Time for the occasionally awarded prize “Douche of the Week.” Like you couldn’t see this one coming. Well, a Merry Fitzmas to all, and to Rod a “Good Night (you Douche).” For those who have simply been hiding in a hole and wonder what the fuss is about, here’s what make this Chicago Pol unlike any other Chicago Pol:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-fournier-blagojevich-tapes-html,0,3993637.htmlstory

This artist’s interpretation of Blago’s infamous phone conversations shows why, even by the extremely generous standards of Cook County, this guy was considered somewhat over the top. Even for a City whose graft, corruption, and patronage led directly to a major flood, Blago was a bit, well, open about his auction of state services and offices.

And the news just gets better and better. Gosh, Blago’s really raised Illinois’ visibility around the nation and the world. Thanks Rod!

Seriously, this is a guy who somehow got re-elected (mostly due to the abject stupidity of his opposition), and yet seems to have not one single supporter across an entire state containing every sort of ideology and ethnicity. He’d already had an approval rating below that of George W. Bush (down over just a few months from a respectable rating), and I can only imagine what it is now.

So, for what he’s done, what he’s tried to do, and, almost certainly, for what’s yet to come, we the Angry Men salute you, Governor Rod Blagojevich, with the one fingered salute of the Douche of the Week!

Oops… He Did It Again : Hugo Chavez went and did it… he gave himself the powers he didn’t win in the election last December. As Megan McArdle so dryly put it, “One might have asked why Chavez needs emergency decree powers during an oil boom when his country is at peace.” We have already said what needs to be said about good old Hugo Chavez, who continues to win in slow motion.

Have a durian, Hugo, and shove it right up your a–. Better yet, make it a pineapple.

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A “Class Action” DotW: I saw this little gem the other day. It is a story about people such as Reginald Paterson of Jacksonville, Florida, who was dissatisfied with his sandwich in Subway and, rather than heading to Quizno’s or calling the district manager, decided to call 9-1-1. Because, you know, the cops are the right people to handle disputes between Subway “sandwich artists” and customers…. The news piece has a lot more and you should, by all means, read them. While it is certainly the case that stupid policies such as requiring calls to 9-1-1 to report a crime exist, there’s just no two ways about it, douchebags such as Mr. Paterson call it for no good reason at all and they cost the rest of us big time.

I’ve called 9-1-1 three times (that I recall). The first, in the pre-cell phone era, was when I witnessed a pedestrian getting turned into street pizza by a car at a nasty intersection. It turned out several other people did at the same time. The second was when I was involved in a serious accident and needed to get taken to the hospital in an ambulance on a back board. This was January of 2001, a month after I got a cell phone. I feel really, really good that I had it then because I was not easily visible to passers-by and could have laid in the fine January weather for a while before someone happened upon me. The third was when I was stuck in an elevator with a friend of mine. Fortunately he had cell reception, while I did not. Unfortunately, we had to try two times because the first time the operator thought we were pranksters. Fortunately, the fire department did come and break us out, though it took a while and the air was getting pretty stale when they arrived. In short, I have had ample reason to both be very happy that 9-1-1 exists and dislike crank callers for that reason. Thankfully, I haven’t had to wait for a long time for something truly urgent but I wonder how many people have?

So from anyone who’s had to wait a long time to call 9-1-1 because of stupid jackasses deciding it’s a blast to crank yank the 9-1-1 operators, here’s a hearty collective EXPLETIVE DELETED from the 12 Angry Men.

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This week has much douchebaggery of note. Yet more:

  • Kwame Kilpatrick, rapidly working on topping Marion Barry as the scummiest big city mayor since the good old days of Tammany Hall.
  • John Edwards, for being a sanctimonious prick and media whore in his entire life.
  • The Prince George’s County Police, for kindness to animals and showing admirable restraint when it was needed most… or not.

Time for the occasionally awarded prize “Douche of the Week.” This week you get a twofer: Andrew Meyer, winner of the Inaugural Horse’s Ass award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award to OJ.

Horse’s Ass Award: Andrew “Don’t Tase Me, Bro!” Meyer

You’ve all seen the video…. UF Student Andrew Meyer, after barging to the head of the line and running off at the mouth asking “questions” to Senator John Kerry, decided to throw a temper tantrum while being escorted to the door. He ended up being tasered for his trouble. While we here at the Angry Man Blog are of divided mind about whether he deserved being tasered (the id part of me screams “yes!”), whether excessive force was used, and whether the perceived nature of tasers act as a lure for LEOs to use excessive force, we are quite unified that he deserved being escorted to the door and that what happened afterwards was largely of his doing. My own more reasoned (non-id) view is that the determination of whether excessive force was used should be left to a board of inquiry to decide. Trial in the court of public opinion with a context-free Youtube video as sole evidence simply isn’t a good way to handle it. My colleagues will, of course, chime in on comments. 🙂

Some people are holding Meyer up as an example of violated right of free speech. While I believe profoundly in the First Amendment, Meyer’s drama queen behavior—far too common on college campuses these days—certainly ain’t it. I’ve personally attended public speeches where jerks like Meyer had taken over the discourse. Let’s not forget this, by their behavior the Andrew Meyers of the world deny others the right to speak by hogging the mike, butting in line and doing all sorts of other forum no-nos. You’ll notice, for instance, that a lot of the crowd clapped when he was being removed. Seems Mr. Meyer has a reputation at UF for pulling these kinds of noxious stunts. One of the rules of the civil disobedience game is “Make your point and when the LEO comes to remove you, don’t be stupid.” Meyer, however, was clearly a newbie and, while happy dishing it out, he sure couldn’t take it when someone decided to call his bluff. The cynic in me said “This is a setup, he’s going to be making the talk show rounds” the day I saw the video. What do you know? The Youtube video was done with his own camera and a few nights back his friends were busy paying off their student loans getting interviewed. I’m sure he’ll be there soon enough. (I won’t link to his web page with videos of his stunts. Google for it yourself but my advice is not to give him the satisfaction.) I later found many of these points made in video essay from a student in Florida (not at UF).

The UCLA tasering case from last year is more difficult, but again, the whole thing would have been avoided if the student hadn’t decided to throw a temper tantrum worthy of a cola-infused three year old two hours past his nap, i.e., if he’d chosen to act like an adult. The mix of student self-righteous indignation and cop Eric Cartman-esque “You will respect my authoritah!” mental rigidity (supported, I suspect, by a substantial mutual dislike of mostly working class cop versus mostly upper/upper-middle class student) seems to be a heady brew indeed. In fact this independent report from UCLA discusses these points and should become required reading for university police departments on how things can go horribly, horribly wrong. The temptation is to blame one side and therefore exonerate the other, but as the UCLA report says, there’s plenty of blame to go around. We’ll see on the UF case, but my bets are with the cops on this one.

Enjoy your fifteen minutes, bro.

Without further ado, here’s

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Lifetime Achievement Award: OJ Simpson

A Lifetime Achievement Award goes to OJ for reminding us of how much of a scumbag he really is:

  • There was that wonderful episode back in the mid 90s which does not bear repeating…
  • There’s the book “If I Did It,” originally slated for publication by Rupert Murdoch’s schizoid business empire that simultaneously owns trash TV outlets, the New York Post, and “family values” icons like Fox News, and now published by Ron Goldman’s family…
  • Now there’s his attempt at a ghetto-style recovery of what he claims was stolen property, done that way, presumably, to avoid having any of it getting reported as part of his assets to avoid the civil judgment against him from that episode in the 1990s.

The Juice’s definitely got some screws loose. If we’re lucky, he’ll disappear and spend the rest of his old age in the slammer and we won’t have to hear about one Orenthal James Simpson—a great running back, but a poor excuse for a human being—again for a long, long time, if ever….

Mildly Piqued Academician

We here at the Angry Man Blog dispense the dubious honor of DotW to someone who’s been especially egregious in the recent past. In fact, it’s been awarded only once, to Alec Baldwin for a drunken phone call to his daughter, and that was only implicit at the time, so consider Alec Baldwin a retroactive award. (Given its rarity, the title of “Douche of the Week” is a bit of a misnomer and the title itself is a bit controversial. Maybe “Occasionally Awarded Prize Piece of Work Prize” would be better. Thoughts?)

In any event, one newsworthy item made us think it was worth dusting off the trophy. Failed Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork is our winner. For those of us old enough to remember, the infamous Bork nomination was big news exactly twenty years ago. In short, he was nominated to the Supreme Court and failed to make it through the Senate after forcing a vote. In the end, the much less controversial Justice Anthony Kennedy ended up being confirmed. Bork went on to write various books, including Slouching Toward Gomorrah. Google for “the Bork nomination” or his book if you really care.

One of Bork’s many positions—he had a lot of them, having been a prolific law professor and an appeals court judge before his nomination—was in staunch opposition to torts, aka lawsuits. It’s very clear there are a lot of frivolous lawsuits junking up the legal system, though probably fewer than many people claim since the vast majority of cases do settle. Acknowledging the fact that torts are a reasonable thing to debate and that ambulance chasers are real jackasses who cost us a lot of money as a society, there are good reasons for personal injury suits. For instance, I was in a serious accident several years ago and have, over the years, gained a deep understanding of what “pain and suffering” from someone else’s negligence means up close and personal. I ended up getting essentially nothing out of it because I didn’t go to court due to the circumstances of the case.

But let’s hang loose on our opinion(s) about torts because this isn’t about us, it’s about the DotW. How did Bork earn his prize? By filing a slip and fall lawsuit in South Manhattan Superior Court of extraordinary magnitude after falling on his keister getting up on the dais to give a speech to the Yale Club. He ended up developing a hematoma (nasty, persistent bruise), had to have surgery, and a long convalescence. As someone who’s been in an accident, I can sympathize with someone who got injured but there are… issues with Judge Bork’s suit. While Yale Club was clearly sloppy in not providing stairs and a rail, Bork’s actions in the case were picture-perfect for the notion of accepted risk. It’s not as if the lack of stairs and a rail were hidden from view. Yale Club didn’t have a poorly maintained set of stairs with loose treads that were advertised to be something they weren’t. No, they didn’t have any stairs at all. As an elderly man, Bork could and should have reasonably requested assistance, but evidently decided not to bother. In fact, Bork has made this quite rational point in his critique of personal injury lawsuits: If there is a clear and obvious danger which you nevertheless choose to accept and end up getting hurt, guess whose problem it is?

The offense for which Bork has earned his DotW is the fact that he’s suing for One Million Dollars (plus punitive damages and costs) in exactly the kind of slip and fall case he derided in writing many times. It seems that restricting redress to the courts is fine for law journals or other people, but when the time came to put his money where his VERY BIG lawyer mouth is, he sues in exactly the fashion he has criticized quite eloquently in the past. Congratulations, Judge Robert Bork, for crass hypocrisy above and beyond the call of duty, you… are… Douche… of… the… WEEK!

Mildly Piqued Academician