The Last Word (tm) SURPRISE!
A nonpartisan populist zine!
Vol. 13/No. 3 - 402nd issue - February 13, 2004
Bathroom Bandit, editor-in-chief - serving Bellevue, KY, from New America -
blog blogga blog at


Ernie "The Truth Stretcher" Fletcher and the fascist Republican machine that rules Kentucky with a clenched iron fist have in only 2 months set new lows in fiscal mismanagement - and now Fletcher, donning the mask of "tax modernization" to cloak his vicious proposals, is again threatening to break his campaign pledge to not raise taxes.

One of the key elements of his plan is expanding the sales tax so it would cover items that it doesn't currently apply to, such as food and other necessities.

Gee, Ernie.

Let's look at how much the Fletcher regime has slashed public services since December, shall we?

Kentucky schools lost $7,000,000 in state grants - affecting preschool, kindergarten, after-school programs, and services for low-income students. Schools were threatened with yet more cuts for next year. Ironically, Fletcher's excuse for the cuts was so he wouldn't have to raise taxes. Well, that turned out to be a big lie (surprise, surprise).

And this was after Fletcher had promised not to cut education funding! That's another promise you've broken, Ernie.

Fletcher's new budget also forces teachers and other public employees to pay more for health care, even as their salaries fail to keep pace with the runaway inflation. And - even after last year's Republican-backed cuts in Medicaid - Fletcher is cutting Medicaid yet again!

(Under last year's soaking of the poor, thousands of Medicaid recipients in Kentucky who lived in nursing homes received brash letters from the state telling them to hire an attorney to set up a trust or they'd lose their benefits and be kicked out of the facility. The state even toughened eligibility requirements to receive any Medicaid at all, and people who got Medicaid for years were suddenly told they no longer qualified. This is yet another of many examples since the Contract With America of the government turning its back on the poor, and why right-wing politicians should face a tribunal for crimes against humanity.)

Fletcher's official rationale is always that he supposedly wants to save the taxpayers' money, but that's bullshit, because of the useless crap that he wants to waste money on. Just recently, NKU had to fire employees, cut services, and raise tuition because Fletcher's budget robbed state universities of much of their funding. But at the same time, the budget includes $42,000,000 for a huge new arena at NKU that it doesn't need.

That, my friends, is mismanagement.

The arena boondoggle is partly the fault of NKU, which itself has a history of blundering badly (particularly in regard to free speech issues and its mollycoddling of student athletes who are allowed to get away with stuff that would land most people behind bars). But more than any other individual, it's the fault of ol' Ernie "Hey Bert" Fletcher.

Because of Fletcher's dereliction of the state's finances, a new community college under construction in Boone County won't even have the money to operate once the building is completed. It's not unlike those high-rises they built in Pyongyang that they've never been able to use.

The level of mismanagement in Kentucky presently is by far the worst it's been in my lifetime. To add injury to insult, the tax increases are orchestrated to hit the poor the hardest. For once, why not make the rich pay?

If they want to slash the budget, they should eliminate the illegal subsidy for private schools.

We need to launch a recall election against Ernie Fletcher - though we realize that may accomplish little, because since the Contract With America the Republicans have made Kentucky (and the rest of America) a banana republic that no longer has a real election system. (If Democrat Ben Chandler wins the February 17 election for the congressional seat Fletcher shit in, just imagine how big his REAL margin of victory must be, considering how many votes for anyone who isn't a Republican aren't counted.) Fletcher must also be penalized for his racial intimidation of voters in last year's so-called election.

Unfortunately we can't count on the milquetoast Democratic vanguard to stand up against Republicans who don't play nice.



Know what some beezweezer did?

We were motorin' through the Belv, and some monied galoot had left their shiny new red sports car idling in the street unoccupied, blocking the street as we tried to get through. Naturally it was an out-of-county plate, since not many people in Bellevue have the money for a new sports car like that.

The overpowering temptation to ram this sparkling vehicle from behind over its illegal obstruction of the public roadway was narrowly averted when its driver finally showed up and drove away after letting it spew exhaust fumes for at least 5 minutes.



The misnamed Students for Academic Freedom - whose slogan is "You can't get a good education if they're only telling you half the story" - typifies the barefaced double standard and the philosophy of "free speech for me, but not for you" that guide the most arrogant faction of the New Right.

SAF is headed by David Horowitz, an incoherent right-wing hack based in Los Angeles. He was once a leftist, but his conscience evaporated and hasn't been seen since, and he's now a typical example of the hopelessly ignorant tongue-tied mess that is modern American conservatism. He supports closure of campus antiwar groups because they disagree with his views - while he exploits 9/11 to promote his stances. And he's a raw racist whose intolerance is summed up in an advertisement he ran in numerous newspapers, the details of which we don't have the patience to discuss at length. One newspaper that ran his ad accompanied it with an editorial that aptly called its arguments racist and promised to donate proceeds from the ad to the Urban League - but then Horowitz threw a screeching skizzum as he so often does and refused to pay for the ad after it ran.

SAF's website calls itself "a clearing house and communications center for a national coalition of student organizations whose goal is to end the political abuse of the university and to restore integrity to the academic mission as a disinterested pursuit of knowledge." But they lie - and we've proven it.

If you ever come across their site, check out their so-called Academic Bias Complaint Form. You can find it at They purport to publicly list the complaints about political bias in academia that folks submit - but their site is itself biased, because, not unpredictably, the only complaints they list are ones conservatives make!

How do we know this?

Before any other submitted complaints were even posted, we sent them one regarding the long pattern of censorship and arrests of progressives at Northern Kentucky University. We quote:

Guess what? Your conservatives at this university have for many years been censoring liberal students and a left-wing newsletter that one of its students published!

Before you go off half-cocked about nonexistent censorship against your conservatives, please post this remark about NKU for the whole world to see!

Unsurprisingly, the editors of the site didn't post our comment for public viewing.

These self-styled martyrs for unbias are themselves so biased that they won't post comments denouncing censorship by their ideological allies!

That site is nothing more than a blacklist to cajole and silence professors and institutions that won't do things the way SAF wants them done.

Nonetheless it wouldn't hurt if you used their Academic Bias Complaint Form to lodge a grievance about the predisposition against progressivism at your local college. They won't post it, but it will REALLY piss them off!


As foolish as the legislatures in Florida and Texas have looked in recent years, Kentucky has been known for its embarrassing excuse for a legislative branch for as long as I can remember.

And it's getting worse!

Recently a right-wing coalition in the Kentucky House passed two resolutions that may well be the only ones like it anywhere in America. One resolution urges the FCC to bust "indecent, vulgar language" on TV and radio - as if there aren't more important things for the FCC or Kentucky lawmakers to worry about.

Not long ago we turned on the ol' idiot box and found the same misleading infomercial on 3 different stations. Why doesn't the FCC crack down on infomercials for illegal pyramid scams, instead of being the soap in the mouth when Bono says "poop"?

Another resolution demands that the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the 2002 federal appeals court decision that ruled that forcing students to say "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.

Anyone with even a rudimentary grasp of civics can see that the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion should prevent public schools from requiring students to recite those two words, as that is a government endorsement of religion. It's actually surprising that it took that long for a court to rule on it - but it's downright shocking that Kentucky lawmakers would try to sway the Supreme Court to overturn a perfectly sensible ruling when there are so many issues at home they should be dealing with, like health care, education, and the recession.

Kentucky voters have got to be getting mighty fed up with the legislature embarrassing them like this. But don't expect things to improve, as long as right-wing politicians know they can scare just enough people into voting for them to make a difference.


The Disney empire is full of scandals - and not just the fact that ol' Walt himself had very right-wing views.

A popular book even lists "12 Examples of the Dark Side of Disney" - which include the company's lawsuit against preschools that had Mickey Mouse painted on their walls and Disney World's misappropriation for its stupid sewer system of tens of millions of dollars that the county had planned on using for low-income housing.

A few days ago we found a new example of Disney's scandalous ways: a ban at Disney World against Segway scooters used by the disabled.

Disney World in Florida does not permit visitors with disabilities to use the scooters that allow them to stand up on a platform with 2 wheels. This outrage prompted one customer, who vowed to shun Disney World because of the ban, to declare in an AP article, "I'm not prepared to let a corporate attorney dictate to me how I should be mobile." The flimsy rationale Disney World trots out to ban the scooters is the fact that the machines aren't considered medical devices by the FDA and aren't marketed exclusively to people with disabilities.

Oh, so in other words, they ban scooters just because they think they can. That'll really earn you support from the masses - NOT!!!

Disney also bans Segways at other parks it runs: Disneyland and California Adventure. And it's not just Disney that's guilty of not accommodating the disabled: Sea World Orlando has this same st00pid ban!

Last year the city of San Francisco even banned the scooters from its sidewalks - spewing scuzzy hate at its own citizens.

You'd expect better in San Francisco - but not in the Bush era, I guess. Clearly, many of San Francisco's leaders hate the disabled, just as they hate the homeless, and just as they hate the poor - which they do, judging by the fact that they treat welfare recipients like criminals by fingerprinting them.

San Francisco has long been reputed to be a liberal city - but its political leaders and media outlets in recent years are often anything but. Judging by their war against the poor and disabled, many of the city's leaders are part of the ranting, pathological New Right sort you'd expect to find in a fast-growing Sun Belt suburb, not in a fine central city like San Francisco.

What Disney World and other parks are doing is actually illegal. The parks are required to make reasonable accommodations for the disabled, yet they won't do it. The San Francisco ordinance is clearly an illegal law.

However, these policies persist because federal law isn't clear enough. Congress or the states should write new legislation that is more specific in protecting the use of this type of scooter. And those at Disney World and other parks and in city governments who implemented their illegal policies to discriminate against people with disabilities should hide their heads in shame.


Crawford, TX - one of many hometowns claimed by rape defendant and war criminal Bush - requires a permit just to wear a political button!

Crawford's hostility to free speech was exposed when about 100 peace activists were arrested there for disagreeing with Disgeorge's war. At the trial for some of the activists, the defense attorney argued that they weren't even holding signs when they were arrested but were trying to obtain information about another person who had been nabbed - which of course the police refused to give them. You see, in a free country, they wouldn't have secret detentions - but the United States under Bush is a different matter.

But Crawford Police Chief Donnie Tidmore testified that anyone who wears a political button without obtaining a permit - which costs $25 and requires an advance notice of 15 days before wearing the button - is violating the town's laws.

Anyone who thinks someone who wears a pro-Bush button would be arrested, raise your hand.

OK, next article...


Those who argue that education is never wasted can pipe down now.

The American Diploma Project thinks a high school degree is so meaningless that it wants to toughen - YET AGAIN! - high school graduation requirements. But if a diploma is meaningless, it's not because students didn't work hard enough for it, as the America Diploma Project claims, but because America's economic structure has steadily corroded since 1981: A person today is likely to find themselves at a much lower economic level than a person back then who had much less education.

Schools stress competition, and today's young people are being pushed too hard when most receive practically nothing in return. So a high school diploma means a great deal in terms of the amount of work put into it. The REAL problem lays with the economy, not with high school supposedly being too easy. It's a vicious cycle: Students are pushed harder, and when a small percentage obtains a more advanced education, students in the future have to work even harder and go to school even longer just to compete. So while they've worked hard for their diploma, their schooling is, yes, wasted, because their education has failed to bring them any advancement in life.

There's no reason in hell why anyone with a high school diploma should have to work for minimum wage at a hazardous, horrible, non-union job where they have no hope of advancement - especially because in the '70s, when fewer credits were required to graduate and when the minimum wage was higher when adjusted for inflation, people who only had high school diplomas often earned well above minimum wage.

And lo! Unless you can get a scholarship or financial aid - which you often can't, even if you deserve it (because one minor weed offense will cost you your aid, thanks to the right-wing idiots in Congress) - you probably don't have the money to attend college. In order to get money, you need a good job, which requires college - but in order to afford college, you need money.

As hard as I worked for that sheepskin, I learned very few useful skills in high school. It's hard to learn when class consists of 25 kids throwing stuff at each other, and for part of my high school years, the emphasis wasn't on math, chemistry, geography, or (gasp!) civics, but on memorizing these voluminous religious pieces. The point isn't that I failed to understand the pieces we memorized but rather that this material was of little value for a cartographic technician, librarian, or radio announcer.

I went to school for 18 years, in the state whose graduation requirements are the toughest in America, but I'm shocked at how little I learned.

Want to make education meaningful again? Hey, start with the economy. Too many people like myself are being forced to live on broken promises.

Reading us online? Click on these words to go up to our index!

(Copywrong 2004. Online edition created with Internet Exploder 6.)
* * *