Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Compassionate Conservatives (Again . . . Still . . . As Good As They Get)

These are the warm and wise people who desperately want to run the country (or believe they are already). Not an ounce of heart or brain in a truckload.

Tea Bag heart-throb of the moment Rick Perry says Social Security is unconstitutional, a Ponzi scheme, and a monstrous lie. He's also told us that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is treasonous and, in Texas, they'd "treat him real ugly." (When it comes to ugliness, Perry oughta know.)

When not consumed with worry about the "Soviet Union", fellow Tea Bag douchebag Michele Bachmann has told us that the recent earthquake and hurricane were God's vengeance for government spending. (These days, God seems to be strangely preoccupied with American politics.)

With complete seriousness, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said he will do all he can to make sure that any money spent for Hurricane Irene disaster relief is completely paid for with equivalent budget cuts. If not, says Eric the Ass-wipe, all you hurricane victims can just hurry up and die. (You first, Eric.)

Mitt Romney, who has some nice suits and an expensive haircut but not much else on his mind, has echoed the Roberts Court with his opinion that "corporations are people, too." (No they're not, Glove. They're just fuckin' not!)

President Obama wants to address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday to talk about jobs and the economy. Weeper of the House John Boehner told the President, "No thanks, we'll be busy that evening washing our hair." (Jesus frickin' Christ, now we're gonna argue about calendars and our busy schedules? Must every little thing turn into a hostage situation?)

And there's good old (and I do mean old) Ron Paul. He's a Libertarian and an ideologue's ideologue. I give him props for his purity and consistency of message -- his dying words will be something about the gold standard -- but he's strictly Looney Tunes. His sincere belief is that government has no legitimate role in society. None. So, fuck you for good, buddy. You're on your own. (Nice!)

God help us! None of these idiots should run a pop stand, let alone our country.

Michele Bachmann Photo Captions

In the last two weeks, we got some funny captions to this viral Mad Michele photo:

"Marcus always likes it when I do this."

"I learned this trick from my good friend, God."

"Mayo -- where's the mayo? I love mayo!"

". . . and this is how I handle a stimulus package!"

At least she can't say anything stupid when her mouth is full.

After polishing off the dog she said, "You like that? You should see me eat a taco. Meeowww!"

"I'm a great multi-tasker when I'm kneeling -- this and praying!"

What the hell is [name of old friend who lives in Georgia deleted] doing in the picture (lower left corner)? He looks kinda happy. You don't suppose . . . he's in line?"

"Let's see Rick Perry do this!"

"When it's this long, that's what I call 'intelligent design'!"

"What?! You're tellin' me this phallic food was prepared by a gay man? Eeeww! I gotta 'pray away the gay'!"

"Linda Lovelace had nuthin' on me!"

Friday, August 26, 2011

"I'm A Social Liberal, But A Fiscal Conservative." Huh?

Have you ever had someone tell you that they're a social liberal, but a fiscal conservative? I have, and I bet you have too. And it's a load of hypocritical horseshit!

Just about everybody I know is fiscally conservative by nature. I don't run with anybody in the proverbial C-note-for-a-snot-rag crowd. We're all trying to be financially responsible. No one is purposely wasting money.

So what's up with this peculiar statement of personal philosophy? Every time I hear it, it comes from those who I know to be a good, decent, reasonable people. They probably are, for the most part, socially liberal. They are, without fail, genuinely middle-class, middle-tax-brackets people. They're not rich enough to be real Republicans. But they're offering up the "financially conservative" disclaimer as a half-assed rationalization/apology for voting Republican, because . . .

1. They may in some financial difficulty and are hoping (in vain) that the Reaganista/Dubya doctrine of tax-cuts-for-the-rich-trickling-down-to-all-of-us will actually be their salvation, or

2. They're in the corporate world and they've been buffaloed by their bosses or co-workers into voting Republican as a supposed form of job security, or

3. Despite the professed social liberalism, deep down they are Scrooge in the flesh -- skinflint, tightwad, fuck 'em cheap; unwilling to part with a penny to help the less fortunate, or

Oh, hell, that's enough! We're all fiscally conservative. If you call yourself a social liberal, then you're, well, a Liberal. Nuthin' wrong with that, and nuthin' to apologize about. So says Buster.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ironic Thursday With Kasich, Miami, And Pryor

How ironic! Yesterday, the Republican leaders of our state government -- Gov. John Kasich, House leader Bill Batchelder, and Senate leader Tom Niehaus, the guys who locked the Statehouse doors while jamming the anti-union Senate Bill 5 down our throats -- held a press conference to announce that they were suddenly willing to renegotiate and compromise on SB 5, if only the opposition group We Are Ohio would first pull its SB 5 repeal referendum (Issue 2) off the fall ballot. We Are Ohio and union leaders said they'd be happy to yank Issue 2 and talk things over, if only the Republicans would first pass legislation to completely kill SB 5. Ha-ha! Bite me, John-Boy!

Yesterday also brought news of a brewing scandal at the University of Miami. Yahoo Sports reported that both the Hurricane football and basketball programs have for years been absolutely awash in booster cash, recruiting violations, and a multitude of NCAA infractions, and many Miami higher ups were well aware of it. Ironically, despite all the unfair advantage, the recent-vintage Hurricanes have consistently fielded mediocre teams.

And today the NFL announced that ex-OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor will be eligible for the league's supplemental draft. Before "Tattoo-gate", Pryor was generally thought of as Mr. Clean. Afterward, his sins began to surface and he bolted for the NFL, but it was too late for the regular draft. He petitioned for entry via the supplemental, selling league officials that he'd been cheating and breaking NCAA rules for so long, he'd be eternally ineligible, so they may as well let him turn pro. Ironic! They bought it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Marcus Always Likes It When I Do This . . ."

Oh, this is fertile territory for a Mad Michele Caption Contest!

The post title is one example. Here's another:

"I learned this trick from my good friend, God . . ."

Add your suggested captions by clicking on the "comments" link beneath the post. You'll be able to see other captions as well. After awhile, I'll re-post the picture with what I hope will be a whole bunch of gut-busting captions.

Ohio R's On SB 5: "Now We'd Like To Compromise"

SB 5 was Gov. Kasich's signature union-busting legislation. Thumbing his nose at widespread opposition, he rammed it through and signed it into law. Whereupon record numbers of petition signatures were gathered and record levels of funds were raised to place its repeal on this November's ballot. And it will be on the ballot as "Issue 2". Please vote No on Issue 2.

Now come reports of secret meetings between the high muckety-mucks on both sides. Suddenly, Ohio Republican leaders are willing to water down SB 5 and act like reasonable human beings if the Democrats will first agree to pull the repeal referendum off the fall ballot. And, say the R's by way of threat, if SB 5 is killed at the ballot box, they'll just reintroduce it bit by legislative bit.

Hey D's, if the R's lips are movin', they're lying! Don't fall for this bullshit! The time for compromise is past. Where was this spirit of reconciliation in February? Now, only when it seems certain that SB 5 will die a well-deserved death, do they talk deal-making. Fuck 'em. And if they think they can get away with reinstituting it piece-meal, well, let'em try.

Iowa "Straw Poll" Condemns Pawlenty To Scrap Heap

Vox Populi! The people of Iowa have spoken (sort of). Results of the Iowa Republican Straw Poll are in: Michele Bachmann came in first, with Ron Paul a close second. Tim Pawlenty was an also-ran.

The Iowa Straw Poll is not be confused with the Iowa Caucuses. The Caucuses come early next year, just before the New Hampshire Primary. The Straw Poll is a preliminary to the preliminaries, and a rather peculiar tradition in which a handful of random Iowans go to county fairs, church bazaars, and lemonade stands to "vote" for their favorite candidate by dropping corn kernels into Mason jars with the candidates photos attached. Mad Michele apparently got the most corn kernels. This exercise in civic duty is statistically valid within a margin of error of plus-or- minus 99%.

Poor Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, hitched his Presidential dreams to this wagon. He said he spent his entire campaign war chest in Iowa and needed to show he was "competitive." Yesterday, he said that his Mason jar contained "just half a dozen corn kernels, a couple cigarette butts, some gravel, and a wad of bubblegum." This, he conceded, was not competitive and so he withdrew from the Presidential race.

Well, they won't have Pawlenty to kick around in the Iowa Caucus! The Caucus is another Hawkeye oddity where the Party faithful enter a gymnasium, stand in clusters representing "support" for each candidate, and try to convince those in other clusters to change their support by moving to a different candidate's group. They talk and mill around and change horses until time is called. It's Cluster-Fuck Musical Chairs! Oh, those Iowans!

One last thought on the way we play these games: There are well over 300 million people in the United States. Iowa is a rural state with 3 million residents, 90% of whom are Caucasian. New Hampshire is a rural state with a population of 1.3 million, 92% of whom are white. By contrast, California has 37 million people of every sort. Yet in our Presidential primary process, Iowa and New Hampshire have much more influence than California. Just sayin'.

Enter The Dick, Uh . . . I Mean The Rick

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced on Sunday he'll seek the Republican Presidential nomination.

Prayerful Perry is a born-again Tea Party conservative Evangelical in cowboy boots with a big streak of cocky arrogance. Those who know him well will say, privately, that Perry possesses "an uncluttered mind." Sound familiar? He plays with guns, and sucks up to John Hagee and to the NRA. Texas proudly leads the nation in executions, low-wage jobs, and lack of health care.

Big Rick has said that President Obama is a Socialist. He has suggested that Texas might secede from the Union (again). At his recent big-ass public prayer meeting (should we not automatically be suspicious of any politician, especially a would-be President, who leads a prayer meeting?), Pious Perry told the throng that "Hope for America lies in Heaven, and we'll find it on our knees," and that "As a nation, we must call on Jesus to guide us."

OK, that's where I get off! Holier-than-thou politicians make me puke. And this highlights the problem for Republicans: they can't attract any reasonable candidates. Bachmann, Ron Paul, Santorum, Palin, now Perry -- all they get is wacked out nut-jobs! Tea-Baggers, Libertarians, and God-Squaders!

The only moderate R is Romney, if you consider Mormonism to be moderation. And he's so moderate, there's nothing there -- just an empty suit with a haircut on top.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Michele Bachmann's Alternate Newsweek Covers

I'm sure you've seen the cover shot of Michele Bachmann on the recent issue of Newsweek. Is this one creepy-ass individual or what?! Wow! Makes my skin crawl.

Anyway, please go to "Buster's Links" in the left column and click the appropriate link. It's a slideshow of 7 alternate covers, courtesy of the "Funny Or Die" website, and it is hilarious!

If some tragic quirk of fate, some cosmic rip in the fabric of the space-time continuum should somehow allow Michele Bachmann to actually become the President of the United States, I will not be accountable for my actions.

Kasich To Close, Sell The State Of Ohio

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has unveiled an ambitious plan for the future of the Buckeye State. In a press release today, Kasich said he will move to privatize the entire state. Having already discussed and/or acted upon the privatizing/leasing/selling off/unfunding of the Ohio Dept. of Development, the Ohio Consumers Council, the state parks, the Ohio Turnpike, the state prison system, the Global Markets division, and half the water in Lake Erie, the Governor said he decided it was time for a "bold" step which relies completely on the free market. His new plan calls for the closing of all state departments, regulatory agencies and universities, and the elimination of all related jobs. These functions will then be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

"It's a tight budget," he said "but I've got to make the hard decisions. It's what I do. So I said to myself, 'Fuck it, just shut her down.' We'll close state government and turn it all over to the private sector. Everybody knows that free enterprise always keeps the public's well-being foremost in mind, so it's really the responsible thing to do. It's the only way to go, and it'll be great!"

When asked what Ohioans could expect henceforth for their tax dollar, Kasich responded, "A balanced budget, really small government, and me."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Standard & Poor's Can Eat My Shorts!

Standard & Poor's, one of the "Big Three" investment ratings companies (the others are Moody's and Fitch) yesterday downgraded the credit rating of the U.S. government. For the first time ever, S&P did not give America its top-of-the-heap AAA rating. The stated reason? The lengthy, ugly and unnecessary fight over raising the debt ceiling. Didn't we go through all this shit specifically to avoid the dreaded downgrade? (Yes.)

Let's review. Who turned a routine legislative exercise into a near-disaster? The Republicans, especially the moronic Tea Party faction. Reagan and both Bushies increased the debt limit scores of times, without incident. Obama tries it once, and they want to twist off his nuts.

And who is Standard & Poor's? They, along with Moody's and Fitch, are quite simply Wall Street whores. They make money by doing what Wall Street tells them to do. They are supposed to objectively assess risk/return, but Wall Street first gives them both the question and the answer. These are the same lapdogs who for years blithely handed out AAA ratings to the Street's sliced-and-diced subprime mortgage-backed "collateralized debt obligations". And these completely shitty CDO's were, in large part, what caused the markets to crash in late 2008, resulting in the worst recession since 1929. In any rational world, these so-called "ratings agencies" ought to have zero credibility. Zero.

And what about Wall Street, the owners of these obedient lapdogs? Wall Street is the Land of Republicans, real Republicans, the truly wealthy kind who believe any nickel you might have is one they, by rights, ought to have. And what do obscenely wealthy genuine Republicans despise more than anything? A Democrat in the White House. And OMG, he's half-black to boot! Even worse!

So am I saying that the big-money R's would stage-manage a faux crisis over a non-issue and enlist sluts like S&P to do their down-grade bidding and intentionally trash the economy in a bald-faced attempt to unseat a black Democrat President and install a friendly, white, look-the-other-way Republican in the Oval Office?

You're goddam right I am!

Friday, August 5, 2011

J.T. Who?

Yesterday, several incoming freshmen on the Ohio State Buckeye football team wore JT wristbands to honor and remember ex-coach Jim Tressel, who recruited them to OSU. Today, the university sheepishly ordered the players to remove the wristbands and return them to the seller for a refund. Said it had something to do with NCAA compliance, sort of, maybe. Yeah, sure.

Party poopers!

It's A Spiritual Thing

Warren Jeffs is the leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a small breakaway sect of the Mormon church. One of the things the FLDS believes is most fundamental is a grown man's right to have sex with 12 year old girls. That's why they had to break away from "mainstream" Mormons. (Oxymoron?)

Having carried polygamy to extremes, Jeffs has been in jail for a couple years and is now on trial for sexual abuse of his many under-age "wives". Naturally, Jeffs asserts that he is being persecuted for his "religious" beliefs, and claims he is "spiritually" wedded to these young girls.

He added that after spiritual sex with a spiritual wife, he often enjoys a spiritual cigarette.

Enjoy fuckin' prison, Warren. A very large, very friendly, very adult male cellmate will be pounding you in the ass for the next twenty years.

Know Your Evil Puppet-Masters

The next big election is still 15 months away, yet the big-money far-right fat cats are already buying up big chunks of air time to sow the seeds of misinformation and pander to the lowest and dumbest among us. For over a week, we've been bombarded with an anti-Obama ad from a group known as "Americans For Prosperity", and also with an anti-Sherrod Brown ad from another group called "American Crossroads".

For the record, "Americans For Prosperity" is a front for the notorious Koch brothers, while "American Crossroads" is headed by Fox-wad and former Bush's brain Karl Rove. The putrid decision from the Roberts' Court in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case gave a virtual blank check to these people and their corporate interests, and they've wasted no time in using it to twist and manipulate public opinion. Plenty more to come, and it'll be awful.

Our country is for sale. Bastards like the Kochs and Karl Rove and Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes are trying to buy it. We cannot let the sale go through.

What's More Important Than Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars? Union Busting!

Have you followed any of this ridiculous FAA situation? The U.S. Senate takes an annual August vacation. But after all the time-wasting debt-ceiling crapola, this year they left town without providing funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. This meant 4,000 FAA employees were laid off, airport construction projects were halted, and the agency was legally barred from collecting ticket taxes. So far, in roughly two weeks, this has cost the federal government $400 million in lost revenue. (The funding issue in question is a subsidy extension for smaller rural airports that costs $200 million a year -- a mere drop in the federal bucket. Today, the Senate cobbled together a temporary extension of funding through September 16th. Goody.)

So what's the problem? Republicans are again playing the extortion/hostage-taking card. (This is their new favorite M.O.) They want to tie approval of this routine, insignificant FAA subsidy to a larger transportation bill. And the R's want that bill to include language to make it harder for airline and railroad workers to unionize. (Hello, people of Ohio and Wisconsin! Sound familiar?) Current rules allow a union to form with a "yes" vote from the majority of those voting. The R's want it to be a super-majority of all employees, with all non-voting members counted as "no" votes.

So that's what it's all about; that's the real Republican agenda. These are the great fiscal conservatives, the fiduciary watchdogs, the protectors of our pocketbook who constantly lecture us about debts and budgets. These same geniuses do not give a flying fuck about pissing away hundreds of millions of revenue dollars if they can bust a union or two while they're at it.

The next time the R's trot out their old song and dance about how they're so prudent and the D's are so wasteful, call Bullshit on 'em!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Debt Ceiling Deal Done. Yippee.

One of the stupidest, most nauseating episodes in American politics has, mercifully, ended for now. On a brand-new page in the playbook, crazoid R's succeeded in tying a routine debt deal to the Tea Party wish-list, and threatened a disastrous federal default unless they got their way. Obama and the D's blinked, and agreed, in the short run, to big spending cuts with no new revenue in exchange for no more of this horseshit until after the next election.

And it is total horseshit! Please remember who brought you these road-apples.

Just one example of the iniquity in this deal: The R's will cure our "spending problem" by making post-grad Stafford Loan recipients start repaying their student loans immediately (like right-the-fuck now, while still unemployed and working to get that MBA or that PhD). Collecting that student loan interest immediately is obviously much more important than trying to squeeze another tax nickel from multi-millionaires.