the last word(tm)
Vol. 14/No. 5 - 419th issue - July 22, 2005
CONSERVATIVE SUPPORTS HIGHER TAXES
Gotta love them right-wing Republicans. Them damn Democrats are always tryin' to raise your taxes. But the Republicans are for limited gov--
Wait a minute!
What's this we hear?
A Republican - a conservative, no less - wants to allow counties in Kentucky to impose a sales tax? (As if the 6% state sales tax isn't enough?)
This must be a figment of our imagination. No conservative would ever support raising taxes - because they say they're against higher taxes, and we all know that everything conservatives say is true, right?
Remember when the Contract With America animalfuckers wanted to enact a 17% national sales tax (with no exemptions for food and other necessities)? The Republicans were so arrogant with their own power that they thought nobody would dare to protest - but their idea was quickly put on the backburner because it was so unpopular with the American public.
Why did these self-styled advocates of lower taxes support a national sales tax? Easy. A sales tax is a regressive tax - so to them, it's not really a tax. A regressive tax, as you may know, is one that hits poorer people harder. Conservatives think a regressive tax isn't really a tax because they think poor people (like you and I) aren't really people. (Or have you forgotten how many of the nation's poor were skipped in the census?) The rightists don't like having a tax on their capital gains (Money they Make from doing nothing) but a tax on necessary purchases is A-1 Grand and Big Ol' 1892 (as on the BGS that's been self-destructing over on northbound I-471) to them, because the poor must spend a much greater percentage of their money on necessities than the rich do.
The proposal to have county sales taxes in Kentucky is being proposed by ultraconservative Kenton County Judge-Executive Ralph Drees.
Man, that guy's conservative. You know he must be, seeing as how he's a political appointment by Ernie "Hey Bert" Fletcher. At least Drees's plan for a sales tax exempts most food, but - as with the state sales tax - that doesn't mean all food is exempt.
Meanwhile, it seems like hardly a day goes by without another indictment in the Fletcher patronage scandal, in which Republican supporters have been rewarded with state jobs, while those who opposed Republicans have been fired. Hey, the patronage abuses are exactly what we told you was going to happen if Fletcher got "elected", so don't say we didn't warn you. If you voted for Fletcher because you thought he'd clean up state government, you're sure eating crow now, aren't you?
Luckily we don't have to work too hard to keep the Fletcher regime's scandals in the spotlight, because he's doing a pretty good job of destroying himself without much assistance from us.
By the way, the national sales tax has been revived from the dead. A Republican congressman from Georgia - John Linder, the nut who actually said terrorism isn't a catastrophe - is helping organize a public demonstration in support of it. We bet that draws about 3 people.
AT LONG LAST, LAW REQUIRES LESSONS ON CONSTITUTION
The story from January seems almost too shocking for words: A survey commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation revealed that a disproportionate percentage of American high school students actually oppose freedom of speech.
Shocking, maybe. But not a surprise. Subtract 18 from 32, and that's how many years it's been since we were in high school. Hasn't been very long, has it? So we know what gets taught in our so-called education system, and we know "rights" is like a dirty word on the grounds of most schools. Schools tell you what to think. In the mid-'90s we ran an article about a student panel at Newport High School in which students were drilled by the school to support right-wing causes like public flogging of small-time lawbreakers. It's exactly like a news clip we saw years later that showed a school in North Korea where instructors were whispering to students what to tell the interviewers.
In short, school in America today means right-wing brainwashing.
According to the survey, over one-third of American high school pupils - when presented with the text of the First Amendment - said the First Amendment goes too far in guaranteeing rights. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish without being required to have the government approve their articles!
Students were less likely than their teachers to support the natural freedoms listed in the First Amendment. Most individual employees of school systems support basic liberties - but administrators, school board members, and public officials who oppose free speech do have a chilling effect on free expression in schools that is out of proportion to their ranks. A few school board activists can corrupt a whole system with their ideas, and that's one of the reasons we see so little regard for fundamental rights in our schools these days.
The lack of attention in schools for the First Amendment and other basic principles of human rights has built a dangerous precedent for America's future. We've been seeing the effects of it more and more.
But now there's finally some good news. According to the Washington Post, a new federal appropriations law features a little-known section inserted by Democrats that says that September 17 of each year shall be used for education on the Constitution. The law says all federal employees in the executive branch must receive educational materials about the Constitution every September 17, which is the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. All schools (including universities) that receive federal funds must feature a program on the Constitution on that day. (When September 17 falls on a weekend, the Constitution will be taught during the week before or the week after.)
It's about fucking time something like this happened.
We'd go a step further by restoring school civics courses that have been eliminated in recent years. Too often, our schools have replaced civics with gimmicks that aim to impose personal morality or benefit corporate greed merchants. This bunk about corporate partnerships with education is just that: bunk. Corporate America and the morality thought police would do America's youth a favor by keeping their snouts out of the schools.
One-fifth of American high schools don't have student media programs, and of those that don't, 40% abolished them in just the past 5 years. We'd like to bring back student media programs. These were usually eliminated not because schools couldn't afford these programs, but because those who control the purse strings don't like them. If school districts can afford elaborate surveillance (spying) systems, biometric scanners, and drug testing equipment, then they can afford student media activities. If school districts can afford to add 3 months to the school year (so students can be bullied by classmates in the summer too), then, yes, they can afford student media activities, dammit!
A love of constitutional liberties should be woven into every course taught in school. It's the very cornerstone of a free country.
It's gonna take a lot of hard work to reverse the erosion of our constitutional republic that has occurred over the past 25 years. The longer we wait, the harder it's going to be.
GIVE A HOOT! GO TO ST. LOUIS!
We just love travelogues like this, because they mark our enjoyment of the fruits of our labor. Conservatives hate it, because they think the cities, the beaches, the parks, the roads, and the mountains were not made to be enjoyed by living creatures - except by them, of course. Those who would criticize us as frivolous for our vacation trip to St. Louis that spanned June 28 to 30 are almost always those who make 10 times as much money as we do for working only one-tenth as hard. The way these idiots on the Internet react to our messages is kind of like when Reagan kept making up all those stories about poor people using food stamps to buy liquor and expensive cars.
Ah, who cares?! We're making our detractors read this anyway!
The eMpTyR Taliban - the people who banned us from our own meet - will delight in the knowledge that we took the same freeway route both to and from St. Louis: I-74 from Cincinnati to Indianapolis, and I-70 to the St. Lou area. And radio stations we heard were generally shitty - except for the ones in Effingham and Vandalia, IL, of course.
We left early in the morning that Tuesday and allowed the partymobile to careen westward on I-74 and I-70. Nothing even mildly unusual or destructive happened until we got to the Pilot station in Troy, IL, where we noticed that someone had carved the word "POPEYE" into the toilet paper dispenser in the restroom.
We sped through downtown St. Louis and then went to the St. Louis Zoo - which has free admission! While we were at the zoo looking at the sea lions, something bubbled from the water where a sea lion was resting. A little boy who was about 7 years old yelled, "He just farted!"
During this trip, we lodged at a Holiday Inn, of all places. It was in Bridgeton. We got down to the indoor pool, and some guy lost his room key at the bottom of the pool.
St. Lou has a fine light rail system. It's certainly better than the one they planned in Cincinnati that wouldn't have gone anywhere and would have required tearing down everything along US 27. On both Tuesday and Wednesday we took the light rail train downtown to go to the baseball game at Busch Stadium and see the Reds lose to the Cardinals. On Tuesday we caught the train at the airport, and it sped east towards the city - paralleling a ruined road through Forest Park. Somebody kept setting off the emergency alarm on the train.
On Wednesday - when it was 100° F - we went to Grant's Farm where we met several clydesdales. These famous horses have appeared in many a beer commersh. But before we did that, we went up in the famous Gateway Arch. They've made it a big hassle just to get into the Arch - an unfortunate change from 1989 when we last went up in the Arch. Oh well, what do you expect these days?
We went out to historic St. Charles, but the heat was so stifling that we crossed that nice MO 370 bridge back towards St. Louis and went to St. Louis Mills Mall, where I noticed someone peed all over the toilet seat and floor in the restroom.
The real highlight of this road trip was the ball game that night. We took the train from North Hanley Station to the stadium. During the national anthem, some guy kept throwing peanut shells at some other guy. (How patriotic!) During the 8th inning, an unfortunate gent who was a few rows ahead of us kept looking at the seats above him with an angry scowl on his face. I thought I saw stuff landing on the man's bald dome. Then he pointed up at the seats above and yelled to the usher, "He's throwing shit!" I'm sure it wasn't literally shit, but something was being thrown onto the man from the seats above him. So the usher came along and told the guy he'd investigate.
The amusing sight of an unruly baseball fan throwing stuff onto another spectator made the entire vacation worthwhile!
At the light rail station downtown, some guy gave a whole train full of passengers the finger because the train was full and there wasn't enough room for him.
Everyone was so excited over the visiting Reds losing to the hometown Cardinals in such a hilarious manner that they continued their party mood on the train. America's political travails failed to penetrate the city that evening. Everybody seemed to be enjoying the opportunities that come from living in a city where Bush was defeated in the 2004 election by a 4-to-1 margin - benefits that now elude most other regions of the country.
But we couldn't frolic in the greatness of St. Louis forever, so we returned home on Thursday, via the I-270 loop on the north side. We mention that for the benefit of Roads Scholars, who would also delight in the jughandle intersections along US 67 west of the city, or the tunnel US 67 uses at the airport. The only bit of mischief we noticed on the way home was the fact that someone had wiped boogers all over the wall in the bathroom at a rest area along I-70 in Indiana.
Didn't you enjoy this magnificent travelogue? There's going to be more where that came from, so keep your eyes peeled!
TOWN TICKETS PEOPLE FOR NOT DRIVING SUVs
Believe it or not, the town of Walnut Creek, CA, actually gives people tickets if they don't drive an SUV.
A city councilman from a nearby jurisdiction learned this the hard way when he left a meeting there, and found that his small car was ticketed because - get this - he had parked it in a space in a city parking lot that was reserved for SUVs. Only.
Sarcasm time: We know how those small cars just take up so much space that could be used for an SUV. Life's a drag sometimes. And damn them small cars for daring to use less gas. Those fuel-efficient vehicles can't be good for the fortunes of the oil companies that donate to election campaigns of politicians who write local laws, can they?
Maybe we just don't understand the new suburbs. We don't understand the appeal of commuting 40 miles to work, or of watching another park get torn down to build yet another Wal-Mart. We don't see what's so great about having to breathe the insufferable stench from ChemLawn when the neighbors call them to treat their half-acre lot and stink up the whole cul-de-sac. Call us weird, but we also don't grasp what's so fun about having conformity constantly shoved down our throats - a hallmark of America's new suburbs.
Why does the city of Walnut Creek actually encourage people to drive hulking SUVs by giving them their own parking spaces? Beats the living fuckola out of me. The oil industry's support of political campaigns couldn't possibly have something to do with it, could it? Ponder, ponder.
What they need to do is regulate SUVs as commercial vehicles. When SUVs hit the market over 60 years ago, they were never meant to be used as everyday personal vehicles. In fact, many cities ban vehicles weighing over 6,000 pounds from residential roads. While most large SUVs exceed 6,000 pounds, the ban is not enforced against them. The Hummer H1, for instance, is 10,300 pounds. Oddly, however, SUVs are allowed to defy fuel efficiency regulations precisely because they're considered trucks.
So are they trucks or not? You can't have it both ways.
Federal tax laws actually give a tax break to people who buy SUVs and claim they're using them only for work. If a person uses an SUV only to go to work, then aren't they using it as a commercial vehicle? Again, you can't have it both ways.
You can hear Big Oil's money talking right there. Eventually, however, there won't be any oil, because it will be all used up powering vehicles that get such poor mileage.
CRYBABY COMPLAINT DISMISSED
Listen to what some right-wing crybabies did.
Back during the election, a right-wing group - the misnamed Center for Individual Freedom - took offense at CBS reporting a story about GeeDumbyass's service in the Texas Air National Guard.
Yes, this was the story the Freak Rethuglic wingnuts wasted their lives trying to discredit by saying proportional width fonts didn't exist in the 1970s. That's about as silly as saying Sorrell Booke didn't exist in the '70s just because more "Dukes Of Hazzard" episodes were filmed in the '80s than in the '70s. Contrary to what the pro-Bush Associated Press misstates, the story never was discredited. But that's not the issue here.
In a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, the Center for Individual Freedom claimed the news item was actually an illegal campaign ad, and that CBS had coordinated it with the Kerry campaign.
Isn't that just the stupidest bunch of bunk gas you've ever heard?
CBS, of all people! Does anyone truly believe that CBS or any other network has a liberal bias? The networks are about as liberal as a canker sore - and we've never had a liberal canker sore, have you? Canker sores are actually quite conservative, because they bring much pain, and you try to avoid them, knowing you'll have to put up with them anyway sooner or later. But that's a whole other matter.
Someone has to be suffering from a serious shortage of a life to claim the corporate media has a liberal bias.
The whole complaint against CBS and the Kerry campaign sounds Freeper-inspired, doesn't it?
Now the FEC has rejected the complaint by a unanimous 6 to 0 ruling.
The Center for Individual Freedom has a section on its website grumbling about what it calls frivolous lawsuits - despite its own frivolous complaint against Kerry and CBS.
If that news item was a campaign commercial, then what do you call Fox News Channel or Rush Limbaugh's radio show? Limbaugh has been a continuous Republican campaign infomercial for 17 years now.
(Copywrong 2005. Online edition created with Internet Exploder 6.)