Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blinded by having your glasses ripped off your face...

I think I just had the funniest dream ever!

I've amassed a couple more weird dreams lately. A few weeks ago, I had a strange dream in which I rode on horseback all over the city streets of Newport and Covington - including inside the Kenton County Public Library building. But that doesn't even remotely compare to the uproarious dream that I woke up with this morning.

In this dream, the lead singer of the Little River Band posted a message insulting me on an Internet message board about the radio industry. This prompted me to get in a lengthy online argument with him.

When this occurred, the vocalist from Manfred Mann's Earth Band ("Blinded by the light...") chimed in and also started attacking me. He posted a message that said, "Some people are like mice disguised as dachshunds. At first, Mr. Brown appeared to be a dachshund. Now he has proven himself to be a mouse."

This prompted me to track him down. I discovered that the Manfred Mann guy was lodged at a hotel in Missouri, so I made a special trip to the Show Me State to confront him. For some reason, my mom accompanied me on this trip. I entered the hotel lobby and found the Manfred Mann guy there. When he refused to apologize, I grabbed his glasses off his face and hurled them across the room.

Then my mom angrily demanded that we go back home.

But it was just a dream! A hilarious dream!

Why in the Wide, Wide World Of Sports would I have a dream involving being insulted by members of the Little River Band and Manfred Mann's Earth Band? Was getting hate mail from Ambrosia next? And why would one of the said musicians post a message comparing me to a mouse posing as a dog?

Because it bips. That's why.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bizarro Republicans fight workers in Mississippi

You may remember the old "Bizarro World" skits on Saturday Night Live. These sketches were about a crazy planet where everything was backwards. It was kind of like Yakov Smirnoff's jokes about Russia: "In America, you watch TV. In Soviet Russia, TV watches you."

Republicans today aren't merely Republicans. They're Bizarro Republicans. Their extremism isn't just a matter of degree. It's about doing the precise opposite of what ought to happen. A perfect example of this was when they passed a clearly unconstitutional federal law requiring libraries to censor websites - when there should have been a law to prohibit libraries from censoring websites.

The Bizarro GOP is at it again in Mississippi, and all it does is prove just how thoroughly evil they are. A right-wing bill has been introduced in the Mississippi legislature that would ban cities and counties from establishing a minimum wage. It would also bar cities and counties from passing laws guaranteeing vacation time or sick leave to working people.

I guess the Republicans really are for states' rights - as long as it tramples cities' rights. Or at least when it tramples workers' rights. The Mississippi GOP is still angry about that emancipation thing, I see.

At a time when lawmakers should be increasing the minimum wage and tying it with inflation, Bizarro Republicans are instead trying to make sure cities can't increase it. These Bizarro Republicans are not good people.

Go ahead, GOP. Base your next election campaign on opposing the minimum wage. Watch what happens.


Welfare drug tests struck down!

And boom goes the bubble gum.

Ever since the Tea Party and the Republican National Committee began their Facebook crusade for mandatory drug tests of welfare recipients, I've kept a special eye on this issue. Their idea was motivated by classism and control. If people can be singled out because of their economic group, where does it stop?

Drug testing welfare recipients without reasonable suspicion was long ago ruled unconstitutional in a Michigan case. But what hath the Tea Party wrought? After the Tea Party installed a slate of right-wing crackpots in public offices throughout the land, Florida and Georgia passed laws to require suspicionless drug tests in order to receive welfare.

Florida wasted over $45,000 on this program before a judge halted it. Only about 2% of people on welfare failed the drug test. (The rate of drug abuse among the rest of the public is about 10%.) Yesterday a federal appeals court struck down this program - echoing the Michigan ruling. In what Huffington Post calls "a strongly-worded opinion", the 3-judge panel unanimously deemed it an unconstitutional search - which it is.

Meanwhile, public interest in the issue has been gutted. Hardly anybody today is demanding drug tests for welfare, largely because Occupy showed that the crimes of the 1% were going unpunished. (Occupy has also decimated interest in the confiscatory FairTax - a longtime right-wing cause celebre.)

But Florida's fascist Gov. Rick "Max Headroom" Scott must still be "hardly anybody today." He vows to squander yet more taxpayer money by appealing yesterday's decision to the Supreme Court.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cutting the last tie with Cincinnati Bell

Someday, someday.

For decades, I've hoped that maybe someday I wouldn't have to use Cincinnati Bell - our local phone monopoly long known for dreadfully bad service. Well, someday is here - at long last!

Cincinnati Bell has long controlled all local landline phone service - lock, stock, and sinker. They are the phone company in parts of 3 states. Cincinnati Bellyache has amassed a long list of woes - the least of which may be their high bills for home phone service and frequent rate hikes that are rubber-stamped by regulators.

In the '80s, Cincinnati Bell was found to be conspiring with corrupt right-wing local politicians and police to wiretap phone conversations in search of "communist" activity. (60 Minutes did a piece on this scandal.) This was around the same time I discovered that phone and modem connections would just go dead. It was obvious I was being wiretapped ever since I was old enough to shave, because my connections with computer bulletin boards would occasionally go dead if I made a controversial posting.

Cincinnati Bell refused to do anything about the harassing phone calls from schoolmates I experienced for years and years - forcing me to change my number repeatedly, which incurred extra fees. Although it was unlisted, the culprits somehow found my new number each time. Cincinnati Bell also would not crack down on collection agencies who repeatedly called me and asked for people who I didn't even know. This forced me to drop my landline and get a cell phone - from a different provider.

My landline once went dead because the line in front of my apartment building broke after Cincinnati Bell allowed the sheathing to rot. When I informed them of this, it took almost a week for them to repair it - leaving me without phone access all the while. Cincinnati Bell's pay phones were often inoperable, and would frequently emit an error message while failing to refund your money. This phone giant also charged Kentucky customers more than Ohio customers for long-distance calls - and calls even within the area were sometimes considered long-distance. When far-right Ohio lawmakers passed a law to let phone companies raise rates without approval from regulators, Cincinnati Bell was of course the first company to take advantage of it.

Cincinnati Bell began forcing my old dialup ISP to strictly limit users' online time. This prompted me to switch from dialup to high-speed. I had planned on using my old dialup ISP's high-speed service, but they had just pulled this service out of the area because Cincinnati Bell made them pay too much to use the local phone system. Cincinnati Bell's anticompetitive practice worked: I had no choice but to get Zoomtown - Cincinnati Bell's high-speed ISP - because I could not get Internet from the cable company, for my apartment has no place to put a cable. This was another effective monopoly Cincinnati Bell had. Meanwhile, Cincinnati Bell refused to extend high-speed service to some areas where they had a phone monopoly. I call it an unimproved monopoly: They had been granted a monopoly but refused to provide a service that came with it.

I had a whole new set of problems with Zoomtown. My Zoomtown connection would occasionally go dead for hours at a time, and at least once, it went dead for days. Whenever I had to call their customer service line, they sometimes put me on hold for an hour - which ran up my cell phone minutes, costing me $15 each time. Then they provided ineffective help. After one such service call, my connection became intolerably slow. It was slower than dialup. I made numerous service requests for them to fix it, but it wasn't fixed for 2 years. While this was going on, their website began telling folks to buy their much costlier FiOptics service if they wanted high-speed access. Uh, wasn't high-speed supposed to be the reason Zoomtown exists? Also, FiOptics wasn't even available in all the areas that had Zoomtown!

Websites were occasionally blocked for hours at a time. I know this, because these sites came up fine if I went through a proxy server. At first I thought it was because Zoomtown disliked their political content, but now I think it was because Zoomtown just couldn't handle too many users using these sites, so they restricted access to them - thus violating 'Net neutrality rules.

In the past week, a new problem emerged. Zoomtown began blocking a particular website - not just for hours, but for days. This website was previously accessible through Zoomtown. Access to it still hadn't returned today. After Zoomtown blocked it, I could still use a proxy to access that site's opening page, but the rest of the site wasn't equipped to be used with proxies. I have no doubt whatsoever that Zoomtown is blocking it because of content - even though the content is not illegal.

That was the final straw.

Unlike 6 years ago when I got Zoomtown, there's now another high-speed ISP offering access in my area. So now I've switched to them - because of Zoomtown's censorship. Since the new ISP is wireless, it doesn't use Cincinnati Bell's antiquated phone system. And the website blocked by Zoomtown comes up just fine with this new ISP. Plus, my Internet is now considerably faster than it ever was with Zoomtown.

Zoomtown blocks websites, so I took my scarce money elsewhere. Fair is fair. Competition works. Corporate monopolies don't. Zoomtown wants to treat us like we're in a dictatorship that censors media. I can't remember offhand ever hearing of any other American ISP blocking a website over content.

This cuts my last tie with Cincinnati Bell. I once used them for both phone and Internet, because they effectively had a monopoly on both. But - now that there's competition - I use them for neither. In the case of both Internet and phone, I switched not because somebody advertised a better deal. I switched because Cincinnati Bell did something completely intolerable with the service I was getting.

If a company wants people to buy from them, they should provide a quality product - not rely on their cronies in government to give them a monopoly.

I also now suspect that Zoomtown was blocking e-mails. Last year, when Occupy Cincinnati briefly had a newsletter, I signed up to receive it by e-mail, but I never got it. Occupy head honchos told me they sent me each issue. But it was nowhere to be seen - not in my main e-mail folder, not in my spam folder, nowhere. Considering the effort that was put forth by Corporate America at trying to destroy Occupy, I'm now almost certain that Zoomtown intentionally blocked Occupy's newsletter from reaching me.

I feel courageous for having dropped Cincinnati Bellyache. The fact that I feel like a pioneer for dropping them proves what an impenetrable stranglehold they've had on the local telcom business. Cincinnati is a corporate-minded city, and Big Business has been known for using intimidation to keep people in line.

ISP's spy on users to accuse them of piracy

This week, many of America's major ISP's are joining a new program called the Copyright Alert System launched by the "entertainment" industry to harass users they accuse of piracy.

Under the Copyright Alert System, if an ISP believes a user is downloading or uploading copyrighted music or movies without authorization, the ISP will slow their connection or redirect all their traffic until they agree to read propaganda materials about copyright law. Folks who have been wrongly accused can appeal, but must pay $35 to do so. Now there's a new way for telcom companies to squeeze every last dime out of you, huh?

Even without scamming folks out of $35, this plan is illegal on at least a couple of fronts. Firstly, it violates 'Net neutrality regulations. Secondly, how does your ISP even know you're sharing files unless they're spying on your account? This is an open-and-shut case of illegal wiretapping. Period. Full stop. End of story. This is exactly like the phone company listening in on phone conversations (not like that hasn't been going on for decades).

If somebody is breaking the law over the Internet, authorities need a warrant to catch them. An ISP isn't allowed to just spy on you to see what websites you visit.

Contrary to the right-wing, greed-driven, McCarthyesque babblings of "entertainment" industry copyright sentinels, the biggest threat to copyrights isn't the average person who goes on YouTube and watches the music video for "Dancing In The City" after remembering how their parents confiscated their record of it when they were 6 years old and hid it on top of the kitchen cabinet, after which it was never seen again. The real threat to intellectual property is overseas organized crime rackets - which receive protection from governments. On the streets of China, counterfeiters hawk pirated Western music and movies in plain sight. American officials are reluctant to raise a peep about that, for fear of being accused of violating "free trade" policies.

Because libertea, don't ya know.

Considering the Copyright Alert System already involves ISP's breaking the law, why don't prosecutors crack down on ISP's that participate?


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Big Coal throws tantrum over pollution rule

There's no outrage like fossil fuel outrage!

Congress has maliciously refused to act on reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. So the Obama administration is forced to take executive action. Regulating pollution is one of the EPA's basic charges, and an earlier Supreme Court decision says the EPA is legally required to regulate polluting gases.

Obama's EPA is fixing to issue a new regulation that would limit the amount of emissions by new power plants. Big Coal says this means no new coal-fired plants can be built - and that it's all Obama's fault.

Wrong. Try again.

Coal-fired plants can still be built. All they need to do is add a carbon capture mechanism. So the captains of industry need to stop complaining.

What's really at work here is another propaganda effort by Big Coal to blame "the liberals" for everything. Of course this won't work, because: 1) The cities are starting to outvote the coalfields; 2) Republicans have maxed out their electoral support in the coalfields anyway; and 3) the natural order is for workers to vote against their bosses. Voting with your boss and worshiping random rich guys is '90s stuff. The energy industry thought they'd get 3 more right-to-scab states out of this, didn't they?

Man arrested for hoarding weapons had hit list of "liberal" politicians

I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's only a matter of time.

It's only a matter of time before some right-wing droid pulls off an attack that will make any other recent act of violence on American soil look like a blip in comparison.

In Clarkstown, New York, police have charged one Larry Mulqueen with a series of crimes. Mulqueen posted a hit list on Facebook issuing death threats against numerous "liberal" politicians and was found with an illegal stockpile of high-powered guns and other weapons.

Mulqueen was caught, so America may have dodged a bullet - literally. If this guy was still on the game board, who knows what he would have done?

Unfortunately, there's others like him out there. And it's only a matter of time - unless a very sharp eye is kept on the Right.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Montana bill would let corporations vote

When I first read this, I thought this bill had to be a joke. But nope. The Republicans really are that crazy.

Montana State Rep. Steve Lavin - a Republican, of course - has introduced a bill that would let corporations vote. Under this bill, corporations would be allowed to vote in every city or town where they own real property. The corporation would assign a designee to cast their vote.

Considering corporations own acres upon acres of land (and don't use much of it), each corporation would likely be able to vote multiple times in Montana.

This brings to mind some important questions: Why are corporations allowed to own so much real property? I support individuals acquiring real property, but I think there should be a moratorium on corporations acquiring it. Corporations are not people - and they are not supposed to have property rights or any other rights.

Because corporations are not people, they shall not get to vote. What level of shitbaggery induces a lawmaker to think corporations should vote? What is Steve Lavin's defense for his bill? I'd love to hear him make a fool of himself defending this crap. That would be like the time Joe Fischer got laughed at for introducing a bill to let corporations in Kentucky fund elections.


Guns and stalkers don't mix

Today I'm endorsing an idea for a gun bill that doesn't hamper the liberty of any normal individual one iota.

Fighting serial harassers has been an evergreen throughout the 20 years since I started my publication - and it's because they and their apologists have chosen to make it one. At the same time, the Really Serious People refused to even cover this topic.

You can read my writings about the assholes year after year. But when you're forced to deal with them in person on a daily basis like I did, it's breathtaking. By the time I was 16, I was in disbelief that there were that many people out there who seemed preprogrammed for such evil.

Some of my schoolmates were chronic bullies, stalkers, and harassers. There was something truly wrong with them to act the way they did. There's just no other logical conclusion. Of course they got rewarded for it with new laws and policies that kept folks like me down and never batted an eye at them. In short, they got preferential treatment. The political class also seemed determined to enact policies to keep their victims from fighting back.

Let's cut the bullshit: Why are these screwballs allowed to own guns now? I know more than one of them have guns, because in the age of the Internet, word gets around about these things. Assault rifles, no less.

They committed serious crimes, yet they're out there hoarding guns like it's going out of style. These are people who physically assaulted me, and now they've got enough firepower to arm an entire country's military. (One of these individuals has also made racist Facebook posts.)

I'd say anybody who is in high school and is still at such an unadvanced stage of development that they plan their entire day around attacking schoolmates is probably never going to mature beyond that level. So why do we let them have guns as adults? They've proven they can't be trusted with cars (although the law gave them special rights in that regard). They've proven they can't be trusted in society. What makes you think we can trust them with assault weapons? I wouldn't even trust them with a He-Man cap gun.

That they can get guns is inexcusable. In fact, it's an abomination. Society quite rightly bans most violent criminals from having guns. The spoiled assholes I'm acquainted with are of course an exception. So my proposal for a gun bill almost writes itself. My plan is this: Anybody who engages in serial harassment in high school should be banned for life from owning a gun. Period. Full stop. End of discussion.

I don't expect this to become law, but if it did, we should be prepared for some king-sized howling from the talking heads about how we don't "understand" our enemies - who are consumed by complaints against a society that doesn't think of them as worthy of unadulterated praise. Too fucking bad.

My idea might not become reality, but the least I can do is make sure it gets heard. I'm going on 40, and to this day, I still think it's absolutely mind-boggling that the bad behavior of a small gang of career problem children not only went unpunished but actually came to be viewed as normal.

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Tom Selleck Likes Cough Drops"

Tim defaces a picture of Tom Selleck to illustrate the ineffectiveness of cough drops...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

SUV's still taking their toll

Here's a toll plan for the Brent Spence Bridge replacement that we should all be able to get behind.

The American Jobs Act would have eliminated the need for tolls, but after the Tea Party killed this bill, tolls seem like the only option. But I know one way we can make tolls an easier pill to swallow: Charge tolls for SUV's, but not for regular cars.

You may remember the Bush regime giving tax breaks for gas-guzzling SUV's. Well, it's only fair that SUV's give something back. Some roads already have a "per axle" toll policy: They charge large semis more than they charge passenger cars. So there's certainly a precedent for charging vehicles more based on their bulk.

And why shouldn't there be? SUV's imbibe more fuel, contribute more to climate change, and create more wear on our roads than an average car. It's only fair for SUV's to pay their share. That's the price of living in a society, where we have a social contract.

Despite the strong precedent, I'm sure there'd be some serious attempts by right-wing congresscreatures to abuse the federal muscle to say the states can't charge SUV's extra. But they're the states' roads - not Congress's. The Right has a problem understanding the concept of ownership. It's much like how Google doesn't understand how they don't own your years-old Internet posts and have no right making money from them (not even the posts that were modified without your permission by third parties).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Covington tries expelling mobile home residents

If you're poor or working-class, you're no longer welcome in the city of Covington, Kentucky. You built the city with your hands, but city officials say you're no longer needed.

Without warning, the city has forced Covington Mobile Home Park to close - and residents have only until mid-March to move out. The city purchased the property and gave each household only $500 to cover expenses. Some residents are military veterans, have recently had major surgeries, or are disabled.

This is nothing less than a nauseating mass expulsion - and an uncompensated land grab. Surely, the residents - although they don't own the park - had invested more than $500 in their homes. Anything short of homelessness costs more than that. I've spent tens of thousands on rent in the years since I got my current apartment, and if the government purchased my building, I'd feel as if I have a constitutional right to have the government compensate me for every last penny - even though I don't own the building.

The deal stems from a zoning change enacted by the city in 2006 designed to keep out housing for people who aren't financially secure. The city refused to allow the mobile home park (which already existed then) to be grandfathered. The city now plans to use the mobile home park site for just an empty space.

This is just the latest right-wing class war being waged by an American municipality. And - like too many other crusades like this - it's being waged by a bona fide city, not a rich suburb where you'd expect it. In other words, residents don't even have a local government that represents them!

The federal government should levy a stiff fine on the city of Covington for housing discrimination based on economic level.

The expulsion of mobile home residents by the city of Covington brings government tyranny to the very doorstep of countless people. Is it too late to fight it on the ground? For some it is, because the media wouldn't cover the story until now, after some have already given up and moved out. But it's not too late for the rest. (Incidentally, I have notified Occupy Cincinnati of the situation.)

And I will remember this class war. I'm not one to let it go unanswered.

Friday, February 15, 2013


The Bill of Rights lists natural rights that predated America's founding and should never be subject to repeal. No real progressive would support repealing any part of the Bill of Rights. We can argue the fine points of how to interpret the Constitution's first 10 amendments, but I'm not afraid to fight to the death against their outright revocation. I'm fully aware that I'm following a document written by people who lived over 200 years ago - but my high school principal was probably that old too.

It's a downright falsehood to say the U.S. is the only country where the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected. Other countries - including Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, and Guatemala - also enshrine it in their Constitution. Conversely, the right-wing prototype state of Singapore is one of very few countries that completely outlaws individual gun ownership.

While conservative newspapers like the Chicago Tribune and the Harvard Crimson have endorsed repealing the Second Amendment since even before Newtown, such an effort will not be entertained by me. Rescinding parts of the Bill of Rights is the refuge of a statist. Instead, why don't we have police deescalate?

The militarization of America that's heightened over the past 20 years is a threat in ways that aren't always immediately visible. In addition to running roughshod over basic liberty, it encourages an internal arms race. It reminds me of the "Itchy & Scratchy" segment where the title characters keeping whipping out larger and larger pistols until they engulf the Earth.

I understand why cops carry guns. But is it necessary for them to carry military weapons? Some years back, when hollow-point bullets that broke apart in the victim's flesh were introduced, politicians lamented how nobody needs a bullet like that. Apparently, the police think they need it, because Winchester began selling it only to cops. Why would police need ammo that splits apart on impact?

Militarization of society is a form of violence - physical and psychological. It's time for our police to deescalate and move away from military weapons. And it's time for our schools to do the same.

Tyranny is tyranny, and I've seen enough fascism to make me appreciate the Bill of Rights. I fight back.

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Funny Words"

Tim regales you with some of the funniest words in the English language...

Store sells spoiled food (a Street Story)

I've had my fill of getting spoiled or moldy food at a certain supermarket in my part of town. Just now I discovered that some frozen sausage biscuits I purchased there were moldy. A couple weeks ago, I got pepperoni rolls there that were spoiled. Also, for years, the lunchmeat shelf at this store has been full of items that were well past the expiration date.

This store also no longer carries any brand of white bread that is generally edible. The bread shelves are full of loaves that are on the brink of passing their expiration date (if they haven't already). Even the ones that haven't reached their expiration date yet often taste like dish soap or bleach. The only bread they have there now is from off-brands - which cost just as much as the good brands did.

I've shopped at this store for years, but I am never going to shop there again - even if I have to travel much further to a different store. I can't live on stale food.

My longtime readers know that this isn't the first battle I've had with a grocery store habitually selling rotten items. (My earlier struggle led to a mild fear of Cocoa Puffs boxes, even though I was in college.) Who polices this? People can go to jail for participating in an Occupy rally, but there's nobody keeping an eye on stores poisoning the public.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Marco Rubio should switch to Hubba Bubba

I caught President Obama's State of the Union address and one of the ensuing Republican response speeches - the one by serial liar Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. (The other GOP follow-up speech - framed as a Tea Party response - was by Rand Paul. Many TV outlets did of course show both Republican responses.)

America got a glimpse of why Rubio will never be President. And it wasn't just his idiotic ideas and nasty personality that did him in. Several times during his speech, Rubio inexplicably rubbed his face. He appeared to be pulling strands of burst bubble gum off of his skin.

It's mighty obvious what went on. It appears that during the President's address, Rubio just decided he didn't want to pay attention, so he whisked a pack of bubble gum out of his pocket, crammed the entire pack in his mouth, and blew huge bubbles. Just like a high school kid getting bored with a teacher's lecture.

During his own speech, the cameraperson or somebody else in the room must have gestured to Rubio that he had the remnants of a popped bubble still clinging to his skin. That's when you see him pulling at his face.

Rubio's apparent inattentiveness during the State of the Union explains why most of his speech had nothing to do with what was in it. Rubio's monologue consisted primarily of boilerplate GOP talking points that were already stale 25 years ago. Nothing new and bold. The Republicans are completely bankrupt of ideas and are unlikely to recover.

Aside from the burst bubble gum, Rubio had a jittery look throughout. He looked like he was worried about being called out on his nonsense - like when you catch someone in a lie. He knows he's full of shit, his party's full of shit, and they're on the brink of folding.

After seeing that humiliating display, I can't imagine many scenarios where the Republicans remain viable. Growth and shrinkage of political parties is usually uneven across geographic areas. The Republicans might be slow to unravel in states with a large rural base. But it's coming - slowly but surely. Marco Rubio's speech looked like the dying gasp of a zombie party.

Are you looking forward to the days when the Democrats and the Greens are America's 2 leading parties?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Drone war drones on

It's long past time we get to the bottom of this disgraceful story. The world is waiting.

John Brennan is a former Bush official who has defended torture and is now inexplicably President Obama's nominee to head the CIA. As Brennan's confirmation hearings slog on, the public is learning a little more about the CIA's decade-old drone program.

Fact is, not many people give a shit if a drone strike kills a known terrorist. That's simply where most folks stand. But when this drone war kills innocent civilians, that ought to be a different story. It wasn't until relatively recently that the government even acknowledged that the drone war exists. There's still no clear answers on how many innocents have died or been maimed from it.

The embattled Brennan said the CIA should admit when its drone war kills civilians. But he misses the point. Why is a program that threatens so many innocents even being carried out at all? One of the most shameful developments of war is the acceptance of civilian deaths. It's an old problem, so we ought to know better by now. Some of the more forthright history books tell us that government leaders long ago pulled excuses out of thin air to justify attacks that killed countless civilians - while not admitting the real reasons for the attacks.

Make no mistake: I blame the CIA for the drone crusade. I'm not a strong Obama partisan, but I believe blame lies squarely in Langley. (Remember, the drone war began before Obama took office.) The drone war reinforces everybody's fears of the CIA. These fears are well-founded. The CIA's modern history includes lying to Congress about waterboarding, plus other activity from the same tarnished spy kit.

Like the Iraq War, the drone war is bound to result in national embarrassment, not glory. Obama ought to just yank Brennan's nomination and tell the CIA to shove its drone war up its ass. If this can't be accomplished, the main thing it proves is that the CIA is an out-of-control organization that just does whatever it wants.

Time to close this chapter.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Big Bam Boogers"

Tim describes a hilarious thing dogs do...

Service dog may be killed for biting woman who beat him

Good dogs deserve the very best. I've known many dogs, and I know how special dogs are.

But this is lost on the Far Right - which stage-manages life in Montrose, Colorado. Local authorities want to kill a disabled veteran's service dog because he bit a woman who tortured him.

The incident occurred in November. The woman who beat the dog admitted, "I started punching him in the face and kept punching him until my hands hurt so bad I couldn't hit him anymore." Then she hit the dog with a bent metal pole, dragged him by the collar, and grabbed his mouth. That's when the dog finally bit her.

After torturing the animal so severely that his eyes swelled shut, the woman had the nerve to file charges over being bitten. Outrageously, a judge has ordered the dog to be put down.

What the hell is wrong this idiot right-wing judge? What the hell is wrong with the criminal who abused the dog? The abuser and the judge have both proven themselves to be enemies of the values that are supposed to govern humanity. Anyone with any measurable amount of common sense knows you don't torture a dog.

I don't give a damn if people say I'm overreacting. When the right of dogs to be free from abuse is at stake, there's no such thing as overreacting. It's the same way with child abuse. I bring down the hammer on adults who beat kids. If people don't like my tough oratory against abusers, too fucking bad. I'm not here to "understand" child beaters and puppy killers. I'll have plenty of time to be mellow when I'm dead.

In the meantime, here's a petition to save Dutch the service dog...


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Capital offense

Last month, I went on a trip to Washington, D.C. This is the same outing where a deodorant lid fell in the toilet at a hotel.

I compiled one of my famous photologues - which contains 171 photos and videos from this trip. In addition to D.C., it also includes Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

So ahoy and enjoy...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Congress kills Saturday mail delivery

I guess Congress thinks their 5% approval rating is too high.

Starting in August, the Postal Service will be ending Saturday mail delivery. This will be the first time since 1863 that America has had no Saturday mail. This is necessitated by Congress's ongoing refusal to properly fund Postal Service operations - no matter how much the Postal Service has begged for help.

Saturday mail survived the Civil War, 2 world wars, the Great Depression, and natural disasters - but it can't survive Congress. It's not as if the Postal Service is completely blameless. After all, they have chosen to let senders of junk mail use their service almost for free. I spotted a fin back in the '90s when postal officials threatened to discontinue Saturday mail while failing to make junk mailers pay up. Still, Congress could have stepped in then. But they didn't. The Solomon Amendment and the Communications Decency Act were more important to them, I guess.

Congress can step in now if it chose. But it won't, because the Tea Party says so. Next time you see an idiot teagagger, thank them for the loss of a service that's flourished for 150 years.

Home pickup of mail apparently ended a long time ago - and not just on Saturdays. The last time I had home pickup was in 1993 when I was a college freshman who still lived at home. Home pickup went away with mullets and 45 RPM singles. If I want to mail something, I have to trek to the nearest public mailbox, at the other end of Bellevue. I'm waiting for the day Congress gets sued because somebody slips on ice on the way to mail something because they don't have home pickup anymore. I'm also waiting for the day that junk mailers get sued because their endless reams of advertising clutter somebody's apartment and create a fire hazard.

As for receiving mail, we're damn lucky they waited until now to end Saturday delivery. At least now I don't have any subscriptions by mail that have to arrive on time.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Walmart bullies UFCW

The United Food and Commercial Workers, the Occupy coalition, and others have helped conduct labor actions against Walmart in recent months - but Walmart continues to flex its ill-gained might.

Now the retail giant has forced the UFCW to agree not to picket again for 60 days. If the UFCW complies, the National Labor Relations Board will drop a ridiculous charge of unfair labor practices filed against the UFCW by Walmart.

Central to Walmart's plen-T-plaint is that there seems to be a little-known law that says you can't picket for union recognition for longer than 30 days. Oh??? This issue isn't just one regarding the constitutional right to unionize, but also the constitutional right to enjoy free speech. The First Amendment says picketing can't be limited to just 30 days. That's free speech, plain and simple.

So fuck you, Walmart.

Walmart has almost bottomless power to buy ad time and media stories touting its side of the issue. So the unions should have the same ability to have their side heard. Fair is fair.

Now guess what? A couple weeks ago, a right-wing activist court ruled that President Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board are unconstitutional - even though Bush did the exact same thing, and they didn't rule it unconstitutional when he did it. These recess appointments are necessary just for the NLRB to function, since it can't reach quorum without them. Therefore, the NLRB is now powerless.

Oops. I bet now the right-wingers are sorry for making this ruling. Since the NLRB can't reach quorum, Walmart can't gripe to them! So the UFCW can picket all they want! Ha-ha!

Also, because Occupy isn't a union, the 30-day picketing limit doesn't apply to Occupy. I so fucking dare Walmart to file a complaint against Occupy!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Bad Feet Are Cool"

Tim likes being one of the zillions who have bad feet. But he tries not to be too callous about it. Get it? Callous! Hahaha!