the last word (tm)
20/No. 1 - 460th issue – January 29,
firstname.lastname@example.org - http://www.bunkerblast.info - Bellevue, Kentucky
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LAND OF THE LOUGHNER
Much can change in 4 months: Since our last issue, we've seen a blatantly rigged election, Wikileaks reinventing investigative journalism, and a rampage by a crazed gunman in Tucson. The first of these events seems closely related to the last: Jared Loughner, the Arizona assassin, is a right-winger and Glenn Beck look-alike who was likely emboldened by the electoral disaster that unfolded in November - in much the same way Newt Gingrich's fascist Contract With America cheered Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
When I read details of Loughner's erratic behavior, chills went up my spine. He would've easily fit in at several schools I had the misfortune of attending. His conduct at school was almost identical to that of quite a few folks I know.
Don't be fooled by the fact that Campbell County is one of very few places where voters have ever defeated a Tea Party-penned referendum (namely, the absurd measure to give the exurbs their own special magistrate districts). We were forced to chomp on some Big League Crazy in our day.
When I read about Loughner insisting that 6 and 18 were the same number, it reminded me of the countless times classmates of mine argued with the teacher about some basic fact.
"Chicago is not a state."
"Yeah it is."
"No it isn't."
Loughner's general self-righteousness is even more evocative of the schoolmates I recall, but it sounds even more like the right-wing legal foundations who clog the court system with frivolous suits accusing some "liberal" professor or school policy of violating their constitutional rights. I'm reminded of that time a few years ago when some idiots sued a university and accused it of violating their religious freedom by prohibiting the harassment of gays. (Outrageously, the plaintiffs actually won.)
Personally, I've had no problem with taking schools to task in The Last Word over grade deflation, but when Loughner demanded full credit for an assignment he turned in late, he was acting like he didn't have to follow the rules like everybody else - much like how some of my former classmates acted.
The report of Loughner singing in the library was the eeriest item of all, and it gave me the biggest shiver. I remember a particular student at Brossart - who was never held to any standards at all - disrupting the class by singing stupid lyrics he ad-libbed, and nobody seemed to give a shit.
Of course, not giving a shit about what these disruptive brats did was par for the course in these parts. It would've been big news if people did give a shit.
If you wanted to be profiled and become a target of authorities' shifty eyes, the last thing you'd have done is simulate Jared Loughner's classroom conduct. If somebody didn't act like Loughner, they'd be treated as an aberration. It's a bit like if people used the Tucson shooting as an excuse to go after progressive bloggers instead of the right-wing radio loudmouths who encouraged the attack.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that none of my old classmates have done anything like what Loughner did. It's creepy how much they fit the bill for crazed assassins.
OOH! A THREAT FROM THE BROSSART CULT!
I get mail.
And it seems like a majority of the negative e-mail I've gotten in the past few years is from Bishop Brossart High School alumni trying to defend their precious, precious school from me when I dare to criticize it. I've gotten supportive e-mail too, but what astounds me is when people can't possibly grasp why Brossart isn't deserving of praise 100% of the time.
Last weekend, I received yet another uproarious kook-a-loon mail-palooza. This e-mail was from somebody who actually uses the handle "Bishop Brossart" (as if they're impersonating the long-deceased clergyman for whom the school is named) and claims to be a student there. It reads:
I go to Bishop Brossart.
I read your "Brossart Wit and Wisdom" page.
And, while reading and laughing, I realized how much of an idiot you must be. I mean, were you really surprised when you got expelled?
Obviously we would not want someone who would spend their life writing pages like this attending a private, Catholic school, where we try to keep MOST of the idiots, like yourself, out.
We pride ourselves in being an elite school, excelling in academics, athletics, and other extracurriculars.
Well, that's just my peace of mind, but you can waste the rest of your worthless life doing whatever you like, and I won't complain.
By the way, I will be moving to bring your site down ASAP... I don't really care how much money I have to spend or how long it takes.
YOU ARE PATHETIC
Anonymous (I don't like giving my email or name to complete psychopaths!)
Alright, so the person who wrote that is probably still a kid, so maybe I shouldn't be too hard on them. On the other hand, I don't appreciate threats.
Trust me: The school already knows about my website. They've known about it for at least 12 years, for they cajoled other folks into removing links to it from their own sites. No ISP or hosting service has found cause yet to make me take my site down.
Even if my website defamed the school, the writer of the above e-mail wouldn't have standing to take my site down or sue over its contents. That's because said writer is not mentioned on my site (except in this article, and even then, I don't mention them by name). And since my website tells the truth, the school has no case anyway. Truth is an absolute defense.
What's interesting is that the student who wrote that e-mail acts almost as if they and the school are one and the same: "I" and "we" seem to be used interchangeably, and the student claims to represent the school in doing the dirty work of bringing my site down. In that letter, the student doesn't merely stand for the school - the student is the school! That helps confirm my view that the school is a cult: The student seems to be stripped of their own autonomy. Everything that writer says seems to be for the school's sake, not their own.
Moreover, the fact that they called Brossart "elite" drives home the point that it really did have lots of snobs. So I agree with the writer about one thing: WHAT IN THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS WAS I DOING AT BROSSART?! Did anybody seriously think my years at Brossart would end well? Anyone who truly thought that didn't even have minimal grasp of the unending shame I knew was in store the very day I was enrolled there. On the other hand, if Brossart is so "elite", how come every public school system that I knew of provided better schools for free? Brossart was truly a topsy-turvy world that represented a yawning gap between perception and reality.
Maybe that e-mail will reignite Brossart's efforts to silence me. Now if my website does get taken offline, I'll know Brossart did it.
It's befuddling how Brossart has the same ridiculous vendetta against me that they had 21 years ago when they expelled me. I criticize Brossart for a reason. It wasn't Gateway that permitted a gang of bullies to chase me into a busy highway and later lied to the police about it. What's amazing is that Brossart doesn't seem to understand why I don't like them.
But there's hope. Because the person who wrote that e-mail is still young, maybe someday they'll come to their senses. Hell, I believed in the failed War on Drugs until I was a high school junior, so there's lots of hope. I bet that one of these days, it's just going to click. Today's critic could be tomorrow's ally.
KENTUCKY DRUG WARRIORS REVVING UP BACKWARDS
The War on Drugs is America's zombie movement. Its credibility is long dead, yet the crusade marches on - at least in the Kentucky legislature, which is coming closer than it ever has in passing what are probably the 2 most extreme drug warrior bills ever to be introduced in that body. Meanwhile, lawmakers brush aside recommendations by an independent group urging real reform of the state's already draconian drug laws - even though the existing laws have caused Kentucky's prison population to triple in 30 years.
As was the case last year, right-wing legislators have introduced a bill to require a prescription to purchase allergy drugs that contain pseudoephedrine - even though federal law says these drugs are over-the-counter. The Kentucky legislature has a hell of a way to drive up health care costs, don't they?
If you've read my work long enough, you remember New America, but now I'm starting to think maybe I made a big mistake. The Tenth Amendment doesn't give states the right to run roughshod over individual liberty.
In addition to this bill, the War on Drugs zombies are also trying to drain another level from the beleaguered public in the form of a bill filed by right-wing extremist Rep. Lonnie Napier (R-Lancaster). This bill would mandate that anybody who gets Medicaid or government benefits must take a drug test.
I shouldn't even have to tell you how outrageous it is to force people to prove their own innocence for an offense they haven't even been personally accused of. Even if a person is accused of a crime, the burden of proof is supposed to be on the prosecution. Furthermore, this bill discriminates against the poor by applying primarily to them. The bill is in fact unconstitutional, as it violates due process protections and the safeguards against unreasonable searches. A federal court has already ruled a similar program in Michigan unconstitutional!
Napier's bill is different though in that it applies not only to welfare recipients but also anybody who gets disability, veterans benefits, or Social Security. (Even if it didn't, we'd still be against it.) Those programs aren't welfare. In fact, the word welfare appears nowhere in the bill. The bill covers all "monetary public assistance" – not just welfare. Seniors who get Social Security receive their aid in the form of a check - i.e., money! Do you really think Social Security pays folks in plastic trinkets and Xbox points?
This bill is about drug-testing 95-year-old war vets and mentally disabled nursing home patients just as much as it's about testing young mothers on welfare.
State control of federal programs?
This opens up a whole new can of baste. Disability and Social Security are federal programs. States are allowed to supplement disability, but - surprise, surprise - Kentucky doesn't in most cases. For most Kentuckians who get these benefits, it comes wholly from Uncle Sam - not a bit of state involvement.
So how can the state control who's eligible for a federal program?
Well, how did the state manage to pass a law to allow warrantless searches of cars parked on a school parking lot? You'd think the Fourth Amendment would trump the Kentucky Revised Statutes any day, but who are we kidding?
The drug-testing bill has already proven to be massively unpopular. One blog called Napier a "rethuglican oxygen-stealing excuse for a legislator" and "vicious, mouth-breathing fucker and a disgrace to the human race." Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo was called a "fake Democrat" for backing Napier's extreme-right bill. Somebody on another website called the bill "the dumbest idea that can easily be imagined." Others have pointed out what occurred in Michigan: Before Michigan's drug-testing law was thrown out, the state tested 268 people - but the tests indicated that only THREE turned out to be using hard drugs (and that's counting false positives).
If only Brossart had such a low rate of drug abuse. I know steroid misuse ran rampant when I was there (because a student athlete admitted it to me), but heaven forbid Brossart is held to the same tough standards as a blind, elderly veteran. (I don't support drug tests of student athletes either.) Plus, spending money on drug-testing government benefit recipients when only 3 of every 268 are on drugs isn't even cost-effective.
Mr. Rogers' neighborhood
Kentucky's imminent regression regarding drugs can be blamed largely on right-wing U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. Rogers has been nosing around in state lawmakers' doings, and it's largely he who is for these drug warrior bills - especially the pseudoephedrine measure.
Why is a member of Congress meddling in what state legislators do? Last time I heard of anything like this was when Tom DeLay practically drew the Texas congressional district map with his own Magna-Doodle.
Rogers is also Congress's flatulent sentinel of Operation UNITE - a small cadre of drug war cultists that tries to act larger than its feeble following would suggest. Operation UNITE is even planning a rally to support the pseudoephedrine bill - in which they expect all 3 people outside the legislature who support it to participate. Meanwhile, Operation UNITE - which is out there conducting stupid protests - receives taxpayer funding.
How hypocritical can they get? They want the poor to have to take a drug test to get welfare, but there's no conditions at all on handouts for Operation UNITE. (Operation UNITE also refers folks to a "rehab" that is widely considered to be an anti-gay cult.)
As for the drug-testing bill, Lonnie Napier said, "It is essential that we protect those most vulnerable by making H.B. 208 law in Kentucky." You're hilarious, Lonnie, you know that? This is a law designed to hurt the most vulnerable. How does it protect them?
The minion of Napierdom from my district who cosponsored this bill - Rep. Dennis Keene (D-Wilder) - heard from me almost immediately on his Facebook page. To quote what I posted on Keene's page:
Because of his co-sponsorship of H.B. 208, I truly regret ever voting for this guy. If I wanted H.B. 208, I'd vote for that other party.
I'd hate to have to tell it like it is, but our legislators are supposed to be working for us. And I'm smart enough to know when I'm no longer welcome in this state because of my economic class.
Pogrom against poor?
Some have opined that the reason Napier and his allies have become so shrill lately is that they know their ideas are about to lose big, and extremists behave strangely when confronted by defeat. But when I expressed dismay about no longer being welcome in Kentucky for being too poor, I meant it. If the drug-testing bill becomes law, I truly fear it will encourage a violent pogrom against the Bluegrass State's downtrodden.
I believe that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
I do not advocate initial force. But if a violent mob is threatening you or your family, you have a right - an ironclad, inalienable right - to defend yourself. Mob violence is illegal, and participants are as guilty of violent crime as any average street thug. If this bill passes, that's the time you should apply for your concealed carry permit if you don't have one already. I know what right-wing mobs are capable of even without being emboldened by laws that are designed to harm the poor.
You wouldn't object if I encouraged force against a lone home invader - and why should you? So why should it be any different when you're dealing with a classist mob that physically threatens you? The other side boasts incessantly about playing with deadly weapons, so nobody has any business complaining when we urge you to get a permit legal-like.
We will not be intimidated.
THE BAILOUT ARK
Sir Ronald Reagan liked to tell a made-up story about a "welfare Cadillac", but now Kentucky taxpayers may be forced to fund a "bailout ark."
Of course, I speak of the "ark park" - a proposed "young Earth" creationist theme park in Grant County. The park is being planned by the Answers in Genesis cult, which is already known for its laughable Creation Museum - which absurdly claims that dinosaurs lived at the same time as humans.
They're demanding tax breaks to build their new theme park - which is intended to be another venue for their Land Of The Lost fixation. This tax break is in effect a bailout. Not only that, but it's also taxpayer funding of religion. Plus, Answers in Genesis requires all employees to accept its statement of faith. This applies to executives, ticket takers, construction workers, and anybody else who does any work for them. So this bailout would go to an organization that won't even hire many locals!
Let's be honest here: Why not regulate who can get these tax breaks? Welfare recipients can't get aid without a whole twine ball of strings attached. So how can this loopy theme park get a bailout just for the asking?
I thought the Republicans were supposed to be for less government, not more - yet they support bailing out a creationist amusement park. Not like I believed the GOP dog-shit-and-pony-shit show about being for smaller government.
We need to muster the courage to tell the "ark park" and its ilk this: Free ride's over. Pay taxes like everybody else. I'm tired of groveling for minimum wage work just so my tax dollars can go to these silly clowns. It's mighty sad when a man who displays an impeccable work ethic his whole adult life has less to show for it than a goofy-ass cult that tries recruiting children using a ridiculous theme park.
Answers in Genesis (not the first AIG to get a taxpayer bailout) needs to do something more productive like sue themselves because they stubbed their toes looking for the TV magazine from the Sunday newspaper.
MONTHLY MORON MOTORIST
One last gasp for this feature, and then I'm discontinuing it again, alright?
Our Monthly Moron Motorist for October was that unthinking oaf who almost ran us off the road on I-275 on our way to an important family gathering. But for August and September, we've got 3 entries from our Yellowstone and Glacier trip we'd like to roll into this article.
We were tooling westward along Interstate 90 approaching Missoula, Montana (often abbreviated as Mont.) when disaster struck. My intestines commenced to churn. The painful cramping was a telltale sign of a looming Code Orange. And that ain't good.
I popped an Imodium, but it was too little, too late. I needed a gas station. Now.
So we got off the Interstate in Missoula because we surmised that a Conoco station existed at this exit. But an SUV that was in front of us decided to stop right in the middle of the ramp - thereby blocking us.
Um, that was not the time to stop on an exit ramp, brainiac.
Despite this hold-up, I made it to Conoco in the nick of time. The Great Conoco Dump turned out to be pure pooing satisfaction (as the old Wrigley's ad might say). I dared not look back at the tinkletorium to see how much of my handiwork succeeded at making a basket, because it couldn't have been very much. Due to the filth levels in public lavs, I don't sit on public toilets, preferring instead to hover above them. But I felt like a new man after the Great Conoco Dump!
The second Monthly Moron Motorist appeared going back east in rural central Montana. This was on a country road like State Route 200. We saw a small car towing a large PT Cruiser with just a rope attached to the bumper. It looked as if it was ready to jackknife - and when it turned off onto a side road, it almost did. The PT Cruiser almost toppled stone onto its side!
But the biggest imbecile of all was encountered on Interstate 94 in Bismarck, North Dakota. We were bippin' through Bizcream one morn, when we saw this:
That photo is looking back on I-94 to the incident in question.
Clearly, some joker tried towing a boat that was much too tall for that underpass. The boat - when placed upright - was probably twice as tall as the vertical clearance there.
The driver of the vehicle towing the boat was seen sitting alongside the road and bawling his little peepers out. It was immediately clear what had happened: He was some denizen of Bismarck who had just buyed a brand bippus-bustin' new boat. He was taking it to some lake somewhere for Labor Day weekend. He probably made it about a mile before this underpass reduced his shiny new boat to a pile of scrap metal.
I'm no dum-dum. I know that's what happened!
The man wept for the ruinment of his brand new boat and his long weekend. The latter I can sympathize with, after my George Washington Weekend was demolished by a salmonella outbreak back in '89.
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