the last word (tm)
19/No. 3 - 458th issue – August 19,
firstname.lastname@example.org - http://www.bunkerblast.info - Bellevue, Kentucky
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GIVING IT ALL TO THE SPRAWL IN CAMPBELL COUNTY
You hear the latest? Now the conservatives are saying that the wealthy suburbs don't have enough representation in Campbell County government.
I knew you'd get some laughs out of that, huh?
In reality, Campbell County offices have been disproportionately dominated by well-to-do communities for years - particularly at the expense of working-class cities. And trust me, it shows. But what the Grey Poupon class has now isn't enough for them. They want it all. And they want it now.
So a small cadre of right-wing activists has placed a measure on the November ballot that will ask voters if they want Campbell County to switch to a magisterial form of government that splits the county into districts - so the exurban, ultraconservative southern half of the county can win more representation in government.
You know what? I must have looked awfully silly defending one of these guys for the placement of his campaign sign some years back.
As evidence of the Pouponists' ineptitude at collecting signatures for this ballot measure, one-third of the signatures they collected on the petition were bogus - so they had to resubmit it.
The referendumb is part of the ongoing war by the suburbs against our cities - a war that has played out in Campbell County to an even greater degree than elsewhere. In Campbell County, class is everything. The measure's backers have also sued the county to shut down the Newport courthouse - one of very few known instances in which somebody actually sued a government claiming it provided too much service.
As proof the suburbs already dominate county government, Campbell County until recently charged a special tax on the county's urban northern half to fund construction of the Newport courthouse - even though the courthouse was completed in the 19th century. The exurban southern half did not have to pay such a tax for the Alexandria courthouse - even though personal incomes there are higher. Suburban dominance is also evident in the county's funding of suburban private school transport - which these schools don't have to pay for. At least we never had to worry about the offspring of the very wealthy using their money and clout to avoid getting busted every time we were the victim of something illegal they did. Wait, we did have to worry about it. (Shock of the day: The Last Word wasn't founded because these kiddos were being held to the same tough standards as everybody else.)
Inexplicably, the ballot measure is also backed by the head of the Libertarian Party of Kentucky - even though it would bring more intrusive government. So much for the "small government" Libertarians, huh? These days, they're about as small-l libertarian as the Tea Party whiners are - i.e., not very.
If this referendum wins, we might - or at least should - be able to make a federal case to overturn it on the grounds that it deprives poor and working-class people of political representation. The northern part of the county may even have cause to break away and form a new county. (Because Campbell County has 2 county seats, this probably wouldn't require a change in state law.) We're tired of our tax dollars paying for communities that need it the least.
In the meantime, let's make sure we don't have to worry about this. Vote no on this measure. Don't give it all to the sprawl!
WHY I LEFT FACEBOOK
Facebook's 15 seconds of glory are over, methinkage.
Around the start of the month, I deactivated my Facebook account. I do not regret it.
Why did I leave Facebook? For starts, Facebook not only permits a fan site that tries to solicit President Obama's assassination, but it also deletes posts of users who disagree with that and other fascist fan sites. But the broader reason I quit Fascistbook is that the service displays a clear pattern of fostering a right-wing agenda and doing the extreme right's dirty work on command. The final straw was a specific incident that I plan to touch on in our upcoming Back-to-School issue.
What I've seen on Faceboo (sic) in recent months goes well beyond differing opinions and into the realm of the bizarre and hateful. Furthermore, even after I quit Facebook, reports continued to surface about Facebook's censorship. For example, when users rightfully disagreed with anti-gay and anti-Muslim Facebook pages, Facebook not only deleted their posts but barred them from posting on these pages altogether. This has occurred just in the past week or two. The forces of hate win.
Facebook is a symbol of a societal sickness. Much of its clientele has never faced any hardships and expects instant satisfaction with everything. This isn't true of all of its users, of course, but it's true of many of them. Worse, these users' attitude is that they've got theirs, so everybody else be damned to hell. These users are weak-minded individuals who have psychological issues they opt not to deal with.
Civics, character, and rules of society seem alien to them, as they produce absurd political or social theories as a matter of course. It came to the fore when they claimed that the Bill of Rights isn't supposed to apply to people who receive government benefits. The unifying thread of their strange theories is that everything is always the problem of somebody else - students, the poor, Obama, everybody except themselves.
Facebook is a sinking ship, and I refuse to go down with it. I'm a fighter, but there's a time and place for saying something isn't worth it. And Faceboo is not worth it. It won't be, unless there are drastic reforms in the way it conducts itself.
AW, THE TEA PARTY GOT ITS FEELINGS HURT
What happens when somebody makes a fair comment about the fact that racism is central to the Tea Party movement?
The Tea Party falsely accuses them of racism, of course.
Last month, some folks distributed an e-mail containing an editorial cartoon depicting the Nastea crowd in Ku Klux Klan robes. This hurt the pwecious widdle feewings of Cincinnati Tea Party founder and Ohio House candidate Mike Wilson. He accused the Democrats of spreading bigotry by sending out the cartoon. He wants an apology, dammit!
So now it's racist to oppose racism?
It's not as if leveling this bogus charge is completely new in the Upsy Downsy Land of conservatives. They pulled this shit with me too. According to them, criticizing a foreign dictatorship's human rights abuses is racist. They never say why. If I was racist, why would I even be in the progressive zine biz? If The Last Word had ever published anything racist, I'd be so ashamed that I'd stop publishing this bulletin altogether.
Wilson himself has also attacked me - not by accusing me of racism, but by falsely claiming I deleted his moronic comments from The Online Lunchpail. Unless he erased his remarks himself, they remain posted to this very day. So what Wilson said about me is a lie.
Of course, racism isn't the only thing driving the Tea Parties. Bad sportsmanship drives 'em too. Remember, these are the same sore losers who spent most of the '90s throwing a temper tantrum because Clinton got elected.
The Tea Parties remind us that we are at war. We're at war for the very heart and soul of America.
CHEESE, GLORIOUS CHEESE...
Bring back government cheese - literally!
The term government cheese has often been used to signify public expenditures that one deems unnecessary or wasteful. But it's time to take this phrase back. A few of you - if you dig into the deep recesses of your memory - may remember when government cheese was real in the literal sense. And almost everybody seemed to think highly of the cheese program.
For decades, the government regularly issued large blocks of processed cheese to senior citizens. Recipients of this cheese had in effect paid for this service with their tax dollars.
And it was good cheese! How many other Americans my age remember having a nibble of this delish cheese when they went to see Grandma and Grandpa? That's what this cheese was for. Grandma's tax money paid for this cheese, so it was hers to use as she saw fit.
The blocks of cheese were a blend of various common cheese varieties - like cheddar and Colby. You know 'em all! Government-issued cheese melted in your mouth, not in your pants pocket.
It all came crashing down under the iron-fisted rule of the elder Bush. (Who's with me in predicting that Michael Dukakis will appear on historians' lists of candidates who would have made much better Presidents than those who won?) Bush promptly discontinued the cheese program. Gutted it, ended it, terminated it. It's gone. The Bush regime came up with nothing to replace it. He backed capital gains tax cuts, which would have benefited the rich - but nothing for the poor or the elderly.
How the right-wing Congress of the mid-'90s considered slashing benefits programs a higher priority than health care reform even after Bush ended the cheese allotment is simply mind-boggling.
There's a lot of positive to be said for personal benefits programs. Some people are born with everything, and they never need to worry about not having enough. But if we want to be a meritocracy, shouldn't people who work harder than they do but weren't born into privilege get to enjoy the same posh standard of living? My body is shot, but I work (when I'm allowed to). Yet I don't earn as much as some folks had even at birth. Is that fair?
It's an issue not just for the working poor but also for the jobless poor. If you don't want so many people not working, the solution should be simple: Stop outsourcing American jobs.
Some nerve of us, demanding fairness and all. Tough. I don't owe anybody a damn thing. And I've read enough excuses from the other side of the political spectrum as to why they think they deserve more than everybody else. They produce nothing but spin that attempts to paint the poor as wanting something for nothing. This is a classist lie.
WIKIPEDIA PUTS 'NET WAR TO REST?
What happens when Wikipedia says I'm right - and my detractors from years ago are wrong?
Many years back, The Last Word raised hell from here to the edge of the universe about the Usenet Cabal - which appeared to be a group of Internet admins and other stickybeaks who policed Internet posting so intensely that it went well into the realm of harassment, stalking, bigotry, and thought policing. Not only conservatives denied the Cabal's existence. I argued with some liberals about it as well. They tried arguing that although there was a cabal on Usenet, this was not a Usenet Cabal. They just thought it was a loosely organized gang of assholes who had no real power.
But I thought the Usenet Cabal was very real - until that night long ago when Stockholm syndrome set in. I could literally feel myself breaking. Somehow, the Cabaleers who had fought me to the hilt convinced me they were my friends - and we could all be best buds from then on.
The attacks subsided - except for occasional public salvos that the more dedicated foot soldiers lobbed at me. But I held my tongue.
In time, the Cabal seemed to become just a distant memory. They had ruined Usenet so thoroughly that hardly anybody still used it, so it was no longer relevant. But - right around the time I participated in roadside protests that shut down the abusive Pathway Family Center - I started having very strong second thoughts about my own sudden armistice with the Cabal - especially because they hadn't left me alone completely like they promised.
It didn't occur to me until recently to look up the Usenet Cabal on Wikipedia - just to see if Wikipedia even had an entry on it. It does. And Wikipedia's entry supports every last thing I believed about the Cabal before it broke me. For instance, it discusses how the Cabal "steadfastly denied its own existence; those involved would often respond 'There is no Cabal' (sometimes abbreviated as 'TINC'), whenever the existence or activities of the group were speculated on in public." The entry also describes how the Cabal "exerted power through force of will (often via intimidating flames)."
Now I know the Cabal wasn't much short of being a cult. I survived a cult in my youth - but I almost didn't survive the Cabal. Until now. Starting now, I am a survivor. I now live free.
The Cabal only succeeded at breaking me back then because my previous experiences in a cult made me susceptible. These days, I wouldn't put up with their bullshit for more than a minute. No way, no how. But back then, I didn't know how to fight. It's hard to believe that the man who singlehandedly scared the Tea Parties out of Campbell County (of all places) had once been completely cowed into submission by a cell of intolerant bullies on the Internet.
Here's an idea of how out of control they were: At the time, when I began requiring posts on the People's Forum to be approved by me before appearing, I actually approved some by the Cabal that were a facsimile of their attacks against me elsewhere on the Internet.
There's a belief that you can't be broken if you have a solid philosophical foundation. What happened to me shows this isn't always so. I was broken when the Cabal began preying on my foundation of morality. Their appeals exploited my sense of right and wrong.
Will their attacks resume full-bore because of this article? I haven't seen a single Usenet post in years from the biggest offenders. But I wouldn't rule out a new tirade from them. However, if they even attempt anything major, it's going to end very badly for them this time.
Pathway Family Center's closure and the concurrent smackdown of the Republican Right helped restore my faith in a maxim that I'd long thought was just hopeless optimism. These events show that the forces of good always win in the end - if you take enough initiative to fight for what's right.
One can only imagine how much different my life would have been if the '88 election had gone differently - not just because of direct effects of government policies, but also because I would have felt more encouraged to stand up for myself. Then again, if that had happened, I might not have understood right-wing cults like Pathwaste enough to try to have them shut down. So the joke's on them.
DRUG WAR LINKED TO HOME INVASIONS?
Is the failed War on Drugs the cause of the relentless spate of home invasions I've experienced lately?
Almost certainly. The drug war is a price support for violent drug gangs.
Since June of last year, I've been plagued by an ongoing series of break-ins. Money, books, and CD's have been utterly stealed. The modus operandi is the same in all cases, because they've all been carried out by the same evildoer. If it's a drug addict looking for a source of income to feed their habit, I guarantee this wouldn't be happening if drugs were legalized. That's an ironclad truism.
Following the intrusions, I've done what every law-abider has a right to feel safe doing: I notified the police. But even using the Internets (sic) as my primary investigative tool, I have a gut feeling that I can name a suspect. Even if this isn't the right guy, the violent predator behind these burglaries is fairly predictable, and it's clear they'll try to strike again in the same way.
The city can catch them by stationing an undercover cop outside the place until they enter again - because you know damn well the burglar is going to attempt to continue this crime spree. If the city has money to spend on signs boasting of its elitist rental conversion program (and reposting them on other streets when I chase them off of this one), I'm sure it has money to hire police to guard the neighborhood.
I haven't staked out my own place, because the invader knows I live here. They watch for me every day. Besides, I don't get paid to hide outside in 100-degree heat just to catch them.
It's a fact that I suffered home invasions in my later Highland Heights years, but I didn't expect anything to be done about those. You know why, and I'm not detailing it here. Even in my early Bellevue years, I suspected it, because small items occasionally went missing. But there's proof that the current crime wave is real. Unlocked doors and items strewn across the floor is as real as you can get.
If the burglaries don't stop, we'll have to start taking matters into our own hands. As far as I'm concerned, there is no duty to retreat when confronted by a criminal. When I catch the burglar, it's going to be a very, very bad day for them. You don't even have a clue as to what's coming.
One agency that does not take crime seriously at all is the postal service. I've reported mail thefts to them for years, and nothing has been done - even after I caught my former neighbors stealing my mail. However, these thefts weren't even close to being in the same league as the home invasions. Also, the rise in mail thefts as well as burglaries is solid proof that the supposed drop in crime over the past 20 years is a hoax - carried out largely by the couldn't-give-a-shit media.
If the useless drug war means I have to be the neighborhood marshal to catch burglars, you might as well give me a hat, badge, and holster right now.
What's stunning is that even if I can prove that the War on Drugs is behind these home invasions, the drug warriors will continue to defend their own losing efforts. Their argument is that continuing to be robbed of one's personal possessions and sense of privacy is the price we must pay because we're in a "war." Against "drugs", you see. (Never mind that drug war backers are almost always the same people who support handing out Ritalin in schools as if it was candy.) Mortgaging our constitutional rights isn't enough for the drug warriors. We have to open ourselves up to violent crime too.
MONTHLY MORON MOTORIST
I thought this feature was ripe for a comeback, but with the Tea Parties' 3 seconds of fame expiring, it looks to be a bust.
June's Monthly Moron Motorist was unearthed on the day I biked up Spring Grove Avenue. (This was also the same day as one of the many recent home invasions.) On the way home, crossing one of the ramps that hugs the eastern terminus of I-74, many motorists seem to think the presence of a ramp gives them many wide lanes of comfort. Alas, 'tis not to be! An extra-large pickup truck zoomed by me, as the driver pushed his horn all the while - as if having the entire roadway all to himself was his birthright.
The instant satisfaction crowd decided to bore us again in July. July's Monthly Moron Motorist was encountered on another day that I took the Peace Bike to Cincinnati. On the way home through Queensgate, an SUV pulled up beside me. The driver began honking her horn and flailing her arms at me for no apparent reason - other than her being a dumb loser, of course.
Quick fixes and public temper tantrums. Just another day in the life of a Monthly Moron Motorist.
HONEYCOMB'S SMALL...YEAH YEAH YEAH!
In the early 2000s, The Last Word elicited a few chuckles out of you by poking gentle fun at an old Honeycomb cereal box. (Yes, the one from the '70s with the kid measuring a piece of cereal.) This article also ridiculed the inclusion of Super Bubble bubble gum in boxes of Cocoa Puffs.
About 3 or 4 years ago, a family member told me about writing hate mail to cereal giant Post because of then-recent changes in the taste and texture of Honeycomb. According to my family member, this once-great cereal had been rendered inedible by these changes.
I haven't devoured cereal in years, but I believed these changes were real. Everything else was in decline because of idiot Bush, so why not? But I thought it was one of those things that would never generate any notice on the Internet - a cover-up, if you will.
Wikipedia to the rescue!
Conservapedia would have just ignored Honeycomb's decay. But I discovered that Wikipedia's article on Honeycomb detailed this brand's downfall within the first 2 paragraphs. According to the omniscient, omnipotent, omnivorous, omnibus Wikipedia, Honeycomb did indeed change its formula in 2006. Utterly ruint it, it did. Wikipedia says that this change resulted in "mainly negative reviews from consumers."
Post's excuse for meddling with a successful Honeycomb recipe? They claimed the change would make Honeycomb healthier. Riiiiight. Like anyone believes that.
After Honeycomb's new formula was overpoweringly rejected by you - the American public - the formula was promptly changed again in 2007. Honeycomb's purveyors called it an "improved taste" and mailed "complimentary" boxes of it to former Honeycomb buffs who defected because of the 2006 change.
But it was too late. As long as Post failed to restore Honeycomb's earlier subversive post-radical formula, fans weren't going to return. But the Post peeps remain fools.
And why were the boxes of cereal that were mailed to former Honeycomb Hideout partisans considered "complimentary"? When you opened the boxes, did the boxes say, "Your feet don't stink"?
Tough luck, Honeycomb. Your day is past.
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