Friday, January 18, 2013

Asshats on Parade

No locals. Not even Marc Campos. But plenty of Texans.

Lance Armstrong might be the world's most massive asshat...

This was a glimmer of the true Lance Armstrong coming out. No Nike commercial edits. No press conference sound bites. No glowing magazine profiles. This was the guy who left scores and scores of people cursing that their paths ever crossed.

It's not about the bike, indeed. This was about Lance's sociopathic spectacle.

At one point during the interview, he couldn't recall how many people he'd sued. Really. He not only didn't know the number, he couldn't even be sure when asked about specific individuals that his mighty, powerful legal team relentlessly tried to bury.

It's worth noting that many of the people he's sued through the years in an effort to protect his lies and glory were one-time close friends, roommates, teammates, business partners and associates.

Is there another person in America who has sued so many people he once liked – for telling the truth, mind you – that he can't remember all of them? Anyone?

... were it not for Dick Cheney.

For Cheney’s critics, the (forthcoming biographical) film is unlikely to change their opinions.

From its opening moments, Cheney seems as defiant as ever about criticism that he went too far in the policies he pushed in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

“The ones that spend all their time trying to be loved by everybody probably aren’t doing much. If you aren’t prepared to have critics, to be subject to criticism, you’re in the wrong line of work,” Cheney bluntly declares in the film. “ If you want to be loved, go be a movie star.”

The former vice president ... speaks at length about the controversies that embroiled his vice presidency. He continues to defend the Bush administration’s embrace of enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, which is widely considered a form of torture. President Barack Obama banned the use of waterboarding when he took office in 2009.

"Are you going to trade the lives of other people because you want to preserve your honor?" Cheney replies when asked about waterboarding and other controversial interrogation techniques. "You do what’s required. That’s not a close call for me."

And Cheney continues to deflect criticism that his office exaggerated intelligence findings that claimed Iraq President Saddam Hussein’s was pursuing weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaida—claims that later turned out to be false.

There's an important distinction between these sociopaths: while Armstrong merely destroyed other people's lives, Cheney had them killed. In every conceivable fashion -- men, women, children; blown up, shot, tortured, drowned, poisoned. You have to sit in awe of a man so consumed with evil he ruined his own heart... then received another by the grace of America's taxpayers. What a country!

I am being as kind as can be in calling Dick Cheney a sociopath, when in fact he meets all the qualifications of a psychopath.

While it's impossible to top those two men, Manti Te'o is doing his best from his small perch.

Not once but twice after he supposedly discovered his online girlfriend of three years never even existed, Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti Te'o perpetuated the heartbreaking story about her death.

An Associated Press review of news coverage found that the Heisman Trophy runner-up talked about his doomed love in a Web interview on Dec. 8 and again in a newspaper interview published Dec. 10. He and the university said Wednesday that he learned on Dec. 6 that it was all a hoax, that not only wasn't she dead, she wasn't real.

Yeah, nobody died except for his imaginary girlfriend, and nobody is actually getting destroyed except for him and a few journalists' reputations. Lance thanks you, Manti, for breaking your news this week. Once again, one has to be awestruck by the fact that the University of Notre Dame made a bigger deal of the nonexistent dead girl than they did the real one who killed herself after being raped by a Notre Dame football player.

Speaking of damaging one's future prospects, Chris Christie seems to be taking himself out of the running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Blunt-speaking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, thought to be eyeing a 2016 run for the Republican presidential nomination, blasted an NRA ad that mentions President Barack Obama's daughters as "reprehensible" and warned it "demeans" the powerful gun-rights group.

"To talk about the president’s children, or any public officer’s children, who have—not by their own choice, but by requirement—to have protection, and to use that somehow to try to make a political point is reprehensible," Christie said.

Christie is far from being an asshat in this regard. But his political future in the GOP seems extremely limited at this point. The GOTeaP just will not tolerate this kind of dissension in the ranks. What is he thinking?!

From Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, GOP officials who control legislatures in states that supported President Barack Obama are considering changing state laws that give the winner of a state's popular vote all of its Electoral College votes, too. Instead, these officials want Electoral College votes to be divided proportionally, a move that could transform the way the country elects its president.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus endorsed the idea this week, and other Republican leaders support it, too, suggesting that the effort may be gaining momentum. There are other signs that Republican state legislators, governors and veteran political strategists are seriously considering making the shift as the GOP looks to rebound from presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Electoral College shellacking and the demographic changes that threaten the party's long-term political prospects.

Expect this to happen. But not in Texas; they don't need the help.

Finally... I lied; one local asshat.

New freeways are few and far between in Harris County – and may one day be a thing of the past, according to Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

“No one likes to pay a toll but many would rather pay a toll to get a road than not have anything to drive on,” he said. “What’s interesting is that people love to talk about free roads and toll roads, when never there was such a thing as a free road. It was all built with tax dollars. It just so happens you can drive on it for free.”

This is what passes for moderate conservative logic these days. That's not to say that a blind hog can't occasionally find an acorn.

The county is also working to decentralize hospitals, bringing more clinics throughout unincorporated areas to meet demand, said Emmett.

“People got used to the idea that poor people and indigents lived in certain areas,” he said. “Well they don’t. They live all over the county. One of the arguments we’re having with the hospital district is we’re trying to get them out of brick and mortar and into neighborhood clinics because we’ve got to do a better job of providing for the many indigents.”

Having clinics throughout the area would give lower income people better access to preventative care. The health care crisis has forced many of the uninsured to seek the most expensive, least effective form of health care— in emergency rooms.

“The bottom line is the counties need to define how to best provide preventative health services,” said Emmett.

Deinstitutionalization has also shifted the mentally ill population from asylums to jails, said Emmett. “It’s amazing the Harris County jail is one of the largest mental health facilities in Texas,” said Emmett. “That’s fundamentally wrong. We've got to do better at delivering mental health services.”

This is surprisingly thoughtful and empathetic, two qualities in short supply -- and in danger of being rejected -- by Republicans local, statewide, and nationwide. Like Christie in the previous, this isn't conducive to long-term political viability.

Nowhere, however, does Emmett mention the real solution: raising taxes. That's the asshat part. Let's wrap this up, Ed...

Harris County’s non-attainment designation by the EPA, which is given to areas that persistently exceed federal air quality standards, has threatened industry, said Emmett. The Environmental Protection Agency reports vehicles using natural gas emit 25 percent less greenhouse gases than diesel-powered vehicles.

“If an industry wants to build a new facility they’re going to be restricted unless they find a way to come under EPA guidelines,” he said.

According to Emmett, local trucking companies were some of the first to switch to natural gas for its economic benefits, paying $1.50 to $2 less per gallon than gasoline. Now, he hopes other car manufacturers and companies will get on board.

It should be noted -- not by the county judge, of course -- that Harris County has not attained the EPA ozone emission guidelines established during the Carter administration. And here comes Keystone XL down the pipeline.

But that ain't the moneyshot. This is.

“The most important thing is to switch many vehicles to natural gas,” said Emmett. "Natural gas we have in abundance. The most important thing is it’s non-polluting.”

So in Hunker-Down World, "25 percent less" = "non-polluting".

I knew you wouldn't let me down, Judge.

1 comment:

Robert Nagle said...

Related: you might enjoy my Natural Gas is Not Lobster . It becomes very frustrating to me how often natural gas is touted as clean when in fact the only thing "clean" about is that it reduces smog.

Robert Nagle