Welcome to Buster's Blog

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

Buster Gammons

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Saw Yogi Berra Play

As all good sports fans know, along with a bunch of other people, the great Yogi Berra died last week at age 90.  He was a Hall of Fame catcher for the New York Yankees, one of the best to ever play the position, and later a successful manager.  But Yogi was even more widely known for his "Yogi-isms" -- his unintentionally funny manglings of the English language.

All those quotes have been listed and re-listed endlessly since last week, so I won't bore you by doing it again here.  That's not my purpose.  But on second thought, I will give you just two of his lesser- known gems.

On education:  "I'm not gonna buy my kids an encyclopedia.  Let 'em walk to school like I did."

On low attendance:  "If people don't wanna come to the ballpark, how ya gonna stop 'em?"

No, my purpose here is merely to reminisce in a personal and insignificant way.  Yogi Berra hit 348 career home runs, and I saw one of them.

It was Saturday, July 6, 1963.  Yankees vs. Indians at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, with my dad.  Mom and sister too?  Can't remember.  (The internet helps me fill in many blanks, but it can't help me with that.  Were you there, Sis?)

I was 8 years old and this was just the second major league game I'd ever attended.  For me, this one was memorable for two reasons:

1.  It was the Yankees, and as a little kid, I was a star-struck front-runner.  These were the dynastic 1960's Yanks in the midst of 5 straight World Series appearances, so I was pumped to see some of these great players in person.  (I've since tamed my juvenile bandwagon instincts and remain a long-suffering Indians fan.)

2.  The crowd was huge, much larger than for my Twins-Indians maiden voyage the previous summer.  It was the most people together in one place I'd ever seen to that point in my young life.  The box score (Link below.  Thank you, Baseball-Almanac.com) gives a paid attendance of 57,621.  That's more than the capacity of any current big-league stadium.  The cavernous Cleveland Stadium could accommodate over 78,000.  Although the Browns routinely put that many fannies in the seats, the so-so Tribe didn't come close.  But on July 6, 1963, the turnstiles were humming -- Yogi, the people sure wanted to come to the ballpark that day to see you and the mighty Yankees!


Cleveland Municipal Stadium

Back then, I knew the Yankee lineup better Cleveland's.  And why not?  The Bronx Bombers were back-to-back World Series Champs, with Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Joe Pepitone, Bobby Richardson, Tony Kubek, Whitey Ford, Jim Bouton, Ralph Terry, et al.  They were famous!

Mantle didn't play that day for some reason, which made me a little sad, but the champs did not disappoint.  Young Yankee fireballer Al Downing dominated on the mound, while his teammates put on a hitting display en route to an 11-6 win over the Tribe.  And who had the best day of any player on the field that day?  Yogi Berra, who went 2 for 5 with a HR and 3 RBI.

Clearly, that game made an impression on me.  I know the big crowd had a lot to do with it, and 17 runs scored didn't hurt either.

What nobody knew at the time was that 1963 was to be Yogi's last season as a player.  I saw him hit that homer one hot Saturday in July, and he hit just four more the rest of the way.  He retired at the end of the season.  I'm glad I had the chance to see him play.

RIP, Yogi.

Shaky, Quakey Advice

A group of "experts" known as the StatesFirst Initiative just issued a report intended to give "advice" to states on how to detect, manage and handle fracking-related earthquakes.

The good news:  The report freely admits that the extensive drilling done in the process of hydraulic fracturing and disposal of its chemical-laden waste "water" causes earthquakes.  Lots of them.  This is a man-made problem, no doubt about it.

The bad news:  It was just a PR manual.  Because the StatesFirst group includes members of the oil and gas industry, their report did not call for any uniform regulations, and of course no one dared to suggest the best, most obvious earthquake-reduction advice:  STOP F***ING FRACKING!!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Time For The Truth About Planned Parenthood

Are you a total, no-exceptions, anti-abortion wacko?  If so, you're not only horribly wrong-headed, you're almost certainly not reading this to begin with.  So we leave you behind.

Even if you are among the vast majority of more reasonable people, you may still be a bit confused by all the fuss over abortions via Planned Parenthood facilities.  I'm here to help.

Planned Parenthood has been around since 1916.  For most of that time, it's had the bipartisan support of most Americans.  Despite the GOP's 30-year suck-up to religious/social conservatives, that majority support holds true today.

Fun fact:  My mother-in-law (a Republican if ever there was one), the mother of the lovely Mrs. Gammons, once worked for Planned Parenthood.  

We are not shutting down the federal government over Planned Parenthood funding, no matter what the foamy-mouth brigade wants.

The sting videos are copy-and-paste bullshit fakery.  Carly Fiorina's claim of seeing a kicking-fetus video is double bullshit, and the release of her own dishonest response video is triple bullshit.  Planned Parenthood does not "butcher babies" for fun and profit.  Doesn't happen.  Stop it!

They do most definitely provide a variety of health services, including breast exams, HIV tests, children's health care, contraceptive services, and, yes, abortions.  

Planned Parenthood's most frequently delivered service is contraception, at 35% of their total volume.  The least frequent is abortion, at just 3%.  How about that?  Contraception high, abortion low.  Duh!  (And if you're opposed to both birth control and abortion, you're a special kind of stupid!)

The U.S. has 3144 counties.  As the chart illustrates, Planned Parenthood has a presence in just 16% of those counties, but it plays a most necessary role, especially for those at or near the poverty level, who often have few options and no place else to go.   

My very own pig-faced U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi wants to defund Planned Parenthood and has said that he believes the 1200 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC's) for underserved areas and populations ought to be sufficient, since FQHC's outnumber Planned Parenthood affiliates 20 to 1, according to Pat.  Therefore, says Pat, we can live without Planned Parenthood.  FQHC's do not provide abortion services.

Pat is a big fat liar.  There are 59 Planned Parenthood affiliates in the U.S. operating 700 facilities.  The ratio is 1.7 to 1, not 20 to 1.  The 700 Planned Parenthood facilities are essential to women's health and society as a whole.  We can't get by without them.  If anything, we need more!

Since 1976, federal law, in the form of the Hyde Amendment, has prohibited federal funds from being spent on Medicaid abortions. 

Planned Parenthood receives $450-$460 million in total federal funding per year.  With 243 million adult taxpayers, that costs each of us a whopping $1.89 per year.  Furthermore, $400 million of that is mandatory spending on Medicaid/Medicare reimbursements, which cannot be changed, and of course cannot include abortions.  Only $50-$60 million per year is so-called "discretionary" funding of Planned Parenthood.  That works out to a puny 25 cents per year per taxpayer, and only a small portion of that goes toward abortion services.  That's the "defunding" certain congressional assholes are screaming about.

FQHC's receive $5.1 billion per year in federal discretionary spending.

So, my fine-feathered conservative friends, what exactly is the big problem here?  If you're so morally opposed to abortion, don't have an abortion!  

Beyond that, for less than 25 cents a year and for the good of society, you can afford to shut the fuck up!  


PINK-OUT tomorrow, Sept. 29th, to show your support for Planned Parenthood! 

Selling Sickness

Here's a collection of vowels and consonants arranged into melodious, pleasant-sounding groupings, typically in three syllables:

Epanova, Jublia, Otezla, Afrezza, Farxiga, Vogelxo, Belsomra, Zerbaxa, Harvoni, Movantik, Osphena, Invokana, Sovaldi, Eliquis, Linzess, Lyrica, Xeljanz, Xarelto, Intermexxo, Soliris, Pradaxa, Prolia, Victoza, Dulera, Vimovo, Prevnar  

What do all these mean?  Literally, nothing.  And intentionally so.  What do they do?  Who knows?  But they sure sound nice in a TV ad.  They are brand names of a few of the prescription drugs introduced in the past five years.  

Prescription drugs are the 3rd-highest element in U.S. health care costs.  One hundred or more new drugs are approved by the FDA every year.  Every year.  Is medical science discovering that many brand new maladies each year?  How many different things can possibly go wrong with a human being?

Once upon a time, doctors and drug companies agreed that direct-to-consumer drug advertising was a bad idea.  The average consumer couldn't possibly evaluate a drug's claims or appropriateness.  And doctors cringed at the idea of patients badgering them for specific prescriptions.

But throught the 1980's and 1990's, the FDA steadily and dramatically relaxed the rules for pharmaceutical advertising.  Today, the Nielsen Co. estimates that across the spectrum of cable and bradcast, there is an average of 100 drug ads every hour of every day on American TV.  And every one of 'em ends with, "Ask your doctor if _____ is right for you."

And a whole lot of people do just that.  The ads work, prescriptions are written, drugs are sold, and we all pay to one extent or another.

Are all these new drugs improving our health outcomes in any measurable way?  Hell no.  (How many times can a sleeping pill really be "improved"?)  Are all the new drugs improving Big Pharma's bottom line?  Hell yes!

Pharmaceutical companies are shamelessly profiteering by selling sickness to a gullible public.

Ass-wipe of the Month
This rant was spurred by one Martin Shkreli, ass-wipe former hedgefund manager who bought a pharmaceutical company and, overnight, jacked the price of an essential infection-treatment drug from $13.50 per pill to $750!  When he drew heavy criticism from all corners, he said he "couldn't care less" and that the $750 price tag was "not excessive at all."

GOP Cleopatras*

* Queens of Denial

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Why Are They So Happy?

As House Speaker, John Boehner was a smirking, obstructionist prick.  That's why people like me were pleased by his unexpected resignation; happy just on general principles -- "Ding dong, the witch is dead!"  But we also realize that another witch is waiting in the wings, and nothing much will change in the short run.

The reaction from the angry white right social/religious conservatives to Boehner's "no mas" moment was amusing.  They weren't merely pleased, they were ecstatic!  They rejoiced!  In their book, Boehner was not a True Believer, not nearly conservative enough.  He committed the unforgivable sin of "compromise." Not a word that leaps to my mind at the mention of Boehner's name, but in their world, anything less than full-on crazy equates to surrender.

They forget that the Orange Man indulged them in all their Animal House-style "really futile and stupid gestures," like countless votes to repeal Obamacare, defund everything, and shut down the government.  Evidently, that wasn't enough for them.

These delusional douchebags believe a new leader will make all their dreams come true, but the new Speaker is unlikely to be much different from the old Weeper/Speaker, and the numbers are unchanged -- there just aren't enough of these wing-nuts for them to impose their will on the House, let alone the Senate, the White House, or the nation.  And, reading the writing on the demographic wall, there never will be.

That's a very good thing.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Orange Crybaby Heading Back To West Chester

After five years as Weeper of -- uh, I mean Speaker of the House, Rep John Boehner (R-OH) has had enough.  He's quitting next month.  He'll go back home to exurban Cincinnati to spend the rest of his days smoking and playing golf.

In his tenure as Head Cat Herder, he presided over the worst, most fractious, most destructive, least productive, do-nothing-est House of Representatives in American history.  It was a tough job, what with the Tea Bag influence, billionaires buying politicians, and a GOP with so many factions it's produced umpteen "presidential" primary candidates.  Boehner wasn't up to the task.  As Speaker, he personified the Peter Principle -- he had risen to the level of his incompetence.

So, as the Orange Man rides off into the orange sunset, he is best remembered in the words of columnist and author Matt Taibbi, who had this to say back in January 2011:

John Boehner is the ultimate Beltway hack, a man whose unmatched and self-serving skill at political survival has made him, after two decades, the hairy blue mold on the American congressional sandwich.

He's a five-tool insider who can lie, cheat, steal, play golf, change his mind on command and do anything else his lobbyist buddies and campaign contributors require of him.

It's hard to imagine a more unlikely marriage than John Boehner and the pitchfork-wielding, incumbent-eating TEA party, whose blood ostensibly boils at the thought of business as usual. Because John Boehner is business as usual, a man devoted almost exclusively to his own political survival by tending faithfully to the corrupt and clanking Beltway machinery.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What's The Deal With Hillary's Emails? Buster Explains It All

In the latest news this morning, the FBI has been able to retrieve some emails from Hillary Clinton's private server.  Hillary had said previously all her personal emails were deleted.  Apparently not.  The FBI said it will continue its review to see if any classified information was mishandled.

OK, time out.  What's the problem with Hillary's emails?  What did she do wrong?  It's helpful to go back and review.

Hillary Clinton never used an official government email account in her four years as Secretary of State.  Instead, she used a personal email account on her own private server.  She sent plenty emails to other people with .gov email accounts; she just never used one herself.

No one at the State Dept. noticed or cared until 2014.  At that point, State requested she turn over all government-related emails and information on her private server.  Hillary provided them with about 30,000 work-related emails, but she deleted another 30,000 "personal" emails.  Then she had her server wiped clean and turned it over to the FBI.

Most of Hillary's explanations and rationalizations for her use of private email have been plausible but rather weak (e.g. "convenience").  She should have used an official public .gov account because 1.) that's what government employees do, and 2.) undoubtedly some of her communications contained classified material.  But, intentionally, she didn't do it that way.

Do not jump to conclusions about classified material.  Lots of unimportant drivel is "classified" initially, just for the power-trip hell of it.  Most classified info is rather quickly declassified.  And "classified" does not mean "top secret."

Hillary has acknowledged her error in judgment in using private email, and has apologized for it.  Her conduct in this area was borderline unethical (emphasis on borderline), but was not in any way illegal.

In addition, there has been zero evidence (so far) of any nefarious purpose on her part, or of any of her emails being hacked, causing a national security breach, or doing any demonstrable harm of any sort.  There is no smoking gun, no unforgivable sin.

For example, there are no emails like these:

From:  HRC
To:  Staff@statedept.gov
Just heard credible reports that some crazies are planning to attack one of our embassies in Libya.  I say fuck it, those goofy diplomats are on their own.

From:  HRC
To:  v.putin@russianbear.gov
Hello, Vladi, you shirtless hunk!  Thought you'd like a copy of our nuclear launch codes.  Here they are.  Enjoy!  My best to you and your horse.
Love, Hil

Stuff like that?  No.  "Mishandled" info?  Yes.    But that's enough for the conspiracy theorists who still believe that Hillary made an illicit fortune on Whitewater real estate (she lost money), and that she had White House Counsel Vince Foster murdered to cover it up.  (Puh-leeze!)

This email "scandal" is no scandal at all.  It's just Ken Starr redux -- shiny-object bullshit designed to damage and distract.

In reality, it's small foul, no harm.  Hillary Clinton may not be a perfect candidate, but this little sideshow shouldn't take her down.  If she's the nominee, I'll certainly vote for her, because she'll be far preferable to any possible opponent.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pope Francis In America

Pope Francis is due to arrive for a much-anticipated American tour later today.  Unless he gets hung up with a four-hour layover in the Atlanta airport -- then it might be tomorrow.

It's a big deal because popes don't visit the U.S. very often, and because everybody loves Frankie!  (Well, everybody except for climate change-denying Republicans.  When Pope Francis addresses the Congress, will one of them shout, "You lie!"?)

Pope Francis has been a transformational leader, and an inspired choice.  I'm not a religious person, but even I am a fan, and I wish him all the best.  He'll draw constant attention and huge crowds while he's here, and he should.

I did, however, have a different person in mind back in February 2013.  With apologies to Pope Francis, and all due respect, here's a re-post:

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Next Pope

Big news in the Catholic church -- Pope Benedict is breaking with centuries of papal tradition and is stepping down before he dies.  Retiring before expiring.  Kind of a big whoop-de-doo in Vatican circles.  Who will be the new Pope?

In Buster's decidedly secular opinion, there can be but one choice.  I refer of course to none other than the world-renonwned Father Guido Sarducci. 

Sarducci is an Italian priest living and working in the U.S. as a gossip columnist and rock critic for L'Osservatore Romano.  He's also the creator of the popular "Find the Popes in the Pizza Contest", where the hungry faithful search for pepperoni slices in the image of famous pontiffs.

Some of Father Guido's best-known observations:

On the Last Supper:  "It was-a actually a brunch.  The check-a reveals that-a one guy only had a soft-boiled egg and-a tea, while everyone else-a stuffed themselves.  But when-a the bill was-a paid, it was-a divided equally.  The moral:  In groups, always order the most-a expensive thing."

On the Missing Commandments:  "There were-a actually more than-a ten, but Moses was-a old and-a grumpy, and-a after he broke-a the tablets he could only remember the negative ones -- 'Don't-a do this, don't-a do that.'  The truth is, most-a of them were more like-a advice.  The Twelfth Commandment, for example, was-a 'Whistle while you work.'  People think it's from-a Disney, but Disney stole it from-a God."

On former Vice President Dan Quayle:  "That-a Dan Quayle, he was-a going around the country giving C-students a bad name."

On Sainthood:  "To be made a saint in-a the Catholic church, you have to have-a four miracles.  That's-a the rules, you know.  It's always been that-a.  Four miracles, and-a to prove it.  Well, this-a Mother Seton, they could-a only prove-a three miracles, but the Pope-a, he just waived the fourth one.  Just waived it!  And do you know why?  It's-a because she was American.  It's all-a politics.  We got-a some Italian people, they got-a forty, fifty, sixty miracles to their name.  They can't-a get in just-a 'cause they say there's already too many Italian saints, and this-a woman comes along with-a three lousy miracles.  I understand that-a two of them was-a card tricks."

On Life:  " 'Vita est Lavorum'.  Life is a job."

Rise Of The Outsiders

Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson -- three political outsiders who are, for now, on top of the GOP polling mountain.  They have a combined zero elective or governmental experience.  Some in the angry, anti-government crowd are pleased by the rise of the outsiders.  "Ooh boy!  That's the sort of person we need!"  I wouldn't be too sure about that.

The last president elected with no elective experience was Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, but the post-WW II environment was a totally different Zeitgeist than today.  Plus, Ike was in the long-ago mold of war hero presidents with no prior elective office, like Zachary Taylor and Ulysses Grant.  Of course Donald, Carly and Ben don't have any military experience either.  As such, they have less in common with Ike than they do with failed businessmen candidates Wendell Wilkie, H. Ross Perot and Herman Cain.

Anything is possible, but Donald, Carly and Ben are weak presidential candidates, and history is against them.

So am I.  The GOP has still learned nothing, and they're an abject mess.  Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of people.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson: Shattering Stereotypes

The campaign of GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson is breaking through barriers and turning conventional wisdom on its head.

For example, Dr. Carson has proved that a person can know all there is to know about pediatric neurosurgery, and absolutely nothing about anything else.

Koch Brothers To Cut Losses, Sell Off Scott Walker

Today the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch announced they were suspending the presidential bid of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  The brothers said they'd try to recoup some of their investment by selling Gov. Walker to other willing billionaires.  However, David Koch admitted that it's a bear market for used GOP candidates right now, due to excess supply, and acknowledged the sale of Walker would be "a hell of a long shot."

The Donald-In-Chief

Lots Of Ohio Women Will Be Less Than Glad

Gov. John Kasich wants to force all pregnant Ohio women to give birth, even in the event of a Down syndrome fetal diagnosis.  Just such a bill is under consideration in the Ohio legislature.  Given all the gerrymandered chucklebutts currently serving in our Capitol, the bill is sure to pass both houses and wind up on the governor's desk.

Yesterday, in his first public comment on the bill, Kay-suck said, "Yes, I'm more than glad to say that of course I would sign that."

Big Week For Bigotry

Of the Islamophobic variety . . .

And Trump says, "Right."

At a New Hampshire town hall, Donald Trump once again encouraged the ignorant notion that President Obama is a Muslim.

In a Texas middle school, a Muslim boy came to school with a home-made electronic clock and was arrested and detained for hours because adminstrators believed it was a bomb.  They were so worried about this "bomb" they didn't bother to evacuate the building or call the bomb squad.  No, they just held the kid for a photo-op of handcuffs and humiliation.

Ben, ever hear of the Constitution?
On Meet The Press, Dr. Ben Carson said that Muslims should never be permitted to serve as President of the United States.

"Well, it's one-two-three strikes, you're out!"  You just can't reason with these sort of people.


There is a long, sorry American history of reactionaries stoking fear and anger in the incurious classes about the "other."  They've demonized Native Americans, blacks, Chinese, Irish, Germans, Italians, Catholics, Japanese, Latinos, and Muslims.  

I'm not sure who's next, but I am sure they'll find someone.

Friday, September 18, 2015

"Look! We're In Front Of A Big Plane!"

Are you a glutton for punishment?  If you are, you may have watched Wednesday's eleven-way GOP "debate."  It was a three-hour marathon.  Ringling Brothers holds shorter circuses.  It's way too early, and there's no such thing as an eleven-person debate, so I skipped it.  But I hear it was amusing.

"Hey, cool!  We're all standing by Saint Ronnie's plane!"

Trump and Dr. Ben Carson exchanged a high-five over some anti-vaccine nonsense.

Trump and Carly Fiorina had a one-on-one about which of the two had the worse business record -- Who's had more bankruptcies?  More layoffs?  More companies tanked?  You have!  No, you have!

None of them like Trump's wall-building immigration "plan," and none of them have anything better to offer.  Carson said he'd allow a few Mexicans to enter the U.S. to pick tomatoes.

Jeb said that his brother Dubya "kept us safe."  (Puh-leeze!)

Rand Paul forthrightly asserted that the Iraq War was the worst idea ever.  (True dat!)

They all despise the multi-national Iran deal and vow to ignore it, undo it, bomb-bomb Iran, etc.

And they all stood there stupidly nodding while Fiorina spun a story about watching an undercover Planned Parenthood video showing an aborted fetus with heart beating and legs kicking, surrounded by evil doctors and nurses discussing how best to harvest its organs.

Just one problem.  It didn't happen.  There is no such video.  Planned Parenthood simply doesn't do that.  Carly Fiorina is telling a LIE -- a big, outrageous, hateful one!   In a smart and just country, this would have eliminated her from further consideration.  In 'Murica, they proclaimed her the debate "winner."

And one more thing.  Surely you've noticed the resemblance:

Salman Rushdie On Religious Bigotry

"A classic trope of the religious bigots is while they are denying people their rights, they claim that their rights are being denied.  While they are persucuting people, they claim to be persecuted.  While they are behaving colossally offensively, they claim to be the offended party.  It's upside down."

Inequality: Two Schools Of Thought

"The problem is all those poor people dependent on the government."
There are many types of inequality.  Today I'm thinking about wealth/income inequality.  No one is advocating for "perfect" equality in this area.  It's impossible.  But reasonable spreads or distributions are possible.  We've had it before, and it's preferable and more beneficial than our present circumstances.  We're experiencing a second Gilded Age, and it has become a potent political and moral issue.  Against their wishes, even Republicans have been forced to reckon with it.

Wealth inequality doesn't "just happen" and it's not a self-correcting problem.  There seem to be two broad schools of thought on what should be done.  Briefly:

Liberals -- Increase the minimum wage, higher income tax rates on higher incomes, protect and expand organized labor, invest in education and infrastructure, and thereby create and maintain decent jobs with decent wages.

Conservatives -- Eliminate the minimum wage, lower income tax rates on higher incomes, get rid of organized labor, privatize education and everything else, and thereby somehow increase "opportunities."

Which one smells like trickle-down bullshit to you?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Oh, Those Facebook Shares!

Another day, another FB share from another friend.  Most I scroll past, but occasionally I linger, like on this one.

OK, the simple idea expressed in the image is inarguable.  We all want to be self-reliant, and no one wants to be dependent on the government.  (The "slavery" thing is a bit over the top.  Whatever.)

But what are you really saying here?  That "dependency" is a huge problem in this country?  Really?  If it's not a problem, what's your point?  Do you personally know large numbers of people dependent on the government?  Name ten real quick.  How about five?  Three?  And what exactly do you mean by "dependency"?

I'll just give you a little reminder that the average taxpayer pays $36 a year to fund the luxurious dependence of SNAP, SCHIP and WIC.  The same average taxpayer $2436 a year to fund corporate subsidies.

Who is dependent?  

As always, it pays to check the source before sharing.  In this case, it was the "Capitalism" Facebook page.  It's an Ayn Rand fan-boy page.  It's motto is "Capitali$m is Freedom."  (Note the cute $.)  It's tag line, "Living Well is the Best Revenge."  (Revenge for what, I never knew.)

As Billie sang, "God bless the child that got's his own."

Learn To Speak GOP

Just in time for tonight's second GOP presidential candidate "debate" (with 11 participants, it's not a debate, just shouting match).  Pretty funny.  Excerpt, followed by video link.

Learn To Speak GOP  

"The American Dream"

Definition:  Opportunity for prosperity, success and upward social mobility for family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.

GOP Definition:  A finite resource, obtained through competition.  If you are getting some American Dream, that means someone else isn't.  And that means you win!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Major League Effort, Minor League Beverages

Last night, in a do-or-die game, the Columbus Clippers defeated the Norfolk Tides 5-0 to advance to the Governor's Cup, the championship series of the International League.  The Clippers were led by a great effort from pitcher Mike Clevinger, who worked almost eight hitless innings in his first-ever appearance for Columbus.  In the championship round, the Clippers, AAA affiliates of the Cleveland Indians, will face the Indianapolis Indians, affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Needless to say, the Clippers were pretty stoked about their victory and they let loose with the traditional locker-room champagne celebration.  If you look closely at the photo, you'll see that the champagne is Cook's and beer is Natty Light.

Nice win, guys, but you're still in the minor leagues.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Scotty One-Note

At a town hall meeting today in Las Vegas, Gov. Scott Walker will brown-nose for some of Sheldon Adelson's billions by proposing to eliminate labor unions and collective bargaining for all federal employees, right down to the Capitol Building janitor and the dishwasher at the Pentagon cafeteria.  Walker's proposal would do away with the National Labor Relations Board, and would also mandate that all states are henceforth "right-to-work" states.  Any state wishing to restore its current labor law protections would need to pass a new state law to do so.

In the latest Gallup poll from August, a strong majority of Americans (58%) approve of labor unions, and a plurality (37%) want unions to have more influence than they have today.

"All I really know is unions are bad, and pork chops are good."
So why is he pulling this stunt now?  Because he's dropping like a stone in the polls and because, really, Scotty has nothing else -- no buzz, no message, no nuthin'.  So he reverts to his fall-back position, his one idea, his one "success" -- union-busting.  Yeah, that's the ticket!

When Scotty rammed through his labor "reform" in Wisconsin in 2011, he claimed it would create jobs, improve the economy, and increase opportunity for all.  He eliminated collective bargaining rights for most public employees -- teachers, nurses, trash collectors, snowplow drivers, etc.  But he did not touch police and firefighters.  They alone were allowed to retain their collective bargaining rights.

(John Kasich tried the same shitty thing in Ohio with SB 5, and he was determined to bust 'em all, including the cops and firemen.  But it was bunches of pissed-off cops and firemen who led the fight against Kasich.  SB 5 blew up in his face, and Kay-suck, still anti-union, is unlikely to press his luck again.)

Scotty's economic rationale was, of course, nonsense.  There is no "success."  Wisconsin's economy is stagnant, employment is unchanged, and median per capita income has fallen steadily since 2011.  And no one has ever called him out on his ideological hypocrisy.  If unions are so horrible, Gov. Walker, why didn't you try to crush police and fire, along with the others?

Maybe so they wouldn't bitch as loudly as they might have otherwise?  Wimp.  Weasel.  Tool.

Now a desperate Walker wants to go for the Hail Mary and play for headlines with across-the-board, no-exceptions federal union-busting.  Ooh, what a tough guy!

Forget it.  The proposal is a loser, and so is Scott Walker.    

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thanks A Lot, John McCain!

Senator McCain, I didn't vote for you in 2008, but I know you're a mostly decent guy and former POW and all that.  I'd probably enjoy having a beer with you.  Even so, I'll never forgive you for opening Pandora's Box and inflicting Sarah Palin upon the world.  You bastard!

Two recent examples of Palin at her best/worst:

A few days ago, Sister Sarah called on Ohio Gov. John Kasich to support a stupid, horrible bill under consideration in the Ohio legislature which would ban all abortions of Down Syndrome fetuses.  No one knows what Kay-suck will do with this hot potato, but a good rule of thumb is:  When Sarah Palin asks you to do something, don't do it.  Whatever she's in favor of, be opposed to it.  Follow that advice and you can't go wrong.

Then at yesterday's anti-Iran deal "rally" in D.C. (a.k.a. the weekly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club), Sarah took the stage, opened her mouth, and the following incredibly incomprehensible word-salad fell out:

Sarah Palin confounds Rachel Maddow - 'Tell me... by ewillies

Huh?  What?

So, thanks a lot, John McCain!  Thanks a friggin' lot. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Classic Colbert

Tonight, CBS's The Late Show returns with Stephen Colbert taking the reins from David Letterman.  I hope we'll be treated to the sort of quick, sharp wit he displayed three years ago at Time magazine's celebration of the 100 most influential people of 2012.  Both Colbert and David Koch made the list that year.  As Colbert spoke to the crowd from the podium, Koch was seated at a nearby table.  Colbert noticed, and had this to say as the stunned Koch unfolded his napkin:

"Of course, all of us should be honored to be listed on the Time 100 alongside the two men who will be slugging it out in the fall:  President Obama, and the man who would defeat him, David Koch.

"Give it up, everybody.  David Koch!

"Little-known fact -- David, nice to see you again, sir -- David's brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential.  Charles has pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million.  That's kind of cheap, Dave.

"Sure, he's all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, David's always in the men's room.  'I'm sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.'

"I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am -- thank you, thank you -- and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC.  And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there's no way for you to ever know whether that's a joke!

"By the way, if David Koch likes his waiter tonight, he will be your next congressman."

Now that is some ballsy comedy!  More like that, Stephen, more!

Practicing Her Religious Beliefs?

Well, they sprung her cray-cray ass and let her out of the slammer.  Delusional Rowan County Clerk of Courts and proud homophobe Kim Davis is back on the mean streets of Morehead, Ky., still convinced she is working and speaking for God, and comparing herself to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Her problems did not result from her practicing her religious beliefs, but rather from using the county government to force others to practice her religious beliefs.

Cartoonist Brian McFadden shows us what could happen if others behaved like Davis:

Back To School With John Oliver

Thursday, September 3, 2015

It's Not Hasbro's Fault

Hasbro Toys has a product line known as the Little Pet Shop Collection.  It includes a toy "hamster" named "Harris Faulkner."

The Fox News-bot also named Harris Faulkner took exception to this and sued the toy maker for $5 million.  In her suit, the humanoid Faulkner said that the name was used without permission, and that the toy Faulkner bore an uncanny physical resemblance to her and, as it was just a small plastic toy, was therefore demeaning and insulting, and harmed her professional credibility as a journalist.

I'm not so sure about the physical resemblance but, my dear woman, you lost your journalistic credibility the day you went to work for Fox News.  

Hair Club For Men (Of The GOP)

The U.S. Congress is not the place to go for cutting-edge fashion and style -- on either side of the aisle -- but it seems that many of today's Very Serious Conservative Congressmen are, for some reason, still sporting heavily sprayed, distinctly parted hair helmets left over from the 1980's.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)
My own U.S. Rep and Boehner
boot-licker Pat Tiberi (R-OH)

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA),
former Chair of House Oversight
Committee (Benghazi!!!!) 

Not an elected official.
A gas bag with orangutan hair,
or an old suitcase covered in
Cheez Whiz.

But wait!  There is a rebel on the right side of the aisle. It's Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).  He took over from Issa as Chair of the Oversight Committee (Still Benghazi!!!!  Plus Hillary's emails!!!!!  Email-ghazi!!!!!!)  Mr. Gowdy is no slave to boring old Republican tonsorial dictates.  He will do, hair-wise, whatever.  Here are four examples.  Google "Gowdy hairstyles" for four hundred more!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

For A Moment, Victory Was Within Our Grasp. Then The Season Started.

By virtue of geography and inclination, I've always been a Cleveland Browns fan.  This worked out fairly well until 1996, when the Browns moved to Baltimore and turned into the Ravens.  After 4 years of nothing, Cleveland returned to the NFL in 1999 as the Browns, but in reality they were the Clowns.  They've been consistently sucky ever since.

That was supposed to change in 2014 when we drafted quarterback Johnny Manziel with our first-round pick.  Didn't happen.  Manziel descended rapidly from "Johnny Football" and "Johnny Heisman" to Johnny Money-Sign, Johnny Flip-Off, Johnny Nightclub, Johnny Vodka, Johnny Hangover, Johnny Cocaine, Johnny Back-Up, Johnny Overslept, Johnny Don't Care, Johnny Rehab, and now, Johnny Elbow.

Manziel's poor throwing mechanics give him chronic elbow pain.  He'll miss the rest of the Browns preseason games with a case of elbow tendinitis, and his return is unknown.

The Cleveland Clowns will open the regular season with 36 year-old journeyman Josh McCown at QB.  McCown will be Cleveland's 23rd starting QB since 1999.  He is ranked dead last -- 32nd out of 32 QBs -- in Sports Illustrated's position rankings.

The season hasn't begun yet.  Is it too early to say, "Wait until next year" ?

Go Bucks!!!!!

The GOP Primaries: The Greatest Reality Show Ever

"It will go down as one of the greatest, most ingenious reality shows ever conceived.  Take a combustible mix of the most depraved and filterless half-wits, scam artists, and asylum Napoleons America has to offer, give them all piles of money and tell them to run for president."

-- Matt Taibbi

(Matt Taibbi is a journalist, author and commentator.  He can turn a phrase with the best of them.  I particularly enjoyed this one.)

The Donald: With Us, Against Us

Donald Trump has always been an egotistical, overly-opinionated media whore with way too much to say about everything, especially himself.  But, once upon a time, he was capable of occasional moments of good sense.

With Us:

  • Trump has said he supports women's rights and is "strongly pro-choice."  
  • He has been in favor of single-payer national health care.
  • He has acknowledged the need for higher tax rates on higher incomes.
  • Has said that Hillary Clinton "would be good" as a leader.
  • Has said he is "more of a Democrat than people might think."
  • Has said he has "no idea" why he's a Republican.

Against Us:

  • Those comments are from some time ago.  Sadly, today's Trump has reversed his positions on all of the above.  
  • Recent surveys show that the large majority of his supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim who was not born in the U.S., want to repeal the 14th Amendment and eliminate birthright citizenship, and are in favor of deporting all immigrant children immediately.
  • Which means most of Trump's supporters are low-information idiots and racists.