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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Water On The Brain

I love Russell Wilson, quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks.  He's a Super Bowl champion, and should have been a back-to-back champ.  He's one of my favorite players -- really fun to watch, athletic, creative and very smart, both on and off the field.

Or is he?  Wilson is an investor and spokesman for a product called "Recovery Water" -- a special, expensive jock-water with "electro-kinetically infused nano-structures."  Wow.  Wilson has recently claimed that drinking Recovery Water will not only hydrate you, it will also heal and prevent concussions.  

How does that happen, Russell?  Well, it's 'cause "your brain is, like, 75 to 80 percent water" and Recovery Water is, like, water.

So, yeah.

Do You Think This Makes Sense?

Oh, goody!  Ammo too!
I see in the local news that applications for concealed-carry gun permits are on the rise in Ohio.  That's because our state legislature, in its infinite Tea Bag wisdom, has reduced the training time necessary to obtain said permit to a mere 8 hours.

Let's compare and contrast.

An Ohio real estate license requires 120 hours of classroom training, a written state exam, then 30 hours of continuing classroom education every 3 years.

An Ohio insurance license requires 40 hours of classroom training, a background check, a written state exam, then 24 hours of continuing classroom education every 2 years.

An Ohio drivers license requires 24 hours of classroom training, 8 hours of in-car training, a written state exam, an eye test, then renewal eye tests every 4 years.

There is no such thing as an Ohio firearms license, permit, or registration.

An Ohio concealed-carry handgun permit requires 8 hours of training.  There is no exam, and no eye test.  The permit is good forever.

If you don't want the concealed carry permit, then Ohio law pretty much says, fuck it, go buy yourself a gun.  There is a perfunctory criminal background check, but no important screening questions, no exam, no eye test.  At gun shows, there's not even a background check.

Does this make sense to you?  I'm searching for the logic, but I can't find it.  Because it's not there!!

"And Then I'll Build Walls Along The Pacific Coast, The Atlantic Coast, And The Gulf Coast!"

Poor Scotty!  When you're called "pretty dumb" by the likes of Rand Paul, you know you're a loser.

We Missed A Real Opportunity . . .

. . . When we let this heinous piss worm avoid jail time for murdering Trayvon Martin.  If there was any justice, George Zimmerman would be getting ass-raped in prison right now.

Zimmerman recently took to Twitter, where he posted Tweets calling President Obama an "ignorant baboon"

Showed photos of Michael Brown and Vester Flanagan as Obama's "sons"

Called Trayvon Martin an "idiot"

And put up a selfie, in a pool with shades and a cigar.

The Confederate Flag is an appropriate touch too, don't you think?

Like I said, we missed a chance for real justice when we let this bastard walk.

Hard To Do It Everyday

Donald Trump has surprised even himself by all the attention he has garnered for saying next to nothing, except for a few outrageously stupid things.  But now he finds himself in the position of having to say something stupid every day, just to stay "relevant" and in the public eye.  He has painted himself into a "can-you-top-this" corner.

It's hard to be an asshole 24-7.  Just ask Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

Taking One For The Team

Kim Davis is the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who is adamantly refusing to issue marriage licenses to any same-sex couples, despite court orders to do so and despite the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.  She is even appealing to the same Supreme Court.  Good luck with that!

With her highly-principled, Conservative Christian "religious beliefs," Ms. Davis clearly intends to be the poster child for bigots, homophobes and Bible-beaters everywhere!  Even at the loss of her job, she will make an example of herself and take one for the team.  Team Troglodyte.

(And here's what Jesus had to say about same-sex marriage:  "____________________.")

Who's Happy Now?

"Conservatives are happier than liberals, or so decades of surveys that ask about life satisfaction would suggest.  But a new set of studies questions the gap itself, raising the possibility that conservatives may report greater happiness tha liberals, they are no more likely to act in ways that indicate they really are happier."
-- the New York Times

[A brief excerpt follows from "Who's Happy Now?" by Paul Rudnick, in the 6/1/15 issue of the New Yorker.  Link to the full article is below.  It's a funny read.]

Further research has been done in this intriguing area, and the results are in.

Ways in which conservatives express extreme happiness:

-- A male conservative will snap his suspenders and shout "Yowza!"  A female conservative will offer a tight, chilly smile and almost touch her hair.

Ways in which liberals express extreme happiness:

-- They make independent films about how happiness is expressed in batik fabrics in Third World countries, despite fracking.

Things that cause a conservative to laugh uproariously:

-- When a conservative candidate deliberately mispronounces Hillary, calling her "Shillary" or "Pillary."

Things that cause liberals to weep bitter tears:

-- Any photograph of Sarah Palin without a sarcastic caption.

Charles Koch Acknowledges His Advantages

Every year, the multi-billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch host a secretive "retreat" for hundreds of super-rich, arch-conservative donors.  They all eat, drink, makes speeches, congratulate each other on being super-rich, and make plans to more thoroughly take over the world.

At this year's little get-together a couple weeks ago, Charles Koch had this to say during his opening remarks:

"We grew up with every advantage.  Most of you had the same benefits that our parents gave David and me, that is, growing up appreciating and being imbued with the values and skills required for success."

Oh, I see.  Your advantages had nothing to do with inheriting a thriving business and a tremendous fortune from your father.  It was just about appreciating dear old Dad's values.  Beyond that, a pair of "we built it" self-made men.

(By the way, dear old daddy Fred Koch made his bundle teaching Josef Stalin how to drill for Russian oil and build pipelines in the 1930's.  Fred was a founding member of the John Birch Society, a virulent racist, and Red-Menace paranoiac.  Values.)

Are You Opposed To Medical Research?

Those people who donate a kidney or a lung or bone marrow to help another person are hailed as heroes.  Those who give to blood banks are likewise celebrated.  We are constantly encouraged to consider becoming organ donors, at death allowing parts of our bodies to be useful to others.  Some of us (including your humble correspondent) have arranged to be whole-body donors for the benefit of medical science.  All of this is seen by almost everyone as a good thing.  (And the same can be said for the countless lab animals used in medical research.)

But when it comes to fetal tissue donation, the Right-To-Lifers go full-retard and start screaming about defunding Planned Parenthood and reversing Roe v. Wade.  The flatly refuse to admit that something good can come from an abortion.

In 2014, the U.S. National Institutes of Health funded $76 million of fetal tissue research -- the kind that has contributed to polio, chickenpox and rubella vaccines, and to advances in stem cell research.

You're not opposed to medical research, are you?  Use of fetal tissue is essential to scientific progress.  The anti-abortion zealots are wrong.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Irony! Hypocrisy! Hilarity! Stupidity!

Once again swiped from a friend's FB page!

Apply Your Vote Liberally

Stolen from a friend's FB page

"Believe Me, I'll Be Great! The Best! It'll Be Beautiful!"

It's the truth.

Thirty Seconds Of Deception From The Kochs

It's still 2015, but the first political ad of the 2016 campaign to get heavy rotation in my area is a deceptive attack ad from Americans For Prosperity, the Koch brothers' 501 (c)(3) tax exempt "charitable" foundation.  Despite the fast-talking disclaimers, the ad is on behalf of incumbent Senator Robbie Portman, whose opponent is former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.  Robbie is trailing in the polls at the moment.

The ad features a dentally-challenged ex-employee of the German shipping company DHL.  From 2003 to 2008, DHL's main American hub was the old air base in Wilmington, Ohio.  They closed that hub in late 2008, at the height of the Great Crash of '08.  The ex-employee says all the Wilmington jobs moved to Kentucky, and it was all somehow Ted Strickland's fault and he did nothing about it.

How about a little truth?

In the fall of '08, our economy was ugly.  Like other companies, DHL was failing badly.  They closed their largest hub, Wilmington, eventually laying off over 7,000 at that location.  They also closed hubs in Allentown, PA and Riverside, CA, and closed 18 sorting centers across the U.S.  They slashed their annual American operating expenses from $5.4 billion to less than $1 billion, and laid off almost 10,000 nationally.

The Wilmington DHL jobs did not simply migrate to Kentucky.  DHL contracted with UPS to use UPS employees and their huge Louisville UPS hub for some continued DHL domestic cargo service, but soon enough DHL ceased all air and ground operations in the U.S.  Those old Ohio DHL jobs didn't "move," they vanished, gone for good.  DHL killed them.

DHL's closure announcement came as a surprise to everyone.  In truth, Gov. Strickland and Sen. Sherrod Brown led a big bipartisan lobbying effort to stop DHL from closing and keep those jobs in Wilmington.  They didn't succeed, but they tried like hell.  Strickland obtained $10 million in federal job-retraining funds for the displaced workers.  Dedicated out-sourcer Rob Portman did nothing.

Eventually, DHL did resume American operations.  In 2013, it opened its new but much smaller U.S. hub in the Greater Cincinnati airport in Hebron, Ky.  It employs around 1,500 people.

The Koch brothers/Portman ad is a damnable lie.  The Kochs have vowed to spend $1.5 million in Ohio for the 2016 election.  Many more lies are coming.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Still Think More Guns Is The Answer?

So, let me see if I understand how this works.  If you go to a school building, a movie theater, a shopping mall, a navy yard, or a church and get yourself shot and killed, it's your own damn fault for being so stupidly unarmed.

And now we add to the list:

If you're a TV reporter, or a cameraman, or you're being interviewed by a reporter, don't be stupid -- have your gun with you at all times.

Because the problem is not angry, mentally unhinged people with ridiculously easy access to lethal weapons.  No, the real problem is that not enough of us have guns.  Not enough of us use guns.  If everyone were armed to the teeth at all times, cocked, locked and loaded, think how safe we'd be.

Yes, I think I get it -- "more guns" is always the right answer.

For morons.

Introducing The Cruci-Piece

Have you been wondering how to protect yourself in church?  Are you worried about being killed in your place of worship by a homicidal maniac?  Finally, your prayers have been answered, and now everyone can praise the Lord in perfect safety and security.

Introducing the Cruci-Piece, the ultimate Holy Handgun!

Forget that bulky holster, heavy pistol-purse, or uncomfortable gun-holding brassierre.  Worn on a neck chain as an ordinary crucifix, the Cruci-Piece is a light-weight, six-shot, .38 caliber lethal weapon conveniently located smack-dab in the middle of your bosom.

No more fumbling around in a panic -- the Cruci-Piece is right there for you where you need it when it's time to gun down all those church bad guys.  (And you know that time will come.)

The Cruci-Piece is available in the popular High Mass finish (as pictured), and also comes in nickel-plate, gun-metal blue, camo, and of course, pink.  For younger worshippers, try the .22 caliber Kid Cruci-Piece, specially designed for smaller trigger fingers.

The Cruci-Piece is Vatican-approved, but it's not just for Catholics.  We offer the Martin Luther Plain Cross model for our Protestant customers.  It has a wood-tone finish and is identical to the High Mass model, but without the crucified Jesus.

The Cruci-Piece is marketed exclusively by Buster Gammons Industries.  Call 1-800-GOD-GUNS for pricing and shipping information.

Remember:  To pray in peace, bring your piece.  Cruci-Piece.

(This idea came from the lovely Mrs. Gammons as a joke response to one of our right-wing friends who, in the wake of the Emanuel AME Church massacre, said he believes all church-goers should henceforth attend services fully armed, just in case.  We subsequently shared the joke with other friends.  Most laughed and saw the humor, but some took it seriously and thought there would actually be a market for it.  I don't know.  Moral dilemma -- is it ethical to make money selling something you abhor?  Hmmm.  While we all ponder that, I've got dibs on patent rights.)

And None Of Them Are Embarrassed

It's still very early, but what have we learned so far about the GOP candidates in the 2016 presidential race?

They're all extremely concerned about "anchor babies" and will fix the problem by repealing the 14th Amendment and its guarantee of birthright citizenship.  (Would they repeal the 2nd Amendment while they're at it?  No!  Never!  14th, bad.  2nd, good.)

They all oppose any reasonable path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Some are in favor of deporting all 11 million undocumented people immediately.  "They're outta here!"

Some want to build a great wall to keep out all the Mexican rapists.  "Nobody builds walls better than me, and I'll make Mexico pay for it."

Some deal with an irritating Univision reporter at a press conference by shouting him down, having him removed, and being the altogether bigger asshole.  "Sit down!  Go back to Univision."

They all want to defund Planned Parenthood.

They all favor a ban on abortions, no exceptions.

They would make all pregnant women give birth, always, regardless of circumstances, even if the mother is a 10 year-old girl, even in cases of rape and incest, and even if the birth means the death of the mother.

All done with a straight face, and no apparent sense of shame or embarrassment.

Wasn't the GOP going to "re-invent" itself to appeal to Latinos and women?  #GOP Fail

(Completely incapable of shame is, of course, The Donald.  He's turning the Republican race into a reality show, and the media are helping him do it.  If you think Trump would be a good president, you must believe that The Apprentice and Big Brother are TV at its finest.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Josh Smith Will Scrape By Somehow

"I do have a family, so it's going to be a little harder on me this year.  But I'm going to push through it."

Josh Smith -- Upon signing an off-season deal with the NBA's L.A. Clippers which will pay him $6.9 million this season, after earning over $10 million for each of the last eight years.

You hang in there, Joshie Boy!

Beach Buster

A recap of two weeks of Great Times, Family & Friends, Cinnamon Rolls, Gratitude, the Usual Complaints, Team Orca, Flags, and News of the South

Buster and the lovely Mrs. Gammons have just returned home from yet another visit to the South Carolina shore.  It's been 22 years in a row for us.  Who knows how long we'll keep this up.

For the first time, we went in August instead of early July.  It was a good call.  The weather was just as good, the water was warmer, and there were noticeably fewer touristas in the immediate area.  Easier driving, dining, shopping, etc.  We like August.

We were joined for a day by my nephew, his wife and their little daughter, who came down from Charlotte.  Later that same day, two other couples from back home arrived as well, and we all enjoyed a wonderful day at the beach -- it was a flurry of homemade cinnamon rolls, margaritas, guacamole, and cervezas!

Yes, homemade cinnamon rolls.  One of our C-bus homies flew down with a big lump of her pastry dough wrapped in plastic and packed in her carry-on.  She and the TSA people had fun with that:  "Excuse me, ma'am, but there's an object in your baggage that won't scan properly.  I'll need you to open your bag for me.  OK, thank you.  Jesus! -- what the hell is that, ma'am?  What?  Dough?  For cinnamon rolls?  And you're flying with it?  Hey Charlie!  Check it out -- this lady's flying with a big ol' wad of pastry dough!  That's a new one on me, ma'am, but that's OK.  You go right ahead, and happy baking!"

The cinnamon rolls traveled well.  They were great, as was everything else.  We were righteously fed and watered, and we had big fun.  We're grateful to have had good family and friends spend some beach time with us.

Ah, beach time!  Can't beat it, except for the occasional problem of Space Invaders.  Not the old video game, but fellow beach-goers who lack a sense of adequate buffer zone.  I normally set up our chairs at 7 or 7:30 in the morning, when no one is around, then I go back in for coffee, etc.  As I said, things are less crowded in August than in July, but one morning I came back out to find the scene in the photo above.  The blue and yellow chairs are ours, and were literally all by themselves an hour or two earlier.  Despite acres and acres of empty beach, two groups of total strangers decided to flank us within 2-3 feet on either side.  Really?  I know I bitch about this every year.  Am I being overly sensitive?

And here's another annual beach topic:  Tattoos.  Saw this man on the beach, and from a distance, he appeared to be green!  Yikes!  Mars attacks!  On closer inspection, he was the Illustrated Man -- entirely covered head-to-toe in tattoos.  (I took the pic from too far away.  Maybe you can zoom in.)  Which leads to this observation:  If life is ever-changing, then getting a tattoo is a defiant act of permanence.  It's like choosing to wear your favorite shirt every day for the rest of your life.  You better hope you look good in it -- forever.  Good luck with that.

By changing to August, for the first time in many a year we were not subjected to the presence of the Particular Individual, a crack-pot, right-wing chatterbox I've written of in many a previous post.  Dear old P.I., how we missed you -- not!  We didn't encounter anyone close to his level of paranoia and fear, although we spent the first week with a huge multi-condo gang (40+) from Maryland.  They took over the place, like we used to do back in the day.  Almost all of them were military/government/civil service employees.  They were sane, normal, and could not have been nicer.

Well, there was the one guy who was flying his Marine Corps flag from his balcony.  (On vacation?  Whatever, dude.  Semper fi.)  He told us was a little worried about those people in Unit #10.  "Who are they?  Where are they from?  Whad'ya suppose is going on in there?"

The answers:  (1.) A Muslim family of seven -- husband, wife, four teenage daughters and an aunt.  (2.) From New Jersey.  (3.) They're plotting our demise for the greater glory of Allah.

Relax, Sgt. Carter!  Just kidding about (3.)  But it was indeed a Muslim family from New Jersey.  Nice folks, as American as apple pie.  But they were just a bit conspicuous.  Every day, all the women would descend to swim in the pool or the ocean, wearing black swimsuits with white trim, similar to the photo.  (Being courteous, I didn't take their picture.  No such luck for Green Man or the Space Invaders.)  I took to calling them Team Orca.  (Is that discourteous?)

Their garb was not what you or I or most people might wear to the beach on a hot, sunny summer's day.  But they believe it's the thing to do.  And while all the women are covered up in sweltering black, dad is sitting on his deck in shorts and a t-shirt, scratching his ass.  He can wear whatever he wants.  It served to remind me once again that, one way or another, in large ways and small, all religions are bullshit.

Speaking of flags -- we were, weren't we? -- it seemed to me that this year while we were Way Down South in the Land O' Cotton, there were noticeably fewer Confederate flags than in the past.  I saw just one house, many rows back off the beach, flying the Stars n' Bars.  But that was it.  Perhaps recent events and the weight of history have finally broken through and convinced the majority of southern citizens that the Rebel Battle flag is in fact a symbol of shame, not pride.

Or perhaps not.  Displays like this were common at all the beach stores down there.  These low-class emporiums peddle every tasteless, schlocky thing you can think of, in the form of towels, trinkets, t-shirts, shells, shotglasses, and yes, swim trunks.  As always, when it comes to retail, there is an ass for every seat.

The Rebel battle flag remained in the news down there, too.  The public school system of Charleston, SC decided to ban all student displays of the flag, on clothing or anything else.  Given the slaughter at the Emanuel AME, a good and reasonable decision.  But other school districts are not as decisive.  They don't encourage the symbol, but aren't sure they want to prohibit it either, they never have in the past, and blah blah blah, so . . . so get over it and grow a friggin' set already!  It's time.

And in other News of the South . . . 

As you may recall, Friday night on the way down we stayed in Florence, along with 70,000 black motorcycle club members convening for a weekend rally at the Darlington racetrack.  On Monday at the beach condo, I was watching the local TV news.  They had a segment about the rally, and how it had gone off without a hitch, and how it had been a huge financial windfall for the area.  Did they interview or even show a single black biker?  No.  They interviewed the white local sheriff, whose big takeaway was that all those black people had been surprisingly well-behaved.  Well, goody. (Meanwhile, at the huge, mostly white, Harley-heavy annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., "only" 13 people were killed.)

Private Christian schools across South Carolina are still worried sick about the implications of the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.  An administrator at North Greenville University said, "As believers in Jesus Christ, we could be forced to give approval to something the scripture teaches we cannot approve."  And they're worried too at Bob Jones Academy, a K-12 offshoot of Bob Jones University.  Their student handbook states that "homosexuality is clearly condemned by God's Word," and that LGBT students will be expelled.  These holy-rolling educators don't want to change their out-dated policies, but more importantly, they really don't want to lose their church-affiliated tax-exempt status.  Back in 1983, Bob Jones University was stripped of its tax-exempt status for its policy prohibiting interracial dating.  They changed their ways then, and they'll do it again.  They may love Jesus, but they love tax exemptions even more.  By the way, here's what Jesus had to say about interracial dating and same-sex marriage:  "____________ ."

While we were down there, the Myrtle Beach City Council voted 6-1 for a resolution to oppose any offshore oil drilling in the waters of their town.  In doing so, Myrtle Beach joined over 70 other Carolina beach communities in opposition to the "drill, baby, drill" douchebags.  The pro-drillers offer only one rationale -- jobs.  That's a weak reason.  Oil is not our only energy option, drilling is not our only employment opportunity, and the risks of offshore oil rigs are significant, especially for beach communities.  Alas, as appropriate as these local resolutions are, they're only resolutions.  The drill-heads may prevail anyway.  S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley is all for offshore drilling, and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R - AK) has introduced a bill which would sidestep all environmental law and actually mandate more and more offshore oil drilling along America's coastlines.  For short-term benefit, some people are willing to forget the lessons of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.  Sad.

One final thought:  You know you're in the south when there's a skink in the men's room of a restaurant.  A skink is a small lizard common in the region.  The lovely Mrs. Gammons encountered this critter first in the women's room, then it scooted across the hall into the men's room, where I took the photo of Mr. Skink as he rested on a 12-inch tile.  I showed the waitress and she assured me he'd be on the menu tomorrow night!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

This Is The John Kasich I've Come To Know

And hate.

John Kasich is staunchly anti-union and anti-public education.  Yesterday, at a New Hampshire GOP education "summit"/dog-and-pony-show, Kasich had this to say:

"If you're a terrible teacher, then you should be doing something else.  We have to communicate that constantly."  (Constantly?  Well, OK, but is there a national epidemic of terrible teachers?  No?  Then shut the fuck up.)

"I'll tell you what unions do.  There's constant negative comment, 'They're going to take your benefits, they're going to take your pay.'"  (This is, of course, precisely what Kasich tried to do to Ohio teachers with his failed union-busting Senate Bill 5.)

"I would abolish all teachers lounges, where they sit together and worry about 'Woe is us.'"

And with that, Kasich gave teachers everywhere something to really worry about -- him as president.

That this douchebag could be elected and then reelected as Ohio governor and now has presidential aspirations is a testament to the general stupidity and forgetfulness of the average voter.


Free Market?

Our definition of "free" seems pretty expensive.

"I'm No Scientist"

Nor are you a gynecologist, mathematician, sociologist, etc., etc.  #GOP B.S.

Friday, August 14, 2015

"But We Like Burning Coal"

The Attorneys General of fifteen states, including Ohio, have filed a petition with the Washington D.C. District Court asking to stop implementation of the EPA's new rules under the Clean Air Act.  These new rules require power plants to reduce carbon dioxide by 32% by the year 2030.

Speaking for the group of 15 states, West Virginia A.G. Patrick Morrisey said, "The rule is the most far-reaching energy regulation in our nation's history, and here in West-by-God Virginia, we couldn't hit that reduced carbon goal in a 150 years, let alone 15 -- not unless we took impossibly drastic measures, like burning less coal."

Morrisey continued, "The Clean Air Act was never intended to create this type of regulatory regime, you know, regulations that actually result in, uh, clean air.  We say now is not the time for this sort of governmental overreach."

When asked when would be the appropriate time to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, Morrisey replied, "When we're out of coal."

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The R's Should Have Come To Where We Were

Roger Ailes orchestrated the first Republican debate to be held in Cleveland, Ohio, site of the eventual 2016 GOP Convention.  It was a Fox News exclusive, an extravaganza which drew record ratings.  I'm sure Mr. Ailes was coming in his pants all night long.

The day after the debate, the lovely Mrs. Gammons and I found ourselves bivouaced in the Darlington/Florence, South Carolina area, in the midst of a national black motorcycle club rally that weekend at the Darlington racetrack.  Black bikers were everywhere.  We chatted up few of the guys, wonderful fellows, and learned that this was an annual event with a different location each year, and this year in Darlington they were expecting upwards of 70,000 attendees.

I was thinking it was kind of a shame that the GOP wasn't holding their beauty pageant down here with 70,000 black bikers.  Would've given them an entirely new perspective. 

The Real Winner Of The GOP "Debate"

At the GOP debate on Thursday, in the midst of the discussion about which candidate was the biggest god-lover, Wisconsin's Scott Walker was unexpectedly raptured right off the stage, so I guess he's the BIG winner!

(Stolen from Michael Feldman's "Whad'ya Know?")

Thursday, August 6, 2015

GOP Debate Word Counter

Received this today from the Hillary campaign.  Could be fun, if you're actually going to watch the GOP/Fox News "debate"/circus/beauty pageant/circle jerk.  (Personally, I don't know if I want to see it.  It'll be like a trainwreck.  Can I look away?)

Words/phrases you won't hear:

Income inequality
Defend women's rights and support Roe v. Wade
Sufficient funding for government programs
Increase the federal minimum wage
Approve the Iran treaty
Sensible gun control laws
Support EPA clean air and water rules
Reduce carbon emissions due to fossil fuels
Support public education
Restore the Voting Rights Act and expand access to voting
Repeal Citizens United
Support universal single-payer health care
Amnesty for undocumented immigrants

. . . and a whole lot more.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Trump Tower (Of Babble)

(More than enough time and space has already been wasted on the megalomaniacal Donald Trump.  I hate to add to it, but my topic here is not his paper-thin substance, but instead his diabolically effective rhetorical technique.)

"Word salad" -- a semantically incoherent jumble of tossed-together words and phrases.
Often used by schizophrenics, and by athletes and politicians trying to sound smart.  For example, almost anything Sarah Palin has ever said is word salad.

If Palin is word salad, then Donald Trump is the entire buffet, a word smorgasbord in a blender, a verbal vomitorium.  Given the slightest opening, he'll shout rapid-fire, unconnected, half-thoughts endlessly.  He bounces around like a fart in a skillet, and there's no "off" switch.  His word count goes off the charts!

By the time someone finally stops him, he's barfed up sound-bites on 17 topics so quickly that everyone is confused, no one can remember where he began, what he was talking about, or why, or if it made any sense at all.  But it sure was amusing.  And his babble apparently impresses those 'Muricans raised on Limbaugh and Hannity.

Volume.  Spectacle.  Noise and fury signifying nothing.    

A Curious View Of Self-Interest

Conservatives have an inability to think long-term.  They advocate for the short-term benefit, the get-rich-quick scheme every time, even when it's against their own best interests.

President Obama just signed executive orders requiring significant reduction (not elimination) of carbon emissions from U.S. coal-fired power plants.  Not immediately, but over the next 15 years.  It's about time, frankly.

Republicans reacted predictably:  they threatened lawsuits and advised states to refuse to comply with the new rule.

Republicans would rather poison the population, themselves included, and hasten the destruction of the planet than see long-suffering capitalists trim their profit margins.

"Conservation Hunters"??

There are fewer than 25,000 remaining African lions.  Their population is declining steadily due to various man-made stresses, and still over 600 lions are killed per year (that we know of) by Great White Trophy Hunters.  This tiny group of wealthy jerks is attempting to sanitize itself with the galling euphemism "conservation hunters". 

Here are some conservation hunters:

What am I missing?  What, precisely, is being "conserved" in this activity?

"Conservation hunting" is 100% Grade A bullshit.