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, January 31, 2014

More Random Thoughts

Earth without Art is just "Eh".

Those who can, teach.  Those who can't, pass laws about teaching.

Free contradictions, $1.00.

If people learned from their mistakes, I'd be a genius.

Pretending I'm a pleasant person all day is exhausting.

6 out of 7 dwarves are not Happy.

"Let's eat grandma."  "Let's eat, grandma."  Remember, punctuation saves lives!

I'm ambivalent, I think.

I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

I am cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says W.T.F.

I'm young at heart, and slightly older in other places.

Never trust an atom.  They make up everything.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you.  But it's still on the list.

Life is like a doughnut.  You're either in the dough or in the hole.

Not What The Founders Intended

(I don't know Dr. Nancy M. Vaughan in the slightest, but I like her!  Bravo, Doc!)

The following appeared as a letter to the editor in today's Dispatch.

Fantasy:  Good guys shoot bad guys.

Fact:  Angry men shoot wives, ex-wives, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, family members, rivals, friends, strangers, bosses, etc.  They shoot to vent their anger and "solve" their problem.

Every day in the paper, I come across yet another report of a shooting, usually fatal.  I have grown weary of hearing people shout about Second Amendment rights.  I cannot help but think our current obsession with guns and the indiscriminate use of these "arms" was not what our forefathers had in mind.

The Second Amendment is being debased and twisted to justify the the ease of obtaining, carrying and using a gun.
Dr. Barker
Dr. Vaughan

I used to believe in God, but I am not so sure anymore.  I pray to an "omnipotent being" and ask for common sense and civility to return to our society, and for an end to the obsession with guns and the violence that they bring.

I ask our legislators to use sense in drafting and passing legislation to try to improve our society, not make it easier for us to kill one another.  Otherwise, the national uniform is going to be a bullet-proof vest.

Dr. Nancy M. Vaughan
Hilliard, OH


(I forwarded her letter verbatim to Sen. Rob Portman, and added this comment:  "I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Vaughan and call on you to change your ways and take up this good cause.  It took your own gay son to make you change your position on gay marriage.  How many more innocent people must become victims of gun violence before you change your interpretation of and position on the Second Amendment?  Do you act only when it concerns your own family?") 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Crazy "Coach" Just Won't Fade Away

Evidently, the Lakewood High School is contemplating hiring Dave Daubenmire as its new football coach.  I just signed a petition asking the school district to make a better choice.  If you want, you can do the same with the link below.

I attended college with Daubenmire.  He's an ultra-conservative Christian fundamentalist, a Tea Bagger, a preacher, a failed political candidate, and a disgraced former coach.  He's all kinds of wrong, as you'll quickly see in this video:

According to Dave, Christians must be allowed to bully gays.  Anything less is "sissified".  WTF???

Click the link to sign the petition.

Here's what I had to say about this guy in an old post of May 2010:

Chips And Comb-Overs

A balding man with a comb-over is probably the same person who crushes a bag of potato chips believing it results in . . . more chips!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


A New England area woman found an adult squirrel frozen solid inside her special-order "Squirrel-Buster Plus" Bird Feeder.  Although the product is not intended to operate in this manner, the results speak for themselves.

I gotta get one!

Just Another Standard Post-SOTU Interview

After the President's address, a local TV reporter gets reaction from Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), then tries to ask a question about an FBI investigation into Grimm's campaign fundraising.  Grimm stomps off in anger, then returns.  The camera is still rolling.  Grimm gets ugly.  Oops!

SOTU Thoughts

President Obama (a.k.a. my cousin Barry) delivered his fifth State of the Union address last night.  Two things are clear:  1. Our President still gives a great speech, and  2. Congressional Republicans still hate his guts.

The only thing the R's were willing to applaud for was any mention of the military (ooh, big surprise!).  Otherwise, they sat on their hands and practiced their grumpy-faces.  Despite some recent chastening, most in the GOP are still in brain-dead, automatic anti-Obama mode.  And since the House Republican caucus is still clogged and controlled by Tea Baggers, it's little wonder that Obama has decided to bypass the bastards wherever possible and get a few things done via Executive Order (a.k.a. his "Fuck It" list).

Boehner and Ryan piss and moan that its unconstitutional, but they're wrong.  Every president, including Washington, has used this privilege.  Some have used it a lot (Reagan, Dubya), some very little (Obama).  Important, historic things have been accomplished by Executive Order, e.g. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, FDR's New Deal programs, Truman's integration of the military, Ike's use of federal troops to desegregate the high school in Little Rock, Carter's creation of FEMA.  Obama may or may not do something significant, but at least he'll do something.  Good!

Parting shot -- the GIF below is just after Obama said he hoped that Republicans wouldn't try for another 40-plus repeals of the ACA.  "Forty is enough."  Boehner looks absolutely ill.  Good!

And for the conservative curmudgeons still freaked out by the ongoing fact of a Black Man in the White House, please notice that you apparently still have a black man as Speaker of the House as well.

And one more thing.  Who invited this Dick Dynasty douchebag to the SOTU?  Oh.  Some GOP Rep. from Louisiana?  I see.  It figures.

"And In Summation, . . . "

(Sent by a faithful reader.  Thank you, faithful reader!)

"The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brown-shirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons . . . 

"Republicans:  the number one reason the rest of the world thinks we are deaf, dumb and dangerous!"

-- Garrison Keillor

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Farewell, Pete

An icon of 1950's and 1960's folk music, Pete Seeger spoke truth to power and never let those bastards wear him down.  Good man!

Bill Nye: Global Warming For Dummies

We can use ever more extraordinary measures at extraordinary cost and at extraordinary risk to extract every last bit of fossil fuel from the earth, or we can recognize the folly of that path and correct our course before it's too late.

Roast Beef?

In Germany, Farting Cows Make Barn Explode

BERLIN (AP) -- A herd of dairy cows nearly lifted the roof off their barn in central Germany when methane released by the animals caused an explosion.

In a statement, police said that a static electric charge apparently triggered the detonation, and a spurt of flame, on Monday at a farm in Rasdorf.  The barn roof was damaged and one cow suffered slight burns.  No people were hurt.

Police said 90 cows are kept in the shed and it wasn't clear why such quantities of methane had built up.  The dairy farmer suggested his recent decision to switch from standard grain-based cattle feed to a diet of bean burritos may have played a role.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Judges Give It A Ten!

Ten on the homophobia scale, that is!

In the run-up to hosting the Winter Olympics, official Russia has been comically inept in dealing with the likelihood that some of the competitors and spectators might actually be, you know, gay.

Apparently fearing an invading horde of flaming figure-skaters, last June Vladimir Putin instituted a ban on "homosexual propaganda".  Tourists and foreign nationals can be arrested, detained and fined just for being "pro-gay".

A week ago, Putin clumsily tried to reassure the world that the Sochi Games will be safe for gays as long as they "just leave the kids alone."

Yesterday, the mayor of Sochi said gays will be welcome if "they don't impose their habits on others."  The mayor added, "We don't have them [gays] in our city."

Really?  Fantastic ignorance.  Hooray for the New Yorker!

new yorker

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Pair Of Potted Plants

There was a big article in today's NY Times on Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) and his efforts to make Libertarianism more palatable to the masses.  Not likely.  But I was more interested in the accompanying photo of the meeting room in Paul's Senate office.  There on the white wall are two portraits, one of Rand, the other of his father Ron.  Both are rendered in the classic "paint-by-numbers" style and both are frame-less, which accentuates the taste-challenged vibe.  Each portrait is flanked by the sort of cheap-ass, low-maintenance houseplant, still in its original plastic pot, that was popular forty years ago when I was in college.

I'm no horticulturalist, but I think the plants are either snake's tongue (sansevieria) or dumb cane (dieffenbachia).

Either way, an appropriate choice.

Friday, January 24, 2014

No More Net Neutrality? Can Buster's Blog Survive?

What is "net neutrality"?  It's the concept that all internet traffic/data should be treated and delivered equally, from voice to video to email to online Korean instruction manuals.  Equal and open access for all.

Net neutrality has been defended by techies, geeks, hackers, gamers, populists, liberals, and Tim Berners Lee, the friggin' inventor of the internet.  The concept has been enforced the FCC.

It has been opposed by ISP's and telecoms (essentailly the same thing) like ComCast, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, and by conservative groups like the Cato Institute and Americans For Prosperity.

Verizon sued the FCC, and a federal court found for Verizon and ruled that the FCC has no enforcement authority in this area, since ISP's are technically not "common carriers", i.e. telephone companies.  (In a twist of logic, these companies are indeed common carriers in their phone incarnations, but when they put on their ISP pants, they become "information services".)

If ISP's no longer must be net neutral, what does that mean for you and me?  If we're lucky, nothing.  But don't bet on it, because it's all about the money.

Imagine walking into your public library one day to find that all classic literature and the modern-day best-sellers have been moved into a special wing and if you want to read any of 'em, you have to pay a fee.  But if you want hang out in the main area, for free you can read USA Today, Highlights For Children, sales brochures and Korean instruction manuals.  Worst case could be a little like that.

No enforceable net neutrality means ISP's could make the big content providers like Google, NetFlix or YouTube pay for prime access and speed.  But as wealthy content providers pay ISP's for faster delivery, other websites would slow down.

If popular content providers have to pay to play, then things could get weird and the ISP's could begin to shape Internet 2.0 in the form they know best, cable TV.  Suppose NetFlix decides to hop into bed with AT&T.  You'd still be able to access NetFlix with any ISP, but only with AT&T could you get it at their fastest download speed.  Or may be Wikipedia cuts an exclusivity deal and may only be accessed via Warner, and is blocked on other ISP's.  Or, most likely, your internet access is offered in bundles and packages and all that cable-style menu crapola:  the more you pay, the more websites you get.  

These are unhappy thoughts.

I'm no expert.  I know just enough to be dangerous.  But I know this:  If the telecom industry is promising that the court's ruling will mean more internet choice and competition and innovation, they've whistled that tune before and it's bullshit.  It means our internet bill is going up.

But don't blame me.  Shockingly, Buster's Blog has not been asked by any ISP to pay fees.  My four or five readers will continue to have unlimited access to Buster's at no charge whatsoever.  Indeed, I'm probably gonna have to start paying those people to keep reading it.

11th Choice Caves In, Agrees To Coach Browns

After enduring a full day of grueling pressure and tortuous persuasion, including threats to his family, Mark Pettitte finally broke down and reluctantly accepted the position of head coach of the Cleveland Browns.  Pettitte was -- What?  I'm being told his name is "Pettine", not Pettitte.  Sorry. -- Pettine was the 11th candidate to be interviewed for the -- Huh?  Now what!?  Uh, OK.  And I guess his first name is "Mike", not Mark.  Sorry again. --  Mike Pettine was the 11th candidate to be interviewed for what team owner Jimmy Haslam has called a "very attractive job."  Each of the previous ten candidates turned down the job.

Mark Pettitte . . . I mean Mike Pettine 
And so Pettine becomes the Browns' 8th head coach in the last 15 years.  He spent the 2013 season as the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, where his defense ranked 10th in the league in Net Total Yards.  The Browns defense was ranked 9th.  So you can see that this hiring is most definitely a step . . . in a direction.

After being introduced as the Browns new head man, the all-but-unknown Pettine said, "Well, someone's gotta do it!" 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Loo For Two

This is in the men's restroom of the Biathlon Event Center, one venue of the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia:

 I know that the Olympics are intended to promote a sense of global community, but this is ridiculous!

Rumor has it that Putin and Medvedev used this stall  together in an official double-dump trial run.

Huckabee's Spin Fail

The day after the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Mike Huckabee tries to claim that there is no Republican war on women's reproductive rights, but he channels his inner Rush Limbaugh and leaves the exact opposite impression.  An epic fail!  These dipshits can't even lie correctly.

Did he just say that contraceptives will control libido?  I believe he did.  No wonder the majority of American women reject the GOP and its army of ignorant gyno-ticians.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Elephant In The Womb

Today marks the 41st anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade decision, which gave American women the right to safe and legal abortion services.  President Obama had this to say:

"Today, we recommit ourselves to the decision's guiding principle:  that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health.  We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman's access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom."

Republicans, on the other hand, marked the day by recommitting themselves to their non-stop war on women's rights and freedoms.

At the federal and state levels (especially the state level), the Grand Old Party of Old White Men Sucking Up To The Religious Right is still convinced that it knows what's best for all the little ladies out there across the land, and continues to throw its legislative shit against the fan.  To wit:

  • Passing unconstitutional state laws which are more restrictive than Roe v. Wade
  • Attempts to defund Planned Parenthood
  • Prohibiting contraceptive coverage in many health insurance plans
  • Using insidious, intentionally obfuscating euphemisms like "pre-born"
  • "Personhood" amendments defining a non-viable zygote as a full-fledged human being 
  • "Heartbeat" bills prohibiting abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected
  • Requirements that out-patient clinics have hospital-admitting privileges
  • Mandated videos, waiting periods, fetal descriptions, and religious counseling
  • Trans-vaginal ultrasounds!
  • Rape "audits".  Current House Bill HR 7 would eliminate the medical expense tax deduction for abortions, unless the pregnancy resulted from "forcible" rape.  (Are there other kinds?)  The IRS would determine if your rape qualifies for a tax break!
Give me a break!  Who thinks up this stupid shit?

We Are Better Than This

Since my last gun-related post on January 14th, there have been five incidents of gun violence in our nation's schools.  That's five in eight days.  Just yesterday, one teacher's assistant at Purdue University shot and killed a fellow T.A.  Since the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, there have been 35 gun violence incidents in American schools.

That's just in schools.  It does not include gunplay in theaters, restaurants, shopping malls, or military bases, just to name a few of the other popular places where murderous lunatic SOB's too often exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

We are sick, and this must stop.  We are better than this.  We must put our rights, our safety, our interests ahead of the interests of the gun lobby.

Good Self-Help Advice

Have been noticing a version of this quote all over Facebook recently.  The original is from William Ford Gibson, American-Canadian fiction writer (Neuromancer, Johnny Mnemonic).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Forget The Water -- Just Drink Moonshine!

As you know, a storage tank at Freedom Industries near Charleston, WV recently leaked a whole bunch of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM).  Ever heard of that?  Me neither.  It's a fluid used to "clean" coal.  The toxic chemical spilled into the Elk River, which flows into the Ohio River, which flows into the Mississippi River, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico.  That's a pretty sizable watershed.  (And they said I was napping in geography class.)

A company spokesman said that MCHM had a "low level of toxicity" and would "cause no harm to fish."  Good news if you're a fish!  Hundreds of thousands of people, however, were left with unusable water for almost a week. And Freedom Industries promptly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  Let Freedom ring! 

Things like this happen when storage tanks are age-old and rarely inspected or maintained.  That's because the Toxic Substances Control Act doesn't require it.  The Act is 40 years old, was weak to begin with and has never been updated because states like West Virginia and Louisiana are in bed with the petrochemical industry, and together they constantly agitate for the rollback/non-enforcement of environmental regulations.

But a nasty, fucked-up water supply for half a million people will tend to draw some attention.  By golly, something must be done!  Suddenly there are renewed efforts on Capitol Hill to finally update the old Toxic Substances law.

Unfortunately, the drummer boys for the new legislation are petro-stooges Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and their modernized would-be bill has been written by the American Chemistry Council.  (And the new Henhouse Security Act was written by the National Friends of Foxes.)

Everything's for sale, so, as they say, follow the money.  Laws professing to control toxic chemicals which are written by lobbyists for toxic chemical manufacturers will control very little.  And business will go on, more or less as usual.  Apparently, that's all that counts.

I guess I must be one of those crazy, job-killing "let's-not-poison-the-river" liberals!  In the state of West Virginia, I'm about as popular as a black President.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Same Story, Different Headlines

As most people understood long ago, the implementation of the historic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, is a process, not an event.  This is phased-in, long-term legislation that will be tweaked and adjusted over time.

One aspect of the law is that it prohibits employers from providing better health insurance to top management than they provide to the rank and file, or from offering coverage only to top execs.  The concept is good, but the application of it will be complex, and so enforcement of it has been delayed until the IRS issues its official guideline on this particular rule.

Robert Pear of the NY Times wrote an article about the delay.  It appeared in today in both the Times and the Columbus Dispatch (which relies less and less on original content and more and more on other papers and wire services).  Here are the two headlines for the same article.  Guess which one is which.

"Rules For Equal Coverage By Employers Remain Elusive Under Health Law"

"Feds Struggle To Implement Equality Rule"

If you're the Times, the "rules are elusive."   If you're the Dispatch, the "feds struggle."

Just about every week, the Dispatch's editor Ben Marrison responds to reader criticism and writes a column swearing to god that the paper is not partisan and has no conservative ax to grind.  If that were really true, Ben, you wouldn't have to write that same fucking column over and over again.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Crime And Punishment

Capital punishment in America is down about 10% for the year 2013.  Mostly, this is due to a shortage of the drugs typically used in lethal injection cocktails -- pentobarbital, sodium thiopental, pancuronium, potassium chloride.  By and large, these drugs are for medical purposes and are made in Europe, either by European medical companies or by American medical companies operating in Europe.  Awhile back, the EU banned the export of such drugs for executions, meaning supplies of the fatal doses began to dwindle stateside.

In the past two years, 12 states have accordingly put a moratorium on executions.  There are 18 states which already prohibit capital punishment.

Ohio death chamber at Lucasville
Ohio is not one of them, and today we Buckeyes showed we're not only still dedicated to official government-sanctioned killing, we're willing to get creative about it.  Ignoring all objections and protests, we took a Death Row prisoner and field-tested our own brand-new chemical concoction on him.  It was a blend of massive doses of a sedative and a painkiller.  (Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested we toss in some Drain-O and some Clorox for good measure.)  Whatever it was, the shit killed him, but it took 15 minutes and he was convulsing, twitching and gasping for the last 10 minutes.  And yes, he was a murderer.

The funny thing about any form of criminal punishment, from probation to a jail sentence to execution, is that it never eliminates similar future crimes.  Society continues to insist on its pound of flesh -- a price must be paid -- but the members of that society seem to keep doing the same stupid criminal shit again and again, no matter what we do to them.  I won't pretend to have any answers.

I'm opposed to the death penalty and I know I'm in the minority.  Execution changes nothing, but if our social compact requires that we avenge a death with another death, then what the State of Ohio did today is not the way.  We've done away with the gallows, the gas chamber and the electric chair for a reason.  Trial-and-error Popular Mechanics-style lethal injections are not the answer.

So how about this?  If some bad people simply must be executed, let's bring back the guillotine.  The desired death is certain, painless and instantaneous, but it's a little messy.  The head bounces on the floor, blood spurts all over, but that sumbitch is dead for sure.  The guillotine, in all its breath-taking, gory finality might also make some of  the capital punishment cheerleaders get up close and personal with their own motives, and maybe think twice.

Is it just about the death itself, or is it about inflicting some pain and misery along with the it?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Who Ya Gonna Call?

(How can I work when there's so much bizarre shit out there?)

I'm probably the last person in America to be aware of this, but I just heard a radio spot for a web-based service which promises to research any property to determine if any person has ever died in that house.  Predictably enough, their web address is www.DiedInHouse.com.  For a fee of $11.99, they'll do a records search on any house -- yours, mine, anyone's -- and let you know if anybody ever croaked there.  They claim it's important, when buying or selling real estate, to identify "stigmatized properties."  If the search results on a given home are clear, then they'll issue an official DiedInHouse.com "death-free certification."  Oh, goody.  At the end of their radio ad, the ultra-serious voice-over guy says, "Because you have a right to know!"

I don't know if any such "right" exists, but if they help you discover that indeed someone once died in your home, then what do you do?

Call Ghostbusters!  

Louis CK: If God Came Back To Earth

Swiped from a friend's FB page.  Wonderfully funny, but NSFW.  After this first part, be sure to click on Part Two.

How Many Is Too Many?

Global population is 7 billion and climbing.  No big deal?  Please allow Ph.D David Suzuki to 'splain somethin' to ya!

Where The Money Is Today

An interesting vid which I swiped from a friend's FB page.  A little long, but worth it.  Something to keep in mind the next time some fat cat bitches about his tax rate or all the lazy bums drawing unemployment.

The Most Adorable Baby Video Ever

This is just SO cute!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Let's Take The Gun Issue To Its Extremes

I think we can all agree that we have a societal problem with gun violence here in America.  Compared to all the other developed, industrialized, advanced nations in the world, the level of gun violence in the U.S. is just ridiculously out of whack, and everyone is in favor of somehow reducing the bloodshed..

The question is how to do it.

(Let's eliminate law enforcement and the military from the discussion, and let's also agree to set aside Second Amendment interpretations.)

One school of thought says the only way to decrease gun violence is with more guns for more people; that as gun possession becomes easier, the number of armed citizens increases, and so does our relative safety.

The other side says the only way to cut gun violence is to cut the number of guns via legislation, registration, backgound checks, buy-backs, etc.; that as guns and ammo gradually become harder to obtain, rather than easier, fewer people will have access to them, and less guns means less gun violence.

Now let's take these two diametrically opposed viewpoints and carry each to its "logical" endpoint.  Strictly hypothetical, you understand.

On one extreme, you'd have a world where everybody has a gun (or guns) on their person all the time wherever they may be.

On the other extreme, you'd have a place where no one (except cops and military) ever has a gun, anywhere.

Which hypothetical world would be safer?

Kasich's Tool Shed Is Down Two Tools

Roughly three years into their terms, two high-profile political appointees of John "Wonder Guv" Kasich recently tendered their resignations.

Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally was a combative ally of big business interests.  Nally's moment of infamy came when he fired long-time Division Chief George Elmaraghy for merely doing his job.

PUCO Chairman Todd Snitchler was best known for a series of ill-advised tweets in which he revealed himself to be a pro-coal, climate change-denying, gun nut Tea Bagger.

Buster won't miss either of these tools.  Kasich will make some interim appointments to fill the slots.  Who knows who he'll pick?  But it would be kinda nice if the Director of the state's Environmental Protection Agency actually tried to protect the environment, and it'd be just peachy if the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission cared more about the public than he cared about AEP.

Wide, Wide World Of Voter Suppression

Voter suppression, Bangladeshi style.

This is a scene from the January 5th national elections in Bangladesh.  The poor guy on the ground in the pink shirt was on his way to cast his ballot.  Loyalists of the ruling party suggested that he didn't really want to vote on that day, and they emphasized their point by beating him senseless.  As some news reports put it, "Voter turnout was quite modest,"  as violence was widespread and 18 were killed.  In this obvious sham election, the ruling party easily retained its power.

In Bangladesh, they do it with clubs and sticks.  Here in the U.S., we use photo ID laws and cut back on early voting.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A 'Roids Wing In The Hall Of Fame?

Well, it's been a big couple of weeks in the wacky world of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED's).  First, there was that Viagra I took . . . No, that's not it.

What I meant to say was . . . First, pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and first baseman Frank Thomas were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by overwhelming margins.  All three played during the height of the Steroid Era but were, by all accounts, clean and deserving.  Good for them.

Then, on the same ballot, Hall voters clearly shunned infamous stat-monster juicers Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.  Neither came close to election.  Older steroid users like Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro are now receiving almost no support and will soon drop off the ballot altogether.

And then just a couple days ago, a panel of arbitrators reduced Alex Rodriguez's 211 game suspension for PED use to 162 games, but otherwise confirmed baseball's finding that A-Roid is a shameless cheat and liar, and a heavy repeat juicer despite his claims to the contrary.  (Naturally, A-Rod is appealing yet again.)

Last night, Rodriguez's supplier -- a slimeball Florida asshole named Tony Bosch -- appeared on 60 Minutes to admit everything, spill his guts and feebly claim the ethical high road because "everybody else was doin' it, so we had to do it too just to stay even."  (Bullshit, Tony!  Everybody might have been doin' it 15 years ago, but today it's only idiots like you and A-Rod.)

In the midst of all this, some in the sports world (who are disappointed that Bonds, Clemens, et al seem to be locked out of the Hall) say that PED's are just another step in the "evolution" of sport -- like better equipment or training.  Some suggest a separate section -- a Steroids Wing? -- in the HOF for all the known and suspected users and their inflated numbers.  Let 'em in with a big old asterisk, but stick 'em all in that old, dim corridor down by the restrooms.  Really?  "Are those your real stats, or are they your anabolic stats?"

Nah, I don't think so.  Hooray for Hank Aaron and Roger Maris!


Gates Of Hell

"I got your back, Mr. President . . . with a knife."
In his new memoir Duty, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates had some less-than-complimentary things to say about President Obama and Vice President Biden.  Fox News says the book exposes the supposed foreign policy "incompetence " in the White House.

According to Gates, Obama is ambivalent about our mission ("war", as Gates calls it) in Afghanistan.  The President has the greatest concern and respect for the troops, but he's wary of military brass, and has doubts about our policy.  Gates says that Obama lacks passion and commitment for the Afghan war, is unsure that we're engaged in a just cause, and is primarily focused on getting out rather than winning.  He adds that Obama didn't trust General David Petraeus and dislikes Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Gates says that Biden, long-time member and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been wrong on just about every foreign policy issue, mainly because Biden possesses a distrust of the military.

To which I say, good, good, GOOD!  When our Executive branch is properly cautious about military entanglements, when it keeps the generals at arms-length and works to extract our armed forces from that giant, sucking black hole known as Afghanistan, then that administration is showing a great deal of competence indeed.

Gates has been a career militarist and cheerleader for all things CIA and Pentagon.  His book, and the timing of its release, reveal him to be an opportunistic little weasel.

And as always, Fox News and Roger Ailes can go piss up a rope!

"Created Equal"

From "Created Equal" by photographer Mark Laita.

Gang Member/Mafioso:
Fur Trapper/Woman with Dog:
Indigent Couple/Wealthy Couple:CLICK IMAGE TO ZOOM
Baptist Minister/Ku Klux Klan:
Fortune Teller/Executioner:
Physician Assisted Suicide Patient/Holocaust Survivor:
Baptist Churchgoer/White Supremacist:
Amish Teenagers/Punk Teenagers:
Astronaut/Alien Abductee:
Marine/War Veteran:
Motorcycle Gang/Altar Boys:
French Chef/Short Order Cook:
County Fair Livestock Show Contestant/Cajun Man:CLICK IMAGE TO ZOOM
Bank Robber/Deputies:
Company President/Janitor:
Homeless Man/Real Estate Developer: