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, January 31, 2016

The Way-Back Machine Puts The Score At 5,000,000 to 30,000

Which shiny object shall we fixate upon today?  How about Hillary Clinton's email again?  Again?  Email-ghazi!!

Last week, the State Dept. declined to release twenty-two of her old emails, saying they may have contained "top secret" info.  None were classified at the time they were sent, and there is zero evidence that any of her emails ever caused a security breach or harm of any sort.  Most of America yawned, but conservatives and their media outlets once again ignited their collective hair.  

I have a friend who loves to tell anyone who will listen that Hillary "should be in jail."  I invite him and others like him to join Mr. Peabody and Sherman as they set the Way-Back Machine for the years 2006 and 2007:

Late in the year 2006, in a highly partisan move, the administration of President George W. Bush summarily fired eight U.S. attorneys from the Justice Dept.  All eight were Republicans, but they weren't Republican enough for Dubya's liking.  Their dismissal was brazenly unwarranted, and a Congressional probe resulted.  In early 2007, when that panel asked the Bush administration for all its email records, the White House announced that, conveniently, five million emails -- two entire years' worth! -- had somehow been irretrievably "lost."  How did this happen?  Gosh, sorry, we don't know.  Oops!

It turns out that the majority of White House communication was being run through a private server and email accounts controlled by the Republican National Committee, not a public .gov account.  Most White House staffers used RNC accounts, and Deputy Chief-of-Staff (a.k.a. Bush's Brain) Karl Rove used it for all of his email.  And all of it was just suddenly, inexplicably gone, and nothing could be done.

Do you remember all the media scrutiny and public uproar and moral outrage that resulted from this disclosure of five-friggin'-million missing official government emails?  No, you don't, because there was none.  That week, Meet The Press, Face the Nation, and Fox News Sunday didn't mention it at all.  There was some subsequent attention, but not much, and it quickly dropped off the media radar screen.  No one called for Karl Rove to go to jail (although even now that would be a fine place for him to stay).

That's history.  Today, Hillary gets all the grief, but if you're keeping score in the contest of missing private emails used for government business, it's Republicans 5,000,000 to Democrats 30,000.  That's a blow-out.  Game over.  Republicans win.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

You Shall Know Them By The Company They Keep

And by the endorsements they receive.  Just for fun, I checked Wikipedia for lists of all the endorsements garnered by the current presidential wanna-be's.  The sheer number of endorsements for the candidates is staggering (Hillary Clinton is the clear leader in total number), and will only grow as time moves on.

But I wasn't so interested in total numbers or endorsements from major newspapers or important politicians.  No, I was more attracted to celebrities, artists, losers, has-beens and other public figures who have stood up to support their personal favorites.

What do these sort of endorsements say about the candidates?  Beats me, but it's sure amusing!


Donald Trump:  Sarah Palin, Jerry Falwell Jr., Joe Arpaio (racist asshole sherriff of Maricopa County, AZ), Ann Coulter (racist ultra-right media twat), Hulk Hogan, John Wayne's daughter Aissa, Tila Tequila (porn star, "singer", Nazi fan, flat-earther), Dennis Rodman, Ted Nugent, John Rocker (ex-MLB pitcher, racist, homophobe), Bobby Knight (retired basketball coach and infamous angry person)

Ted Cruz:  Rick Perry, Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty douchebag), Bob Vander Plaats (CEO of Family leader, a conservative Christian group), U.S. Rep's Mark Meadows-NC and Steve King-IA (members of the Tea-Bag Freedom Caucus that caused the government shutdown)

Marco Rubio:  George Pataki (ex-NY Gov. and failed presidential candidate), Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK (snowball holder, climate change denier), Rick Harrison (Pawn Stars), Jenna Jameson (porn star)

Ben Carson:  Kirk Cameron (ex-actor, douchebag conservative Christian), Kid Rock, Mickey Rourke

Jeb Bush:  Sen. Lindsey Graham (failed presidential candidate), Toby Keith, Mommy & Daddy and all their old friends

Chris Christie:  Maine Gov. Paul LePage (racist moron concerned about out-of-state drug dealers knocking up Maine's white girls), Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman (What? No Carly?), Augie Busch III (Anheuser Busch)

Rand Paul:  Alex Jones (far-right conspiracy theory crackpot radio host), Belle Knox (porn star), Vince Vaughn

John Kasich:  Tim Allen, Charles Barkley (Sir Charles, that's just turrrible!)

Mike Huckabee:  Kenneth Copeland (televangelist and shyster), Chuck Norris

Carly Fiorina:  Donnie Wahlberg (the other Wahlberg brother)

Rick Santorum:  literally no one


Hillary Clinton:  Tom Hanks, Jim Brown (best football player ever), Howard Stern, Elton John, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Barbra Streisand, and a surprising number of rappers -- 50 Cent, ASAP Rocky, Luther Campbell and 2 Live Crew, Common, Ice-T, Rah Digga, Ja Rule, Snoop Dogg, Waka Flocka Flame, Kanye West, Will.i.am, Young Jeezy

Bernie Sanders:  Jesse Ventura (ex-wrestler, actor and MN Gov.), Danny DeVito, Seth McFarlane, Kareem Abdul Jabbar (most dominant basketball player ever), David Crosby, Graham Nash, Neil Young (where's Stephen Stills?), Art Garfunkel, and an equally impressive number of rappers (Bernie to Hillary: "My campaign will match yours rhyme for rhyme!") -- Big Boi, Tyler the Creator, Killer Mike, El-P, Bun-B, Lil B, Styles P, G-Eazy, Scarface, Spose, Fat Tony, Yung Skeeter

Martin O'Malley:  The Dropkick Murphys (O'Malleys or Murphys, the Irish stick together)

All I can get from this is that the Republicans have the porn stars and the Democrats have the rappers.  And Chuck Norris wants us to vote for Huckabee.  Just to be on the safe side, maybe we should do what Chuck says.

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Secret Admirer?

While the Buster's Blog audience is small, it seems I have at least one fan.  Yesterday, I received an anonymous gift in the mail.  At least I think it was a gift.  I certainly consider it to be one.  It's a book, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Created Christian America , by Kevin Kruse.  It's a historical look at how money, politics and religion combined to create a false origin story.  In hardback, too.  I know I'm going to enjoy reading it.  Thank you!

But who could have sent it?  There was no clue in the shipping material.  But I can take an educated guess.  Back in May, I blogged about the very same book because faithful reader D.W., a.k.a. The Old Philosopher, had emailed me a synopsis and positive review of the book.  So I'd guess the secret book sender could very well be D.W.

Or maybe it was sent from Oregon, by whoever's left from the delusional Bundy Bunch occupiers out there at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.  I recently blogged about them too, noting with amusement that critics were sending them dildos in the mail.  Perhaps they enjoyed my post and returned the favor by sending me a book.

I'd absolutely love it if that were true!  Far more likely, it was D.W.

Whoever it was, my sincere thanks!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Iowa Caucus: Keep It In Perspective

From all the media coverage and analysis and opinion polls every 5 minutes, you'd think the Iowa Caucus coming up on February 1st was a genuinely significant and predictive event.  Not so much.  It's influence is greatly exaggerated and it's last two GOP winners were Mike Huckabee in '08 and Rick Santorum in '12.  All it really is, mainly, is first.

But the Iowa Caucus is still a weird and amusing process.  Here's what Buster had to say about it back in August 2011:

"The candidate we support is so unpopular,
we didn't even get chairs."
The Caucus is another Hawkeye oddity where the Party faithful enter a gymnasium, stand in clusters representing "support" for each candidate, and try to convince those in other clusters to change their support by moving to a different candidate's group. They talk and mill around and change horses until time is called. It's Cluster-Fuck Musical Chairs! Oh, those Iowans! 

One last thought on the way we play these games: There are well over 300 million people in the United States. Iowa is a rural state with 3 million residents, 90% of whom are Caucasian. New Hampshire is a rural state with a population of 1.3 million, 92% of whom are white. By contrast, California has 37 million people of every sort. Yet in our Presidential primary process, Iowa and New Hampshire have much more influence than California. Just sayin'.

Will Kasich Actually Do Something "Moderate"?

In the raucus, racist, right-wing mud-wrestling contest which passes for the GOP primary race, the talking heads often refer to Ohio Gov. John Kasich as a "moderate."  He is not, of course.  The guy tried to crush the state's public unions, for cryin' out loud!  Moderates don't do that.  In almost every way, Kasich is conservative as hell.  Indeed, moderate Republicans no longer exist.  But coming up soon, Kasich will have the chance to actually do something moderate.

I'm sure you've heard that in the Republican state of Texas, the Republican Governor, Republican Lt. Governor and Republican Attorney General directed a Republican prosecutor to have a grand jury indict Planned Parenthood for allegedly selling aborted baby parts.  The grand jury found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood and instead indicted its accusers, the makers of the infamous, deceptive undercover videos.  Ha!

Our Republican-gerrymandered state legislature here in Ohio must have missed that news.  More likely, they heard about it but just didn't give a shit.  Yesterday, Ohio Senate Republicans voted to defund Planned Parenthood facilities across the state.

Facts:  61% of all Americans oppose defunding Planned Parenthood; 51% of all Americans and 55% of all American women are "pro-choice"; just 3% of Planned Parenthood services rendered are abortions; Planned Parenthood is an essential provider of health services to low-income inviduals.

But here in Ohio, 22 of 30 state senators chose to ignore the facts and to impose their personal quasi-religious, anti-abortion, moralistic bullshit beliefs on the rest of us.  Eternal shame on all of them!

Their rotten bill will wind up on Kasich's desk in a couple weeks.  Will he sign it into law?  Given his track record, he'll probably show his red ass once again and sign it.  But a true moderate would not.  A true moderate would veto that nonsense instantly. 

So whadya say, Jawhnny?  Is you is or is you ain't a real moderate?

The View From Norway

Isla Mujeres, not Norway
While down there on the sunny Isla, we met two couples from Norway.  Actually, I missed the introductions because it was one of those evenings where I had a cerveza-induced early bedtime.  But the lovely Mrs. Gammons and our traveling companions did indeed meet them, and I gave them friendly waves and head-nods thereafter.  They seemed to be really nice folks.

Eventually the American-Scandinavian nightcap summit dwindled to just the Norwegians and the lovely Mrs. Gammons, and they had just a few nagging questions for her about the good ol' USA, such as . . .

In America, why don't you have health care for everyone?
Why do you have so many guns and allow so many people to be needlessly slaughtered?
Since Barack Obama is so respected world-wide, why doesn't he run for president again?
Why does college cost so much in America?
Who is that obnoxious braggart with the hideous hair and the spray tan?

It can be educational to get a different perspective, a little contrast.  Those are all good questions, and the best answers aren't very good:  Tradition!  Capitalism!  That's America!  etc.

In Norway, they have high taxes and high incomes, lots of paid vacation time, a wide spectrum of government benefits at little to no cost, including health care and college, few guns, little gun violence, and no Trump-ish buffoons.

In America, we have low taxes, but also low income, expensive higher education, super-expensive health care, fewer government benefits, precious little time off, guns everywhere, and egregious assholes like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz who believe they should be in charge.

America is a great country, but it's not the only one.

To paraphrase W.C. Fields, maybe I'd rather be in Norway.


Monday, January 25, 2016

In Any Rational World . . .

Man, you leave the country for a week and you miss some good stuff!

I refer, of course, to Sarah Palin's endorsement of Donald Trump.  Oh boy!  Caribou Barbie has risen from the ashes for one more self-serving, classic gobble-de-gooky, pathetic moment.  I missed the actual announcement, but I loved all the resulting tabloid headlines:  I'm With Stupid!  Dumb And Dumber!  Takes One To Know One!

In any rational, sane, reasonable world an endorsement from Sarah Palin would be the kiss of death -- anathema, precisely what you don't want.  But these days, Teflon Don welcomes it.

The Donald, Sister Sarah, and all those other gaseous chunks orbiting out there in the GOP/Tea Bag/wing-nut universe do not operate in a rational world, and have not for a long time.

Conservatives are fantastic!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Columbus Dispatch: Not Quite Dead Yet; It Just Smells Like it

Returning from a week away, I discovered my local newspaper has been taken over by Junior Achievement.  In a cost-cutting move, the Columbus Dispatch is now page-designed and assembled in Texas by Gatehouse Media, its new owner.

The "new-look" Dispatch appears to have been put together by independent teams of hallucinating ransom-note artists:  multiple fonts, type sizes and column widths are used together on the same page, and all of it done with the extra-spacing and generous margins found in a typical 8th grade term paper.  The result is a clash of lithographic styles which offends the eye. 

Gatehouse Media specializes in weekly community newspapers and advertising circulars.  It shows.  The Dispatch now looks like a cross between the Clintonville Booster and a Krogers flyer.

The cheapening and dumbing-down of American media continues.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Quotable Asshole

Just for fun!  From The Quotable Asshole, Sellers Publishing Inc.

Sharks are as tough as those football fans who take off their shirts during games in Chicago in January, only more intelligent. -- Dave Barry

Why should I have to WORK for everything?!  It's like saying I don't deserve it! -- Calvin

When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bicycle.  Then I realized the Lord doesn't work that way, so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me. -- Emo Phillips

A woman drove me to drink, and I never even had the courtesy to thank her. -- W.C. Fields

Poison Ground

You might recall an October court case in which an Ohio woman was awarded $1.6 million for contracting kidney cancer due to exposure to chemicals from the nearby DuPont manufacturing plant.  It was the first of what will be over 3500 such cases.

What follows in the link below is the story of a fluoropolymer known as C8 (or PFOA), used in the making of coatings like Teflon.  It's the story of how DuPont hid this chemical's hazardous toxicity for over forty years.  It's the story of a diligent Cincinnati lawyer who successfully brought suit against the chemical giant.

The article, written by Nathaniel Rich, is rather lengthy but the tale is so engrossing and so well-written, it turns out to be a pretty quick read.  It's worth your time, and I highly recommend it.

I especially recommend it to any of you who, in your semi-libertarian way, complain about all those business-stifling, job-killing government regulations.  Read this article and think again.  Then think about the methane cloud over Porter Ranch, California, and the lead-poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, and all the fabulous fracking happening everywhere.

Then tell me again about how all those rules and regs are so unnecessary.


If you are a sentient being reading this article in 2016, you already have PFOA in your blood.  It is in your parents' blood, your children's blood, your lover's blood.  How did it get there?  Through the air, through your diet, through the use of non-stick cookware, through your umbilical cord.  Or you might have drunk tainted water.  Manufactured fluorochemicals are present in 94  water districts across 27 states.

Where scientists have tested for the presence of PFOA, they have found it.  PFOA is in the blood or vital organs of Atlantic salmon, swordfish, striped mullet, gray seals, common cormorants, Alaskan polar bears, brown pelicans, sea turtles, sea eagles, midwestern bald eagles, California sea lions and even Laysan albatrosses on Sand Island, a wildlife refuge on Midway Atoll, in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, about halfway between North America and Asia.

"We've pulled the cap off something here.  But it's not just DuPont.  Good God.  There are 60,000 unregulated chemicals out there right now.  We have no idea what we're taking."


Rubio? OUT!

At last night's umpteenth GOP presidential primary debate, Marco Rubio declared, "We cannot afford to have a president of the United States that supports gun control."

What?  So I guess that means we can only "afford" a president who favors uncontrolled guns.

Listen up Marky-Marco.  Not that you were ever going to be in, but after that stupid statement you're OUT!

What an idiot.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Patrick Henry Didn't Have To Put Up With This

These days, it ain't easy being a "patriot," especially if you're a freedom-loving, federal-land-seizing Oregon militia man.  First, it's really cold up there and everybody's getting all bitchy with each other.  You gotta haul around all those guns all the time, and then you start to run low on the necessities:  "What?  Whadya friggin' mean, we're out of French Vanilla creamer?!" 

Worst of all, smart-ass liberals keep sending you hate mail and boxes of dildos -- because, you know, you're such dicks.

Not the cookies

On the plus side, one considerate critic sent you some penis-shaped cookies, so -- snacks!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"When A Saint Just Isn't Enough"

That was the caption on this photo, taken in the Carroll Gardens area of Brooklyn, N.Y.  Cute!

(From the blog, Pardon Me For Asking)

Who Let Her In?

Did you notice who was in the very back of the U.S. House for last night's State of the Union address?  None other than Kim Davis, the county clerk who infamously refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses due to her "religious beliefs," a.k.a. her bigotry.

What in the hell was she doing there?  Who let her in?  

Turns out it was Tea Bag douchebag dipstick deluxe Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, leader of the House's torch-and-pitchfork Freedom Caucus.  Jordan gave his ticket to the fundamentalist Christian group, the Family Research Council, who in turn gave it to Davis.

For this auspicious occasion, Kim got all dressed up in her best Kentucky hillbilly clashing patterns and sported her usual sister-wife hairdo.  Stay classy, Kim!

And we can't leave the SOTU topic without a quick tip of the hat to new House Speaker Paul Ryan.  He was not nearly as angry-looking (or drunk, or orange) as Boehner always was.  Ryan's face wore a small and steady smirk, but he did manage to smile a couple times.  Wow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

She's Another Compassionate Conservative

(My emailed comments to Ohio Reps. Barbara Sears, Mike Duffey, and Cliff Rosenberger.  All are Republicans.  Sears is the sponsor of HB 394, Duffey is my state rep, Rosenberger is House Speaker.)

Ohio Rep. Sears (R-Sylvania)
My Dear Rep. Sears, have you nothing better to do?  I refer of course to your bill, HB 394, a draconian solution to non-existent problems in the state unemployment system.  You propose to:

  • Reduce the time limit for unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 12 weeks in times of "low" unemployment.
  • Reduce benefits to those with dependents.
  • Require workers to be on the job for at least three-quarters of the year to qualify for unemployment coverage.
  • Totally eliminate benefits -- nothing! -- for the unemployed who have "violated the terms of their employee handbook."

WTF?  Obviously you've never been unemployed, Barb.  Is this another of those bright ideas from ALEC?  I bet it is.

It's such typical Republican legislation.  It's mean-spirited and punitive, just like another favorite GOP idea, drug testing for welfare benefits -- "Let's punish the unfortunate for being unfortunate."

Let's not.  Your bill is hateful and does not deserve a vote, let alone passage into law.  Save yourself from further embarrassment by withdrawing HB 394 immediately.

cc:  Reps. Duffey and Rosenberger

Teddy Loves Spankings!

Making the creepy comparison as only he can, at a campaign event Ted Cruz explained that when his five-year old daughter misbehaves, he gives her a good old-fashioned spanking.  And Ted wants American voters to give Hillary Clinton a spanking too!  Spankings all around!

I loved Wil Wheaton's tweet:

Ted Cruz: "I hit my child. Hitting children is GREAT! I'm not a shitfuck at all. Vote for me!"