Welcome to Buster's Blog

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

Buster Gammons















Thursday, June 22, 2017

Schoolhouse Rock Explains How TrumpCare Becomes Law


Dear Mitch


(My email today to Sen. Mitch McConnell.  He'll never read it, of course, but what the hell.)
______________________________________

Dear Mitch,

As always, you insult everyone's intelligence.

Concocted in total secrecy, your lobbyist-designed Senate version of health care is no better than the House's abomination, the AHCA.  Your bill guts funding for the ACA with a huge tax cut for those who don't need it.  It damages the group coverage concepts of the ACA by eliminating the individual mandate and by dropping the requirement that employers of 50+ offer health insurance.  Fewer people will purchase coverage.  Your plan will mean higher premiums and deductibles, especially for the old and the sick, and lower premium subsidies for those who need them most.  It removes the requirement for essential medical benefits and removes the ban on lifetime payment caps, which essentially will render pre-existing coverage meaningless.  And your bill will remove tens of millions of Americans from Medicaid coverage (but the really big cuts won't occur for another 7-8 years, because all you GOP Senators need to get re-elected!).

Then you have the arrogance, the impudence, the gall, to stand up in public and declare your hot, steaming mess to be an "achievement."  It is no such thing.  It's a debacle.  Just like the House's AHCA, your Senate bill does not improve health care in any way.  It worsens it.  It will hurt people.  Have you no decency?

All the worst,

Buster Gammons

Speaking Of Gross Injustice


Here's a coincidental and incredible follow-up to yesterday's "Gross Injustice" post.

In April of this year, Columbus Police responded to reports of a man with a gun.  They found him, arrested him, handcuffed him with his hands behind his back, and placed him face down on the pavement.  The man was clearly sudued and giving no resistance.  Officer Zachary Rosen was then videotaped running up to the suspect and, for no reason, stomping him on the head and then kneeling on his head and neck.



Rosen has a history of out-of-control excessive force.  In 2015, he drew his gun on an unarmed man and kicked him until he fell down.  In the 2016 deadly confrontation with Henry Green, Rosen fired his weapon at Green 15 times.

After the April stomping incident, a grand jury declined to indict Rosen and he was placed on desk duty while Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs pondered her disciplinary options.  Yesterday, she announced her decision:  an unpaid suspension of 24 work hours, the equivalent of three 8-hour shifts.

Another gross injustice!  Suspended for 24 hours?  This fucking sadistic pig ought to be fired.  He's mentally unfit to be a police officer.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"And Your Hats Are Great Too!"




Yesterday, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Vareja visited the White House, and Dolt 45 used the occasion to demonstrate the full scope of his vast knowledge of the Central American nation:

Trump:  "The Panama Canal is doing quite well.  I think we did a good job building it, right?"

Varejo:  "Yeah.  One hundred years ago."

Trump (oblivious):  "We did a very good job."


"Covfefe, right?"


















Teddy Roosevelt on a steam shovel, Canal Zone, 1906

Gross Injustice


I'm sure you've seen the horrific dash cam video by now.  Even so, here it is again:



After handing his license and insurance card to Officer Jeronimo Yanez, at the 0:42 mark Philando Castile says, "Sir, I have to tell you I do have a firearm on me."

Yanez:  "Don't reach for it then.  Don't pull it out."
Castile:  "I'm not pulling it out."
Castile's girlfriend:  "He's not pulling it out."

At the 0:50 mark, Yanez fires 7 shots into Castile, then screams, "Don't pull it out!"

Castile's last words:  "I wasn't."

Incredibly, a Minnesota jury acquitted Yanez of manslaughter charges.  Yanez got off because he said he thought he smelled pot (not a capital offense), and he thought Castile was going for his gun (he wasn't), and he therefore "feared for his life."

In reality, Castile was shot because he was black, and cops are trained to racially profile.  Cops are also trained to say things like, "I thought he had a gun" and "I feared for my life" every time they discharge their weapons.  It's their get-out-of-jail-free card, and it works.  Cops successfully avoid responsibility on this basis all the time.

"Oh, the guy was black and you were scared, and so you shot him dead?  Completely understandable and legally justified.  Everybody knows black people are scary and always carry guns and are high all the time.  Yes, better to shoot first and ask questions later."

 Philando Castile, St. Paul.  John Crawford III, Dayton.  Michael Brown, Ferguson, MO.  Tamir Rice, Cleveland.  Alton Sterling, Baton Rouge.  Walter Scott, Charleston, SC.  Samuel Dubose, Cincinnati.  Tyre King, Columbus.  Keith Scott, Charlotte.

Each was an unarmed black man recently shot dead by police.  A couple were children.  Each shooting was unjustified.  In fact, each was a gross injustice.  (The complete list is much longer.  Those are just the ones I can remember.  Could add Eric Garner, New York City, and Freddie Gray, Baltimore, but they were choked and beaten to death, not shot.)  In almost every case, the cops were exonerated, and most were not even criminally charged.  The cop in the Walter Scott case escaped criminal prosecution and heavy jail time by pleading guilty to violating Scott's civil rights.  After a mistrial, the cop in the Dubose case is being retried on criminal charges, and the jury is still deliberating.

And it's a gross injustice that these incidents have become a "normal" part of being a black person in America.  Must every black person now resort to the demeaning strategy Trevor Noah calls "extreme surrender"?






Big Money Battle Over Ohio's Drug Price Relief Act


A citizen-initiated bill will appear on Ohio's November election ballot.  Known as the Drug Price Relief Act, it would prohibit the state from paying more for any prescription drug than the lowest price paid for the same drug by the VA's Veterans Health Administration.  (By law, the VA may negotiate drug prices, while Medicare and Medicaid may not.)  This new price cap should produce cost savings to Ohio of at least 24%, and potentially much higher.  The discounted prices would apply to approximately 4.2 million Ohioans, most on Medicaid, the rest being state workers and public university employees.  Seems fairly straightforward.

Opponents of the bill include the drug industry lobby known as PhRMA, and the Chamber of Commerce.  Last year in California, they defeated a similar bill by outspending the proponents five to one.  Drug companies will always charge the highest price they can get away with, and Ohio's Drug Price Relief Act would trim their sails a little bit, which they don't like at all.

As in California, the pro-side, Ohio Taxpayers For Lower Drug Prices, is already being vastly outspent by the anti-side, Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue.  The opponents may have much more advertising money, but their argument is light on facts and evidence, and heavy on scare tactics.

These critics threaten that if the bill passes, drug makers will cover their reduced profits with price hikes to those not covered by state insurance.  They offer no proof that this will occur.  Interestingly, they never suggest that drug makers are not making a profit at VA prices.  And they never claim the bill would not save money for Ohio and 4 million of its residents.  Instead, valuing their bottom line and nothing else, they fall back on massive ad buys packed with FUD -- fear, uncertainty, and doubt. 

They rely on words and phrases such as "unworkable," "dangerous," "may actually increase costs," and their favorite, "deceptive."  But they never explain why the bill is unworkable, dangerous, costly and deceptive.  It just is.  Be afraid.  Such tactics are common and, well, deceptive.



With everyone from liberal Sen. Sherrod Brown to conservative Ohio AG Mike DeWine to deranged dipshit Donald Trump trying to do something about rising drug prices, not to mention my own self-interest, I'm inclined to vote for the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act.  I don't see a real downside, and I'm turned off by the slippery mendacity of the bill's opponents.

But it's a long road to November, and I'm no expert.  If I'm looking at it the wrong way, give it a shot -- persuade me.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

School Scandals -- Columbus City Schools vs. ECOT


A couple years ago, Columbus City Schools, the largest district in the state of Ohio, was caught in a sandal of dishonest manipulation of student enrollment records and grades.  Purpose?  To inflate the district's academic performance and make it look better than it actually was.  Why did they want that?  To avoid an official academic downgrade and the enrollment loss/funding loss likely to come with it.  The GOP loves charter schools and hates public education.  They've devised an evaluation system where test scores are everything.  Any large, big-city public district has the socio-economic deck stacked against them in such a scheme.  Lower public school ratings help the GOP push its privatization agenda.

The online high school Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) is the state's largest charter.    ECOT uses Ohio's public education tax dollars to run its for-profit school, and its owner, Bill Lager, is a major GOP campaign donor.  Their scandal involves intentionally and grossly inflating the number of their online students.  (Of the 15,300 students claimed by ECOT, only 6,300 could be verified.  Oops!)  Purpose?  To receive more state funding dollars.  Why did they want that?  Greed, pure and simple.  ECOT has been fighting the findings in court, and losing.  They were recently ordered by the Ohio Dept. of Education to repay $60 million of the $109 million they received last year.  And yet ECOT is brazenly spending our money right now on a TV ad campaign whining about how unfair it is they got caught.


In both cases, the behavior is inexcusable.  But to my mind, the motives of the Columbus City School system were at least understandable.  ECOT, on the other hand, is a thief, a criminal.  What they did is a form of embezzlement.  I hope they go out of business.
_________________________________________

Of interest -- ECOT isn't the only Ohio online charter school to inflate its student numbers.  Audits have found at least three others.  And charter schools as a whole are the worst-performing schools in Ohio.  By the GOP-designed metrics, two-thirds of our charters have a "failing" report card.
__________________________________________






Thursday, June 15, 2017

Trump And Plato


Post-Shooting, How Long Will The New Spirit Of Civility Last?


I'm gonna say it's over already.

Conserva-tards are gleefully blaming all liberals for the Alexandria gun violence.  As they see it, anyone to the left of Attila the Hun is responsible for yesterday's shooting tragedy.

Drooling Fox-bot Sean Hannity attributes the incident to "dehumanizing left-wing hate."  Has Sean ever seen any of the right-wing Facebook pages out there?  Was he in a coma during the Obama administration?  Left-wing hate?  Gimme a break!

U.S. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) bemoaned what he called the "outrageous anger directed at Donald Trump" and called for "Democrats to tone down the rhetoric," then announced he'd be carrying a gun in public from now on.  Way to tone things down, Chris.

News reports are describing the Alexandria shooter's online FB posts and attendance at organized public protests as "a history of anti-GOP activities."  By such a feeble definition, your humble correspondent likewise has a history of anti-GOP activity.  (But I promise not to shoot anybody.)

And Trump is still tweeting his outrageous anger about anything and everything.  Today his diapers are in a bunch because he's now under criminal investigation for possible obstruction of justice.  Suck it up, buttercup!

So, yeah, the assassination attempt was awful, but the resulting kinder, gentler political climate lasted for a couple of hours and a couple speeches.  It's all back to normal now.

It's so very covfefe!
And to illustrate what now passes for normal in Trump's Swamp of Despond, here I am, posing in my new fashion accessory.  It's a gift sent to me by my sister, and I love it!  Is wearing it an anti-GOP activity? 

And what the heck does it mean?  InfoTech Managers Financial Association?  International Tapioca Makers Friendship Alliance?  Keep guessing.  Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Congressman Deliberately Shot


As you know, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), a staffer and two cops were shot and wounded this morning at an Alexandria, VA ballfield.  The gunman, who was killed, had liberal political views and a history of domestic violence.

Whatever the shooter's "motivation," it's always horrifically WRONG to resort to gunfire as a means of expressing one's displeasure, political or other.  All decent, reasonable human beings are shocked and saddened by this senseless act, and wish Scalise and the others a speedy and full recovery.  (It's not known whether Scalise was personally targeted, but we do know he's a hard-right dumbass who has addressed neo-Nazi white supremacist rallies and once called himself "David Duke without the baggage."  But he didn't deserve to be shot.) 


It's also ridiculously WRONG for conservatives to try to blame this shooting on liberals!  No less than Gabby Giffords immediately called for support and sympathy and understanding, and she was promptly attacked by deplorable Twitter-tards who called her a traitor, an enabler, told her to F herself, and said it was too bad she wasn't shot again.  One of the milder tweets:  "@Gabby Giffords - You leftist extremists are responsible for this tragedy."

What hate-filled horseshit!  Nevermind that a mass shooter is far more likely to be a conservative than a liberal, the persistent problem in American gun violence is not political persuasion, it's too damn many guns!  (At not quite the halfway point of this year, we've had 13,400 gun injuries and 6800 gun deaths.  Today, four were killed in a mass shooting in San Francisco.)  We are awash in lethal weapons and ammo, and right-wing gun proliferation policies and stupid pro-gun laws are only making things worse.  Do the math!  More and more guns means more and more chances for gun violence, more and more opportunities for a gun to wind up in the wrong hands.

Responsibility lies not with "leftist extremists" but with gun makers, the NRA, and GOP law makers.  This time, one of their own has been shot, and the blood is on their hands every bit as much as on the shooter's.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Finally! Some Excitement!


Actual road sign in western Pennsylvania.


Sycophantic Circle Jerk


If, since last November, you haven't yet been embarrassed to be an American, you should be now.

Yesterday's photo-op congregation of Dolt 45's entire Cabinet and White House staff began with the Liar-In-Chief blowing it out his ass, lying about having passed more legislation and having done more than anyone since FDR.  (He's passed zero legislation.)

This blatant bullshit set the tone for what happened next -- they went around the table one by one, and each Cabinet member unconvincingly recited prepared remarks heaping brown-nose praise on our Dear Leader with the 35% approval rating:

(Photo only.  The audio-video version is too sickening.)

"It's such a privilege . . ."

"What an honor it is . . ."

"I'm so blessed . . ."

"You're the best president ever, with the biggest hands!"

"Luv your hair, man!"

This is a disgusting new low in American politics.  We've never seen anything like it before, and it could only happen now.  Not only did Prima Donald demand his underlings slavishly pay him tribute in this shameless bit of Kabuki drama, they all went along with it!  What a bunch of servile toadies!  Not a one of 'em had the guts to stand up and say, "Hell no!"

We have no future with this man.

#FDT
#NotMyPresident
#IdiotNation
#Repulsive
#WorstPresidentEver



"OK, Cabinet members.  That's enough talk about me.
Let's talk about you.
What do you think of me?"



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Those Not Wanting To Be Alone With Trump


FBI Directors
Miss Universe Contestants
Melania Knauss
Marla Maples
Ivana Zelnickova
Ivanka Trump
Tiffany Trump
Women in general
Anything with a "pussy"
Kitty cats (in case he gets confused)
Russian hookers who wish to remain dry
Pretty much everybody!




Snowflakes


Republicans are the true snowflakes -- they're all white, they're cold, and if you put enough of 'em together, they'll shut down public schools.  

"Pray, But Bring Me A Beer First"


A great, snarky comment from a regular reader on my post "Things People Say to Me Now That I Have Cancer."  Made me LOL!
__________________________________

When someone says they will pray for me, I tell them that prayer is a cosmic lottery with very long odds; so bring me a beer and then pray at your convenience -- at least I will have the beer.

I used to ask for the beer and tell them to do something useful like cleaning the litter box instead of wasting their time -- and god's -- with prayer. But I have become much more charming. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Another Friendly Reminder From South Of The Border


Hilarious, and so true!


Things People Say To Me Now That I Have Cancer


Once they know you have the Big C, people tend to speak differently when they're around you.  They want to wish you well and let you know they're thinking about you, which is great.  And they say things to you they never said before.

As for me, I'm most appreciative of all the kind words.  I know they're sincere.  And since I'm still my normal, sincerely smart-ass self, I can't help but find some humor in the three most frequent expressions of support.

1.  "You look great!"  I'm now in my sixties, so thank you.  But I looked better in my thirties, and I don't recall anyone back then telling me how good I looked.  In my situation, "you look great" is code for "you don't look dead."   And, happily,  I'm not.  So thanks again!

2.  "I'll pray for you/You're in our prayers."  Those who know me best know I'm not religious and I put no stock in the human invention of prayer.  You might as well cross your fingers or ask the Wizard of Oz, but if you feel you must "pray," that's OK.  I realize I have a few devout, true-believer friends who are ritualistically lighting candles and saying novenas for me, and there's Sister Miriam's convent -- a whole order of nuns fiddling with their rosaries on my behalf.  I'm a touched and grateful heathen who sees no need for all the genuflection and Bible verses.  I'm happy just to be occasionally remembered in your thoughts.

3.  "Let me know if I can do anything for you."  Really?  Anything?  In that case, paint my house!


Please don't take me seriously.  I'm a kidder.  I kid!  Love and appreciation to all my regular readers!  I'm feeling good and doing fine.  Until the next post.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Hang In There, Kathy Griffin


Did a comedian finally go too far and do something offensive?  Oh no!  That's never, ever happened before.

Was the little Trump boy -- what's his name?  Prince?  Rex?  Earl?  Lord?  Viscount?  Oh yeah, Barron -- was the young Barron actually traumatized by such an obvious fake?  Did he really believe Kathy Griffin was holding the severed head of his father?  If so, he's a rather slow and gullible 11-year-old.   


Was he just as traumatized when his fraudulent father mocked a disabled reporter?  Or bragged about grabbing women by the pussy?  Was he frightened by photos of his half-brothers posing with the chopped-off body parts of animals they'd just killed?


Was this poor, sensitive child disgusted by the blatant racist hatred showered on the Obamas for eight straight years by the "free speech" alt-right crowd?  Was he shocked by all of the "joke" images of the president lynched, shot, or portrayed as a gorilla?

For two terms, the Obamas took more shit than anyone could possibly deserve, but never dignified any of it with a response.  Trump, on the other hand, has skin like wet Kleenex and can't take a joke.  He childishly and peevishly reacts to every speck of criticism, joke or other.  Usually by midnight tweet.

Comedy is hard, and comedians have always tested the limits of propriety.  Lenny Bruce, anyone?  George Carlin?  Dave Chappelle?  Shit cuts both ways and politicians are fair game.  So grow a set, Donald!  Kathy Griffin may or may not have been "funny," but she did no real harm to you or your family.  (Trump of course has already done real harm to many real people, and intends to do much more.)


Kathy Grrrrl, you hang in there!  You stay strong, you keep pushing the limits and you keep making fun of that shriveled potato face with butthole lips and troll doll hair.  You're OK.  You are something, and he is nothing!  Screw 'em all!

#F**kCNN
#FDT

  

Friday, June 2, 2017

Louisiana Lt. Governor Strikes Deal With Nigerian Prince To Buy Confederate Monuments


By Tony Swartz, for theredshtick.com
________________________________________

Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser
A member of the Nigerian royal family has agreed to purchase four recently dismantled New Orleans Confederate-era monuments and donate them to the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, with a few stipulations, according to Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser.
A person identified as His Royal Highness Prince Modupe of Dubrica has reportedly promised to help Nungesser, who staunchly opposed removal of the monuments earlier this year, accomplish his goal of acquiring them and possibly displaying them at state parks and historic sites in Louisiana. In order to do that, however, Modupe said the state must front him $50,000 to enable him to access his vast wealth and transfer the necessary funds to the city of New Orleans to complete the transaction.
While the exact amount needed to buy the statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Generals P.G.T. Beauregard and Robert E. Lee, and the Battle of Liberty Place Monument, is undetermined, Nungesser insists the state’s mysterious potential benefactor has vowed to pay any price to secure them following New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s successful campaign to have them taken down.
“All Prince Modupe has asked for in return is an advance of $50,000 in U.S. currency so he can get to his money that’s in a special Nigerian bank account.”
“His Royal Highness has generously offered to spend as much of his own money as necessary to purchase the monuments and donate them to the state in order to prevent Mitch Landrieu from erasing history,” Nungesser told reporters in Baton Rouge. “All Prince Modupe has asked for in return is an advance of $50,000 in U.S. currency so he can get to his money that’s in a special Nigerian bank account.”
Nungesser insisted Modupe, who the Lt.  Governor said reached out to him via email, has given his word that the $50,000 will be refunded to the state after the transaction has been completed.
Nungesser also said Modupe’s interest in purchasing and donating the controversial monuments supports Nungesser’s claim that they do not promote racial division by glorifying the defense of legalized slavery.
“The fact that a Nigerian prince is willing to use his personal fortune to preserve these statues proves that they have nothing to do with race.”

"Loser!"


Calling Earth a "Loser," Trump Vows to Make Better Deal With New Planet

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) -- In a dramatic Announcement from the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Donald J. Trump pronounced the planet Earth a "loser" and vowed to make a better deal with a new planet.

"Earth is a terrible, very bad planet," he told the White House press corps.  "It's maybe the worst planet in the solar system, and it's far from the biggest."

Trump blasted former president Barack Obama for signing deals that committed the United States to remain on the planet Earth indefinitely.  "Obama is almost as big a loser as Earth," Trump said.  "If Obama was a planet, guess what planet he'd be?  That's right -- Earth!"

When asked which planet he would make a new deal with, Trump offered few specifics, saying only, "The solar system has millions of terrific planets, and they're all better than Earth, which is a sick, failing loser."

Trump's remarks drew a strong response from one of America's NATO allies, Germany's Angela Merkel.  "I strongly support Donald Trump leaving the planet Earth," she said.
___________________________________________


(Gotta love Andy Borowitz!) 
#FDT


Thursday, June 1, 2017

It's Not Just The Covfefe, It's The Cover-Up


A reader comments on the "Covfefe" post:

It's the onset of senile dementia, exacerbated by the alphabet soup of undiagnosed personality disorders he has managed to conceal over the decades, albeit thinly. But it's not just the 'covfefe,' the product of a midnight geriatric brain-fart, it's the cover-up. In the cold night of the morning after, it's deleted, disavowed, used as a cryptic tease, and ultimately claimed as a code word for the inner circle of true loyalists. This is a close-up glimpse of a nation in torment.

Well said, dear reader!

Colossally Stupid


Colossally stupid, environmentally harmful, economically backwards, and morally bankrupt.  Other than that, no problem.



The Paris Climate Agreement is an historic, 200-nation plan to reduce global greenhouse gasses, but it's also non-binding and carries no penalties for lack of compliance (other than ecological disaster and the death of our planet), so there is no compelling financial or political reason for us to "leave" the agreement.  We could stay in and do nothing.  (Not saying we should, just that we could.)

All that remains then is vengeful retribution and pure ideology -- Trump's burning desire to play to his climate-change-is-a-hoax idiot base and flip his short, fat middle finger at the rest of the world.

Pulling out of the Paris Accord is yet another awful decision by the worst president we've ever had.  Right now, I am thoroughly embarrassed to be an American.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lack Of Sleep Not Affecting His Ability To Cljjryff


WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) -- Donald J. Trump tweeted early Wednesday morning that his habit of sleeping only four hours a day was having no impact whatsoever on his ability to cljjryff.

Trump, who repeatedly touted his high energy level during the 2016 campaign, tweeted that, despite his grueling presidential schedule, he still had enormous reserves of stamina, which called "stamgygygyggy."

In the same tweet storm, he lashed out at news reports questioning his fitness for office, denouncing them as "fakequez%(^."

The White House said that, despite pleas from his legal team to delete his Twitter feed, Trump planned to continue tweeting, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would continue to spell-check his tweets.

"The Best Words: Covfefe"


Weren't we warned about disruptive online activity from "a guy sitting on his bed who weighs 400 pounds"?

President Adolph Twitler was at it again last night, his dainty digits tweeting out this inscrutable gem:



Irresistable grist for the Twitter humor mill!  (From the Huffington Post)



View image on TwitterView image on Twitter



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okay this is the best I've got 



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On a dark desert highway
Cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of covfefe
Rising up through the air
-- Patton Oswalt


View image on Twitter