Friday, May 30, 2014

New Orleans abolishes public schools

Oh, the stupid. It burns.

Several American school districts have used children as pawns in experiments involving the complete privatization of schools - but New Orleans has now become the biggest city to host such a takeover, and it's also the most extensive effort like this yet.

When the upcoming school year starts - which is probably sometime in July, the way things are headed - New Orleans will no longer have public schools. Period. The schools are being replaced by charter schools - which in effect are publicly funded private schools.

There are several serious problems with this. For starts, there's no accountability. And charter schools can and do exclude students. Plus, most teachers in New Orleans are being fired as a result of the switchover. In addition, privatizing an entire school district is unconstitutional - as courts have ruled that children have a right to attend public schools. What if you live in New Orleans and you want your kids to go to a public school? I know public schools have been battered by the right-wing media, which wants to promote private schools instead, but there are many families out there who prefer public schools - urban, suburban, and rural alike. This may surprise media elites, but not everyone wants to conform to the private school mold.

Will New Orleans families who choose public schools be left without schools at all? Imagine going to the local board of education office to enroll your kids and being told there's no public schools for them. Are school officials prepared to pay for transport to another school district?

Meanwhile, some charter schools in New Orleans, Detroit, and Newark are the subject of a federal civil rights complaint, because the schools won't admit blacks. Imagine trying to enroll your kids, and being prevented from it on the basis of race. Why are some charter schools stuck in the Jim Crow era?

I hope folks in New Orleans are insistent on demanding a public education. I know I would be.


Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Tim's Timer"

Tim takes apart a mechanical timer and is disappointed at the results (not unlike the old Geraldo Rivera special about Al Capone's vault)...

Bert Parks hilarity

Since this is a serious political blog, I know you came here to look at YouTube clips of hilarious things that were on television 40 years ago.

A while back, I told you about an uproarious performance from The Lawrence Welk Show in which Mary Lou Metzger did a ridiculous dance around Richard Maloof as he played a tuba. Now I've found something that's even funnier, if you can imagine that!

It's from the telecast of the 1976 Miss America pageant. In this clip, host Bert Parks performed the Paul McCartney & Wings song "Let 'Em In"...

If you're not rolling on the floor in a helpless fit of guffawing after watching that, your laugh tendons must be broken!

It appears as if Mr. Parks was actually lip-synching, judging by his strange mouth contortions and the apparent mistakes. His dancing is goofy too. He looks like he's about to start breakdancing during the horn solo but just can't find the right rhythm.

There's some speculation that Bert Parks absolutely hated the Beatles - so he intentionally made this performance as ridiculous as possible. His #1 goal in life appears to have been to make anything associated with Paul McCartney look utterly preposterous.

Quite frankly, I don't remember ever seeing Bert Parks hosting a Miss America broadcast, because I was quite young when they canned him. I do remember people talking about him a lot, but I just thought he was some celebrity who happened to have the same name as a Sesame Street character. Which reminds me of something cool I used to do whenever I heard "Let 'Em In" on the radio. I always used to change the line about "Uncle Ernie" to "Bert and Ernie." I remember having a big conversation with some college schoolmates about how hilarious it was to change the lyrics.

Ranks right up there with, "Tryin' hard to look like Mr. Hooper."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Coming soon: the Purple People Cam

Cameras wear out.

I've had the Eyewitness Cam since 2008, and it's provided years of reliable service. The counter on this digital camera is up to 7,148 photos and videos.

Unfortunately, it's becoming a victim of spotted fever - which afflicts many cameras of this particular discontinued model. A huge, round, gray spot now appears on many of my photos. It started about a year ago. I thought I fixed it, but now it's back and it shows no sign of ebbing.

According to photography websites, spotted fever cannot be easily cured. It's caused by dust on the sensor, which requires sending it back to the maker to be repaired.

The Eyewitness Cam also has other, less serious signs of age. The serial number label is peeling off, the battery cover won't close all the way, the rubber protector has fallen off of said cover, and the lens motor makes an ominous clicking sound. The real story is that a precision device - especially a camera - has lasted 6 years without becoming completely inoperable. Most devices these days don't last nearly that long. My experience has been that cameras usually break completely after about 2 or 3 years. If not, they usually become obsolete after about 5 years. I had a very expensive 35mm camera stolen from me after about a year.

So the fact that spotted fever is the most serious problem with the Eyewitness Cam after 6 years is remarkable. Then again, as far as I know, the Action Cam still works fine after 11 years, but that bulky device has been archaic since I got the Eyewitness Cam.

It's unfortunate that spotted fever requires professional treatment. Someone else who reported that their camera was afflicted was met with this response: "Sorry." There is little hope.

Sending it in to be fixed would cost more than a new camera. So I'm buying a new one. It's the same brand, but a different model. It's purple.

Right-wing French mayor wants school uniforms

Sorry, conservos. You own this stance. From now on, you can't say it's "the liberals" who want school uniforms.

Robert Menard is the mayor of the town of Beziers in France. He's backed by the National Front, a far-right party widely accused of being downright fascist. Menard has already issued a youth curfew and prohibited local residents from drying their clothes outdoors. Now he wants to make school uniforms mandatory.

His excuses for requiring uniforms are the same as that used by American fascists. Like America's Far Right, he claims uniforms make everyone equal - even though he hasn't done shit to promote equality in any other regard.

So the next time an American politician or public figure endorses mandatory uniforms, remember that they're mimicking the National Front. Menard represents Europe's counterpart to the Tea Party.

It's also interesting to look at foreign coverage of this story, which says most folks consider uniforms "an authoritarian anachronism." People around the world are laughing at the United States for having uniforms in so many of its public schools.


Kentucky GOPer sentenced for drug trafficking

Considering most recent Republican occupants of the White House were drug kingpins, the above headline really shouldn't be surprising - except for the fact that Republicans usually don't get caught.

Ronnie Lane, 74, was a Republican magistrate in Garrard County, Kentucky. But now he's been convicted of felony drug trafficking charges and sentenced to 6 months in jail. Lane had initially been sentenced to a total of 15 years, but that tougher sentence was probated.

Even after receiving the shortened sentence, Lane thought the big, mean world was still being too big and mean with him. So he asked the judge if he could get out of jail for the county fair - just because he's a politician. The judge refused the request.

Another Republican politician disgraced. And it happened in Kentucky!


Monday, May 26, 2014

Georgia better be on your mind!

I went on a fact-finding mission to Georgia over the weekend, and it pibbed the amazing Georgia way like so many other things we know and love. I got home last night.

Several uproarious things occurred. Someone ripped an LAP bunker blast at a QT station in Anderson, South Carolina. Also, I noticed that someone had put a catalog for RV accessories in the toilet at a Pilot station in Caryville, Tennessee.

This morning, at the Bellevue/Dayton Memorial Day parade, some woman was in such a festive mood that she bubbled.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Congress slashed VA funds at start of war

While the far-right blogosphere is trying to find one zillion ways to blame the Obama administration for the Veterans Administration scandal, the facts clearly say otherwise.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow points out that back in 2003 - right when the Iraq War was starting - the Republican-controlled Congress and the Bush regime slashed $13 billion from the VA's budget. This move was especially outrageous because it came at the start of a war, when it was clear that the VA's services would be needed more.

So shut your damn mouths, Repubs.

This isn't surprising though, after a Bush appointee absurdly claimed that PTSD was a hoax made up by war vets to collect benefits.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Garrett defeated too

Jeff Kidwell isn't the only Republican incumbent in Campbell County to lose the primary today.

Commissioner Pete Garrett also lost - and this loss actually imperils the Republicans' tight hold on that seat. That's because Garrett lost to Charlie Coleman, a Tea Party favorite widely considered to be the new Lloyd Rogers.

I guess this means Garrett won't be putting his campaign signs in my yard without permission like he did 4 years ago.

Kidwell loses primary in upset

Ladies and gentlemen, Campbell County's long national nightmare is over.

It's not every century that a Tea Party incumbent loses a Republican primary - but it just happened in Campbell County.

The results are in, and disgraced Sheriff Jeff Kidwell has managed to handily lose his reelection bid. As of now, Kidwell is trailing by 15 percentage points. This comes after the Fraternal Order of Police approved a "no confidence" vote against Kidwell, which was prompted largely by Kidwell falsely claiming to have served 18 years with the sheriff's department.

With this news, the misrule of Campbell County's most bizarre sheriff in modern times will come to a close.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Old Yeller"

Tim talks about a local man who yelled a lot...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Enquirer also to blame in Facebook flap

A few days ago, I exposed the fact that my comments on the Cincinnati Enquirer's website were being deleted and Facecrook tried to destroy the evidence.

The plot thickens! I've been informed that it's actually the Enquirer deleting them. The Enquirer has permanently prohibited me and many other folks from commenting on articles. Why? Because every time the Tea Party complains about somebody disagreeing with them, the Enquirer revokes the dissenter's ability to comment. Other people say the same thing has happened to them.

This is just further proof that the CIA-backed Tea Party is made up of thin-skinned little thugs.

And it proves the Enquirer is nearly as bad. But what else can we expect from a newspaper that regularly runs letters praising Donald Sterling?

And it shows Facebook is every last bit as guilty as I originally thought. Like I said, they wrote the commenting interface - which deceives people into thinking their comments aren't deleted. The Enquirer and the Tea Party didn't write Facebook's deceptive commenting interface.

Makes me long for the days of the Kentucky Post acting like a bubble gum blowing contest was a big news story.

New York court legalizes identity theft

Did you know you have a constitutional True Free Speach Now right to harass people on the Internet and commit identity theft? According to a New York state court, you do.

In a strange case, a Dead Sea Scrolls enthusiast admitted creating numerous fake e-mail accounts to impersonate various academic figures. But now a state appeals court has thrown out most of his convictions. The court ruled that New York's law against harassing phone calls and Internet communications is unconstitutional.

Victims' advocates are furious.

This is the same deliberate misapplication of the First Amendment that helped make the 1990s and 2000s a bullet train to Crazytown. (Remember the Georgia Tech case, when some right-wing judge ruled that far-right agitators had the "right" to commit hate crimes on campus?) Now though we can contrast it with how Occupy has been treated. How does it not violate the First Amendment to break up Occupy Wall Street (also in New York), but it violates the First Amendment to say you can't impersonate someone?

Maybe it's time for a constitutional amendment to say you don't have the right to steal somebody's identity and make harassing phone calls.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Stop deleting my posts, Facebook

Shame on you, Facebook. Shame, shame, shame.

I've known for years that Facebook occasionally deletes my posts. I actually left Facebook for a while after they deleted my posts because the Campbell County Schools told them to. The difference now is that they're working overtime to try to hide the fact they've been deleting posts.

I first started suspecting this cover-up a couple weeks ago when I went to Occupy Cincinnati's May Day rally, where some of the other Occupy peeps told me they unearthed some fucked-up shit about Facebook. Among other things, Facebook was blocking invitations for anti-Monsanto events from getting out.

I regularly comment on the articles on the Cincinnati Enquirer's website - whose comment feature is powered by Facebook. I comment because it's necessary to debunk the many embarrassing letters submitted by right-wing readers who form the Enquirer's primary audience. Just today, I found a letter by some right-wing whack-a-doodle supporting a property requirement for voting.

Also today, I confirmed that Facebook was deleting my comments on the Enquirer's site - and trying to hide that they were doing so. They hid it by making it so my comments are visible to me when I'm logged in - but only to me. When I log off from Facebook, my comments are not visible. They make my comments visible only to me - in the hopes that I won't know my comments are hidden from everyone else.

Slick, huh?

There's been some speculation that it's actually the Enquirer deleting my posts. It's possible they played a part in it, but it's certain Facebook did. It's Facebook that programmed the comment feature and endowed it with the capability of hiding the fact that my posts are being deleted. The Enquirer didn't program Facebook's comment feature.

I guess this is to be expected after Facebook made its community pages harder to use in an effort to stifle Occupy.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Have no fear, the May ish is here!

It was an uneventful April, but The Last Word is back with its May ish!

In the latest edition of this long-running fanzine of freedom, you can read about the E.T. video game and other gaming flops. Read about the most idiotic idea for a comic book-inspired YouTube video ever. I'll also keep you up to date on how I defeated a bogus ambulance bill - as well as vandalism plaguing a local neighborhood.

So read The Last Word before it reads you...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Kidwell humiliated in "no confidence" vote

It just keeps getting worse for embattled Campbell County Sheriff Jeff Kidwell - a Tea Party favorite.

After Kidwell falsely claimed to have 18 years of experience in the sheriff's department - a claim that appeared in a law enforcement magazine - both of the county's Fraternal Order of Police chapters have approved a "no confidence" vote against him. One of the chapters approved such a resolution by a vote of 24 to 6.

Kidwell - sporting a Kim Jong-un hairstyle - offered a strange defense in a TV interview. His excuse is that he didn't write the magazine article that repeated his own bogus claim.

The besieged lawman says the FOP's "no confidence" votes are part of a conspiracy to elect a Democrat in the fall. This despite the fact that Kidwell has a challenger in the Republican primary. Besides that, police tend to be a rather conservative bunch.

If Jeff Kidwell remains sheriff after the next election, there must be something truly wrong with people.


Lawn Chair Quarterback: "Miracle Man"

Tim talks about a man who should have been President, but wasn't (due to the right-wing media's lies)...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Kentucky to give more bailouts to private schools

Not long ago, Campbell County was one of only 3 counties in Kentucky that spent taxpayer dollars on private school transport. Now this unconstitutional handout has spread to 23 counties - and it's about to get even worse.

Kentucky taxpayers have spent almost $18 million on buses for private schools over the past 6 years - even as funding for public schools has been slashed. Right-wing legislators recently voted to increase this subsidy by 17%.

This not only violates the U.S. Constitution, but also the Kentucky Constitution, which is even more specific. The Kentucky Constitution prohibits taxpayer funding of "any church, sectarian or denominational school."

Maddeningly, these private schools that receive taxpayer money are exempt from paying taxes!

The executive director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky says the subsidies are justified because private school parents "don't want their kids to be in a government school, brainwashed by secularism." Then why accept government money for transport?

And here's the most shocking part. Because Lexington's Fayette County is not among those that participates in these handouts, Tea Party followers are accusing the city of being anti-Catholic. Seriously, they said that.

This is why Kentucky can't have nice things.

I think it's time for a lawsuit - coupled with efforts by our cities to enforce the Constitution, even if it means blockading buses.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Lawn Chair Quarterback: "'Right-To-Work' Laws Are A Lie"

Tim discusses the signage for Occupy Cincinnati's May Day march (and the LAP bunker blast that filled the air at the library)...