Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Asshole List I

The first assholes on the list are Ayn Rand and her disciples. From NPR:
Ayn Rand is best known for her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The ideas behind them — her philosophy — have sunk so deeply into our political thought, most people don't even recognize them as her ideas anymore. 
But Rand does have important admirers, like House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Recently, House Speaker John Boehner channeled Rand when he said, "Job creators in America basically are on strike." 
If Adam Smith had been a sociopath, he would have been Ayn Rand.

The next asshole on the list is Sgt. William Reid of the Coral Springs Police Department. From The Atlantic Wire:
Three members of Herman Cain’s campaign team apologized on Wednesday after a local police officer who said he was there to protect the Republican presidential candidate manhandled a reporter. 
The incident happened when several journalists who have been covering Cain regularly tried to film the candidate as he was returning to his campaign bus after an event here. As the journalists trailed Cain, the officer, who was in plain clothes, blindsided National Journal/CBS News reporter Lindsey Boerma into the side of the campaign bus. Moments later, as journalists circled around the bus toward Cain, the same man stuck his arm out and clotheslined Boerma.  
The man refused to identify himself. He implied he was a police officer when he suggested that one of his “buddies” in uniform could give the reporter a ride in the back of a police car. When other journalists began videotaping him, he pulled out his cell phone and started recording the press. “I’m an independent reporter,” he said.  
Afterwards, Lt. Joe McHugh of the Coral Springs Police Department identified the man as one of his officers and defended his actions. “The reporter was running up along the side of the bus with no identification on identifying herself as a reporter,” McHugh said. “So the officer stuck his arm out to prevent her from getting to Mr. Cain and at which time he was successful.”  
Boerma was not wearing press tags but was carrying a video camera with a plainly visible CBS decal. She is a member of a team of reporters covering the presidential candidates for National Journal and CBS News.  
McHugh said the officer, Sgt. William Reid, suffered a hyperextended elbow. 
So are these pigs implying that there is nothing wrong with manhandling a woman as long as she is not a reporter? I see. My only regret is that Reid did not suffer something more serious, like a kick to the crotch with a steel-toed boot.

While we're on the subject of pigs, our next assholes are members of the Seattle Police Department. From Seattle PI:
An elderly woman, a pregnant woman and a priest were among those who were pepper-sprayed during a protest in support of the Occupy movement on Tuesday. 
The demonstrators taking part in the Occupy Seattle movement marched from their current camp at Seattle Central Community College to Westlake Park late Tuesday afternoon. 
While en route, they came across police officers at several points. At the intersection of Fifth and Pine, the crowd was met by a line of several dozen police officers on bicycles who blocked the way. 
Tensions mounted until police deployed pepper spray in an attempt to disperse the crowd and get the protesters out of the streets. About a dozen people were hit with the stinging fume. 
"Pepper spray was deployed only against subjects who were either refusing a lawful order to disperse or engaging in assaultive behavior toward officers," said Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel.
I guess if I had an uncontrollable urge to assault people I didn't like, I would go through the training necessary to get a badge to hide behind also. Good work, assholes!

Next on the list are Lauren E. Pierce and Cassie Wright of the University of Texas College Republicans. From ABC News blogs:
Hours after Pennsylvania State Police arrested a 21-year-old Idaho man for allegedly firing a semi-automatic rifle at the White House, the top student official for the College Republicans at the University of Texas tweeted that the idea of assassinating President Obama was “tempting.” 
At 2:29 p.m. ET, UT’s Lauren E. Pierce wrote: “Y’all as tempting as it may be, don’t shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we’ve EVER had! #2012.”  
Pierce, the president of the College Republicans at UT Austin, told ABC News the comment was a “joke” and that the “whole [shooting incident] was stupid.” Giggling, she said that an attempted assassination would “only make the situation worse.”  
“Insofar as she’s a representative [of the College Republicans], maybe it shouldn’t be said, but she’s made a positive statement in a way, ” said Cassie Wright, the group’s vice president. 
“I don’t really see anything wrong with it,” Wright added. “It’s just a personal comment, not representative of any group. Just freedom of speech, you know?”
That's right, Cassie. It's just freedom of speech. And as tempting as it may be, don't go out and shoot Lauren and Cassie, all right? We need them to go down in history as two of the most idiotic college students ever! Do not decapitate them or dismember them or disembowel them, all right? Do not pour motlen lava or wet concrete over them, or drop them from an airplane at 10,000 feet without a parachute, or rip their organs out of their bodies and put them in jars. Do not send them anthrax. Do not drop anvils on their heads. And do not detonate explosives attached to their bodies either. Now, before you get upset with me, you should know that I'm only joking here, for Pete's sake. This is just a personal comment. Isn't that right, Lauren and Cassie? Just freedom of speech, you know? So, to sum up, please don't vomit on these two nice young Republicans, or set their cars on fire, or urinate on their carpets, or give them herpes. Thanks. (See what I did there?)

Finally, our next assholes are television viewers everywhere. From Slate's culture blog:
Reports late Monday are that Community, the cult NBC sitcom, is being sent to detention. The show, a compulsively meta, reflexively self-referential one-camera undertaking that follows a bunch of misfits at a community college, has lagged even amongst NBC’s lagging Thursday night lineup, and has now been bumped out of it.  
A New York Magazine post on the move reports that the show isn’t even mentioned in the NBC press release detailing midseason lineups. Whitney is being moved to Wednesdays, to be replaced in the Thursday night lineup by Up All Night, the Will Arnett/Christina Applegate/Maya Rudolph parenthood comedy. 30 Rock is also returning, and it will bump Community out.  
The changes will be effective in the network’s so-called midseason, roughly the second week of January.
Here's an idea: stop watching the shit you usually watch and check out something good, like Community. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Letter to the Economist

Patter of tiny personhoods

SIR – I was delighted to read your article about the effort in Mississippi to pass a state constitutional amendment to recognise embryos as people from the moment of fertilisation (“A person already?”, October 8th). My wife and I have been considering IVF to address our lack of success in conceiving a child. Mississippi’s proposed amendment gives us even more reason to pursue this treatment, and to move to Mississippi.

After the procedure we will insist on taking custody of any extra embryos that result from IVF—it is our right as parents after all. Once safely in our home we plan to keep them in a freezer in our basement and list them as child dependents for tax purposes, thus giving us a tax deduction. To protect the lives of our children in case of a power outage we will buy a backup generator. Anything less would be bad parenting.

Benjamin Iwai
St Louis, Missouri

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It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ---W.K. Clifford

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. ---Thomas Jefferson