the last word(tm)
Vol. 14/No. 6 - 420th issue - August 29, 2005
RIGHT-WING STATIONS REFUSE TO AIR AD BECAUSE IT DISAGREES WITH THEM
KTVX-TV, the ABC affiliate in Salt Lake City, thinks they're hot shit, don't they?
The station has refused to air an antiwar ad by Gold Star Families For Peace that features Cindy Sheehan, a peace activist whose son was killed in the Iraq War. According to a station sales rep, the commercial is an "inappropriate commercial advertisement for Salt Lake City."
Then how come the other major Salt Lake City stations (even the very conservative NBC affiliate that refuses to show "Saturday Night Live") showed the ad?
KTVX is owned by none other than Clear Channel Communications, the same right-wing syndicate that owns most major radio stations in Cincinnati and many other American markets and helped fan the blacklisting of the Dixie Chicks because of the band's opposition to dictator Bush's Iraq policy.
Federal regulations are very rigid about stations rejecting political ads. If a station accepts ads from a candidate or from a group taking a stand on a ballot measure, the station isn't allowed (ooh, an Allowed Cloud) to reject ads from the other side just because it doesn't agree with it. However, stations and networks have violated this rule within the past few years. Furthermore, KTVX argues that the antiwar spot is not really an issue ad, because it doesn't regard a specific candidate or referendum, and therefore the regulations don't apply.
Alrighty then. Have it your way, KTVX. That doesn't mean KTVX doesn't look like a bunch of right-wing soreheads for shunning the ad.
According to KTVX, the commercial "could very well be offensive to our community in Utah" and that the opinions expressed in the ad "are incompatible with our marketplace and will not be well received by our viewers." Translation: KTVX disagrees with the ad, so it won't show it.
Fisher Broadcasting's KBCI-TV in Boise, Idaho, a CBS affiliate, also eschews the antiwar commercial. The station claims this is because there is no proof that Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction when the war was launched. Huh? They actually believe Bush's lie about WMDs? Where have the geniuses at KBCI been the past 2 years? Haven't they heard of the Downing Street Minutes? Wait, the media ignored that, so I guess they haven't.
Another example of something like this? Viacom - which owns CBS, MTV, and many billboards - refused to accept an antiwar ad from MoveOn on one of its billboards. The ad consisted only of the words, "Inspections Work. War Won't." That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.
Liberal media, my ass!
The illegal Iraq War isn't the only issue in which TV stations have silenced opposing views. According to the Portland Press-Herald, WGME-TV in Portland, Maine, pulled an ad that criticized conservative Supreme Court nominee John Roberts for his reactionary views. While this ad was blasted in the media as false, further investigation showed it to be true: Roberts did write a very convoluted legal brief in 1991 siding with Operation Rescue members who physically blocked women from entering abortion clinics. This is an undisputable fact. The more controversial parts of the commercial were statements that were presented not as hard facts but as opinions, and therefore cannot be objectively disproven, or were pictures or monologues designed to illustrate the message of the ad. The spot did not claim Roberts supported Eric Rudolph's 1998 clinic bombing in Alabama or any other such violent act. (Many followers of the Bushes do support such crimes. Most will never admit it in public, though they do admit it in private - which we know, because we've heard them.) The latter claim against Roberts is imagined only by his supporters. The commercial wasn't over the line by any means.
WGME is owned by the ultraconservative Sinclair group, the same firm that planned on showing a movie during last year's presidential campaign to spread scurrilous lies about John Kerry.
It turns out that the Republican National Committee had been trying to pressure stations into rejecting the anti-Roberts commercial.
With all this, you'd think the media is working for Bush. Much of it is - literally. Large media organizations want favorable laws from the government and ad dollars from major corporations (which usually support conservatives). This is an unfortunate constraint that afflicts commercial media.
DIOCESE FINALLY FORCED TO PAY UP
Here's a development in the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal that hasn't been discussed much by the local media: The Diocese of Covington - which, incidentally, governed the 3 miserable Catholic schools I attended - has finally agreed to start a $120,000,000 fund to compensate the many people sexually abused by priests and others employed by the diocese, after the diocese covered up the problem for 50 years. This is the biggest settlement anywhere in America involving the church's sex abuse crisis (despite being in a relatively small diocese).
For years, the diocese has tried to avoid being held accountable. It still doesn't have to pay the whole sum, because $80,000,000 of it is covered by its insurance, but at least it has to pay the other $40,000,000, mostly by selling off property. Of course the diocese tried getting out of paying even that by claiming it didn't have enough money (which we don't believe, considering how some of its schools are constantly adding new buildings despite not gaining any students). The diocese also sued insurance companies that refused to cover the sum. It even tried to subpoena the phone records of the judge in the sex abuse case in an attempt to find a reason for him to have to recuse himself from the case - and went to another judge when the first judge denied the subpoena request. Neither judge was too pleased with this caper, and the attorneys for the church ended up having to answer contempt of court charges in both Kentucky and Ohio.
In a particularly disgusting episode in 2003, the Diocese of Covington actually had the nerve to blame one of the victims for the sexual abuse that he reported to have suffered many years earlier. Victim-blaming wasn't what most people expected from a religious organization. It sounded more like what you'd hear from an unscrupulous corporation defending itself in a product liability suit.
As if that wasn't enough, former employees of the diocese claim they were fired because they dared to report misconduct that they claimed to have witnessed.
The arrogance and lack of responsibility displayed by the Diocese of Covington is enough to drive anyone insane just reading about it. It's depressing too. But this is the diocese that inflicts the infamously insufferable Bishop Brossart High School on us, so it's not too surprising that some diocesan officials would be so arrogant and try to shift blame onto victims.
Most sex abusers go to prison, but many of the clergymen and other church employees who sexually abused young people got away with it for years without being prosecuted, let alone punished. Hopefully the multimillion-dollar settlement will wipe the smug smirks off the faces of conservatives who still claim that agencies of the church are completely blameless of any wrongdoing. If the diocese was 100% perfect as the Right claims it is, I wouldn't have to take up 150 pages of my book describing the nonstop violence and student bullying that took place in 2 of its schools.
AMERICA'S TOILETS & TESTES STRIKES YET AGAIN!
When we speak of America's Toilets & Testes, we're talking about none other than telephone giant AT&T - which, in addition to being one of the biggest corporate contributors to Republican campaigns, is also one of the most untrustworthy corporations we've ever had to deal with.
As you may know, AT&T runs WorldNet, a rogue ISP that allowed a Nazi customer to illegally impersonate me in 1998-99. Then, a few years ago, AT&T wrongly billed me for long distance calls I didn't make. AT&T spent so much money in postage sending me letters demanding I pay the bogus bill that it cost them more than the Money they'd Make if I had paid the bill. Finally, I sent them a hilarious, nasty letter, and the matter was dropped, and I never paid the bill. I called Cincinnati Bell to tell them to change my long distance to a certain more respectable provider (which would include just about anybody).
I won that battle! But now the AT&T corporate greed merchants are back with a vengeance. A couple months ago, I had to make a long distance call to Tennessee regarding sales of my book The Fight That Never Ends. I hadn't made any toll calls since the legendary skirmish with AT&T a few years back. I figured the call would cost a dollar or less.
But I received a bill from AT&T - despite telling the phone company to change my provider. That one brief call - when added to other charges and taxes on the bill - cost a staggering $8.44. This included a $3.95 monthly subscription fee.
All I did was simply make a call. Nobody told me I was subscribing to anything.
Apparently, Cincinnati Bell makes the Toilets 'n' Testes crew your default provider each month, and you have to have it changed monthly to avoid being automatically subscribed to AT&T. At least I think that's how it works. But who the fuck knows?
What AT&T is doing used to be called phone slamming. Now it's called capitalism, BushAmerica style.
An interesting side note about that bill: It included a notice about a class action settlement against AT&T resulting from the fact that the company illegally charged city taxes on customers who lived outside city limits. AT&T pulled this scam for 11 years.
When I failed to pay the $8.44, AT&T immediately sent another bill - with not one day's delay. Although I haven't made any long distance calls since that one to the Volunteer State, they've added another $7.42 ($3.95 plus normal taxes and surcharges) to cover another month of supposedly subscribing to their "service", bringing the total sum up to $15.86.
To add injury to insult, this ToileTestes bill arrived August 18. Guess when it's due? August 17!
Upon receiving the bill, I promptly paid it, and I included 2 complimentary mints with my payment. I would have included only one mint, but I gave them an extra mint in case the first mint got crushed in the mail. Sike! I didn't do anything that stupid. Instead, I ignored the bill, and am refusing to pay it.
After I finally got through to AT&T's customer service number, they said I'd have to fax them a copy of my bill before they can unsubscribe me. Fax them??? While I'm at it, maybe I'll use a dot matrix printer for the next letter I send them.
I again called Cincinnati Bell to change my default long distance service, and the automated voice at the other end told me it would cost $5 just to change it to what it should have been all along.
Like last time, I vow never to pay the AT&T bill. AT&T will have to pry the $15.86 from my cold, dead mitts with a bottle cap opener if they want it so bad.
And can somebody please tell AT&T that it's illegal for them to restrict high-speed Internet providers' access to file sharing networks, like they've been doing around here?
GIVE A HOOT! GO TO ORLANDO!
Time for another pee-filled, poo-filled summertime fun travelogue to chagrin the Far Right - this one for our trip to Orlando from July 24 to 31!
Last month, my mom, my aunt, and myself went on a trip to central Florida to visit relatives. This was my bonus vacation for this year, to reward myself for all my hard work. As a professional author planning my second book, my work continues even on vacation, such a productive citizen am I (unlike monied fartpipes on the Internet who complain about how easy I have it even though they make more money than I do for less work).
In the early morning of Sunday, July 24, we hopped in our clunker rental car, zipped across Fort Washington Way in Cincinnati and south on I-75. My mom adores Cracker Barrel restaurants. According to rumor, Cracker Barrel is really right-wing - but then again, most big businesses are. My mom forced us to eat lunch at the extremely slow Cracker Barrel in Lake City, Tennessee, which delayed us a great deal. We took I-275 to downtown Knoxville, where we got on I-40. We almost got lost there because one of our crew insisted on using discredited directions.
Incidentally I created several New Language word adaptations on the trip, much like the ones for "ruin" and "artillery". One of them is for "lost", which I spoke with the "o" sound elongated and the upper lip overlapping the top row of dentition - "looooost!" Another is for the word "Tennessee", which is sung over and over, alternating between baritone and falsetto, based on the lost '90s hit song by Arrested Development. Yet another is for the word "congested", as it applies to highway traffic conditions. "Congested" is preceded by sniffling, as if to represent nasal congestion.
We continued on I-40 through the mountains and tunnels of North Carolina. In addition to making faces at motorists with right-wing bumper stickers, we laughed maniacally when we saw some guy driving a hilarious-looking, square-shaped car without having his hands on the wheel as he ate a giant hoagie.
In South Carolina, I noticed someone peed all over the toilet seat at the welcome center rest area on I-26. We got lost near Columbia as bad signage directed us on I-126 towards the city. We were looking for supper, but we avoided eating at Maurice's barbecue restaurants, because the guy who owns the restaurants is known for disseminating racist and other right-wing propaganda on his website. We stopped for (ppphh!) gas at a Shell station in Orangeburg, South Carolina, but we and other customers almost drove off without paying for the gas, because the store was empty and we couldn't find the cashier.
We lodged at the Best Western in Pocotaligo, South Carolina. The toilets were wimpy, and the indoor swimming pool got a bit chilly because of unruly guests not knowing how to close the doors of the pool area.
Continue we did on I-95 on Monday, and we took a side trip to Savannah, Georgia. This was right after I cut my hand all up trying to dislodge from the freezer in the motel room the package of goetta we brang along for our relatives. Later, we ate lunch at the Huddle House in Eulonia, Georgia, and I noticed someone wrote the words "RELIGIOUS RIGHT? RELIGIOUS WRONG!!!" on the bathroom wall. Somewhere in Georgia, some beedledick in a Lexus tried running us off the road.
Traveling at an amazing speed, we crossed into Florida, seat of much rightism. We zipped through the hustle and bustle of central Jacksonville, through that futuristic interchange on the south side of town, and later hopped on I-4 near Daytona Beach. Not far away was our relatives' home, which was where we lodged the next few days.
A mighty fine time was had there. On Tuesday morn, we could actually see the trail in the sky created by the space shuttle launch. Later that morning we took an airboat ride at beautiful Lake Jessup. The captain of the boat took us into the swamp to meet alligators and other wildlife. I wrote "POOING IS COOL" in the guestbook. Afterwards we ate lunchage at a fine family restaurant, and a group of 4 adults stormed out of the restaurant because they thought they deserved to get their food before everyone else. The waitress chased after them. This was the humor highlight of my Florida vacation.
On Wednesday we went to Cocoa Beach. We enjoyed the lovely beach on the Atlantic Ocean, and I noticed someone defecated in the urinal in the men's restroom. International waters beckoned, as we were only 12 nautical miles from the yoke of Bush oppression lifting. My shirt got dropped in the parking lot at the beach, and we returned 3 hours later to find it sitting there with a tire track on it. I went to a restaurant in this shirt in the condition it was in, because it was the only shirt I had with me that day.
Thursday and Friday were mostly uneventful, because we already did about all there is to do in central Florida. If not for the airboat and the beach, the region would be a recreational black hole. Furthermore, radio stations there are as shitty as you'd expect, thanks to the 104th Reich's telcom law. There's not much to do except run into the woods to play with all the newts, armadillos, and palmetto bugs. The aroma of a trouser sneeze wafted through the living room, but no suspects could be indicted for this first-degree felony.
We started heading home on Saturday morning. We finally went through Orlando, where the shiny new skyscrapers leered at us as the traffic crawled along the potholed tollway. We headed north on Florida's Turnpike. A sign noted that the turnpike had been renamed for Ronald Reagan, prompting me to speak in a Reagan voice until we stopped for lunch. We went north on I-75. At an Exxon station south of Ocala, I noticed someone wrote the word "science" on the bathroom wall, which reminded me of the guy in the Thomas Dolby video.
Continuing on I-75 in southwestern Georgia, we got caught in a storm that was so bad we had to get off the freeway and stop. It was terrible. By that time, a tinkletorium was needed, but the grouch who manned the antique shop there wouldn't let us use the restrooms. My mom and my aunt tried to use the lavatory of a nearby gas station, but it was a single occupancy loo, and 2 teenagers monopolized it for a half-hour by chitchatting aimlessly. My mom scowled at the teens because they hogged the bathroom for so long and wasted our valuable time. This entire episode - the storm plus the hogged johndola - cost us well over an hour. Also, road construction was everywhere in Georgia, which wasted more precious time (as Pat Benatar would say). Another treacherous storm transpired south of Macon, causing us to have to stop at a Kroger. We actually continued on I-75 through central Macon, but few downtown buildings were visible.
Traffic was mighty heavy around Atlanta. A right-wing billboard south of the city bore the words "Thank God for Rush Limbaugh - a real man!" Amidst these perilous conditions, a truck driver who resembled Gilligan of "Gilligan's Island" almost carelessly ran us off the road. Atlanta pibbed like a mullet, it did. Its marvelous skyscrapers and the gold-domed Georgia State Capitol smiled at us as we zipped along the Interstate.
Out on I-75 north of Atlanta, the trunk of our rental car opened up by itself, and disaster was narrowly averted. My mom was already threatening to make us devour supper at another Cracker Barrel, but I wanted to get to the motel early enough to use the indoor pool. This wouldn't have been a worry if not for the storm and restroom incident delaying us. So we checked into the Comfort Inn in Dalton, Georgia - then I used the pool while my mom and my aunt went to the nearby Cracker Barrel. By the time they returned from the restaurant 2 hours later, the pool was about to close, so I know I made the right decision. (I acquired carry-out food from Kentucky Fried Chicken as my dinner.) In the crowded swimming pool, someone ripped a silent but deadly bunker blast. I caught a whiff of the unmistakable odor produced by fart gas reacting with water.
The mischief highlight of this vacation was when we put Best Western cups (complete with the Best Western logo) in our Comfort Inn room.
We continued home on Sunday. We made a side trip to Lost Sea Cave in Tennessee - or, as I'd say in my New Language, Looooost Sea Cave in Tennessee...Tennessee...Tennessee... I detected the uproarious scent of 3 silent but violent bunkeroos inside the cave, including one on the boat on the underground lake.
Continuing on I-75 around the west side of Knoxville, the rest of the trip was anticlimactic. I was amused, however, to find loads of anti-prep graffiti on the restroom wall at a restaurant in Berea, Kentucky. We got off I-75 in Covington and took city streets to arrive home that evening.
A mighty fine time was had by all, but such an endeavor won't be repeated for a damn long time.
(Copywrong 2005. Online edition created with Internet Exploder 6.)