Thursday, January 31, 2013

Waitress fired for exposing pastor's nastiness

The checkbook clergy thinks they have a divine calling to be as mean as they dare.

In November, I told you about a right-wing restaurant owner who added an "Obamacare surcharge" to customers' bills and told them to offset it by denying servers their tips. Here's a similar story of meanness: At a St. Louis area Applebee's restaurant, a woman leading a group of 20 patrons wrote on her receipt, "I give God 10%, why do you get 18?" She refused to leave a tip for the server. She instead scrawled a big fat zero in the space for the tip. She also wrote on the receipt that she is a pastor.

The receipt was found by another server, who posted a photo of it on the Internet. Then the pastor who left the nasty note called that Applebee's location and demanded that everybody who worked there be fired - all because the waitress exposed her spitefulness. Applebee's partially complied - by firing this waitress.

Fired for exposing someone who hides behind religion to level classist insults against a restaurant employee?

The checkbook clergy holds working people in contempt. It shows. That's why the Religious Right supports economic policies that favor the rich. The Tea Party economic agenda is part of their all-encompassing program.


Austerity kills Kentucky children

Just thought you'd like to know just how deadly austerity is to families in the Bluegrass State.

This year in Kentucky, thousands of low-income families - largely the working poor - will stop receiving state assistance for child care. Plus, starting in April, no new applicants to the program will be accepted.

The Kentucky Department of Community Based Services says this is necessary because of a budget shortfall. Much of this shortfall is fueled by cuts in federal funding.

The government can afford to pay for needless wars and Wall Street bailouts, but it can't afford child care for hard-working families? This isn't only austerity. It's selective austerity. "Austerity for thee, not for me", if you will.

Austerity is shorthand for forcing the 99% to pay for the mistakes of the 1%. And austerity's body count only gets larger.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pennsylvania ploppings prevent pupils pooping

This story is so roll-on-the-floor uproarious that I'm crossposting this piece to both the 'Pail and the long-neglected TNT, so hang on to your face...

According to the Pottsville Republican & Herald, Mahanoy Area High School in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, has been overpowered by toilet troubles lately. Vandalism in the boys' restrooms has become so pervasive that the school will now only issue toilet paper by request. One parent spoke out against this new policy of requiring students to visit the office to get toilet paper and sign for it.

"We've had serious destruction to our bathrooms for the past 2 years," the principal said. "We have a case pending with the police where a bathroom down by our gymnasium was absolutely destroyed." He said that "our toilets have been jammed with toilet paper and other papers. And after we took the toilet tissue out of there, people were throwing books." But he added that the new policy has "cut down on the destruction."

There ya have it, peeps. Folks put books in the toilet bowls at school - a full generation after Brossart popularized this pastime. Damn, I feel old! Also, it's unclear what the principal meant by "other papers." Newspapers? Medical records? Baseball cards?

What does this story say about our society? It says that the more things change, the more ploppings stay the same! Ploppings flourished while I was listening to Men At Work records and playing Space Invaders - and ploppings continue in the era of YouTube and Xbox. Hilarity never goes out of style!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Man Of Many Hats"

Tim doesn't own many hats, but Hat Man did...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

CBS hires Condoleezza Rice

CBS - which has already repeatedly lied about Occupy - continues to prove they're now on par with Fox News, this time by hiring the disgraced Condoleezza Rice as a regular contributor to its news department. Rice joins Juan Zarate, another official from the scandal-a-day Bush regime.

CBS's Jeff Fager and David Rhodes boasted that Rice "will use her insight and vast experience to explore issues facing America at home and abroad." That's hilarious, you know that? Like Newt Gingrich, Rice is an example of someone who tries to sound smart in the hopes that dumb people will listen. She's not big on real insight. This is the same Condoleezza Rice who helped spread lies in order to draw America into the disastrous Iraq War. As late as 2006, Rice was still falsely claiming Iraq had something to do with 9/11. Later, she lied about ever having claimed this.

Rice amassed a record of right-wing incompetence and doublespeak throughout her years in the Bush regime.

During the Bush years, the American media in general was little short of a Bush mouthpiece, and they cheered the idea of right-wing recreational war. Media outlets did the same in 1991 in the run-up to that year's Gulf War, so the process wasn't entirely new.

Now I'm starting to sympathize with the guy who wrote that tearful article some years back complaining that news events left too little time for morning TV personalities to blow bubbles with bubble gum and pop it all over their face. That would certainly be more important than anything Condoleezza Rice has to say.


'Pail to Tea Party: Shut. Up.

A message for the Tea Party: Stop lecturing us and "the liberals" about "tyranny." I know all about tyranny. I've had dealings with organizations where the threat of a fat lip or worse loomed for those of us who spoke out, and these organizations were anything but liberal.

The Tea Party especially has no business lecturing us about the Second Amendment, because I favor gun rights far more than the Tea Party's hero Bush did. Bush is the guy who grabbed guns from Hurricane Katrina survivors and a disabled Iraq War vet. If the teaburglars are so worried about gun grabs, they should have protested it back then.

The Tea Party's grumbling of late ranks up there with that of milquetoast "liberals" who sniff that I "go off the deep end" and that I don't try to "understand" my enemies, or self-styled "radicals" who were silent under Clinton but keep claiming Obama is Bush's third term. (I guess these "radicals" like school uniforms and the Communications Decency Act.)

So stop complaining, teagaggers. I don't care what you think. The rest of America doesn't care either.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Doody in the drop box

Pooing is as pooing does, and folks in Las Cruces, New Mexico, are finding this out.

The city had a drop box in a public parking lot for folks to pay their utility bills. But a couple months ago, somebody defecated in it. About 50 to 100 payments were in the box when it was pooped in. These payments had to be voided because there was poo-poo on them, which was dirty and stinky and carried GERRRRRMS!!!

Needless to say, the drop box itself was also (keek!) ruined.

Apparently, this wasn't even the first bepooping to afflict the city's drop boxes. Months before this incident - which the Las Cruces Sun-News termed "November's bio-hazard problem" - there was reportedly a similar act of vandalism to the drop box.

The city considered not replacing it and discontinuing drop boxes altogether. But now it's been replaced. The city manager is also seeking a long-term solution "to avoid repeating some of the problems from the past."


Friday, January 18, 2013

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "The Smithsonian, Of All Places!"

Tim shares some photos and videos from the National Zoo and the Smithsonian, of all places!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Assault weapon ban not a cure-all

If you think the proposed federal ban of assault weapons is a panacea for America's pandemic of spree killings, I'd hate to be the one to burst your bubble with a muddy twig as it expands to head size.

The ban won't be a cure-all. For most Americans, it's not an inconvenience either, but anybody who expects everything to automatically be hunky-dory if the ban passes is going to be in for a disappointment. We know this from experience. The ban was in force from 1994 to 2004. In support of the ban, a user of Democratic Underground (the DLC-friendly website that threw Anthony Weiner under the bus) sarcastically says, "The ban was just SO AWFUL when it was in effect!" This user continues, "I mean, civilization reeled! Everyone who wanted a gun was unduly oppressed and the misery the Assault Weapons Ban inflicted can never be fully understood, it ran so deep!"

Well, the ban wasn't awful. But everything else that was going on at the time was. Look at the date of the ban again - 1994 to 2004. 1994 to 2004. Do you really want to return to those days? That era saw the largest increase in serious crime in America's history. Granted, it wasn't because of the ban - but because of right-wing policies like the rise of the police state, catatonic oppression of the poor, increasing censorship of media, economically ruinous trade policies, official encouragement of criminal behavior, school uniforms, wage freezes, and government inaction in areas where action was necessary. One thing I'll always remember about the 1990s and 2000s is feeling stupid for working hard and paying my bills while the Evil Empire was being mollycoddled.

Civilization did reel when the assault weapon ban was in effect. I'm not blaming the ban, but I place much blame on people who expected other factors to not matter. What I'm worried will happen is that the ban will pass again while everything else is left alone to fix itself. We must do much more that doesn't necessarily involve bans. We saw how inaction and bad policy destroyed lives in past years, and if nobody else acts, we must.

Project a-Scare

Who was the self-styled genius on President Obama's panel on gun violence who came up with this?

Buried deep in the docs for the new federal gun proposals is a program called Project AWARE. Project AWARE isn't a gun bill. Rather, it sounds like a weak mimeograph of Bush's failed TeenScreen that was rightly abolished not long ago.

The stated aim of Project a-Scare is to reach "mentally ill" young people and refer them to some form of "treatment." But there's no guarantee the type of "treatment" proffered will be evidence-based. Nothing in the description seems to rule out residential programs - which are failures. Nothing in it seems to rule out forced druggings - failures also.

We have a right to expect better from this administration. Project AWARE sounds like it was created to appease the NRA after they absurdly blamed "violent" video games for shootings. We also have a right to expect Congress not to fund Project AWARE. But trust me: They will - as long as Project a-Scare lives down to our expectations.

Involuntary commitment is unconstitutional. That's not hyperbole. There's a widely overlooked 1975 Supreme Court ruling called O'Connor v. Donaldson that says so. In fairness, Project AWARE doesn't appear to explicitly order involuntary commitment or any other specific action. But it seems to leave the door wide open for it.

In the court of public opinion, the pseudoscience of psychiatry had its day, and its glory days aren't coming back. End of discussion. Period. Full stop. But in practice, it still hangs over Americans' unsuspecting craniums, waiting to strike.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tim in Tallahassee

Longtime Banditeers know that I regularly post scads upon scads of Roads Scholarin' photos, and now I have 90 photos and videos posted from my fact-finding mish in Tallahassee.

So point your pooper here...

Blog blog blog blogga blog!

Blog blog blog blogga blog! Blog blogga blog blog blog blogga blog! Blog blogga blogga blog blogga blogga blog blog! Blog blog blog blogga blogga blogga blog blogga blogga blog! Blog blog blogga blogga blog! Blogga blogga blog! Blog!

So it's come to this.

Since 2003 - that's 10 years - I've had a personal blog on Pitas. But around New Year's Day, my blog became inaccessible, and Pitas posted a notice on its root page declaring they'd be back within a day as they moved their servers. But it's been 2 weeks, and nothing has changed. So it's fair to assume Pitas is kaput - and my personal blog is gone with it.

When Pitas went down, Google had only updated the cache for my blog up to December 24. I guess Google had priorities that were more urgent, like updating Daily Caller links that nobody gives a shit about. In other words, my entry about the room-clearing silent-but-deadly on Christmas Day is gone - gone into thin air.

I also haven't been able to make updates in 2 weeks, so my many fans have missed the news of my recent fact-finding missions in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. The D.C. mish was a downright spectacle, as I saw 3 uproarious celebrity look-alikes: John Denver, Chelsea Clinton, and Billy Joel. Folks also missed the fact that a hilarious silent-but-deadly was detected at an important family gathering this past Sunday. But nobody has bubbled lately, nor has anybody donned a propeller hat (a sighting that has occurred precisely once in the blog's 10-year history).

So - with the demise of Pitas - the 'Pail is picking up my personal blog's slack. The Online Lunchpail will regale you with all the latest doings of the Bandit, and all the hilarious bunkerooings that go along with 'em. That's in addition to all the sinewy commentary that has been this blog's trademark since 2007.

So you're gonna peep, you're gonna weep, and you're gonna eep!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Right-wing dumbasses want their own island police state

Oh, the stupid. It burns.

Belle Isle Park is a park in Detroit that fills an island in the Detroit River. As the city has been depopulated and impoverished by the ravages of corporatism, Belle Isle Park has been touted as an element in the city's rebirth. But a cadre of right-wing developers wants none of that.

These loudmouths want to buy the island for $1,000,000,000 and mold it into their own separate city-state based on their perverted political doctrines. Under this plan, the island would secede from Michigan to become a semi-sovereign territory. That way, America would be paying for its defense while residents would be exempt from having to pay federal taxes.

This is what remains of the Tea Party - as if its entire history hasn't been pitiful right from the giddy-up. They think they can just relocate to Detroit with the pretend micronations they made out of cardboard boxes in their back yards and make the taxpayers pay for it.

Rulers of this cartoonish police state say each prospective citizen will need $300,000 and good credit in order to move there. But there would be a quota that lets 20% of citizenships be open to folks who don't meet these requirements - so they can man the service jobs that serve the rest of the residents. Trouble is, why would anybody who doesn't meet the financial requirements want to live there just to be exploited?

Supporters of this "values voter" utopia include charter school exec Clark Durant (known for openly supporting the widening of America's wealth gap) and David Littman of the fascist Mackinac Center for Public Policy (which helped promulgate Michigan's far-right "right-to-work" law).

Wait until they find out their new breakaway dictatorship doesn't get any electoral votes.


GOP uses gun law as excuse to expand psychiatric abuse

Legislators in the state of New York just blew it.

Today, a new gun bill was signed into law in New York, and it didn't take long to find an elephant in the room shitting all over it.

I'm for gun rights - but I can live with most of what's in the new law. Background checks at gun shows? That's fine by me. Registration of existing assault rifles? No problem there, since I thought guns had to be registered anyway.

What stains this law so? It turns out that Republicans added a provision to it that would expand the power of psychiatrists to involuntarily commit people who dare to disagree with them. This provision - which would heighten psychiatric abuse - has nothing whatsoever to do with guns. The Albany Times Union says this clause was a "GOP priority."

Congratulations, Republicans. You turned a law that I might have supported into one that I'd almost certainly oppose. If you want to talk about being too damn stubborn to work with people, the Republicans win the prize hands-down. Unfortunately, the Democrats went along with it - because nobody dares to cross the psychiatric industry.

Psychiatry is a pseudoscience and a racket. It's one of the biggest swindles ever perpetrated against the American public.

(Meanwhile, the Republicans and the DLC have a bill in Kentucky that would similarly expand the powers of the psychiatric police state - as if Kentucky really needs that.)


Not conservative? Smoothie shop wants you to pay up

When you see stories like this, you know things are hanging by a thinner and thinner thread.

There's a smoothie shop in Vernal, Utah, called the I Love Drilling Juice and Smoothie Bar. As the name implies, it's owned by a right-wing activist who supports increased oil and gas drilling.

The shop is now under fire because it openly charges progressives $1 more than conservatives. The shop donates the extra dollar to right-wing causes like the fascist Heritage Foundation (which is known for its Patriot Act support and its yearly report that praises the brutal dictatorship in Singapore).

Since this business admits to charging you extra and giving it to extremist causes, big corporations should be held to the same standard when they donate to far-right superPAC's. Corporations should be required to disclose their political donations. That way, the public can make informed decisions about where to take their business.


Media hides racist "right-to-work" roots

The press has an obligation to disburse its resources to uncover facts. Today, however, most of The Media can't be trusted. It's not just a matter of stinginess but a deliberate effort to manipulate public opinion.

Adolf Hitler may have written the world's first so-called "right-to-work" law. Before Nazi Germany outlawed labor unions altogether, the regime implemented a law that was nearly identical to the right-to-scab laws now found in 24 U.S. states. It's a fact that Hitler inspired America's current "right-to-work" laws. The media gatekeepers can discover this fairly easily, but how often do you see them mentioning it? (Hitler also implemented mandatory school uniforms when he took power - a fact that The Media usually ignores but also occasionally denies outright.)

One of the first people to advocate "right-to-work" laws in America was Texas business executive Vance Muse. Muse was known for proposals like his national sales tax plan that was designed to hit the poor the hardest, but right-to-scab laws were the issue that would truly bring out Muse's racism. Here's a racist quote from Muse about his fear of the rise of unions: "From now on, white women and white men will be forced into organizations with black African apes whom they will have to call 'brother' or lose their jobs."

Muse helped organize a shadowy club called the Christian American Association, which lobbied for passage of "right-to-work" laws. This organization became the target of a probe by Texas lawmakers because of its Ku Klux Klan ties. At the time of Muse's death in 1950, he was trying to add a "right-to-work" amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

There's gobs of parallels here between Vance Muse's activities and what we see today. His national sales tax plan is echoed by the Tea Party-backed FairTax movement (which has been heard from less since it unsuccessfully tried to infiltrate Occupy). Muse's Christian American Association sounds like a forerunner of ALEC.

That The Media won't disclose or investigate the links between Muse's racism and today's thick menu of right-wing grievances is proof of The Media's own racism. That's all there is to it. There's simply no other conclusion you can make when you see such a concerted effort to cover up racism in order to advance an agenda.

I don't like racists.

(More info:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Snack Break

+ In the Arizona bailiwick of embattled authoritarian Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the right-wing failures never end.

After the NRA endorsed militarizing America's schools by filling them with armed guards, Arpaio promptly gathered a posse of civilians to patrol Maricopa County schools to bust kids they don't like. Now it turns out many members of Arpaio's posse have criminal records the size of a phone book. Their past crimes range from sexual assault against children to impersonating the police.

+ Occupy lives on, but the Tea Party is nearly gone. The Tea Party has tainted the Tea Party branding so much that the South Florida Tea Party (who gave us serial liar Marco Rubio) is changing its name. But don't worry, if this fails, the Tea Party will keep coming back under different names until time takes its course.

+ Here's a story that may signal a long-overdue rebirth of rural progressive populism:

I guess the town of Vicco, Kentucky, knows how to think for itself - instead of being bossed around by dominionists and other Wall Street 1-percenters.

The hopeless vs. the homeless

One of the reasons this blog isn't as meaty as it used to be is that we've had to accept that one of America's major political factions - the conservatives - is beyond all hope.

Rhode Island recently became America's first state to take the bold step of adopting a homeless bill of rights, and a lawmaker in California has proposed a similar common-sense measure. But the right-wing mouth trust responds by doubling down on their usual trademark blend of arrogance, ignorance, and entitlement.

Regarding this bill, a right-wing editorial in the once-respected Sacramento Bee whines, "What communities don't need are homeless people with more rights than they already have to engage in anarchy." What rights do they already have? This bill wouldn't give the homeless any more rights than anybody else has.

The Bee's comment section is predictably bombarded by extremist nuts who apparently have never seen real deprivation in their lives. One of these aristocrats sniffs that "our homeless vagrants are absolutely pampered."

Let's break down that stunning statement. "Homeless" describes a condition defined by the lack of one of life's basic necessities - shelter. To be homeless is to be deprived, by definition. "Pampered", on the other hand, describes the opposite condition - one of luxuries that go well beyond what's necessary to live on. To hear the newspaper nobility tell it, you'd think the homeless are getting free massages and riding around in stretch limos.

We've reached a point where the mainstream press and its followers are completely disconnected from real America. Look at the webpage of any - well, almost any - Occupy chapter in America, and you'll see it bursting with information about their latest actions. But try finding a single mention of most of these activities by any regular news outlet. You can't! An example is today's headline from the Idaho Statesman: "Occupy Boise gone, but protest makes presence felt." The Statesman ignores last week's major Occupy Boise event in which Occupiers (some dressed as clowns) protested legislators inside the State Capitol. The Statesman thinks that if an Occupy camp is evicted, Occupy dies with it.

We are at war against the Evil Empire.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Wrong Guard"

Tim eulogizes his deodorant lid that fell in the toilet...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

CBS lies about explosives case

Old fossils like me remember when you could trust CBS. But just since Occupy started, this is about the zillionth story in which CBS or one of its owned-and-operated stations has been caught smearing Occupy - and it's bound to continue for as long as the FCC lets it.

Recently, a New York couple was arrested when a cache of illegal weapons and explosives was allegedly found in their apartment. Rupert Murdoch's far-right New York Post promptly claimed that the male half of the couple was part of Occupy Wall Street. But that was a lie. The New York Police Department even told reporters on the record that there was no reason to think he was part of Occupy.

When the Post lied about this, the Associated Press and Reuters promptly picked up this lie and reported it as fact. They dared not question the Post's credibility. But the AP and Reuters were later forced to issue a retraction when the Post's claim was debunked.

The New York Post isn't widely trusted among the general public. The tabloid is primarily geared to the same neorightist blowhards as Fox News and most of talk radio. But what about when a respected outlet like CBS goes ahead and spreads the Post's lie days after it was discredited? That's exactly what happened. CBS This Morning dug in on the Post's baseless fib.

CBS reporter Seth Doane even interviewed a discredited police official who was associated with the NYPD's illegal surveillance of Muslims.

This is completely unacceptable. The FCC used to take a very dim view of TV and radio stations distorting the news. If the FCC was still as tough as it was in the '70s at enforcing this policy, CBS would be out of the broadcasting business - along with most of the other major American broadcast players.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Who wins? You!

When the Self Incorporated episode titled "Who Wins?" appears on YouTube, who really wins? U! That's who!

For years, I've insisted there was an educational TV show in which some kid destroys another youngster's toy dinosaur collection by stepping on it. I've now found an installment of the 1975 series Self Incorporated that doesn't have that incident, but it has a very similar scene that I now distinctly remember seeing when we watched it in grade school. In this episode, a boy enters a photo contest, and the negative of his photo is demolished when a boastful rival barges into the darkroom, starts a brawl, and steps on it. The close-up of the assailant's shoe crumpling the negative sticks out in my mind and has sent those fond memories rushing back...

You'll also notice that the magic word is used: RUIN!!! The crackling sound effects that accompany the negative's ruinment are also hilarious.

The cliffhanger ending is supposed to teach a lesson about whether or not it's proper to cheat if an opponent cheats. But I wonder if anyone noticed that the episode seems to encourage trespassing, for the boy climbs over a fence to take pictures on somebody else's horse farm. Gasp! Is that the lesson we want a show from 1975 to teach today? And isn't it a fire hazard to operate a hot iron on a bed?

And the part near the end where the photo of the horse spins around is UPROARIOUS! It reminds me of the old Moog puzzles on Sesame Street!

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "The 2013 Tim"

The 2013 Tim is not the 1990 Tim...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Fiscal cliff" hoax brings more bailouts

This is what happens when we have a fascist media.

Americans wanted to talk about income inequality. But our right-wing media gatekeepers haven't learned anything from Occupy - so they instead wanted to talk about the "fiscal cliff."

The "fiscal cliff" was a hoax concocted by Wall Street and the Tea Party to wring more goodies out of the taxpayers - at the expense of those who could afford it the least. The deal that Congress approved will give over $200,000,000,000 in handouts to Big Business. Recipients of these taxpayer-funded subsidies include railroads, auto racing tracks, Hollywood studios, and of course big banks.

Truth is, there was no "fiscal cliff." What The Media called the "fiscal cliff" was more or less just a return to the days before the Bush handouts.

The good news is that the Evil Empire still got only a fraction of what they wanted in the deal. Sure, they got the bailouts, but they didn't get the cuts in benefit programs that they were absolutely determined to get. Slashing Social Security and disability benefits shouldn't have even been on the table, because these expenses don't add to the deficit. But in the end, these programs survived - at least for now. The Tea Party is infuriated by that - because they want to see people suffer. Still, if I was in charge, I would have just ignored the "fiscal cliff."

What's striking is The Media's failure to pick up on what Americans want to discuss. As people want to talk about economic inequality, the press's arrogant refusal to cover this issue is like laughing right in our faces.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Congressional GOP still wife-beaters after all these years

The more things change, the more the wife-beaters in the Republican Party stay the same.

The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 was one of Congress's great legislative accomplishments of that era. The ACLU later said it was "one of the most effective pieces of legislation enacted" against domestic violence and other crimes.

But the Refug-a-lugs were against this law right from the giddy-up, because they think women are property. That's what much of their 1994 electoral campaign was about: repealing this law. Once they stole that "election", they tried to cut the law's funding. Later, in 2000, a right-wing Supreme Court gutted much of the Violence Against Women Act by striking down the part that gave women the right to sue their attackers. That was yet another instance of the far-right war on women.

Last year, the Violence Against Women Act came up for renewal. The Democratic-led Senate voted 68 to 31 to reauthorize it. But the Republican-led House refused all year long to bring it up for reauthorization. The law is now dead.

The Violence Against Women Act funded violence prevention services, protections for evicted domestic violence victims, rape crisis centers, and other programs. Now all of that is gone.

Shame on the Republicans and the Tea Party.