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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Real Presidents Don't Whine

The third GOP presidential "debate" has been held.  It drew higher ratings and had more viewers than either of the first two.  Yet no one in Republican World is happy.  In fact, they all claim to be thoroughly pissed off at CNBC and its moderators.  They are so unhappy that RNC Obergruppenfuhrer Herr Reince Priebus has cancelled a future GOP debate which was to have aired on NBC.  That'll show 'em, Reince!

So, what's problem?  Why are the R's whining about CNBC?  (Mind you, CNBC is the financial news network that is home to numerous supply side/trickle down wackos and screaming reporter Rick Santelli, who helped launch the Tea Party.)

The moderators were unfair.  They interrupted the candidates' answers.  (Chris Christie:  "I'll do the interrupting around here!")  They asked stupid questions.  They didn't "play ball" to the party's satisfaction.  Waaah!

Math-challenged Ben Carson complained about "gotcha" questions, and suggested that what America really needed was a meet-the-candidates coffee klatch, where he could talk about his family, his favorite TV shows, and the secret ingredient in his award-winning chili.

Donald Trump said that all moderators at GOP debates ought to be registered Republicans.  (Hey Donny, how do know they're not?)   Ted Cruz wants future debates to be moderated by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity!  (Those two loudmouths would be the most immoderate moderators imaginable!)
All this media bashing is strictly old hat -- ancient GOP tactics which they never grow tired of.  According to them, all media (with one notable exception) are nothing but lame-stream, liberal Democrats/Progressives/Commies.  They're all against us!  Always have been.  Waaah again!

Forty years ago, all presidential debates, primary and general, were conducted by the League of Women Voters, and the women ran a tight ship.  The GOP bashed them for imaginary unfairness anyway.  By 1988, the League was so disgusted by the blatant gamesmanship and unreasonable format requests from both parties that they just quit.  Our debates have been on a steady downhill slide ever since.

They no longer bear any resemblance to a real debate.  They are just a sham, a farce, a shout-down contest -- thanks, Rush, you asshole! --  with few rules, most of which are ignored anyway.  Post-event, I saw several graphics ranking the candidates by the length of time they spoke -- as if their sheer number of words and their duration had some significance.  It's all a dumb joke.  

Care for some cheese to
go with that whine?
The GOP's complaints are misplaced and pathetic, because everything about each of the primary debates is negotiable and dependent upon RNC approval.  The date, time, network, moderators, venue, and every detail of the rules and format used at the CNBC debate -- all were previously discussed and agreed upon by Herr Priebus.  (His after-the-fact whining is particularly pathetic.)  So it's just sour grapes -- the R's are cranky because it wasn't the puff-ball love-fest they envisioned.

Without a doubt, there were times when CNBC's moderators interrupted, and were unfair and stupid.  It was no different in earlier debates.  Deal with it.  Every day, the President of the United States copes with tons more unfairness, stupidity and interruption than any person on earth, more than you can possibly fathom.  If you can't handle three goofy CNBC reporters for a couple hours, you sure as hell can't handle The Big Job.  

Morgan Spurlock's "Call Bullshit" App For Presidential Debates

Is your political bullshit detector in good working order?  Click the link and give it a whirl for each candidate.  Lots of fun!


Friday, October 30, 2015

Jeb! On Higher Education

Jeb Bush had this to say the other day:

When a student shows up, universities ought to say , "Hey, that psych major deal, that philosophy major thing, that's great, it's important to have liberal arts . . . but realize, you're going to be working at Chick-fil-A."

I'm pretty sure that psychology is a science "deal," not liberal arts.  And I'm totally sure that this old world needs all the psychology majors, liberal arts majors, business majors, math majors, music majors and philosophy majors it can get.  And we need less dim-witted, over-privileged, silver-spoon, trust fund families buying political office, power and influence.

Your mother was right, Jeb.  We've had enough Bushes in the White House.

Slinging sandwiches at Chick-fil-A would be an eye-opening, character-building experience for you, Jeb.  I think you need it.  They are currently accepting applications.

They'd Rather Go Over A Cliff

Leaking and sniffling to the end, Orange John Boehner took his soggy tissues and went back home to Ohio for good.  Which is good, sort of.  Another Ohioan, Rep. Jim Jordan, had a lot to do showing the former Speaker the door.  Jordan heads the ultra-right wing "Freedom Caucus," the cabal of 40 members of the House dedicated to pure conservative ideology, no compromises tolerated, no prisoners taken.  Invigorated by Boehner's departure, the Freedom Caucus will now insist that their crazy ideas see the light of day as resolutions, bills, and even -- yikes! -- laws.  Which is not good, at all.

Ronald Reagan once said, "I'd rather get 80% of what I want than go over a cliff with my flags flying."

These guys would rather go over a cliff.

New Speaker Paul Ryan is in for an interesting ride.  Good luck.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Not Your Grandpa's GOP

Once upon a time, not that long ago, the Republican party fancied themselves to be the smart set -- elite, educated, well-to-do, the people that others aspired to be like.  For the GOP of the William Buckley generation, this was partly true and partly delusion.  In practice and policy, they were too selfish and greedy for mass appeal.  But they stood on their principles and refused to pander to the lowest common denominator.  Their ideological purity culminated in the Barry Goldwater candidacy.  Goldwater gave no quarter and spoke his mind without reservation.  Good for him.  He had no use for "political preachers."  Good for him again.  He was also a belligerent, war-mongering, paranoiac who was utterly routed in the general election.

Goldwater was firmly convinced he was right, and was convinced the public was with him.  He was humorless, rigid, terribly conservative, and did not suffer fools gladly.  The combination made him a lousy national candidate, a guaranteed loser.  The public was not with him, not even close.  Oops! Miscalculation.  Time to pander!

Ever since then, the GOP has worked to broaden their appeal to whoever might have them, no matter what -- Nixon's Southern Strategy, Reagan's "government is the problem" bullshit, Dubya's anti-Muslim, anti-gay fear-mongering, and lie-based war-making.  They've sold out to a collection of uncohesive, unlikable factions.  It works occasionally in mid-term elections, but even that won't last too much longer.

Their deal-with-the-devil has produced clusters of mostly old, mostly white people who don't necessarily get along with each other -- evangelical moralists, racists, gun nuts, anti-abortion nuts, anti-union nuts, militarists, libertarians, anti-tax/anti-government Tea Baggers -- but they've all been persuaded to vote Republican.  The old money/billionaire/corporate interests are still the core, the real base.  The money is the only thing that really counts, and the un-monied dumb-asses recruited to the GOP will never figure that out.

Today, it's not your grandpa's GOP.  It's much worse.

The Opportunity Economy

"People need to work longer hours." -- Jeb Bush

"Rocks, Bricks, Baseball Bats, and Hammers"

Here's Ben "Droopy Dog" Carson on yesterday's Meet The Press, explaining that he hasn't always been the slow, soporific Seventh Day Adventist he seems to be today:

Holy crap!  Is there anyone sane in the Republican party?

"And that time I tried
to stab someone."

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

If They Hate It So Much, Why Do They Want To Be Part Of It?

No, Both Sides Don't Do it

Occasionally, when I'm with a group of friends, I'll bitch about some mean, nasty thing that Republicans are doing (so many to choose from), and someone will attempt to gloss over my lib-crankiness by saying, "You know, both sides do it."

Not wishing to turn a social setting into an argument (at least, not usually), I'll move on to more pleasant territory.  But now I'd like to go on record:  No, both sides don't do it!  Not today!  In frequency, spirit, purpose, and duration, no, both sides most certainly do not do it.  It's a false equivalency, and an easy out.

For your consideration:

  • America maintains embassies and consulate offices in virtually every nation in the world.
  • Since 1958, U.S. Embassies around the world have been attacked 42 times (mostly in the Middle East, a continually volatile neighborhood).  Those attacks killed 332 people, including 87 Americans.
  • After the 9/11 attacks in 2001 which killed 3000 or more Americans, our government conducted 22 hearings by a joint House/Senate intelligence committee.
  • The Benghazi consulate attack in 2012 killed 4 Americans.  There have now been 21 hearings by various GOP-led House and Senate panels, including today's 11-hour Spanish Inquisition of Hillary Clinton in her second testimony to the House Select Committee. 

When our diplomatic offices abroad are attacked, there should be hearings.  But twenty-one for this?  Eleven hours for one person?  (I'm interested and watched a little bit of today's kabuki show, but 11 hours is masochistic!)

This is fair and balanced?  Proportional?  Does 22 hearings on 9/11 compared to 21 on Benghazi strike you as about right?  Equivalent?  If you think so, there is no reasoning with you.  Both sides do it?  Bullshit!  Democrats haven't done anything remotely like this.

The Benghazi Committee is the most obvious political witch hunt/hatchet job since Joe McCarthy's Un-American Activities circus in the 1950's.  The Republicans running it and pushing it are fools.  It's embarrassing, and a colossal waste of our time and money.  And everybody knows it.  

And a footnote question:  Ohio Rep Jim Jordan, above right, is a far-right Tea Bag wing-nut and head of the obstructionist Freedom Caucus.  Why is he so mad all the time?  He has obvious anger issues that just don't quit.  What an asshole.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

They Intend To Uncover The Fact-ish Truth-iness

Tomorrow, Hillary Clinton will again testify before the House Committee on Benghazi.  This will be the ninth or tenth time this committee has convened to hear testimony, and it is straight D.C. kabuki theater.  Recently, two Republican Congressmen and a former committee investigator admitted it's always been nothing but a Hillary witch hunt.  This news flash surprised exactly no one.

Pompeo (R-Kan):  "Fact-based"
Gowdy (R-SC):  "Fact-centric"
Unfazed, the Committee presses on.  Chairman Trey Gowdy insists his group is impartial, is not going for a political smear job, and will conduct a "fact-centric" investigation.  Rep. Mike Pompeo swears they are intent on holding "a fact-based inquiry."

Fact-centric??  Fact-based??  WTF?  This is the most unconvincing expression of impartiality I've heard.

"Yes, we're interested in facts, sort of.  Some of them.  Not all of them."

"Facts will be involved in our inquiry, but will not be relied upon exclusively."

"The work of this committee was inspired by actual events, but no facts were harmed or used in the making of the investigation."

Some of the few Democrats on the panel are so disgusted they're threatening to simply not show up tomorrow.  Not a bad idea.

This "select" committee has been a total crock from the beginning.  Whoever's in charge of the House should disband it post haste.  Oh, I forgot -- nobody's in charge.

The National Anthem Doesn't Make The Cut Anymore

How long has this been going on?  The trend snuck up on me while I wasn't paying attention.  As part of televised sporting events, we don't get to hear the national anthem anymore, at least not usually.

I've been following the baseball playoffs, and the anthem has been relegated to the mostly-ignored pre-game show, not the actual game coverage.  During the regular season of any major TV sport, you just don't see it/hear it anymore.  Must not have made the ratings cut.

In our culture, virtually every sort of game at any level begins with some version of the national anthem.  (I'll always remember the version at Buster Jr.'s little league games -- a horrible old cassette tape played through the world's worst PA system.)  In days not long past, you always heard it right before the start of every game on radio or TV, usually sung live by someone.  Mostly, these were routine and unremarkable, but they were an expected part of the deal.  ". . . And the home of the brave."  Play ball!  But now we don't get the chance to hear it unless it's the Super Bowl or an equivalent big-money event.

As songs go, the Star Spangled Banner is a bit of a clunker, but it's only two minutes and I think we're missing out by missing it.  Don't get me wrong -- I'm no flag-waving, Faux News "patriot."  I hate that shit.  But I do love a really well-done, stirring version of the national anthem.  Surely there's room in the broadcast to squeeze in a short song, without significant loss of almighty ad revenue.

On Monday night before the Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays game, a member of the Canadian military sang both the Star Spangled Banner and Oh Canada, and he was great!  Strong voice and delivery, just nailed it!  But he sang in the pre-8 p.m. pre-game, so most viewers missed it.  I caught it essentially by dumb luck.

Well done, the national anthem can be a thing of beauty.  Examples abound: 

Any rendition by the Metropolitan Opera's Robert Merrill at Yankee Stadium.  Here he is before Game One of the 1996 World Series.

Also strong was Rocco Scotti, the Singing Plumber of old Cleveland Municipal Stadium.  This is from the 1981 MLB All Star Game.

One of the most memorable renditions ever was by Jose Feliciano prior to Game 5 of the 1968 World Series in Detroit.  Remember, this was during a year of great social upheaval, at the height of the Viet Nam War, and here comes this little long-haired Puerto Rican guitarist in shades giving the old Star Spangled Banner a dose of flamenco.  Cojones!

Marvin Gaye at the 1983 NBA All Star Game.  You didn't know the national anthem was a make-out song, did you?  It is when Marvin does it.

Whitney Houston before the 1991 Super Bowl.  This was a true Super Bowl production, with brass bands and fly-over jets.  But Whitney's voice made all that glitz seem to unimportant.  Maybe the single best rendition ever.

At Game 3 of the 2000 World Series, 'N Synch did a beautiful a capella version in five-part harmony.

This one is not well done, but it's still beautifully done:

At a 2003 NBA Playoffs game, Coach Mo Cheeks helps a young singer who forgot the lyrics.

And these two are historically, hilariously god-awful:

In 1990, the San Diego Padres let Roseanne Barr do the national anthem.  Why?  She caps off her performance with a crotch grab and a spit.

Carl Lewis is an all-time great Olympic track and field athlete.  A singer?  Not even close.  From a 1993 NBA game.  The reaction from ESPN's Charley Steiner is priceless.

To hell with two minutes of ad revenue.  Good or bad, you just don't want to miss this stuff!  Bring back the national anthem!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Oh Canada! Go Canada!

It's kind of a big deal in the Great White North.  Yesterday, voters in Canada shook off nine years of turdocracy from Conservative PM Stephen Harper and elected Liberal Justin Trudeau as their next Prime Minister.  Liberals carried the day across the nation and are now the majority party.

If you want to follow Canadian goings-on, you can always click on The Eco-Senior blog listed under "Buster's Links."  The Eco-Senior has been busting Harper's nuts for years.  Must feel pretty good this morning.


Meanwhile, south of the 49th parallel, we have the Trumpapalooza, Ben "Droopy Dog" Carson, and the never-ending Benghazi hearings (Benghazi!!!) to keep us amused for another year.  Oh boy.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

OSU's Blackout Explained

Last night in Columbus, Ohio State's top-ranked Buckeyes wore all-black uniforms during a 38-10 defeat of Penn State.  Several readers from at least three states outside Ohio have asked Buster to explain these uniforms and uncover the real story behind the Buckeye's break from scarlet-and-gray tradition.

The special uniforms were designed and provided by Nike, an OSU partner/sponsor, for the obvious reason -- money and merchandising:  "Here's an alternative uniform.  Let's promote it in advance and schedule a Blackout Game.  Now, all you fans, go buy a black jersey to wear!" 

Early in the game, ABC announcer Chris Fowler mentioned that some "conservative" OSU fans were unhappy with the Blackout.  Fowler was referring to the non-traditional game apparel, not politics.  But Buster has discovered the real reason for the Blackout, and Fowler doesn't know how right he really was.  Right-wingers will be more than unhappy, they'll be flippin' furious.  A nasty black-lash could follow.

Last night's Blackout Game was actually a quietly publicized Democratic covert political action designed to capture more votes from black Ohioans in the upcoming 2016 presidential election.  All black fans entering Ohio Stadium were given a free black jersey, a free Obamaphone, and a $500 prepaid SNAP EBT card, in exchange for pledging to vote the straight Democratic ticket here in our key swing state.  White fans in attendance were required to wear blackface.  Even Brutus had to comply.

The Blackout Game was a carefully planned joint effort between Hillary Clinton, wife of Bill Clinton (our first black president), and OSU President Michael Drake (also black).  Buster has confirmed this nefarious plot with the famous truth-telling conspiracy theorists at Breitbart.com and the Drudge Report, as well as Ben Carson's website and the House Subcommittee on Benghazi.

Those same unimpeachable sources also confirm OSU's plans for another alternative uniform night during the 2016 season, closer to the election, to honor/exploit organized labor and the union movement for the benefit of Democrats.  Hillary and Drake are already in preliminary talks with both the AFL-CIO and the NEA.  Early plans call for providing all union members at the stadium with a free special jersey, a free phone, and a year's worth of prepaid union dues in return for their vote.

The final details of Union Night are still to be worked out.  Prototypes of the special uniforms are below.

Suggested alternative OSU uniforms:
AFL-CIO's "Work-out Night"
NEA's "Book-out Night"

Friday, October 16, 2015

Probably Shouldn't Go There, Dimitrious

In one of our local non-scandal scandals, last December some our City Council members -- Andrew Ginther, Eileen Paley, Shannon Hardin -- accompanied others on a charter bus trip to watch Ohio State play in the Big Ten Football Championship game in Indianapolis.  The trip was arranged by a lobbyist and paid for by a food vendor with a contract at the Columbus Convention Center.  The group watched the game in the food vendors luxury suite.  The three reimbursed the vendor for the $250 per person cost.  When news of this came out a couple months ago, some thought it raised ethical questions, so the Ohio Ethics Commission is looking into it.  (It'll be OK.)

In the upcoming November election, Ginther is running for mayor, Paley for municipal judge, and Hardin for council member.

Dimitrious Stanley is a former Buckeye football player and former football "analyst" for a local TV station.  Not sure what he does for a living these days, but he too is running for a city council seat.  Stanley accuses the three of unethical behavior because they didn't immediately reimburse the vendor, and the amount they paid wasn't enough -- he wants them to "pay the real value of what they were given."

Whoa, Dimitrious!  Better not go there.

First, you have a history yourself of not paying the "real value" of things like your car payments and your homeowners association dues.

And second, here in Buckeye-mad Columbus, attacking community leaders for supporting our local heroes by attending an OSU football game is not a winning strategy.

Here are just a few people who believe attending an OSU game is ethical as hell!

A Glimpse Inside The Conservative Mind

Old fart that I am, I still subscribe to the Columbus Dispatch, out of habit, I suppose.  I rarely linger over the Letters to the Editor, because they are routinely awful.  But one grabbed my eye yesterday.  It was one of the more disjointed, stupid and loathsome letters ever published by Dispatch.  Naturally, they made it their lead letter of the day -- top of the page with a big headline.

The writer was one Carmen Sauer, and the headline was "Newly Released Inmates Will Need Jobs."

The topic was the phased early release of up to 46,000 eligible federal prisoners jailed for non-violent drug offenses.  (We love to punish and incarcerate here in the U.S., and our prison overcrowding problem has been exacerbated by ill-advised legislation like mandatory sentencing and 3-strikes laws.  The early release program is a drop in the bucket, but it will offer some relief.)  So far, 13,000 convicts have been approved for early release.  The first group of 6000 will be released at the end of this month, fewer than 100 in Ohio.

Carmen Sauer doesn't like any of this, calling it the "let's be nice to convicted drug users" program.  Carmen doesn't believe drug users deserve nice, preferring the "let's be mean and hateful" option.

Carmen complains that "the media has bought [the idea] that everyone arrested and convicted today is the product of a troubled, impoverished upbringing."  This off-base comment is intended to show the writer's get-tough mentality.  It is utterly beside the point, but what was Carmen expecting?  Prisons filled with trust fund babies?  Most prisoners are, of course, troubled and impoverished.

"How can college graduates compete when the government offers incentives and tax breaks  for companies that hire ex-convicts?"   Does Carmen really believe that college grads and ex-cons compete on a level playing field for the same jobs?  Can the ex-con match the college grad in the education, training and experience needed for the position?  No?  Then advantage college grad, regardless of any small tax break.

Carmen is curious about "How many of the children of the soon-to-be-released also have rap sheets?  How many are high school grads?  Have jobs?  Are on government assistance?"  What the hell does this have to do with the issue?  Is Carmen suggesting that all their kids are drug-dealing criminals on the dole?  There's more than a little thinly-veiled racism operating here.

Yes, newly released inmates will need jobs.  Just about all inmates will be released eventually, and almost all will need jobs.  What's your point, Carmen?  Don't hire ex-cons?  Don't release them?  Lock 'em up and throw away the key?

You sure your name isn't Carmen Sour?

With Carmen's letter, the Dispatch has offered us a glimpse inside the conservative mind.  It's small, dark and cold, and there's not much in there.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dimwit Brigade Has It All Backwards

(Email sent to Michael Gonidakis, State Medical Board (and Ohio Right To Life), Ohio State Representatives David Hall, Sarah LaTourette, Bill Patmon, and Margaret Conditt, Ohio State Senator Peggy Lehner and Senate President Keith Faber.)

To Michael Gonidakis, David Hall, Sarah LaTourette, Bill Patmon, Margaret Conditt, Peggy Lehner and Keith Faber:

What's the latest from our fine public servants?  You want to ban all abortions after 20 weeks, ban
abortions of Downs Syndrome fetuses, and end all state funding to Planned Parenthood.  Why?  Because your stated goal is to "end abortion."  Just end it.  To do that, you believe Ohio should pass an obviously unconstitutional law just to gum up our legal system with endless repeals and lawsuits.

You have two problems:

1.  Your goal will never happen.  Abortion will never just "end" or vanish.  Even if you could somehow succeed in making it illegal, there will always be some women who find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy, and some of those women will seek and obtain an abortion, no matter what.  Abortion has been documented throughout recorded history, in every nation and society.  You can't wish it away or legislate it out of existence.

2.  Your goal sucks!  Forcing women to have unwanted babies is unnecessarily cruel and punitive.  Those who work toward that end are just a dimwitted collection of moralizing fanatics playing God.  As a result, what you have come up with is all wrong and all backwards.  (Not to mention unconstitutional.)

Suppose you had a better and more intelligent goal, one that focuses not on the medical procedure of abortion but on the actual cause of abortions.  Suppose your revised goal was to reduce unwanted pregnancies and thereby reduce abortions.  Now you've got something workable, something desirable, something that virtually everyone would support.  (And notice the key word is "reduce," not end or eliminate.  An absolutist stance is rarely a wise one.)

Then to achieve your new and improved goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies, you would work to support sex education, to support free contraception, to support the efforts of Planned Parenthood and other women's health organizations, and you would make sure that abortions remain safe, affordable, and easily accessible to those who choose it.  (Their choice, not yours.)

In short, you would support and defend everything you currently oppose.  And you would be a better, smarter, more reasonable and more compassionate person for it.

As elected officials, we expect better from you.  Your positions on this issue do not reflect the majority opinions of your constituents, of Ohioans, or of the American public.  The latest Gallup poll found just 19% of Americans believe abortions should be illegal in all cases.  You're way off base and on the wrong side of history.

Mr. Gonidakis, you are unelected.  You're merely appointed/self-appointed, and you'd do well to remember that.  You have no mandate.

(If you'd care to join me in communicating with the Dimwit Brigade, their contact info follows.)


"Gonidakis" -- What a nice name for an anti-abortion extremist!  "Gonna-dick-us." 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Beware The Logical Fallacy

I recently shared this post on my Facebook page (i.e., stole it from a good friend).  It got some good reaction.  A long-time faithful reader and friend shared it again (i.e. stole it from me) and likewise received many good comments on his re-post.  This friend, who is a retired educator, said that much of the bullshit we encounter these days in the media and elsewhere are examples of Logical Fallacies, and he suggested we familiarize ourselves with the concept.  He's right, and he's right.

You could and should do your own research, but I'll give you the short course and a few examples.  A logical fallacy is a tactic of language and philosophy used by the unscrupulous to intentionally confuse, mislead, deceive, and obscure the truth from others.  Some examples:

The Might-Makes-Right Fallacy.  This is the use of, or threat of, an unpleasant consequence to force an unrelated outcome. "If you don't cut taxes/repeal Obamacare, we'll shut down the government."  Is a tax cut or repeal of a law actually beneficial?  That's the issue.  I may not be convinced, but I might bow to the intimidation to avoid a shutdown unrelated to the issue.

Patriotic/Religious Populism Fallacy.  "My country/my religion is always correct, true and the best.  If you ever disagree, you are an unpatriotic traitor/godless heathen."  Obviously illogical.  Who says it's always correct?  As the saying goes, patriotism/religion is the last bastion of a scoundrel.

The Fallacy of Circular Reasoning.  An argument based on unproven evidence, with each step relying on the previous one, which in turn relies on the first unproven assumption.  Supporting a premise with that same premise rather than a valid conclusion.  "God exists."  Why?  "Because the Bible says so."  Why should I believe the Bible?  "Because the Bible is the word of God."  (God exists because God exists.)

Red Herring Fallacy.  Or, let's change the topic because you've made a compelling argument which cannot be refuted.  "You say George W. Bush lied when he took us to war in Iraq.  But what's really important is supporting our troops.  Are you saying our troops don't deserve our support?"  Well, no, but what about the lie?

The Slippery Slope Fallacy.  The presumption that once the first step is taken, all possible subsequent steps will inevitably follow.  Not only does A lead to B, but B quickly leads to Z.  The Domino Theory -- "If the Commies take Viet Nam, all of southeast Asia will soon follow."  Fear of Global Jihad -- "If we don't stop terrorists in the Middle East, they'll soon invade the U.S.A."

And many more examples too numerous to list here.  You could Google it.

Now, none of us are perfect.  We've all made use of logical fallacies.  I've been occasionally guilty of it here in these very pages.  But Buster is an abject piker compared to the truly professional fallacy flingers like the U.S. military, the GOP, Bible thumpers, the NRA, and Fox News.

Beware the Logical Fallacy!    

Demanding Their Phallic Symbol Rights

The Texas state legislature recently passed a bill allowing college students to freely carry firearms on the campuses of state universities.  The governor signed it into law.

Now more than 1000 University of Texas students have organized a clever protest of this stupid law.  They will march, assemble and attend classes while openly carrying dildoes on campus.

That's because the crazy-ass Lone Star State not only has its new law encouraging drunk, stoned teenage college students to publicly carry lethal weapons, it has other laws which ban the public display of sex toys.

"I'll give up my dildo when you pry it from my cold, dead hands."

(Little-known old photo of Charlton Heston at a 

Texas dildo-rights rally.)
In Texas, you can show a real Glock but not a fake cock.

(I'm gonna crawl out on a limb and say some of these Texas legislators have serious manhood issues.)

The UT students say its a simple matter of equal rights.  If gun-nut students can carry pistols, these other students demand the same right to carry the phallic symbol of their choice.

He's A Little Late With His Epiphany

As you know, John Boehner has quit as Speaker of the House and wants to leave by the end of this month.  But his own party can't agree on who's next, so Boehner says he'll stick around indefinitely until they do.  Oh, how noble.

Said Boehner:  "While we go through this process, we've got to continue to address the people's priorities.  This institution cannot grind to a halt."

I'd say it can, because that's precisely what happened on Boehner's watch.  For five years, Orange John was nothing but a human clog in the arteries of government.

And I'd say he's come to this conclusion a little late.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

What's Gumming Up The Works? Surprise! It's Tea Bags.

As House Speaker, the Orange Boner finally got sick and tired of all the Tea Baggers' shit.  Surprise!  He quit.  And good riddance.

It was widely assumed his successor would be House Majority Leader and Boner buddy California Rep. Kevin McCarthy.  McCarthy said he wanted the job, but the Tea Baggers did not want him.  Surprise!  He withdrew.

So, thanks to those insane Tea Baggers, House Speaker is now a job that no one in the gerrymandered GOP really wants.  "Our brand is asshole, but this is too much even for us!"

Chaffetz:  "Scale?  What scale?"
The R's are left with Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the graphically-challenged chair of the recent  Planned Parenthood attack "hearing," and Florida Rep. Daniel Webster, favorite of the wacko, far right Freedom Caucus.  This Daniel Webster is only slightly more energetic than the original Daniel Webster, who's been dead since 1852, and he's far less well-known.
The real Daniel Webster

Nice meltdown, GOP!  LMFAO!

Odds Are Against Black-To-Black Presidents

If you were hoping Ben Carson would succeed Barack Obama as President, forget it.

It's not that America isn't ready for two black presidents in a row.  It's that Carson has made the same mistake that scuttled the campaigns of so many previous GOP wanna-be's like Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Sarah Palin:  He opened his mouth and said exactly what he was thinking. 

And it was fucking nuts.

Hypothetical Sniff Test

Here's a hypothetical for you.

Suppose someone shares a post from a public figure on social media.  The public figure is expressing a very strong opinion on a controversial topic of the day.  The person sharing it makes no comment whatsoever -- just shoots it out there as is.

Pretty common these days.  And quite natural to assume the person agrees with the opinion shared.  "Share if you agree," right?

But suppose this person claims he actually disagrees with the public figure and shared the post -- without comment -- just to be sarcastic or funny.

Would you believe him?

Me neither.  Doesn't pass the sniff test.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Gun Nuts Want To Baffle Us With Bullshit

It happens after every mass shooting.  The gun nuts try to dismiss the concerns with their standard boilerplate slogans and spin.  They try to baffle us with bullshit, then quickly change the subject.  The aftermath of the Umpqua Community College massacre is no different.  This time, the gun nuts are sounding two familiar themes:

"This isn't a gun problem, this is a mental problem." -- Donald Trump

"Mentally ill people prone to violence are [the problem]." -- Marco Rubio

1.  The problem isn't really guns, it's crazy people.  While this makes for a good sound-bite, it's bullshit!  There are lots of "crazy" people, those who are mentally disturbed to some degree and seem to fit some sort of profile.  But the overwhelming majority of them are not mass murderers.  The real problem is indeed guns -- lots and lots of guns, way too many and too easily accessible by all of us, regardless of mental state.  Indisputable fact:  As the number of guns in circulation decreases, the number of gun violence episodes decreases accordingly.   End of story.  Period.  (*Data below, if you're interested.)

"It's clear that gun-free zones are sitting-duck zones." -- Mike Huckabee

"These gun-free zones are a disaster."  -- Donald Trump

"UCC is one of those gun-free zones that attracts shooters." -- Sean Hannity

2.  Gun-free zones encourage mass shootings and increase the likelihood of their occurrence.  We'll let The Nightly Show's Larry Wilmore handle this one:  "You're saying the odds of being bitten by a shark actually increase in places with no sharks?!"  What ridiculous bullshit!  I guess it follows that the best way to survive in shark-infested waters is to pack your own shark.  (Refer again to the data below.)

Oh, by the way, in April the National Rifle Association held its 2015 annual convention at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville -- a public venue with a strict no-firearms policy, i.e. a gun-free zone.  Was it an irony-free zone too?  I hope the gun nuts feared for their lives in such dangerous surroundings.

And isn't it interesting how conservatives who are so adamantly "pro-life" are at the same time anti-gun control?  Just sayin'.

Number of Civilian Guns Per Capita By Country
1st Place -- USA, 113 guns per 100 residents
Last Place -- Japan, 0.6 guns per 100 residents
(Our gun possession rate is 188 times that of Japan.)

Number of Gun Deaths Per Capita By Country
1st Place -- USA, 10.2 gun deaths per 100,000 residents
Last Place -- Japan, 0.06 gun deaths per 100,000 residents
(Our gun death rate is 170 times that of Japan)

Survey of Small Arms, 2007
Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland
World Health Organization
Dr. S. Bangalore, NYU Medical Center, New York City
Dr. F. Messerli, St. Luke's Medical Center, New York City
ABC News

Friday, October 2, 2015


And it has happened again, this time at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon.  Ten are dead, seven are wounded.

I am sick of American gun violence, and outraged by the NRA and the gun nuts who defend the awful status quo on behalf of their precious "rights." 

Since the Sandy Hook massacre, there have been 142 school shootings -- nearly one a week.  Just schools.  And schools usually means kids.

This year, an average of 36 Americans have been killed by guns every single day.  Too many people have come to accept this as normal.  It is not normal.  If you think it's normal, you are part of the problem.

Our country has two really big problems with firearms.  Solving them will take time and strength of character.  It will be a long process, not an event.

1.  It's much too easy to get a gun, and it's easy to get one too quickly.  Obviously, this is true for the mentally disturbed, but it's also true for everybody.  We're talking about lethal weapons designed for the sole purpose of killing, and capable of doing so instantly.  Instead of quick and easy, we need to slow things down drastically.  We need painstaking, time-consuming, ultra-thorough criminal and psychological background checks on every gun purchase.  You have no right to instant ownership.

2.  We possess way, way too many guns in this country.  Per capita, no other nation in the world comes close.  Americans own almost half of the world's civilian firearms.  Naturally, we're tops in gun violence.  We've created our own domestic terrorism issue.  If you think that there is nothing we can do about our excessive number of guns, or worse, you think there's nothing we should do, you're part of the problem.  If you think even more guns is a good idea, you're part of the problem.

Our stupid weapons build-up took time.  A significant reduction in the number of firearms in circulation will take time too.  Here are some ideas to thin the lethal herd.

  • Federal registration of every single gun you currently possess, with fees.
  • Low limits on the number of guns allowed for personal possession/use.
  • Government buy-backs and other financial incentives to encourage weapons turn-ins.
  • High prices and high sales taxes on the purchase of guns and ammo.
  • Annual personal property tax on every gun possesssed, at a substantial tax rate.
  • Heavy fines and criminal penalties for those in non-compliance.

And, oh yeah.  We may need to repeal the 2nd Amendment -- a 224-year old, single-sentence trainwreck of syntax.  Stop treating it like Holy Writ, and replace it with words that actually make sense and fit the times.

If you're an elected official in Washington D.C., you missed a golden opportunity to start this process in the wake of Sandy Hook.  Your inaction then was shameful.  Don't make the same mistake twice.  Stop being part of the problem.  Show some courage and be part of the solution.

Sent the above to Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. Pat Tiberi, for what little good it will do.

[Regular readers will recognize this as a frequent topic/complaint from Buster.  Funny how that works, and I wish it wasn't so.  Here's a link an older post on the same subject -- a little over the top, but I still like it.]