Friday, March 30, 2012

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "The Ruined Bike Light"

They don't make poo like they used to. (When I say poo, I'm using the term figuratively. Poo in the literal sense is probably made as sturdily as ever.)

These days, stuff breaks. When you buy any type of electronics or transit accessories, don't expect it to last long. Odds are, an item that's 40 years old will work better than its brand new counterpart. This is no exaggeration. It's kind of like how the new TV that I buyed in 2005 lasted a year, but I replaced it with a 1983 set that still worked great for another 2 years after that.

This week's LCQ explores the latest item to break before its time...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "The Hooper Reserve"

Tim talks about a mysterious local geographic feature...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another reason to oppose pseudoephedrine bill

Although Kentucky lawmakers softened their proposed law on allergy meds last month, don't uncork the champagne just yet.

While this hated bill was modified so the prescription requirement doesn't kick in unless you exceed a state-approved limit, the bill has now been amended to make it just as booger-brained as before. Rep. Joe Fischer - the far, far right-wing Republican from Campbell County - has amended the legislation so it would exclude Kentucky from the Obama administration's recently announced policy on insurance coverage of contraceptives.

Uh, Joe? Obama's policy is a federal rule. You can't just revoke benefits for your state's citizenry by pulling out of a legally enacted federal policy that doesn't even require the states to do anything. Plus, regarding this issue, it's Obama who's on the winning side of public opinion. Joe Fischer is not. I'm an economic populist first and foremost, but I just can't believe the Republicans are attacking Obama over his birth control policy, of all things.

And what do contraceptives have to do with allergy drugs anyway?

Supposedly, Fischer has claimed to be against further restricting allergy medicine, but I'm skeptical of that, because he's threatening to vote for this bill. If he doesn't like the bill, why did he choose this bill for his unrelated amendment? If he amended the bill in order to kill it, isn't that evidence that he knows nobody supports his amendment? It takes a certain degree of arrogance to pull a stunt like that.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tea Party leader busted for rape

If anybody with even minimal involvement in the Occupy coalition was arrested for rape and kidnapping, it would be a national story, and it would likely spell the end of the entire Occupy movement. But when a Tea Party leader is arrested for these crimes, it doesn't get a shred of coverage outside the county of the arrest.

Some nobody who serves as a leader in the San Diego Tea Party is now under arrest for allegedly kidnapping and raping a woman. According to police, "he dragged her out of the car and sexually assaulted her pretty brutally." It also turns out that the suspect was accused of domestic violence in 2008.

Fox News is going to cover this story, aren't they? Aren't they???


Saturday, March 17, 2012

ISP's announce right-wing spying program

Yep, it sounds like more of that Tea Party "small government" to me!

On July 12, the Internet industry - in cooperation with the thuggish MPAA and RIAA - plans to implement the biggest Internet spying program ever known. Internet giants like Time Warner, Cablevision, Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have all pledged their participation.

Under this right-wing program, if your ISP thinks you've been downloading copyrighted music or movies, your ISP will install a virus on your computer that will pop up a "warning" about piracy and force you to click through it to be allowed to continue using your machine. If you're "caught" a second time, your ISP may require you to attend a class about piracy, limit your Internet access only to selected sites like Google and Facebook, or place you on a blacklist shared with other ISP's.

This is illegal on so many levels that the mind boggles to and fro. For starts, this program violates federally mandated 'Net neutrality principles. And the blacklist is nothing short of an open-and-shut case of racketeering.

Most strikingly, isn't it illegal for phone and Internet companies to spy on customers' communications? Why, yes it is. Not like it hasn't been going on for decades. I certainly knew even in my youth that phone companies were doing this. What's amazing now is that the industry admits it and expects nobody to challenge it.

And how can they even prove a customer is guilty of piracy?

I'd like to say we should pass federal and state laws against this spying program - except it's already illegal. Everybody from Eric Holder to the Attorneys General of the states to your local district attorney needs to prosecute ISP's, the RIAA, and the MPAA to the fullest extent. In a nation with over 3,000 counties, I can't imagine that not a single one would prosecute.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tea Party bill would let employers fire women over birth control

When you think the meanies of the Republican Right can't get any more extreme, they always do - and now I think they've finally fallen off the cliff. It's been a long time coming, but I think this is it.

A Republican bill in Arizona would let employers force women who use birth control pills to provide written proof that the pill is being used for nonsexual reasons. Women who do not comply could be fired. The bill was introduced by Sen. Debbie Lesko - a Tea Party favorite.

See, the Tea Party doesn't want big government. They want gargantuan government!

Believe it or not, Arizona's Senate Judiciary Committee just approved the bill by a 6 to 2 vote. Until now, I actually thought that the GOP hadn't quite fallen that far yet. But I was wrong. They really are batshit morons.

Just as mind-numbing, Lesko actually says her bill expands freedom. "We live in America. We don't live in the Soviet Union," she huffed. Yes, she really did say that in an attempt to justify her bill.

I'm absolutely certain that if this bill passes, it would violate federal statutes and common law. Boasts by the Far Right notwithstanding, companies have no right to simply fire an employee just because. That's a funhouse mirror world created largely by talk radio and extremist websites. It's a lie that was created to silence opposition.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Even the 1% likes the magic word!

Keek! Ruin!

I went to the Occupy Cincinnati press conference on the steps of Cincinnati City Hall yesterday, and it was a downright spectacle that drew dozens of members of the Occupy coalition.

While the conference was in progress, a middle-aged woman in a gas-guzzling vehicle coasted to a halt on Plum Street. She yelled to us, "You guys are ruining our country!"

Hahahaha! The magic word!

What does this harangue reveal? It shows we really are ruining it - for the 1%. Their fun is now utterly, completely ruined. After we finally managed to make economic inequality and injustice one of the most important issues on Americans' minds, is it even possible to cram the genie back into the bottle? I think Americans today surely rank the wealth gap as a more pressing matter than (snicker) "moral values."

Hell, I think they have for years but wouldn't dare admit it until recently. I would have loved to see the electoral map if Al Gore or John Kerry had based their campaigns on closing the wealth chasm. I'm skeptical of the notion that most folks were dumb enough to believe the wealth gap was some sort of condign directive when they were the ones on the wrong end of it. It suspends disbelief even more to think most people were more willing to regulate personal behavior than Big Business. Normal people don't have these views.

Back to the quote at hand: "You guys are ruining our country!" Notice the woman said "are ruining", not "will ruin." That speaks volumes about our effectiveness. It was a desperate complaint that reminds me of a villain in a 'Super Friends' cartoon releasing a final sigh after being captured.

I'm not the only one who had a real bear of a time containing their laughter at this maniac's public outburst.

Now that we know our activity is ruining the grand old time the 1% was having, we're gonna keep doing it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Smashing win for Occupy Cincinnati!

Occupy Cincinnati has just scored a stunning legal victory over the Evil Empire, and all you can see is a cloud of sawdust where our foes have been standing.

As a result of a lawsuit and settlement with the city, charges against Occupiers are now being thrown out, and the city has been forced to set aside a small portion of Piatt Park as a 24/7 venue for free assembly. The agreement doesn't allow actual camping (ooh, an Allowed Cloud!), but general uses of this space will be permitted. And the city has agreed to set up a public liaison at the park board.

At first, this victory seemed frustratingly minuscule. Why should the city limit round-the-clock assembly to just part of one park? After all, isn't the right to assemble constitutionally protected? But the implications are colossal. Our win shows how weak the authorities' case was. We forced them to explain themselves, and they lost. In fact, the only time the Far Right ever wins is when nobody makes them explain themselves. When people muster the valor to call them out, good prevails - without fail.

We didn't just defeat City Hall. We humiliated it!

The city will decide whether to renew its more permissive park policy a year from now. If it doesn't renew it, the city will be subject to being sued - and humiliated - again.

This case also - along with a recent Des Moines case - establishes an ironclad legal precedent that tips the scales of justice in favor of free speech and assembly.

We're not done yet. The door is now wide open for victories that go far beyond a small city park. Not only has our use of the park already been effective at promoting our goals, but we've now exposed gaping weaknesses in the efforts to shut us down.

And shutting us down surely continues to loom large in our detractors' minds. They'll resort to new tactics. And we will fight back - and win again. I'm experienced enough to know when I'm winning, and I don't bluff.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Does corporate personhood nix execs' voting rights?

Here's an argument that ought to end the fight over corporate personhood once and for all: If corporations are people, doesn't that mean people are corporations? And since corporations aren't supposed to be allowed to vote, shouldn't executives who hide behind corporate personhood agree to give up their voting rights?

Think about that for a minute.

And if a corporation gets free bailout money from the taxpayers, shouldn't there be restrictions on what they can buy with it? Here's an analogy: If you get food stamps, you can only use them to buy food, right? And most folks think that's pretty fair, am I correct? So why shouldn't bailout money for big banks also be limited to certain purchases?

Here's my idea: Corporations that get bailout dough should receive their handouts in the form of electronic transfer cards prominently bearing the word 'BAILOUT' in a 'M*A*S*H' typeface. It could be spent only on generic items and only at government-run commissaries. They want help from the government? Well, this is the help they're gonna get. Fair is fair.

And if corporations are people, members of the boards of directors of corporations that argue for corporate personhood ought to agree to surrender their right to vote. If they want to vote, they should ditch their ridiculous argument that corporations are people. I'm as much in favor of voting as the next person is, but those who equate corporations with people should at least opt to abstain from the polls. You can't have it both ways.

Corporate personhood pisses squarely in the face of everything a democratic republic is supposed to stand for.

Bill would outlaw picket lines

We already knew the 1% has been on a coordinated campaign to close down the still-growing Occupy movement, so we shouldn't be surprised they'd try to imprison workers for going on strike.

Lawmakers in the state of Georgia are considering a clearly unconstitutional bill that would criminalize picket lines. It would even ban some demonstrations against government policies. The bill was introduced by right-wing Sen. Don Balfour.

Just because the Wall Street 1% typically sits on their asses all day and refuses to do any real work is no justification for them to make criminals out of the 99%. As part of the 99%, it's time for us to wipe the shit-eating smirks off Wall Street's faces.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Right-wing hatchet man Andrew Breitbart dies

Far-right firebrand Andrew Breitbart - known for his website that often republished mainstream news articles and for his own activities that attempted to ruin the careers of dissenters - reportedly died this morning at the age of 43: