Thursday, October 28, 2010
With the mid-term elections just a few days away, we'll all be grateful when the din of political ads stops. The pundits are predicting big Republican gains. We shall see. Buster would like to offer a few final thoughts on the whole unholy process. Nothing you haven't heard before, but still . . .
"Money Can't Buy Me Love", but it sure can buy you public office.
The Roberts Supreme Court declared that corporations are people too, a decision which, for the first time, allows anonymous and unlimited campaign contributions from all sorts of places. It gave Republican advocacy groups, for the first time, a distinct financial advantage over the Democrats. And they've used it.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (a.k.a. Chamber of Republicans, a.k.a. Chamber of Horrors) has spent an unprecedented $75 million nationally in support of Republican candidates. Might some of this lucre come from foreign countries, or organizations with ties to foreign countries? Maybe, maybe not. No way to tell, and they don't have to tell.
Rupert Murdoch was getting ready for bed when he found a spare $1 million in his pants pocket. He promptly gave it to his good buddy and former employee John Kasich. As a counter-measure, Buster immediately made a $25 contribution to Ted Strickland.
By hook and by crook, the Portman campaign raised four to five times more money than Lee Fisher's did. And unless Portman is discovered eating live babies for breakfast, that's all it takes. Game, set, match to Robbie in an easy win.
CBS News reports that the average seat in the U.S. Congress now "costs" $4 million, and all-time high.
Endless repetition of lies and bullshit buzzwords works.
It's said that if you repeat a lie often enough, a lot of people will come to accept it as the truth. Historically, the Democrats have been semi-reluctant to use such disgraceful tactics, because they're . . .uh, disgraceful. The Republicans, on the other hand, fully embrace low-down muck-wallowing and are always ready to give us the horseshit hard-sell and lie like rugs as long as it gets them elected. And it looks like it might do just that. A small sampling:
"Failed" stimulus ["Failed" is a hot word. "Failed" anything.]
"Government-run" health care
"Government take-over" of health care
"Has cost us [insert a really big number] jobs"
"On our side"
"Not one of us"
"Nancy Pelosi's [insert anything here]
The average American voter has an unmatched ability to forget what happened to him ten seconds ago.
Our recent Great Recession/Depression began on George W. Bush's watch. It resulted from years of relentless Republican-led deregulation of our financial system.
Our economy has been shedding jobs for a decade. The Crash of '08 certainly sped the process, but the problem is systemic and many of these jobs are never coming back.
The vast majority of the current federal deficit results from Dubya's tax cuts and his military spending spree.
Nutshell: We had 8 years of Bush, and Republican control for 20 of the last 30 years, but the average American voter has forgotten all that and is mad as hell because Obama hasn't fixed everything in 20 months. (FDR was well into his 2nd term before the First Great Depression began to ease up.) Due to Republican policies, the average American voters' investments/401 K's took heavy hits, but now many of those average American voters are ready to happily cast their vote for some ass-faced ideologue who wants to privatize Social Security. They're pissed off about Wall Street bailouts but they're gonna vote for some right-wing douchebag who wants to give tax breaks to Goldman Sachs.
The average American voter is an idiot. Not you, of course.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Pete Rose was an exceptional baseball player, but is a cocky, stubborn, dishonest dipstick of a human being. The "Hit King" was permanently suspended from baseball in 1989 for betting on ball games, including betting on games involving his own team. For many years thereafter, Rose adamantly denied everything. He never, ever bet on any baseball game. Then he eventually recalled that, well, yeah, he did bet on baseball, but he never, ever bet on his own team. Until he ultimately remembered in 2004 that, well, yeah, he did that too. All the while, he distanced himself from his former teammates, hung out in Vegas, and cultivated a cock-of-the-walk gambler's lifestyle. (A high-roller in a what's left of a ridiculous Prince Valiant hair-do.)
Now, after a mere 21 years, Rose says he finally "gets it." He says he has recently talked to Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan to try to patch things up, and told them he was "sorry if I caused any embarassment over the years."
If, Pete? Seriously? If??? What a fuckin' blockhead!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Nevada F-tard and Tea-Bag Senate candidate Sharron Angle was recently captured on video addressing a group of Hispanic students. For some reason she felt compelled to tell these students that they "looked a little more Asian" to her. She said that if elected, she'd push for new laws requiring all Hispanics to wear sombreros and hold tacos, while all Asians would carry big TI-84 calculators and perform complex math calculations upon request.
Yes, the good Lord is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful, omnipresent and omnipotent, but somehow he's just not very good with money. No matter how many bajillions of dollars are contributed to his various churches, and despite tax-exempt status, they always need a little more!
The latest to come up a little short is the well-known Crystal Cathedral, founded by California televangelist Robert Schuller. The church filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy today, citing large drops in memberships and donations. The business of saving souls ain't what it used to be.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Yesterday, accompanied by the lovely Mrs. Gammons, I attended the "Moving America Forward" rally on the Oval at OSU. This was a Democratic get-out-the-vote stem-winder promoted for perhaps two weeks via email and a few campus flyers. Gates were open at 5:00, with the program starting at 6:15.
With so little advance publicity, ol' Buster figured on a modest turnout. We got there around 5, and boy, was ol' Buster wrong. At that point, the line to enter the Oval was already backed up to the stadium and halfway around it. (Eventually, the line completely encircled the stadium.) Once the line started moving, it us took an hour to reach the security gates at the entrance. It was the airport drill -- empty your pockets, walk thru a metal detector. (Somehow, I beeped and was wanded. The officer kept asking if I had an artificial hip or knee. No I don't, thank you very much. Do I look that fuckin' bad? Maybe I do.)
As we made our way onto the Oval, it quickly became obvious that this was going to be a really big crowd. Already there were many thousands of people. We got as close as we could and the podium was still just a speck visible only to those over 6 feet tall. And behind us, they kept coming and coming. Officially, they put the total at 35,000 people. The rallies later this month in D.C. -- Jon Stewart's "Restoring Sanity" and Steven Colbert's "Keeping the Fear Alive" -- will draw more, but they have nightly TV shows to help them. I thought that a turnout of 35,000 via email was pretty damn impressive. Just to be there was awesome!
There were singers and preachers and the Central State University drum line. John Legend performed. We heard from Mayor Mike, Mary Jo Kilroy, Yvette McGee Brown, Lee Fisher, and Ted Strickland. John Glenn made a nice little speech. The headliners were, of course, Barack and Michelle Obama. The whole thing was a worthwhile 4 hours of constant standing. My sore back was small price to pay.
I got several compliments on my "Health Reform Is A BFD" t-shirt. Also had an old lady ask me what my shirt meant. I explained that it was what Joe Biden whispered to Obama at the signing ceremony for the health reform bill. The old gal said, "Yes, but what does BFD mean?" So I told her. I get a perverse sense of pleasure from shocking old ladies!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
(Below are a few excerpts from Matt Taibbi's article "Tea and Crackers" in the 10/14/10 issue of Rolling Stone. If you've never read Taibbi, you should. He's one of the best and funniest political writers working today. If you want to read the full article -- it's worth it -- just click on the article shown under Buster's Links.)
TEA & CRACKERS. How corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party monster. By Matt Taibbi
It's taken three trips to Kentucky, but I'm finally getting my Tea Party epiphany exactly where you'd expect: at a Sarah Palin rally in Louisville. Scanning the hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn't a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Reagan impression -- "Government's not the solution! Government's the problem!" -- the person sitting next to me leans over and explains. "The scooters are because of Medicare," he whispers helpfully. "They have these commercials down here: 'You won't even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!' Practically everybody in Kentucky has one."
A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can't imagine it.
Vast forests have already been sacrificied to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it's going. But after a lengthy study of the phenomenon, I've concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They're full of shit. All of them.
So how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby for lower taxes for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street? Easy. Beneath the surface, the Tea party is little more than a weird and disorderly mob. But they do have a few things in common:
One: Every single one of them was that exceptional Republican who did protest the spending in the Bush years.
Two: Each and every one of them is the only person in America who has ever read the Constitution or watched Schoolhouse Rock.
Three: They are all furious at the implication that race is a factor in their political views.
The Tea Party is millions of pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid by the banks that advertise on Fox and CNBC.
Buried deep in the anus of the Bible Belt, in a little place called Petersburg, Ky., is one of the world's most extraordinary tourist attractions: the Creation Museum, a kind of natural history museum for people who believe the world is 6,000 years old. It's a glimpse into today's fundamentalist conservative Christian worldview. One exhibit depicts a half-naked Adam and Eve sitting in the bush, cheerfully keeping house next to dinosaurs -- a telling demonstration of this demographic's unmatched ability to believe just about anything.
Tea Partiers aren't racist. They're just earth-shatteringly stupid and willing to believe the fantasy that white people are some sort of oppressed minority.
This, then, is the future of the Republican Party: Angry white voters hovering over their cash-stuffed mattresses holding their kerosene lanterns, peering through the blinds at the oncoming hordes of soccer moms they've mistaken for death-panel bureaucrats bent on exterminating anyone who isn't an illegal alien or a Kenyan anti-colonialist.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Fred Phelps is without a doubt one of the worst human beings ever to have drawn breath on this planet Earth. He's the "pastor" and leader of Westboro Baptist, a "church" in Topeka, Kansas. Phelps and his flock are known for one thing only -- they demonstrate at the funerals of KIA soldiers, yelling derisively and brandishing signs like "God hates fags" and other similarly charming sentiments. Why? Phelps has convinced his followers that dead American soldiers represent God's punishment of our country for being tolerant of homosexuality. (Why, of course. That's only logical. Why didn't I think of that?) And it may be helpful to know that the entire, very small congregation of Westboro Baptist is comprised of Phelps' in-bred, cross-eyed, pointy-headed family members.
There's a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Westboro wackos did their thing at the funeral of a fallen soldier, and the soldier's family is suing Phelps & friends for violating their right to privacy and causing them undue emotional distress. They claim they should not have been subjected to such hateful nonsense at a mournful, personal, private moment. And they're right.
Let's be clear -- Fred Phelps is a gigantic asshole who serves no good purpose in this world. All he does is agitate and provoke with his peculiarly insane brand of hatred, fear and ignorance. His immediate, painful death is devoutly to be hoped for. But . . . even this despicable piece of human filth has his free speech rights, and we've got to take the bad with the good. We may not always agree, but most forms of hate speech are Constitutionally protected. I suspect the Court will rule that this protection extends even to that fuckwad Fred Phelps.
(Minor clarification -- Phelps' dipshits do not actually crash funeral services or burials. Generally, they stay on roadsides or street corners in the general vicinity of the church or funeral parlor. This in no way excuses their behavior or their message. It is purely awful.)
If there is any silver lining in allowing Phelps to continue his demented demonstrations, it may be as a teaching device: If we cannot ignore him, we can hold him up as the prime example of what not to do, what not to be; a caricature of a paranoid, hate-filled man; a pathetic waste of a life. Don't be that guy!
Last Thursday was a slow news day here in Columbus. The top story on the local TV newscasts concerned an attempt during our annual Italian Festival to break the record for The World's Largest Meatball. All week long, we'd followed the meatball's progress -- how it was made, the construction of a special container in which to cook it, how long it would bake. Fascinating. If our meatball would just come out of the oven weighing 750 pounds or more, the glorious record would be ours.
After many hours of baking, our meatball was done. Off to the official weigh-in. Alas, it tipped the scales at "just" 655 pounds. Some shrinkage had occurred. When interviewed, the meatball protested that it had just been swimming and would recover to its normal size in just a few minutes.
Sadly, the second story that evening was about the death of a 4 year old child due to a drug overdose. It seems the poor little girl wasn't feeling well and couldn't get to sleep. Her mother pondered what to give her: "A cough drop? No. Some children's Tylenol? No. Maybe some chicken soup? Nah. Wait -- I've got it! Yes! Synthetic heroin!" That's right, Mom was a junkie who fixed her daughter up with a big dose of Methadone. Fixed her for good. Meatballs and Methadone. What a world.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
(Borrowed from Michael Feldman's "Whad'Ya Know?" on NPR)
Republicans have just issued a clarification to their recent "Pledge To America". A party spokesperson explained that it is easiest to think of the "Pledge" as a sort of "Twelve Step Program For America," with those steps being:
6. Don't think so
7. Not likely
8. When pigs fly
11. What part of "no" don't you understand?