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















Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Lovely Send-Off


I'm in the midst of a happy task -- assembling family geneaology records for a cousin in Maryland.  Her grandmother is Rosalie "Podie" Sasscer, my father's sister and my late aunt.  Faithful readers may recall a recent post mentioning a small bust of Robert E. Lee given to me by Aunt Podie.  That's what prompted my cousin to ask if I could send her a copy of my dad's rather voluminous documentation.  I'm glad to do it.  It's been a pleasant experience for me to revisit the pages of our family history.

While photocopying and scanning this and that, I came across a hand-written note from Podie to my father, sent shortly before her death in 1994.  It's her instructions for her funeral, and it's a classic.  Sounds like a lovely send-off, and I share it here for the record:


Dear Jerry,

I am sending you this; also, I am attaching a copy to my will.


A synopsis of my funeral:  25 people at my house.  God and life-after-death are not to be mentioned.  A string quartet will play two beautiful pieces; someone will read something from Keats.  That's it!  Total time:  20 minutes.


Then cocktails with great hors-d'oeuvres; luncheon with Crab Imperial, old ham, etc.  A great day!  I'm really sorry I will have to miss it.


If you all do not carry out my wishes pre-cise-ly, ex-act-ly, you are going to be haunted by green goblins and things that go bump in the night.


Happy Days!


Love, 

Rosalie



Trump Is Trump Is Trump


Don't be misled -- transient make-nice moments with "Chuck and Nancy" are not to be trusted and don't mean a thing.  His rare moments of moral decency are immediately and overwhelmingly offset by his usual contradiction, prevarication, ignorance, ugliness and corruption.  He's like a horrible prom date -- we try in vain to find something good about it, but he is who he is and we're stuck with him until the dance is over.

Trump is our Idiot Amin -- gold-plated trailer trash without an honest bone in his bloated body.

Judge Roy Bean


Judge Roy Bean (1825-1903) was a real-life Texas character who ran a saloon, was a Justice of the Peace, and called himself "The Law West of the Pecos."

In the 1972 movie "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean," he was memorably potrayed by Paul Newman as an amusing, eccentric scoundrel.


"I know the law, having spent the better part of my life in its flagrant disregard."

"This will become a good place to live, with law and order.  And peace -- especially peace, and I don't care who I have to kill to get it."


In reality, Bean was a crude drunk, a liar, a bigot, a con man, an opportunist, and a publicity hound.  Rather reminiscent of our fake president, I'd say.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Advice To The Cleveland Indians From Crash Davis: "Respect The Streak!"


"A player on a streak has to respect the streak. Because they don't happen very often.  If you believe you're playing well because you're getting laid, or because you're not getting laid, or because you wear women's underwear, then you are!"

Crash Davis, from the movie Bull Durham

Go Windians!  Respect the streak!

Five Easy Memes For A Lazy Friday (F-Bomb Warning!)










Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Black-Balled


In 2012 and 2013, he was the next big thing, the NFL's hottest and most exciting young QB.  For those two seasons, he led his 49ers to the Super Bowl and the NFC championship game.  With the Niners last year, in a silent protest, he took a knee during the anthem.

Today, at age 29, Colin Kaepernick is an unsigned free agent, effectively black-balled by the league's owners.  The owners, of course, deny this.

The link is to a story in the NY Times sports section, detailing Kaepernick's shooting-star journey of self-discovery, from naive biracial adopted kid, to football hero, to principled outcast reviled by small minds.  Like Muhammad Ali, Tommy Smith and John Carlos before him, he is paying a heavy price for being an athlete with a social conscience.

Some excerpts follow the link.
_________________________________________

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/sports/colin-kaepernick-nfl-protests.html?mcubz=1

The NFL and its 32 franchise owners, none of them African-American, may be the most conservative fraternity of leaders in major American sports.  They bathe their games in overtly patriotic ceremonies and discourage players, mostly hidden behind masks and uniforms of armor, from individual acts of showmanship.  At least seven donated $1 million or more to Trump's inaugural committee, far more than any other sport's owners.

The NFL's 32 teams each carry at least two quarterbacks, some three.

"It's really tough to make an argument that he's not one of the best 64." -- NBC analyst Chris Collinsworth.

"To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.  There are bodies in the street, and people are getting paid leave and getting away with murder."  -- Colin Kaepernick.

"I am not looking for approval.  If they take football away, take my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right." -- Kaepernick.

"The larger conversation is what he is protesting about.  The fact that so many don't want to have that specific conversation speaks to the fact that they know what is happening in America is beyond tragic." -- Wade Davis, former NFL player and activist.

Kaepernick has donated $100,000 to charities every month since last October with little notice.  The beneficiaries are usually small, relatively unknown, and surprised.

"He is the Muhammad Ali of this generation." -- longtime civil rights/sports activist Harry Edwards.
______________________________________

These days, there's a lot to take a knee for.  Rumble, young man, rumble!

#KapSupport  





"A Staffing Issue"


Or maybe he just had an issue with his -- ahem -- "staff."  He-he!


Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Perceptive Vince Lombardi


In May 1970, three months before he died, the great football coach Vince Lombardi was interviewed by sportswriter Paul Zimmerman.  Zimmerman asked Lombardi for his thoughts on the cultural upheaval of that time -- war protests, campus unrest, Black Power, hippies, women's liberation, etc.  Lombardi's surprisingly perceptive answer still applies to this day:

"They're showing an awareness of things.  They're making themselves heard.  They have a right to say what they want, and it behooves us to listen.  I don't know . . . my own lack of awareness . . . In my own little sphere, maybe I didn't see things I should have.  My kids tell me things, and sometimes I have trouble understanding them.  Well, I've got to learn."

Faced With A Barrage Of Lies, How Can We Defend The Truth?


Excerpted from the 9/4/17 column by Charles M. Blow in the New York Times
____________________________________

How is one supposed to debate policy with someone who almost never tells the truth?  How can a liar negotiate treaties or navigate international disputes?  Without truth, everything falls apart, or more precisely, nothing can be established.

I vacillate between rage and sorrow that our country has come to such a pass.  And yet, what is done is done.  America made a colossal mistake, and it cannot be easily undone.

Trump And The Alt-Right


When Rolling Stone's great Matt Taibbi rips somebody a new one, it's a thing of beauty.  This time, it's Trump and his "base."

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-why-trump-cant-quit-the-alt-right-w498515

Excerpts:

The president seemed paralyzed by the fact that some of the Charlottesville protesters wore MAGA hats, an indemnifying variable in Trump-math:  "They like me, therefore they are me.  And me can't be all bad -- even if me is a Nazi."

White supremacist nitwits may be the only thing Trump has left resembling a base of support.  Similar to his financial empire, every other part of his political coalition was borrowed, temporary, inherited or acquired by fraud.  And the notes are all coming due.

Trump's presidency has been reduced to a Gilligan's Island of family members, in-laws, white-power Rasputins, hired help like John Kelly, and whatever soon-to-be-disbarred lawyers they've been able to find to rack up billable hours stalling the boss's multitudinous criminal and civil messes.

Was he smart enough to play heel and statesman in the same breath as a strategic ploy, or was that a disorganized brain doing its natural tumble?  Trump hyped this question like the reality star he was:  Tune in next week to find out just how dangerous or insane I really am!

Life in the Trump era is like the president's favorite medium, Twitter:  an endless scroll of half-connected little anger Chiclets rapidly spinning us all into madness and conflict, with no end in sight.

Trump has shown that his power to bring out the worst in people is limitless.  And we should know by now that he's never finished, never beaten.  Historically, he's at his most dangerous when he's at his lowest.  And he's never been lower than now.  

Cartoon Cavalcade








































































Wednesday, September 6, 2017

DACA -- Not Funny, But . . .


There's nothing funny about Trump's decision to dismantle DACA, but if you've lost your sense of humor, you've lost it all.

Hope it's not too soon.

_____________________________________


Repealing DACA in order to MAGA is a load of CACA.
_________________________________


Eight Hundred Thousand People With Dreams To Be Deported By One With Delusions
by Andy Borowitz for The New Yorker

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) -- Eight hundred thousand people with dreams will be deported by one person with delusions, sources confirmed on Tuesday.

According to reports, U.S. residents who have obtained advanced degrees, served in the military, and saved people from Hurricane Harvey will be kicked out of the country by a man who believes his microwave is spying on him.

"Under this decision, if you have worked hard, gone to school, and contributed to the country, you face immediate deportation," one legal expert said.  "On the other hand, if you can prove that you have a glaring personality disorder and a flimsy grasp on reality, you can decide the fate of those other people."

The delusional man defended his controversial decision late Tuesday afternoon, accompanied by several key voices in his head.

"The people I am deporting are parasites who have exploited our economy," the man, who has declared bankruptcy six times, said.
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Don The Bankrupt Builder Tears Down DACA, Then Punts


(Sometimes I think I should rename this blog "What the Hell Has the Orange-Tufted Lunatic Done Now?")
______________________________________

Yesterday our fake president catered once again to his small but loyal moron base by rescinding DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, instituted in 2012 by executive order from President Obama.  DACA stopped deportations of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, and allowed them to legally live and work in this country for renewable two-year periods.  Tweetle Dumb gave Congress six months to come up with an actual law, or DACA renewals will cease, meaning 800,000 people would then face deportation.

Killing DACA is an alt-right, white-wing ideological litmus test.  The idea makes the Breitbart crowd pop wood.  It's no coincidence Jefferson Beauregard Sessions was trotted out to give us the news.  The Racist Jughead has made a career of being anti-immigration -- he hates not just undocumented immigrants, but all immigrants.  Sessions has always been an uncompromising, deport 'em all asshole.  He led the successful fight against a 2007 George W. Bush immigration bill which would have given legal status and a path to citizenship for our 12 million undocumented immigrants.  The white nationalists have adored Sessions ever since, so the Bigoted Cookie Elf was a natural choice to make yesterday's announcement.

Beauregard enjoyed his moment at the podium, but there is overwhelming bipartisan opposition to ending DACA.  That's because doing so is cruel, unnecessary, and economically harmful to the country.  The potential deportees are working, attending school, purchasing homes, starting businesses, buying goodas and services and paying taxes.

Trump punted to Congress, giving them a slim chance to do something legislatively.  But Obama acted by executive order because it was the only thing available to him -- Republican leaders have for years refused to support any major immigration laws.  The bipartisan DREAM Act would have offered permanent legal residency to the undocumented.  It was first introduced in 2001, and has gone nowhere.  Dubya's 2007 bill was scuttled by Sessions-led R's.  What are the chances Congress will now get it done in six months?

We are better than this.  Can the same be said of today's Congressional Republicans?  We're about to find out.  A clean DREAM Act not tied to the stupid wall or any other crackpot conserva-tard impulse would be ideal.

Failing that, we toss the bastards out in the 2018 mid-terms, then get rid of Trump in the 2020 general, if he's not already in jail by then.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day


As you enjoy your cookout on your day off, don't forget who brought you this holiday and why it exists:

The first Labor Day in 1882 was hardly a national holiday.  To participate, workers had to strike and miss a day's pay.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/striking-union-workers-turned-first-labor-day-networking-event-180964705/











Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Essential Trump Pie Charts










Walter Becker


I don't think one ought to have literal, singular favorites -- you know, a one and only favorite food, song, movie, book, place, etc.  There's so much good stuff out there.  Why limit yourself to one, when there are so many?

Yet whenever I'm asked for my favorite band/musical group, without hesitation I always say "Steely Dan."  True, I do have plenty of musical favorites of many eras and genres.  But if I had to pick one, the Dan will do for me.  Led by old college buddies Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, and backed by an ever-changing collection of stellar jazz, rock and soul musicians, Steely Dan launched in 1972, writing and performing some of the tastiest tracks ever recorded -- catchy, unusual tunes with complex harmonies and obscure, referential lyrics alternating between darkness and humor.  I have every Steely Dan studio album ever released.

Co-founder Walter Becker, guitarist and bassist, died today at age 67.  Too soon.  Farewell, Walter.

Can't pick just one favorite Steely Dan song.  Let's just try this one -- Pretzel Logic, from the album of the same name, 1974:

I stepped upon the platform,
The man gave me the news.
He said, "You must be joking, son.
"Where did you get those shoes?"






Saturday, September 2, 2017

Joel Osteen Helps Out




Joel Osteen Introduces Silver-, Gold-, Platinum-Level Shelter for Hurricane Harvey Victims

by Manny Schewitz, for TheRedShtick.com


After taking a ton of heat on social media for not initially opening his 16,000-plus-seat Lakewood Church to house victims of the historic flooding produced by Hurricane Harvey ("Hey, nobody asked me!"), Houston millionaire televangelist and "Prosperity Gospel*" preacher Joel Osteen has agreed to host area residents displaced by the inundation with various levels of accommodations depending on their generosity.
In an announcement from his $10.5 million mansion, Osteen relented to public pressure, offering a three-level premium sheltering plan for those wishing to use his megachurch as a refuge.
Those donating $20,000 to his church would receive “Priority Platinum” accommodations in the VIP clubhouse boxes at the top of the church, away from floodwaters. Platinum-level flood victims also would receive an autographed copy of Osteen’s latest book and Wi-Fi access.
With a contribution of $10,000, “Gold Level” evacuees get a seat in the lower portion of the former sports arena. They also will receive a basic Lakewood Church 90-day membership and a free digital download of Osteen’s e-book on Amazon.
“Silver Level” sheltering is available for $5,000. Flood victims in this lowest tier can lie down in a restroom of the church, or in whatever space they can find. The silver package also comes with one free meal of Ramen noodles or a bologna sandwich from the church cafeteria each day.
Remaining victims who cannot afford to pay for one of the three premium shelter plans earn basic accommodations (a broom closet with 20 other people) by cleaning the facilities and selling copies of Your Best Life Now to fellow evacuees.
Pressed for further comments, Osteen replied, “Jesus said the poor would always be with us. He was right. I can’t get the smell of the poor out of these Persian rugs.”
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*As preached by Osteen, Joyce Meyer and other religious charlatans, the "Prosperity Gospel" teaches that your personal wealth is a sign of god's blessing.  Put another way, if you're not rich, it means god doesn't like you very much.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Skin So Thin Their Organs Will Fall Out


Oh no!  Our poor dear sensitive conservative darlings are so shocked and offended by a couple cartoons they don't whether to shit or wind their watches.  They've convinced themselves the cartoons are mocking and denigrating the victims of Hurrican Harvey, and they've got themselves worked up into a holy uproar about it.  Once again, they've missed the point.



This cartoon appeared on the Politico website.  Does it mock redneck rebel secessionist T-bag religious right-tards who love to bash the government until they need it?  YES!  You betcha!  Does it mock hurricane victims or the Coast Guard?  NO!  It uses the latter to mock the former.  (Politico caved and deleted the cartoon.  Wimps!)



This is the cover of the current issue of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine.  It says, "God exists!  He drowned the neo-Nazis of Texas."  Does it mock the Nazis and white supremacists in Texas?  YES!  Does it mock the victims?  NO!  At least not those who aren't Nazis.

Cartoons, people!


Comedy pushes the envelope, and Nazis and anti-government morons are certainly fair game.  I like it.  If you don't like it, if it's not to your taste, if you don't think it's funny, too bad.  Maybe you'll like the next one.  Probably not.

Some of these delicate righty-flakes have skin so thin I swear their organs are gonna fall out!


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Back In '74, Blazing Saddles Nailed It


In the classic Western spoof from 1974, an eerily clairvoyant Gene Wilder precisely described today's Trump voters:


Ohio's Anti-Issue 2 "Facts" Ad Short On Facts


Without revisiting the whole thing, let me repeat that I'm for Issue 2, Ohio's Drug Price Relief Act.  It will reduce prescription drug costs for over 4 million Ohioans on Medicaid.

The well-heeled opposition, Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue, has been running an ad blitz.  Their latest spot, "Facts," pushes a misleading take on just exactly what constitutes a fact:



To recap, those ominous "facts" are:

Some could pay higher costs.  (Or they could not.  Possibilities are not facts.  It could rain.  Or maybe not.)

Families, veterans and seniors could pay more.  (See the first point.)

The Issue 2 sponsor is a California drug company that sells drugs.  (Shocking.  The opposition is the entire American pharmaceutical industry and their huge army of lobbyists.)

Some groups are against Issue 2.  (And some are for it.)

From the start, if anything has been deceptive regarding Issue 2, it's been the scare-tactic advertising of the Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue.  The funding comes straight from Big Pharma, which is all you really need to know.


Regarding Charlottesville, I Heard From The Alt-Right


At least that's what I presume.

On August 13th, I posted my thoughts on the hateful violence in Charlottesville perpetrated by neo-Nazi, racist, white supremacist, anti-Semitic thugs (who generously refer to themselves as the "alt-right").
http://bustergammons.blogspot.com/2017/08/regarding-charlottesville.html

Although I didn't notice it until yesterday, I received a comment on August 22nd from an unknown reader using the blog name "Desert Male" who shared these charming views on fascism and the Civil War South: 


These neo Nazis would have never qualified for the WWII German Army or the SS. As perverse as their regime was those recruits were kick ass combatants. These pot bellied neos waving neo swastikas would most likely have ended up in Sonnenstein.

The left, apparently with a lot of time to waste don't spend it on reading. Lee was not a slave holder nor a sessionist, met with Lincoln not too log before the outbreak, to discuss Lee leading the Federal Army. While slavery became a major issue it was not why most rebels fought. Most rebels did not even know a slave holder.
ReplyDelete


Wow.  When you begin by complimenting the Nazis for being "kick-ass combatants," you're revealing something about yourself.  Sonnenstein?  Desert Male sure does know his Nazis!

Sonnenstein was a German castle which became the "National Socialist Killing Institution" -- a euthanasia facility where the Nazis murdered 15,000 mentally disturbed people and POW's.

Don't know what Desert Male has been reading about the Civil War.  Alternative facts, I suspect.  His second paragraph is hogwash.
  • Robert E. Lee did indeed own slaves, both before and well into the war.  
  • Lee did not favor secession until Virginia voted for it.  Then he promptly joined the Confederacy and fought to defeat the Union. 
  • Lee did not "meet" with Lincoln to "discuss" commanding the Union army.  Lincoln did offer it and Lee turned it down, more loyal to Virginia than to the USA.
  • Slavery did not "become" an issue, slavery was the issue.  It's the reason the south left the Union, as expressed clearly in each state's declaration of secession.  The average rebel soldier, not a rich plantation owner but a poor country boy, may not have understood it, but he was most definitely fighting to preserve slavery.
  • True, most Southern whites did not "own" slaves, but slavery was pervasive throughout the South, not only on large plantations but on smaller farms, in urban areas, in businesses and in homes.  Slaves were often rented out to others by their owners, short-term or long-term.  Slave "holders" were everywhere.  To claim that most "did not even know a slave holder" is specious. 



Much Smarter Than Her Father


Jennifer Detlefsen is a U.S. Navy veteran and the daughter of Ryan Zinke, Dolt 45's Secretary of the Interior.  Ms. Detlefsen dislikes the fake president and is strongly opposed to his recent  transgender military ban, posting this message for DT on her Instagram account:


"This man is a disgrace.  I've tried to keep politics out of my social media fed as much as possible, but this is inexcusable.  This veteran says sit down and shut the fuck up, you know-nothing, never-served, piece of shit.  #ITMFA  #WTF"

It's good to know that Casino Mussolini inspires profanity in a wide range of reasonable people.

As some wag put it, Thanksgiving may be a bit awkward at the Zinke household this year.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned. Trump Tweeted While Houston Flooded.


This photo is from yesterday, showing nursing home residents in the Houston area waiting to be rescued as flood waters rise around them.  The facility was evacuated in time and everyone was OK.

While this was occurring, and with FEMA and NOAA critically understaffed, Prima Donald was blithely tweeting about size of the storm --"HISTORIC rainfall!  WOW!" -- (got a thing about size, doesn't he?), the stupid Mexican wall -- "We must have THE WALL.  Mexico will pay for it by reimbursement/other" --  and a lousy book by lousy Sheriff David Clarke -- "A great book by a great guy, highly recommended!".

I can't take much more of this crap.




President Caligula


There Once Was A Great Nation With An Unstable Leader
by Nicholas Kristof


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/26/opinion/sunday/caligula-roman-empire.html?mcubz=1

The new leader was colorful and flamboyant, offering plenty of opportunities for ribald gossip.

He made popular promises of tax reform and grandiose pledges of infrastructure projects.

He had a thing for generals.

Alas, he had no government experience and proved utterly incompetent at actually getting things done.

He was a narcissist and a megalomaniac, becoming increasingly unhinged and showing desperate, cruel and tyrannical behavior.

He scandalized the public, and had a penchant for blurting out whatever was on his mind.

The Senate, dignified and traditional, watched him with increasing alarm.

He aggravated tensions by scathingly denouncing the Senate, relying on sarcasm and insult, and showing utter contempt for it.

Soon he inspired resistance.  He had offended practically everyone, couldn't deliver on his promises, his mental stability was doubted, and he simply had no idea how to govern.

Sound familiar?

And yet Rome survived Caligula.














Monumental Thoughts, Part One


"When Will It Ever End?"

Last week in Columbus, Ohio, protesters called for the removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus in front of City Hall.  No, the old Italian did not fight for the Confederacy in the Civil War.  But just as we find it advisable to remove many old memorials to old rebels who tried to destroy the nation, many today dismiss the popular mythology surrounding Columbus and find monuments to him just as objectionable as a Jefferson Davis statue.

Yes, he showed courage sailing off to wherever the hell it was he thought he was going.  But most of us are now well aware that Christopher Columbus (Cristoforo Columbo) was not a heroic explorer who "discovered" America.  That was just a lie our teachers told us.*  It's more accurate to call him an imperialist plunderer, a greedy profiteer, a purveyor of religious claptrap, a brute, a slave trader, a thief and a killer.

We like our fairy tales, and many people work to maintain them and keep them shiny and bright.  Asked to comment on the issue, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said there were "many perspectives" on the Columbus statue, which is weak-ass double talk reminiscent of Trump's "many sides."

Some conservatives are firmly opposed to removing any statue, anywhere, for any reason.  It's that tired old rhetoric about "changing our history and heritage."  They ask, "When will it ever end?" 

When will it end?  It will end when we stop feeding ourselves happy horseshit, when we stop believing in feel-good legends and distortions of history.  It'll end when we face facts and accept truth, however uncomfortable hindsight may be, and no matter how many monuments we may remove as a result.

Ultimately, it ends when we, as a species, achieve perfect knowledge and perfect understanding, and not a moment sooner.  

Until then, in our pursuit of that ever-elusive perfection, we should continually re-examine our history and challenge our preconceptions so that we may improve our comprehension of this world and our place in it.  To do otherwise, to stop and declare our awareness "good enough," is willful foolishness.
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*I recommend Lies My Teacher Told Me:  Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James W. Loewen, published by Simon & Schuster, 2nd edition 2007.  The Old Philosopher D.W. sent me a copy last year.  It's a most enlightening read.

Monumental Thoughts, Part Two


Another Columbus Monument Story

I'm opposed to the concept of cemeteries.  They're a colossal waste of space and money, not to mention an unsustainable practice in the long run.  Imagine if every person on earth insisted on his or her own private 6-foot burial hole and headstone, to be maintianed forever.  Soon there would be nothing but graves and no space for anything  else -- Planet Cemetery.

Obviously, the dead must be disposed of one way or another.  The practice of burial goes back thousands of years, but the "modern" public, landscaped-style cemetery with its markers and monuments dates to the early 1700's in Europe.  Even though these park-like graveyards take up large amounts of land, they're also often beautiful, quiet places with exquisite old carved stonework.

Although such places are essentially obsolete, and I don't want to wind up in one, I must confess I like 'em.  As a very young boy, my father would take me to walk in a nearby cemetery.  And as a young man, I spent a pleasant summer working in a municipal cemetery, cutting grass and tending to the grounds.  I've developed a certain appreciation of, and respect for, historic old boneyards*.

Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio was originally a Civil War training camp for Union soldiers.  It soon became a POW camp for Confederate prisoners.  Today, it includes a cemetery where over 2200 Confederate soldiers are buried.  The grounds feature a memorial arch topped by a statue of a Confederate soldier.

Last week, in the dark and in a misguided act of "protest," the statue was pulled down and the figure's head was removed.

I'm also opposed to public monuments which honor the Confederacy, but I'll grant an exception for military cemeteries with statues commemorating the war dead.  These was no need to vandalize the Camp Chase cemetery. 

We have a right to speak out and demonstrate and protest, but cemeteries -- spots for for peaceful contemplation -- are generally not the place to do it.
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*If you ever have the chance, visit the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Established in 1844, it is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.  At 733 acres, the place is huge with plenty of wow-factor monuments.  Get a map or you'll get lost for sure.  Famous graves there include Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, New York Yankees manager Miller Huggins, and both Procter and Gamble.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

You Don't Need A Pardon If You're Not Guilty Of A Crime


Contrary to what Dolt 45 says, Joe Arpaio was not "enforcing the law," was not "doing his job," and he did not "keep Arizona safe."  He was doing the opposite.

The publicity-hungry former county sheriff was criminally ignoring the law and taking matters into his own hands.  He was racially profiling Latinos.  He was illegally and indefinitely detaining people who had committed no crimes.  He'd proudly engaged in these practices for decades, but in 2011 and again in 2013 federal judges ordered him to cease and desist with these violations.  He refused.  He and his deputies continued to act like the Maricopa Gestapo, and in July he was properly convicted of criminal contempt.  Just desserts and long overdue.

Let's deport the criminals Trump and Arpaio
Last night, while we were preoccupied by Hurricane Harvey clobbering Texas, Deplorable Don, the sneaky bastard BLOTUS (Bloated Looter of the United States), saw fit to pardon Ol' Criminal Joe, saving him from fines and jail time.  That's a shame.  Arpaio is still a criminal.  His pardon is another crime.

While the storm raged, the fake president also signed a useless and unnecessary transgender military ban.

Trump is a friggin' horrible human being, a load his momma should've swallowed.

#NotMyPresident
#FDT
#ITMFA

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Symbol-Minded Judge


Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O'Neill, reacting on Facebook to a kneeling group of Cleveland Browns, joined all the other people reflexively missing the point about NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.

























Standing for the anthem is a figurative gesture honoring the USA.  Since kindergarten, most of us have been socially conditioned to stand up when the anthem is played publicly.  (But we never stand up watching a ball game at home.)  The lyrics are filled with battle imagery, but I was never taught that the song's entire purpose was just to pay homage to the military.  It's a broader than that.  So I reject the idea that not standing up is disrespectful to the troops.  Since when did the military take sole possession of the anthem's significance?


Kneeling during the anthem is a gesture too -- one of silent protest.  It has nothing to do with a beef against the military.  The trend began with Colin Kaepernick in the wake of Ferguson and other incidents of police brutality against blacks.  It symbolizes the continuing struggle for racial justice.  Now, post-Charlottesville, it's also a symbol of resistance against white supremacists and neo-Nazis.  Taking a knee has the official support of the league office, coaches, players, many in the military, the ACLU, and me.

Justice O'Neill is way off base.  Kneeling is not anti-military.  No one is a draft dodger.  (The last time we had a draft, these athletes weren't born.  Hell, their parents weren't born.)  And please tell me again about how our brave veterans fought valiantly so NFL players could take the field.  I think I missed that one.

We should expect more of our state's highest judges than an ill-considered Facebook puke-up about an insignificant sports issue (especially from the court's lone Democrat).  But everyone is entitled to his opinion, no matter how silly.  If O'Neill really boycotts the team, there are still tens of us other Browns fans who will carry on without him.

Bottom line, the national anthem is just a song.  Standing, sitting or kneeling is just a symbolic posture.  Do what you like.  Let's leave the symbols to the symbol-minded, drop the faux-patriotic indignation, and play ball!