the last word(tm)
Vol. 13/No. 14 - 413th issue - November 24, 2004
Bathroom Bandit, editor-in-chief - serving Bellevue, KY, from New America
firstname.lastname@example.org - http://members.iglou.com/bandit
blog blogga blog at http://bandit73.pitas.com
WHEN A MOB CALLS THEMSELVES A MAJORITY
If you were teetering on the brink of your chair waiting to see what happens when America collapses under mob rule, the suspense ground to a screeching halt on Election Day.
A few gloatgoats aren't gonna like what we have to say about it. Tough. (Badeedle-badeed...Like your hamburger at - uh, never mind.) We're populists, and sometimes we have to show a few teeth and display that Ultra-Bite smile.
Here's a statistical analysis of what went on. Suppose there was 72% turnout of registered voters, and suppose Bosh "officially" got 51% of the popular vote. We'd estimate that 20% of votes for Kerry and others who opposed Bush aren't counted, because of tampering by election officials or voting machine makers such as Diebold - and we suspect 20% of these lost votes were awarded to Bosh, while the rest vanished completely. We'd guess Dumbya should rightly lose about 35% of his "official" votes, because of people who hated him voting for him because of presumably inadequate opposition. Vote hauling is now suppressed among rural Democrats but encouraged among Bush followers in the same areas, but this suppression of Democratic turnout is probably accounted for in the turnout figures. However, the number of people counted as registered to vote should probably be increased by 5% because of people being illegally scrubbed from the rolls or having their registrations suspiciously "lost". (Hamilton County "lost" a whole box of registrations collected by a group that wanted to repeal Cincinnati's ridiculous anti-gay legislation.) Since this - in almost all cases - has occurred under the watch of Republicans, we'd guess that about 85% of those denied the right to vote because of their missing registrations would have voted for Kerry or even a third party. These numbers don't even account for spoiled ballots.
Based on these factors, Bush only wins a wholly credible 22%. That's it. Surely, more than 22% voted for him, but 22% represents the hardcore rightists, the true believers of the Dumbya way. Polls taken before the "election", which showed a virtual tie, would seem to show a similar result if they had used a correct sample for party affiliations and accounted for the fact that conservatives are more likely to have more than one phone line. Now, 22% is not a majority, but it's more than enough to be a mob. The tyranny of election fraud and mob rule is the law of the land in America today. Even a system of law as basic as the Code of Hammurabi is an alien concept in America's most conservative counties today.
In addition to the fact that 22% is suspiciously close to what Disgeorge received in a poll on a nonpartisan site we read, if you're wondering what percentage of kids at your school (at least at really bad schools like Brossart) were bullies, 22% might be a good guess. They're the ones who grew up to form this mob. Almost without exception.
This analysis isn't to prove what is perhaps unprecedented fraud - for we knew fraud was going to happen anyway - but that America is under mob rule.
We'd hate to burst your Bazooka bubble, but America isn't supposed to be a pure democracy, but a democratic republic. This is to prevent some demagogue like Bush from getting elected by appealing to emotions instead of facts. In addition, rights guaranteed under the Constitution are supposed to be inalienable. You shouldn't be able to simply vote to take away the rights of a group of people. Likewise, if you're a rich landowner you shouldn't be able to just vote yourself huge government handouts at the expense of children, the needy, and the elderly.
The schoolhouse bully has become the statehouse bully. It shows more in almost every election. The new brand of hopelessly intolerant conservatives got their foot in the door some years ago, and in almost every election since then they've raised the price of poker with their commando tactics until we found ourselves in an America we no longer recognize.
Here's what the new crop of right-wing extremists is like. Recently I was physically attacked by these assholes twice in the same day because I had a Kerry sticker. The actions of these bullies were that of subhumans, poxes on society. Stay away from people like that - just as you would the school bully. Put on your walking shoes and leave them far behind (as Rocky Burnette would say).
Mob rule essentially bypasses democracy and becomes dictatorship. This is fascism, plain and simple.
In most countries, firm restrictions are placed on religious extremist groups, because these groups pose a threat against political stability, the rule of law, and the values of a democratic republic. Organizations like Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition are openly supportive of terrorism, so we'd like to see the U.S. similarly crack down on them. For those who doubt this group supports terrorism, the Christian Coalition's efforts in the state of Washington in support of school harassment establish them as terrorists - and there's no point in arguing. It's interesting how schoolmongering and right-wing activism always seem to be mentioned together, but you must never forget it was the Christian Coalition that lobbied to defeat a bill in the Evergreen State that would have required schools to clamp down on harassers.
The government should act against the Christian Coalition for aiding terrorism. Since we don't expect action to be taken at the federal level, states and local communities should shore up this gap.
In addition, the IRS must step up enforcement of rules that are supposed to revoke the tax-exempt status of religious bodies that engage in political activities.
Quarantine the frothing hellhounds who use violence to advance New Right causes. Don't go near these aggressive extremists. The only reason they'd ever want your presence is to screw you over, so don't give them the chance. They possess ignorance and intolerance that can't be corrected by exposure to the facts. Their brains aren't complex enough to process new information. They're predators who have a taste only for brutality and coercion.
Whether Bosh amassed 22% or 51% in the "election", it's clear the Republicans haven't gained much among the party affilations of the people. There's still many more Democrats than Republicans among the general public - by a ratio of about 1½ to 1. But - like the playground bully - Republicans have become more vocal. One aspect of mob rule is that those who scream the loudest usually win.
They can take this "mandate" they keep babbling about and shove it up their asses.
America can't be run by schoolhouse bullies. It just can't. Lately, all these tyrants have needed to do to get their way is stand outside the Newport courthouse and yell at it for 10 seconds. It's a surefire recipe for disaster.
Save me from tomorrow. I don't want to sail with this ship of fools. However, we'd take comfort in the fact that the world is watching, and few people outside Bush's most solid precincts have the patience to tolerate the continuation of this bullshit.
YES, A FEW VICTORIES FOR THE FORCES OF GOOD...
It may seem hard to believe, but - outside the South - the Republicans found their ranks in downballot offices greatly thinned after Election Day.
In addition to losing the governor's thrones in Montana and New Hampshire, the GOPstapo was demolished in state legislative races. For the first time since the '50s, Democrats now control both houses of the Colorado legislature. Democrats also won control of the Vermont House, Oregon Senate, Washington Senate, and Montana Senate, while bringing the Iowa Senate to a tie. Minnesota's corrupt Republican machine self-destructed under the bigotry and incompetence of ultraconservative Gov. Tim Pawlenty, drastically reducing their near-total control of the state House to a near-tie. While this trend was ruthlessly suppressed in most of the South, there were a few gains like this even there, as the Democrats won back control of the North Carolina House. This is also the first time in over 30 years the Democrats have gained seats in the Texas House.
Hilariously, one of the Republicans ousted in Minnesota was the one who had written the bill to deny financial aid to students convicted of "rioting" - a word that these days seems to be used to label any utterance the Republicans disagree with. This bill - like all that "no pass, no drive" garbage - was yet another entry in the Special Rights for Bullies department, for it favored school harassers by failing to penalize them too.
Republican losses in Colorado were likely because Gov. Bill Owens is an even bigger idiot than Pawlenty is. Owens and his cronies were responsible for the massively ridiculed plan to force universities to hire only conservative professors. Democratic gains in Montana can be credited to Democrats there using real populist issues - like protecting the environment and fighting big box retailers.
Today's state lawmakers are tomorrow's Congress, and Republicans outside the South got destroyed! Another good omen for the future is that the youngest group of voters is now the most Democratic, reversing the earlier trend.
Even Congress wasn't as big of a loss as it could have been. Right-wing fartpipe Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) was held down to only 55% of the vote thanks to an unexpectedly strong challenger. While still a win for him, 55% is DeLay's lowest percentage ever. DeLay was so threatened by this challenge that he was forced to remain in his district instead of campaigning for weak Republicans elsewhere - contributing to the loss of some of those Republicans.
In a similar effort, ultraconservative bigot and zillionaire Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colorado) was held down to a mere 51%. National Republicans had to pump an extra $2,000,000 into this race - when that money could have gone to other races, some of which the Republicans probably ended up losing because of this. Another uproarious thing about this is that Musgrave was forced to spend $3,000,000 from her own bank account in a race that was previously considered safe. Ha ha!
Even locally there were some satisfying victories, but these were limited mostly to the region's urban core. Voters in Cincinnati had the good sense to finally reverse some of that decade-old social engineering bullshit that was cluttering the law books, so there's a good reason to laugh in Phil Burress's face right there.
Of course none of this may matter. With the system of checks and balances wiped out at the federal level, what are the odds the Bosh regime won't cancel the congressional elections if it looks like the Republicans will lose power? That they seriously considered canceling the presidential election (remember that?) should be a warning sign, but we're worried that if elections for anything other than President are called off, it will be one of these things we keep having to bring up for years afterward but everybody else seems to instantly forget. (Like when the court ruled against BBS members whose private e-mail was seized when the BBS they used got illegally raided. Or how Rick Lazio hated the guts of the poor so much that he got a law passed to require public housing residents to perform unpaid labor. Or how right-wing federal judges legislated from the bench by saying cities in California couldn't ban excessive bank fees. Or how the Swen virus targeted progressive e-mail lists.)
Would the Democrats still back down from a fight if the Republicans did something that sleazy? And, if the Republicans do attempt such a thing, don't say we haven't been warning you about something like this for years. Just like all those times before when we warned people about stuff, and they didn't listen, only to see it happen within a few years.
WHEN REPUBLICANS TRIED TO CANCEL THE ELECTION (A BLAST FROM THE PAST)
Here's a blast from the not-too-distant past that seems to have already been swept under the rug by Bosh's pals in the media.
A blast, but not a bunker blast. Although it does stink just as funkily.
Early in the summer, right-wing government officials had the unmitigated brazenness to announce plans for canceling the presidential and other elections, trotting out their fears of terrorism as a pretext for this proposal.
Of course canceling the election runs contrary to the Constitution, but hey, it's a dictatorship, so what did you expect? If they can seize Indymedia's servers for featuring dissenting views, can you really expect elections to be held in a timely fashion?
The ruling regime brags about being such great champions in the war against terrorism, yet they're so bullied by terrorism that they wanted to cancel the elections for it?
Of course we all know terrorism had nothing to do with the right-wing scam to call off the elections. The real reason they wanted to cancel them is they were afraid they might (gasp!) LOSE!!!
Terrorism that preceded elections in Spain helped expose the weaknesses of conservatives in fighting terrorism there - resulting in upset losses for conservatives in the Spanish elections. Was the Bosh regime scared that if terrorists struck America right before the election, then something similar would happen? Perhaps not. After all, they knew about 9/11 before it happened yet took no steps to prevent it.
If the election had been canceled, we would have loved to see a state hold an election anyway and - aw, what's the use? The media will never call it what it is.
LOOK OUT FOR THE BIG BOY TELLIN' YOU...EVERYTHING THEY'RE GONNA DO...
You know what?
We've been told our issues from the mid-'90s were the most hilarious in creation. Why that is, we don't know. We were just telling it like it was (with the occasional suggestion to incinerate a flavored chewing substance so it would assume a liquid state thrown in for good measure). And it was FUNNY?!
We remember that around that time things got real bad real fast, especially when Clinton started supporting right-wing ideas like school uniforms, so the quality of our work took a grave hit in '96, resulting in fewer mentions of one of our favorite targets of ridicule: Frisch's Big Boy restaurants.
I used to enjoy eating at Frisch's - up until I was about 6 or 7 when I got food poisoning from the fish there. Frisch's used to be quite a big deal in these parts, before its steep decline in later years. In some ways, you should be thankful for the very existence of Frisch's. Why, if not for Frisch's, The Last Word would have never been founded. So let's not be too hard on the ol' Big Boy. Some of the funny things we've said in our parody Frisch's jingles were never intended to be taken seriously, as I'm sure you know.
In the early '80s, when Frisch's was falling into disfavor, we still occasionally ate at the one in Fort Thomas, which became dogged by a foul scent. About a decade later, we ate at the one off Madison Pike in Fort Wright, and we were amused when a group of customers left without paying for their meal.
As we've mentioned many times, the decline of Frisch's was also when they used their now-infamous "badeedle-badeed" jingle in their TV commercials.
We used to have an occasional feature where we made fun of that jingle by applying song titles to stuff that - according to legend - was reportedly happening at Frisch's. We haven't had many chances for another installment of it since the ones where we started listing most of the #1 songs of the '90s, because around that time the usual crop of assholes was launching another round of trash talk about us on the Internet.
But if you liked that feature, today's your lucky day. Some recent song titles would seem to provide obvious fodder for this time-honored feech, but newer music ain't our thing anymore. We recall many hilarious Big Boy jingle spoofs from the olden days, most of which we've never published before. So we've compiled a mishmash of Frisch's jingles centered on this concept, using titles of songs by various performers. Now, a lot of these songs you probably haven't heard in years and have forgotten they ever existed. But that's part of the beauty of this article. It's a reminder of what once was. Here they come, folks:
Walk on water (badeedle-badeed) is what you have to do to get to the restroom at Frisch's Big Boy...because the toilets overflow!
Like a rock (badeedle-badeed) like the hamburger buns at Frisch's Big Boy...because they're stale!
What kind of man would I be? (badeedle-badeed) A dead one, if I eat at Frisch's Big Boy...because the food is poisonous!
Magic (badeedle-badeed) is what happens when you pay for your meal at Frisch's Big Boy...because all your money disappears!
Patience (badeedle-badeed) is what you need when you order your food at Frisch's Big Boy...because it takes 12 hours to receive it!
It would take a strong, strong man (badeedle-badeed) to open the ketchup bottles at Frisch's Big Boy...because they've let ketchup harden around the lid for 50 years!
We just disagree (badeedle-badeed) on how to destroy Frisch's Big Boy...because you think it should be firebombed, but I think it should just be bulldozed!
Stand back (badeedle-badeed) from the newspaper rack at Frisch's Big Boy...because it explodes!
Dangerous (badeedle-badeed) like the piranhas in the toilet at Frisch's Big Boy...that jump up and bite you on the ass!
There's a first time for everything (badeedle-badeed) so someday I'll actually get a decent meal at Frisch's Big Boy...because I haven't gotten one yet!
Stranded (badeedle-badeed) like the strands of mucus in your Coke at Frisch's Big Boy...because they blow their noses in it!
One of the living (badeedle-badeed) is what you won't be after eating at Frisch's Big Boy...because then you'll be one of the dead!
Love stinks (badeedle-badeed) like the parking lot at Frisch's Big Boy...because that's where they keep the slaughtered horses and humans for 3 years before making the hamburgers!
Our lips are sealed (badeedle-badeed) by the food at Frisch's Big Boy...because it contains glue!
Bluer than blue (badeedle-badeed) like the cheese on your burger at Frisch's Big Boy...because it's moldy!
Nasty (badeedle-badeed) like your salad at Frisch's Big Boy...because they put mouse droppings on it!
Don't stand so close to me (badeedle-badeed) after eating at Frisch's Big Boy...because I don't want to smell the fart gas!
Love bites (badeedle-badeed) like the monster under the table at Frisch's Big Boy...which carries communicable diseases!
Sign your name (badeedle-badeed) on the lawsuit against Frisch's Big Boy...for the syringe you found in your iced tea there!
Ghost town (badeedle-badeed) like any town that has a Frisch's Big Boy...because the food kills everyone!
Real, real, real (badeedle-badeed) unlike the lettuce on the salad bar at Frisch's Boy Boy...because it's actually plastic!
INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING: AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME?
Like it or not, instant runoff voting (IRV) may be an idea whose time has come.
Here's how it works, people: Suppose some really great third party candidate is running for, say, lieutenant governor or maybe President or perhaps Wibaux County, MT, sanitation commissioner. You love third parties as much as we do. But you just can't bring yourself to vote for them, because you know it's gonna siphon votes from the Democrats and risk another Repub-a-dub win. It's a real dilemma, because the Democrats these days can't seem to find a fight they won't back down from, but you'd much rather have them in power than some psychopathic Rethuglican. On the other hand, you can just as easily make the case that the Democrats are siphoning votes from your favorite third party.
Have no fear, the beer - oops, IRV is here! At least it ought to be.
Under IRV, if there's at least 3 candidates running, when you go to vote you rank the candidates in order of your choice. It's simple. You pick a first choice, a second choice, and so on and so on and Scooby-Dooby-Doo. If a candidate gets a majority of the first choice votes, they win, just like they would anyway. But if that doesn't happen, whichever candidate gets the fewest first choice votes is eliminated. Then the ballots get counted again, and voters who picked the eliminated candidate as their first choice will instead have their vote counted for their second choice. Now, if there were at least 4 candidates, and there's still no majority after this count, then - once again - whoever has the fewest votes gets eliminated, and yet another count takes place, this time counting the third choices of voters whose first two choices were eliminated. This process gets repeated until a candidate amasses over 50%.
In areas that have traditional runoffs, the runoff is usually a few weeks after the regular election. But with IRV, the runoff is effectively built into the regular election, and it's immediate. If your favorite candidate doesn't win, you effectively choose from remaining candidates by ranking them. It saves time and money.
This isn't rocket surgery, folks. I think that out of the top 7 candidates in the 2004 presidential "election", I know just how I'd rank 'em. (Did you know Leonard Peltier was running?)
It's just like going down to the gas station and buying a pack of bubble gum. Suppose you want the Yellin' Melon flavor, but the cashier threw up on the entire shipment, so you settle for grape instead. But the Fruit of the Loom guys were just in there and they purchased all the grape gum so there's none left. So you settle for the sardine flavor (thereby sharing your allegiances with Oscar the Grouch). On and on this process goes, even if you end up with the pack of stale Hubba Bubba that's been gathering dust on the shelf since 1980.
One of the big advantages of IRV is that third parties and independents can't become spoilers that end up accidentally ruining an election even worse than it already is. IRV might even encourage more third parties and independents to run.
This makes it harder for right-wing loudmouths to get elected with the support of only a minority of voters, because it prevents the opposition from being split. It could have prevented the disaster that defined the 2000 "election".
In a few rare cases IRV might produce a worse result, but it couldn't be much worse than the way things already are. Areas where this happens probably have problems so big we can't even get our hands around them anyway.
IRV isn't an idea we just came up with off the top of our heads. Australia uses IRV to elect legislators. Ireland employs it to elect a President. It's not completely unheard of even in America, as San Francisco uses it to choose a mayor. There's even a bill in Congress that would require IRV in federal elections.
Could IRV really be much worse than the way things are now?
MARTIAL LAW: IT'S WHAT BUSH CALLS FREEDOM
So much for a "free and democratic" Iraq!
In July, Iraq's interim government gave U.S.-installed dictator Ayad Allawi the authority to impose martial law anywhere he damn well pleases. That's Bush's idea of freedom. Under this law, the unelected Allawi can declare curfews, restrict free speech, bust up peaceful organizations that dare to disagree with him, ban nonviolent demonstrations, order innocents to be detained indefinitely without being charged with a crime, and more.
But, oh no, you can't call it dictatorship. Like in Orwell's 1984, you have to call it what they say it is. Fuck that. We're calling it a dictatorship anyway. Allawi wanted even broader authority, but they wouldn't give it to him.
The grimacing nationalism and lying of the Bush regime helped create this crisis, and the wartime propaganda of America's spineless media has helped prevent it from being called what it is. We mustn't forget, however, that the actions of the interim government in Iraq really just expand on Paul Bremer's actions, like when he barked down 97 legal orders that he referred to as "binding instructions or directives to the Iraqi people."
If you're an American, think how sore you'd be if you're just minding your own business when one day the Iraqi military just decides to roll its tanks into town. And then some Iraqi government employee sets up an office in your city and writes up all these orders and tells you they're "binding instructions or directives to the American people." You wouldn't exactly pay heed to them, would you?
By the way, if the new government of Iraq wants to make sure oil revenues stay in Iraq instead of going to American corporations, it can't. It's prohibited by contract. Pretty silly, if you ask us.
With Allawi empowered to declare martial law, you know what he's done now? Why, he's declared martial law. Of course. As part of his martial law, Baghdad and many other cities were placed under a rigidly enforced curfew.
Yes, we know all the excuses that are trotted out each time something like this happens. We always hear the lie about how innocent people have nothing to worry about. What bullshit that is! Martial law is - well, martial law. You can't say there's a free Iraq, when martial law is robbing the public of every right they're supposed to have under international human rights standards.
Meanwhile, U.S. forces have banned aid organizations from villages where people have to drink dirty water and eat flour just to survive.
Fuck this shit! We're sick of having to point out things that should be obvious just because the "mainstream" media won't do its job.
LIVING RED AND VOTING BLUE
These days, people expect the news media to provide simple stories with simple explanations, and it's always easy to just take a map and a box of crayons from Pizza Hut and color the states red or blue depending on which presidential candidate won there. (Well, it's not so easy if the map has huge gobs of food and soda all over it, like those paper things at restaurants always do, but you get the idea.)
But it's really not that simple. When you talk about political liberals - or even conservatives - you can't always talk about them as a group, because there's often a lot of variation among people who, broadly speaking, share similar political views. Today, American liberalism is increasingly linked by the media with sophisticates in large urban areas. But this perception is far from the truth.
When you break that state map down to the county level, the idea of a right-wing heartland quickly falls to rack and ruin. We immediately discover that John Kerry won counties that subscribers to the Republican heartland myth would never expect him to win.
It's hard to imagine some of these rural counties as socially liberal. Compared to a university town or the core of a large city, such places wouldn't be on the cultural left. Rural America is generally more liberal than the newest suburbs of most metropolitan areas - but ANYTHING is more liberal than the new suburbs. Nonetheless, Kerry won countless rural counties, even in the South, Midwest, and Southwest. In most of these places, economic issues trump everything else - and it's easy for us to see how this happens.
Economics is a good predictor of political allegiances. And it isn't the well-to-do who tend to be Kerry supporters. Rather, Democratic support comes more from the least wealthy members of the voting public. The least affluent voters are generally nonsuburban - most are in either central cities or rural counties.
Moreover, there isn't much logic to the idea that economic liberals reflexively become social conservatives. To prove our point, one of these days we'll show you an interesting result from the recent exit polls about how high-income voters are more likely to support a socially conservative cause.
In other words, it's quite possible for a county to be culturally "red" but politically "blue". Supporters of more liberal candidates are a diverse bunch: urban and rural, male and female, every ethnicity, every age group, and so on. They might not agree with each other on every issue, but they form a broad coalition built on common ground.
You can't rely on just your red and blue markers. You need a whole rainbow of shades in-between and a map broken down at least to the county level. We've made one of Kentucky that attempts to break down which areas are (at the present time) liberal or conservative on which types of issues. Now, we've used only 2 variables from the recent "election": votes for a candidate, and votes for an issue. That's about the best information we have right now:
Don't let the bright orange areas fool you, because orange would be fairly uncommon in other states. Even in Kentucky a majority of counties fall pretty close to the yellow-to-olive horizontal axis.
We know how demagoguery by the Far Right can distort public opinion, causing the public's grievances to misfire against false targets - but when things settle down a bit, people find a common cause against the evils of capitalism. Lately we've become utterly peeved at conservatives placing their social engineering referendumbs on the ballot to increase turnout for socially and economically right-wing candidates. Economic populists like us usually see what a cheap trick stuff like this is.
Know some places Bosh won? He won 22 of the 32 suburban counties in the 3 biggest metropolitan areas in America - the places with the country's highest incomes.
Suburbia is where souls rot. It's not the rural areas, but rather the outer edge of suburbia where we've usually encountered the ranting, pathological hatemongers of political discourse.
Aren't you tired of so-called elections in which ONE suburban county accounts for a Republican's entire margin of victory? It appears likely that the Democrats have won the nonsuburban vote in every presidential election of the past 28 years with the only exception being 1984.
In a country where most people are part of the urban and rural working class, elections are decided in rich suburbs. For most of the American public, the new suburbs are about as familiar as, say, Mars is. Rural areas can be fun and edgy because of their economic liberalism - but suburbia is a world of conservatism and conformity. Voters in the newest suburbs vote as a right-wing bloc, and the youngest residents of these new suburbs are inculcated with rigid groupthink in which their lives are regimented to the last detail. They will never know freedom.
Rich suburbs are encroaching on your rural county. Think of how this will affect county elections - and the physical environment. Go to your zoning boards to keep this type of development out. Stay on their case until they get the message.
CONTRACT WITH RAILROADS
Wanna know something that's awfully Newty?
The right-wing Contract With America, despite being hailed as a mainstay of states' rights and local autonomy, nibbles away at the autonomy of Covington - yes, the city of Covington, KY, site of many illustrious events in the history of this fine publication - in the city's dispute with CSX Transportation regarding the railroad's dangerous bridge at 15th & Wheeler.
Since the railroad has not painted its bridge in over 30 years, it's become a rusty death trap. Back in 2002, state inspectors found the bridge had already deteriorated so much that ballast from the bridge rail might fall onto passersby and that all of the drainage pipes were in ruins. Some call the bridge an eyesore - but it's really worse than that, because it's unsafe. The dangers posed by this bridge have prompted numerous complaints from residents.
So the city of Covington, KY, decided to act. The city of Covington, KY, cited CSX under its nuisance ordinance and attempted to collect a $5,000 fine from the railroad. CSX responded that it doesn't have the resources to fix bridges that aren't truly dangerous and cited a Federal Railroad Administration letter saying this bridge wasn't unsafe after all.
Um, yeah. That's not what the state said.
CSX then trotted out its big bullying stick: Seems something called the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 prohibits the city of Covington, KY, from doing a damn thing about any railroad that violates local ordinances.
The Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act - it's one of these Orwellian things the 104th Reich did that was truly an answer in search of a question. It's much like the misnamed Paperwork Reduction Act - also of 1995 (surprise, surprise) - that shoves MORE paperwork onto people who receive disability benefits and doctors who treat them.
Just as the Contract With America created more paperwork while claiming to do the opposite, it also infringed on local autonomy while claiming to do the opposite.
We think the city of Covington, KY, ought to just go right ahead and go after CSX anyway. We've never viewed the federal government after 1994 as anything more than a gag government anyway, because the Republicans would never have gained control of Congress without the widespread election fraud that occurred.
Courts have already ruled in CSX's favor in other cities that have tried to take action against it like this, allowing the bogus federal law to run roughshod over local authority. However, this shouldn't stop the city of Covington, KY, and if the federal government says no, then the city of Covington, KY, should tell them where to stick it.
In a similar case, Seattle fined Burlington Northern repeatedly for violating an ordinance that prohibits trains from blocking streets by coupling or uncoupling for over 4 minutes at a time. Again, the courts permitted Congress's ICCTA to trample the city's rights.
It's also worth noting that the chairman of CSX quit in 2002 to become the Bush regime's Secretary of the Treasury.
The CSX line that includes the perilous bridge in the city of Covington, KY, is the same line - or at least merges with the line - that has trains constantly blowing their whistles at 4 AM down by our office.
City officials now want a national effort to repeal ICCTA. We think Congress ought to go a step further and require a review - taking no longer than 100 days - of all laws it passed in 1995-96 (except ones that have expired or are now repealed), in which these laws would have to be voted on again.
RIGHTISTS CENSOR LINCOLN MEMORIAL FILM
Conservatives aren't satisfied with rigging an election, so now they've demanded that America's parks and monuments - which are supposed to belong to "we, the people" - tell things only the way conservatives want them told.
The Lincoln Memorial has for years shown a short film to visitors that talks about all the stuff that's taken place there, like civil rights marches and appearances by foreign dignitaries. But telling it like it is steams Rev. Lou Sheldon to no end. Sheldon heads the right-wing Traditional Values Coalition, and when he or one of his followers happened to see the film - because conservatives like to look for stuff that offends them in public places - he flew into a ululating skizzum. The shit hit the fan when he did!
Sheldon's organization promptly complained to the government and demanded that they censor the movie so that it tells things the way he wants. He was quoted in an ABC story as saying he wanted the government to review the film and "cleanse in a proper manner."
So the Bush regime placed pressure on the National Park Service to screen the movie and edit it to conservatives' liking.
Is that poologgy or what?!
That's called rewriting history. And censorship. And we don't mean something like changing the word "fuckface" to "poopyhead" in an issue of The Last Word the day after printing the first copies.
IDIOTS THINK FCC REGULATES NEWSPAPERS
While we're on the topic of conservative wingnuts censoring those who don't report things their way, now they're circulating a petition to have the FCC investigate the New York Times over its factual reporting regarding missing explosives in Iraq, because the story was later picked up by TV news outlets.
According to these self-styled guardians of journalistic fairness, reporting of this story cost Bosh 2 to 3% of his votes.
Would you like some caviar with that whine?
Never mind the fact that the FCC doesn't regulate newspapers.
If Disgeorge lost votes, it was because the Times reported the story accurately. Sometimes the truth must be reported - and usually the truth ain't helpful to the Grand Old Potty.
The petition also demands that the networks be investigated for using "distorted" exit poll numbers. We'd hate to burst their bubble with a sharp, muddy twig while it expands to head size, but the same exit polling techniques are used in other countries to gauge how honest their elections are. The exit polls showed Kerry really won Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, and Ohio. But "officially" he lost all those states.
What does that tell ya?
Does it prove the Republicans engaged in fraud? Not in the minds of the right-wing galoots, who think it instead "proves" the exit polls are faulty, and that anyone who dares to base their observations on the exit polls is intentionally rigging the election, even though the networks all reported the same findings.
In 1969 the FCC ruled that "rigging or slanting the news is a most heinous act against the public interest." Right-wing grievances against the networks and the New York Times are based on this premise. For years, however, we've caught broadcast media outlets with their underpants down around their ankles slanting their news coverage to the right, but nobody dares to complain to the FCC about the stations in these instances acting against the public interest. Maybe it's time we start.
CONGRESS REVIVES NATIONAL ID BULLSHIT
Here's an example of the type of stupid, idiotic right-wing nonsense on the domestic front we've been trying to stave off for years now.
Recently we read that Congress is in the midst of establishing rules for a national ID card, by allowing the Secretary of Homeland Security to dictate what information states would have to include on driver's licenses and other IDs - which would possibly include fingerprints or eye prints. Furthermore, the Homeland Security Secretary would also be able to force states to require the IDs for all sorts of activities, even riding a city bus.
The Senate approved this crapola unanimously, believe it or not. A House version of this Republican plan would force states to keep all the data on the license in a database linked among the states.
Sounds like the so-called "states' rights" Congress is at it again!
Reading us online? Click on these words to go up to our index!
(Copywrong 2004. Online edition created with Internet Exploder 6.)
* * *