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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Look! My New Billboard For Santorum!

A Clear Choice In Michigan

Not that it will mean much, but today is the GOP Michigan primary. Ron Paul and The Newt-ster are sitting this one out, so the loyal R's from that state up north will choose between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Polls say it's a dead heat.

Romney is a Michigan guy, a supposed "favorite son", and should've been a shoo-in. But, to borrow Ann Richardson's great line about George W. Bush, "Poor Mitt. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

While trying to work his man-of-the-people routine, Mitt has babbled inanely about tree height and "the parts" of Michigan, volunteered that he and the missus "drive four cars" (Simultaneously? Wow!), and said that he is a big NASCAR fan, to the extent that he's "good friends with several team owners." (And he doesn't know shit about baseball either, but he hangs out with the Steinbrenners.)

And yesterday, Romney earned the support of one of his "favorite" artists, none other than that whiskey-swillin', ho-bangin', trailer trash, white rapper/rocker Kid Rock. How's that for common-man street cred? Except Kid Rock is really Bobby Ritchie, born into privilege just north of Detroit. His father owned a couple Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. Bobby was raised in an 8000 square foot lakefront home with enough acreage for horses, apple orchards and a party barn. So . . . yeah.

On the other hand, in his quest to be the Biggest Conservative among Conservatives, Santorum has now left Puritan-ville and is speeding straight toward Torquemada Town.

Rick The Ick has recently said, "Separation of church and state makes me want to throw up. I don't believe in it."

"Obama said he wants everyone in America to go to college. What a snob!"

Rick's worried about our kids, worried about "some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them."

According to Rick, "[Most] kids who enter college with some sort of faith commitment leave without it."

(And from 3 years ago but still fair game because Rick says he stands behind his words) "This is a spiritual war and the Father of Lies, Satan, has his sights on the USA."

So, Michigan voters, your choice is clear: Would you prefer The Gilded Age or The Inquisition?

Who's Better Off?

(Another excellent point from one of our best local commentators. For more, click "Dave Girves" under Buster's Links.)

Letters to the Editor

Columbus Dispatch,

“It’s not a bed of roses for higher earners,” (Bob Beatty’s letter in Monday’s Dispatch), tries to make the argument that the guy earning $90,000 and netting only $73,000 after paying his taxes, while working 62 hours each week, isn’t really so much more comfortable than the guy who earns only $7,000 and gets an $8,000 earned income credit. He assumes the poor soul earning $7,000 is making $7.70 per hour so therefore must only be working 23 weeks a year. Might I suggest it is more likely he is working 50 weeks a year but can only find a job that gives him 19 hours of work a week? Bob needs to experience what the less fortunate live with daily to truly understand their plight.

While the high earner may not feel "comfortable", I would bet that the low earner would do all in his power to trade places with him.

It reminds me of black comedian Chris Rock making a point about racism by telling all the white men in his audience: “I’m a millionaire, but not one of you would trade places with me.”

David T. Girves

Sunday, February 26, 2012

GOP Debate Review

By Bill Maher.
Published 2/23/12 in the Huffington Post

The Republicans sure have the right symbol with the elephant. Republican debates are nothing but elephants in the room.

The biggest of which must be: to someone out there who's hurting, they spend the whole two hours yammering away about earmarks and illegal immigrants and contraception and every other peripheral, wish-I-had-the-time-to-worry-about-it issue they can think of.

Then there is the elephant of how they all -- with the sometime exception of Ron Paul -- nod along to insane statements just because they don't want to ever look like they're to the left of anybody, on anything, especially the evilness of Barack Obama. So Wednesday night when Newt said the president of the United States had a history of practicing infanticide... yep, yep, yessir, that's what he does all right. Clubs infants like baby seals in his spare time. Ike played golf, Kennedy liked boating...

Ron Paul said foreign aid just helps our enemies. Which, I believe, would make Israel and Egypt our two biggest enemies. Yup, yup, hate foreign aid. A meaningless percentage of the budget, btw.

Newt said where government becomes the central provider of services, it's a move towards tyranny -- yeah, except in all the countries where it isn't, like all of Scandanavia and much of Europe. Today a barium enema paid for by medicare, tomorrow Poland.

And isn't a highlight of every debate when Mitt Romney takes umbrage at being accused of the best thing he ever did in his life -- Romneycare? Something he should be proud of? Last night he took out his dueling glove and declared that when he was governor, he made sure there was NO requirement from the church to provide morning after pills for rape victims. They will be punished with a baby, as Jesus would want. Mitt's attitude is always, "How dare you accuse me of helping people or being compassionate! Why, I'll have you know I'm every bit as much of a cold hearted bastard as any of these other pricks up here with me!"

"But Mitt, we have a picture of you giving money to a homeless person."

"I did NOT give a bum money! I was paying him to blow me!"

The biggest elephant in the room tonight for me was Satan. All day, TV news was talking about Satan because of Rick Santorum's dug-up (but, no doubt still accurate) comments about Satan from 2008. It just shows you how when someone is a nobody politically speaking -- as Santorum was in 2008 -- you can say any kind of crazy shit and it's not newsworthy. But when you are seeking the highest office in the land ... in the world -- it really worries me that you believe in demons and a personified creature named Satan.

People get mad at me for using the phrase "this stupid country", which I sometimes do -- but, I'm sorry -- Satan? In 2012? This elephant is not only in the room at the debates, but everywhere on TV today where people were talking about this and not breaking down in the middle and screaming, Wait a minute -- We're modern people, surely we don't give any credence to this comic book character that was created in the bronze age!! It's barely worthy of a children's story, and people take it to the Oval Office -- Bush did -- and it affects their thinking and our lives. Why is Santorum so against contraception? Because there's a line in Genesis about not spilling your seed. A random brainfart from some desert dweller 3,000 years ago, before people knew about germs or atoms or round planets, and it gets written down and passed down and in 2012 people like Rick Santorum are still too R-word to see that, and that's why some woman in Akron, Ohio might not get birth control.

And as far as Rick's claim tonight that even though he holds these beliefs, he wouldn't legislate them? Bullshit -- he said states absolutely had the right to outlaw contraception. That's the same thing -- as an officer of the government, he should take the opposite position. Ron Paul would.

My favorite moment of the debate was the last question, when they all were asked to summarize themselves in one word: Ron Paul said "consistency," and you know what? I have no argument with that. It's true, and he's earned it.

The other ones however, I think I could find a more honest word. Mitt Romney said "resolute." I would have gone with "shapeshifter." Or perhaps "irresolute." Rick Santorum said "courage" , whereas I would have said "Bellevue." And Newt Gingrich said "cheerful." I was thinking "pus."

One other thing: in the overtime, I heard Ron Paul make the point to John King that his foreign policy was similar to Eisenhower's, how Ike avoided getting militarily involved in Vietnam or the Suez Canal and got out of Korea. Because he was a military man. Ron Paul served, also -- the other three not so much. I know it will never become law, because it would require a constitutional amendment, but I don't think it would be such a bad thing if you had to have served in the military if you wanted to be president. Kennedy also avoided war where many would not have. After him, though, we got into the era of non-servers and draft-dodgers, and used the military like a toy. Ex-soldiers understand it's not. And the president is Commander-in-Chief -- shouldn't you have served some time in an organization you're the head of?

I hope this was the last Republican debate. Well, I say that, but I'll need the material after I use up an hour of good jokes tomorrow night, so, fuck it, keep going.

Last bullshit call: In his closing statement, Rick Santorum said that in the race against the Evil One (no, not that Evil One, he was talking about Obama), the president would have the media in his pocket (yeah, except Fox News, lots of newspapers, all of radio... ), and way more money. Huh? Sheldon Adelson this week said he might give $100 million to Newt Gingrich! If he'd give that to Newt who has no chance, he might give more to Romney. And he's just one old cranky billionaire who hates Obama, there's a whole gaggle of them.

And Sheldon, if you want to blow money so bad, just walk into one of your hotels in Vegas and go to the Roulette table.

We're Sorry. Honest. Can't We Just Buy You Some New Ones?

Faithful readers know that Buster is "religiously tolerant", which is to say that I'm not a very religious person and can barely tolerate those who are, especially when they are behaving badly in the name of their religion.

Such behavior is not limited to American Christianity. Every faith has its history of succumbing to zealous stupidity. At the moment, a classic example is occurring in Afghanistan.

Somehow, for some reason, our security troops at Bagram Air Base tossed a few Korans into pile of burning trash. Not the brightest move, inadvertent or not, since Muslims believe that sort of thing is the worst form of blasphemy.

So we got busy apologizing our asses off -- the generals apologized, Hillary apologized, even Obama apologized, and all were fairly sincere. But it's tough to appease a righteously pissed-off Afghan. The local Muslims went apeshit anyway, throwing stones and rioting. Yesterday, they grabbed a couple of our soldiers and killed them. Another fine display of religion in action, all over a book. That's one of the tenets of all major religions, isn't it? An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, your life for a book? Or maybe I have that wrong.

In any event, we're fuckin' sorry as hell, OK? Jeez, give it a break! We'd be happy to replace your damaged Korans, maybe even throw in a few extra for your trouble. They're available brand-new on Amazon.com for just $39.99 each, and they have that great "new book smell." Our treat. Whadya say?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Deep Thoughts

(Provided by a faithful reader. Thanks, Faithful Reader!)


10. Life is sexually transmitted.

9. Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

8. Men have two emotions -- hungry and horny. If you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich.

7. Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the internet and they won't bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.

6. Some people are like Slinkys -- not really good for anything, but it's still fun to shove them down the stairs.

5. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals, dying of nothing.

4. All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

3. Why does a slight tax increase cost you $800, and a substantial tax cut save you $30?

2. In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

And The Number 1 Thought: Life is like a jar of Jalapeno peppers -- what you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

. . . and as someone recently said to me, "Don't worry about old age -- it doesn't last that long."

Friday, February 24, 2012

"We're Gonna Need A Domed Stadium For Sure"

Another Great Excuse! It's Political Genius!

Last night at yet another Republican primary debate, CNN's John King asked Mitt Romney a simple softball question. ("What's the biggest misconception about you?") In his response, Romney went off on a completely non-answer tangent, just spewing boiler-plate bullshit. King called him on it and again asked him to answer the question.

A snotty Romney replied, "You get to ask the questions you want, I get to give the answers I want." (And they do not in any way have to be related!)

This could be good -- an important new philosophy that frees us up from damn near everything!

Wife's question to husband: "Dear, have you always been faithful to me?"

Husband's answer to wife: "I prefer New England clam chowder to the Manhattan style."

Mandel Of Mystery

Josh Mandel is the Treasurer of Ohio. He was elected in November 2010 and has now served as Treasurer for 13 months. In truth, for the past 12 and a half months he has been running against Sherrod Brown for a U.S. Senate seat. This is pretty much his full-time occupation.

In his real job as state treasurer, he is the chairman of the Ohio Board of Deposit, which designates where all public money is deposited. The Deposit Board meets once a month, and Young Josh hasn't been to one yet. He's oh-for-thirteen.

Nice work if you can get it!

"But Let's Discuss The Real Issues."

Another crazy Li'l Kim is in charge in North Korea.
A dictator is slaughtering his own citizens in Syria.
The Koch Brothers vow to spend $100 million to get the election results they want.
Iran is making scary noises about building an A-bomb.
Israel is threatening to nuke Iran before they get it built.
The American recovery from the Great Recession is jeopardized by the economic woes of the European Union.
China continues to engage in currency manipulation and unfair trade practices.
The U.S. economy is improving but unemployment is still too high.
Endless civil war in Darfur, Sudan has killed millions.
American roads, bridges, and buildings are deteriorating at an alarming rate.
Our military is still stomping around in Afghanistan.

And what pressing issues do our fine GOP presidential candidates want to talk about?

Abortion, contraceptives, and gay marriage! Un-friggin'-believable!

Classic Hollywood Squares

This is old stuff and you've probably seen it (or something similar) before, but it's still hilarious. It's from the original Hollywood Squares TV show. The host, Peter Marshall, would ask the questions, and the stars would ad-lib some great answers:


Paul, can you get an elephant drunk?

Paul Lynde: Yes, but it still won't go up to your apartment.

According to Cosmo, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think he's really attractive, is it okay to come out directly and ask him if he's married?

Rose Marie: No, wait until morning.

Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older?

Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.

In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say "I love you"?

Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Prometheus was tied to the top of a mountain by the gods because he had given something to man. What did he give us?

Paul Lynde: I don't know what you got, but I got a sports shirt.

What are "Do It", "I Can Help" and "Can't Get Enough"?

George Gobel: I don't know but it's coming from the next apartment.

As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while you are talking?

Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing-older question, Peter, and I'll give you a gesture you'll never forget!

According to Zsa Zsa Gabor, does black look sexy on a woman?

Redd Foxx: I wouldn't have it any other way.

What are "dual purpose" cattle good for that other cattle aren't?

Paul Lynde: They give milk and cookies...but I don't recommend the cookies!

If you find someone lying unconscious in the street, should you do anything?

George Goebel: I'd probably crawl around him, I guess.

Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?

Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during your first year?

Charley Weaver: Of course not, Peter. I'm too busy growing strawberries!

In bowling, what's a perfect score?

Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.

Eddie, according to the Institute of Motivational Research, a wife should be beware if another woman takes an interest in a certain item of her husband's clothing. What item?

Ed Asner: Well, shorts immediately springs to my mind.

It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics. What is the other?

Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

True or false...a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.

George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.

Is there a weight limit for bags on airline flights in this country?

Charley Weaver: If she can fit under the seat, she can fly.

During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?

Rose Marie: Unfortunately, Peter, I'm always safe in the bedroom.

Can boys join the Camp Fire Girls?

Marty Allen: Only after lights out.

When you pat a dog on its head he will usually wag his tail. What will a goose do?

Paul Lynde: Make him bark.

True or false, George...experts say there are only seven or eight things in the world dumber than an ant.

George Gobel: Yes, and I think I voted for six of 'em.

If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?

Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.

According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?

Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army!

Is it possible for the puppies in a litter to have more than one daddy?

Paul Lynde: Why, that bitch!

While visiting China, your tour guide starts shouting "Poo! Poo! Poo!" What does that mean?

George Goebel: Cattle crossing.

It is the most abused and neglected part of your body. What is it?

Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused but it certainly isn't neglected!

Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?

George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

According to Movie Life magazine, Ann-Margaret would like to start having babies soon, but her husband wants her to wait a while. Why?

Paul Lynde: He's out of town.

Dennis Weaver, Debbie Reynolds, and Shelley Winters star in the movie "What's The Matter With Helen?" Who plays Helen?

Charley Weaver: Dennis Weaver - that's why they asked the question.

Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?

Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

When a couple have a baby, who is responsible for its sex?

Charley Weaver: I'll lend him the car. The rest is up to him.

Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?

Charley Weaver: His feet.

If you're going to make a parachute jump, you should be at least how high?

Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Do female frogs croak?

Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water.

You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?

Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.

Your baby has a certain object which he loves to cling to. Should you try to break him of his habit?

Joan Rivers: Yes. It's daddy's turn.

At NASA, what keeps the cool air running around in the spacesuits?

Paul Lynde: Itsy Bitsy Eskimoes....

According to Better Homes and Gardens, is it a good idea to give your yard a light sprinkle?

Michael Landon: ...Well, if you can't make it to the house, I mean...


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bring Jeff Stahler Back To The Dispatch!

He's been gone about two months now, and I miss him. Jeff Stahler was an award-winning editorial cartoonist for the Columbus Dispatch. He didn't die, he was canned/quit over a "plagiarism" allegation. Stahler drew his panel well after the one that ran in the New Yorker. And the two are very similar. Could be coincidence, but probably not.

Plagiarism is cheating and should not be condoned. In this case, however, we're talking about one-panel cartoons, not doctoral theses or scientific research. Just doesn't seem like a firing offense -- the guy's not a reporter, he draws funny pictures.

Stahler's one the top political/editorial cartoonists in the country. He was one of the few bright spots in the otherwise lame Dispatch. When Columbus snagged him eight years ago from the Cincinnati Post, he was already well-known and nationally syndicated -- a rising star. He gave our wimpy local some instant credibility. (Until he arrived, the Dispatch employed the worst cartoonists imaginable. Boring, ugly, never funny. For decades pre-Stahler, the Dispatch never had a cartoonist capable of a presidential caricature. Never.) Stahler drew two cartoons every weekday: one for our editorial page, the other for his syndicated "Moderately Confused" panel.

And now he's gone. His "Moderately Confused" still runs in our comics section (How does the Dispatch justify that?) but our editorial page now gives us a steady diet of the cheaper, less clever, and more conservative (of course!) syndicated cartoonists, including the frequently racist Ed Gamble. A sad state of affairs.

I wish Stahler and the Dispatch would kiss and make up.

The White House Blues All-Star Band

There was a little party in D.C. last night. The White House Blues All-Stars played the East Room. The band was led by Booker T. and included Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks, B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Mick Jagger, and on vocals, Barack Obama.

Conservatives just don't do this . . . and we really wouldn't want them to, would we?
You go, Cuz!

For The Sake Of Equal Time

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Worth At Least 1000 Words

You can probably figure out who this is. I know it's in poor taste to ridicule a person's appearance, particularly in an old yearbook photo. But we can make an exception for this one, can't we? I mean, . . . DAMN!!!! Were there no mirrors in your house?

The Stem-Winders In Cincinnati

Yesterday, Mitt Romney was campaigning in Cincinnati, accompanied by Ohio Senator Rob Portman. Together, they are two of the blandest, most boring, bought-and-paid-for whitebread Republicans on the scene today. Romney made a little speech at some local company, and Portman introduced him. I saw a video clip this morning and I wish I could find it, because the Robby and Mitt Show set new records for uninspiring blah. All I can find is the photo, but trust me, it was a cheap thin steak and there was no sizzle.

In a soft monotone devoid of any noticeable emotion, Portman said something like, ". . . And now I'll introduce the man I'm endorsing for president, Mitt Romney. Let's give him a big Cincinnati welcome." There was a smattering of perfunctory applause followed by silence.

Amid the silence, Romney sprang to the podium and grabbed the microphone, waving his arms as though an ovation was washing over him. With his usual fake smile glued onto his plastic mug, and all the forced enthusiasm he could muster, Mitt said something like, "Oh, wow, what a great introduction! Thank you so much, Senator Portman, for all your nice words. You're much too kind. Thank you. Oh, it's so great to be here!" But the audience just sat there, imitating statues.

At that point, Mitt and Rob wore facial expressions that said, "Fuck it. Let's wrap this up and go grab a Scotch at the Hyde Park Country Club."

Note to Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, and Wayne Dyer -- The Robby and Mitt Motivational Tour has been cancelled. Your jobs are safe.

The Year's Biggest Asshole . . . So Far

(Published in The Huffington Post, 2/21/12)

An Indiana lawmaker has decided not to support a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts because he feels the group is a "radicalized organization" that "sexualizes" young girls and promotes homosexuality.

In a letter sent to Indiana lawmakers obtained by the Journal Gazette, Rep. Bob Morris (R-Fort Wayne) said he plans to pull his two daughters out of their Indiana Girl Scout troop because information he found online about how the organization allegedly operates. One source he mentions is conservative "news" site World Net Daily.

The Associated Press reports:

... Morris said he found online allegations that the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, encourage sex and allow transgender females to join. He also wrote that the fact that first lady Michelle Obama is honorary president should give lawmakers pause before they endorse the Girl Scouts.

Morris goes on to say those considered role models by the Girl Scouts are all "feminists, lesbians, or Communists" and claims that troops are no longer allowed to pray or sing Christmas Carols.

Holy shit! This is what they elect in Indiana? Some troglodyte moron who believes everything he reads on the internet? The lunatics are running the Hoosier asylum.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Wheels Of Progress

Fifty-two years ago, campaigning to be the first-ever Catholic President of the United States, John F. Kennedy felt compelled to deliver a speech to an assembly of Protestant clergymen in which he assured them that the Catholic church was not some sort of "secret society" and that, if elected, he would not be taking orders from the Pope.

Hard to believe that, not that long ago, American prejudice made such a speech necessary. Well, on second thought, not so hard to believe after all. Our streak of Mayflower WASP-ish intolerance is wide, deep, and a matter of record. Just ask the native Americans, the African slaves, and every sort of un-WASP-ish ethnic and religious group that ever ventured to these shores.

Slowly and unsteadily, we get better. We eventually rise above the nonsense. Kennedy, the scary Catholic, was elected. For 1960, it was kind of a big deal. Happily, being Catholic isn't a big deal at all these days. Two of our current GOP presidential hopefuls are Catholic.

Unhappily, bigotry and fear of the "other" still plays a role in this country, and some bastards don't hesitate to exploit it -- and yes, I refer to those two devout douchebag Catholics, Gingrich and Santorum.

Progress always has its sticking points. An example is the "Christian Expedient": So far in our history, whether Protestant or Catholic, our presidents have been Christian, or at least have found it the smart play to claim to be. This includes the Christian but decidedly un-WASPy Barack Obama, who Newt and Rick want you to believe is instead the radical black Kenyan Muslim Marxist who's not an American citizen. No, they would never say such things themselves, but if others do, well, whatcha gonna do?

Good luck with that shit, boys. It didn't work in 2008, and it probably won't work now. But the fact that the fear-mongering Fox News crowd thinks it might work and is still trying to peddle it is evidence that our progress has a long way to go.

One of these days, I don't know when, it will happen like this:

Responding to the obligatory question, a mainstream, non-crackpot presidential candidate will forthrightly say, "My religion, if any, is of no consequence. I am running to be your president, not your preacher, priest, rabbi or imam. If I'm elected, I will work my ass off and do the job to the very best of my ability, but religion will have nothing to do with it. Let me put it another way -- my religion, or lack thereof, is personal and is none of your fucking business! Next question."

Now that would be progress! I'd vote for that person in a heartbeat! But it probably won't happen in my lifetime.

"Make Fun Of Mitt" Monday

From NY Times cartoonist Brian McFadden, here is some "Campaign Comeback Advice For Mitt Romney":

While campaigning in the Michigan primary, the Glove commented weirdly that he loves Michigan because "the trees are the right height." Or are they?

Santorum "Clarifies"

On Sunday, everybody asked him what the hell he was talking about, so Rick Santorum explained his comments of Saturday: By "theology", he actually meant "ecology". (And who among us has not made the same mistake?) Yes, what he meant to say was that the president has a phony radical environmental agenda that "elevates the earth above man and says you can't take resources because we're going to harm the earth by scientifically unproven global warming, which is just an attempt to give more power to the government." Santorum said he believed that man should have "dominion over the earth", and all its women, and the occasional sheep if need be.

He further clarified his non-radical environmental values by stating that pre-natal testing leads directly to abortion.

Wow. Keep talkin', Rick, just keep talkin'.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gimme That Old Time Religion!

Speaking yesterday to a group of Tea Party supporters in Columbus, Ohio, Rick Santorum told them, "[President Obama's agenda] is not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology."

When asked about the statement at a news conference later, Santorum said, "He is imposing his values on the Christian church. He can categorize those values anyway he wants. I'm not going to. If the president says he's a Christian, he's a Christian."

Santorum concluded the news conference by handling snakes, speaking in tongues, and healing a cripple.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The New Compassionate Conservatism -- A Faithful Reader Has An Idea

The world is bursting at the seams with overpopulation, and the only thing our Republican politicians can come up with is to be utterly opposed to contraception on the grounds of "religious freedom". Santorum says contraceptives are the #1 threat to our society.

The GOP insists that global warming is a hoax, so fuck it! -- let's drill, frack, dig, and pipeline ourselves into extinction ASAP.

Gingrich wants to slash social services and have poor children mop the floors at their schools.

The race-baiting governor of Arizona wags her bony-ass finger in the face of the President of the United States.

Too many Republican governors are fixated on zygote rights, union-busting, and guns for everyone, everywhere, all the time.

Under the pending legislation in Virginia, women who want an abortion will be forcibly penetrated with a sonogram probe for no medical reason.

And Romney drives cross-country with his dog strapped to the roof of his car, and sees nothing wrong with it.

So it's no wonder that a faithful reader offered this thought:


If somehow the Republicans win this fall, do you think we can make a nuclear deal with Iran and have those compassionate Mullahs come in to help liberalize our society?

D** (a faithful reader)

Buster writes back:

Dear D**,

You may be onto something. The Mullahs seem like Eleanor Roosevelt, compared to some of our home-grown conservatives. Could we get them to nuke just the wing-nut douchebags?


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bill Maher On Divisiveness

(Provided by a faithful reader. Thank you, faithful reader!)

So funny, and so true!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Is "Make Fun Of Mitt" Day

In which Romney channels Bill Murray twice:

Quien Es Mas Conservative?

Remember the old SNL skit about a Spanish-language game show hosted by Bill Murray? They called it "Quien Es Mas Macho?", and the contestants had to guess which of two actors was more macho. The answer was always Ricardo Montalban.

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held this past weekend, and it was kinda the same thing, but without the consensus answer. Each of the Republican presidential candidates tried to prove to the audience that he had the biggest, stiffest dick in the race.

When it was Mitt Romney's turn, he asserted that he himself was "severely conservative." What a peculiar combination of words. In Buster's experience, the words which usually follow the adverb "severely" are limited, injured, disabled, or constipated.

In the 2/16/12 issue of Rolling Stone, the incomparable Matt Taibbi fires off a few shots:

"Romney's a hypernervous control freak who flips out if you poke at the paper-thin veneer of his schlock patriotic presentation."

"The robotic Mormon financier looks like a walking OCD diagnosis."

[When Mitt sang "America the Beautiful"] "it was the Mormon-underwear version of Bill Murray's "Star Wars, Nothing But Star Wars" lounge singer routine."

"As his boring-mannequin act crumbled, Romney's true self -- deluded gazillionaire nitwit --was thrust naked onstage."


Mitt, you're just such a doggone easy target!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Office Politics? Real Politics? Both!

"We're not unreasonable . . . "
"Maybe we should compromise . . . "
"I sure appreciate the way you're working with me . . . "

AEP's Rate Hike: "Verily I Say Unto You, It Is A Crock Of Shit And It Stinketh!"

One or two faithful readers know that Buster has been doing battle recently against AEP and the PUCO, protesting large rate hikes to our homeowners association, of which I'm treasurer. We have a number of AEP accounts, and most of our January electric bills were up 30%-40%. One was up 60%, and another up an incredible 450%. There was no advance notice.

Residential rates are largely unaffected. It seems that this rate increase falls almost entirely upon certain classes of "commercial rate tariffs" -- small businesses, schools, churches, homeowners associations and such. (Who knew our not-for-profit HOA was a commercial account? Not me, but I do now.)

AEP tries to justify the rate hike by claiming these commercial classes have forever been subsidized and priced well under-market. (I had no idea AEP was such a bunch of humanitarians -- the Mother Teresa of utilities.)

Just last week, an AEP rep told me with a smile that, according to her analysis, "that account will have an increase of only 63%." (Only 63%? What a fuckin' relief! I was afraid it was gonna go up 64%.)

A letter to me from the PUCO chairman explains that the "degree of increase depends on the customer's usage pattern." (Not the actual usage, you see, just the damn pattern.) The pattern they don't like is "low load, high demand" -- occasional high use, but mostly next to nothing. That describes our tennis court lights, the one that went up 450%. Our annual usage at the court is 350 KWH. Annual. (In contrast, our household used 25,000 KWH last year.) The December bill for 0 KWH at the court was $12. The January bill, also for 0 KWH, was $67. For nothing. Because of our pattern.

And while small businesses and dinky outfits like our HOA deal get clobbered with this shit, the new AEP rate plan gives large companies big decreases in electric rates. (Ringing any familiar bells?)

The guiding hand behind this deal is John-Boy, the Wonder Guv. This is all part of his grand scheme to make Ohio "business friendly" and a "low-cost energy state." Except he neglected to mention what he really meant was "friendly and low-cost for the large corporations. 'Cause I have favors to repay. And if it screws the little guy, well, oops!"

Reminds me of his pet project, SB 5. He thunders and blunders and thrashes around, trying to please his big business backers, but succeeds mainly in pissing off most of the middle class. Then he has to shift into full back-pedal, damage-control mode.

That's where he is now with this current PR disaster. After initially saying it was a done deal, like or lump it, now, after much outcry and hundreds of formal complaints, Kasich and AEP and the PUCO are suddenly "sensitive to the negative impacts" and are "addressing" our concerns. Well, friggin' goody.

This truly is a stinky deal. I've made some small headway in dealing with AEP, but the entire rate plan needs a do-over, and we need a group effort. If you're an affected AEP commercial customer, please contact AEP, the PUCO, the governor, and your state representatives and lodge a complaint.

Comment And Response

Comment from "Anonymous", regarding my post of 2/2/12 Dispatch Taxes My Patience:

Buster, Warren, and Obama need to drop the secretary vs the rich thing. It is truly an absurd attempt to mislead the ignorant while promoting higher taxes ON ALL who pay long term capital gains taxes. But hey, it will get Obama some praise and most of the media does not have time to explain the whole story. When Buster downsizes from that big suburban house to a smaller Florida condo does he want to pay 15% on the long term capital gain from the big house sale? Apparently not because that is unfair to the poor and downtrodden and he would rather pay 35%. Yes, Mr and Mrs Buster worked hard making regular income and paying the higher 28 to 35% tax rate on that income while paying for the house over 30 years but now you want to pay 35% AGAIN. Even though much of the capital gain income from the house sale has been eaten up by higher costs of living. Doggone it, the government and the poor deserve it. When the secretary saves for the rest of her life, and she will need to because Social Security is a pile of steaming dog pooh, should she pay 35% on her mutual fund generated retirement income that she needs to survive in her retirement years? Oh wait, she's not rich. Hopefully, she is a government secretary. Then her retirement will be taken care of for as long as she lives and, in the equitable and benevolent way that the only the government can guarantee.......as long as they can keep finding ways to collect more taxes.

Buster responds:

Interesting comment, Anonymous. It's flattering to be grouped with Buffett and Obama. Good company, I'd say.

We have not advocated for a 35% flat tax on all capital gains. Nor have we suggested the secretary should pay 35% on her retirement income. We know, however, that the current 15% flat rate can produce inequitably disproportionate results, with very large investment income taxed at a much lower rate than small ordinary income. Such a situation has been famously illustrated by the case of Mr. Buffett and his secretary, and also by Romney's $22 million taxed at a net 14%. This is the inherent flaw in any flat tax -- the advantages are skewed to the top end of the scale. Consequently, our point is that there needs to be some degree of progressive taxation of capital gains, at least on very high investment incomes. It is, as the President said, a matter of fairness and common sense.

And thanks for sharing with us that you really don't care for the poor, the downtrodden, the government, or the very idea of taxation. And since Social Security is such a steaming pile of shit, we trust you will not be taking your benefits when you retire. Just as a matter of principle.

Better check your kitchen -- I think your Tea kettle is whistling.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Media Reaction To Kasich Speech: WTF??!

(From the Cincinnati Enquirer)
STEUBENVILLE — Non-bluetongue cows going to Turkey. A dream about Jerry Seinfeld in the back seat of a car. Californians as “a bunch of wackadoodles.”

John Kasich’s second State of the State speech Tuesday was rambling and, at times, bizarre. Among his head-jerking references, Kasich told the first three winners of a newly created state courage award not to sell the medals on eBay, pointed out his “hot wife,” and imitated someone with Parkinson’s disease when he talked about “deep brain massage.”

In other words, typical Kasich.

(From the Huffington Post)
During the address, Kasich imitated a Parkinson's patient, cried, insulted the people of California, praised his "hot wife," gave 14 shout-outs to the same person and played an awards show host while tearfully channeling a famously emotional fellow Ohio Republican, House Speaker John Boehner.

Roughly 70 minutes into the speech, Kasich discussed medical research and its impact on the Buckeye State's economy. He was highlighting a deep brain massage program at Ohio State University to cure Parkinson's when he started simulating the shaking actions that mark the disease as a means of highlighting what he and his cabinet saw when they visited the facility.

"By the way, he's got a guy working up there by the name of Doctor Rezai -- this guy is doing deep brain massage," Kasich said of the program. "And I went up -- the cabinet saw it, but I was up there and there was a man and what he does is he puts a sensor imprint in the brain and pacemaker in the shoulder and it sends a signal to disrupt the bad signals that cause Parkinson's in people. There was a man, they shut off the pacemaker, they put it back on. He gave me a carved piece of wood. It was like magic."

(Buster's 30-Second Analysis)
Our governor is required to give just one big "important" speech every year, the State of the State address. It's a mix of tradition, ritual, ceremony, and media event. What does it suggest about that governor when he delivers such a formal speech without any prepared remarks, but instead with random notes scribbled on scraps of paper? ("Wait -- where'd I put that cocktail napkin? I had some good stuff on it. Damn!") That sort of Alfred E. Neuman attitude says that person is either reckless, or flat doesn't give a shit, or has arrogantly overestimated his own abilities. Probably all of the above.

"Prop 8 -- The Musical"

A shout-out to the federal court that overturned California's Proposition 8 gay marriage ban.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Will Ferrell Introduces The Chicago Bulls

Just last night, and yeah, you've seen it already, but it's still silly good fun, unless you're a diehard Bulls fan with a humor deficit. Just Will being Will: ". . . and he's a horrible dancer!"

By the way, the Bulls beat 'em bad.

Wow! That Place Sounds Better Than Vegas!

Meet Louisiana Representative John Fleming (R). He's staunchly anti-abortion and has called it a "pernicious evil". A couple days ago, in the midst of the Planned Parenthood-Susan G. Komen kerfuffle, he updated his Facebook page by posting a disturbing online article he'd come across. Fleming's personal comment was, "More on Planned Parenthood; Abortion by the wholesale." The article followed:

TOPEKA, KS -- Planned Parenthood announced Tuesday the grand opening of its long-planned $8 billion Abortionplex, a sprawling abortion facility that will allow the organization to terminate unborn lives with an efficiency never before thought possible . . .

The article went on to describe this massive Kansas clinic with "coffee shops, bars, dozens of restaurants and retail outlets, a three-story nightclub, and a 10-screen multiplex theater."

The online article was from TheOnion.com. And was from May 2011.

What the hell goes on in Louisiana? How did this moron get elected?

Health Care Reform Is An Attack On Religious Freedom?

Part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 says that, by 2014, most employers must offer health insurance to their employees. It also says that this insurance must cover birth control pills and other contraception. This requirement doesn't apply to churches themselves, but would apply to places like religious-affiliated hospitals.

The conservative overlords never miss a chance to stir up their lame-brained foamy-mouth constituents, so here we go again. Some Catholic church officials are going full freak-out over this, John The Orange Boner is making threatening speeches in Congress, and Gingrich and Santorum are using it for a more-Catholic-than-thou litmus test on the GOP campaign trail.

The critics contend that this provision is an unconstitutional attack on religious freedom which will prevent people from practicing their beliefs. I'm callin' bullshit on that. The critics just don't like contraceptives, period. (An idiotic position, but there you have it.)

First, actual churches don't count -- the priest will not be flinging pills and party hats from the pulpit. And Catholic hospitals don't have to distribute contraceptives to everybody who walks through the door, they just have to make them available to their employees under their company health plan. In that regard, they are just another employer.

Second, Catholic hospitals employ many people who aren't Catholic, who may not agree with the official Vatican position on contraception. Of course, all your devout, obedient Catholic employees would never ever use any contraceptive device (Right!), so it's a moot point for them. But do you really want to deny non-Catholic employees a basic coverage provided by virtually every other employer?

Third, this isn't about religious practices -- find me the part in the Bible about birth control pills -- it's about the Catholic church trying to flex its canonical muscle and preserve some shred of its institutional authority. But most Catholics have long ignored the Vatican's reproductive advice. In this area, the obedient Catholic is a myth. Something like 95%+ of all Catholic women have used some sort of birth control. These days, it's simply the way things are done, and we are all better off for it.

To each his own, but when it comes to contraception, it's time for the Catholic church to join the modern world.