Everything is terrible Archive


More Joe Pa Faux Pas

Yeah, okay, the title’s kinda weaksauce, but I couldn’t think of anything pertinent to rhyme with “fucking insane,” which is what the pedophilic rape scandal embroiling Penn State still qualifies as even after the too-long-in-coming firing of Joe Paterno two days ago.

First of all, forget everything else you know or think you know about this story for a moment and wrap your head around the fact that, as Dan Shaughnessy points out in the Boston Globe this morning,

assistant coach Mike McQueary — the man who admits he did not attempt to stop the alleged rape of an 10-year-old boy by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in the football shower facility — will still be coaching Saturday. [emphasis my own]

To repeat: a man who witnessed the raping of an elementary school student and did nothing about it except mention the fact to his boss is still employed even though said boss has been canned. Not only that, but when asked if there was any consideration being given to dismissing McQueary, interim coach Tom Bradley responded by saying “absolutely not.” Not just “no,” but “absolutely not,” as if the very thought of firing a person who enabled a child molester is absolutely inconceivable.

Close it out, Dan:

It seems that everybody knew, but nobody went to the police. This perfectly demonstrates the skewed priorities in yahoo towns with big-time football programs and little else. Institutions of higher learning become enablers of the “program”


It’s still not too late to fire the coaching staff, cancel the game, and cancel the season. Before the legal system plays out and the jail sentences are issued … before the glacially-paced, ever-sanctimonious NCAA gets around to its sanctions … Penn State has a chance to deliver a message and restore some of its soul.

No Senior Day? Those players will recover. They’ll get over it.

Wish we could say the same for Jerry Sandusky’s victims.


UPDATE: Slate agrees.


This is why countries hate us sometimes

From Pratap Chatterjee, writing for The Guardian:

Last Friday, I met a boy, just before he was assassinated by the CIA. Tariq Aziz was 16, a quiet young man from North Waziristan, who, like most teenagers, enjoyed soccer. Seventy-two hours later, a Hellfire missile is believed to have killed him as he was travelling in a car to meet his aunt in Miran Shah, to take her home after her wedding. Killed with him was his 12-year-old cousin, Waheed Khan.

Over 2,300 people in Pakistan have been killed by such missiles carried by drone aircraft such as the Predator and the Reaper, and launched by remote control from Langley, Virginia. Tariq and Waheed brought the known total of children killed in this way to 175, according to statistics maintained by the organisation I work for, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

The author goes on to describe his brief time with Tariq — including the tragic irony that much of their second day together was actually spent at a “jirgaorganized on behalf of drone strike victims — and ultimately concludes that:

Unless the CIA can prove that Tariq Aziz posed an imminent threat (as the White House’s legal advice stipulates a targeted killing must in order for an attack to be carried out), or that he was a key planner in a war against the US or Pakistan, the killing of this 16 year old was murder, and any jury should convict the CIA accordingly.

What isn’t entirely clear in either this article or any of the others I came across while trying to ascertain the fact is whether or not Tariq and his cousin were intentionally targeted in this strike or whether they were just two more slash marks on the blood-soaked wall of human collateral.

In some respects it doesn’t matter, of course. How could a 16-year-old and a 12-year-old do anything to justify outright assisination versus at least an attempt to apprehend or interrogate? And if, like so many others, their deaths prove to be inadvertent after all, so much the worse.

To give the last word to Tom’s one-time (current?) Blogger-for-President candidate, Glenn Greenwald:

After I linked to this Op-Ed yesterday on Twitter — by writing that “every American who cheers for drone strikes should confront the victims of their aggression” — I was predictably deluged with responses justifying Obama’s drone attacks on the ground that they are necessary to kill The Terrorists. Reading the responses, I could clearly discern the mentality driving them: I have never heard of 99% of the people my government kills with drones, nor have I ever seen any evidence about them, but I am sure they are Terrorists. That is the drone mentality in both senses of the word; it’s that combination of pure ignorance and blind faith in government authorities that you will inevitably hear from anyone defending President Obama’s militarism.


Also, too, black helicopters and my tin foil hat!

This is why we’re all going to die.

Because people like these are granted more respect in our national discourse than people pointing out that, you know, Wall Street isn’t really looking out for the little guy.

Stolen from M. Bouffant.


Getting rid of poverty is easy. Just change the definition, silly.

This is insane:

Concocted on the fly a half-century ago, the official poverty measure ignores ever more of what is happening to the poor person’s wallet — good and bad. It overlooks hundreds of billions of dollars the needy receive in food stamps and other benefits and the similarly formidable amounts they lose to taxes and medical care. It even fails to note that rents are higher in places like Manhattan than they are in Mississippi.

On Monday, that may start to change when the Census Bureau releases a long-promised alternate measure meant to do a better job of counting the resources the needy have and the bills they have to pay. Similar measures, quietly published in the past, suggest among other things that safety-net programs have played a large and mostly overlooked role in restraining hardship: as much as half of the reported rise in poverty since 2006 disappears.

People on food stamps aren’t impoverished, they’re “near poor.” WE DID IT, GANG! WE SOLVED THE PROBLEM!

Oh, wait:

In North Carolina, poverty has risen by more than 250,000 people by official count, but stayed flat under the alternate measure despite soaring unemployment.

Did I mention that this is insane? One really terrific way to screw up your ability to measure things in a consistent manner is to arbitrarily choose a different metric by which to measure the phenomenon you’re observing (it’s not even arbitrary, given that it’s designed to lower absolute poverty numbers, but I’m being charitable). As someone who’s been on food stamps before, it’s not really comforting to a person in that situation to be told, “Hey, you’re not really poor. Just imagine what life would be like if we took those EBT benefits away from you, buddy!” In other words, I was poor and I was perfectly aware that I was poor. I was so poor, in fact, that I qualified for government aid! I was not “not poor” simply because I received that aid. I was simply “not starving.”

But, you know. Whatever helps you sleep at night.



With Competition Like This (QOTD)

It’s hard to believe that Obama could possibly lose in 2012. But he could. And that’s crazy.

Michele Bachmann said:

Takeaway: “If anyone will not work, neither should he eat.”

So here’s Dave Noon reminding Michele Bachmann that Captain John Smith, of Jamestown “fame,” shared her affinity for a certain Biblically-derived work ethic to “work or starve,” and that it didn’t turn out so well the first time.

When his patience with the idlers expired, Smith had a public hissy fit, announcing his famous policy that “he that gathereth not every day as much as I do, the next day shall be set beyond the river, and be banished from the fort as a drone, till he amend his conditions or starve.”

It’s worth noting, I suppose, that Smith’s orders were conceived with idling gentlemen as much in mind as the scrofulous poor. It’s also worth noting that Smith’s efforts did little to alleviate the long-term Hobbesian conditions that prevailed in Virginia for years after he left the colony forever. But I think it’s even more interesting that in trying to inspire her fellow citizens to great feats of self-reliance, Bachmann — who presumably remains a somewhat viable Presidential candidate for a major political party — would turn to a slogan befitting an experimental, disorganized, resource-strapped, unskilled menagerie of landless gentlemen, unemployed soldiers and indentured servants living in a 17th century malarial swamp. And the Republicans criticize Obama for not being sufficiently optimistic?



Crying Purple People Cheater

So EM-EYE-ESS-ESS-EYE-ESS-ESS-EYE-PEE-PEE-EYE wants to call fertilized human eggs (aka, Denny’s Cannibal Slam Breakfast®) “people.”

From yesterday’s NYT editorial:

A ballot measure going before voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8 would define the term “person” in the State Constitution to include fertilized human eggs and grant to fertilized eggs the legal rights and protections that apply to people.

I see red(state) people.

The rest of the piece goes into detail about why this is a terrible, ridiculous idea –convenient, since I don’t have any desire to delve into the more highfalutin ethical and legal ramifications anyway. However, I worry about some of the lesser absurdities that such a ruling might lead to.

For example, if life truly begins at conception, then age must also logically begin at conception, which means that someone’s day of birth (what some people call a “birth day”) is no longer a valid indicator of how old he or she is. Furthermore, since life is life no matter how far along in it you already are, presumably any such ruling would have to apply retroactively. Which means that, if Missippians really believe in the new law, they’ll have to start giving 17-and-three-month-year-olds (give or take) the right to vote and 14-and-whatever-year-olds the ability to earn their learner’s permit and on and on and on. Because age is merely a reflection of how long someone has been a person, right? And if personhood is applied at conception to a gloopy dribble of non-sentient cells, then that’s when the clock starts ticking. To argue otherwise would be to deprive your citizens of their sperm-given humanity.

(And yeah, I know that, as a nation, we’ve already complicitly — if tacitly — agreed to compromise on the birthday convention for purposes of convenience, but we’re talking about a single state here, so if this law passes, they better be prepared to put their penis where their vagina money where their mouth is.)


[Editor's note: I'm not sure if the parodic title of this post makes any sense, but I'm a little punch drunk this week. My thinking was: it's almost Halloween, "Flying Purple People Eater" is one of the few well-known Halloween-type songs, babies don't fly but they cry, they're a little purplish looking in the womb, this story is about the legal definition of "people," and classifying them as such at conception is cheating. So we cool?]


Surprise, surprise: Walmart has no soul

Hey, guess who topped the Global Fortune 500 this year with $422 billion in revenue ($16 billion in profits)? Walmart!

Now guess who’s “substantially rolling back coverage for part-time workers and significantly raising premiums for many full-time staff”? Walmart!

Because, you know, fuck coming away with only $15 billion next year.


Gaddafi Was Captured Alive

Kind of disturbing video below, but since it’s the news of the day:

Something about this makes me squirm. It may be cosmically just on some level (though I hesitate to use the word justice here), but it’s really depressing, too.


Update for clarity, since this is sitting on the FP for the weekend: What’s “depressing” isn’t Gaddafi’s death as much as the fact that he was captured alive, likely tortured, and then executed. It’s also depressing that his body is on display for people to see. That kind of shit just depresses me, and if I need to explain it, you need to watch the video again. What the video shows is a scared old man who is about to be killed. It does not show a dictator at all. It shows the shell of our former selves we all become in our last moments of life. It is defeat and the fear of imminent destruction, and most of all, the surprise — the sheer surprise — that you are actually about to end, as if that had not really been possible prior to this moment. It’s all there as Gaddafi gets tossed and pulled and shoved around like a rag doll at the mercy of a group of teenage boys. Shock and awe and fear and looming death. And though I can understand the reasons behind wanting a man like Gaddafi brutally dead — and though I can understand why anyone who was ever under his rule might want to get a few knocks on him before he was killed — I can’t support the way it ended. I can’t join the victory lap, or the encores of “Oh good, we’ve helped to kill another dictator.”

Don’t get me wrong, Gaddafi was an asshole and the world is better off without him. Full stop. That’s just elementary utilitarian calculus right there. But that the end of this “humanitarian” intervention was marked with such revelry at the oppressor’s torture and subsequent execution doesn’t exactly give me the warm-and-fuzzies in a “We Did It, America” kind of way. It’s more like, “We did it, America. Now what?”


Not quite the worst thing ever: zoological edition

In an incredibly bizarre and depressing story out of Zanesville, Ohio yesterday, Reuters is reporting that

Dozens of exotic animals including tigers, lions and bears were let loose on Ohio farmland by their owner before he committed suicide, sparking a shoot-to-kill hunt in which 49 of the wild beasts, including 18 endangered Bengal tigers, were killed.

The whole thing is terribly sad, and I’m sure that many of the more extreme PETA-philes would have preferred that officers let come what may, but any reasonable person attempting to parse an alternative solution to the sudden appearance of 50 dangerous predators in a populated area is going to have a tough go of it.

Tranqs seem like the obvious solution, but

The sheriff said they tried to shoot some of the animals with tranquilizer guns but encountered problems.

“We just had a huge tiger, an adult tiger that must’ve weighed 300 pounds that was very aggressive,” Lutz said. “We got a tranquilizer in it and this thing just went crazy.”

Barbara Wolfe, a veterinarian, said she shot a tranquilizer dart into the tiger, but it got up and charged her from 15 feet away. A deputy shot the tiger dead.

“I’ve never been in fear of my life more than then,” Wolfe said. She works at The Wilds, a refuge not far away from Zanesville that keeps exotic animals like rhinos and giraffes.

What would you do if you feared directly for your life and had a firearm by your side? Just a shitty situation all around.


Republican Presidential Debate: Liveblog

8:23 PM: I just started watching this. Michele Bachmann wants to “completely abolish the tax code,” because that will “create job growth.” YIPPEE!

8:25 PM: Perry: “1.2 million jobs could be put to work.” wat?


8:27 PM: Rick Santorum says that income mobility is a new term, despite the fact that he’s been “using it for a long time.” I don’t know if I can do this, folks.

8:28 PM: Santorum calls out Romney for MassHealth. #onlythingMittRomneyeverdidright

8:29 PM: Shorter Mitt Romney: “STATES’ RIGHTS!”

8:30 PM: Santorum is a petulant child. #fact

8:31 PM: Newt Gingrich cites the Boston Herald. #theraptureiscoming

8:32 PM: Goodness gracious. This is a bitchfest of the highest order. I really don’t know if I can deal with this shit tonight.


8:34 PM: Break taken. “We have a long way to go,” sez Anderson Cooper. I don’t have any booze. This is going to be a real challenge. #offtotheliquorstore

8:36 PM: The whole “not having booze” thing was a joke. Of course I have booze. Drinks.

8:37 PM: We’re back!!!!


8:40 PM: Obamacare hasn’t even really gone into effect yet. How could it be a disaster already? Premiums are rising because they’ve been rising for a while. How do Republicans get away with such outright lies?


8:43 PM: Xenophobia, etc, etc.

8:44 PM: This is really the “Romney-Perry Death Match Of All Time.” It’s incredibly boring.

8:45 PM: New topic: BORDER FENCE!

8:46 PM: PROTECT THE WHITES FROM THE BROWNS – Herman Cain #ironyisdead

8:47 PM: Iranians are using drug cartels to penetrate this country. Rick Perry continues to enlighten.

8:48 PM: Obama’s aunt and uncle are illegal immigrants. Therefore, fences on all the things!


8:52 PM: Why is Romney still going so hard after Perry? Perry’s dead in the water. He’s getting booed. Give it a rest, front runner.

8:55 PM: Ron Paul just made no sense. #goldstandard

8:56 PM: Rick Perry sez: “You get to ask the questions, but I get to answer the way I want to,” gets applause from the crowd. Proceeds to talk about energy policy in response to a question about the validity of the 14th Amendment. #greatdebate

8:57 PM: Michele Bachmann flirts with repealing the 14th Amendment #thatswhatthefuckiamtalkingaboutmotherfuckers

8:58 PM: The Latino family understands the traditional values of marriage and family, unlike those coloreds – Rick Santorum


9:04 PM: As much as I despise Romney, I can’t really think of anyone else in the field who I’d prefer be the Republican nominee, should something as terrible as the Republican winning the presidency occur, of course.

9:05 PM: God, shut the fuck up, you idiots!

9:07 PM: Romney complains about incentives in markets when those incentives help poor people. Fails to mention all the game-rigging on behalf of the rich. #reallygettingtiredofthis

9:08 PM: HEY MOMS, WORD THE FUCK UP! – Michele Bachmann

9:10 PM: The White House caused the financial crisis in 2008 because of government. Also too economics. Or something. Fucking hippies. – Herman Cain

9:12 PM: “I work on the assumption that government’s pretty much not capable of anything.” – Ron Paul, Republican member of the federal GOVERNMENT since 1976.

9:14 PM: Commercial break achieved.

9:16 PM: A reminder that “we’ll be right back.” Excitement builds.

9:20 PM: Fucking JEEBUS. Yes, Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Salvation. Roads. Fucking Jesus.

9:21 PM: Newt Gingrich sez the Founders were hip to Jesus, ignoring, of course, that a pretty prominent one created a version of the Bible that excluded Jesus’s's’s's miracles. #thomasjefferson #alli’msaying

9:23 PM: Rick Perry: “Something about Americans understanding faith and freedom of religion and also Jesus.”

9:25 PM: I hate Michele Bachmann. I really do.

9:26 PM: Holy shit. What the fuck is she talking about? She just complained about 4 fronts in an endless war, and subsequently opened up the possibility of starting another war with Iran? And got cheers? And 100 people being deployed to Uganda is a new war? WTF is this shit?

9:28 PM: Newt Gingrich is a “cheap hawk.” Sounds about right. Except for the “cheap” part.

9:31 PM: Anderson Cooper: Would you negotiate with terrorists? Everyone on stage: My penis is this big.

9:34 PM: Ron Paul suggests cutting defense. Scattered cheers.

9: 35 PM: Q: Why the fuck we helping those poor people in other countries? A (Rick Perry): Let’s defund the UN. Audience: Cheers!

Take a drink, friend.

9:36 PM: The American political discourse is dying. Or dead. We’re all screwed, is what I’m saying.


9:39 PM: Another commercial break. Presumably the last? For my liver’s sake, at least. Please?

9:44 PM: Who can beat Barack Obama in a general election? Rick Santorum makes his case! #notaverygoodone

9:50 PM: Sorry, I got distracted by the stupid.

9:51 PM: Anderson Cooper announces that the debate is over, candidates whine, pontificate, and….?

9:52 PM: Fin!

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