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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crash Course on Thanksgiving and Colonial America

Happy Turkey Day!  Nothing better to do on Thanksgiving than read Buster's Blog?  My sympathies, but while you're here, you might as well check out the Crash Course on the history colonizing America and Thanksgiving from the always educational and always amusing ("It turns out that jewelers disliked farming") John Green.  Click it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Magic Bus

Buster does not condone impaired driving in any way, shape, or form, but . . . holy shit!

After a Columbus City Schools bus was over an hour late for after-school drop-off, it was observed miles away from from its route, swerving and proceeding erratically.  The bus driver did not respond to cell phone calls.  The police were summoned to pursue the bus and stop it, which they did.

The bus driver was completely shit-faced -- later blew more than 3 times over the legal limit -- and was actually drinking from an open container -- in a school bus, with children on board! -- when she was pulled over.  Really.  At what point did this ever remotely seem to be a good idea???
*Finally stopped on the side of the road, the driver opened the door and said, "Wha' sheems to be th' problem, Ossifer?  Ima gunna take thiz kidz home jussus soonz I finish off my lash orty-founcer . . . oops, he-he  . . . I mean forty-ouncer.  K?"

*(Total twisted fiction ala Buster.)

And Now Corporations Are Religions?

Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts chain privately owned by billionaire evangelist activist David Green.  Green and his stores are such out-of-touch bubble-dwellers that they only recently, and only after protest and pressure, began to stock Hanukkah items.

Green has a problem with Obamacare's requirement that contraception be included in employer-group health insurance plans.  Says it violates his personal religious beliefs.  He sued to have his corporation exempted, just like non-profit churches, from that rule.  Incredibly, a federal circuit court ruled in his favor.  The government appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby next year.

The circuit court cited the wrong-headed Citizens United v. FEC "corporations are people" decision in its ruling.  Now the Roberts court will decide if corporations are religions as well as people.

Whatever the Supremes decide, the real answer is obviously NO, for-profit corporations are not religions and the owner's personal feelings are beside the point.  How about a business owner who's a strict Christian Scientist?  All your physical problems are from lack of sufficient Christian faith, and medical treatment is a crock.  Does such an idiot have a Constitutional right to deny his/her employees not only contraception but all forms of medical attention?  It's silly, and David Green is an ass.

So let's agree -- fuck the Hobby Lobby!  Take your artsy-craftsy business elsewhere.  Let them be supported only by snake-handling wackos.  If you can't find a more respectable place to buy your scrap-booking, knitting and calligraphy supplies, you're just not trying.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Two Readers Share Memories of 11/22/63

(I'm sharing comments received from a pair of faithful readers.  The first one is, obviously, from Buster's sister)

Thank you Buster, very interesting....I never thought to ask you what your perspective was about 11/22/63.  I was 5, on the cusp of turning 6.  The first thing I recall is you storming into the house in tears.  I was completely unaware of the big news of the day, and just thought it was weird that you were home early on a Friday, and were unhappy about it.  We must have had 1/2 day kindergarten then, because I was definitely at home when you came in. 

I remember that you (I thought it was you and Dad together) got to see some guy get shot right on TV.  I was sort of jealous, because you had a cool story to tell.  I also remember being called in to watch segments of the funeral....none of which I understood.  I just liked the horses. 

So glad you're older than me, and can explain what happened in my life in my first 10 years...my memories are fuzzy. 

My son Joe was born on the 25th anniversary of JFK’s death.  Since it was a planned C-section, there was a chatty atmosphere in the delivery room.  We all went around the table (doctors, nurses, and the pregnant patient) and recalled what we'd been doing 25 years ago. 


I was a very young first year teacher, teaching 30 sixth grade children at a local elementary school. The "little kids" were having their afternoon recess, and the "big kids" in my room were busy with Social Studies.  The principal came to me and "gave me the news". 

Told the kids that something terrible had happened, and the President had been shot in Dallas.  I quickly grabbed one of the TV's and rolled it into the room for the kids to watch. The kids were shocked, scared, in tears, hurt, angry.  They were experiencing the same range of emotion that their teachers were experiencing.  The classroom had an eerie silence about it, completely void of the "busy hum" always noticeable with an engaged group of students.

We took time to talk and express our "worrys and feelings".  We all asked a lot of questions and didn't have a lot of very good answers.  At one point, I recall the principal being nearby when a sixth grade boy, I can't remember whose class, expressed his satisfaction with the assassination by saying "Good!"  Someone told the principal, (also in her first year at the school and her first year as principal of a school) and she went after that kid, dragged him into a very wide hallway, and went at him like nothing I have seen since Sister Julie Alouise tore into one of the 7th graders when he took a Communion out of his mouth and was proudly displaying it to the girls back in the classroom after Mass.

Dallas was, and remains, a hotbed of hatred and bigotry. H. Lamar Hunt was spending his millions to spread lies and hatred across the United States. The only difference was these bigots and hate mongers were Democrats at the time.  Today they are Tea Party Republicans, and regardless of label, nothing has changed. The DNA remains unaltered, and is being used by a political party who bears little or no shame, as long as they win.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Nine-Year-Old's Memories of 11/22/63

You don't need me to tell you that tomorrow it will be 50 years since JFK was shot dead.  The media have been all over over it for weeks, which is as it should be.  It was such an important, dark day in our American heritage.  So many people of a certain age vividly remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.  Yet the inevitable trend is that more and more have no memory of it.

Given all the anniversary commemoration -- all the rehashing of historical perspectives and the conspiracy theories, the Dallas-bashing, the assassination porn, etc. -- you don't need any more of that from Buster.  Instead, and mainly for those who weren't around then, I thought I'd share what I personally recall from that time, and why, like so many, I'll never forget it.  (You don't need that either, and it's not unique, but for whatever it's worth I'm gonna do it anyway.)

In November 1963 I was 9 years old and in the 4th grade at Woodland Elementary in Mansfield, Ohio.  My little world was pretty much Beaver Cleaver Land.  I knew nothing of politics, of course, but I knew for sure I lived in the greatest nation on earth, from sea to shining sea, and all that good stuff.

I certainly knew who the President of the United States was.  John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his beautiful wife Jacqueline were young, charismatic, photogenic, and witty.  They were approximately the age of my parents.  Their daughter Caroline was same age as my sister.  In my young logic, I figured their family was probably just like my own.

I had other reasons to like JFK.  Going back to 1960, I was vaguely aware that Eisenhower was the outgoing President.  And I knew that his Vice President, Richard Nixon, was running to be the next President.  How could I forget, after my lifelong-Republican mother dragged me to the high school football stadium to hear Nixon speak under a scorching September sun?  I was only six, bored to tears, and sun burnt.  I became a JFK fan on the spot.

The first-ever televised debates solidified my first-grader opinion.  My parents encouraged me to watch this moment of history, and I tried, for a while.  This show had no plot to speak of, and I didn't understand what the characters were talking about, but as a kid raised on The Lone Ranger, Superman and Gunsmoke, I had no trouble telling the good guy from the bad guy.  In the first national election which I can remember, as far as I was concerned, the good guy won.

Once in office, Kennedy continued to win people over (even my mother, I believe) with his wit and humor, shown regularly on the evening news and displayed in his innovative televised press conferences.  Vaughn Meader put out a classic comedy album, "The First Family", in which he impersonated JFK and an ensemble cast mimicked other political figures of the early 1960's.  My parents bought the album and played it often.  It made them laugh, so I laughed too.  (Kids love to laugh with their parents.)  I still have that piece of vinyl to this day.

Around that time, someone gave me a hardcover copy of the book "PT 109 - John F. Kennedy in WW II", which I think I still have somewhere.  I also had a paperback copy of "Profiles in Courage", which I lost long ago.  Add to that the fact that the Kennedys seemed to be in Life magazine every week doing something appealing, and it's pretty clear that long-ago young Buster was worshipping at the altar of JFK.

November 22nd was a Friday, like any other Friday -- anxious for the school week to be over and the weekend to begin.  Mid-afternoon, we were all outside on the school's west playground.  Was it a scheduled recess, or did the grown-ups already know what was up and feel the need to shove us all outdoors while they puzzled out what to do with us?  I'm guessing the latter.

Teachers stood together in clumps and whispered earnestly and completely ignored their young charges.  Passing cars stopped in the middle of road.  Drivers rolled down their windows and conversed with the teachers in the most serious manner.  Some of them appeared distraught.  This was clearly not our usual recess, but we were clueless.

After some time, we were herded together and marched back inside to our classrooms.  My 4th grade teacher was Mrs. Egner, a no-nonsense, farm-raised disciplinarian who had no qualms about hurting your feelings or your body, as the case may be.  (Even so, she was a good teacher for her time.)  After we took our seats and grew quiet, Mrs. Egner stood up from her desk and said curtly, "I suppose you know by now that our President is dead.  We're dismissing early.  Everyone go straight home to your parents now."

Shocked, stunned, dumbstruck -- all put it mildly.  No, ma'am, I did not know!  How could I know?  What are you saying?  What happened?  Mrs. Egner would not elaborate, she just shooed us out the door and said our parents would explain it to us.

I have no memory of the short walk home.  I was in a fog of disbelief.  This had to be some sort of mistake.  My sister was in kindergarten at the time.  Did she walk home with me?  I'm blank.

Mom was at the kitchen door and I immediately demanded answers.  She gave them, as calmly and gently as she could.  President Kennedy was dead.  He'd been shot and killed while visiting Texas.  He's really dead?  Yes, I'm afraid so.  It's terribly sad.  Why would somebody kill him?  I don't know.  Who did it?  Nobody knows yet.  What will happen now?  Vice President Johnson will be our new President.  Everything will be OK.

I could feel the tears beginning to well up.  I ran to the living room couch, buried my face in a pillow and began to cry like a . . . well, like a little boy.  Hot bitter tears of anger and grief and confusion.  No, things will not be OK!  I remember my sister asked, "What's wrong with him?"  He's very sad because the president is dead, Mom explained.

It was a surreal weekend.  There was none of the usual playing with friends, just a steady stream of assassination news updates as most families kept to themselves and tried to comprehend the awful state of affairs.  (It didn't dawn on me until years later that this was a first not only for me but also for my parents generation -- the "Greatest Generation."  They had experienced the death of FDR, but this was clearly something different.  In their way, they had to be as shaken as I was.)

TV and radio were devoted to constant JFK coverage.  They caught the guy who did it.  They said he killed a cop too before he was captured and taken to jail.  He said he didn't do anything.  Saturday morning cartoons were cancelled.  I'm not sure, but I think all the college football games that Saturday were cancelled as well.  The NFL considered doing the same, but decided to go ahead and play their Sunday games as scheduled.  Sounded good to me.  I could do with a break from ugly, depressing realities.

Around noon on Sunday the 24th, I turned on the TV hoping for a little football pre-game stuff.  Nope.  Still rolling with JFK coverage right up to kick-off.  So I sat there and watched NBC's live coverage from Dallas.  Tom Pettit was the reporter on the scene, explaining that the accused assassin was to be transferred to the county jailhouse, and the police were going to parade his sorry ass right through this hallway and we would all get a good look at him here in just a few minutes.

And as they marched Lee Harvey Oswald through a gauntlet of press and on-lookers, some guy stepped out of the crowd and shot Oswald at point-blank range, right there in front of my little 9-year-old eyes.  The shooter was overtaken instantly in a madhouse scrum.  "Oswald has been shot!  Oswald has been shot!" Pettit kept saying.  I hollered for my parents to come see this.  Holy shit!  What is going on here?  Is this the way things work in the greatest nation on earth?  It was unbelievable, just too much.

We all watched in stunned silence as, in a matter of minutes, an ambulance arrived and hauled Oswald's carcass away.  A good chunk of my childish faith and innocence was hauled away too, and an unforgettable series of events was seared into my mind.

(Please leave a comment to share your own memory of 11/22/63.  This isn't Twitter -- no character limit.  Say as much as you like.  I always do.)


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Stephen Colbert Takes Down Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen is a hawkish, race-baiting, conservative columnist for the Washington Post.  Cohen has a long history of writing stupid, embarrassing stuff, and in his column of November 11th about NYC mayor-elect Bill deBlasio, he did it again.  Among the thousands of reactions, Stephen Colbert's is a real standout.  Check it out:


Monday, November 18, 2013

Young Compassionate Conservatives

Among the many nice things that can occur while time marches on and you're not really paying attention is that you somehow make friendships and acquaintances with a lot of people younger than you are.  I know a fair number of these pups.  Most of them are turning 40 about now, while I'm hitting 60.  The lovely Mrs. Gammons calls them "my little friends."

On Sunday, I joined a number of these 40-somethings to watch the Browns-Bengals game.  At one point, the telecast went to a commercial break which was an appeal for charitable relief contributions for the many victims of Typhoon Haiyan.  One of the biggest, most powerful, most damaging storms the world has ever seen, Haiyan tore through the Philippine Islands over a week ago.  Over 4 million people have been displaced, with the death toll at 4000 and counting.

I love my little friends.  They're good people, family people.  I enjoy their company.  We have so much in common, with the lone exception being that most of them are acute conservatives.  So the moment the Haiyan relief ad ended, one of my young buddies piped up loudly with his opinion that those fuckin' Filipinos sure had their nerve asking us for money.  After all, how much did they send us after Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Katrina or whatever?

Whatever for sure, dude.  The comment was so off-base, so tone-deaf and so uncalled-for even his fellow young conservatives were silent.  And never mind that disaster relief doesn't work that way and that, compared to the U.S., the Philippine government barely has two nickels to rub together.

Being the wise old fart in this gathering, I played deaf and said nothing.  But I wondered to myself, when I was 40, was I that big of a douchebag?

(Yeah, yeah, I hear ya.  "No, not then, Buster, but you sure as hell are now!"  Touche, my friends.  Touche.)


Family Feud

Liz Cheney is Dick Cheney's daughter.  She's a former Fox News contributor with big political ambitions.  After living all her adult life in Virginia, Liz turned carpetbagger and moved back to Wyoming just a year ago so she could trade on her family name and run for the U.S. Senate.  Liz wants to oust the current Senator, fellow Republican Mike Enzi, because he's just not right-tard enough.

To demonstrate her hard-right chops, Liz is adamantly anti-gay marriage, which is noteworthy because her sister Mary Cheney is a lesbian who was legally married in Washington D.C.  Yesterday on "Fox News Sunday", Liz reiterated her opposition to same-sex marriage, and by extension, to her own sister.

Yes indeed, Liz, who needs family when you can have power instead?

Mary declared her sister to be "offensive" and "on the wrong side of history."  A colleague of Liz's said "Liz is a lot like Ted Cruz, only less charming."  (Ooh, that's a good one!)

Father Dick(head) had previously said he supported Mary without reservations.  Today, he tried to have it both ways, saying Liz "treats her sister with love and respect, but has always believed in traditional marriage."  That's slicing the old baloney pretty goddam thin, Dick.  Some people believe the earth is flat, but they're still wrong, aren't they?

It's all quite amusing.  Couldn't happen to a nicer family.

"We asked one hundred people at random, 'Who is the biggest asshole in Wyoming?'

"Survey says:  . . .  'Liz Cheney!!!!' "

Tom Suddes on Right To Work (For Less)

Thomas Suddes is a professor of journalism at Ohio University, a former Ohio statehouse reporter, and is currently a columnist whose work appears in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Columbus Dispatch, the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield Sun News.  He is just about the only decent local opinion writer regularly published by my daily fish-wrap.  A couple zingers from his Sunday column:

An outfit named Ohioans for Workplace Freedom wants voters to sign a petition to place a right-to-work constitutional amendment directly on Ohio's ballot.  Claiming that Right To Work is about workplace freedom is like calling a slave-owner a job creator.

The only workplace freedom that Right To Work cheerleaders want is bosses' freedom -- and the destruction of unions' independent political power.

Yikes! I'm Not Even Halfway In My Right Mind!

Below is a fun little 30-second "test" which purports to determine if you are right-brain dominant or left-brain dominant.   In a general physiological sense, the right hemisphere of the brain controls the muscles on the left side of the body, while the left hemisphere controls the right side.  In general psychological measures, left-brain dominant people are said to be analytical and do well in math and science, while the right-siders are supposed to be creative and excel in the arts and people skills.

I took the test and it said I was 53% left-brain and 47% right-brain, which makes me neither analytical nor creative -- just a middle-of-the-road dullard.

Click the link and take the test!

Public Pension "Reform"

Buster (never a government employee) is acquainted with quite a few public-sector workers, both current and retired.  The insightful article from the great Matt Taibbi linked below is quite good.  What follows are bits and pieces.  Hope your pension is doing well! 

[Excerpts from "Looting The Pension Funds" by Matt Taibbi, published in the 10/10/13 issue of Rolling Stone.]

There's $2.6 trillion in state pension money under management in America, and there are a lot of fingers in that pie.

The Employee Retirement Income Safety Act (ERISA) of 1974 was a landmark worker-protection law that left open a major loophole:  It didn't cover public pensions.  Politicians quickly learned to take liberties, [like] illegally borrowing cash from public retirement funds to finance other budget needs, then never paying it back.  It's the governmental equivalent of stealing from your kids' college fund to buy lap dances.

In the past decade, a number of states have regularly failed to make their Annual Required Contributions to their pension funds.  New Jersey, for example, made just 33% of its required payments.  This rampant underpayment was rationalized by unwavering belief in the bull market and the assumption the good times would never end.

Then five years ago, an epidemic of fraud and thievery in the financial-services industry triggered the collapse of our economy.  The resultant loss of tax revenue plunged states everywhere into spiraling fiscal crises, and local governments suffered huge losses in their retirement portfolios -- remember, these public pension funds were some of the most frequently targeted suckers upon whom Wall Street dumped its toxic mortgage-backed securities in the pre-crash years.

Suddenly states were in a real, no-joke fiscal crisis.  Somebody had to take the hit.  It was then that the legend of "pension unsustainability" -- a.k.a "unfunded liability" -- was born.  It had nothing to do with systemic problems with pensions.  It was instead a deadly combination of unscrupulous states illegally borrowing from their pensioners, and the unscrupulous banks whose mass sales of fraudulent subprime products crashed the market.  The result was that states' pension funds were out some $930 billion.  Yet the public was being told that the problem was state workers' benefits were simply too expensive.  

The two paths out of this wilderness appeared to be bankruptcy or pension "reform".  Although anyone could see that "reform" meant giving up cash, many public workers were scared enough to accept cuts as preferable to the alternative.  Beyond this, most pension reforms required states to go after higher returns by seeking out "alternative investments"*.

*(Local readers may recall that Ohio was an early experimenter in "alternative investments".  In the late 1990's, the Ohio Bureau of Workers Comp gave corrupt GOP fundraiser Thomas Noe $50 million to invest in "rare coins and other collectibles", including Beanie Babies.  Noe stole some of the money, his investment tanked, and he went to jail, but the main consequence of "Coingate" was that states stopped disclosing where public money was invested.  They didn't learn to stop doing it.  They just learned to keep it secret.)

Many states turned to hedge funds, a private pool of high-risk, highly leveraged investments.  They refuse to take a state's money without a non-disclosure guarantee.  Hedge funds promise high returns but usually produce results no better than (and often worse than) a simple index fund.  Hedge fund fees are infinitely more expensive than fees for index funds.  The typical hedge fund management fee is "two plus twenty", meaning the manager collects 2% just for showing up, then gets 20% of any profits.  Fees on a no-brainer index fund are around "one basis point", or .01% -- about 200 times less than the standard hedge fund fee.

Union leaders all over the country have started to figure out the perils of hiring a bunch of overpriced Wall Street wizards to manage the public's money.

Bottom line -- "unfunded pension liability" is, if not exactly fictional, certainly exaggerated to an outrageous degree.  The idea that benefit packages are causing the fiscal crises in our states is a fabrication crafted by the very people who actually caused the problem.  We have an unfunded pension liability problem because we've been ripping off retirees for decades -- but the solution being offered is to rip them off even more.

Asking cops, firefighters and teachers to take the first hit for a crisis caused by reckless politicians and thieves on Wall Street is low, even by American standards.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

"I Liked My Old Plan (Because It Was Cheap)"

Tom Toles

Some people with privately issued health insurance (i.e. not employer-provided, not Medicare or Medicaid) are now being informed by their carriers that their policy will not be renewed because it does not meet the new and improved minimum standards required under Obamacare.  Qualifying coverage is available via their current carrier or other carriers, but at higher cost, often a lot higher.

That's because most of the people in this small segment are self-employed, work for a very small company, or took early retirement.  Unlike most Americans (who may spend a career in an employer group plan, then move into Medicare and never know the true cost of their health insurance), these folks know that real, full-coverage health insurance in America is very expensive.  And for reasons of that cost, many of these folks chose a relatively substandard plan mainly because it was relatively affordable.  I know.  Been there, done that.

Now the half-assed cheapo plans are history.  Complaining that "I liked my old plan" essentially translates to "I liked my old price."  Now the coverage is better but the premium is higher.  Maybe you qualify for a tax credit, maybe you don't, but either way you gotta pay the full freight up front, then worry about your tax return later.

We can debate another time whether the higher premiums result solely from expanded coverage, or if some opportunistic profiteering is also involved.  Both are minor factors.  The main driver of premium costs continues to be the free-market, for-profit troika of Big Medical/Big Pharma/Big Insurance.  Our twisted system is rigged for their benefit.  As a result, every aspect of American health care simply costs too damn much.

I'm a staunch supporter of Obamacare.  For all the good that Obamacare has already done and will do in the decades to come, it does not dictate prices and does nothing to reign in our out-of-control costs.  That's why it's just the first step.  The next step in American health care reform and genuine cost control is to join the rest of the developed world and remove health care from the realm of capitalism:  Yes, I mean single-payer, universal health care, nationalized health insurance, government-run health care, Medicare for all, socialized medicine -- call it what you will.  That's what works for everybody.  What we have does not.

"Another Pill Stop?"

Modern-day P.T. Barnums work in pharmaceutical advertising.

On the prescription end of the spectrum, they want you to ignore that lengthy list of lethal side effects and interactions and just buy their expensive elixirs so you can "up your game" or treat your "moderate-to-severe" plaque psoriasis.

In the over-the-counter world, the advertisers of Aleve would have you believe in the business-killing, soul-crushing inconvenience of taking more than two pills a day.  Yes, we're apparently so swamped baking bread and delivering packages that there's just no time for anything else -- not even time to swallow.  "Another pill stop?  NO!!!!  My day is ruined!  Do you hear me?  Ruined!"


"Refusing to invest [in the National Institutes of Health] is the budgetary equivalent of cutting off your feet to save money on shoes."
-- Sen. Elizabeth Warren

"I've never seen it like this.  Clearly the problem is within the Republican party.  If you make every issue uncompromisable, you cannot have laws."
-- Alan Greenspan

"The internet is the death of forgetting.  You can't reinvent yourself because it's always there.  You hit Google, and your cavalcade of misdeeds comes rolling back to the top of the page."
-- Alec Baldwin

"There are no close plays.  A man is always out or safe, or it is a ball or a strike, and the umpire, if he is a good man and knows his business, is always right.  For instance, I am always right."
-- Frank "Silk" O'Laughlin (1872-1918.  American League umpire, originator of umpires' hand signals) 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Boehner Vows To Stuff It Up Your ENDA

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted to approve ENDA (the Employment Nondiscrimnation Act).  I'm happy to say my Republican Senator, Rob Portman, voted for it.  Good job, Rob.

If enacted into law, ENDA would prohibit an employee from being fired merely for being gay or lesbian, which is legal in many states, including Ohio.  (Hello, Bishop Watterson High School and Carla Hale!)

Since ENDA seems like a perfectly reasonable idea, the Orange Man is naturally opposed.  Speaker Boehner says it will hurt businesses by encouraging frivolous lawsuits and, accordingly, he won't even let it come to a vote in the House.

The Weeper of the House conveniently ignores the fact that a number of states have long had their own nondiscrimination statutes, with zero impact on the business environment.  If ENDA is enacted and somebody sues somebody as a result, if the suit is truly frivolous, it'll be tossed out of court.  So what's your problem?  What're you afraid of?

Boehner is the worst Speaker ever.  He's just a career Beltway hack risen to his level of incompetence.  He was bought and sold long ago, and is now utterly beholden to the forces who care only about their own bank accounts and care nothing for human rights and justice.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dave Chappelle As "Clayton Bigsby"

Chappelle is back with a stand-up tour.  Here's a classic bit.  Simple set up, very funny.  Blind from birth, "Clayton Bigsby" is a white supremacist who is unaware that he is black:

Another Reason To Expand Medicaid

As mentioned in the 10/22/13 Buster's blog post, "Good Job, Guv!", the State of Ohio is now being sued over its decision to take federal money set aside by Obamacare to expand Medicaid to more low-income, uninsured people.  Those bringing suit are a handful of hard-right Republicans and a "Right to Life" group.  Among other things, they claim that extending coverage to more poor Ohioans would "jeopardize unborn life."

Gimme a break!  These self-righteous moralists ought to think a lot more about all the life which is already born!

And in fairness, since they're so worried about the nebulous "unborn", shouldn't they be equally concerned with the the other end of the spectrum, the undead?  I mean, have you taken a good look at some of these zombies?  You know they have zero income, they sure as hell have no health insurance, and they're in obvious need of medical attention.

Have a heart -- Ohio's indigent zombies need Medicaid coverage.

Rand Paul Goes Back To College

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been discovered plagiarizing texts from magazines and Wikipedia.  Having been caught, he said he's (sort of) sorry, will be more careful, and from now on he'll cite his sources in his speeches and articles -- "We're going to do them like college papers."

Hang on there, Rand.  With all your sloppy, lazy plagiarism, you've already done them like college papers!  Better try something different.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Here's How To Get Wayne Lapierre's Cooperation

Ho-hum.  Another day, another shooting.

In the past 45 years, American gun owners have shot 4.5 million of their fellow citizens and managed to kill 1.34 million of them.  While many might call that a tragic epidemic of gun violence, the NRA would call it a good start.

In late October, after the Navy Yard shooter killed 12, Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly (Americans For Responsible Solutions) sent an open letter to Congress citing 16 mass shootings since Sandy Hook and calling for the umpteenth time for legislative action, such as universal background checks.

Yesterday, the facetiously-named "Guns Are Cool" website said the real number was 307.  Their number was not facetious, and did not include the LAX incident or the mall shooter in Paramus, NJ.  They say that Gabby and Mark are using the old FBI definition of mass shooting:  four or more people killed.  By that logic, a gunman who kills 2 while wounding 20 is not a "mass shooter."  But try telling that to one of the wounded.  "Hey, asshole!  You didn't murder me, but you sure as hell shot me!  See?  Yeah, right there, where I'm bleeding profusely."

"Guns Are Cool" defines a mass shooter as someone who, in a single instance of repeated gunfire, wounds or kills four or more people.  Their broader definition still does not include the huge number of standard-issue thugs and crazoids who fire away every day, but hit only three people or fewer.

Click to check out their website:  

Their site urges you to "Subscribe.  It makes Wayne Lapierre gassy."

Dear readers, "gassy" is not good enough.  Every time somebody goes murderously nuts with a gun, Lapierre and the NRA insist the solution is more guns.  What?  It's circular logic from hell.  So fuck making him merely bilious.  We need to be much more persuasive.

A friend has made the following suggestion, and Buster concurs wholeheartedly:  The next time a heavily-armed killer randomly shoots up a school, a theater, a restaurant, or whatever, we simply kidnap Wayne Lapierre and cut off one of his fingers or toes.  We continue to hold him and every time it happens again, we lop off another digit. 

In fairly short order, we'll have "Stubby" Lapierre's undivided attention and full cooperation.