Welcome to Buster's Blog

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

Buster Gammons

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Cavs Season Can End Today

Yesterday, the worst team in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers, enjoyed the one and only high point of their dreadful season -- in a home game at the Q, they opened a can of whup-ass and beat up on LeBron James and the mighty Miami Heat. It was a no-doubter, in which Bron-Bron was knocked to the floor so violently his fuckin' headband flew off. No foul was called. Hee-hee!

As a Cav, LeBron's huge entourage was always allowed access to all the amenities -- prime seats, prime parking, prime everything, if you know what I mean. Yesterday, as a Heat (A "Heat"? A "Hot"?" Lousy name.) LeBron was OK'd for underground clubhouse parking, but his triple-Escalade load of sycophantic hangers-on was turned away. Flat-out fuck-off.

As Cavs owner Dan Gilbert Tweeted after the victory, "Not in our garage!"

It's Getting Embarassing To Be An Ohioan, And The Shit Must Not Stand!

With Senate Bill 5, the new state budget, and House Bill 125, Ohio's governor and his party's lawmakers are rapidly turning our state into back-water Mississippi. No, wait, I take that back. Even Mississippi doesn't have anything like the odious SB 5. I apologize to Mississippi.

The Ohio House Republican Tea Baggers added a few tweaks, and SB 5 is now stinkier than ever. The House will vote their approval today, along strict party lines. Then, it's back to the Senate for a final OK, then Kay-suck will sign the goddam thing into law.

A few of the House changes to SB 5:

If labor-employer talks reach an impasse, the employer's (government's) last offer is implemented. Since the bill already prohibits strikes and eliminates binding arbitration, this makes a mockery of supposed collective bargaining. What the hell exactly would be bargained? This shit cannot stand!

Unless the cheapest labor contract is chosen by the employer, the contract can be put on the ballot and the public can vote on it. Dumbass reactionary hill-jacks could now be voting on the pay of policemen! I didn't get to vote on Kasich's pay at Lehman Brothers or at Fox News. Will I get to vote on his pay as governor? No? Then this shit cannot stand!

Workers can now successfully decertify their union with just 30% of the vote. What the fuck? Since when does 30% trump 70%? These assholes are out of their minds. This shit cannot possibly stand!

Workers who refuse to join a union are no longer required to pay "fair share" union dues anyway. Such workers would enjoy the benefits of a union labor contract without paying one thin dime for the privilege. This shit cannot stand!

Says that traffic ticket quotas cannot be part of any law enforcement merit pay system. Kasich must have slipped this one in personally. "No more tickets from idiots!"

The two year state budget:

Hacks $850 million from Ohio's school systems, after Kay-suck refused $450 million in federal education funding. Class sizes will increase, and so will the number of property tax levys on upcoming ballots. This shit cannot stand!

Quadruples expenditures for private-school vouchers. That's our tax dollars paying tuition at St. Alfonzo's Parochial and at the We're-Only-In-It-For-The-Money Charter School. This shit cannot stand!

Cuts funding for the Ohio Consumers Council by 50%, claiming this reduces overlap with the PUCO. But neither the OCC nor the PUCO are funded by state tax dollars. They're funded by a small fee on each utility bill. So why chop their funding if there's no impact on the budget? Unlike the PUCO, whose wide-ranging interests include commercial activity, the OCC is concerned solely with fairness to residential utility customers, like you and me. The Ohio Consumers Council is on our side, while Kay-suck and the big oil, gas, coal and energy fat cats are on the other. That's the name of that tune, and the shit cannot stand!

Officially replaces the word ombudsman with ombudsperson. Hallelujah! We were all really worried about that one.

And the grotesquely misguided, Puritanical HB 125:

Seeks to give Ohio the worst, most restrictive abortion law in America by flatly banning the procedure if a fetal "heartbeat" is detected. And it can be detectable just a couple weeks after conception, when a great many women wouldn't yet know they were pregnant. HB 125 would thus effectively prohibit just about all abortions in Ohio. Legally, this is stepping backwards in time by 100 years or more. It's a goddam shame that abortion and other reproductive issues were ever made part of the legislative agenda to begin with. What will happen, will happen, and it's a most private affair. Butt out, Senator! As a society, we shouldn't need to have something like the Roe v. Wade ruling, but we do, and until we as a people get smarter, more open-minded and more compassionate, Roe v. Wade must stay. And HB 125 must go. It is an awful piece of shit which really must not stand!

SB 5 is almost certainly headed for a referendum on the November ballot, so we'll get a chance to overturn it. It may possibly hit some legal roadblocks as well. See Wisconsin. HB 125 is so extreme that it's unlikely to pass the House in the first place, but you never know. Don't know what to do about all the right-wing clap-trap stuffed into the budget. Cross fingers and hope that the legislature tells John-Boy to try again? Doubtful.

One thing I know is that it's increasingly embarassing to be from Ohio. If this shit stands, Buster may disavow his Buckeye-hood. Maybe I'll claim New York residency. Hell, maybe I'll pretend to be Canadian, eh?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

May The Best Team Win

Or not. So goes the NCAA basketball tournament. There is still no doubt in Buster's mind that Ohio State and Kansas were the two standout teams, clearly the class of the field. But no matter how good you are, if you start laying bricks, you're apt to get bounced. That's what happened to the Buckeyes and the Jayhawks, and they're gone. And that, as they say, is why they play the games.

It's a funny, flukey Final Four and a bitter pill. If this OSU team played Kentucky ten times, we'd win eight. Same for playing North Carolina. Kansas would beat VCU nine times out of ten. But they don't play ten times in the tourney. Damn!

Oh well. Go VCU!!!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

John Stewart On New Republican Governors

This is from last night's Daily Show. Stewart has fun with some of the new guvs, especially what's-his-fuckin'-name from Ohio. It's good stuff! Give it a watch.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

ID, Please

Yesterday, after a 30-second debate, the Ohio House passed HB 159. The vote was strictly along party lines. HB 159 would require all registered voters to present a photo ID -- driver's license, passport, or government ID card -- at their polling place. Current law accepts other non-photo forms of identification, such as utility bills, bank statements, etc.

Republicans who introduced this bill say it will help reduce voter fraud. And showing a driver's license seems reasonable enough.

But, beyond House Democrats, here's who's opposed to HB 159: the former director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, the director of election law at OSU's Moritz Law College, the League of Women Voters, the ACLU, and the AARP. And Buster too.

Why all the opposition? Because HB 159 is not about voter fraud. The truth is we don't have a voter fraud problem in Ohio. At all. None. Zip. Nada. HB 159 is all about suppressing voter turnout, an age-old Republican favorite. The R's know that some young people, many senior citizens and many in lower socio-economic segments don't always have a driver's license. They know that these folks sure as hell don't have a passport, and that obtaining a government-issued photo ID is a pain in the ass. And of course they know that most of these people would probably vote Democratic.

What does it say about you when your election strategy is to keep the vote total as low as possible? It says you're a fucking sleazeball.

The Budget Process (As Republicans See It)

The cartoon pretty much nails it. Today's Republican orthodoxy insists on completely ignoring the income/revenue side of the equation, preferring to pass the buck on down the line until it reaches the local level, where there's no one left to pass the buck to. Except us, we the people. So if we want to preserve some of our programs and services, don't be surprised to see a bunch of local tax issues on the ballot very soon. This is the essence of the "trickle-down" philosophy. Just don't forget who started this downhill pissing contest.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Letter To the Columbus Dispatch

TO: letters@dispatch.com
SUBJECT: Heritage Foundation columns on health care

For many days in a row, you've seen fit to publish a series of columns on health care reform written by various members of the deeply conservative Heritage Foundation. And we get it, OK? They don't like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, have nothing good to say about it, and would like to repeal it. Considering the source, not exactly a surprise.

I trust that, in the interests of fairness, you will give equal time and space to some of the many authors who find value and benefit in health care reform and have some positive commentary. Or has the Dispatch given up even the slightest pretense of objectivity?

R.G. Jacobsen (a.k.a. Buster Gammons)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Think Of It As An Opportunity. Yeah, That's It . . . An Opportunity!

We already know that John Kasich is, as a matter of principle, adamantly opposed to any form of state tax increase. Now he's told leaders of local governments that they too should resist any urge to hike local taxes, even though his state budget cuts local funding by 25%. Yesterday, he said that "raising taxes at the local level is not an option." (Of course, local decisions are none of Kasich's fucking business, but that doesn't matter to him.)

King John "challenged" local leaders to hold the line on taxes, and said passage of union-crushing SB 5 should help them. "This was designed," he said, "to give local people a chance to deal with [it]."

Wow! Thanks for giving us such a great "chance". It's regular golden opportunity. Rah-rah, dude.

Kasich governs like he's running a high-pressure sales meeting. Reminds me of Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross: "We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. First prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."

Libya -- Now What?

So far, Libya has not played out like Egypt. Gaddafi has not followed Mubarak's lead and quietly got the hell out of Dodge. He's fought back against the rebels. The U.N. Security Council authorized sanctions against Libya and the U.S., joined by Britain and France, is enforcing a "no-fly zone", patrolling the skies above northern Africa and firing missiles at . . . stuff. Now, for the moment, it's pretty much a stalemate.

This sudden military action has many in Congress questioning our involvement. Polar opposites Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul both claim it's unconstitutional. Predictably, John McCain thinks no-fly doesn't go far enough. He says we ought to blow the whole fucking country to smithereens. (Winning!) Obama says, no worries, we were just helping to get the ball rolling and the U.S. will be outta there in a matter of days. Sure hope so.

Buster is with Jon Stewart on this one. On last night's Daily Show, Stewart said:

"What? We're at war? Again?! Don't we already have two wars? Wars aren't kids, where you don't have to pay attention to the youngest one 'cause the older two will take care of it."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Kasich: So Far, So Bad

The Kasich administration has been in office for roughly two months. Let's recap:

King John has rejected $800 million in federal funds set aside for education and high-speed rail.

He has appointed a Cabinet which is 99% Caucasian.

As our top public official, he dislikes public employees and is openly hostile to many of them.

He wants to privatize everything, from state agencies to the Turnpike to the state's prison system.

He has tried to give an administrative position to a resident of California, then gotten all pissy when he was told he couldn't do it. (Something about living in Ohio, you moron!)

Has told us that cops are idiots.

Has told us to get on his bus or he'll run us over with it.

Obviously has a union-busting agenda. In so many words, he's told us that union members are the over-privileged elite, and he'll be only too happy to see they get the pay cuts they deserve.

He has no respect for public education, its teachers or administrators.

His operatives forced the resignation of the entirely capable State Superintendent of Education, so as to replace her with one of his Tea-Bag puppets.

He will quadruple the tuition vouchers for charter schools, so even more of my tax dollars can be used to remove even more students from public schools and pay for their private education.

He, in his infinite wisdom, will decide how many more classes those lazy state college professors must teach.

He just "balanced" a state budget with a supposed $8 billion deficit without any tax increases. Instead, he carved big chunks out of local governments, education, and Medicaid while simultaneously projecting auto-magically increased revenues (but no new taxes!) He's a goddam miracle worker! Buster reminds his faithful readers that all budgets are just guesswork. Kasich's combines a lot of wishful thinking with some voo-doo economic horseshit. "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

He has filled the Ohio EPA with oil industry toadies and suck-ups.

He wants to drill and "frack" (underground explosions which fracture rock and, in theory, release shale oil. But if there's no oil, you've still blown up a lot of shit. A risky practice which also releases lots of greenhouse gases.) in our state parks. In our state parks. Our state parks. Seriously.

Would enforce environmental safety regulations only after subjecting them to a "cost-benefit analysis".

Still wants to eliminate the state income tax.

Had thousands show up at his first State of the State address for the sole purpose of booing and hissing at him. Has anything like that ever happened before in Ohio? Not that I recall.

And that's the thing with John-Boy -- he's a stubborn, true-believer zealot who always thinks he's the smartest person in any room and does not give a flying fuck about anyone else's point of view. Lord knows that in politics, regime-change happens, the old political appointees are swept out, and the new ones are ushered in. That's par for the course. But we've never seen it as ruthless as it's been with King Kasich. Certainly nothing like it with Ted Strickland, a genuinely nice guy.

And nothing like it with Republicans George Voinovich or Bob Taft. They were not always Buster's cup of tea, but both were decent, reasonable fellows. Fiscal conservatives, but, like Strickland, moderate in style, personality, and approach.

By contrast, Kasich has has delighted in being extreme -- he is thoroughly smug, self-righteous, divisive, over-reaching, dictatorial, reckless, rash, belligerent, and cruel. He's an ideological warrior and basically a mean, nasty prick.

Two months of asshole, forty-six more to go. That ought to be enough, I think.

Gay? There's An App For That

In the "I am not making this up" category, Apple now has an iPhone app from an outfit called Exodus International which promises "conversion therapy". They claim this will "fix and cure" all your sexual orientation problems. That's right, your "satanic and immoral homosexuality" will be confronted by the app's "spiritual warfare". Wow! Kinda like hypnotic brainwashing via cell phone, I guess.

". . . and at the count of three, I'll snap my fingers and you'll wake up and be straight! One - two - "

Financial Advice, NFL-Style

The players have decertified their union, and the owners have locked out the players. Both sides have thumbed their noses at the other, and the NFL season is on the line. No one knows what will happen or how long it will take to reach agreement.

Seahawks lineman Chester Pitts said that most players should be alright financially, but he added that he nevertheless advises the younger guys like so:

"I tell guys, 'Why do you need that $250,000 car? A Mercedes is a great car and it's $85,000. And don't be showin' off and buyin' that Cristal. That stuff goes for $500-$600 a bottle! For everyday use, Dom Perignon is a perfectly serviceable champagne, and it's only $150.' "

OD'd on Hoops

Man, that was a lot of basketball! Buster always enjoys the NCAA tournament, especially that first long weekend when the field goes from 64 (68 actually) down to 16.

Unlike my Cousin Obama, my pickin' is pretty poor -- just 33 correct out of 48 in the main draw. But I don't care, because the Buckeyes looked super-strong in two blowout wins, and that makes me happy. (I've picked OSU to beat Kansas and win it all.) I'm also happy because Notre Dame was upset, thereby ending the season of whiny, over-emotive, crybaby Irish guard Ben Hansbrough (younger brother of whiny, over-emotive, crybaby former Tarheel forward Tyler Hansbrough). The fewer Hansbroughs, the better.

Go Bucks!!

New Study Shows Cats Kill Birds

Cutting-edge research from the Smithsonian and Towson University has found conclusively that many birds are killed by house cats. The study estimates that up to 500 million birds are killed by cats each year, and says that although this demonstrates that cats are formidable predators, the research also indicates that "there are a shitload of birds."

The same study team has also found that birds kill worms, and that worms, when placed on a hook, can actually kill fish. In a well-known previous research project, the team proved that coffee can be HOT! And they are wrapping up their work into whether the Pope is or is not Catholic.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Big Brother Was Watching Me

Paraphrasing our silver-tongued governor, "Have you ever met a traffic camera that was an idiot?" A couple weeks ago, my vehicle and I were photographed on North 4th Street by an idiot traffic cam.

Although I have no recollection of it, it seems that I ran a red light on March 1st. This week, the citation arrived in the mail, complete with the incriminating photos and a web link to a video of my offense.

My defense is feeble: I wasn't running the light intentionally, and I really don't remember doing it. The photos show it was 11:30 a.m. and traffic, other than me, was almost non-existent. The notations indicate that the light had been red for just nine-tenths of a second, and I "flew" through the intersection at 24 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. Sadly amusing, but unpersuasive.

When Kasich was foaming at the mouth because the "idiot" cop pulled him over, Buster advised him to "shut up and pay the fine!" Good advice. I'm writing the check today.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Newt Cums In Red, White & Blue

Serial lover-boy and moralizing Republican gasbag Newt Gingrich is contemplating running for President in 2012. Recently he blamed his many marital infidelities, in part, on how "passionately" he loves his country. A former flame has confirmed this, in a way. Speaking confidentially, she told Buster's Blog that at the moment of climax, Gingrich would often yell out, "God Bless America!" or, sometimes, "Ronald Reagan!"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ding-Dong! "Nurse Ratched Calling"

In Tuesday's State of the State, Gov. Kasich told us that nursing homes are nothing but a big Medicaid rip-off, and dear old Mom and Dad would save Ohio taxpayers a ton if they'd just stay in their homes, watch Wheel of Fortune, and piss on the couch until they croak.

Thursday he said that we're being robbed by home-care Medicaid nurses, who are compensated $54.95 for their first 15 minutes of in-home time with a patient, then $5.69 per hour after that. And moving on to the next case, the clock starts over.

John-Boy explained that there are high-density clusters of Medicaid recipients in the state where roving gangs of larcenous home-care nurses pop in for just 10 minutes, make their $55, then move on and do it again and again and again. Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money! He says that's just not right and, by God, he's gonna fix it. And we'd all agree that better reporting, more accountability, more efficiency and less fraud are good things.

But Kasich offers no evidence for his assertion. It's just another anecdote -- like Reagan's welfare queen driving a Cadillac -- designed to play upon fears and paint a picture; another bald-faced attempt to turn the general public against a certain segment of society (in this case, public employees).

In the world of business, whether public or private, union or not, most owners/operators/managers understand the importance of maintaining reasonably good relations with their workers. By contrast, King John has gone out of his way to vilify, demonize and ridicule the public segment, many of whom work for him and many of whom undoubtedly voted for him.

I bet they won't vote for him again, but in his cold calculus King John probably figures he doesn't need their support. Here's hoping he's wrong!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wisconsin Coup D'Etat

by Robert Reich
Former Secretary of Labor
Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley
posted 3/10/11 on the Huffington Post

Governor Scott Walker and his Wisconsin senate Republicans have laid bare the motives for their coup d'etat. By severing the financial part of the bill (which couldn't be passed without absent Democrats) from the part eliminating the collective bargaining rights of public employees (which could be), and then doing the latter, Wisconsin Republicans have made it crystal clear that their goal has had nothing whatever to do with the state budget. It's been to bust the unions.

That's no surprise to most people who have watched this conflict from the start, but like any coup its ultimate outcome will depend on the public. If most citizens of Wisconsin are now convinced that Walker and his cohorts are extremists willing to go to any lengths for their big-business patrons (including the billionaire Koch brothers), those citizens will recall enough Republican senators to right this wrong.

But it's critically important at this stage that Walker's opponents maintain the self-discipline they have shown until this critical point. Walker would like nothing better than disorder to break out in Madison. Like the leader of any coup d'etat, he wants to show the public his strong-arm methods are made necessary by adversaries whose behavior can be characterized on the media as even more extreme.

Be measured. Stay cool. Know that we are a nation of laws, and those laws will prevail. The People's Party is growing across America -- and the actions of Scott Walker and his Republican colleagues are giving it even greater momentum. So are the actions of congressional Republicans who are using the threat of a government shutdown to strong-arm their way in Washington.

The American public may be divided over many things but we stand united behind our democratic process and the rule of law. And we reject coups in whatever form they occur.

Back To The Future With Peter King?

In a colossal waste of time and energy, Rep. Peter King (R, NY) is chairing a Congressional committee to "investigate Islamic radicalization in the U.S." King says this a big problem in our country, Muslim evil-doers are everywhere and, hence, his hearings are not radical or un-American.

He's full of shit, of course. This is a divisive combination of ethnic profiling, witch hunt, and publicity stunt reminiscent of the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings of the 1950's. Back then, a citizen would be secretly accused of being a Communist, then had to go before the HUAC to somehow prove he wasn't. What a proud moment in our national history!

King's committee is operating with the same Spanish Inquisition guilty-until-proven-innocent assumption: If you're a Muslim, you're probably a terrorist. Kindly convince us that you're not.

So now we know the truth: Peter King is the bastard son of the dead dipshit Senator Joe McCarthy and it's 1950 all over again.

(For more in a similar vein, see the 8/18/10 post "The Mosque Non-troversy".)

Billy Stardust, Squirrel From Mars

This is Bill Batchelder. He is the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. He claims to be a Republican from Medina, but he's actually an alien life form, a goggle-wearing hybrid space rodent E.T. from the distant planet OKSB 5. (It's in the far-right section of the Murdoch galaxy.) Batchelder has lived among us for many years, and only a few people know of his true identity. John Kasich is one of them. Below, Kasich is shown giving Batchelder the traditional OKSB 5 ear-muff greeting.

You have been warned!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gas Is Too Damn Expensive -- Let's Invade Libya!

A gallon of gas will set you back $3.50 or so right now, and it will likely go higher still. Ouchie! The refineries and big oil interests blame it on "uncertainty" regarding the unrest in Libya. This is code for "Here's a great profiteering opportunity served up to us on a silver platter!"

All the world is properly concerned about Libya, but the Obama administration has been test-rattling a sabre or two and talking about "no-fly" zones and that old stand-by about "all options are on the table".

No, Barack, no!! I cannot believe we would seriously consider stomping around in yet another strip o' sand and sacrifice more American lives just so we can try to have gas at $3 a gallon instead of $4. That would be fucking insane!

"O" No, Part III -- a.k.a. The Genius Coach

Uh-oh! The Vest has his tit in the wringer, doesn't he? I'm not all that surprised, because this entire episode has been stinky from the start. Turns out that Tress knew more about Tatoo-Gate than he let on. And the reasons he gave for not sharing that knowledge sooner and more completely seem fairly feeble. "Scared"? "Confidentiality"? C'mon, man!

On the flip side, I do believe Jim Tressel is an otherwise righteous dude with strong character who, for some reason, fucked up in this instance. He's done his mea culpa and will be choking down crow for some time to come.

I can't help thinking about this peculiar NCAA rule that prevents big-time jocks from selling what seems to be their property (No, that's not your stuff, at least not until you use up all your eligibility) or from trying to use whatever leverage their position may give them to get a good deal on services and merchandise (Sorry boys, you gotta pay full sticker for every goddam thing until you leave school).

At top-level football and basketball colleges, the notion that the star athletes are Golden Amateurs pursuing An Education is a happy fiction perpetrated and enforced by the NCAA. If we accept these college programs for what they are, then we're not having this conversation.

After all, back when I was in college, I sold some of my stuff too . . . if you know what I mean. ;)

Great Idea -- Let's Balance The Budget By Killing NPR

Today the President & CEO of National Public Radio was forced to resign. That's because yesterday a hidden-camera video was released in which NPR executive Ron Schiller called the Tea Party "racist" and "xenophobic", and said that NPR might be "better off" without federal funds. Schiller resigned as well.

Staged by the same right-wing activist sleazeball who made the pimp-visits-ACORN tapes, yesterday's video resulted from an elaborate deception -- a couple of guys posing as spokesmen for some Muslim faction set up a meeting and tried repeatedly to get Schiller to take their check for $5 million. Repeatedly, he refused.

Republicans have long been convinced that public media are nothing but a liberal plot, and these days the R's are cloaking all their pet ideological desires in terms of budgetary cost-cutting necessity, so they were all over Schiller's comments like flies on shit. "Aha," cried whiny pantywaist House Whip Eric Cantor. "This proves that NPR doesn't need taxpayer money!" Holy-roller nut-job Senators Jim Demint and Tom Coburn introduced a bill to stop all funding for the mothership, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Underhanded entrapment in the guise of "journalism" doesn't sit well with me. Yeah, Scott Walker was punk'd by a lefty blogger, but that phone call was such an obvious, blatant fake, Scotty really should have figured out he was getting his crank yanked. This recent attempt at a video take-down was pretty smooth and sophisticated. We all ought to ignore this shit (but we can't).

I love NPR. I listen to it all the time. It's reliable, accurate, and much more in-depth than anything else. And I have no problem if a few of my personal sheckels are spent in support of it. So I give big props to my cousin Barry's commitment to ongoing funding for public media.

What I don't understand is why these two NPR execs fell on their swords. Because they took no money, and because the Tea Party is a bunch of for-certain, no-doubt-about-it, lead-pipe-cinch racist, xenophobic assholes. Schiller told the Truth! And I'm glad he did. More people should try it.

As for Cantor, Coburn, Demint, and the rest of the Fahrenheit 451 Club on Capitol Hill, Buster has a deficit-slashing program for you:

1. Keep your mitts off PBS, NPR, PRI, the CPB, et al.
2. Calculate precisely how many of my hard-earned tax dollars are spent on public broadcasting.
3. Now each of you douchebags cut your own fucking pay by that exact amount!

Lather, rinse, repeat. Problem solved!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wake Up Mama, Got Them Statehouse Blues*

(*with apologies to the Allman Brothers)

Another Tuesday, another rally at the Statehouse. (For a guy who has never ever worked downtown, I'm getting pretty good at this!)

Today, King Kasich recited chapter and verse from the Libertarian-Reaganista-Koch-Wall Street Big Book of Dogma and called it his state of the State address. It could just as easily have been delivered by any run-of-the-mill Fox-wad commentator -- the same old trickle-down hogwash that conservatives have trotted out for the past thirty years.

While John-Boy was airing out his tonsils, a couple thousand SB 5 protesters, including your humble correspondent and Honest Abe Lincoln, gathered outside the Statehouse to listen to those from a better class of human being. We heard from a number of good speakers, ranging from cops and firemen to preachers and teachers.

A young man from Ohio University took the podium and said he'd recently made a presentation on SB 5 in one of his courses. He asked his classmates how many were education majors, and 5 or 6 indicated they were. He then asked how many of them would willingly pursue their teaching careers in Ohio if SB 5 passed. All the Ed majors said they'd look elsewhere.

Food for thought, my friendlies, food for thought.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Would Never Have Made It At BYU

Brigham Young University has fielded some pretty darn good football and basketball teams over the years. This season's basketball team features scoring machine Jimmer Freddette and has been ranked as high as #3 in the nation.

Being a Mormon college, BYU also has a deep and weird religious culture. Upon enrolling, all students -- Mormons, non-Mormons, athletes, non-athletes -- agree to abide by the school's "Honor Code". Those violating the code can be suspended, dismissed from school, or forced to listen to Mitt Romney's stump speeches.

Among other things, BYU's code prohibits beards, sleeveless shirts, sandals, earrings, short shorts, wearing bold colors, and watching Two-And-A-Half Men. It bans the use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and profane language. It requires students to attend church regularly, and to be "chaste and virtuous". And it requires all goody-goody students to be narco-snitchers and report the transgressions of their less-than-goody-goody fellow students.

And so it was that starting center Brandon Davies was kicked off BYU's basketball team last week for an "Honor Code" violation. His sin? Going to bed with his girlfriend. (And apparently getting "caught" while doing it.)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know -- rules are rules, and he knew the rules, etc., etc. But these are some pretty stupid rules for the year 2011, even for Mormons. At other big-time colleges, the jocks are carrying guns and dealing drugs and and stealing cars and taking illegal cash payments and somehow they remain eligible. But at BYU, this poor SOB is dismissed for . . . fucking! Unreal.

I Should Have Gone To Northwestern

Northwestern University offers a full-credit course in "Human Sexuality". The class and its professor are very popular. (Well,duh!)

The professor got himself in some hot water by arranging a live sex demonstration after a recent class. It was, again, after class, and the prof described what would be happening and made it clear that observing the demo was strictly optional.

After all the warnings and disclaimers, some students left, others stayed, and then it was on with the show: a woman using a dildo attached to a Sawz-All (which seems to me like going to an awful lot of trouble, but what do I know?).

When news of this got out, the professor was chastised by some parents and by the spineless president of the university. ("A sex act in a sex class? I'm shocked!")

What I want to know is: How come I never had a class like that when I was in college?

Friday, March 4, 2011

SB 5 Passes By A Dirty Hair; Niehaus & Bacon May Need A Change Of Shorts

(Buster's been in a deep blue funk about this for two days, but you had to know I'd have something to say eventually.)

Well, the bastards did it, barely. The Ohio Senate passed SB 5 by a single vote. Seventeen close-minded, hearing-impaired, mean-spirited Republicans decided to radically change the game for tens of thousands of public sector workers. To do it, they resorted to a slimy, little-used procedural manuever nonetheless allowable by Senate rules.

To move forward, a bill must be OK'd by the appropriate committee. SB 5 went to the Commerce & Labor Committee, chaired by fat freshman tub of goo, Kevin Bacon of Minerva Park. This committee has 8 Republicans and 4 Democrats, but 2 of the R's had said they'd vote no. So the committee is deadlocked 6-6 and the thing goes nowhere? No, there's some arcane rule which allows any (uncooperative) committee member to be temporarily removed and replaced by another senator. So Senate President Tom Niehaus and Bacon told intransigent Republican Bill Seitz to hit the showers and went to their bullpen for a stooge that would vote their way. Voila, it passed committee 7-5. Niehaus then rushed the piece of shit to the Senate floor for a full vote before any more Republicans could shake off the ether, where it passed 17-16.

(To their credit and to my great surprise, 6 R's voted no, including my own little douchebag senator, Jim Hughes. Jimmy Boy, I didn't know ya had it in ya!)

Now it moves on to the Ohio House, where the outnumbered D's will try (and probably fail) to amend the hell out the thing. When it passes the House and Kay-Sick signs it, then the D's will launch regional hearings and try for a statewide referendum. And there will certainly be a flurry of lawsuits. Oh joy!

Best story in this whole jerk-off exercise may have come yesterday. Niehaus, Bacon and some other R senators went to a German village cafe for a bite. They were trailed by a group SB 5 opponents who charged into the place and angrily confronted them, yelling and cursing. There was a little scuffle but no punches were thrown, and the police escorted the protesters out of there.

Buster does not condone violent intimidation, but I can't help wishing that the moment those pissed-off Teamsters started hollering, Niehaus and Bacon started squirting wet farts into their BVD's. Would serve 'em right!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Do You Speak Sheenglish?

Charlie Sheen is going for some sort of record. No, I don't mean having his TV show cancelled, losing custody of his kids, or living with a pair of porn stars he calls "goddesses". I'm talkin' about the following list of Sheen-isms. It takes most celebrities a lifetime to accumulate a list of bat-shit crazy like this. Charlie's done it in one week!

(From Funny Or Die)

1. “I have a disease? Bullshit. I cured it with my brain.”
2. “Winning, anyone? Rhymes with winning. Anyone? Yeah, that would be us. Sorry, man, didn’t make the rules. Oops!”
3. "I’m tired of pretending I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars."
4. "You can’t process me with a normal brain."
5. “If you borrowed my brain for five seconds, you’d be like, ‘Dude! Can’t handle it, unplug this bastard!’ "It fires in a way that’s maybe not from, uh… this terrestrial realm.”
6. "I was banging seven-gram rocks, because that’s how I roll. I have one speed, I have one gear: Go."
7. "Can't is the cancer of happening."
8. “Wow. What does that mean? I’m bi-WINNING.”
9. “I am battle-tested bayonets, bro.”
10. “I’m so tired of pretending my life isn’t perfect and bitching and just winning every second and I’m not perfect and bitchin’.”
11. “Look what I’m dealing with, man, I’m dealing with fools and trolls.”
12. “It’s just strafing runs in my underwear before my first cup of coffee, because I don’t have time for these clowns.”
13. “You have the right to kill me, but you do not have the right to judge me. Boom. That’s the whole movie. That’s life.”
14. “I’m sorry man, I got magic and I’ve got poetry in my fingertips, you know, most of the time, and this includes naps."
15. "I’m an F-18, bro.”
16. “I’m not Thomas Jefferson. He was a pussy.”
17. "I am on a drug, it's called Charlie Sheen. It's not available because if you try it you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body."
18. "I'm bi-winning."
19. "There’s a new sheriff in town. And he has an army of assassins.”
20. "The run I was on made Sinatra, Flynn, Jagger, Richards, all of them look like droopy-eyed armless children."
21. "The only thing I’m addicted to right now is winning.”
22. "I wish him nothing but pain in his silly travels especially if they wind up in my octagon. Clearly I have defeated this earthworm with my words -- imagine what I would have done with my fire-breathing fists."
23. "[CBS] picked a fight with a warlock."
24. "If you’re a part of my family, I will love you violently."
25. "Winning."
26. "I will not believe that if I do something then I have to follow a certain path because it was written for normal people. People who aren’t special. People who don’t have tiger blood and Adonis DNA."
27. "C’mon bro, I won best picture at 20. I wasn’t even trying. I wasn’t even warm."
28. "Winning."
29. "Bring me Dr. Clown shoes."

(Buster confesses he still enjoys Two-And-A-Half Men. Will have to enjoy it in syndication from now on.)

Huckabee Kisses Presidential Hopes Goodbye

Mike Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas, a Republican Presidential primary candidate in 2008, and a current Fox-wad who still harbors Oval Office ambitions. Yesterday, he was interviewed by a conservative AM talk-radio host. The host was still flogging the "birther" dead horse and asked Huckabee if we didn't "deserve to know more about this man [Obama]?"

Here's what Huck had to say:

"What I know is troubling enough. And one thing I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits is very different than the average American. His perspective growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather -- their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours, because he probably grew up hearing the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather."

Mike, Mike, Mike, how do you come up with this stuff?

Barack Obama did not grow up in Kenya. (Huckabee has now said he misspoke and meant to say Indonesia. Hey Huck -- you mentioned Kenya four times in 15 seconds. I'm inclined to believe it was intentional. And the Mau Mau Rebellion took place in Kenya, not Indonesia.)

And Mau Mau? Really? Mau Mau? WTF, Huck? Where did that come from? And what is "our view" of the Mau Mau Rebellion? Didn't know we had one.

The British were indeed imperialists; quintessential, dictionary-definition imperialists. That's why it was called the British Empire, dumbass!

Time to let go of those Presidential aspirations, Huck, and keep your day job with Fox News. They take damn near anybody.

If Their Lips Are Moving . . .

. . . then they're lying. So says the old joke about car salesmen. It also applies to a pretty fair number of Ohio state senators, including the three blind rats shown here. They're the main water-carriers for the union-crushing SB 5: Senate President Tom Niehaus, bill sponsor Shannon Jones, and Labor Committee Chairman Kevin Bacon.

Yesterday all three were on the same page in the hymnal, each one stating publicly that no, no, no, the intent of SB 5 is not to bust unions, but merely to give the state financial "flexibility" and to "restore taxpayer rights."

What a load of spin-speak horseshit! If you legally forbid collective bargaining and binding arbitration, you effectively bust the union, intent or not. Laws which would do that are about as far from fucking flexible as you can get. And exactly what the hell are taxpayer rights? And why do they need to be restored? Did they go somewhere? It's divisive Rove-ian phraseology designed to cast the public in the role of management, nobly doing battle against Evil Organized Labor. What it really means is increased management rights, but taxpayer rights sounds softer, more palatable. The phrase is a meaningless red herring. Management has plenty of rights. Always has, always will.

A recent poll showed that a majority of Americans believe that unionized workers are either paid appropriately, or are somewhat underpaid. Poll after poll finds that most people are not in favor of eliminating collective bargaining. The number of protesters outside the Statehouse is growing. (I was there again yesterday and the crowd was definitely bigger.) Inboxes for state senate email and voicemail are filled to capacity, with the large majority in opposition to SB 5. One senator estimated it at 90% against. The financial benefits of the bill would be minimal at best, and the huge budget-balancing task would still remain. Even if you fired every single state employee and never replaced them, you'd still only "solve" about one quarter of Ohio's budget problem.

The geniuses pictured above insistently deny these realities. And their lips are moving. SB 5 is in fact all about union-busting -- they know it, you know it, everybody knows it.

Don't let 'em do it. Call your state senator today at 1-888-218-5931 and tell them to vote no on SB 5.