The Last Word (tm) SURPRISE!
Vol. 15/No. 6 - 392nd issue - July 17, 2003
Bathroom Bandit, editor-in-chief - serving Bellevue, KY, from New America
firstname.lastname@example.org - http://www.todayslastword.org
blog blogga blog at http://bandit73.pitas.com
SUPREME COURT DOESN'T UNDERSTAND FIRST AMENDMENT
Isn't it nice to know that open scoffers against the First Amendment are allowed to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court?
Supreme Court Justices, members of Congress, and the President take a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution, and they're supposed to be bound by it - not just because it weighs on their conscience (something many in the government lack) but because it's their legal duty. When that oath is violated, they are constitutionally disqualified from the office they hold.
Some of the Constitution is open to varying interpretations - but if there's one thing that's completely unambiguous, it's this:
"CONGRESS shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, OR OF THE PRESS or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Yes, I said CONGRESS.
And yes, I said NO LAW.
Don't like it, Supremes? Then you might be able to catch the next flight to North Korea if you hurry!
Last month, the Supreme Court dealt what is perhaps the most flagrant blow to the First Amendment since it was written, ruling 6 to 3 that the federal government can force public libraries to install censorware on Internet terminals accessible to patrons - even though the software censors websites that are not pornographic and was found to be far more likely to censor liberal sites than conservative sites.
How did they manage to find 6 people who can't grasp what any semiliterate clod can see is plainly written in the Constitution?
The law that mandates this censorship was not passed by a private business but by CONGRESS. You know - the people who the First Amendment specifically says aren't allowed to make such laws. Of course - contrary to neoconservative propaganda - the intent of the framers of the Bill of Rights was not just to prohibit the federal government from suppressing free speech but also to bar state and local government from it as well, and the more liberated judges and lawmakers have long accepted this under the Ninth Amendment and later the Fourteenth Amendment. Now the public is no longer protected from either Congress or the states - a mind-boggling step backwards to colonial times.
Congress since the 1994 election has been a rogue one. As in Iraq or the old Soviet Union, many so-called "elections" (especially in Florida) have had only one candidate on the ballot (usually a Republican, even in areas where the Republican would have lost if they had an opponent). Many other "elections" since 1994 have been rigged. The 1990 and 2000 censuses, which were used to apportion House seats, were also the two least accurate ever, showing suspiciously large population gains in the most Republican areas. If not for these facts, the GOP would not have seized Congress in 1994 in the right-wing revolution that the media fawned over but was reviled by the public, and they would not have won Congress since then.
The authority of Congress since the 104th Reich is constitutionally null and void because of the lack of fair elections. A main function of the Supreme Court is to decide if laws are constitutional - which should include overturning a large percentage of the right-wing kookfroth that has spewed from the rogue Congress. So what's their excuse for upholding something as blatantly unconstitutional as Congress's electronic book burning?
Chief Justice William Rehnquist growled, "The Constitution does not guarantee the right to acquire information at a public library without any risk of embarrassment." Huh?
A few libraries have turned down federal funds so they can continue to offer uncensored terminals, but most libraries can't afford to stay open without the funds. This is exactly like a library being shut down for not using a marker to blot out every instance of the word "fuck" in the books it carries.
Rehnquist was joined in his main opinion by Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas, and by a separate opinion from Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy that had the unmitigated effrontery to declare that the First Amendment was outweighed by the interest in protecting children from "inappropriate" content. Uh, the ruling applies to adult patrons, geniuses. Just as bad as this, David Miller of Cincinnati-based Family Friendly Libraries, a right-wing group, gushed that, because Internet search engines often return more sites than a person has time to read, he thinks it's no big loss if one site gets blocked for something like the word "spot" containing "pot".
Then why don't we just ban the Internet, TV, and music altogether and lock ourselves in a sensory deprivation chamber?
The Far Right was afforded yet another opportunity to joyously cum a gaping hole in their trousers when it was reported that the Supreme Court decision widened the Internet access gap between the rich and poor, especially regarding controversial topics, since those who still cannot afford their own connection must rely on libraries for 'Net access.
The poor were similarly afflicted last year when right-wing activists in Stevens County, WA, launched a crusade to close 7 county libraries, using the excuse that "there are other ways to get books rather than libraries" - although the closest bookstore was 40 miles away. The libraries had been approved by voters in 1996, but conservatives - being the sore losers they are - refused to accept their loss.
In Piqua, OH, censorware at Flesh Public Library (named for businessman Leo Flesh) blocked the library's own webpage because "flesh" is a banned word.
And one libe in Kansas reports that it will reject federal funding and shun censorware, because the censorware it used in the past caused computers to crash.
By mandating filtering software, Congress did the exact polar opposite of what it should have done. It should have prohibited publicly funded libraries from using the taxpayers' money to practice this stiff brand of censorship that restricts what mature constituents may read - not mandated it.
We demand the impeachment and removal of Supreme Court Justices who upheld the law requiring censorware in libraries. We also demand the expulsion of members of Congress who voted for this law. They violated their sworn duty to stand for the Constitution of the United States.
ACTIVIST ARRESTED FOR PROTESTING BUSH
If you were teetering on the brink of your chair waiting to see how low the election-stealing Bush regime will stoop to stifle dissent, the suspense may have ended with the arrest and prosecution of longtime South Carolina activist Brett Bursey for daring to protest a visit by the hapless dictator.
At Columbia Metropolitan Airport, 54-year-old Bursey was arrested for displaying a "NO MORE WAR FOR OIL" sign. Officials even told him that the reason for the arrest was "the content of your sign." The official charge? "Trespassing" - even though it was public property and he was standing among thousands of other ordinary citizens when he was nabbed.
"Trespassing" seems to be the catch-all charge lodged by the new Nazis against dissidents - much like our arrest at NKU for publishing The Last Word.
South Carolina authorities dropped this charge because they had no leg to stand on. But he was instantly indicted by right-wing U.S. Attorney Strom Thurmond Jr. on an equally ridiculous federal charge of "threatening" Bush, even though the sign contained no threat or even any mention of any individuals.
Bursey had been charged with "trespassing" at the same airport 33 years ago for daring to protest a visit by Nixon. Back then the South Carolina Supreme Court decided in his favor - but now we've awoken in an America we don't recognize, one where dissent of this sort could bring 6 months in the federal gulag and a $5,000 fine.
The indictment of Bursey is so far-fetched and absurd that 11 members of Congress took the rare step of writing to rogue U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to urge him to drop the case. But apparently Asscrack doesn't know how to read, since the letter was ignored.
A few weeks ago a federal court had the gall to deny Bursey his constitutional right to a jury trial.
His trial has been delayed until late this month, so it's not yet clear whether America will make another political prisoner out of a dissenter against the totalitarian Republican (dis)order.
ANOTHER CITY AGAINST PATRIOT ACT FASCISM
In our previous ish we told you about the bold stand that city officials in Arcata, CA, took against the Patriot Act.
If you think it's just wild and woolly California where cities take such brave stances, we've found another place that blocks Idiot Act enforcement - and this time it's a small Southern town.
In the old mill town of Carrboro, NC, City Council passed a "Bill of Rights defense resolution" that requires federal investigators who visit Carrboro to state their purpose and mandates that the police block unreasonable searches and seizures.
Already the specter of FBI arrests of the mayor and police chief has been raised, but the city is standing its ground.
3 BEAUTIFUL DAYS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD IN PITTSBURGH
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects the right to rest and vacation for all the world's inhabitants, and we took advantage of this provision by basking in the summer splendor of Pittsburgh for 3 days! The Far Right is surely displeased at our enjoyment of a fine American city that is violently despised by their irrational political guild.
Our 1991 Pittsburgh vacation is forever dubbed the "Coke can trip" because a soda can kept crumpling in the middle of the night and keeping us awake. But relatively few humorous incidents were witnessed on this year's vacation trip compared to that and other previous outings. No Band-Aids floating in swimming pools, no "NO SKATEBOARDING" signs ripped down with pliers, no Toucan Sam phonograph records placed inside the Gideon Bibles in motel rooms, no outdoor weddings spoiled by loud cussing. But it was a blast nonetheless!
We left Cincinnati on the morning of Tuesday, July 1, and sped northeast on I-71, then on I-270 around Columbus, and then on I-70 east. At the rest area betwixt Columbus and Zanesville, I was amused to discover that some scoundrel had peed all over the toilet seat in the men's room. We continued on I-70 through Wheeling, WV, and then along the hilly terrain of I-79 from the medium-sized burg of Washington, PA, north to the Pittsburgh suburbs.
In the immediate Pittsburgh area, we ate lunch at the deserted Parkway Center Mall, where the deli counter (the one with the politically correct health food sign) was staffed by some woman who resembled Alice of "The Brady Bunch". Around downtown, many of Pittsburgh's fine bridges and streets were closed for repairs, causing us to drive aimlessly around the city - leading us to roads with such hilarious names as Ernie Street. (Is there a Bert Street?)
Some of the city's river bridges were the same basic design as Cincinnati's Big Mac Bridge, but - as one web page points out - they do not bear a hamburger-related sobriquet. Pittsburgh also has the same terrain obstacles as Cincinnati - but most roads have much better shoulders than back home, except a few such as PA 60 east of I-79. (Roads that appeared to be newly repaved tended to lack adequate shoulders, thus exemplifying how America has regressed in this postdemocratic era.)
Now that this article has satisfied Roads Scholars, radio enthusiasts will be enlightened to be told that Pittsburgh is like other American markets these days in that its radio stations are horrid - and ill-matched for what is otherwise a marvelous city.
Pooing is cool.
We toured Pittsburgh's northwest suburbs up to Coraopolis (which resembles Ludlow) and found more roads with bizarre names. The funniest is Moon Clinton Road. The political correctness of the present-day prohibition movement seems to have run amok as Beers School Road has been renamed to University Boulevard, even though the original name was not a reference to campus drinking. (A member of the secret "steering committee" that recommended the name change has gloated that the change will "improve the overall image of the central business district.") We checked in to the Red Roof Inn near the airport - then returned downtown for one of Pittsburgh's most notable cultural offerings: PNC Park, the new home of baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds almost blew a win over the Pirates, and while we were at the game, the toilets in the men's room at the stadium overflowed and a group of kids kept throwing M&M's off the walkway and hitting people on the sidewalk below. My dad caught a baseball that Reggie Sanders tossed to the spectators.
Wednesday was no less of a spectacle, as we visited many residential areas and ended up at Monroeville Mall, where a group of women tried to use the men's restroom because the ladies' room had flooded. We then went back to downtown, where we ate at the food court at Fifth Avenue Place (the penis-shaped skyscraper), where someone had strewn poopy toilet paper all over the floor of the men's bathroom.
We went to another Pirates/Reds game at PooNC Park, where somebody wrote "RECYCLE URINE BEER" on the wall in the men's lavatory. A group of fans kept heckling Adam Dunn throughout the game.
During the game (which the Reds again almost blew) it began to rain. The entire vacation was ruined. Just kidding!
We went home on Thursday, via the US 22 freeway to Steubenville, OH - where Dean Martin Boulevard features guide signs with this goofy picture of Dean Martin that looks like a drawing from a comic book - and OH 7 along the Ohio River back to I-70. When we stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel in Cambridge, OH, we noticed that someone had smeared chewed-up food all over the wall of the restroom.
In total, road trip #44 went satisfactorily.
U.S. CANCELS IRAQI ELECTIONS AND INSTALLS SADDAM LOYALISTS
To hear the media tell its lies, you'd almost be brainwashed into thinking the whole purpose of the Iraq war is to build a democratic Iraq - but now this?
Last month American military commanders ordered that local elections for mayors and other offices in Iraqi cities be halted - so Iraqi military leaders who were loyal to Saddam Hussein could be installed instead. Saddam loyalists have been installed by the U.S. as mayor in about a dozen cities.
Excuses by U.S. forces for its nixing of elections are too numerous to list here.
Needless to say Iraqis are furious.
Protesters in Najaf carried signs asking, "O America, where are promises of freedom, elections, and democracy?"
Well, we think the American people - who saw the 2000 presidential election in the good ol' U.S. of A. effectively voided by the Supreme Court - can answer that question.
DEA COERCES LODGE INTO CANCELING CONCERT
A May 30 concert in Billings, MT, to raise money for NORML to place a medical marijuana referendum on the ballot was censored because a DEA agent threatened to fine the Eagles Lodge where it was scheduled to take place $250,000 if anyone in the audience used illegal drugs - as if it was the lodge's fault if someone did so.
The threatened punishment is part of Bush's misnamed Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act of 2003.
Congress had the audacity to exploit the entirely unrelated Amber alert bill by making this act an amendment to it - so that any member of Congress who voted for the Amber alert bill had to vote for the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act along with it.
A University of Tennessee law professor quickly observed that the drug law is - like other War on Drugs legislation - not about protecting people but part of a culture war, a piece of rightist social engineering.
Worse than this, the law actually makes concerts more dangerous. Suppose a concert hall provides large amounts of water to the audience. The DEA could then trump this up as a sign that the venue tolerates drug use.
One person called the Montana incident "preemptively shutting down a First Amendment-protected event."
This is going on in America - yes, America.
MONTHLY MORON MOTORIST
The Monthly Moron Motorist for June isn't even a contest.
En route to a local restaurant (where we saw a "Weird Al" Yankovic look-alike eating), we were motorin' through the Cov - southbound at 5th & Scott, site the former Spit Eye School and of the first public library ever to be caught censoring our website - when a Civic that was alongside us in the right lane pulled right out in front of us to make a left turn. We missed plowing into the driver's side of the other vehicle by mere inches.
Of course, if a collision did occur, the driver of that car would have probably had her head lopped off, while we would have been able to walk away unscathed.
Wouldn't that have been a satisfying comeuppance for that careless boor?
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(Copywrong 2003. Online edition best suited to be viewed with Internet Exploder 5.)
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