the last word(tm)
Vol. 14/No. 3 - 417th issue - June 9, 2005
ANOTHER GREAT "DEMOCRATIC" ALLY!
Under fascist Republican rule in recent decades, the good ol' U.S. of A. has always had such reliable "democratic" allies as Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Kuwait, South Africa in the apartheid era, and Saddam's Iraq up to 1990. In early 2001, the Bush regime even gave Afghanistan's Taliban a gift of $43,000,000 in the name of fighting the War on Drugs.
Seriously, conservatives called those democracies. They weren't democratic, of course.
Now there's another one: Uzbekistan.
Bush (liar that he is) has allied the U.S. with Uzbekistan is the so-called "war" on "terror". Recently, when the Uzbek government violently killed hundreds at a protest against poverty, the Bush regime tried to excuse the government's actions. The White House's statement was crap, of course, as is almost every other word that comes out of GeeDumbya's shit-caked little mouth. Later, Islamic militants seized a nearby town, which was able to happen largely because the government wouldn't address the public's social and economic conditions.
In 2002 the government of Uzbekistan killed a political prisoner by boiling him alive. When the man's 63-year-old mother dared to complain about the brutal killing, she was sentenced to 6 years in a maximum security hard labor prison. The judge claimed she was spreading extremist propaganda, but this accusation has been falsely used against people there before.
A U.S. State Department report in 2001 said police in Uzbekistan often tortured prisoners by beating them with blunt instruments and asphyxiating them with gas masks. International human rights organizations said jails in this former Soviet republic tortured inmates by administering electric shock to their genitals and ripping out their fingernails with pliers. Nonetheless, Bush ignored these warnings by giving Uzbekistan $500,000,000 of your money, supposedly for border control and other security.
Now it looks like the CIA - when it's not busy sabotaging zines or overthrowing democratic foreign governments - is sending terrorist suspects to Uzbekistan to be tortured. Suspects, not convicts. Those who are tortured have not been proven to be terrorists. The CIA sends them overseas so they can claim American laws aren't being violated, because the torture takes place outside the U.S. They're wrong about this, because American laws apply to American agencies even overseas, but they don't give a shit. They're the CIA, so they can lie. And what's a terrorist suspect these days anyway? According to the BushAmerica government, a terrorist isn't always someone who blows up planes and buildings, but someone who listens to "dirty" music or removes the embedded transmitter from their driver's license.
The Bush thugocracy calls its actions "exporting democracy". America is the "democracy" that completely ignored the popular vote in the 2000 presidential election and allowed the Supreme Court to install a so-called President. This is the "democracy" that banned a movie because it showed someone cutting off some guy's mullet. This is the "democracy" where the government tells magazines not to report things in a factual manner because that's "treason" or "promoting drug use".
Don't be surprised if you start seeing the phrase "O.D.A. alert" a lot in our pages. The initials stand for "Our 'Democratic' Allies". The term will be used to preface stories in which the government of a country deemed friendly to the U.S. oppresses its own people.
LIBRARY CLOSES BOOK ON PRIVACY BY FINGERPRINTING PATRONS
They say America's not Nazi, but the creeping fascism in the nation's libraries should kerpow that claim to rest.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Naperville (IL) Public LIEbrary System has gone zoom-kook-a-loon by requiring patrons who use the computers there to be fingerprinted.
Is that skeezewockerly or what?!
Libraries have existed for hundreds of years without fingerprinting. I think libraries can get by without fingerprinting people, don't you?
The libe spent over $40,000 on this shit - when that money could have been used buying (gasp!) books instead.
Even George Orwell couldn't have conceived of such tyranny.
To paraphrase a comment we saw on one of our favorite message forums, the last fucking place you expect liberty to be restricted is the fucking LIBRARY OF ALL PLACES!!! I'm sure some "small government" conservative has got to be raising holy high fuck about this, right?
What??? They're not???
What about the "small government" platform conservatives are always running on? You mean that was just a big lie? Damn, I was starting to think I was crazy for thinking they were full of shit when they said that!
The library says it has implemented fingerprinting because they want to make sure people using the computers are who they say. Who the fuck cares? It used to be that you didn't have to say you were anyone. I worked for a library for years, and we didn't ID patrons at the door.
If they want a fucking fingerprint, here's one for them:
Libraries are at the forefront of America's recent struggles for freedom, especially as authorities invoke the Patriot Act to spy on patrons. Last year, an FBI agent descended upon a library in Deming, WA, and demanded to see a list of people who had checked out a biography of Osama bin Laden. The library exercised its local autonomy and gallantly refused to comply.
The library was told by the FBI that someone had written a threat against the U.S. inside a copy of the book, but as far as we can tell, there's no evidence that the book had been damaged like this. In fact, the words of this alleged threat were almost exactly the same as a statement bin Laden made way back in 1998, which is more evidence that the FBI was probably full of shit.
But the FBI just couldn't be wrong, so it went through the trouble of fighting the library tooth and nail, serving a subpoena against the library to force it to provide a list of people who borrowed the tome. The library fought back until the subpoena was withdrawn.
The whole epsiode was a cheap intimidation tactic by the government. They thought nobody would raise a stink if they asked for information on who borrowed books about bin Laden, and that this could start them on a slippery slope to find out who read books about other topics. This time it didn't work. But under the Idiot Act the FBI can now request library or bookstore records through a secret court without having to give any reason. Librarians aren't even allowed to disclose that they've been ordered to hand over the records! (Ooh, an Allowed Cloud!)
Save me from tomorrow. I don't want to sail with this ship of fools.
FASCISM CONTINUES, BUT ACLU PROVIDES HOPE
Here in Kentucky, the ACLU is providing a glimmer of hope for those who fear they're being monitored by the FBI.
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, things have gotten mighty fascist. It seems that a Methodist pastor in Eastern Kentucky is being spied on by the FBI, all because he ordered a few copies of the Qu'ran and other books about Islam for his church's comparative study of religions. He discovered he was the subject of an FBI file - even though he's never been charged with a crime - when Canadian border agents questioned him and his wife on a trip.
Now the ACLU has made freedom of information requests on behalf of several Kentucky residents who suspect they're being watched by the FBI. The ACLU contends that the FBI is wrongly withholding records that prove antiwar activists are being watched. One peace activist claims that while she was working on her computer, a pop-up box suddenly appeared that showed personal information about 2 trips she had taken.
Dissenters' suspicions aren't unfounded. The county sheriff's department in Fresno, CA - the city where Freak Rethuglic is based - was caught with its underpants down around its ankles spying on an antiwar organization there. An officer with the department who infiltrated the group was killed in a motorcycle accident, and when his picture appeared in the paper identifying him as an officer "assigned to the anti-terrorist team", members of the peace group saw it, and the sheriff's department's cover was blown. This officer had also been spotted on a bus used by activists protesting a WTO conference. Also in Fresno, local police conspired with the FBI in the '80s to infiltrate and harass a group that supported ending U.S. intervention in Central America. No illegal activities by this group were ever found, even though undercover cops kept encouraging members to break the law just so there'd be an excuse to arrest them.
In addition, the Fresno Police Department joined up with campus cops at California State University of Fresno to infiltrate an anti-sweatshop group and read its private e-mail. Lies by one dishonest officer led to the police arresting a group of peaceful demonstrators at a mall. The popo had no case, so all the charges against the protestors had to be dismissed.
Police infiltrated Fresno groups despite the fact that the California Attorney General ordered them not to.
The beezlymouth shit continues in Fresno, as corrupt law enforcement agencies continue to hold the Attorney General in contempt. Why, just recently, undercover cops secretly attended a student lecture at CSUF. The ACLU notes that this secret surveillance violates state law. (Naturally, the freedom-hating Free Republic politburo demanded that the ACLU be charged under the RICO law for daring to assist the victims of this harassment, which is exactly the sort of idiotic idea they come up with all the time on Free Republic.)
On and on the garbage goes on. Law-abiding citizens can't even trust law enforcement anymore, so who can really be trusted?
If police in Fresno want to investigate someone, they should start with Free Republic, whose users have openly advocated assassinating Democratic politicians.
LANYARD NOOSE LOOSENS IN BOONE COUNTY
Yes! We've just scored an all-too-rare victory for the forces of good!
For the past few years, Boone County High School - by order of its unelected S&M, oops, SBDM council - had forced students to wear ID tags on lanyards around their necks like a noose. The school treated pupils like sardines or stackable potato chips in a canister. Get with the program, march in lockstep, and don't complain, said the school.
The school got to be so Nazi that students were sent to in-school suspension after only 2 violations.
Fortunately, however, not everyone had their spirits crushed by the school. In an O.D.A. (see our top article) they'd probably comply without question - and some did, as this is BushAmerica, after all. But some stood up against the school and ignored the rule. As a result, the school looked incredibly idiotic trying to enforce it.
Even more fortunately, younger students were more likely than older students to disobey the school's groupthink. This indicates a trend back towards freedom of opinion.
Because of the hurdles involved with muscling compliance out of everyone, the S&M council (as we call it) had no choice but to abolish the mandatory lanyards.
Persistence pays off. Hopefully other young people will learn from this, and will similarly ignore such oppressive policies at their own schools.
TIME TO ZAP ADS IN THEATERS
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and you're taking your significant other to the local cinema to catch the latest hyped blockbuster.
You plop down on the gum-coated chair, the lights dim, and the projector starts rolling. But then your heart sinks, because instead of starting the movie - or even a preview or that intro they always show that has the dancing box of popcorn or the Humphrey Bogart look-alike saying, "No smoking, swee'poo" - you're instead confronted with someone singing, "You've got the right one, baby!" or, "I'm lovin' it!"
Corporate America has turned the nation into one big commercial, and I don't like it one bit. In the past few years, theaters have beginned showing commercials for various products at the start of movies. The film industry got along fine without such an annoyance for 100 years, so it's not like they really need to show commercials in theaters.
It's as aggravating as a canker sore.
If you want to see commercials so badly, you can just watch them on TV for free in the comfort of your living room, instead of spending $15 (per person) to watch them in a theater where people are wheezing and stinking.
But in a few states, they're doing something about this shit. In Michigan, Democratic State Sen. Gilda Jacobs has introduced a bill that would require theaters to post the real start times of movies - in addition to the times the ads start - so people know when to show up to avoid suffering through 25 minutes of irritating commercials. A similar bill in Illinois by Democratic State Rep. Jack Franks would have amended the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act to do the same. A class action lawsuit has also been filed over commercials in theaters.
Naturally the thought police over at Pee Rethuglic doesn't like these bills, but that's just tough.
Hey. Look. If you're gonna show ads in a theater, at least lower the fucking ticket prices to what they used to be.
The bills ought to pass. But you know what theaters are gonna probably do to get around it, don't you? I wouldn't be surprised if they start putting commercials in the middle of the movie. Oh well. We were gonna say that would be a dandy time to get up and clog the toilets with empty Junior Mints boxes, but we don't want to be netkkkopped by those who think it's their right to decide what we should be allowed to say.
AN EXAMPLE OF THE CONSERVATIVES' "CULTURE OF LIFE"
Of all the evil damn things for the government to do, this is just about as low as it gets.
Indiana almost executed a man before it could be determined whether or not he was a suitable liver donor for his sister, who was only 48 and needed a liver transplant just to live. If the execution was delayed it may have provided more time to resolve medical issues about the procedure, but the Indiana Parole Board said to go ahead with the execution anyway.
If it had turned out that the prisoner's liver was a good match, but he wasn't able to donate it because the execution was too soon, the parole board would in effect be condemning his sister to death - even though she is completely innocent.
To put it in simpler terms, the Indiana Parole Board - under right-wing Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels - ordered the execution to be carried out, even though it appeared that delaying it might have saved an innocent person's life. Why was the execution ordered when it was? So Daniels could brag about being "tough on crime". Nothing more, nothing less. We're mighty sure of that, because that's how these conservative types operate these days.
Causing a prisoner's innocent family member to die, just because it seems politically expedient, is a downright horrid thing for a government to do. It's simply wrong. This just shows the Daniels administration's warped ethics.
Is this that "culture of life" conservatives keep talking about? Strange how right-wing liars can redefine a phrase to give it the exact opposite of its real meaning. It's just like Orwell's 1984.
How can the Daniels regime be so cocksure that causing the death of a condemned man's innocent relative would be such a wise political move? Easy. These days, every right-wing talking point is amplified zillionfold by talk-shit radio and other corporate media until just enough people are programmed to believe it. They'll argue that the supposed need for the death penalty takes priority over saving the life of an innocent relative of a convicted criminal, as if causing an unguilty person to die will deter other potential lawbreakers. As usual, their argument is bullshit - just like when they advocated shooting down planes full of vacationers just to stop one or two drug dealers.
While we're at it, we could write about Disaster Daniels's support of school paddling and a year-round school calendar, or his recent signing of a Freak Repuglic-inspired bill designed to make prayer mandatory in public schools, but he's such a tremendous fuckup of a governor that we'll probably get a chance to expose something else idiotic he does sooner or later.
FALSE IMPRISONMENT ABUSES CONTINUE
We couldn't believe it either. Twelve years ago, in the first year of The Last Word, we were shocked to find that in most of America almost anyone, even an adult, could be institutionalized just because almost anyone else - even a total stranger - wanted it so.
This actually happened to people. And it continues to happen. (Of course. Does anything ever improve anymore?) It's almost automatic if you're a minor, because BushAmerica is run by child haters (so the statements of adults who lie trump those of minors who tell the truth), but no adult dissident is safe either.
Kentucky has been one of the worst offenders. So many people were ordered to be institutionalized that psychiatric facilities didn't have room for them and they ended up being sent to county jails. Despite this, a lot of asshats in high places thought it was still too hard to get someone locked up in Kentucky.
It isn't just the Bluegrass State where this fascism is out of control. Recently a 62-year-old woman filed a lawsuit against the city of Cincinnati, 2 cops, University Hospital, and a shrink, claiming they illegally conspired to detain her at a psychiatric ward for 9 days without a trial. She was held there because she got into a verbal argument with a relative. There's no evidence that she did anything violent or dangerous.
The ease with which people can abuse the involuntary commitment process - with complicity from the government, which uses the system to lock up dissidents - would be kind of sadly comical if wasn't such a serious matter. These days, the sanest people are the most likely to be locked up - while people like this are out walking the streets:
Don't go looking for your favorite school bullies at the CPH gulag either, except when it decides to bring one in about once a year to harass everyone else.
We think reform of the involuntary commitment system is long overdue, and has been for years. In addition to requiring a court hearing before all such confinements, we have to make it so the burden doesn't fall on potential confinees to prove their own sanity. As in the old Soviet Union, the United States uses psychiatric facilities to detain political opponents. This is a fact, and anyone who denies it has no clue what they're talking about. We can't continue to allow the government or individuals to have folks locked up at the snap of a finger.
In both government and Corporate America, they've been coming up with bad ideas so fast we can't even write about 'em, and it's starting to stink up the place. So let's stick our arm in the bowl and unclog the pipes by shoving some of the poopy that's been piling up through the drain...
§ Homeschooling isn't just for conservatives. I know the HSLDA thinks it is, which is why they take right-wing positions on bills that have nothing to do with homeschooling, but that's another matter entirely.
Kentucky doesn't have a school system. Sure, it has something people call a school system, but I think it's more like a slaughterhouse system. (Read my book The Fight That Never Ends.) Homeschooling is a realistic alternative for Kentucky progressives. Anyway, there's been a bill in the Kentucky legislature that would revoke the driver's licenses of teenagers who are homeschooled after leaving a public or private school where they were considered "academically deficient" - even if they're no longer "academically deficient" while being homeschooled.
Hasn't it dawned on legislators yet that not everything is the fault of students? If a student flunks out of a public or private school but passes with flying colors at a homeschool, ever think that maybe the problem lies not with the student but with the school where they failed? Funny. Look at all the problems I had at some schools, yet I had not a speck of trouble at other schools. The problem couldn't possibly be that the schools where I had all that trouble were, uh, shitty perhaps?
Nah. Couldn't be. We all know that no authority figure is ever, ever wrong. (That's sarcasm, people.)
There's still no law to revoke the licenses of teenage bullies - who cause their victims to flunk out!
§ MTV has sucked 77 flavors of horse's ass for dang near 15 years now, and the latest bit of beedledickery just proves it.
Nine Inch Nails is widely considered to be hip, cool, and totally fi. Even ol' Tantrum 95.7 played some of their music (back before the Fascist Communications Commission shut it down). The band had been planning to perform their latest smash hit "The Hand That Feeds" on MTV's Movie Awards show in front of a picture of ol' GeeDumbya. According to the Los Angeles Times, the song is "a warning against blind acceptance of authority, including that of a president [sic] leading his nation to war." The Bush backdrop was designed to go with the message of the song.
But MTV decided to be an Allowed Cloud and told the band they couldn't use this backdrop because it was a political statement against dictator Bush. So Nine Inch Nails canceled plans to appear. The band's leader Trent Reznor said on a website, "Apparently, the image of our president [sic] is as offensive to MTV as it is to me."
I'm sure you all know that if a band had used a pro-war or pro-Bush backdrop, it would have been allowed. Let's not kid ourselves here. Suppose a conservative band had decided to bop out onto the stage wearing "BUSH IN '08" shirts and shooting off cannons. Imagine the outcry that would emerge in the blogosphere and on talk-shit radio if MTV nixed it for being a partisan statement.
§ In Oakland City, IN, police forced environmentalists who oppose a planned route for the extension of Interstate 69 to remove a display table from a public hearing, all because of a new Indiana Department of Transportation policy that prohibits dissenters from posting such displays. In other words, Mitch Daniels - the Republican governor strikes again - disagrees with the environmental activists, so he's not letting them set up a table.
Gee, Disaster Daniels, you've really amassed a lot of idiocy in just a few short months as governor, y'know?
§ Finally some good news: The Treason Lobby has suffered a devastating blow in New York City.
The Treason Lobby is our name for those who support a fascist new policy while claiming (falsely) that it will deter terrorism. Terrorists hate freedom. By supporting chipping away our precious constitutional and natural liberties, the Treason Lobby lets the terrorists win. These right-wing fucks hate America every bit as much as Osama bin Laden does.
There are few things I would enjoy more than working at the DMV and changing the last names of these traitors to Treasonface. Just to humiliate them.
Anyway, someone in New York named Treasonface got the idiotic idea that photography and videotaping should be banned on the city's subway system, claiming such an ordinance would stop terrorism.
Real brilliant, fuckhead. You think letting the terrorists win will stop them? Of course the Treason Lobby doesn't actually think that. It's just an excuse to ban something. The more they ban the small things, the easier it will be to ban the big things.
But let's assume for the sake of argument they actually believe their own lies. We've all seen what happens when you try to appease extremists. We remember, for example, when the Democrats caved to what right-wing Republicans demanded in the Contract With America. Look where it's gotten them. It's like with the assholes at Bro$$art: They got appeased by being ignored, and are things really better off because of it?
Well, a year after it was proposed, officials in New York City have scrapped their plan to ban taking pictures on the subway system. Good.
But the Treason Lobby still flourishes elsewhere in America, as unguilty amateur photographers are harassed more and more by zealous authorities. In Seattle, a photography student who was innocently taking a picture of a rail bridge was confronted by a police officer armed with a dog and ordered to show his ID. He asked if he was legally required to show his ID, and the officer said no and sauntered away. But then a group of heavily armed Homeland Security and city police officers appeared and interrogated him heavily. They told him he was breaking the law by photographing the bridge, but the ACLU later found that no such law exists. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which runs the locks at the bridge, also said photography is perfectly legal there. That's the idea of a free country, after all.
Donald Winslow, who is editor of the National Press Photographers Association's magazine told the media, "We've seen the constant erosion of our civil liberties amid this cry for homeland security by doing things that have an appearance of making us safe, but in reality it's a sham."
This entry turned out to be more than a "tidbit", didn't it?
SHIP OF FOOLS
Save us from tomorrow - by saving us from the ship of fools comprised of entries on the new Conservative Fool Of The day blog!
Every weekday (holidays and vacations excepted), this blog features an entry about one (1) right-wing fool. Some are funny, some are tragic, and some are downright maddening - but they all have one thing in common, and that is that they're conservative fools. This blog is another joint project we have with our friends, and we've been proud to contribute some important information to it.
So don't DeLay, oops, delay reading about the latest right-wing fuckups here:
For those unfamiliar with Blog-City, check out these pages to read the fools for April and May. Click on each fool's name for a detailed entry:
Or if you're really in a brave mood, start with our first entry (we have to publicize as many individual entries as possible, because search engines are censoring us by refusing to add anything from this site):
RIGHT-WING THUG GETS PAROLED
Conservatives are tough on crime. Just ask them. They'll tell you just how tough they are. And when they tell you something, you know it's true. How do we know? Because they say so.
Why, they're so tough on crime that they don't shed a tear when someone gets life in prison for stealing a slice of pizza that costs a dollar. And what do conservatives think about homeless people "trespassing" on city property by camping out under a highway bridge? Someone like you and me would feel sympathy for the homeless - but conservatives don't let human feelings get in the way of their frenzied desire for law and order. You see, conservatives are lean and mean, and most conservative-run cities will gladly blow the dust off the old law books to sweep out of sight those less fortunate than they are.
Conservatives are so tough on crime, in fact, that they even let one of their own out of the clink early so the prison system can hold more vagrants, petty shoplifters, and radio pirates.
A few days ago we were shocked to discover that one of our Enemies List inductees - someone I battled with personally in my youth - received a Get Out Of Jail Free card from His Republican friends on the Kentucky parole board. This shouldn't have been much of a surprise, however, considering Ernie "Hey Bert" Fletcher's corruption scandals and the way local authorities have long been pampering the assholes.
Here's the deal: When the judge said 6 years, the judge meant 6 years - not 4. Even someone like our favorite paroled convict, who was only in 6th grade when He turned 15, should know that 4 and 6 are different numbers.
Yes, it's that guy. If you went to Cline around 1984 you might know Him. As you'll recall, I had gone to grade school with Him earlier, and He's the one who started talking shit about me at school.
Seeing Him released from prison because of His own clout brings back foul memories of how He was always teacher's pet at school, despite flunking several grades. They let Him get away with everything. He could start shit with you, and if you so much as looked at Him cockeyed, guess who got in trouble?
What ever happened to truth in sentencing that conservatives were always talking about? Oh, I forgot. Rules don't apply to their friends. It reminds me so much of the episode of "The Simpsons" where a Rush Limbaugh-type talk-shit host rants about "liberals" being soft on crime, then launches an effort to free Sideshow Bob from prison.
Violent thugs get paroled - but the pain suffered by their victims lasts a lifetime. In 1988, which was 4 years after I was in 6th grade when the fascism started, I didn't have political cronies to parole me from school.
I've signed up on VINELink to receive alerts if this man's parole status changes, but whether His status changes is the only information given by VINELink. I'd feel much safer if I was able to get His street address - but they won't provide that. Unlike most people, right-wing criminals have "rights". Call me crazy, but I think that if you violate somebody as I was victimized on a serial basis, you forfeit all but the most very basic rights.
We'd like to see victims notified not only of changes in parole status but also the parolee's street address. We'd also like to see a law to hold parole board members legally responsible if a paroled convict commits more crimes (an idea conservatives have opposed for years).
I think we can pretty much lay to rest the false notion that modern conservatism is hard on serious crime.
CONSERVATIVES AFRAID OF YELLOW STOP SIGNS
As we've documented before, conservatives seem to be afraid of everything: balloons, almanacs, spray paint, nail clippers, firecrackers, Kool-Aid, the Dixie Chicks, cold medicine, bubble gum, Cookie Monster, books, and so on.
So we'd have to assume they're afraid of yellow stop signs too. Why wouldn't they be, considering their everything-phobia?
I can imagine what they do on their vacation days (i.e., most days) when they take their hulking gas guzzlers for a spin. Off in the distance they see that lemon yellow octagon getting closer. "It can't be," they think to themselves. As the yellow paint on the galvanized steel sign (and occasionally the round reflectors on the word "STOP") starts glowing in their high beams, they start to panic. They realize they're being stared down by a historic relic whose existence they've long wanted to deny.
They can't face their sworn enemy - the yellow stop sign - so they cover their face with their hands or duck down under the steering wheel to play with their He-Man action figures that they keep under the seat for times like this.
Most people haven't seen many yellow stop signs since the '60s or '70s, an era conservatives hate because of its political advances. Maybe these historic traffic control devices remind conservatives too much of the crumbling of their conservative world and not being allowed to oppress people anymore.
You know we're not being serious about the assumption that conservatives fear vintage traffic signage - but the more you think it about it, the more likely such a statement seems, considering how they appear to be afraid of so many other things, judging by the fact they ban them or harass people who possess them. The only reason we're writing about this is because we promised that if we saw a yellow stop sign being used ever again, we would mention it here.
The last known yellow stop sign in use in Northern Kentucky may have been found: If you go northwest on Lowell Street in Newport, Lowell itself ends at 9th - but there's this lot with a gate if you continue straight ahead. As of late March, the gate has a red stop sign, and the building to the right of it has an old, rusted yellow stop sign. Although it seems to be have once been posted in Hamilton County, judging by a logo on the sign, the sign now appears to be placed by the building's owner. Unlike the other yellow stop sign we saw in that lumberyard in Covington a few years back, this one appears to be intended for regular traffic, to halt motorists before entering the lot. A website on abandoned railroads has a photo of the intersection at: http://homepage.mac.com/jjakucyk/Transit1/ln/pages/page_5.html
Don't count on the yellow stop sign being around forever, because they're planning a new road that may wipe it out. Then maybe conservatives can sleep easier at night.
GOOD GRIEF! PEANUTS STORYBOARD GETS PLOPPED
We've always loved Peanuts, so we couldn't help but be shocked and appalled upon hearing about the untimely ploppage of an irreplaceable Peanuts storyboard. Our reaction is the same as it would be if someone ripped pages out of a rare 1926 road atlas to use as a book cover for a Brossart textbook.
In Springfield, OR, a 51-year-old woman allegedly swiped a unique, very valuable Peanuts storyboard from a neighbor, apparently took it into the shower so it would become wet enough to shred, and tore it. Still naked, she then flushed the torn storyboard down the toilet.
The ruined artwork, which featured Lucy and Linus, had been valued between $15,000 and $50,000 in 1990. The owner of it said he could have gotten $90,000 for it. But that was before it became a wet, toilety mass. He had planned on selling the storyboard and using the money to retire.
As Charlie Brown might say: AAAAAAAAAAUUUGGGHHH!!!!!
What makes it more frustrating for the owner is that he had never allowed the storyboard to leave his side for years, taking it with him everywhere to make sure no misfortune befell it. When he turned his back for 30 minutes, that was all it took for the item to meet its soggy destroyment. He knew the prized artwork was destructed when he looked in the toilet and found a waterlogged, shredded piece of paper with Lucy's bulbous noggin on it reemerging from the drain.
Guess what the owner of the storyboard said about his own beloved possession being plopped and flushed? "I have to laugh about it. What's done is done, but I couldn't eat last night," he told the Springfield News.
Oh well. If you're gonna ruin something valuable, I guess a good old-fashioned plopping is the most uproarious way to do it!
CONSERVATIVES WANT TO BAN PUBLIC WI-FI
It usually seems like conservatives worship unregulated markets and laissez-faire economics. The new breed of rightists supports brutal regimes that have a market-oriented economic system, perversely equating unregulated economics with political freedom. The New Right philosophy can usually be summed up as: regulation of sexuality and personal matters = good; regulation of Big Business = bad.
But the latest right-wing proposal shows what their ideological corporatism is all about. They favor restricting economic activity as long as these prohibitions benefit Big Business.
A new bill in Congress by right-wing Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) would ban any city or state in America from providing wi-fi or any telecommunications service to residents - because it "interferes" with greedy corporations' "right" to Make Money by selling these same services at an inflated price to consumers.
Uh, aren't these the same conservatives who are always talking about "states' rights"?
This is kind of like Rick Santorum's bill that would shut down government-run emergency weather services, because doing so would protect corporations that sell such services at a profit. Some states have had bills that would do the same as Sessions's federal bill.
These things sound like something that would happen in a so-called communist country, don't they? It's like Cold War-era communism, with corporations assuming the same role that governments had in such nations. Absolutely no difference at all. And many things in America have been that way for a while now, especially in media and utility industries. In some states, utility companies can now abuse eminent domain to condemn and seize private individuals' land. Increasingly, this process is abused by governments to take houses from their owners and give the land to private developers.
And what's with the weenieistic idea that telcom companies own the Internet? They don't. We remember much being made of the supposed transfer of the Internet to a few rich companies (ones that donate heavily to Republicans), but the whole thing was bogus.
What an underpants fungus corporatism is in the Hanes of life.
(Copywrong 2005. Online edition created with Internet Exploder 6.)