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Assholes of the Week


*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. Inouye (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.

*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 Beijing 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 “Babydoll” 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.”

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


Paul Krassner is the editor of The Realist. His books include: <a

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