"Assholes of the Week" by Paul Krassner

*The parents of Jerry Yang and the parents of the late Tammy Faye Messner, for their strictness that went awry. Jerry, who won $8.25 million at the World Series of Poker, was forbidden to gamble as a child, and Tammy Faye, known for her trademark false eyelashes and overbearing facial cosmetics, grew up in a rigid home where she was forbidden to wear makeup.

*National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell, for defending newly approved CIA torture boundaries–“If I announce what the specific [permissible] measures are,” he said, “it would aid those who want to resist those measures”–and an anonymous administration official, who parroted the party line that, if such tactics were not kept secret, it would “only enable Al Qaeda to train against those [methods] they know are on or off.” Sample training moment: “All right, gentlemen, when you are given the water-boarding treatment, keep saying to yourself, ‘I’m not drowning, I’m not drowning….”

*Dick Cheney, for pretending that it was a sudden change for him to be in charge of the White House only during the 2-1/2 hours that the so-called president was under sedation for a colonoscopy. Also, E-bay has confirmed that Cheney attempted to auction off the five polyps which were removed from Bush’s colon and diagnosed as benign despite their malignant host.

*Senators John D. Rockefeller IV and Daniel K. InInouye (both Democrats) for respectively sponsoring and fast-tracking a bill directing the FCC to maintain a policy that a single word or image can be enough to trigger indecency fines. Bush reacted, “This shit has got to stop,” and Cheney said, “Go fuck yourself.”

*NBC producers for bribing police across the country, and those same police for accepting the bribes, to let “Dateline” film confrontations with suspects who were lured to homes with hidden cameras, including a suspected predator who was arrested and filmed at his own home after failing to show up at a rigged house 35 miles away, and killed himself as the cameras closed in on him. A spokesperson for NBC had no comment except to announce the network’s upcoming new series, “Entrapped.”

*Dr. David Matlock, a pioneer in “boutique cosmetic gynecologic laser surgery,” for marketing the procedure–costing $6,000-$8,000–as enhancing a woman’s sexual experience. What’s next: iphone-2 will include a vibrating dildo.

*Purdue Pharmacy and three of its executives, for claiming to doctors that the prescription painkiller OxyContin was less addictive and less subject to abuse than other such medications, while the drug has resulted in hundreds of deaths each year. True, their pain disappeared in the process. However, prosecutors have dropped the charge that physicians were urged to suggest that patients pop the perilous pills with a Pez dispenser.

*The DEA, for sending threatening letters to landlords who rent space to medical marijuana dispensaries, causing many unnecessary and illegal evictions. Although the 5,000-year-old weed has not caused any deaths, there have been fears that users would raid their neighbors’ refrigerators.

*The Chinese government, for not making use of its oil-buying leverage with Sudan to end the strife in Darfur. Activists have threatened to brand the Olympic games in Beiing as the “Genocide Olympics” if China does not apply pressure on Sudan to stop the conflict. Meanwhile, China insists that it is becoming more humane every day, and now allows slave laborers to listen to pirated CDs while they work.

*Former Hollywood madam Jody “Babydol” Gibson, for planning to testify in the Phil Spector trial that Lana Clarkson worked for her as a prostitute, even though Gibson’s “trick book,” which was seized as evidence in her own trial, had been doctored to include a fake Clarkson entry. Concomitantly, People magazine has selected Spector as “the sexiest man alive.”

*Anti-Asshole of the Week: Rev. Reggie Longcrier, who YouTubed this question to John Edwards in the course of the, er um, debate on CNN: “Politicians have used religion to justify slavery, segregation and men-only voting. So why is it still acceptable to use religion to deny gay Americans their full and equal rights?” Edwards justified his own religious beliefs to explain his opposition to gay marriage, and Ann Coulter commented, “Okay, maybe he isn’t a faggot then.”

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Paul Krassner is the author of “One Hand Jerking: Reports From an Investigative Satirist,” and publisher of the Disneyland Memorial Orgy poster, both available at paulkrassner.com


"Assholes of the Week" by Paul Krassner

In the ’60s, “Assholes of the Month” was a feature in my satirical magazine, The Realist. In the ’70s, “Asshole of the Month” was a feature in Larry Flynt’s Hustler. Currently, on MSNBC’s Countdown, Keith Olbermann has a feature, “Worst Person in the World,” which is usually Bill O’Reilly. And now I’m posting “Assholes of the Week” in this cyberspace. I avoid targets like President Bush and Cardinal Mahony, because they’re such ongoing, obvious choices. The beauty of Comments is that readers can post their own asshole selections that I neglect to include. Here are mine for this week:

*Scholastic, publisher of the Harry Potter series, for setting midnight Friday as the opening salvo for sales of the latest book, thereby forcing countless children to stay up way past their bedtime. Just for that I’m going to reveal how it ends. Harry and his friends and enemies are all having dinner at the same restaurant, but when you turn over the final page, it’s totally blank.

*Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, for telling reporters, “We say in full confidence that we are able, God willing, to take the responsibility completely in running the security file if the international forces withdraw at any time they want,” but the next day his advisor announced that Maliki meant that efforts to bolster Iraq’s security forces would continue “side by side with the withdrawal.” Dick Cheney had called to remind Malaki that those videos of him humping a camel during Ramadan were hidden away in a safe place.

*The unknown White House official who ordered Dr. Richard Carmona–George Bush’s Surgeon General for four years–to mention Bush’s name three times on each page of every speech he gave. He was fired for writing this sentence: “When it comes to abstinence, you can be sure that George Bush practices what he preaches.”

*Lousiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux, for signing legislation that penalizes doctors who perform a late-term abortion–they would face fines up to $10,000 and prison up to ten years–making her state the first to restrict such surgery since the federal ban in 2003. The new law allows the procedure only when a woman’s life would otherwise be endangered. However, it will be considered a crime if the pregnancy is expected merely to cause health problems. That’s not a joke.

*The owners of several medical marijuana dispensaries in California, for–if it’s true, as alleged by the Drug Enforcement Adminstration–profiteering from the illegal distribution of pot by charging patients two or three times the street value. Presumably, other government agencies will follow the lead of the DEA and coerce other businesses to stick to free-market protocols.

*Nebraska Judge Jeffre Cheuvront, for ordering a college student who was raped not to use the words “rape,” “victim,” “assailant” or “sexual assault” on the witness stand for fear of prejudicing the jury. Perhaps she can testify that “He stuck his thing in my thing against my will.” George Carlin is expected to introduce a bit in his next HBO performance about “The five words you can’t say in court.”

*Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, for insisting that the FDA’s decision to close seven of its 13 laboratories would enhance the agency’s ability to target unsafe food–this in the face of severe criticism from Congress–but he is as determined as salmonella swimming upstream.
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Paul Krassner is the author of One Hand Jerking: Reports From an Investigative Satirist, and publisher of the Disneyland Memorial Orgy poster, both available from paulkrassner.com.