Friday, May 31, 2019

Have no fear, the June ish is here!

June wouldn't be June if I didn't fill it with the June edition of The Last Word, that fanzine of food, folks, and fun!

This ish talks about the gross purloinage of a wallet, the ruinment of valuable 8-tracks, Kmart baseball cards, MTV's idiotic license promotion, people getting expelled from college, gum, GoFundMe scamming safe space donors, and more!

So point your pooper here...

If that doesn't work, you can find it here...

Monday, May 27, 2019

A person bubbled

This morning at the parade, a person bubbled.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Kentucky farmer exposes right-wing blacklisting

It's hard work to be a small farmer, and some have had their fill of the political blackballing that makes it even harder.

This op-ed by retired farmer Jim Pat Wilson in the Louisville Courier-Journal describes how Kentucky farmers are facing increasing retaliation by big banks for refusing to support Republicans...

This piece reveals that Republican bankers and landowners are blacklisting Kentucky farmers because of their political views. Farmers have criticized the Trump regime for its bungling of its tariffs, its far-right tax law, and its proposed slashing of flood insurance subsidies - putting farms at risk from more flooding caused by the climate crisis. But these farmers have faced retribution for speaking up. One who wrote an article about the loss of farm income and the rise of farmer suicides lost 300 acres of land when it was discovered that he was a Democrat.

Banks that make loans to farmers no longer rely on just their financial data. They also call other locals about farmers' "general character." If farmers anger their neighbors by supporting the "wrong" candidates, it's used against them.

I know it isn't just Kentucky. And it isn't just farmers. Want a good job? Better hope your boss doesn't see the Occupy pages you've liked on Facebook. Want to finish your degree? Hope your school doesn't find that article criticizing "Newtzi" you wrote in 1994. Right-wing blacklisting is out of control, and that's not what America is supposed to stand for.

Trump's FAA probes San Antonio in Chick-fil-A flap

Some of the most basic charges of the Federal Aviation Administration include airline safety, making sure flights aren't delayed, and preventing passengers from being stranded on the tarmac for hours on end. But instead of these tasks, Trump's FAA is getting involved in policing social issues. In conservaworld, allowing bigots to sell their products to a captive customer base is more important than ensuring safe skies.

Recently, San Antonio City Council voted to disallow Chick-fil-A from opening at the city's main airport. One of the reasons is that Chick-fil-A donates to antigay hate groups. Giving discriminatory companies a contract to use city property isn't what the city is supposed to stand for. In fact, it would violate a municipal antidiscrimination law.

Now the FAA is interfering and is investigating the city of San Antonio for its decision. Right-wing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is also investigating. They claim the city is infringing on Chick-fil-A's religious liberty. Well, if Chick-fil-A is a religious group, then why should a city contract with it at all, regardless of its beliefs? For a city to contract with a religious group would seem to be a violation of separation of church and state.

Is Chick-fil-A a business or a ministry? If it's a ministry, it can't get government contracts. It it's a business, it can't claim its religious beliefs are being trampled. It can't be both just to suit the purpose at hand.

The FAA's probe threatens millions of dollars in federal grants to the airport.

The "secure" areas of airports have a captive audience. Passengers can't leave, and must use the businesses that exist there. Another reason San Antonio voted against Chick-fil-A is that the restaurant is not open on Sundays. Having an empty storefront on Sundays would reduce choices for travelers.

The FAA is also probing a situation like this in Buffalo, where officials also canceled a proposed Chick-fil-A at the airport. Of course, the Cincinnati airport apparently has a Chick-fil-A. That should be no surprise, because the airport (although it's in Boone County) is run by Kenton County, where county commissioners recently approved a white supremacist resolution.

What the FAA needs to do is crack down on airport boards that are stacked with Tea Party patronage appointees - like in Cincinnati, where the elected city council is deprived of any voice on the airport board.


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Gentrification and climate crisis causing rat infestations

We know most of our leaders do absolutely nothing about the climate crisis, but they do just as little about gentrification - the process by which wealthy investors invade urban areas, artificially jack up housing costs, and force out residents.

Now both of these crises are leading to rat infestations in New York City; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Los Angeles; and Seattle.

One New Yorker said he counted perhaps 30 rats just walking down the block. Complaints of rats in D.C. have tripled in only a few years. Rats have gnawed away at car engine wiring, jumped into playground sandboxes, and spread diseases that have killed at least one person.

Gentrification has fueled construction projects that have uprooted rats from their habitat and released them onto city streets and into homes. The climate crisis is another leading factor.

Chicago has new laws requiring developers to have a rat control plan before starting new projects, but politicians in many other places do nothing. Zero. Zip. Community leaders have suggested ways to catch rats, but nobody dares to suggest halting gentrification.

In the meantime, those who have contributed to gentrification or the climate crisis should face stiff lawsuits for causing these rat infestations.


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Dick Clark look-alike sighted

I just received an e-mail declaring that a Dick Clark look-alike was seen at Kroger.

Also, this same e-mail said a young woman was seen bubbling as she prepared to cross a street. It's bubbling season, comrades!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Auditor candidate vows to expose Wall Street corruption

Kentucky - like many other states - has an elected office of auditor, which has some important fiscal responsibilities. Christopher Tobe is a candidate for auditor in next Tuesday's Democratic primary, and he's promised to expose Wall Street corruption that plagues the state's public pension system.

Tobe, a financial adviser, says he wants to use the auditor's subpoena power to open the books on the pension system. This would expose the system's reliance on private equity and hedge fund investments that have allowed investors to gamble with workers' hard-earned money.

For several years, the pension crisis has been trotted out by Republicans and the right-wing media as an excuse for trying to slash pension benefits or replace pensions with a 401(k)-style program that would give workers' earnings to wealthy investors. At the same time, Kentucky's crooked Republican machine wasted taxpayer money compiling a report demanding the federal government slash Social Security benefits, so it isn't only pensions they're trying to cut.

By opening the books of Kentucky's pension system, other states may be encouraged to do the same. This scares the living dickens out of Wall Street and Republicans. Kentucky's system is worse than most states though because it actually farmed out some of its work to a Wall Street investment firm.

Now more than ever before, Republicans have promoted hate crimes, passed laws to trample bodily autonomy, and fostered unchecked militarism. But the GOP is also ear-deep in Wall Street - an industry that has robbed workers in Kentucky and elsewhere.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Another celebrity look-alike!

This morning, I received an e-mail saying that a Guy Fieri look-alike was seen driving around in a van. (I didn't know who Guy Fieri was until today.)

Governor candidate fought Wells Fargo and Big Pharma

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is a candidate in Tuesday's Democratic primary for governor - and he's been on the forefront of fighting against the Bevin administration's right-wing extremism. But he's fought against corporate tyranny and greed too.

A few months ago, Beshear announced a $2.8 million settlement against banking giant Wells Fargo. We've talked for years about how Wells Fargo made harassing phone calls to people who never even had a Wells Fargo account. But this settlement resulted from Wells Fargo's violations of Kentucky consumer protection laws. Among other things, Wells Fargo opened millions of unauthorized accounts and enrolled customers into services they didn't want.

Beshear has fought against makers of prescription opioids who have fueled the pandemic of opioid abuse - a pandemic that has cost the state many lives and millions of dollars. Meanwhile, Bevin has tried to block Beshear's efforts.

Also, as monopolistic utility companies have filed a record number of demands for rate increases, Beshear has opposed many of these money grabs. This has saved Kentuckians almost $1.2 billion. He also wants to audit utility companies that want rate hikes.

Beshear's office has also cracked down against online predators and human trafficking. This includes one of the most shocking cases in Campbell County in modern times. He has also fought against price-gouging by Marathon Petroleum.

If Beshear becomes governor, will this positive record continue? One can hope. For decades, we've been the target of confrontation and bullying, and it long ago wore on us. A fight against corporate greed would help move Kentucky forward from its shameful political impasse.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Kentucky primary looms

Kentucky has the most corrupt and ideologically driven statewide political machine in America - bar none. Kentucky Republicans - led by so-called Gov. Matt Bevin - have presided over an era of ballooning unemployment, assaults on civil liberties, attacks on workers, and rising bigotry.

In November, voters in the Bluegrass State will have a chance to end this humiliating cavalcade of stupid. But next Tuesday - May 21 - Kentucky's major parties will hold primaries to select their candidates for governor and some other statewide offices. Even Bevin has challengers in the Republican primary.

I will not issue direct endorsements. I've been betrayed after endorsing candidates in Democratic primaries - and I was really betrayed after one of the few times I issued an endorsement in a Republican primary. The good news is that the Democratic Leadership Council isn't heard from much these days, so we're not required to write in Michael Bloomberg or Zell Miller for all the Democratic races.

The DLC is the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. In the 1990s and 2000s, this right-wing pressure group was responsible for much negativity and bashing. If the DLC's dominance of the party had been allowed to continue in the last midterm, things would be worse than they are today.

I plan on posting a few articles about the upcoming primary in the coming days. This may include a couple positive pieces. That's hard to do, considering Wil Schroder's horrible race-baiting campaign, but there's some issues we need to cover.

Incidentally, a new poll by Public Policy Polling says Bevin now trails an unspecified Democrat by 10%. If the Democrats prevail in November, hopefully the DLC will be such a distant memory that we won't end up regretting a Democratic win.

Monday, May 13, 2019

WebMD humiliates itself by endorsing bad programs

Why should I ever trust WebMD again after this?

Technology addiction can be a very real thing. But now WebMD is endorsing sending teenagers to wilderness and other residential "treatment" programs to break their technology habit.

I guess WebMD hasn't read a word of the websites that have fought against programs like this for years. Residential "treatment" programs are a racket and a thoroughly discredited industry. We can't find a single exception.

We have a right to expect a medical website to be based on science - not on quackery like this.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Man with no math degree finds fatal flaw in haversine formula

This story isn't very political, but it shows the value of old-fashioned common sense and tinkering.

The haversine formula is a very complicated formula that computes the great circle distance between two points on this fine planet. I've copied it for use in FreeBASIC programs, but I don't actually understand it. The highest level of math education I have is lower college level. I had to take calculus as a high school senior, but I don't remember any of it. In fact, I don't remember anything I learned in college math either. I don't remember anything I learned in math class after I was a high school sophomore, even though math was by far my best subject. We never studied the haversine formula.

Nobody today appreciates people like me who tinker with their work and learn from trial, error, and experience. Nowadays, you're expected to be a people person instead - which I'm not. But for over a decade, I've tinkered with FreeBASIC programs I wrote that attempt to link every county in the U.S. with a nearby urban area.

Now I've discovered something weird. When computing the distance between a certain point in Greene County, Illinois, and a point on the outskirts of nearby Springfield, the haversine formula gives a distance that's way off. It says it's about 36 miles when actually it's about 44 miles.

It's not a bug in the way FreeBASIC or my computer does trigonometric functions. I visited 2 different websites that compute great circle distances using this formula, and the same thing happened.

I notice that the line between these two points crosses the 90th meridian. I used this formula to figure out other distances in Illinois that also cross the 90th meridian, and those were also way off. The formula works out fine as long as the line doesn't cross the 90th meridian.

The Internet is full of techies and math geniuses. But I can't find any mention anywhere of this flaw in the haversine formula.

I just discovered something that the world's greatest mathematicians have never even discovered - even though it's staring us in the face!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Right-wing judge forces Kentucky school districts to name teachers in sickout

Not long ago, many teachers in Kentucky participated in a sickout to protest against the Kentucky GOP's ongoing war against their profession.

So-called Gov. Matt Bevin illegally demanded that school districts provide names of teachers who participated, and he threatened to fine them $1,000 for each day of the sickout. When Bevin issued a subpoena for the names, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear sued the Bevin thugocracy.

But now right-wing U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves - who was appointed by crime boss George W. Bush - has ordered school districts to comply with the subpoena and reveal the teachers' names. Reeves's ridiculous ruling says the sickout constituted an illegal labor strike.

Strikes are illegal??? Who knew? Last I checked, Kentucky is a part of the United States of America. In a free country, we don't ban strikes.

The corrupt Bevin administration actually went judge shopping in this case.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Diocese of Covington files SLAPP suit because its feelings got hurt

Aw, poor babies.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, is known for being a very litigious organization. It even used corporate law to try to dodge penalties resulting from the diocese's many instances of sexual abuse. Now the diocese has filed a federal lawsuit because someone dared to start a Facebook page criticizing it.

This suit demands that Facebook remove the page. Facebook won't remove hate speech posted by alumni of the diocese's high schools, so why should it remove that page?

The page includes a disclaimer saying that it is not affiliated with the diocese, is not an official diocesan page, and is not endorsed by diocesan officials. So what's the prob?

The diocese can dish it out, but they sure can't take it.

We need stronger laws to curtail frivolous SLAPP suits like the one filed by the diocese.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Charter Communications is biggest Kentucky GOP donor

Looks like it's time for you to find a new cable TV provider. Wait, it's a monopoly. Sorry.

It's been revealed that Charter Communications - which goes by the name Spectrum as it owns cable TV and Internet service here - is the biggest donor to a Kentucky political party building fund since building funds were created in 2017. This monopolistic corporation has donated $150,000 to the Kentucky Republican Party Building Fund in less than 2 years.

This reams a massive Bazooka hole through those who claim corporations can't donate to political parties. Obviously, they can, because they've done so for decades. This is where the $70/month that Spectrum charges for Internet is going. Next time some Nazi blibbers about how the government gives too many handouts to the poor, point out how the government awarded a monopoly to a company that overcharges and gives customers' money to the hug-a-thug Republican Party of Kentucky - which is in effect a handout to the Kentucky GOP.

We need to ban corporations from donating to political campaigns.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Have no fear, the May ish is here!

Time to do your monthly pooper pointing with another action-packed ish of The Last Word!

This edition talks about a criminal refusing to get a job after leaving prison, damning evidence against NKU in the expulsion case, more ruinment of celebrity autographs and comic books, the cable company ruining our TV speaker, bubble gum getting gunked with gravel, people soiling playground equipment at Lunken Airport, Pete Rose chewing stale gum, and more! It's not sold in any store!

You can find the latest issue of this fanzine of food, folks, and fun here...

If that doesn't work, you can find it here...