Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Maps of Tea Party extremism in Cincnnati!

Ladies and gentlemen, progressive populists of all ages, I'm as pleased as pee to introduce to you a brand bippus-bustin' new project that'll knock your socks clean off your footsies!

This project features detailed maps showing the level of influence of the hated Tea Party in 8 counties in the Cincinnati area. Why do I bring you these maps? So you can learn not to burn! Thanks to these maps, you'll have a better idea of what parts of town are the trouble spots, so you can act accordingly. And make no mistake, the trouble spots are those dominated by the Tea Party. No question about it (to use one of the favorite sayings of Team Tyranny blunderbuss Matt Bevin). It is your right and your duty to help drive out right-wing authoritarian extremism from your community.

Knowledge is power!

On these maps, darker shades of red indicate a more militant Tea Party presence. This is determined by a variety of factors, including voting patterns, political donations, labor laws, and public scandals.

Do what cool people do, by pointing your pooper here to view these amazing maps...

When the ol' Ses geared up in reverse ('Sesame Street' Wednesday)

It's been a damn long time since I've done this feature, but I've just found an old Sesame Street segment that I'd forgotten about for over 35 years, and can't resist analyzing it here!

Back in the '70s, Sesame Street was a forward-thinking show. But here's one sketch where it went backwards - literally! This segment taught kids the concept of backwards by showing a man in an Uncle Al hat and Colonel Sanders suit walking along city streets while everything around him moves in reverse. The music alone makes this segment worth watching...

The music in that skit is truly hard to beat! After hearing that music again, I remember a song that was briefly popular on the radio in the late '70s that sounded like this, and I remember calling it "The Backwards Song." The music was composed by Edd Kalehoff, who also wrote much of the music for The Price Is Right - making him a wealthy man indeed.

It must have been a barrel of laughs to film this segment. Clearly, the man was actually walking backwards in a crowded city, while everyone else was staring at him like he was some sort of weirdo.

Near the end of the clip, a sign in the background suggests it was filmed in Philadelphia.

The Sesame Street of old needs to come back with a vengeance!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Scott Walker wastes sandwich, makes mess

As far-right Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker vies for the presidency, he managed to make a complete spectacle of himself campaigning in Philadelphia, where he stopped by 2 sandwich shops.

At the first shop, Walker boorishly stampeded to the front of the line to order his sandwich, cutting in front of other customers.

Then, at the other sandwich shop, he took only one bite out of his sandwich and wasted the rest. He left the remainder of his sandwich sitting on a wrapper on a table in the shop's outdoor seating area - forcing the shop's employees to clean up after him.

Meanwhile, local residents protested him.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A person said something funny on Facebook!

Somebody said something funny on Facepoo!

I'm being serious! They actually said something truly funny, which seems to have silenced one of our local decrepit right-wingers!

There's a Facebook group titled "Old Photos Of Cincinnati", which is intended for old photos of Cincinnati. It's not meant for political tirades - though the self-righteous suburban establishment that thinks they're smarter than everyone else doesn't grasp this.

Recently, someone posted a photo from the '50s of a public housing development in West End. Predictably, some ultraconservative blowhard who probably hasn't set foot within city limits in years replied, "Another failed social experiment."

Here's where it gets good. Somebody (not me) responded, "you must be talking about yourself!"

In the immortal words of Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane: I love it, I love it, I love it!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jeb Bush supports abolishing Medicare

According to delusional white supremacists who inexplicably think their opinion matters, Jeb Bush is presidential material.

But according to normal people, Bush has no business being anywhere near a position of public trust. He just proved it again while speaking at an event sponsored by the far-right Americans for Prosperity. During this address, Bush declared America should "phase out" Medicare. MSNBC's Steve Benen said Bush's position of abolishing Medicare is extreme even among Republicans - since most GOP diehards have enough political sense not to publicly advocate abolishing it, even if they want it abolished.

But that may be changing. Look how extreme Republican candidates have to be now to win their party's primary - even if it destroys them in the general election. And if it isn't extreme policy positions, it's actual scandals. Jamie Comer's domestic violence scandal actually boosted him to within 83 votes of winning the primary!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

No purchase necessary, except when it is (Bubble Gum Weekend)

It's been years since I've done this feature, but I've found such a ridiculous example of a bubble gum commercial that I couldn't resist analyzing it here.

Nobody bubbled in this Bubble Yum ad from 1986. In fact, nobody even chewed gum. The ad is a sweepstakes promotion in which chewers and blowers could win He-Man or She-Ra action figures...

According to the commersh, you win if one of the inner wrappers for one of the individually wrapped slabs o' BG inside a pack of Bubble Yum is emblazoned with the words "YOU WON!" But the ad also features these words on the screen: "NO PURCHASE NECESSARY."

Uh, how do you know what the inner wrapper says if you don't actually buy the product?

The winning wrappers also instruct chewers and blowers to consult the outer wrapper to claim their prize. Yes, the outer wrapper that inevitably gets torn to shreds by chewers and blowers digging into their favorite sweet. I've been around bubble gum enough to know things like this. The text on the screen in the commercial also says you have a 1 in 59 chance of winning. Sorry, I don't think the odds are anywhere near that good. I remember people in 1986 chewing Bubble Yum like it was going out of style, and I don't remember anyone winning this game. There was some girl in my 8th grade class who constantly shoveled huge piles of Bubble Yum into her cavernous mouth at the close of each school day. I can't believe she didn't burn through 59 pieces in a single week. Yet I never saw her playing with He-Man toys.

She better claim her prize soon, because the ad says prizes must be claimed by December 31, 1986.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Antigay rally heckled in Covington

The Far Right has been doubling down in the month since marriage equality became law nationwide, and in few places is this more so than in Kentucky!

In 2 of the state's 120 counties - Casey and Rowan - the county clerk still won't abide by the marriage equality ruling. This has prompted a federal lawsuit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to ensure compliance.

This morning, as the case was heard at the federal courthouse in Covington, antigay agitators held a rally in front of the courthouse. There were almost as many counterprotesters, despite the very short notice. The local media says there were only about 6 marriage equality supporters there, but that simply isn't true.

I know this, because I saw it.

And antigay agitators were heckled - by me! You can't bring right-wing rallies to my area and expect me not to challenge it. It doesn't matter whether it's FairTax, pro-war, or antigay - you'll hear about it. I focus on economic issues more than others, but my work is as close as you can get to a "three-legged stool" of progressivism around here. Accordingly, I rode on the Peace Bike past the bigots and declared, "Your side lost. Get over it."

No truer words were ever spoken, but I've never seen the Far Right double down so much after losing - especially after a big court decision. I can't imagine they'll win this round after losing in the Supreme Court.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tea Party wants Cincinnati bike lanes removed

It's not every day that a big city will actually take the backward step of removing a bike lane from a road. But Tea Party agitators are pushing Cincinnati to do exactly that to the recently installed bike lanes on Central Parkway.

Team Tyranny is trotting out numbers that purport to show an increase in crashes along the stretch with the bike path. What they don't tell you though is that these accidents were caused not by the bike lane itself, but by idiots illegally parking their cars in either the bike lane or in one of the many automobile lanes.

Some city officials are wise enough to admit the Tea Party is full of WaftGas as usual, and said the real problem was that the city waited so long to get bike lanes in the first place. But mark my words, the Tea Party will double down. They always do. They never stop stamping their little feet until they get their way - and the more they're proven wrong, the louder they scream. There were fears at first that the Central Parkway bike lane would somehow contribute to traffic congestion, but now that we know it hasn't, the Tea Party has to come up with other excuses for removing the lane.

Mississippi school district is afraid of reason

The Tea Party is in full loom-and-doom mode in Lumberton, Mississippi, and it shows.

There's hardly any right-wing policy that the Lumberton School District doesn't display in plain sight. It has an unconstitutional uniform policy, it requires students in extracurricular activities to take a drug test, and it still employs paddling as a disciplinary measure.

Also - shockingly enough - the school district discriminates against students who are pregnant. The student handbook scolds, "Anticipated absences due to pregnancy should be made up prior to the due date in order to avoid exceeding the maximum number of absences and therefore forfeiting school credit."

Threatening to take away school credit because a student is pregnant? This has to be the only public school district in America in the past 20 years that I know of with such a policy. Students who have excused absences for other reasons aren't treated this shabbily.

Lawsuit time.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

North Carolina bill would criminalize all whistleblowers

It's bad enough that North Carolina recently passed an unconstitutional ALEC-backed ag-gag bill. Now a new Republican bill in the Tar Heel State would criminalize whistleblowers altogether.

This bill was also based on ALEC "model legislation." It would ban whistleblowing against any business and certain other establishments. It covers elder care facilities, daycare centers, and charter schools - among many other places.

A book like The Fight That Never Ends that exposes public and private schools would be banned. (Guess what state the publisher is based in?)

Lawmakers have refused to allow a vote on whether to change the bill to shield whistleblowers who succeed at uncovering illegal activity.

It's almost farcical. But it's actually a very serious matter.

I've actually considered the prospect that 7-Cent Joe might introduce a bill to crack down on books that expose private schools - after a school in his district was exposed. It's exactly the sort of thing he'd do.


So why are Nevada private schools getting taxpayer money?

I was slogging through today's blab allotment this morning, and found a rather interesting statement in a Las Vegas Sun article about exclusive private schools demanding government handouts.

A sentence in the article jumped out at me...

"The state teacher's union urged caution, saying regulations also need to include accountability measures for private schools that receive state money."

Uh, why are private schools receiving state money in the first place? Doesn't the Constitution have something to say about this? Of course it violates the U.S. Constitution, but Nevada is one of 38 states that has its own constitutional provision specifically prohibiting such expenditures.

A specific amendment to the U.S. Constitution almost passed once before, and I'm inclined to say the idea should be revived. But I don't know how much good it would do, considering how lawmakers violate similar state constitutional provisions. (Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana also have these provisions, which are violated to some extent in all 3 states.)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fort Thomas neighborhood expels poor

A local suburb is in the throes of a right-wing pogrom against the poor, and city officials seem happy to help it along.

Imperial Apartments in Fort Thomas has been the target of unending wrath by residents of a rich subdivision behind the buildings. They blame apartment residents every time something in the neighborhood goes wrong.

Some Imperial residents are relatively poor, and rents at Imperial are very low by local suburban standards. So what? That doesn't mean they're criminals. They're folks like me and you. One of the worst crime waves in Fort Thomas recently - a series of random street assaults - was perpetrated by rich kids from other suburbs. Nobody from Imperial had anything to do with it.

But the rich of Fort Thomas wanted something done about Imperial, dammit, and now they've gotten what they wanted. The apartment buildings are being sold to new owners who are renaming the buildings to the Grandeur and jacking up the rents by almost 40%. This action was encouraged by City Council members.

The buildings' new managers boast that they're evicting all the tenants - regardless of whether they did anything wrong. The city is letting them do it. Of course.

Plus, the wealthy residents of the subdivision behind the apartments have demanded that the city pressure the new owners into rejecting Section 8 tenants. Just because. It's one thing if a building owner doesn't accept Section 8 because it involves a lot of red tape, but for a third party to demand that someone else's building disallow Section 8 is unjustified and unwarranted.

It gets even worse. One of the nearby residents complaining about Imperial launched into a Facebook tirade in which he also assailed Muslims. He said of the apartments, "I hope they blow it up and put a memorial of their scuzlim leader their [sic] reading 'I tried to provide free housing but failed as everything else I do'. Then I'll hang a confederate flag through his temple." It wasn't free housing, dummy.

Stories like this bolster my belief that there's not much hope for America outside the central cities. Thank heavens we have our cities, because it's our cities that carry the day for America. Count your blessings, and thank the cities.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Have no fear, the July ish is here!

This month's issue of The Last Word was again delayed by errands, but now it's finally pub!

This edition reminisces about a stupid miniature golf course that doesn't want your business. Oh, and also people wiping their asses with poison ivy.

So point your pooper here...

Cincinnati gets most rain in 144 years

Another record, courtesy of the gutter cult of climate change denial.

From June 15 to July 14, Cincinnati received almost 10.5 inches of rain - the most during that timeframe of any year since 1871.

It's so bad that concerts at Riverbend have been canceled due to flooding.

Want to argue? Even the local media - which has a history of downplaying flooding rains - now says the denialists are wrong:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Indiana district might drug-test students

Constitutional rights? If you're in the New Albany-Floyd County school district in Indiana, forget it.

The district is planning on implementing a new policy requiring students to take a drug test - and not just those who participate in athletics or extracurricular activities.

The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes drug testing in schools, because it's ineffective. But a greater point is that it violates constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. Indiana courts have already outlawed school drug testing even if it's limited only to athletes and members of school clubs. The greatest point of all is that this ruling is rooted in constitutional law - the law of the land.

So how does the Floyd County school system expect to enact drug testing? By bipping? With so many of America's schools run by people who hold the Constitution in contempt, I have no doubt Floyd County will try to find a way around the ruling and even disobey it outright.


Monday, July 13, 2015

All-Star event rained '88 "drought"

Here's another reason why the climate change deniers need to have their mouths sewn shut.

For 30 years, the festivities surrounding baseball's All-Star Game have included something called the All-Star Home Run Derby. The derby was scheduled to take place in Cincinnati today, but is likely to be rained out. The only other time it's been rained out was also the only other time it was to be held in Cincinnati.

That was in 1988 - during our so-called "drought." Yes, the same "drought" that famously rained all over Bruce Hornsby's prized piano.

That was the local media's idea of a "drought." Rain, rain, and more rain. According to Weather Underground, average rainfall for Cincinnati for July is 3.85 inches - one of the highest in America. Yet July 1988 saw 4.38 inches.

The Media called that a "drought."

One day alone got 2.39 inches.

That's a "drought."

Yes, abnormally high rainfall in an area that gets a lot of rain even in average years is a "drought" - according to climate change skeptics. Other regions may have had a drought. We didn't.

July 1988 was even wetter than Weather Underground says. Their website lists no rain at all on July 18, but I know for a fact it rained a lot that day, because I remember exactly what I was doing. (Never argue with my long-term memory, because you will likely lose.) The website shows that it also rained on the day of the All-Star Game itself.

Saying there was a "drought" in Cincinnati in 1988 is not like right-wing climate change denial. It is right-wing climate change denial. It's no different from the talk radio droids who continue to spread their lying propaganda today denying climate change. And it serves the same corporate greed-driven aims. It doesn't sound like the same thing as their standard fare, but trust me, it is very much the same thing.

Incidentally, this year's actual All-Star Game might get rained out. This has never happened in the game's 82-year history. But with climate change a reality, there's a very strong chance of it.

I'm waiting for the day Cincinnati finally gets a real drought and The Media denies it.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Everything banned at All-Star concert

With the All-Star Game coming to Cincinnati next week - gee, I don't remember voting for this - local taxpayers are on the hook for millions of extra dollars, and police resources are being drained from the rest of the city, putting residents at risk.

And if you're attending the Demi Lovato concert at Paul Brown Stadium tonight, you really have to watch out! That's because pretty much everything is banned. The thought guardians released a voluminous list of things that concertgoers aren't allowed to bring to the stadium. (Ooh, an Allowed Cloud!) They range from thermoses to "indecent" clothes to just about everything else.

The stadium will be searching folks with a metal detector and checking bags.

This is acceptable in a supposedly free country because...?

I repeat: This is acceptable in a supposedly free country because...?


Friday, July 10, 2015

Miners blast Bevin ad

Scandal-tainted Tea Party gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin is already trailing in the polls, and this gaffe sure isn't helping him.

The Republican Governors Association has made a TV ad on behalf of the embattled Bevin that accuses Democratic frontrunner Jack Conway of helping to kill coal mining jobs. But Conway backers detected a bit of anomaly: It turns out that instead of using Kentucky miners, the ad features stock footage of miners in Mexico.

The GOP can't even find Kentucky miners to support their candidate?

A group of retired coal miners from western Kentucky blasted the ad. One asked, "Why would you take a Mexico mine and try to pawn it off on us as a Kentucky mine?"

I guess "Because it bips" is a good enough reason as any, because I can't think of anything else that might explain the Republicans' burgeoning stupidity.


27 more Scholaring photos!

When I say I goed Roads Scholaring, I mean I goed Roads Scholaring. Mean it like a dictionary, I do.

In recent months, I've amassed 27 more Scholaring photos from all over the 'Nati. This batch covers some neet poo like the unusual path through a parking lot courtyard at Cincinnati City Hall...

This batch covers last month's Scholaring, which has lots of alleys in northern Kentucky. Alleys are the people's roads and you're gonna bip 'em all...

Peep those road photo sets before they peep you!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

183 photos of my Texas trip posted!

A couple months ago - right after the great Madison roadmeet - I goed on a trip to Texas. Why? Because it bips.

This trip yielded 183 Roads Scholarin' photos! It took a while to post them, because I was kept busy with miscellaneous errands through June, but you're gonna peep every blasted one of them until your face flies off in public...

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Warning! Warning! Fascism ahead!

The spirit of right-wing fascism is alive and well in Kansas, and it's just another reason why the state's government needs to be overthrown.

On Interstate 135 north of Wichita, Sedgwick County authorities and Kansas Highway Patrol have posted signs declaring, "DRUG CHECK LANE AHEAD." The intent is to stop motorists without reasonable suspicion and search them using drug-sniffing dogs.

Because you support America, you know that these searches are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court already said so back in 2000 - and more importantly, the Fourth Amendment says so. The rights listed in the Bill of Rights are not inventions of mere mortals, but are natural and inalienable. That's a fact that conservatives would rather you forget.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Stop blocking our alley, Chris

Just because you're a state senator doesn't mean you get to obstruct the public right-of-way. We're a society, and we have laws, you know.

This morning, I heard some commotion outside my apartment. I looked out my home office window and detected a McD Enterprises truck just sitting there blocking the alley - completely.

Now, for those unawares, McD Enterprises is owned by far-right Kentucky State Sen. Chris McDaniel. McDaniel was Jamie Comer's choice for lieutenant governor before Comer lost to another far-right candidate - Matt Bevin - in the Republican primary. (Comer lost by only 83 votes despite his domestic violence scandal.) McDaniel is also a leading advocate of the laughable Fort Thomas freeway proposal.

We're not even in McDaniel's district. (Then again, there aren't many good districts, since the Kentucky Senate is illegally gerrymandered.) What makes him think he can send his trucks here to unlawfully block traffic?

But there the truck sat.

A motorist appeared to be trying to get their pickup truck through but was obstructed by the forces of doom. What if there was an emergency? What if my apartment was on fire, and the fire engine couldn't get through? It would serve McDaniel right if I lost my apartment, had to move to his district, and cast the deciding vote against him in 2016.

Another county name change (sort of)

I know Alaska doesn't really have counties, but this seems to qualify for anyone who keeps track of this sort of thing.

Wade Hampton Census Area in Alaska is generally regarded as a county equivalent, like other such remote areas in the 49th state. The name, however, was considered problematic by locals, for it honored Wade Hampton III, a slave-owning Confederate general and politician who never even visited the region. The area was named for Hampton in 1913 with no input from locals.

Now Gov. Bill Walker has approved a name change to Kusilvak Census Area - named for a local mountain range.

Hampton was notorious for becoming Governor of South Carolina in a campaign marked by violent suppression against African-American voters. The 1876 campaign is believed to be the most violent in the state's history.

Will this be part of a nationwide wave of county name changes? I would doubt it, since county names in other states that have an unfortunate association like this are usually governed by much different political interests. The Tea Party owns many rural counties outright, and the Tea Party doesn't have a great record on voting rights or race - so I'd be surprised if the Tea Party changed a county name that honored someone who benefited from a racially motivated vote suppression campaign.