Sunday, February 24, 2019

Draft ruled unconstitutional

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller ruled that the Selective Service system - which requires young men to register for the military draft - is unconstitutional, because it applies only to men even though women may serve in combat roles.

Whatever the reason for the ruling, it's hard for me to shed any tears if Selective Service is abolished. For years, I've opposed the draft - during peacetime and during recent wars that the right-wing media supported. Mandatory conscription brings about increased militarization and infringes on liberty. Can we truly say we're defending freedom if we force so many into harm's way?

I do support mandatory national service for young adults who receive at least $1 million from wealthy parents and grandparents. I think that's pretty fair, since this money is an unearned gift - not anything they had to work for.

Selective Service was supposed to be abolished some 20 years ago, but right-wing members of Congress blocked this effort.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

GOP mayor gets in gunfight with SWAT team

Dale Massad is the Mayor of Port Richey, Florida - and he's a big Republican donor, a fact that media reports leave out.

Today, a SWAT team came to Massad's beachfront mansion following an investigation alleging that he has been practicing medicine without a license by ordering drugs online and treating patients at his home. One patient had to be hospitalized. Massad lost his medical license years ago over human experimentation and the death of a 3-year-old patient.

During today's raid, Massad fired repeatedly at deputies using a pistol. The sheriff said Massad is lucky he wasn't killed. Deputies think Massad was on drugs.

A few months ago, Massad was arrested for domestic battery - after a series of nearly 50 police incidents at his home.

North Carolina to have new election for disputed House seat

You can only rig so many elections without eventually being caught.

In the November election for a U.S. House seat in North Carolina, far-right Republican Mark Harris appeared to have narrowly defeated Democrat Dan McCready - though McCready had been leading in polls. But then it was discovered that Republican operatives stole absentee ballots from voters. In fact, the Harris campaign hired an operative who already had felony fraud and perjury convictions and had been suspected of mishandling ballots in 2014.

Because of this scandal, North Carolina's bipartisan Board of Elections refused to certify the election. Now the board has voted unanimously to conduct a whole new election. This is the first time in 44 years that a revote has been ordered in a U.S. House race. It appears as if the parties will have to conduct new primaries too, and Harris might not even win that - though it would serve the GOP right if he did. You break, you buy, Repubs.

Meanwhile, Harris has blamed the "liberal media" for the entire debacle.

It sounds like the Republicans picked the wrong election to rig this time, because not only did they get caught, but North Carolina has procedures for holding new elections.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Major radio stations to go religious

What ever happened to some of America's biggest radio stations of 30 years ago like WPLJ in New York City and WRQX in Washington, D.C.?

They're pooing, that's what.

These and other stations are now owned by Cumulus Media - but WPLJ and WRQX are among 6 that Cumulus is selling to Educational Media Foundation, which broadcasts religious music only. In Cincinnati, EMF already broadcasts on WNLT and WORI, but at least those stations had no historic importance.

WPLJ and the others will switch to EMF's formats when the deal closes in early summer.

Let that sink in for a moment. We're talking about WPLJ here.

The president of EMF not-so-humbly stated, "These are legendary stations that will enable us to enter new markets in Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Savannah; and Syracuse and expand our footprint in New York." If they're legendary stations, why is EMF allowed to gut them?

Response from both of radio's remaining listeners is universally negative. They correctly point out that this is why nobody listens to radio anymore. They observe that this will give EMF 3 overlapping signals with the exact same content near D.C. But they also point out that EMF is America's only major radio station owner that's still profitable. That's because it's considered a ministry, so it's tax-exempt - and because they offer no local programming on any of the 500-plus stations it owns. A money maker perhaps, but it doesn't offer much to listeners.

For folks in D.C., it's a feeling of deja vu. In 1992, another of D.C.'s biggest stations - WAVA - was sold to Salem Communications, which switched it to religious. One of Salem's founders has co-chaired what Wikipedia calls "a religiously based Republican electoral campaign." Salem's founders also donated heavily to the George W. Bush campaign and an antigay referendumb in California.

Meanwhile, the FCC leans back and bastes as it rubber-stamps these station sales.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Silver Grove school district to be swallowed by Campbell County

The school district that thinks it owns everything - Campbell County - claims more prey, as the Silver Grove Board of Education has voted to disband the Silver Grove school district and join the county school system.

Sadly, if the Campbell County Schools are trying to improve from the disaster that they were in 1986, they sure haven't made much progress. For one thing, it appears as if the county school district is refusing to leave Silver Grove's school open as part of the merger. In addition, the Campbell County Schools are refusing to offer jobs to Silver Grove teachers. The county school district has demanded complete control over all terms of the merger.

Most countries around the world are building new and better schools. But Trumpism means tearing down schools.


Friday, February 8, 2019

GOP effort to steal Kentucky House seat fails

Ever since a Republican incumbent lost by one vote in the November election, Republicans had been trying to steal that Kentucky House seat. But after lawmakers seated Democratic Rep. Jim Glenn, the only people still trying to overturn the election were those whose brains were irretrievably broken.

Today - in a surprise move - the defeated incumbent Rep. D.J. Johnson finally realized he had no case and withdrew his challenge to the election result. But only after he ruined an incalculable amount of taxpayer money on this ill-fated challenge.

Johnson had faced the humiliating prospect of the election being decided by a coin toss.

Today's development keeps Republican losses in the Kentucky House at a hilarious level instead of merely a funny level.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Virginia GOPer was editor of racist yearbook

It's all crashing down for Republicans in Virginia.

Tommy Norment - a Republican - is the Majority Leader of the Virginia Senate. Now it turns out that when he attended Virginia Military Institute, Torment was the editor of a yearbook filled to the brim with racist photos and ethnic slurs.

The photos include students in blackface, and the words include slurs against blacks, Asians, and Jews.

People are right to criticize Virginia's Democratic leaders if they appeared in photos like this even 40 years ago. But Republicans have no leg to stand on, because their record of racism is unending. In 40 years, the GOP hasn't progressed.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

GOP on verge of stealing Kentucky House election

What do you do when you lose a Kentucky House election by one vote? What if the county recounts the votes and the result doesn't change? What if the state certifies the result as final? What if the House seats the winning candidate and assigns him to committees?

Well, if you're a Republican, you throw a big temper tantrum about the result and leave it to a panel full of Republicans to decide what to do about it.

That's exactly what happened in an Owensboro-based House seat, where Democrat Jim Glenn upset Republican incumbent D.J. Johnson.

After Glenn was seated, a GOP-led House panel ordered the seizure of ballots in that election and had them transported to the Republican House Clerk's office in Frankfort. State law requires the ballots to be kept in a box with 3 locks, but they were transported unsecured - with no box. An Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer photo showed the ballots sitting on a desk in the open. Glenn's lawyer filed a motion claiming the ballots were "spoiled evidence."

After House Republicans tampered with these ballots, what do you think happened? They ordered the ballots sent back to Owensboro - again unsecured - for yet another recount, which took place yesterday. According to yesterday's tally, the race ended in a tie. Glenn actually was ahead at first, but Johnson personally hounded vote counters into counting rejected ballots. These included one for Johnson on which the voter signatures did not match, and another on which the voter had originally filled in a circle for a straight Republican ticket but then came to their senses at the last minute and crossed it out.

State law says tied elections shall be decided by drawing lots. In this case, regardless of how that turns out, it will still be up to the Republican-led Kentucky House to decide what to do after that. But they have one big problem. Glenn has already been seated, and the only legal way to remove him would be impeachment. They can't impeach him unless he breaks the law. Glenn has promised to sue if they try this.

So Republicans are out of luck, right? Voopvoopavoop wrong! Certainly, they have no legal basis for removing a seated House member from office without evidence of wrongdoing. But they also had no basis for the Citizens United ruling. They just make up their legal theories as they go along.

I don't understand how the Kentucky GOP is any different from an overseas dictator who just ignores election results and declares themselves the winner. This wouldn't even be the first time in recent years that Kentucky Republicans have done this very thing, for it has happened at least once in a county race.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Lexington bishop threatened with lawsuit for criticizing CovCath students

The Covington Catholic scandal shows the litigious nature of spoiled bullies and those who blindly side with them.

Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington wrote an op-ed criticizing the students' racially and politically charged actions - though he didn't mention the students by name. Now a lawyer representing a student is threatening to sue the bishop for defamation.

This proves that the lawsuit threats stemming from this incident are about silencing critics.

A school in Stowe's diocese - Lexington Catholic High School - recently began a campaign of inclusiveness, after that school was sued in 2016 for sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Somehow, I don't expect any school in the Diocese of Covington to take any steps towards improving its ways.


Friday, February 1, 2019

People chewed gum outside Aladdin's Castle (Bubble Gum Weekend)

Usually, a Bubble Gum Weekend - a time-honored feature of this blog - talks about a hilarious old gum commercial. But this time, the clip is not an ad - just some gum nostalgia!

Aladdin's Castle was a chain of video game arcades found in shopping malls. We famously got kicked out of an Aladdin's Castle once in my day. Aladdin's Castle also figures prominently in a clip about bubble gum that appears to have been filmed in the early '80s...

That video features several teenagers talking about bubble gum and appears to have been made for a cable TV access channel. Of course, people bubbled - as distorted music plays.

The Izod-shirted teenage host stands in a mall corridor just outside Aladdin's Castle and interviews several young people about beegee. He also samples a couple brands of gum but chews each for only a few seconds - thereby wosting them. The best part is that he discards them by simply setting them on the right-hand side of the screen - making it appear as if they stay suspended in midair instead of going into a trash can.

I don't know what city or locale this clip was filmed in, but I swear I know the last interviewee, who is about 50 now.