Saturday, September 29, 2018

New California law lets utilities pass costs for their mistakes onto customers

A new law in California lets utility monopolies bill customers to cover legal settlements resulting from last year's disastrous wildfires.

The supposed purpose of this law is to prevent Pacific Gas & Electric from having to file for bankruptcy when it's found that its faulty equipment caused the deadly fires. In other words, PG&E will be able to evade being held accountable for its irresponsible behavior.

Courts have rightly ruled that utilities are responsible for wildfires caused by their equipment. This ought to be considered one of the most basic theories of law. It ought to mean the utilities - not their customers - pay. But this law will let PG&E add a surcharge to customers' bills for the next 20 years.

The era of easy money for monopolistic corporations must end.


White supremacists attack Democratic Socialists at Louisville restaurant

The Trump regime sure does bring the stormtroopers out of the woodwork.

On Thursday, the Louisville chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America held a meeting at a bar and restaurant. As they gathered at the restaurant's patio, a white supremacist gang began yelling at them from the sidewalk.

The gang had lingered around the restaurant waiting for the Democratic Socialists and had ordered some drinks beforehand. During the confrontation, some of the Democratic Socialists were attacked with pepper spray or a similar chemical. One of the right-wingers ordered, "Take your socialist commie bullshit and get the fuck out of here!"

This is another example of how the rise of Trump has emboldened fascist groups to confront and even attack dissidents. Of course, it's not the first period in modern American history that right-wing extremists in public office have encouraged fascist violence. I've seen it since the Reagan years. The escalating far-right violence is a clarion call for strong legislative and law enforcement action against hate groups.


Friday, September 28, 2018

Texas AG uses idiotic argument against teen expelled for sitting during Pledge

If football players want to kneel during the national anthem to protest racism and police killings, let them kneel. If you think it's so bad to kneel during the anthem, then you should stand when you're watching it on TV. And if students want to sit instead of stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, let them sit. That's what freedom means.

Freedom isn't supposed to be about corporations' so-called "right" to pollute our rivers or overcharge patients for preexisting conditions. Sitting for the Pledge is a matter of personal choice.

Last year, a student at Windfern High School in Houston was expelled because she refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. She had sat for the Pledge about 200 times before under 6 different teachers - but the principal expelled her.

After being expelled, she sued the principal, school staffers, and the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. But now, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has intervened on behalf of the school system - and Paxton's argument is jaw-droppingly dumb.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that parents have a fundamental interest in guiding the education and upbringing of their children, which is a critical aspect of liberty guaranteed by the Constitution," a statement by Paxton reads. "The Texas Legislature protected that interest by giving the choice of whether an individual student will recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the student's parent or guardian. School children cannot unilaterally refuse to participate in the pledge."

Ah yes, it's the tired old dominionist argument that parents own their kids. Paxton's statement says in effect that students may not exercise their constitutional rights unless they get parental permission. Is that a stupid argument or what?

In this case, however, it's a moot point, because the student already had her mother's permission. So bust goes that bubble.

While Paxton's argument is laughable, it's really no laughing matter, as bizarre legal theories like this have taken hold all over this once-great land.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Climate change bankrupts Ploptoberfest organizer

The nonprofit group that puts together festivals like Covington's Oktoberfest is being forced to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy - and it's because of all the little liars out there denying climate change.

MainStrasse Village Association - which organizes Covington events like Oktoberfest, Maifest, and Goettafest - says all 3 events this year were beset by bad weather, which in turn resulted in substantial losses of revenue for the organization. Losses at Oktoberfest alone were over $100,000. These losses have forced the nonprofit into bankruptcy - and puts the future of these festivals in doubt.

The organization had been solvent for 30 years - before climate change killed festival attendance. The owner of one shop said, "When it's cold and rainy, no one wants to walk around with a cold beer in their hand."

I think Fox News, ExxonMobil, and the rest of the climate change denial racket should be required to reimburse MainStrasse Village Association for the lost revenues.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Another day means another Kentucky GOP scandal

Because today is a day when you didn't eat caviar, the escargot and Grey Poupon party is having yet another scandal in my home state of Kentucky.

Former Estill County Judge-Executive Wallace Taylor has just been indicted for allegedly stealing over $38,000 in state and federal grants that belong to the county.

This charge of abuse of public trust over $10,000 is a felony that carries 5 to 10 years in the slammer.

Naturally, the Herald-Leader fails to mention the fact that Taylor is a Republican.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Trump full of shit as usual

As Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault claim threatens to derail Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation, Republicans keep doubling down on their outrageous defense of Kavanaugh.

Donald Trump of course is one of the leaders of the smear campaign against Ford. Trump wrote on Twitter...

"I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!"

Donald, you idiot, there's reasons why victims don't always report violent crimes - and it can be true of not only sex crimes but also other violent offenses. Much of this is because the victim is afraid of retaliation or having their personal lives pawed through. Or it's because they know that people - even the entire community - will rally around the perpetrator. Some victims report a crime only to see themselves punished and the perpetrators rewarded - so they quickly learn not to report future crimes.

Victims learn the hard way never to complain. Ever.

There's no doubt that many crime victims carry secrets to their grave. The crime doesn't get reported within a day, or even a year. Not even 10 years. Or 20.

Or 30.

If the victim ever comes forward, the smear machine against them revs into high gear.

I don't see how in the hell anyone doesn't know all this by now - but Trump is a moron.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Deleted anti-cycling group returns

Well, Facebook's foray into responsible behavior lasted all of about 5 seconds.

The anti-bicycling group that has stunk up the social networking site - though, admittedly, it fits in with the rest of Facebook, given Facebook's history of tolerating hate groups - had apparently been deleted, but now it's back under a different name.

If Congress can investigate fabricated crises like "violence" in video games or "dirty" rock lyrics, it can investigate hate speech on Facebook.

Facebook deletes anti-cycling group (finally!)

After days of encouraging violence against local bicyclists, the Facebook page "NKY Hates Bicyclists" has finally been deleted. But not before Facebook allowed it to accumulate reams of posts encouraging more and more violence.

Meanwhile, I went Roads Scholaring today on the old KY 8 just out of spite, but nobody ran me off the road - though the Facebook group specifically targeted that road. Better luck next time, assholes.

I guess Republicans just don't know how to act right

I can't believe that one of America's major political parties is trying to normalize the inability to control one's own behavior.

I got my first job in 1991, and I knew how to behave in the workplace. This was just before my senior year of high school, and I knew the right way to act around people I knew from school or in the community. Society had standards that governed proper behavior.

Let that sink in for a moment. That was 27 years ago - which is a long time - in what was then one of the least liberated places in America. Yet our community standards at the time were still more enlightened than what the Republicans try to foist on America today.

This is an area where those who stepped out of line became the target of harassment and threats. This is an area where the President would have been fully justified in deploying the Army to keep order against right-wing terrorism. Yet the area was still ahead of where the GOP is today.

This is an area that allows a violent anti-bicycling group that endorses running cyclists off the road. Of course, nearly all its members are alumni of one right-wing private high school, but the point stands: The Republican Party lags behind where my area was in 1991!

The GOP stands behind those who do things that I've known my whole life not to do. Some of the acts they stand behind were recognized as crimes even in some of the world's earliest criminal codes. The Republicans lag behind by more than just 27 years. They lag by thousands of years!

Well, Brossart, you blew it

Today, I noticed that the new anti-bicycling group on Facebook that endorses throwing lit cigarettes at cyclists has 646 members. But here's the best part: "139 members said they went to Bishop Brossart High School."

I wasn't going to mention Brossart by name in my next for-pay project except in a map of local neighborhoods in which schools would be marked regardless. But they just blew it. Because of this, I'm mentioning the school by name.

Leave it to Brossart to raise such violent idiots. Brossart isn't just a sleeper cell. They sound more like an active terrorist group.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Bill would give tax relief to renters

There's a bill in Congress that would give tax relief to millions of Americans. Sadly, I don't expect the Republicans to support it, despite the GOP's bogus claim to support lower taxes.

As gentrification artificially jacks up housing costs, many politicians refuse to act. In fact, they try to make it worse. But the Rent Relief Act - introduced by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) - would reduce the burden of housing costs by giving a tax credit to renters who spend more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities. It would apply to renters who make less than $100,000 a year - or $125,000 in some areas - and it wouldn't apply to luxury rentals.

If this bill passes, it would be the first federal action in modern times to fight America's growing housing crisis. It would also give renters tax benefits that homeowners - especially the richest - already receive.

There aren't many reasons why anyone would oppose this bill - except for the tyrants who yell out, "LET THE MARKET DECIDE!!!" when confronting any situation. Unfortunately, market fascism is the dogma that guides the current Congress.

Pershing project will proceed after all

The rubber stamps never run out of ink, do they?

Covington City Commission had smartly rejected a proposal by a developer to demolish historic houses on Pershing Street and replace them with luxury townhouses. This came after the developer arrogantly boasted that he wanted to tear down everything on the street. The developer's statement reminded me of the nasty presentation by the Monty Burns look-alike at the Highland Heights meeting back in 1996.

But now the city's urban design review board has green-lighted the proposal. In fact, they're letting the developer defy the zoning code by making the new buildings taller than the code allows.

All that in what's supposed to be a historic preservation zone.

I think I know where my next Roads Scholaring needs to be - so I can photograph Pershing Street before its imminent ruin.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Google now stovepiping NRA propaganda

I receive daily e-mail updates from Google News, but now Google is treating the National Rifle Association's propaganda website as a "news" site.

Yesterday, the NRA put out an article in which they claim to debunk the statement that it's harder to buy over-the-counter allergy medicine than a gun. Well, guess what? The NRA is downright wrong - and they know it. It is harder to buy allergy drugs than a gun. That's a fact.

Back in 2015, then-President Barack Obama correctly observed that "you can go into some neighborhoods and it is easier for you to buy a firearm than it is for you to buy a book" and that "there are neighborhoods where it's easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable." Obama's statement was true, thanks to the scarcity of grocery stores and bookstores in many American neighborhoods. But it's even harder to buy allergy drugs - because of a law the Bush regime passed in 2005 that forces buyers to present an ID and submit their name and address. You can't even buy more than 9 grams of it in a month.

Predictably, laws like this have been ineffective at their stated purpose of fighting drug abuse. In fact, they made drug abuse worse. This is more blood on Bush's hands.

Make no mistake, it's much easier to buy a gun - even an assault rifle - than it is to buy a box of Claritin. We can disagree on what to do about it, but that is a factual statement. Personally, I think we should repeal Bush-era laws that prevent allergy sufferers from getting their medicine, but we live under a right-wing Congress that harbors many delusions - like their lie about people abusing SSDI - so don't hold your breath.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Celebrity look-alikes keep being seen on airplanes

After the discomfort that befell me when I flew to Washington, D.C., for a human rights conference, I don't plan on ever flying on a commercial airliner ever again. Once is enough. But I've just received an e-mail reporting that celebrity look-alikes keep being seen on flights.

A Billy Joel look-alike was seen on a flight to Seattle.

A Hillary Clinton look-alike was seen on a flight to Sacramento.

Best all, someone ruined an airline wi-fi information card with a big green wad of bubble gum.

Bevin refuses to support local GOPer

The Republicans are so busy with their own civil war that a Democrat might actually pick up a Kentucky House seat in Boone County.

Republican so-called Gov. Matt Bevin is refusing to support his own party's nominee for that district: ultraconservative Ed Massey. Bevin says Massey isn't right-wing enough.


Instead, Bevin is supporting an independent, Stacie Earl, who calls herself the "true conservative" in this contest. Earl argues that Republican officials conspired against her to keep her from being the party's candidate.

In almost any other district, Stacie Earl would just be background noise. But that district has a big enough right-wing base for Earl to drain enough votes from Massey to elect Democrat Roberto Henriquez instead - though I'm not expecting Libertarian Lex Hannan to prevail. Plus, Earl is actually supported by some Republican leaders besides Bevin.

Carry on, Repubbies. Keep trying in vain to reassemble the miserable shards of a political party that was once noble but probably collapsed to the point of no return 30 years ago. You reap what you sow.

(Stacie Earl is not to be confused with singer Stacy Earl. I kept trying to think of what song Stacy Earl had, but I keep confusing her with Elisa Fiorillo and Nia Peeples. I'm old.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bevin praises indentured servitude

The New Hampshire Forehead strikes again!

In a speech to business leaders, so-called Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky romanticized indentured servitude - a practice that forces workers to perform unpaid labor for a fixed period of time. While indentured servitude is not chattel slavery, it is banned under international law as a kind of slavery.

Bevin said indentured servitude was just dandy because it's no different from modern apprenticeships.

What an idiot.

The Courier-Journal looks stupider every day for promoting Bevin as a presidential candidate.


Friday, September 7, 2018

Kentucky GOPer appeared on white supremacist show

Because this is a day when the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the Republican Party of Kentucky is mired in yet another humiliating scandal.

Everett Corley is the Republican candidate for a Kentucky House seat in Louisville. Back in 2014, he appeared on The Ethno State, a white supremacist YouTube show. Corley expressed a litany of racist grievances.

Corley complained that whites in one Louisville neighborhood are "completely surrounded" because of a political plot. He said, "It's a bunch of white liberals and minorities who've conspired together to cut the white working class out of power."

This is a bullshit meme that needs to be laid to rest. Even in 2016, exit polls proved that right-wing candidates performed better among the rich than among the working class. Most working-class Americans - regardless of race - don't give a shit what the Far Right thinks.

When confronted about appearing on this show, Corley sputtered and drooled. But he denied any of his comments were racist - though some clearly echoed tired racist complaints.

All this from a leading Kentucky Republican. Everett Corley isn't running for some minor office, but a powerful state legislative seat. He was even pictured on the state party's website. State GOPers say they didn't know of Corley's racism, but he already had a history of racial controversies. He had even called a local professor "a damn dirty black bastard."

Here's the most interesting part: Corley's district is majority African-American.

The Republicans don't like being labeled as a racist party? You picked the weirdo, Repubs. I didn't.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Booker threatened with expulsion over Kavanaugh e-mail

I'm not a Cory Booker diehard. But the New Jersey senator has just hit it out of the park.

The Democrat plans to release a "confidential" e-mail about fascist Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and racial profiling. In doing so, Booker is actually taking a big risk: Republicans are now threatening Booker with expulsion from the Senate if he releases the e-mail.

I dare ya, Repubs. Republicans didn't follow proper procedures in withholding Kavanaugh e-mails, so they can be released at any damn time. Best all, leading Senate Democrats have Booker's back on this - which, you have to admit, is quite an improvement over the days of the Strongly Worded Letter.

How will it look if the Republicans expel a senator who was elected handily by the people of his state and who did nothing illegal?

Some have actually touted Booker as a presidential candidate, but if he gets expelled, it will boost his chances exponentially. It's like what being expelled from Brossart would be like if the Really Serious People hadn't gummed things up.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Student arrested for disagreeing with dress code

Because this is a day ending in y, the right-wing thought police that runs Kentucky schools is out of control.

Recently, a student at Hopkinsville High School in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, was arrested and sent to juvenile detention because the school started an altercation with her over the idiotic dress code. The student was confronted over her t-shirt, which itself protested the dress code. On the front, the blue shirt read, "Do my shoulders turn you on?" The back of the shirt read, "If so, return to the 1920s."

Upon seeing the shirt, the school promptly caused a ruckus, and a school resource officer violently manhandled the student. The student was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer.

Um, no. The officer assaulted the student - not the other way around.

The student was then transported to juvenile detention.

Her mom later tried to take her out of that school system but was told she couldn't do it until a court hearing weeks from now.

If I was in that situation, I'd worry that I'd have to flee the state altogether, because I know how school records tend to follow you around in Kentucky. A person shouldn't have to flee, but considering the thugocracy that runs this state, it would be tempting.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Mello Yello successfully smuggled

Tonight, I once again goed to Riverfest - or as I call it, Rip-off-fest. What brand of soda did I smuggle down to the riverfront this year? Might it be Dr Pepper? Big K Cola? Grape Crush? Did I save a can of Teem from 1977 just for this moment?

Why, it was Mello Yello! Smuggled it right through in defiance of the right-wing Allowed Cloud against bringing beverages to this annual festival. It's a shame they worry so much about people having soft drinks at a festival but not real crimes like the home invasions I suffered, but that's conservaworld for ya.

Best all, a person threw up. Because that's what cool people do. Plus, a person was in such a festive mood that they bubbled. Because that's what cool people do.