Craziness presents itself in manifest ways every day, so for most people the parade of insanity marching by blends quietly into the background noise of life’s routines. Then again, sometimes the extent of sheer shock and folly rises to a level that cannot be ignored. This week has seen its share of true insanity.
Crash and Burn
A pilot for Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings apparently suffering from some undisclosed illness locked the cabin door of his Airbus 320 while the captain stepped out to relieve himself. The pilot, Andreas Lubitz, then proceeded to program in a landing sequence that would take the jet from cruising altitude to 96 feet, setting it on a collision course for the French Alps. Post 9/11, after Al Qaeda terrorists gained easy access to the cockpit, all commercial airlines installed more rigorous locking systems on the doors leading to the controls. One such locking setting makes it impossible for anyone outside the cockpit to enter – even with the secret access code. I suppose this is designed to thwart terrorists from forcing someone under threat of decapitation outside the cockpit who may know the code from opening the door. But like all systems designed by humans, unintended consequences are inevitably built in.
Maybe a ground-based system could be devised to overtake a plane in distress, much the way drone pilots maneuver pilot-less planes. But again, unintended consequences abound – most prominently in the form of hackers.
Although frightening, any time a person climbs aboard a transportation vehicle – plane, train, taxi, cruise ship, amusement park ride – they commit their lives to the operator. The same can be said for most any service: restaurants where a sociopath could introduce a poison, doctors who could purposely botch an operation.
Damn – what to do?
John Bolton: Desk-bound Warrior
Put simply – John Bolton is an asshole. Has been for a long time. Now he’s certifiably insane. In an op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times Bolton expresses his views on how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. As expected, he starts out blaming Obama for all the ills in the region, then goes on to explain the basics: Iran is making a bomb; Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt will be forced to do so as well; Israel’s possession of nukes is OK because they won’t use them.
After the history lesson, Professor Bolton gets to the heart of the solution: Bomb Iran. He points out the successful whack-job Israel did on the nuclear facilities in Iraq (1981) and Syria (2007) – two regimes with weak air defenses – and concludes that a raid on Iran’s well-protected sites in Natanz, Fordow, Arak and Isfahan would be fundamentally easy. He says, “The United States could do a thorough job of destruction, but Israel alone can do what’s necessary.” Once again, we must suffer a pompous chicken-hawk who dodged serving his country militarily when he had the chance calling for the U.S. to engage in a very dangerous campaign. Unlike Syria, Iran is well-prepared to take defensive and offensive action in the face of a hostile air raid – just as the U.S. and Israel would do if so attacked. On the upside, there’s only perhaps 1 or 2 thousand ways things could go wrong.
And adding proof of his insanity, Bolton foolishly asserts about the bombing campaign, “Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran.”
Yeah – I can already see the Iranians throwing flowers and greeting the Americans as liberators.
Influenced by ISIS, or psychosis?
Earlier this week in Ohio a mother killed her three-month old daughter in what has been blamed on postpartum psychosis. That the woman, Deasia Watkins, decapitated the child with a 10 inch kitchen knife makes the whole thing more horrifying. According to reports, doctors declared the mother unsafe around the baby unless she took prescribed medication – which I would have interpreted as “keep the mother far away from the baby at all costs.”
Clearly, the overwhelming number of post-partum depression cases do not result in the mother harming her child, so blanket measures to separate the children make no sense. But as it would appear in this case, drastic measures were called for but not taken.
The Newest “Right to Discriminate” Law
If I strolled into a bakery, or a tailor, or a hardware store and the proprietor told me he wouldn’t serve me because of my height or weight or even the color of my skin, I’d tell him to go fuck himself as I walked out the door. I wouldn’t feel it necessary to file a lawsuit or agitate to make such behavior illegal. Withholding my patronage plus a bit of internet-based scorn would be satisfying enough.
Others feel differently – particularly these days betrothed Gays and Lesbians seeking wedding services such as cakes and photography who have been refused by store owners for whom the concept of same-sex marriage is revolting or as they would say, contrary to their religious beliefs. Some of those denied services have turned to litigation. Again, that wouldn’t be my strategy – why exert the effort to force ignorant people to do your bidding? Furthermore, store proprietors have innumerable ways to make you wish you had gone somewhere else. Do you really want to eat a cake from someone who was forced against his will to bake it? Do you really think those precious wedding photos will be sharp and well-composed? Or that the photographer won’t be taking a dump during that critical moment when the bride and groom shove cake in each other’s faces?
Nonetheless, because the possibility of litigation looms, some states have enacted legislation to hold the service-deniers harmless for their narrow-minded actions. And as is so often the case, the backlash is strident.
Arizona took a shot at passing such laws, but when the NFL threatened to move the Superbowl out of Phoenix, the Governor vetoed the bill. The vast majority of businesses (and probably not a few who like to deny service to sodomites) breathed a sigh of relief that bigtime boycotts would not materialize.
Not one to learn anything is Governor Mike Pence who signed such a “right to discriminate” law in Indiana. The reaction from businesses was swift. Salesforce.com led the way, stating “Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination.” Yelp and the NCAA also made veiled threats to avoid the Hoosier State.
I suspect some of these companies are coming out against the law because it’s better for business than to turn a blind eye. Still, Pence and his fellow bigots in the Legislature had to see this coming, but went insane anyway. How long before bystander businesses in Indiana getting creamed by boycotts call for repeal? And will that only harden the crazies? And how long before we hear of some wacko refusing a serious service like first aid or medicine using the “religious freedom” law as the basis?
Dumb & Gabbana
The fashion company Dolce & Gabbana counts numerous celebrities as clients: Madonna, Lady Gaga, Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johansson among others. D&G trolls among the Hollywood and music-scene crowds, most of whom can be counted on to be left of Nancy Pelosi. So what the hell were these two gabagools thinking when they weighed in on the provenance of Elton John’s kids who were born through in-vitro fertilization?
“I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog,” opined Dr. Dolce.
In a word: insane.
When Elton John (no slouch when it comes to the heft of one’s fan base) pushed back, Gabbana called him a “fascist.”
Talk about boycott. If the swells who give the fashion industry its cache decide en masse to stop wearing your shit, where do you go? Will we have to shop for D&G in the A&P?