Wednesday, December 25, 2019

A person bunkerooed on Christmas Eve

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas, and it wouldn't be Christmas without a big ol' nasty bunker blast.

Yesterday, I went to an important family gathering. Guess what was detected? An air biscuit. A trouser sneeze. A rock snake. A backdoor breeze.

The scent of a silent-but-deadly briefly loomed. It was initially believed that it had a canine source, but this theory was quickly discarded.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Have no fear, the January ish is here!

Put your rear in gear and drink some beer, for the January ish is already here!

The January edition of The Last Word talks about all sorts of splendid topics, among them...

• Dump trucks throwing fast food litter around.

• Candy that tastes like borax.

• Wine getting knocked over at Meijer.

• Weird Dungeons & Dragons rules.

• People carving up tables in 6th grade.

• A dumb GeoCities website about bubble gum.

• My high school thinking Wonder Woman was porn.

• A lost Peanuts comic.

• Ridiculous mail order commercials.

So point your pooper here...

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Trump impeached

Another historic day falls on the 18th of its respective month - just like the Plop Lecture and my birthday.

Donald Trump got impeached this evening - widening smiles all across the country. You may know this is only the third time in America's history a President has been impeached. In fact, Trump is the first to be seeking reelection at the time of impeachment. I have a feeling that won't end well for him.

Trump's impeachment blasts a Bazooka hole through the Facebook meme that says he can't be impeached because he "won landed holdings" or some bullshit reason like that. Property requirements for voting are unconstitutional. Plus, even if Trump won all 50 states and D.C., winning shouldn't make any difference as long as he committed impeachable offenses.

It's a certainty that Mitch McConnell will intentionally botch Trump's Senate trial. McConnell is an obstructionist.

Presidential impeachments are historically rare, but this is actually the second impeachment during the time I've lived in my current apartment. Some would argue it's because there's been a lot of lousy Presidents in modern times. But Bill Clinton wasn't the worst. Several Presidents committed impeachable offenses but were never even close to being impeached. Articles of impeachment have been introduced against 5 of the last 6 Republican Presidents, but for some of the worst offenders, the effort made it no further.

Some who support impeaching Trump say this is a sad, solemn day. But I'm happy. Trump earned impeachment. During much of this process, Adam Schiff had a look on his face like he was enjoying it. I don't blame him one bit. Trump might not be removed before the election, but impeaching him sure feels great!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Beshear ends Bevin's Medicaid limits

Moscow Matt Bevin had a pretty stupid idea of what Medicaid is supposed to be about. Although Medicaid is not welfare, Bevin tried to institute a work requirement to receive this benefit. Courts laughed in his face repeatedly - because the requirement was illegal.

I knew it would be a moot point the next time an adult became either governor or President. The Trump regime issued an illegal waiver to permit Bevin's work rule, but a real President was sure to revoke the waiver someday.

Now, newly elected Gov. Andy Beshear has revoked Bevin's order. This restores access to Medicaid that the courts hadn't already restored. Not only did Bevin institute work rules, but he also began charging Medicaid patients significant fees for treatment. Bevin even took away dental and vision coverage from many adult patients. Those changes are gone now.

Beshear said at a news conference, "I believe healthcare is a basic human right." This fact never used to be in doubt before the hard freeze of rightism suppressed this view.

Ending Moscow Matt's Medicaid limits is both good politics and good policy.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Nazism against Social Security continues

Social Security's benefits for disabled workers - SSI and SSDI - are always the target for cuts by right-wing politicians. Always. It's been that way for years. I have Google set up so news articles are automatically e-mailed to me every time certain topics are mentioned. One of them is SSDI. In all the time SSDI has been on this list, I don't think there's been any good news at all about it.

Like retirement benefits, Medicaid, and Medicare, SSI and SSDI are earned benefits - which is different from welfare. Even if it was welfare, it would be a moot point for this story. SSDI, however, requires a longer work history. It got even longer when Republicans - out of malice - instituted a rule allowing work credits to expire. Plus, Republicans - again out of malice - have made it harder and harder to qualify for these programs.

Now the Trump regime wants to make it even worse. Fascist members of Congress have introduced bills year after year to cut disability benefits by removing certain criteria and requiring cases to be reviewed more frequently. Because Congress has failed to pass these bills, the Trump thugocracy has now taken it upon itself to try to enact changes like this without even passing a law that allows it.

The proposal would establish a new category for disability beneficiaries called "medical improvement likely." For some of these conditions, however, improvement is not likely. If a person's case is moved to this category, their case will be reviewed much more often. One of the main goals is to make it harder for claimants to complete the huge volume of paperwork, so their benefits are revoked altogether.

Another change would remove factors like age from determining whether a person qualifies. It's as if the government thinks a person is less likely to be disabled as they get older.

These changes wouldn't save money, because more would be spent doing the reviews. It's about meanness. Simply put, those who proposed these changes are bad people. They enjoy harming others. They don't want a system that works effectively or lets people receive the benefits they've paid for. Besides, if they're such budget hawks, why do they squander so much taxpayer money on illegal wars and handouts to big corporations and the 1%?

These changes to disability benefits would in fact be illegal. But Trump does a lot of things that are illegal. With so few resources to fight these new rules, don't count on much being done about it.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Beshear restores voting rights to 140,000

Today, newly elected Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear restored voting rights to about 140,000 people convicted of nonviolent felonies who have served their sentences. The Democratic governor issued this directive 4 years after Matt Bevin violated a campaign pledge by revoking this right.

Beshear's directive doesn't apply to serial murderers and rapists who have forfeited their right to live freely. It only applies to those convicted of nonviolent crimes who are presumed to have paid their debt to society. In my America, we give second chances to those who are capable of living freely.

The far right is already screaming that Beshear is being soft on crime. That's a mighty thin argument, because it was Bevin who gave full pardons to violent thugs who hadn't completed their sentences. Bevin screwed up a couple times and pardoned a few people who actually deserve it, but many of his pardons are for ruthless criminals with political connections. Bevin's allies have refused to even prosecute serious crimes that were staring them in the face.

Which position shows more leadership and compassion: restoring rights to those who have earned it, or excusing those who won't learn from punishment and can just coast through life on political connections? One of the most basic principles of criminal justice is proportionality - which means the punishment should fit the crime. Why should someone who wrote a bad check to a grocery store 20 years ago be punished more severely than a serial rapist?

Beshear restoring voting rights to those who have paid their debt to society isn't his only act that has angered the extreme right. When Beshear took office this week, one of the first things he did was reorganize Kentucky's board of education, which Bevin had stacked with right-wing hacks who wanted to dismantle public schooling. After this reorganization, Bevin's appointees sued to block Beshear, but the Kentucky Supreme Court promptly laughed them right out of the courtroom.

Politically connected killer pardoned by Bevin

After George H.W. Bush pardoned all those Iran-Contra traitors, we shouldn't be surprised that Matt Bevin has also pardoned so many politically connected criminals.

Bevin, who left the governorship this week after losing re-election in November, made yet another in a series of controversial pardons as one of his last acts in office. Bevin pardoned Patrick Baker, who had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for reckless homicide and other major charges stemming from a Knox County home invasion. Thanks to this pardon, Baker served only 2 years.

It turns out that Baker's brother had hosted a huge campaign fundraiser for Bevin. The event raised over $20,000. Baker's family also gave another $4,000 to the Bevin campaign.

The prosecutor who put Baker on trial said he believes he was pardoned because of his political connections. The case was tried by Judge David Williams, the Republican candidate for governor in 2011. Even he said of the case, "The evidence was just overwhelming." This shows even some Republicans have grown tired of Bevin's antics.

But not the party's leaders - who have a history of being soft on crime.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Bevin pardons Tea Party activist for drug trafficking

Those who deny that people who have a lot of political clout get let off easy can shut their damn noisemaker now.

Remember John Roth, the Tea Party activist from Campbell County who was convicted of 2 felony counts of drug trafficking?

As one of his final acts in office, Matt Bevin granted Roth a full, unconditional pardon. Roth had been sentenced to 15 years in prison. But - thanks to Bevin's pardon - he served 3.

Let me repeat: He was sentenced to 15. He did 3.

In the pardon statement, Bevin said Roth "made a foolish decision a few years ago and broke the law." Well, yeah. That's why he went to prison. If anyone else had committed a crime like this, do you think they'd be out in only 3 years? If Roth had been a model prisoner, he would have been eligible for parole after 20% of his sentence, so he'd be out now without his cronies having to pardon him. Instead, he has friends like Bevin who thumb their nose at the justice system.

In Kentucky, the revolving door of corruption never runs out of energy.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Lawmaker creates idiotic conspiracy theory about sonogram photo

Where do people come up with nonsense like this?

Far-right Kentucky State Rep. Savannah Maddox "represents" a rural area of northern Kentucky. Over the past couple days, she's come up with a bizarre conspiracy theory.

WLKY-TV in Louisville ran a story about a Kentucky anti-abortion law that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court despite being unconstitutional. Maddox promptly claimed the story includes a sonogram of a gorilla at the Louisville Zoo. Maddox said this is part of a "Pro-Abortion message" of WLKY.

WLKY is owned by Hearst Television, so it's pretty conservative. But more importantly, I watched the clip on WLKY's site. The gorilla sonogram does not appear anywhere in it.

Nowhere. It simply isn't there. It's that simple. I don't know what else to say about it.

What the hell is Savannah Maddox talking about? Nobody else is claiming that WLKY included this picture in the clip - except the right-wing droids on Facebook who replied to Maddox's post.

This is a conspiracy theory based on something that didn't even happen!

It's hard to see which part of this story is the silliest. Is it Maddox's claim that the clip includes an image that it clearly doesn't include? Is it her claim that WLKY has a "Pro-Abortion message"? Is it her followers picking up her claims and talking to themselves about it? This has got to be one of the dumbest things to happen in northern Kentucky politics since Lloyd Rogers walked around town brandishing his gun because his campaign sign got damaged. And that says a lot.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Faircloth Amendment: the most fascist law you've never heard of

If you really needed any more proof that congressional Republicans have deliberately tried to harm the public, now you've got it.

In 1998, far-right Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R-North Carolina) wrote a law that capped the amount of public housing available nationwide. This law - called the Faircloth Amendment - says the government cannot fund construction or operation of new public housing units if it would result in a net increase in the amount of public housing.

This law is pure evil. Who is it designed to serve?

The country's population has increased by 50 million since then - and right-wing policies have only made poverty worse. Yet the Unfaircloth Amendment remains on the books.

Very few Americans have even heard of this law, and there hasn't been much movement to repeal it. It's shocking that a law that was enacted with such evil intent remains on the books without a prominent effort to repeal it.

One of the solutions to America's housing crisis has to be building more and better public housing. But the Faircloth Amendment prevents it. Congress has thus far failed to repeal it, so how can our leaders fight it?

Hopefully, as soon as we get an adult as President, they will use their executive power to render the Faircloth Amendment unenforceable - as it seems to be an illegal limit on the government's interest in ensuring the public's well-being.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Right-winger who wanted to ban feeding homeless about to lead homeless agency

The Trump regime has an EPA that wants to destroy the environment, a Department of Education that wants to wreck our schools, and now this.

After the Trump thugocracy ousted Obama appointee Matthew Doherty from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, the White House has tapped Robert Marbut to replace him. Marbut has a long history of regressive policies towards the homeless. He is a "consultant" who has encouraged cities to prohibit charities from feeding the homeless. He has also criticized housing programs that fight homelessness.

A right-wing activist since the age of 11, Marbut likes to brag of his experience at working with our cities. But he hasn't learned shit in all these years. In recent years, he got the city of Clearwater, Florida, to ban charities from donating food to the homeless, and he urged that city to get police to crack down on minor offenses instead of real crimes. He also worked with the sheriff's department to create a "shelter" that actually kicked people out instead of bringing them in.

Cruelty is a hallmark of the Trump regime and the rest of the Far Right. A lot of our public officials cause homelessness and poverty on purpose. We have public figures who enjoy causing harm to people. If you suspect that some public policies might have been designed to inflict maximum harm, then guess what? You're right.


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Highland Heights enacts fairness ordinance

My hometown is finally in the news for something positive!

Last night, Highland Heights became only the 16th city in Kentucky to enact a fairness ordinance - which forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for employment, housing, and public accommodations. City Council's vote in favor of this ordinance was unanimous.

This should be the law nationwide. I said Highland Heights should adopt this law over 25 years ago. That was even before any other city in Kentucky did. It was only fair. To treat everyone equally is a basic value. At the time, however, things were going in the opposite direction thanks to America's hard freeze of rightism - which hit northern Kentucky and Cincinnati particularly hard.

Fact is, years before then, some federal agencies took a dim view of unfair discrimination. It used to be that people could complain to the Federal Housing Authority or the National Labor Relations Board. The Reagan regime dashed all of that.

It's taking a long time to rebuild what the authoritarian Right has torn down, but who would have ever thought Highland Heights would be at the forefront of progress?