Friday, May 31, 2013

It's legal to lie in campaign ads!

When your calling in life is to find and expose the truth, few things are as frustrating as politicians who lie.

They do it in plain sight, they do. If The Media was actually fair, these fibs wouldn't be nearly as effective. But the dominant media ideology dictates that the lies are usually never exposed, so the candidates get away with it.

If you're a candidate, you can get a TV or radio station to yank an opponent's commercial if the ad lies about you. But that's about all you can do. There's no other protections against campaign ads that lie. There's not even a guarantee that the station will pull the ad even if you can prove that it lies.

The Federal Trade Commission doesn't allow ads for consumer products to lie. That's called false advertising. For instance, the FTC fined several diet pill makers millions of dollars in 2007 because they made false claims about their awful wares. The FTC has also gone after Miss Cleo's promoters for deceptive advertising.

But these safeguards are out the window when an ad for a candidate or political issue lies. I'm not talking about statements of opinion. I'm talking about claims that are objectively and demonstrably untrue. Kind of like George W. Bush's swiftboat commercials against John Kerry. Or when George H.W. Bush blamed Michael Dukakis for William Horton abusing a prison furlough - even though the furlough program was enacted by a Republican and ended by Dukakis.

Election officials act like they're doing something righteous and principled by allowing campaign ads full of lies. But to most people, it's just stupid. Is there any other democracy in the world that allows lies in campaign ads? In 1984, the state of Washington passed a law against campaign ads that "make a false statement of material fact." Violations could result in election outcomes being annulled. But that law was overturned. Last I heard, Ohio has a law against dishonest campaign ads, but election officials have generally refused to drop the hammer.

Free speech should enjoy the broadest protections possible. But commercials for consumer products can't lie. So why should ads for political candidates be allowed to lie? I don't think it's gallant to use the First Amendment to defend false advertising. The First Amendment clearly covers editorial, journalistic, and artistic works as well as student expression - but I dare you to ask the FTC if it covers false advertising. That's a good way to get your face laughed in.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Election Commission should hold political ads to the same standards as ads for consumer products. I don't just mean lies about opposing candidates, but also other lies about relevant facts. That would apply to the Tea Party erecting its signs that lied about the library tax referendum. If you want folks to vote your way, either tell the truth or STFU. If your stance can't be backed up with facts, tough toilets.

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Tim Channels Yakov Smirnoff"

Tim writes some jokes for Yakov Smirnoff...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

When Bert dropped an f-bomb ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

I know it's Thursday, but I can't wait until next Wednesday to regale you with this!

I grew up with Sesame Street. It Sessified my life like it was going out of style. My mom thought I was crazy because I still watched it when I was 5. But I was 5, so of course I still watched it! Can't I have a little fun? Life isn't all just work, work, work. Sometimes you're entitled to be lazy - even if you're not in the Tea Party. I call it my 8/8/8 rule - 8 hours of work, 8 hours of play, 8 hours of sleep.

I always adored the Bert and Ernie sketches where Ernie creates a disturbance in the movie theater and Bert ends up in trouble. But now I've discovered that one such segment, which reportedly first aired in 1974, has what may be the only instance of the word fuck ever being used on Sesame Street...

Did you catch it? It's very clear if you know what to look for. Other peeps have noticed it too.

Fast-forward that clip to 2:04. Bert says to one of the angry moviegoers, "Get the fuck over there!" It's unmistakable.

Maybe instead of getting mad because I was too old for Sesame Street when I was 5, my mom should have gotten mad because I was too young for it. That Bert has a filthy mouth!

Tea Party loses voter intimidation case

Chalk up a victory for the forces of good!

Back in 2010, Texas Democrats grew a spine and sued a Houston-based Tea Party group called the King Street Patriots. The King Street Patriots worked with the white supremacist Republican Party to train poll watchers to illegally harass voters at the polls. The King Street Patriots were the thugs behind the fascist True the Vote campaign that spread to several states.

Now a Texas judge has ruled that the King Street Patriots is not a nonprofit charity like it claims to be, but is a PAC that illegally aided the GOP. This ruling upholds several Texas campaign finance laws, which the King Street Patriots had cried were unconstitutional. And it means the King Street Patriots will be ordered to reveal its donors.

There's been some speculation that Tea Party leaders have been skimming some of the donations received by this group, and they're running scared because they're about to be exposed. Maybe it'll turn out that their leaders don't really believe any of the garbage they spew and they're just grifters. But I'm not sure, because the Tea Party just seems to receive huge sums of money from nowhere any time it needs it. It's pretty clear there's some money laundering going on in the Tea Party, so hopefully somebody will have the resources to investigate that.


My answer to a suburban culture warrior

Today some nobody on some right-wing blog posted a self-righteous rant titled "Why liberals insist living in our cities is better and safer than suburban living."

My answer: Because living in a city really is better and safer than suburban living. Most Americans agree, and that's why they're moving back to the cities.

Cities work. Corrupt statewide political machines do not. Period. Full stop. End of story.

However, I must give that blog credit for providing a treasure trove of right-wing hilarity that can be easily countered just by changing each instance of "liberal" to "conservative." On the down side, their blog is full of pop-up ads.

In the meantime, I plan on going to the Take Back Your Power rally at Cincinnati City Hall on June 12 that urges cities to reclaim the power that's been robbed from them by the fascist Right. Right-wing control freaks like to talk about "states' rights", but I think it's time for cities' rights.

Fast food strike spreads to Seattle!

Now there's a sixth city in the nationwide wave of labor strikes by fast food restaurant employees: Seattle!

The state of Washington reportedly has the highest state minimum wage in America, and it's still inadequate for most folks to make ends meet. It's a whopping $9.19/hour. Wow. Hopefully these strikes will encourage better wages, expanded unionization, and safer work conditions.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Massie one of 3 votes against Stolen Valor Act

Tom Massie - the first-term Republican congressman from our district - knows about me.

He tried adding me to his Facebook list during his 2012 campaign. A lot of local politicians do this - right, left, and center. They all know about me, and they know my views carry gobs of weight among the area's real people. Of course, that doesn't mean they do my bidding - especially the ones who try to appease all 5 Tea Party members in the district.

Recently, the House voted 390 to 3 to pass a new version of the Stolen Valor Act. This bill would make it illegal to lie about military honors with the "intent to obtain money, property or other tangible benefit." The 3 who voted against it are all Republicans, and all are Tea Party faves. One of them was (drum roll, please) Tom Massie. The others were Michigan's Justin Amash and Georgia's Paul Broun.

It's no surprise to me that the bill's only opponents would be Republicans, considering how they have so many politicians who have lied about their military honors. Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, for instance, lied about receiving the Navy's Intelligence Officer of the Year award.

On Memorial Day, I saw the annual Bellevue/Dayton parade. Tom Massie had the unmitigated gall to have a float in this parade after he opposed the Stolen Valor Act. I couldn't see whether Massie himself was there, but there was a float representing him. When the floats for the Tea Party, the Republican Party, and right-wing politicians including Massie zipped by, I turned my back to them. The mere presence of these stale oligarchs in a Memorial Day event was a slap in the face to America's fighting men and women who died in wars.

The Republicans have done more to self-destruct in the 6 months since the 2012 election than they did in the 10 years before it.


Right-wing bill would punish electric car owners

As in Missouri, the North Carolina legislature is getting to be like a veritable Kings Island for ALEC and other right-wing extremists - in a state where people clearly don't want it.

A new Republican budgeting bill in the Tar Heel State would punish people who drive electric or hybrid cars. While the registration fee for conventional gasoline-powered cars would be $50, the fee for electric and hybrid vehicles would be $100.

And for no apparent reason. It's just the Republicans making trouble for the sake of making trouble. Just like the Tea Party suing the library.

Electric cars reduce air pollution, and North Carolina Republicans want to punish them for it. Such is the current state of the GOP - the party that thinks they have a birthright to govern without limits.

A similar law has reportedly already been passed in Virginia - but it was of course swept under the rug by The Media.

While West Virginia and Illinois now give robust tax credits for electric cars, North Carolina and Virginia are gearing up in reverse at the hands of a discredited party. Republicans are discouraging environmentally sound practices just because they can. The party plays with fire and laughs about it. And all of America suffers the consequences.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Obama administration snubs forced metrication

Well, now we know President Obama is no George Bush. I mean that as a compliment.

Recently, somebody circulated a petition to the White House demanding that the United States switch to the metric system across-the-board. I used to talk a lot about opposing such a switch: While switching to the metric system would have appeased Big Business, it would have done nothing positive for the average person, and it would have gutted America's sovereignty.

I focused on this issue not long after dictator George H.W. Bush nearly imposed a "metric only" policy on the entire country. Later, the matter seemed to die down.

I have no idea why any individual would write a petition supporting forced metrication. But I guess they wanted to embarrass themselves.

Now the Obama administration has released a response to the petition. It appears as if the White House intends on continuing its current policy by not cramming metrication down our throats like Bush wanted to do...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Baste of Cincinnati channels Ploptoberfest

Today, I went to Taste of Cincinnati - or as I call it, Baste of Cincinnati. But that was preceded by Occupy's March Against Monsanto, which met at Piatt Park and drew about 1,000 participants. (One of the rally's organizers counted about 300, but that was during the actual march, not the huge gathering beforehand.)

Like most other Occupy events, this one generated the usual support from passersby, but almost no media coverage - although at least CityBeat and the Cincinnati Enquirer did mention the event before the fact. For a supposedly "dead" movement, we're actually doing pretty well. This is the second Occupy event in Cincinnati this month that may have approached or exceeded 1,000 people. Amazing, considering The Media hates Occupy's guts.

Taste of Cincinnati was being held nearby. I remember going to it once with my family when I was maybe 9 or 10, but not since - until today. This annual event really isn't all that exciting, in my opinion. However, I did notice some hilarious restroom vandalism - not unlike that which occurs at Cincinnati's Oktoberfest. In the portable outhouse, I discovered somebody had put a Coke bottle and a Red Bull can in the toilet.

It's always a big day when you have both an Occupy march and a festival full of ploppings.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Showing Love's Some Love"

Tim shows how to use business reply postcards to spread the Occupy message...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Trouble in Tea Party paradise

It's been reported to me that a certain elected lawman recently caused a car crash by turning out in front of oncoming traffic. He claimed it was to back up a police officer handling a different accident. But if so, why didn't he have his lights and siren on?


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Death by deregulation

I've been gone for the past few days because my brother asked me to help him with storm chasing, and we were in Oklahoma on Monday when one of the worst tornadoes in recorded history decimated Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore. Seven children at this school were killed.

We heard on the radio that students were instructed to grab the walls in the hallways when the tornado appeared imminent - because the school had no basement. I wondered aloud why a school in a tornado-prone region like Oklahoma was built without a basement.

John Schwartz of the New York Times reports that there's no regulations in the Sooner State requiring schools to have any type of tornado shelter. Some other states in the South and Midwest also lack such a regulation. In fact, Moore was already hit by a severe tornado back in 1999, but only 6 of the 40 new houses built there since then have a shelter.

Why? Because - according to Schwartz's article - "government regulation rankles" lawmakers in these states. These states tightly regiment personal behavior, but they won't establish reasonable building codes? Mind you, these are states where medical marijuana and marriage equality are suppressed by laws - but lawmakers have the nerve to complain that building standards are too heavily regulated?

Mike Gilles of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association opposes regulations requiring buildings to have shelters. "Most homebuilders would be against that because we think the market ought to drive what people are putting in the houses, not the government," he declared. But Monday's events are yet another stark reminder that blindly letting "the market" rule is a surefire recipe for disaster.

I think it's mostly only legislators and industry representatives who think "the market" should always rule. Real people out there surely don't think it. I doubt Kentucky is that much different from Oklahoma, but most folks I know damn sure expect schools to have tornado shelters. Sometimes you gotta have regulation. It's a must. We all follow rules daily - so why are there no rules on shelters in schools?

Why are lawmakers so opposed to regulations on buildings that they're willing to see children die needlessly?

This is downright criminal. When an individual commits a murder, we recognize right away that it's a crime that deserves being prosecuted to the fullest. But what about when a legislative body rejects reasonable regulations that would have saved lives? What about when a school district fails to require that a school building include even the most basic safety measures? They've got blood on their hands.

It's only fair to demand that lawmakers and other officials responsible for the death trap in Moore are punished as severely as an ordinary murderer. Demanding a stiff punishment is a hallmark of civilization. Society should have standards of justice that hold people accountable.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

GOP caught altering Benghazi e-mails


CBS isn't much more than a Republican stenographer these days, but even they've had their fill of Congress's Benghazi circus. The network reported today that versions of Benghazi-themed e-mails leaked by the GOP last week had clear differences from the real versions that came out yesterday. It turns out Republicans altered the e-mails. We know this because an interim report about the events that Congress produced last month actually uses the correct versions.

So which Republicans are going to jail over this? This is a crime, you know.

We live in strange times indeed. Or maybe we don't. After all, the GOP has only been lying about government business like this for the past several decades.


Garden Place! Pulte Street! It's a great place to start!

Monday's Roads Scholaring gives us enough photos and videos for a new set of local material.

This photo shoot also includes several items from last month. So say aloha to the latest set of Scholarin' photos...

GOP politician gives monologue defending racial slur

This is exhibit #44,462,194,392,072,324 in Republican rebranding fail.

Steve Roberts is a Republican member of the Kansas State Bored of Education. It turns out that he recently gave a bizarre talk at a school board meeting in which he defended a racial slur.

Roberts delivered this dumb monologue during a discussion of African-American history. "We have to push the frontiers of political correctness and do what's right," he declared. He defended using the pejorative as "a test to see what the effect on Twitter would be."


So he uses racial slurs just to watch everyone's reaction? Now that's professionalism!

No wonder the Republicans have to keep making up scandals to batter the opposition. Their post-election rebranding is collapsing. Roberts's statement is that of a cheap bully, and it also reflects the party's deep intolerance. In fact, just a few days ago - as The Media was trying to whip up Democratic scandals - Florida Republicans lost Latino outreach director Pablo Pantoja when he became a Democrat. Pantoja cited a "culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party."

Let's enjoy having the Democrats and the Greens as America's 2 major parties.


Far Right vs. JFK

From time to time, this blog brings you history lessons that aren't widely covered elsewhere. Here's a story that illustrates the rank mentality of the Far Right that's been allowed to fester for the past half-century.

John F. Kennedy is one of America's most admired Presidents. His presidency was infamously cut short by an assassin's bullet in Dallas in November 1963 - an event that launched nationwide mourning.

Except in the filthiest corners of the Far Right - whose members cheered JFK's assassination.

The right-wing derangement syndrome in the Kennedy years was not unlike that which they displayed following the election of more recent Democrats. Even 50 years ago, the spoiled Right thought they had a birthright to install candidates of their choosing in the White House. But back then, this brand of extremism hadn't infiltrated mainstream society yet. There was no Fox News, no Free Republic, no Tea Party. This extremism was regarded as the fringe movement that it was and is.

When JFK died, this extreme fringe erupted in delight. Children in Texas and South Carolina reported that their classrooms were led in applause by school officials. In Oklahoma City, a doctor told a patient, "Good. I hope they got Jackie." In Amarillo, Texas, a woman gloated, "Hey, great, JFK's croaked!" Men who heard this boasting celebrated by throwing their hats in the air.

But like I said, this fanaticism was still considered well beyond the pale. I've heard of only one person locally who reacted with glee over Kennedy's assassination. He is now a public official. Then again, when Reagan was shot, I don't remember anyone cheering at all.

Hate and violence waft large in the Far Right mind. Today, this fog of hate guides many politicians - who have been legitimized by the right-wing media. America has good politicians, bad politicians, and downright evil politicians. The last group has declared war against America.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ministry takes stance in election, keeps tax-exempt status, cries about persecution

This story should blast a bazooka hole through the notion that the IRS is singling out conservative groups.

Rev. Franklin Graham complains that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association - a ministry named for his father - has been the target of extra IRS scrutiny. But he admitted in a letter to President Obama and Vice-President Biden that this "charity" purchased a full-page ad endorsing a referendum against marriage equality in North Carolina. Taking stances in an election is a big no-no if you want to keep your tax-exempt status.

But guess what? The ministry received an official notice saying it continued to qualify as tax-exempt anyway. Yet Graham still has the unmitigated nerve to complain that the IRS is being unfair to the organization.

What a big baby.

Meanwhile, more stories have emerged of the IRS's viewpoint discrimination - against liberal groups.

The conspiracy theory that the IRS discriminated against conservative groups would be gone from the minds of mainstream America by now if it wasn't for a tone-deaf, broken media deliberately propping up this paranoid silliness.

ABC doubles down on Benghazi fantasy

When a conspiracy theorist doubles down on their theory after being proven wrong, that's when you know they're delusional. ABC's Jonathan Karl is like that.

After ABC was busted using a fabricated e-mail to bolster the Republicans' already-discredited Benghazi conspiracy theory, they're doubling down instead of admitting they were wrong.

Karl says the correct version of the e-mail shows the faked version was actually right in its substance - though in fact it does not. He goes on and on trying to justify using an unverified e-mail that turned out to be fabricated.

Remember when CBS forced Dan Rather into retirement for using the Killian memos, which to this day have yet to be debunked? The state of The Media in modern times is that reporters are forced out if they report authentic items, but are allowed to stay on if they report made-up crap like Karl did.

On the other hand, does any average person outside the right-wing iron bubble even take the Benghazi hearings seriously?


Fast food strike spreads to Milwaukee

The labor strike by fast food restaurant workers has now spread to a fifth city: Milwaukee!

Scott Walker must be soiling his pantaloons right now.

This strike - which has also graced New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and Detroit - is part of a campaign called Fast Food Forward. This follows a strike 2 months ago by guest workers who staffed McDonald's restaurants in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, area. (Franchisees forced workers to work 25 hours straight with no overtime, and as many as 7 workers had to live in one room in a basement.)

The Milwaukee strike has spread beyond the fast food industry and into the retail biz - which is also predominantly nonunion.

I take labor issues very seriously, as I have ever since my youth when a few mansion dwellers at school boasted about how they didn't have to work like we did. I had to get my first job at 17, while these privileged bullies were out getting plastered. They're the 1% who now exploits the 99%. Young people who are reading this may find that the adult world is a macrocosm of the youth world, and today's frustrations will prove themselves to be real concerns.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Did IRS officials collude with Tea Party?

New details have just emerged about the IRS story that suggest a whole new question that hasn't been asked yet: Did high-ranking IRS officials actually collude with the Tea Party to whip up a scandal?

It now turns out that Emerge America wasn't the only Democratic-leaning group subjected to IRS scrutiny. A group called Progress Texas was raked through the coals as well, as was Clean Elections Texas, a group that backs public campaign financing. These aren't far-left groups, but they do sport Democratic leanings. It appears as if similar groups were also investigated.

Meanwhile, no Republican groups had their IRS applications denied during that timeframe.

If Emerge America was the only Democratic group scrutinized, we could accept that the IRS was being evenhanded. But now it's also been revealed that only one-third of the groups probed by the IRS were part of the Tea Party.

What does that tell us?

I'm now virtually certain that powerful IRS officials connived with the Tea Party to create this muddle. I think somebody at the IRS got together with somebody at the Tea Party to make it look like the Tea Party was being singled out - just so they could make hay over the resulting controversy. I truly believe this. From the new details, it's a fact that the IRS was actually targeting what it viewed as liberal-leaning groups - not the Tea Party.

In light of this story, we need lawmakers who are patriotic and brave enough to haul Tea Party big shots before them to answer some tough questions. Legislators need to launch an investigation and hearings against the Tea Party and government officials who may have conspired with them. As a blogger, I hope I can acquire the tools that will allow me to investigate as a journalist should, because the dinosaur media damn sure won't do it.


Another right-wing talking point dead: IRS also investigated Democratic group during Tea Party probe

Well, it looks like the booger-eaters are gonna have to go back to the clip of Dukakis in the tank for talking points.

Emerge America is a Democratic group that - according to a Daily Kos user - saw its tax-exempt status denied by the IRS in the Bush years because of its views. But it turns out that just within the past 2 years - when the IRS was supposedly singling out only Tea Party groups for heightened scrutiny - the IRS investigated several Emerge America branches and denied their tax-exempt status.

This confirms that the IRS wasn't probing Tea Party groups because they were Tea Party groups. They were targeting groups that simply didn't qualify for a tax exemption - regardless of what the group's views were. That's the only conclusion one can come to. While the IRS under Bush reportedly targeted Emerge America because of its views, the IRS more recently targeted both Emerge America and the Tea Party because they didn't qualify as tax-exempt. In neither scenario was the Tea Party or any other explicitly conservative movement being singled out for their views.

That the IRS simultaneously targeted both the Tea Party and the Democrats is confirmed by a soon-to-be-released report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration - a report Reuters has obtained part of. The report also says the Obama administration exerted no influence on this process.

So how many major "scandals" ginned up by Congress have crashed and burned just this week? And it's only Tuesday!


ABC's Benghazi "bombshell" based on faked e-mail

I'm not a strong Obama partisan, but it's great seeing the right-wing media get caught with its Underoos down around its ankles like this.

ABC - not unlike CBS - has become little more than a stenographer for the lunatic Right lately. A few days ago, an "investigation" by ABC's Jon Karl revealed what was supposedly a BLOCKBUSTER, BOMBSHELL, SMOKING GUN that proved congressional Republicans' case in the Benghazi hearings. ABC's report was based on an e-mail supposedly sent by government security adviser Ben Rhodes. Websites that seriously analyzed ABC's report could see the network was distorting the story, but that was lost on the rest of the press.

Now it turns out ABC was even more full of bunk gas than it appeared: CNN's Jake Tapper now reports that the e-mail was fabricated. ABC reported that Rhodes's e-mail said:

"We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don't want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting."

But that's not what it said. Here's what the e-mail actually said:

"Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.

"There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don't compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.

"We can take this up tomorrow morning at deputies."

ABC didn't just report the wrong words. The words they did report actually have an entirely different meaning than the real e-mail. How did ABC make such a stupid mistake? It's because they were relying on some corrupt right-wing insider who "leaked" a fabricated e-mail to them.

If ABC was as professional as they claim to be, they wouldn't have just accepted the faked e-mail without questioning it. They would have dug deeper. But I don't think they wanted to. They wanted to report the first thing they could find that seemed to bolster Republican claims. In other words, ABC intentionally distorted the Benghazi story to benefit the GOP.

We have a press corpse that thinks a school district's 34-year-long pattern of violating IDEA isn't newsworthy, but a made-up e-mail designed to bring down the President and gut the aspirations of a possible future presidential candidate is. This is the state of the modern American media. Journalists should uncover real scandals - not amplify fake scandals that were ginned up by politicians. At least CNN still has enough integrity to bust ABC on this.


7 forgotten IRS audits

With the revelation that the IRS flagged Tea Party groups for abusing their tax-exempt status by calling themselves "charities", we seem to forget that recent Republican administrations had the IRS audit at least 7 different groups solely because they opposed GOP policies. Here's a list of these 7...

1) The Reagan regime got the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of Mother Jones magazine because of its views. Then the IRS tried to collect almost $400,000 from the magazine, which would have forced it to shut down. The IRS later reversed this decision, but not without Mother Jones having to spend thousands in legal fees.

2) The George W. Bush thugocracy got the IRS to investigate Greenpeace because a group financed primarily by ExxonMobil told it to.

3) All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, came under fire by the Bush dictatorship because its rector delivered an antiwar sermon.

4) Bush's IRS threatened the NAACP because its then-chairman Julian Bond dared to criticize the Iraq War and other Bush policies.

5) The Bush regime investigated the National Education Association because it opposed the failed No Child Left Behind law.

6) Bush's IRS probed the United Church of Christ in 2008 because then-Sen. Obama gave a speech to church leaders.

7) Emerge America's tax-exempt status was denied because of its stances.

There may be others besides these 7.

Why were those 7 groups audited, while the IRS hasn't audited any dominionist megachurches that endorse Republican candidates from the pulpit? You can endorse anyone you want, but you're not supposed to get a tax-exempt status for it.

The 7 politically motivated probes enumerated above were almost completely ignored by the right-wing media, but when the Tea Party faces scrutiny because of its own abuses, The Media screams bloody murder. It's the type of yellow journalism the right-wing press loves because it's a story simple enough for their prehistoric base to understand. The funny thing is that the recent hyping of nonexistent "scandals" has hurt the Republicans' approval numbers even more than they already were - and it better continue to. Anyone who'd be more likely to support the GOP because of recent days' events doesn't have the intellectual capacity to even function in society.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Scholaring season is under way!

Since this blog picks up where my old personal blog left off, I shall regale you with the fact I went Roads Scholaring today!

I made a fruitless foray into Dayton, Kentucky, but the event hit paydirt way up in North Fairmount, where a surprise abandoned road was found. About 15 photos lurk in the offing.

Scholaring season coincides with bubbling season. I stopped at Piatt Park on the way back, and some guy bubbled. Also when I was at Piatt, I saw a Dolph Sweet look-alike. (He was the dad in Gimme A Break!)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Chamber of Commerce runs against Occupy

One of the surest ways to lose an election is to run against Occupy. Remember what happened to those 4 Cincinnati City Council members? And what about that right-wing idiot in North Carolina who attacked his opponent for speaking to Occupy Raleigh?

The L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce apparently didn't learn shit from these experiences. They're running an ad assailing Los Angeles City Council member and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti for his apparent support of Occupy.

I have no idea whether Garcetti actually supported Occupy or not, and Los Angeles City Council isn't exactly the most liberal bunch around. I do know this: The Chamber of Commerce's commercial lies about Occupy by accusing them of "leaving behind 30 tons of trash." This is a claim that was discredited.

Whoever the liars at the Chamber of Commerce support for mayor probably just lost the election because of this ad. In fact, folks have commented that now they're voting for Garcetti because of his supposed Occupy support.

For not being an electoral organization, Occupy has a damn good record at defeating opponents at the polls.


Tea Party cries wolf over IRS "scandal"

Lest you think the Tea Party might actually be right for once in its miserable existence, we can lay this belief to rest today.

Much noise has been generated about the IRS allegedly singling out the Tea Party for stricter scrutiny, and now a new official report is shedding light on this notion. The Media of course has been happy to help the Tea Party's claims in recent days, but these claims can be debunked.

First of all, when the IRS came up with its rules for enhanced scrutiny in 2011, it was under the auspices of Douglas Shulman - a Bush appointee. This shoots down the Tea Party's claim that President Obama sicced the IRS on them. Furthermore, these guidelines say that organizations received greater scrutiny if there were any statements in their case file critical of how the country is being run. So the rules could apply not only to the Tea Party but also Occupy. If it applied only to right-wing groups like the Tea Party, it's because progressive groups weren't applying to the IRS under the same guidelines as right-wing groups.

There's reasons for that. Although progressive groups have more popular support than the Tea Party, they have far less money to finance organizations that might apply to the IRS. When the guidelines were written, folks on the left didn't have their own named movement like the Tea Party. There was no significant progressive counterpart to the Tea Party at the time - and there still isn't, because Occupy wasn't intended to be one. Plus, the Tea Party was applying under a provision called 501(c)(4) - which covers tax-exempt charities. In other words, the Tea Party was trying to abuse a tax-exempt status by calling themselves a charity instead of the Republican superPAC that they are.

The IRS's basic charge is to make sure people pay taxes. If someone calls themselves a charity when really they're just a political group, why shouldn't the IRS subject them to extra scrutiny?

In 2012 - only months after those guidelines - the IRS issued new guidelines that gave more scrutiny to groups advocating "social economic reform/movement." Gee, I wonder what that was in response to? Ponder, ponder.

The long and short of it is, there is absolutely no scandal here. None. The press shows its Tea Party bias by calling it a "scandal."

Remember when the thug Bush misused the IRS to try to shut down a church in California because the rector delivered a sermon against the Iraq War? That should be the real story here. Not some persecution fantasy held by the 3 remaining Tea Party members.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Right-wingers attack fast food workers (a LOLapaloozer)

This entry kicks off a new feature for this blog. I call it a LOLapaloozer. A LOLapaloozer is a right-wing crackpot who posts laughably bad postings on Internet comment forums that display their warped logic or other heehaw inducers. Of course, most of these folks are paid trolls who are bankrolled by the Republican National Committee and right-wing think tanks.

For the first installment, here's a comment that some right-winger posted regarding the fast food strikes...

"These fast food workers r demanding $15 hour.THEY DON'T DESERVE IT. ... Gimme Gimme Gimme is the only narrative they know!"

Hahaha. What a beezweezer. If someone who works at a restaurant doesn't deserve $15/hour, then why do CEO's of big corporations deserve hundreds of times that much? The AFL-CIO recently reported that a CEO makes 354 times as much money as the average worker.

People who worked in the factory jobs that are being replaced by fast food jobs made more than $15/hour. So fast food workers may be selling themselves short if they demand only $15/hour - unless anyone seriously thinks they already live a life of yachts and bon-bons like the captains of industry do.

What's next? You almost expect some conservative to grumble, "These fast food workers r demanding to be paid in something other than scrip.THEY DON'T DESERVE IT." It's the same complaint that slave drivers all over the globe have issued.

That ain't all. On another website with an article about the fast food strike, some right-wing kook-a-loon whined...

"You can thank Obama for this new age of entitlement"

So it's Obama's fault people want to be paid for their work?

Twenty years ago, the right-wing narrative was against people who they believed didn't work. Actually, most did work, but the narrative was set. The Tea Party narrative extended this wrath to public workers. Now, the narrative also assails private sector employees who have the worst and lowest-paying jobs. Low-paid workers now occupy the same position in the right-wing conscience as those who were attacked as "welfare queens" 20 years ago. If this keeps up, the people laughing in the end will be these low-paid workers who find their conditions improved because everybody else gets tired of hearing the logic-free vitriol that they face.

Cincinnati launches website to track attacks against cyclists

The city of Cincinnati reveals that in a recent survey, 266 bicyclists reported being a victim of a physical attack over a 12-month period. Assaults included throwing glass bottles at cyclists and attempting to run bikes off the road.

To the lunatic Right, vehicular assault of cyclists is a sport. Blind hatred energizes and motivates them.

But now Cincinnati fights back! The city has a new mobile app and website that helps track these hate crimes against bike commuters. Victims can just visit the website and fill out an incident form. Go to this site and click on "Bicyclist Incidents" at right...

Data from this form will be used to allocate efforts to enforce the rules of the road.

Other cities and counties need to follow suit. They also need to publish the names, license plate numbers, and street addresses of assailants - or better yet, impose tough prison terms. Instead of putting somebody like Bradley Manning in prison, we should instead go after real criminals like people who attack cyclists. For those who commit vehicular assault against cyclists, each community should erect its own old-fashioned jail cells that no sunlight shall penetrate. Do the crime, do the time. I realize some lawbreakers can be rehabilitated, and we should have a civilized penal system that recognizes this - but I have zero hope for any adult who throws bottles at bicyclists. It's not barbaric to demand imprisonment for thugs like this.

The right of cyclists to defend themselves from violent crime is also a key reason I support concealed carry. The Evil Empire doesn't fight with their hands behind their backs, so why should we? (A milquetoast blog this is not.)

For now, the more progressive central city has the tougher approach against vehicular assault, while the more conservative suburbs are the places that expect us to "understand" criminals. Kind of rips a gaping hole in the idea that our side isn't as tough on crime, huh?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fight against corporate personhood continues!

Three years after the bogus Citizens United ruling, efforts to pass a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood continue, and numerous states (including West Virginia) have now passed a resolution endorsing this amendment.

Today I braved the pouring rain for a rally on Central Parkway in Cincinnati against corporate personhood. Occupy Cincinnati regulars were face-deep in this event, of course. This follows last week's May Day march - which drew about 2,000 people (as opposed to approximately 80 last year).

On a lighter note, library hilarity has loomed large lately. Last week, before I went to the May Day event, I stopped by the Cincinnati Public Library and noticed that someone had put a bus pass in the toilet. Today, I stopped by the libe again, and while I was in the aisle burying my nose in the books about music, somebody was making music of their own: I counted 5 - count 'em, 5 - loud and proud bunker blasts emanating from the distance.

Fast food strike expands

Millions of Americans of all economic classes fear working in the fast food industry. Let me be frank: Working in fast food is one of the most hated jobs out there - if not the most hated. It's hard work for low pay, and there's almost no opportunity for advancement.

But the fact is, it doesn't have to be this way. Fast food companies can improve job conditions if they want to, but they've chosen not to.

Now fast food workers have decided not to sell themselves short. Good for them! Recently, fast food employees went on strike in New York City. Now the strike has spread to Chicago, St. Louis, and Detroit. This is particularly remarkable because hardly any fast food workers in America today are unionized.

So how's that "right-to-work" law working out for the Michigan GOP now? Few things render "right-to-work" a toothless pod faster than strikes like this.

I've learned in life not to sell myself short. So this strike has my backing. If the strike comes to Cincinnati, and I see a picket line, I will not cross it.

The strike has had an effect. Some fast food restaurants have been forced to shut down because the workers walked out. But others have illegally called in scabs.

Manufacturing jobs were horrendous a century ago. But workers fought hard for better pay and safer jobs. Before long, the dangers of old became a distant memory for most American factory workers. If the fast food strike continues, the same can happen in the fast food biz. Also, if fast food jobs keep replacing manufacturing jobs (a trend that the right-wing media gloats about), it's only fair that fast food jobs should pay as well as the jobs they replace.

I hope this strike goes nationwide. Unfortunately, The Media won't cover it. The right-wing hacks at ABC, for example, are too busy kowtowing to congressional Republicans by "investigating" the Benghazi "cover-up" - even though absolutely zero mainstream voters give a shit about the nakedly partisan Benghazi hearings. So we must work harder to cover the strike. If this potential labor revolution expands further, I plan to keep you posted.

Diabetic student beaten by school cop

The spirit of Hitler lurks large in one Alabama high school.

Recently, a high school student in Hoover, Alabama, was brutalized by a police officer who roams the school and by school officials. The student suffers from diabetes, asthma, and sleep apnea, and she was sent to in-school suspension for missing school. While she was there, she fell asleep (probably due to her health issues).

A school supervisor promptly whacked her cubicle, hitting her head. Later, when she fell asleep again, the supervisor slammed a book on her desk, causing the book to hit her. Then the school cop slammed the student's face into a file cabinet and arrested her. She had to be hospitalized because of her injuries.

How very Nazi.

Now the student is suing school officials, the city, and the police department.

Does anyone actually support the school on this? The school's only supporters are probably the same meth-heads who have been complaining for the past 50 years about how "the liberals" are taking away their "right" to beat their kids.


Lawn Chair Quarterback: "The Gum Standard"

Tim floats a hilarious compromise between a fiat currency and a gold standard...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Minnesota man linked to right-wing terrorism; media ignores story

Buford Rogers is a man from Montevideo, Minnesota, who was arrested on Friday for a weapons charge. Now he's been linked to a right-wing domestic terrorist plot.

Authorities say Rogers was planning a terrorist attack - right there in Minnesota, no less. A search of his home turned up firearms, Molotov cocktails, and pipe bombs.

Hear anything about this story from The Media? Not much, I bet. If Rogers was a foreign subject, you can bet your bizcream you'd hear about it 24/7. But he's a homegrown right-winger, so hardly a peep has been heard.

It's not like The Media has been too busy covering May Day events to cover anything else.


Now they've done it

Well, folks, the Republican Party has just proven they're completely beyond all hope.

Enjoy your new adulterer congressman, GOP. Don't cry to me when he ends up embarrassing himself in Congress and winds up digging the Republicans in even further.

You own this fool, Repubs.

The Tea Party, 1898 style

A poll by Farleigh Dickinson University reveals that 44% of Republicans support an "armed revolution" to protect what they see as their "liberties." The problem with this is that the Republican Right has a strange view of "liberties" - and there's already an example out there of how an "armed revolution" by right-wingers would turn out.

There's been only one physical coup d'etat in America's recorded history. By that, I don't mean a rigged election - for the modern Republicans rig elections in every cycle. This also does not include invasions against native lands. America's lone coup occurred in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898. The event is known as the Wilmington Insurrection.

Granted, the Wilmington Insurrection wasn't carried out by the Republicans; it was carried out by right-wing Dixiecrats against a coalition of Republicans and Populists. But the point still stands: The insurrectionists were the 1898 version of the Tea Party - both in ideology and tactics.

The Wilmington Insurrection was a race riot that toppled the city's duly elected government. The 1898 election swept into office a city council made up of blacks and whites. Two days after the election, a white supremacist mob went on a rampage.

The crowd of about 1,500 burned down the office of an African-American newspaper. They chased public officials out of the city and killed countless people. The racist mob even photographed each other during the rioting. When it was over, thousands of residents had left town permanently.

The state of North Carolina didn't help matters, as the governor authorized one of the leaders of the coup to command the troops who were supposed to be putting down the riot. After rioters installed a new mayor and city council, the state and federal governments refused to restore the city's legitimate leaders.

The Wilmington Insurrection was like a Tea Party mutiny with a strong racist tinge. But that's redundant, as racism guides much of what the Tea Party does. They're much more open though about their classism than they are about their racism.

Will the Tea Party try to pull off a repeat of this illegal coup? Let's think of it this way: 44% of Republicans support an "armed revolution." Even with the GOP a dwindling party, that numbers millions of people. And it's safe to say that a significant percentage of this number own guns. Would the coup stick? I am certain that some state governments would do everything they can to make sure it does. But I have enough faith in the Obama administration that I think the coup leaders would be apprehended soon enough.

A fascist coup - coming to a city near you?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Animated man bastes to 'Monday Night Football'

This is uproarious!

Because it's a weekend, you'd rather reminisce about hilarious old TV stuff than read about the latest right-wing blandishments of today's political antiheroes.

So here it comes. This is a 1975 opening to Monday Night Football that I found on YouTube...

The music makes you wanna get up and get down, doesn't it? But what makes this clip amusing is the cartoon man who appears 18 seconds into the clip. The Fred Flintstone-like man is shown watching TV, and when he sees that it's Monday Night Football, he starts goin' to town!

That's right, folks. He starts beatin' his meat. Pulling his joystick. Polishing his trophy. Basting his turkey. Tossing his salad. Walking in Memphis. Pullin' out the fiddle and rosinin' up the bow.

He appears to be fantasizing about football players darting around in his living room. Then he dons a football helmet and shoves his now-tired hand towards the viewer.

He changes into football gear when he watches Monday Night Football? That's like if he puts on a Big Bird suit when he watches Sesame Street.

That guy loves his football.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Right-wing brain trust still crazy after all these years

Right-wing violence and insanity have long loomed large across America, as if the Tea Party was swinging its balls across a map of the country.

Fact is, the initiation of violence is a right-wing hallmark - exclusively. I can't name a single instance offhand where anyone on the left used initial force. Occupy participants have been plowed down by cars. Is there any parallel instance in which the Tea Party was attacked like this?

In addition to their propensity for physical force, the conservative intelligentsia (or stupidsia, as I call it) has a near-monopoly on sheer batshittery. That's because they can't handle that they're losing the opinion wars. On just about every issue, polls show their position being defeated in the court of public opinion. Truth be told, America in 2013 is a leftist country, if you go by what the people actually think. In fact, it hasn't been much short of it in the history of modern polling. Americans oppose the Tea Party's politics of austerity and white supremacy by significant margins. Americans support single payer health care, personal freedom, and Occupy's campaign against Wall Street.

When the Far Right sees themselves losing the opinion war, they lash out. Every time they blame the "liberal" media for some policy position, it's actually a cover for blaming the people - who they hold in contempt. They can't stand that the people disagree with them, so they couch their attacks as criticisms of the media, who supposedly "caused" the public to think what they think. The lunatic right can't argue policy, so they find it easier to just blame the media.

I believe in not just a 50-state strategy but a 3,000-county strategy to fight the Far Right. I was born and raised in this area, and the Tea Party doesn't get to come into my county and tell me I have to pay taxes to support their pet causes - while the library goes unfunded. You don't get to be an authoritarian bigot in this town as long as I'm living here. If the Tea Party doesn't like that, tough shit. They can wail about it all they want. I have the spine to stand up to them.

I've been forced to listen to these spoiled brats for 40 years. The idea that I'd stop fighting them now is simply laughable.

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Bus Pass Gets All Toilety!"

Tim describes the hilarity of noticing that somebody (whether by accident or by design) dropped their bus pass in the toilet at the library...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My readers don't like child abusers

For weeks, I had a poll on this page asking whether it's morally proper to condone violence against child abusers.

I expected this survey to be controversial, and I actually thought most folks would vote no. I thought there'd be a large contingent of readers who think we should try to "understand" child beaters. Personally, I think those who abuse children have forfeited the privilege of being "understood", but I know there's people out there who think I'm supposed to be mellow and forgiving 100% of the time.

Now the results of the poll are in. Readers of this blog voted 9 to 1 in support of endorsing violence against child abusers. Actually, I saw at various times that there were much more than 9 yes votes, but those votes mysteriously disappeared. I suspect it was actually closer to 15 to 1, but the poll applet is apparently full of bugs, so we'll never know.

Most of the time, I wouldn't harm a gnat. I'm not inclined to violence unless it's self-defense. But I hate people who abuse kids. Think of my stance as the law of the street. I grew up in Highland Heights, and I know official agencies don't always protect the most vulnerable. Children need a voice.

You can disagree, but I do not follow anyone to save me. I know there's not always a knight in shining armor to rescue the defenseless. Plus, I've seen what happens when people are taught to ignore problems instead of fighting back.