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

Friday, June 29, 2012

"Constitutional? So F***ing What?"

That's the unsurprising attitude of Republicans in the wake of yesterday's landmark decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. After months of congratulating themselves in advance and cautioning against "spiking the ball" in excessive victory celebration, the decision went the other way and they are pissed. And when things don't go their way, the R's always behave like petty, vindictive, spoiled children.

Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Eric Cantor have already flipped off the Court and the President and vow to repeal the ACA no matter what. Not one word about actual health coverage or benefits to real people -- just vitriolic sour grapes over their unexpected loss.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich and his Insurance Director Mary-Mary-Quite-Contrary Taylor are digging in their heels already, resisting the ACA's requirement to set up a state-run insurance market/exchange. And they're not sure if Ohio will go the expanded Medicaid route. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has already said that his state will not do a damn thing to comply with the law. Just "fuck it", eh Bobby?

Mitt Romney's been campaigning against the ACA with a "repeal-and-replace" mantra that was shaky to begin with, and now looks like really weak shit. The Glove is the Godfather of ObamaCare, his Massachusetts health care law being the blueprint for the federal model. Why should we repeal a good and constitutional law, Willard? Death panels are fine and dandy at the state level, but awful at the federal? I think the Glove will now be shutting up on this issue.

Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that the law's penalty for failing to carry insurance will effectively operate as a tax (which it does). Government has the power to tax, and he therefore wisely declined to invalidate the ACA over a semantic detail.

So now the R's are going to go off on another of their anti-tax tirades, and try to club Obama to death with the T-word: "It's a tax. Roberts said it was a tax! Big government!! Tax, tax, tax!!!!"

In a speech yesterday at a medical supply company, Ohio's adorkable pre-pubescent Senatorial candidate Josh Mandel called the ACA "the biggest tax increase in history" and said that, as Senator, he'd make sure we have judges "who understand the Constitution." (You mean, like you do, Joshie?) Mandel went on to claim that the law will mean job losses at small companies "just like this one." The host company's president told Mandel that wasn't necessarily so. Mandel replied that he thought he'd heard somebody say something like that, somewhere, at some point. Josh closed by reminding those assembled that he was a Marine.

The last moment of Republican graciousness occured when John McCain phoned Barack Obama to concede the election and offer his best wishes. But that was three and a half years ago, and lasted about 30 seconds. Since then, it's been a non-stop shit storm.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The ACA Lives!

WASHINGTON -- The individual health insurance mandate is constitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, upholding the central provision of President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act.

The 5-4 majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, upheld the mandate as a tax, although concluded it was not valid as an exercise of Congress' commerce clause power. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined in the majority.

(Wow! Are you as happily flabbergasted as I am??)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If The Court Kills The Mandate . . .

Obamacare and the Mandate Hype
by Ethan Rome, Executive Director, Health Care for America Now
(published 6/25/12 in the Huffington Post)

During the two years Health Care for America Now (HCAN) campaigned to win health care reform, and in the two years since, we've never organized a "mandate" rally. Political opponents of the law insist that the mandate is the "heart" of the law, but it's not. The heart of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the expansion of coverage to more than 30 million people and the elimination of the worst insurance company abuses.

Proponents of the law have said a lot about the mandate, and there are good reasons for that. The law will work best if everyone has insurance, and the mandate is one of the best ways to ensure everyone is covered. If more people have insurance, insurance becomes cheaper and better for everyone.

But the mandate is not the only way to achieve affordable coverage with strong consumer protections. The mandate is a tool, a mechanism, a means to an end -- not the end itself. The extreme things that have been said about the mandate have been overblown. Groups like the Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity mislead the American people and use the mandate as a ruse to obscure the dozens of ways the law helps millions of Americans.

I expect the court to uphold the entire law because the ACA is constitutional, and to do otherwise would impose a massive judicial intervention that would harm millions of individuals and businesses benefiting from the law.

But if the court invalidates only the mandate, it won't stop the law in its tracks. The justices will have upheld every single consumer protection, benefit and coverage expansion, including the ban on discrimination against the sick. That's a big deal - the biggest domestic policy change since Medicare and Medicaid.

If the mandate is struck, we will hear that the sky is falling and that the insurance market will crash any moment. The loudest voices will be the insurance companies and congressional Republicans - those who never supported President Obama or his effort to fix our broken health care system. We'll hear from groups like lobbyist-funded FreedomWorks that want to roll back the clock to the days when insurance companies could jack up our rates and deny our care at will. They want to put consumers at the mercy of insurance companies. These are the big corporate special interests that fuel the campaigns of the GOP. They're also the people who lie about the law everyday to seek political advantage in the 2012 election.

Why won't the sky fall? For starters, the mandate is not scheduled to take effect until 2014. So the next Congress has plenty of time to enact an alternative that would encourage broad participation in the insurance market. There is a long list of options, from tax credits to enrollment periods and more.

But changes to the law may not be necessary. The ACA has lots of built-in incentives that can help achieve the goals of the mandate. The most important are the premium subsidies, which allow millions of working and middle-class families to purchase affordable insurance. People don't go without insurance because they don't want it but because they can't afford it. The ACA's subsidies will change that.

We already have 3.1 million adult children getting coverage by staying on a parent's plan. When young adults turn 26, most will have coverage through an employer. For those who do not, the subsidies will make coverage affordable. After enjoying coverage in their parents' plans, they're not likely to suddenly feel reckless and invincible. Instead they'll be inclined to remain insured on their own.

Another rule, known as modified community rating, also helps to stabilize premiums by spreading the risk more broadly. Coupled with the subsidies, this will keep young, healthy people in the insurance market.

The health insurance industry has threatened double-digit rate increases if the mandate is removed. Several recent reports dispute that such increases would be justified. Thankfully, rates in the employer-sponsored group market, which includes 90% of privately insured Americans, shouldn't be affected.

The mandate makes good sense, and losing it would certainly have an impact.

However, if the Supreme Court strikes down the prohibition on discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer, those people would be devastated. Starting in 2014, the law will stop 129 million people with chronic conditions from being overcharged or denied coverage. It will guarantee that no one will be denied health care for being sick.

We'll find out the fate of the law on Thursday, but we already know what the GOP will do. The fight over the ACA is central to the Republican assault on the health and financial security of seniors, small businesses and hard-working families. The assault includes the GOP's non-stop campaign to end Medicare as we know it and dismantle Medicaid, which cares for children, people with disabilities and seniors in nursing homes.

Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security have always been key to the survival and expansion of America's middle class. Obamacare is bridging the gaps in the protections those programs provide.

Soon we'll know whether the Roberts corporate court will use the ACA decision to side with consumers and small businesses or bow to big corporations and the Republican Party.

A nation is watching and waiting.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Robbie Portman: Zombie Hunter

In the War on Drugs, it's Rob Portman 1, Flesh-Eating Zombies 0.

Following a recent string of attacks around the country involving people who ingested the synthetic drug known as "bath salts" and then attacked victims and ate their flesh, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman introduced an amendment to a Senate FDA bill that would implement a federal ban on the substance.

The bill passed the Senate 92-4 on Tuesday and is on its way to the White House, where the president is expected to sign it.

"My amendment to ban these drugs at the federal level will better enable federal and state authorities to combat this growing epidemic," Portman said in a statement after the vote. "Synthetic drugs are blinding some to the point where they lose sight of their own humanity, spurring reckless, horrific acts across the country." (Is he talking about his fellow Republicans?) "By banning these substances at the federal level and authorizing the DEA to pursue the manufacturers of these drugs across state lines, passage of this measure is an important step in reversing this streak of devastating crimes."

The most famous case of bath salt abuse occurred late this spring, when a police officer in Miami shot and killed a naked man on the side of a roadway who he found eating the face of another naked man.

I, for one, am grateful that Senator Robbie is willing to make the difficult yet principled stand against face-eating.

GOP Swears To Tell The "Truth-iness", A Smidgen Of The Truth, And Everything But The Truth

If you trust these bastards, you're a fool.

First, we had the Dispatch headline claiming that the "public is conflicted on health care law." The article said 56% of Americans are against the the Affordable Care Act, and 44% are for it. Even so, it reported that "a strong majority are nonetheless in favor of most of the provisions of the ACA".

As noted by stalwart truth-telling local blogger Dave Girves (click "Dave Girves" under Buster's Links), the piece goes on to explain that over a third of those "opposed" are actually strongly in favor of health care reform, but believe that the ACA didn't go far enough toward a true single-payer, universal care system. (We'll get there one of these days. We must.) So, as Dave points out, the real numbers are more like 64% approve of health care reform, 36% do not. But the Dispatch headline writers had different marching orders.

And then yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that most of Arizona's Nazi-esque, Mexican-cleansing "Show Me Your Papers" law was unconstitutional. The SCOTUS said that immigrants do not have to carry their "papers" at all times, that they are permitted to seek jobs, and that they cannot be arrested without a warrant just because some cop doesn't like the way they look and "believes" they might be deportable. The Court did approve (for now) cops checking the immigration status of those stopped for other possible offenses, but said that this practice could very well at some future point be deemed to be unconstitutional racial profiling. And Buster hastens to add that when Arizona discovers an "illegal" immigrant, all they may do is notify the INS. Barring no other serious crime (like jay-walking or littering), the immigrant is in no serious jeopardy of anything. I'd say that law is pretty much toothless.

That said, the Douchepatch reported that the Court was "split" on the Arizona immigration law and had "kept the state's core policy". The harridan witch governor of Arizona Jan Brewer (just picture her with a pointy black hat) called the ruling "a victory for the rule of law." (Huh?) Mitt The Glove Romney said it "underscores the need for a president who will lead on this issue." (Double-huh?) And Antonin Scalia had an embarassing hissy-fit dissent, railing against Mexicans, Obama, gol-durn furriners, and anyone who wasn't a perfectly American immigrant from Italy such as himself.

These R-tard-o's -- Dispatch, Brewer, Romney, Scalia, et al. -- occupy a different world, an alternate reality. Whose reality will prevail? Scares me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

London Mayor Boris Johnson On Health Care

Boris Johnson is the mayor of London, England. He's a conservative by party and by nature, yet he's a funny guy, an Obama fan and is capable of open-minded, reasonable thought on some issues. (Remember when a few American conservatives could do such things?)

Here's Boris in a short interview in the current issue of Time magazine:

Q: You're a conservative. Can you explain your support for socialized medicine?

A: Americans always look at our system with disbelief and disapproval, but actually we make it work. Nobody goes untreated, no matter how poor or rich they are. I think that is very reassuring for people. I understand the arguments against it, but it's something that everybody buys into, everybody believes in, and it works. It shows there is something that really binds us together.

Making The Perfect The Enemy Of The Good

Last week, President Obama signed an executive order which will allow perhaps as many as a million young illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. indefinitely, probably permanently, without fear of being deported. It's essentially the stalled Dream Act, but skips the actual law-making. This is another of my cousin Barry's "evolving" positions, and it's both a political calculation and a very good idea whose time has come. It may not be perfect, but hey, it's a start -- a step in the right direction.

Republican reaction was predictable. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer howled indignantly (but she's lunatic fringe and she can piss off). The rest of the GOP tried to embrace another of Romney's tortured policy reversals. In the primaries, Mitt was a hard-liner, saying all the illegals should just go "home". Today, the Glove refuses to take a position on Obama's order, saying instead that the Obama policy is not good enough, is short-term, and that instead, he'd have crafted a "permanent" solution.

Making the perfect the enemy of the good is a favorite GOP tactic of the moment. The economy is obviously improving, but the R's say it's not good enough, it's not perfect, so therefore it's just no good at all. Same now with immigration policy -- Obama's idea is good, but not good enough. The R's are not sure what their much better "permanent" solution will be, but they know it will take them a long time to come up with it (decades, maybe never), and it will probably require a tax cut for top-end income earners. Until then, their policy will be to continue to do fucking NOTHING! Because, really, the GOP wouldn't recognize "perfect" if it bit 'em in the ass.

Random Thoughts

We ought to make every politician wear their sponsors' logos on their suits just like NASCAR drivers do! (Josh Mandel might need to wear two suits at once.)

Every day we hear breathless reports of the ups and downs of the stock market, the Dow Jones average, the NASDAQ, etc. But it doesn't have much impact on most folks -- the wealthiest 1% of Americans own 90% of all stocks and bonds.

Is there anything less authentic than Mitt Romney in a checkered shirt and blue jeans?

Borrowing A Riff From Rachel

(This is a paraphrased version of a point often made by the great Rachel Maddow.)


Conservatives are always talking about "small government" being the panacea to all our supposed woes, and how we need to slash spending, cut programs, and do less. OK, fine. If small government means that Social Security fails and Medicare is replaced by vouchers, well, you oughta learn to take care of yourself, buddy. If it means health care costs keep rising and more and more people are uninsured, well, it's your own fault -- if you had a better job you could afford coverage. If it means that federal student loans and grants go away and college costs keep going up, well, you should have saved more money, dumbass. If it means the EPA is abolished for the sake of corporate convenience, well, get yourself a gas mask and a water-purifier. If it means that federal revenues dwindle because of more tax cuts for the wealthy, and that in turn means our roads and bridges continue to fall apart, well, be careful out there.

Yet it's those same conservatives who want their "small government" to spare no effort or expense in examining all female plumbing for any trace of federally-funded contraceptives; who want to punish all unwanted pregnancies with unwanted babies; who want to force their religion upon the entire population; who have no problem using copious amounts of time, money and legislation to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians, to suppress voter turnout, and to bust up organized labor; who want to make sure the majority of the federal budget is spent on the military; and who want to round up 12 million "illegal" aliens, deport them all at once, then construct a 30' electrified fence around the entire goddam country.

Yessir, that's the sort of "small government" that'll solve all our problems.

Not Your Grandfather's Chamber

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a.k.a. the Chamber of Republicans, spent $4 million on the 2004 presidential race. They're spending over $50 million on 2012 race, and they annually spend more than that on lobbying efforts. Where the Chamber was once a gentlemanly, reasonable advocate for general business interests, today's version is strictly a far-right political attack dog.

Their #1 target this year is Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. They're just getting warmed up, but the U.S. Chamber has already run anti-Brown TV spots over 5500 times across Ohio. Each one is a cartoonish, fact-challenged, tour-de-falsehood.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce obviously has tons of money to spend, and counts among its members most of corporate America. Yet the Chamber refuses to disclose exactly who those members are and where their funding comes from. It's the Chamber of Horrors!

When it comes to political advertising, here's Buster's short list of liars, propagandists, and pandering spin artists. Anything sponsored by these outfits is guaranteed to be horseshit:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce
American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS/etc. (Karl Rove)
Americans For Prosperity (the Koch brothers)
Freedom Works (Dick Armey)
60Plus.Org (the pharmaceutical industry)
America's Health Insurance Plans/AHIP (the health insurance industry)
The American Petroleum Institute
Anything from the oil/gas/coal industries

And many others too numerous to mention. All these folks hold the truth in extremely high regard, which is why they use it so sparingly.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Another Wonderful Wedding

That's Bryce and Stephanie Culver at right. They were married last Saturday in Marietta. The lovely Mrs. Gammons and I were lucky enough to be there. 'Twas marvelous, posh, deluxe, and altogether memorable. The food! The drink! The flowers! The 13-piece band! (Glad again I wasn't paying!) And all of our oldest and dearest friends were there. Can't think of anything better. Big thanks to Dr. & Mrs. P, Brent & Marge, Bryce & Steph, and everyone. Loved it!!

From a long list, my two favorite comments of the Marietta weekend:

"I'm not as good as I was at one time, but for one time, I'm as good as I ever was!"

"I woke up looking like Nick Nolte's mug shot."

And I gotta share my favorite old Bryce story, which I've repeated about a million times. If you've heard it before and this is a million and one, I apologize.

Back when we were all young adults, all recent college grads, and some recently married, we'd still reconvene on Sunday afternoons at the Alpha Falfa Rho house or West Lakewood Ave. or some semi-campus locale to watch the Cleveland Browns. This group of lunatics would usually include Jim Goodrich, Matt Swysgood, Chuck LeBar, Craig Alward, Mike Miglets, your humble correspondent, and Brent Culver. Brent was the first among us to procreate, and always brought along the young son "Brycer" to absorb from us the important lessons of Browns fan-hood.

At one of these long-ago Sunday congregations when Bryce was maybe 3 or 4 years old, Cleveland was putzing around and getting beat, the TV broadcast went to a commercial, and strangely, none of us said a word. Sitting there with the big boys, little Bryce broke the awkward silence by saying, "Fucking Browns!" Wonder where he'd heard that?

Totally classic!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Don't Make Me Use My Schwinn!

Ohio has allowed some form of "concealed-carry" for gun owners since 2001. Such permission came in the form of a 12-year license, after passing a required training course. These permits also require our pistol-packin' Buckeye brethren to recertify their gun competency every 12 years, and the first bunch of concealed-carry permit reapplications/renewals will occur early next year.

But in its infinite Republican wisdom, a House panel voted yesterday to remove the 12 year retesting requirement. A Cincinnati weapons instructor opposed to the retesting rule testified before the panel, and offered his opinion that it was unnecessary because "Shooting is a lot like riding a bicycle. You never forget the basics."

Maybe. But it's a hell of a lot easier to kill somebody with a goddam Glock than with a Schwinn!

We're up to our necks in idiots, and the tide is rising.

With A Mercedes, The Pricks Are On The Inside

About 12:30 this afternoon, I'm leaving beautiful, metropolitan Linworth behind and am heading west on Dublin-Granville Rd. Traffic is typical for lunchtime -- moving at 40 to 45 MPH but fairly thick in both directions. Suddenly, a guy in a white Mercedes Benz decides he has to pull out of the Brookside Country Club and make a left turn onto Dublin-Granville, and he has to do it right now, traffic be damned.

There's no room in either direction, but he just pulls out right in front of me anyway. I have to stand on the brakes, and so did eastbound cars. Jesus! It was a minor miracle there was no collision, and it happened so fast no one had time to honk or make the appropriate hand signal.

After I picked my heart up off the floormats and checked my BVD's, I immediately thought of the old riddle, "What's the difference between a porcupine and a Mercedes?"

The answer, of course, is the title to this post.

A Modern Economy Has Universal Health Care

[Excerpted from an opinion column by Froma Harrop, Providence Journal, distributed by Creators Syndicate]

For now, let's drop the talk about wanting a liberal America or a conservative America. What we truly need is a modern America. No country can be modern spending twice what its rich competitors do on health care while leaving millions without any coverage.

If the U.S. Supreme Court declares the essential "individual mandate" in the federal Affordable Care Act unconstitutional — or Republicans throw out the reforms — then it's back to the past, back to the economy-dragging health care mess we've been calling a "system."

Republicans say that Americans don't want top-down government control of their health care. But what we have now is top-down corporate control of health care. Insurers, drugmakers, sellers of expensive equipment, hospital executives, labs, home-health-care services and many unnamed others prosper by exploiting the chaos in our health care system.

Here's the point of an individual mandate requiring the uninsured to obtain coverage. The reforms call for state-run health-insurance exchanges, where the uncovered can find affordable health plans.

The plans can't remain solvent if young and healthy people can choose not to join them, leaving an insurance pool heavy with expensive sick people.

Only government can force order into the jungle of profitable waste and crazy cross-subsidies — most of it piled on the backs of taxpayers and employers. America can't be modern without a system of universal coverage that promotes wise use of health care resources. Let's stop fooling around and get on with it.

[To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.]


He Blinded Me With Science!

Walked into the kitchen today and there was the soon-to-be college sophomore placing eggs into a bowl of water while checking his open laptop. "What are you doing?" I asked. "Making some hard-boiled eggs," was the reply. Pointing at his computer, he said, "It says to float 'em in water first to make sure they're OK." I asked him what comes after that. "Put 'em in a pot and boil 'em," he said.

(For John, the actual cooking of anything by himself is a great leap forward from the peanut butter sandwich -- akin to the caveman's discovery of fire. The fact that he must consult an online "recipe" to boil an egg is funny, but beside the point. He's experimenting!)

"Very good," I said. "Carry on."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Glove's Gobbledegook

The latest in the insufferable Mitt Romney "Day One" ad campaign opens like so:

"What would a Romney Presidency be like? Day one -- Romney announces deficit reductions." OK, stop right there, Willard.

Buster would like to point out that no one, not even the president, can simply "announce" a deficit reduction. Reducing the deficit requires a sustained surplus of revenues over and above expenditures. That means you have to, you know, actually do something to accomplish it.

But the Glove is hoping to persuade some simpletons that he can announce it. He'll just wave his Magic Undies and declare the deficit to be gone.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wisconsin Take-Away

The puppet governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, survived the recall attempt. Not really a surprise, but still a disappointment.

What are the lessons of Wisconsin?

1. Big Money wins. The Walker forces outspent Democratic challenger Tom Barrett ten to one. That's a huge differential. The large majority of that money was corporate and from out of state. Isn't this the very definition of corruption?

2. The average American voter remains an easily manipulated fool. Walker runs ten ads to Barrett's one, and it sways enough dimbulbs to give him a narrow victory.

3. Republicans will claim this as some sort of mandate, and try to tell us it proves that Americans want to be led by union-busting droogies who are beholden to their corporate sugar daddies. Bullshit! Surviving a recall is not a mandate, it's a close friggin' shave! Scotty shouldn't get the big head -- he's damn lucky he still has his job. Some humility and fence-mending are called for. Don't bet on it.

Our present political model is quite discouraging. To rephrase the old maxim:

Money corrupts, and Big Money corrupts Big-Time!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm Not A Hunter And I Don't Own A Gun, But If I Did . . .

. . . I think I'd have to shoot a bunch of squirrels. There's no shortage of them and they're just bushy-tailed tree rats intent on pissing me off.

This year's batch of suburban rodents enjoys digging around in my potted plants and hanging baskets. Burying a nut? Exhuming a nut? Do they know the difference? Just yesterday, I discovered a good-size hole in the center of a previously pretty basket, with a pile of dirt and destroyed flowers on the patio below. Hey, thanks.

All squirrels build nests, but the ones at work in yard must be the worst engineers of the entire species. They always pick the worst spots, where their half-assed constructions are guaranteed to come tumbling down. Instead of schlepping all those branches and leaves all the way up to the tree tops, they could save themselves time and trouble by dumping them directly into the middle of the yard -- that's where they'll wind up anyway. And that's where I'll pick up the mess. Thanks again.

I remember Ben Wade, a neighbor from my youth. He may have had the right idea. Back then, the damn squirrels pissed off Old Ben just like they do me today. So he'd set out a baited cage-trap, and he always snagged a few squirrels. Then he'd put the caged squirrels into a large canvas bag, attach the bag to the tailpipe of his car, and start it up. In a few minutes, the exhaust fumes had done their job and Old Ben had himself a sackful of freshly-gassed squirrels. And then . . . I don't know what the hell he did.

What does one do with a bag of dead squirrels? Maybe Old Ben didn't have the right idea after all.

Kasich Trots Out The "Uncertainty" Baloney

Our fearless leader, John-Boy The Wonder Guv Kay-suck, was on one the Sunday morning shows this week. Glad I missed it. I get nauseous just looking at the guy. But I did hear a clip of his spiel on the radio. Without citing a single fact or example, Kasich just went off on a lengthy rant about "economic uncertainty". It was a litany of party-line complaints about supposed lack of confidence and this awful uncertainty and how it's all Obama's fault and how Mitt and the R's will make everything rosy in about ten seconds.

John-Boy asserted that Obama has caused near-fatal uncertainty in these areas:

Economic growth, meaning the stock market has not sky-rocketed at the speed of Usain Bolt on steroids. The market is flat and we're right to be uncertain. After all, the pre-Obama Great Recession of '08 was caused by stupid GOP policies and Wall Street greed. Since then, the R's have done all they can to de-ball Dodd-Frank and other reforms. And as the recent JP Morgan Chase derivatives debacle shows, Wall Street has learned nothing. Hope we have.

Unemployment/Jobs. Even though our big job losses were a direct result of Dubya's Great Recession, even with budget-based state and local government layoffs, and even thought the GOP blocked Obama's Jobs Act, unemployment is coming down steadily, and GDP is growing steadily. And it sure as hell is not because of you, Gov. Kay-suck.

Over-Regulation. Just where exactly is this blizzard of job-killing regulations that the R's whine about constantly? The Affordable Care Act? The Lily Ledbetter Act? Higher vehicle MPG requirements? Expanded Pell Grant eligibility? C'mon! The R's would have us believe that any and all regulations are inherently evil and we'd be better off if business regulated itself. Bullshit! That sort of thinking made the Cuyahoga River catch fire. Just today, I heard some Republican railing against Obama's "Equal Pay" effort as "another example of the Democrats attack on free enterprise." (That's right, asshole -- the key to the free enterprise system is our ability to short-change females.)

Taxes. Might the temporary Bush tax cuts finally expire? Like they should have two years ago? Romney says he'd make them permanent and promises even further cuts, with the greatest benefits going to the wealthiest, top-bracket individuals. But what if that doggone Obama is reelected? No tax cuts? Oh, the uncertainty! The horrible, paralyzing uncertainty!

Debt/Deficit reduction. Big bullshit call on this one! Republicans have zero credibility on this issue. It was Dubya who turned a surplus into deficit and ran up the debt with unfunded wars and tax cuts. Yes, stimulus spending added some to it, but the alternative was far worse. In the past four years, the GOP has rejected every single opportunity to reduce the debt -- all they care about are tax cuts. All their blather about debt/deficit reduction is just tactical hot air. (In the Buster's Blog archives, see "Deficit Growth As Republican Strategy", 2/26/10, by Paul Krugman, and "Good News For The Unemployed", 12/8/10, by Buster.)

When he was at last able to get a word in edge-wise, Kasich's counterpart, Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick said, "Yes, I'd agree there's some lack of confidence. With all the Republican obstruction, people are uncertain if anything important can get done."

So stuff a sock in it, Gov. Kasich! You're just playing to the fat cats and regurgitating 30 year-old Reagan-omics crapola.

Truth: The concentrated wealth of a tiny minority of right-wing billionaires has purchased the allegiance of the Republican party. Our political polarization and D.C. gridlock are the direct result of the GOP's slobbering willingness to kiss the ass of Really Big Money.

Racism? by Dave Girves

(Dave Girves is a local blogger buddy who often writes in the form of letters to the editor. You can always find him in Buster's Links, but Dave had a couple inspired posts today -- this and the one that follows below -- that I just had to share in this manner. Good stuff, Dave!)

FYI . . . Sometimes I just can’t help myself. These letters just write themselves.

Letters to the Editor

Columbus Dispatch,

Bruce Richardson, in his June 5th letter praising Fox news for linking President Obama to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s views, asks “What can be more racist than Obama creating an ‘African Americans for Obama’ re-election organization . . . to help him get re-elected?”

Off the top of my head I can think of two things that are more racist – Richardson writing that letter and the Dispatch’s decision to print it.

In that same letter he refers to George Zimmerman as “the suspect” in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. It is either the height of political correctness, or the depth of simply more racism, to refer to the man who admitted to pulling the trigger as “the suspect.”

David Girves

2nd Amendment Thoughts From Dave Girves

Letters to the Editor

Columbus Dispatch,

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the rights of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

When I read the Second Amendment from the perspective of what I learned in high school English, five decades ago, what I see is a single sentence talking about “a well regulated militia”. The most prominent place in that sentence, the very first phrase, is “a well regulated militia”. The sentence does not have two topics.

That sentence is only talking about a “militia,” specifically a “well regulated” militia. That militia is what is necessary. Therefore the “people” who make up that militia must have the right to bear arms. In 1776 it was most of the “people” who made up the militia. Today that militia is the police department and our armies – well regulated and bearing arms.

Does anyone really think that our forefathers intended for the people (three guys in a Dodge Durango) to have the right to bear arms while only the militia needed to be "well regulated"?

“The rights of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” is nothing more than a subordinate clause in that sentence. If the framers of the Constitution had intended for just anyone to own a gun, they would have made that clause an independent sentence. If the gun lobby had been around back then, I worry that’s how it might have read. But since the gun lobby is here today, the Supreme Court has modified our founders’ intent.

I am constantly amazed by the intelligence and thoughtfulness of those who wrote our Constitution and wonder why God didn’t see fit to give us that caliber of politicians today.

David Girves

(I'm thinking of starting a petition insisting that Dave explain the English language to Antonin Scalia and the NRA's Wayne Lapierre. Man, they need it!)