— On Assholes

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Assholes

For lack of support, Berlusconi has simply backed down in his plan to topple the Italian government (see Here).  If it can happen in Italy, could it possibly happen in the US, in the gov. shutdown/debt ceiling crisis, before the suffering mounts and all hell breaks loose in global markets?  Let us hope and pray…

 

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This time not from the mouth of babes, but from God’s representative on Earth himself, Pope Francis, here:

“Heads of the church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers… The court is the leprosy of the papacy.”

The church is instead “a community” of people, priests and bishops who “are at the service of the people of God,” especially the poor, the old and the young “crushed” by unemployment.  “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.”

“Clericalism should not have anything to do with Christianity.”

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Or, rather, there is a gathering consensus to the contrary, it would seem, as Cruz takes a valiant stand for self-aggrandizement, at the risk of global economic meltdown.  A chorus of critics is emerging, even within the GOP (on the eve of a government shut down and possible failure to raise the debt ceiling).  We shall see if DC politics has exhausted its resources for asshole management, after having largely let them run wild.  Needless to say, it would be nice if the experiment weren’t so enormously consequential, for the country and for the world.  Let us hope and pray…

 

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Larry Summers withdraws, and will not be Fed chairman, despite the backing of the most powerful man in the world.

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I’m thinking Rodman is actually not a colossal ahole for praising and befriending Kim Jong-Un and publicly throwing the imprisoned American under the bus, all while cursing American officials, because, you see, he is in fact a patriotic CIA operative, who is merely gaining enough favor with the N. Koreans to nudge them to release the American over drinks.  Or maybe not…

 

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I’m kidding.  Baseball fans seem quite certain that Yankee Alex Rodriquez is indeed an asshole.

Plus, what with all the drugs and lying and arrogance, even that venereable institution of journalistic objectivity, The New York Times (er, I mean, Post), says so, on this cover page.

 

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Berlusconi hoped to get off.  Instead, his conviction for tax fraud was upheld.  (Although, alas, he’ll finally do house arrest or community service instead of  jail time).  See, e.g., here.

For his predictably outraged reaction, see here.

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I mean Larry Summers, who reportedly cost Harvard’s endowment 2 billion dollars, because of his over-confidence.  See here, for this:

Summers, unduly impressed with his own economic credentials, overruled two successive presidents of Harvard Management Corporation (the in-house fund management operation chock full of well qualified and paid money managers that invest the Harvard endowment). Not content to let the pros have all the fun, Summers insisted on gambling with the university’s operating funds, which are the monies that come in every year (tuition and board payments, government grants, the payments out of the endowment allotted to the annual budget). His risk-taking left the University with over $2 billion in losses and unwind costs and forced wide-spread budget cuts, even down to getting rid of hot breakfasts.

As the Boston Globe explained:

In the Summers years, from 2001 to 2006, nothing was on auto-pilot. He was the unquestioned commander, a dominating personality with the talent to move a balkanized institution like Harvard, but also a man unafflicted, former colleagues say, with self-doubt in matters of finance.

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Which is apparently becoming overrun with assholes, and other uncivil gente.  This is according to Cubans themselves, including President Raúl Castro.  See here.

 

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Ethical guidance through cautionary tales courtesy of the US Department of Defense.  Possibly the only public government document that is (intentionally) a spoof of itself.   The full document, for 2012, is here: Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure_2012.  Here’s a sample, from a separate document entitled “2012 Updates”  (In word doc, here: eef_complete_2012-1).

 

Encyclopedia of Ethical Failures:  2012 Updates

(From DoD IG)

MISUSE OF GOVERNMENT RESOURCES AND PERSONNEL

 

Pointing and Shooting for Personal Gain

An O-5 in communications decided that his day job wasn’t enough, so he started a side business photographing local sports events.   While on duty, he asked a subordinate to create photo products for his personal business during official time.  The officer also requested a press pass on behalf of the Defense Media Activity, which he then used to gain exclusive entry into sporting events to take pictures in his off-duty time.  When he was finally caught for misusing the press pass, he received a letter of concern from command.

Hors D’oeuvres and Wine…On the Taxpayers’ Dime

A member of the Senior Executive Service authorized the use of appropriated funds for two optional, off-site “teambuilding” events: a wine tasting event and a hors d’oeuvres-tasting event.  The SES member argued that these events were justified as “necessary

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