probably lose their libe. The Alexandria branch is likely to be built either way, so one suspects that one of the branches in the northern half of the county would be on the chopping block if the tax hike loses.

Given America's free-floating panic over higher taxes - fanned by self-anointed budget watchdogs who only end up costing taxpayers more - can we really expect the tax hike to pass? I'm not optimistic, but I'm confident about my stand. Taking the tax hike to the people is well worth the effort.

Hopefully, if the tax passes, the library won't view the tax as a license to censor Internet access on its public computers. But the fight against censorship would be a separate fight from the battle to fund our library - and it would be fascinating to see how the discredited Tea Party reacts then.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

George McGovern dies

Sorry to report the death of George McGovern - the Democratic nominee for President in 1972.

The former South Dakota senator died this morning at the age of 90. McGovern was widely known as an antiwar liberal, but lost the presidential race to Richard Nixon in a landslide - winning only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. McGovern's defeat inspired the bumper sticker slogan "Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts" - which became popular as the Nixon legacy was shattered by the Watergate scandal.

I wasn't born yet in 1972, but I was perplexed for a long time when I read that McGovern had lost by such a wide margin. Granted, America had nowhere near the political civil war in 1972 that it does now, but that year's blowout always struck me as odd - especially considering all of McGovern's positive characteristics.

McGovern also worked to remedy world hunger.

George McGovern's accomplishments will be remembered for a long time to come.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Easelmania"

Tim talks about what an easel is, and what it isn't...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

GOP operative arrested over voter forms in dumpster

It's the arrest we thought would never happen!

Yesterday, I reported on an incident in Harrisonburg, Virginia, in which a man was seen throwing completed voter registration forms into a dumpster. He was using a car later seen at a nearby Republican office.

Now an arrest has been made - sending shock waves throughout the political world.

Colin Small - a Republican operative from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania - has been nabbed on 4 counts of destruction of voter registration applications, 8 counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications, and one count of obstruction of justice. Additional charges may be filed.

The GOP is so done.


Analyzing Romney's debate humiliation

The American people lost Tuesday's presidential debate when third parties were excluded - but I had a blast watching Mitt Romney lose it right back.

The optics of the debate are worth analyzing. We can hone in on the moment that Romney may have lost the entire election (not like he was winning before). Check out this exchange with President Obama about the Benghazi attack...

The precise moment that Romney blew his chances was at 1:17 on that video. After Obama mentioned that he called the attack terrorism, Romney sarcastically scoffed, "You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror." Right after he said that is when he blew it.

In the video, we see a close-up shot of Romney as he sternly shifts his head and widens his eyes. When I watched the debate on TV, I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, because I'd seen that exact same look before - from my high school principal. My principal slightly resembled Romney - complete with the constipated scowl. And I know that look with the widening eyes and shifting head. This body language is used by pathological liars when they think they've "got" someone. Whenever my principal used it, I knew I was in trouble.

Within seconds, however, it was clear Obama had this. Notice the look on the President's face when he says, "Please proceed, Governor." He appears to be trying to stifle a smile - as if he knew he just won the election. That was the point where I knew one of Romney's biggest campaign themes was about to be debunked in front of tens of millions of viewers.

And it was. Romney had been claiming that Obama waited 2 whole weeks to say the Benghazi disaster was terrorism. But at the end of that exchange, moderator Candy Crowley - in an effort to move the debate along - proved Romney was full of shit.

The audience then broke into applause - a rare scene at a political debate!

Romney's Tea Party supporters are blaming Crowley for the entire embarrassing debacle.

Maybe 5 years from now, The Media will falsely accuse Obama of packing the audience with his supporters to make Romney look bad. They waited several years to falsely blame Michael Dukakis for the same thing (even though George H.W. Bush's followers loudly laughed every time Dukakis talked), so why not?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

GOP caught red-handed throwing away voter registrations

A bizarre story has emerged out of Harrisonburg, Virginia, that again calls into question the continued usefulness of the Republican Party.

A few days ago, a bloke was seen throwing a bag full of completed voter registration forms in a dumpster at a store. The guy was driving a black Toyota Camry with Pennsylvania plates. Turns out that the local Republican "victory office" is right up the street. And a black Toyota Camry with Pennsylvania plates was later seen parked there.


The forms belonged to newly registered voters from 3 different counties. They apparently had recently registered at a registration drive. It appears as if the drive was conducted by the Republicans, and they decided to throw away registrations from folks who they believed would vote against them.

Now it turns out that a Republican consulting firm called Strategic Allied Consulting was involved in this obvious attempt at election fraud. This is the same outfit that was recently busted in Florida and North Carolina for submitting hundreds of phony registration forms. (Some of the forms listed a business as an address for these fake voters.)


Obama sign defaced with racial slur

The white supremacist Republican Party is at it again.

In Perry County, Indiana, a large Obama campaign sign was recently defaced with a racial slur in orange spray paint. The sign was later replaced.

Perry County is unusual for rural Indiana in that it typically votes Democratic. The county was 61% for Obama in 2008. But Republicans in Perry County are as militant as anywhere else and catatonically flood the local newspaper with their now-familiar brand of far-right correspondence. One GOP activist even wrote a letter to the editor saying the Founding Fathers visited him in a dream and asked him to shoot President Obama.

True to form, Perry County Republicans have refused to condemn the racist vandalism of the sign.


County intentionally gives wrong date for election

Maricopa County, Arizona - a huge Phoenix-based bailiwick - has its share of right-wing corruption, so it's no surprise that they're trying to suppress the vote.

A document that the county is distributing with voter ID cards lists additional information in both English and Spanish. The English-language portion gives the correct date for Election Day - November 6. But the Spanish-language part gives the wrong date - November 8.

This is clearly a calculated effort to get folks to wait until 2 days after the election to try to vote. The numeral 6 is the same in English and Spanish, so it's not like the county accidentally mistranslated it.

The right-wingers' defense? They said people should just learn English so this wouldn't be a problem. But if they're on such a nativism kick, maybe everybody should just learn a language that has a much longer tradition in Arizona - like Navajo or Western Apache.


Flyer urges violence against Occupy Oakland

As Occupy Oakland plans a protest marking the 1-year anniversary of the eviction of their encampment, the Wall Street 1% still doesn't know when to shut up.

A flyer being distributed in Oakland is urging folks to show up at the event carrying baseball bats to beat protesters. It tells Oakland residents to "stand up and defend" their city against the "divisive" Occupy coalition by resorting to violence.

Nancy Sidebotham of the Tea Party-backed Stand for Oakland - which held a poorly attended counterprotest against Occupy Oakland a few months ago - added fuel to the fire by echoing the flyer's call for violence. While she expressed fear of a riot if people showed up with bats, she added, "Not that I don't agree that certain people should be done away with."

Other Occupy opponents have demanded that the city just shut down the downtown area to keep Occupy from protesting. I guess that First Amendment thing is getting a little too scary.

Although there has never been a single documented instance of Occupy protesters in any city starting a violent confrontation, acts of violence against the Occupy coalition have piled up like logs for a year. Now that the 1% has grown desperate enough to start writing down their violent goals, it's time for authorities to bring down the hammer against those who try to do harm to Occupy.