Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gingrich under investigation for election fraud

Gosh. I was such a sore loser in 1994 when I said Gingrich's House Republicans stole the election. Damn, I must look like a fool now that -

Hey! Wait a minute! What's this?!

Now Gingrich's presidential campaign is under a criminal investigation by the state of Virginia for felony election fraud. Seems the father of "governing conservatism" turned in about 1,500 fraudulent signatures to get on the primary ballot in that state.

You are so busted, Newt.

Considering that Gingrich was forced to resign from Congress in the late '90s due to an ethics scandal, why should we be surprised?

This story is like the moment the cast of Sesame Street finally discovered Snuffy wasn't just a figment of Big Bird's imagination. I've known for 17 years the '94 "election" was stolen by the Republicans, yet from The Media it's been...crickets. How did I know it was rigged? Because the results didn't jibe with pre-election surveys or with what I was hearing on the ground. It's that simple. Facts don't lie.

Now the world knows Newt isn't just a scumbag and liar but also steals elections.

After this story, do you place any trust at all in Republicans' claims to electoral honesty?

(Source: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=9099)

Oakland wants to ban dissidents from city

Imagine if you can the intensity of the outcry if any city posted a sign saying that no Tea Party followers could enter town. Well, Oakland plans to do just that with Occupy participants.

The California city has enjoyed one of the most vibrant and effective Occupy protests. But now right-wing Mayor Jean Quan wants to ban "repeat protesters" from most of the city. She plans to seek "stay away" orders against these individuals.

"Repeat protesters"??? I didn't know protesting more than once was a crime!

This comes days after Saturday's police riot against Occupy Oakland. (The Media falsely reported that Occupy Oakland burned an American flag and knocked over a sculpture inside City Hall. However, it's since been proven that this vandalism was actually committed by infiltrators hired by authorities in an effort to discredit the Occupy movement.)

Quan is also misusing city funds in an attempt to organize a counterprotest against Occupy Oakland. Good luck with that, idiot. The only thing I've seen resembling a counterprotest against Occupy Cincinnati was one guy (who happens to be a convicted felon) smearing fake shit on a piece of cardboard and calling us "communists." If Occupy Cincinnati attracts only one counterprotester, I doubt Occupy Oakland can draw many more.

Occupy protests around the country and the world have faced a coordinated campaign of official suppression. This has accomplished nothing except to make the Occupy movement even more popular. This is borne out by the expanding numbers on Occupy's Facebook pages. Indeedity-doodledy, Occupy Oakland is already planning another major event next Monday.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Voting Rights Act for the 21st Century

Because I think highly of representative democracy, I think mighty highly of policies like the Voting Rights Act. But it's time to update and expand it.

One feature of this 1965 federal law says that states and counties that were using a device to disfranchise voters and had low rates of voter registration must obtain preclearance from the Justice Department before redistricting or implementing other changes to voting. (Kentucky is not among these states, incidentally, so it doesn't affect the ongoing gerrymandering war.) But that only applies to places that were disfranchising voters almost 50 years ago. What about the states that have begun doing it again?

What I'm talking about here is states that have recently instituted rigid voter ID requirements that have the same intent and effect as the hated laws of old. I think the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act should be expanded to cover these states. I'd suspect that some of them were among those already covered, but I'd wager there's also some new states on this list.

In fact, why were states that were already covered given clearance to pass the new voter ID laws? Why is this tolerated from any state? I also think the Voting Rights Act should be updated to halt these laws.

I've taken voting very seriously ever since I became old enough to vote, because I had already become too familiar with affronts of basic rights. What's shocking is that there's more states disfranchising voters now than in 1965! That's not exactly good testimony about the hard frost of rightism that began in the '80s, is it?

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Library Of Congress Meets Brossart"

Just from its very name, few entities seem as dignified as the Library of Congress. Indeed, this libe is one of the U.S. government's most important institutions.

But one day back in the late '80s, the dignity of the Library of Congress met its match at the hands of one of my high school classmates. Something uproarious happened at my high school in the presence of a guest speaker from the Library of Congress. Can you guess what it was? Well, our latest 'LCQ' will tell ya...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Redistricting outrage in Kentucky

Only 3 things in life are certain: death, taxes, and Republican gerrymandering becoming even more grotesque with each decennial census. But this time, Republicans in Kentucky may have finally bitten off more than they can chew.

Faced with the fact that population trends favor urban areas that are becoming heavily Democratic, Republicans in the Kentucky Senate have just approved a redistricting for their own 38-member chamber that contorts geography well beyond the limits of the permissible. This remap passed and has been signed into law. This after lawmakers delayed the redistricting just so there wouldn't be enough time to fight it before the candidate filing deadline.

The new districts are so oddly shaped as to be unconstitutional. In the '90s, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out congressional districts in other states that were less strangely drawn, even though the Voting Rights Act said they had to be drawn in the manner that the Supreme Court rejected. What's Kentucky's excuse for producing such a bizarre remap, considering that this gerrymandering wasn't even inspired by the Voting Rights Act?

And it's not just the shape of the new districts. Realizing they couldn't completely eliminate unfriendly districts, GOP legislators actually renumbered several Democratic districts to force them to be represented by lawmakers who don't live anywhere near the district. With the Kentucky Senate's staggered terms, these districts would be stuck with a nonresident senator for years.

And people...are...mad!

Ten years ago, people would have just said, "So what?" and moved on. But those days have passed. So there's going to be a massive public protest against the Republicans' redistricting tomorrow from 4 to 6 PM at the intersection of Main & Limestone in Lexington.

What effect will this have? This rally will likely encourage a legal challenge to the new districts. Indeedity-doodledy, Kentucky legislative districts have been overturned by the state's high court over much less. (That's how the abominable Joe Fischer got elected.)

If this redistricting is allowed to stand, it will largely strip Kentucky state government of its legitimacy. Our laws are supposed to be made by duly elected representatives. These lawmakers must be chosen in a manner that follows laws and constitutional standards.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wyden lauded for fighting SOPA

I'm almost inclined to take back anything negative I've ever said about Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).

A couple years ago, Wyden was known for harboring some ridiculous, discredited ideas about America's fight against meth - ideas that threatened to sicken millions of Americans. But now he's almost - almost - redeemed himself by becoming the key legislator in the struggle against SOPA - the hated right-wing Internet censorship bill.

You're learnin', Ron, you're learnin'.

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "More Highland Heights Elementary Memories"

Such a shame that the old Highland Heights Elementary School building is being demolished.

What's perhaps equally shameful is the fact that - by closing this school - the Campbell County school district deprived an entire community of equal educational opportunities just because of its economic level. Because of the school system's classism, children from working-class households must now be schlepped miles out of town to attend the newer elementary school in a wealthier exurban neighborhood.

And so, the Campbell County Schools' war on the working poor continues.

In our latest 'LCQ', Tim regales you with hilarious memories of 5th grade at Highland Heights...

Trollin', trollin', trollin'...

Be on the lookout for bizarre, trollish posts that have plagued the comment section of this blog lately. This blog has a fairly open policy, so weird items do get through sometimes.

On the other hand, don't fret if your comments don't show up right away. Sometimes it takes all day. I've worked on this issue repeatedly in the 5 years since I started this blog, and a perfect solution has yet to be found.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Romney hides money in offshore accounts

I know Bush was a scandal-a-day guy, but Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney gives ol' Dumps a run for his money. (I assume Romney is still leading the GOP primary even though it was just certified that the laughable Rick Santorum actually won Iowa.)

After it was revealed that Romney - back when he headed a Mormon congregation near Boston - threatened to excommunicate an unwed mother if she didn't give her baby up for adoption, the Mittster-related shockers continue. Now it's been discovered that Romney has hidden tens of millions of dollars from the federal government in secret offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands.

How in the world does he get away with this???

This discovery was made after Romney complained about paying too much in taxes - even though the tax rate for him is significantly lower than what most Americans pay.

I guess we'll find out in November how little patience Americans have remaining with Wall Street whiners like Mitt.

(Source: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/01/18/romney-hiding-millions-in-dozens-of-secret-offshore-accounts-report)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Obama to reject Keystone pipeline

Ya know, we're starting to like this guy.

I wasn't militantly against Obama, but when you add this story to the announcement that he will oppose the unconstitutional SOPA, it looks like America may finally have a President.

The Obama administration has decided that it will reject the job-killing, land-grabbing, environment-destroying Keystone XL oil pipeline across the Great Plains. TransCanada will be allowed to reapply for this project, but only after devising an alternate route that spares Nebraska's amazing Sand Hills region. And Congress is throwing an absolute shitfit over the decision to reject the pipeline. (The decision on whether to approve it was supposed to be delayed until next year, but Congress went back on its pledge and mandated that a decision be made by February 21 of this year.)

We'll never know for sure whether it was the Occupy movement that led Obama to nix the pipeline. For all we know, he may have rejected the pipeline anyway. But - considering how its approval seemed inevitable only a few months ago - one has to suspect this is the latest in a string of Occupy victories.

States require teaching climate change denial

The debate is over. Climate change is real and is caused by human activity.

But now Texas and Louisiana are requiring public schools to teach that climate change denial is a legitimate scientific position. Legislation to this effect has also been introduced in other states.

With schools in at least 2 states teaching kids that climate change isn't real, now you see why I claim schools have become corporatist indoctrination centers. Even teachers say there's a coordinated campaign to prevent them from teaching the fact that climate change is real: A significant percentage of instructors say right-wing parents have confronted them about teaching it. Climate change skeptics in these communities have been drilled by networks of talk radio hosts, right-wing bloggers, and newsletters on what to say to their kids' teachers and how to manipulate curricula. One observer called it a "hecklers' veto."

I call it mob rule by the 1% - a hallmark of American politics since the Contract With America made it fashionable.

(Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-climate-change-school-20120116,0,2808837.story)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Obama opposes 'Net censorship bill

Memo to those who insist Clinton was so much better than Obama: This story shows how Democrats are supposed to govern. Whereas Clinton endorsed right-wing ideas like school uniforms and allowed a rogue Congress to repeal most of the Glass-Steagall Act, Obama is taking a different course.

The Obama administration has now announced its opposition to SOPA - an intolerable right-wing Internet censorship bill. SOPA is so extreme that it would have shut down websites like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. I believe that was Lamar Smith's intent when he introduced it, and that would be its likely result too. Despite this, there had been a lot of speculation that Obama would just sign SOPA if Congress passed it.

As a result of the White House's opposition to SOPA, Congress has now shelved the bill. That doesn't mean a different bill won't rise in its place, but the Far Right should be on notice now.

The bill may have died anyway after the Occupy movement campaigned against it. Odds are, Congress would have approved the bill if not for that. Now - with what seems to be a veto warning - we're much safer from SOPA than before.

(Source: http://www.alternet.org/story/153776/victory_for_internet_freedom:_obama_announces_opposition_to_sopa,_congress_shelves_bill?akid=8132.285408.YMoCLi&rd=1&t=21)

Drug test supporter busted for DUI

For the past few years, the Republican National Committee has bankrolled a coordinated campaign attempting to build public support for requiring drug tests to receive welfare, disability, or unemployment benefits. The idea is unconstitutional, because you need probable cause before testing somebody. But the Republicans' campaign has encouraged a flurry of bills in state legislatures to require drug tests for public assistance - with no probable cause whatsoever.

Usually, however, the idea's most vocal supporters can't even get their own lives in order.

Georgia's State Rep. Kip Smith cosponsored a bill to require drug testing for welfare. But now he's been arrested for DUI.

In my day, there was a word for this: hypocrisy. If a person can't imbibe responsibly, they have no business accusing everybody else of being on drugs. It's that simple.

Smith was driving a very expensive Jaguar. Oh, so I guess he thinks it's fine to accuse the poor of abusing drugs while rich guys like himself go out and get utterly smashed and endanger countless lives. Not only that, but Smith was uncooperative when the police pulled him over.

The Republican Right tries writing their prejudices against the poor into law, but they consider their own transgressions to be "art."

(Source: http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/state-rep-kip-smith-1302153.html)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "America's Unfunniest Home Videos"

"America, America, this is you..."

Rick Santorum looks like Bob Saget! He truly does! He looks even more like the guy in the Burger King commercials who wears a hamburger outfit, but the original point still stands.

Our latest 'LCQ' highlights this phenomenon...

Bill would require schools to teach creationism

This is what an America ruled by Wall Street looks like.

While an absurd Republican bill in Indiana would allow school districts to force teachers to teach creationism as science, a new bill in Missouri would go even further. If passed, this bill would require public schools and universities throughout the state to teach creationism. It would require textbooks to teach creationism too.

Didn't legislators in these states learn anything from the Scopes trial?

And what does this have to do with Wall Street? Well, they're Republican bills. So Wall Street picked 'em.

Further, these bills are really a form of cheap elitism. These lawmakers believe their own power and wealth gives them the right to impose their views on the public.

Americans today expect political leaders to lead them out of darkness, but a handful of corporations and theocrats still hold the country back all too often.

(Source: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/01/12/missouri-republicans-introduce-bill-that-forces-educators-to-teach-creationism-in-schools-and-universities)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gingrich thug assaults Occupy protester

Here's a sneak preview of life under a Newt Gingrich dictatorship.

In Manchester, New Hampshire, an Occupy protester was standing inside a restaurant where the Gingrich campaign was conducting an event. A Gingrich staffer walked up to the woman, grabbed her by the arm, and shoved her. A PBS reporter witnessed the incident.

If I was assaulted like that, the assailant would be spitting teeth. I don't put up with that shit.

Police are now investigating the assault.

(Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/manchester-police-investigating-gingrich-aide-in-s)

Kentucky bill would require drug test to attend vocational school

Damn, the Republican Party of Kentucky has gotten nutty!

State Sen. Jimmy Higdon has introduced a clearly unconstitutional bill that would require anybody who attends a state vocational school in Kentucky to take a drug test.

No, I'm not making this up. You can find the bill right here:


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cincinnati steps up anti-Occupy suppression

I went to another Occupy Cincinnati march today, and it turned out to be one of the most eventful yet.

We marched from Lytle Park to Fountain Square and on to Piatt Park. I defied the 3CDC thought guardians in plain sight by walking the Peace Bike onto Fountain Square. But it wasn't until we got to Piatt Park that we fell victim to the forces of loom and doom.

Turns out there were police waiting for us, and while I was chaining the Peace Bike to a post, cops arrested a participant in our rally. For no apparent reason. This man wasn't even doing anything illegal that I could see. Other Occupiers witnessed this incident up close, and all agreed that he was doing nothing that justified an arrest.

Mind you, this was in broad daylight, so the park was open. It's not like we were there at midnight again. This is the first time I can think of offhand that Cincinnati authorities have gone after us in the daytime. They had several police cars and a horseback officer just to arrest one man!

Plus, the cop on horseback charged his horse into another participant in our march - almost injuring him. I am a witness to this, as I was standing right next to the victim of this attack.

As a result of this episode, we extended the march from there to the Hamilton County Justice Center.

What does it say about the authorities when they not only try to suppress a perfectly legal protest movement but manage to do it so stupidly?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "The Kroger Garden"

Tim pokes fun at a Kroger commersh of old...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Kentucky political legend Gatewood Galbraith dies

Gatewood Galbraith - a perennial candidate for Kentucky governor and other elected offices - died of emphysema this morning at the age of 64.

Although my writings criticized Galbraith's later activities, I was once a big Galbraith booster, and he leaves behind a host of positive contributions. He helped out Lexington's homeless each Sunday, and his early stances almost certainly had a positive impact on a range of issues - which may well have saved many young lives.

For starts, I don't think The Last Word (our fanzine of freedom) would have even been possible without Galbraith's '91 campaign. If it wasn't for this endeavor, we never would have acquired enough audience to help close down an abusive cult, weaken corporate influence in our prison-like schools, or sabotage Bellevue's efforts to eliminate affordable housing. Gatewood Galbraith was an effective spokesman for his causes, and he inspired people to abandon failed convention.

Galbraith's untimely death closes a turbulent chapter in Kentucky politics. But I hope there's enough Kentuckians who are bold enough and inspired enough to continue the hard work.

Santorum's near-upset humiliates GOP

If I was a Republican, I'd feel humiliated right now. Absolutely, completely humiliated.

Who expected the preposterous Rick Santorum to end up only 14 votes away from winning last night's Republican presidential caucus in Iowa? Just days ago, his campaign was thought to be dead. Why the sudden interest in a candidate who's not just undeserving but also a complete laughingstock? Since Mitt Romney didn't gain any support from what he already had, and Iowa was thought to be unshakably in the Romney column, it's clear Santorum is now the party favorite nationwide.

Think about this for a minute to let it sink in. Rick Santorum is now the frontrunner to be the GOP nominee. Rick. Fucking. Santorum.

It's as if the Republicans have just completely thrown up their hands in recent weeks. I think they know the writing is on the wall, so they're trying to enter the history books with a bang by trying to please just their core followers - while not caring what anybody else thinks. They must know they're a dying party, so they're trying to make martyrs of themselves by satisfying only their base. It makes them feel good. But this is not how political parties survive.

What's next? Rick Scott as Santorum's running mate?