|Part 1 (with setup)|
Mario Cuomo, Donna Douglas, Edward Brooke, Stuart Scott, Stéphane Charbonnier, Tignous, Cabu, Georges Wolinski, Andrae Crouch, Rod Taylor, Anita Ekberg, Don Harron, Vince Camuto, Joe Franklin, Ernie Banks, Kristiana Coignard, Charles Townes, Whitney Steen O’Leary, Colleen McCullough, Rod McKuen, Dave Bergman, Kim Jones, Charlie Sifford, Dean Smith, Billy Casper, Ed Sabol, Claude Ruel, Kayla Mueller, Bob Simon, Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, Razan Abu-Salha, David Carr, Gary Owens, Steve Montador, Lesley Gore, Louis Jourdan, Philip Levine, Jerome Kersey, Clark Terry, Earl Lloyd, Leonard Nimoy, Avijit Roy, Boris Nemtsov, Oren Miller, Minnie Minoso, Anthony Mason (basketball player), Christian Welp, Taylor Negron, Ofc. Robert Wilson III, Sam Simon, Camille Muffat, Jimmy Greenspoon, Bill Badger, Terry Pratchett, Rev. Willie Barrow, Mike Porcaro, Daevid Allen, Chuck Bednarik, Lee Kuan Yew, Jerry Warren, Lisa Colagrossi, James Stuhlman, Emily Selke, Yvonne Selke, Gene Saks, Cynthia Lennon, Jose Rosario, Gary Ross Dahl, Robert Z’Dar, Jeremy Brown, Eddie LeBaron, Nicole Peppelman, John Doster, Sarah Brady, Robert Lewis Burns Jr., Fredric Brandt, Gardner C. Taylor, Stan Freberg, Milton Berkes, Stan Hochman, Richard Dysart, David R. Boldt, Guenter Grass, Percy Sledge, Cardinal Francis George, Ben Powers, Doug Buffone, Mary Doyle Keefe, Jonathan Crombie, Richard Corliss, Sawyer Sweeten, Suzanna Crough Condray, Jack Ely, Calvin Peete, Ben E. King, David Goldberg, Ruth Rendell, Grace Lee Whitney, Frank Olivo, Nigel Terry, Michael Blake, Errol Brown, Jim Wright, Marv Hubbard, Elizabeth Wilson, Guy Carawan. Justin Zemser, Jim Gaines, Abid Gilani, Rachel Jacobs, Derrick Griffith, B.B. King, John Forbes Nash, Anne Meara, Mary Ellen Mark, Beau Biden, Ronnie Gilbert, Kalief Browder, Vincent Bugliosi, Mary Ellen Trainor, Ron Moody, Sir Christopher Lee, Ornette Coleman, Izabel Laxamana, John Carroll, Clementa Pinckney, Phil Austin, James Horner, Dick Van Patten, Patrick Macnee, Chris Squire, Nicholas Winton, Diana Douglas, Blaine Gibson, Burt Shavitz, Ken Stabler, Irwin Keyes, Omar Sharif, Roger Rees, Ron Bogdon, Marlene Sanders, Aubrey Morris, Tom Moore, Alex Rocco, George Coe, E.L. Doctorow, Theodore Bikel, Ann Rule, Betty Russell, Jack Gibbons, Roddy Piper, Lynn Anderson, Ruben Espinosa, Ray Regan, Vincent Marotta Sr., Frances Oldham Kelsey, Frank Gifford, Sean Price, Buddy Baker, Tony Lara, Julian Bond, Bob Johnston, Emma Didlake, Khaled Asaad, Yvonne Craig, Louis Stokes, Mark Costello, Steven Vincent, Justin Wilson, Alison Parker, Adam Ward, Marcy Borders, Amelia Boynton Robinson, Darryl Dawkins, Al Arbour, Kyle Jean-Baptiste, Oliver Sacks, Wes Craven, Dean Jones, Aylan Kurdi, Michael John Riley Jr., Dahlia Yehia, Tyler Sash, Judy Carne, Martin Milner, John Gibson, Dickie Moore, Moses Malone, Kerry Simon, Gary Richrath, Middle Passage, Jake Brewer, Jackie Collins, Yogi Berra, Ben Cauley, Jeremy Tarcher, Doug Kendall, James A. Getty, Bucky Clark, Frankie Ford, John Guillermin, Marty Beil, Wilton Felder, Henning Mankell, Caleb Logan Bratayley, Kevin Corcoran, Paul Prudhomme, Billy Joe Royal, Gail Zappa, Thomas L. “Cannibal” Cottingham, Jerry Parr, Grace Lee Boggs, Jamie Zimmerman, Trudy Taylor, Corey Jones, Lilly Garcia, Cory Wells, Maureen O’Hara, Flip Saunders, Mel Daniels, Al Molinaro, Faisal Arefin Dipon, Alec Cook, Fred Thompson, Melissa Mathison, Peter Rasmussen, Gunnar Hansen, Allen Toussaint, Tommy Hanson, Daniel Fleetwood, Nathaniel Marston, November Paris Bombing Victims, Anne Walsh, Bert Olmstead, Ofc. Garrett Swasey, Ezra Schwartz, Tahir Elci, Sandy Berger, Cynthia Robinson, Scott Weiland, Robert Loggia, Holly Woodlawn, George Manney, Dolph Schayes, Steven Kim, John Trudell, Jeremy Carter, Zaevion Dobson, George Clayton Johnson, William Guest, Dave Henderson, Haskell Wexler, Meadowlark Lemon, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Spitzer, Lemmy Kilmister, Wayne Rogers, Natalie Cole, Cilla Black, John Bradbury, Bob Burns, Don Covay, Bruce Crump, Jack Ely, Bobby Emmons, Kim Fowley, Andy Fraser, Louis Johnson, Wally Lester, Joe B. Mauldin, Dieter Moebius, Dallas Taylor, Sid Tepper, Andy White, Thom Wilson, Stevie Wright
…and now, without any more ado…
Dregs of the Year
This is a picture of Andreas Lubitz, a former co-pilot for Germanwings Flight 9525 which departed from Barcelona, Spain in late March and was due to arrive in Dusseldorf, Germany sometime after that. There were 144 passengers on the plane along with six other crew personnel, including Lubitz and the co-pilot.
About an hour into the flight, the plane left cruising altitude and began to descend rapidly. During the course of the next 10 minutes (based on accounts from French aviation authorities – one can only imagine how hellish those ten minutes were), the plane descended about 3,400 a minute before it crashed in the remote commune of Prads-Haute Bleone, about 62 miles northwest of Niece, killing Lubitz and everyone else aboard (here).
As noted here…
Three days after the crash, German detectives searched Lubitz’s Montabaur properties and removed a computer and other items for testing. They did not find a suicide note nor any evidence his actions had been motivated by “a political or religious background”. During their search of Lubitz’s apartment, detectives found a letter in a waste bin indicating he had been declared unfit to work by a doctor. Germanwings stated it had not received a sick note from Lubitz for the day of the flight. News accounts said Lubitz was “hiding an illness from his employers”; under German law, employers do not have access to employees’ medical records, and sick notes excusing a person from work do not give information about medical conditions.
The following day, authorities again searched Lubitz’s home, where they found evidence he was taking prescription drugs and suffered from a psychosomatic illness. Criminal investigators said Lubitz’s web searches on his tablet computer in the days leading up to the crash included “ways to commit suicide” and “cockpit doors and their security provisions”. Prosecutor Brice Robin said doctors had told him Lubitz should not have been flying, but “medical secrecy requirements” prevented this information from being made available to Germanwings.
In the weeks before the (French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety’s) preliminary report, the investigation into Lubitz found he had been treated for suicidal tendencies prior to his training as a commercial pilot and had been temporarily denied a US pilot’s license because of these treatments for depression. For five years, Lubitz had frequently been unable to sleep because of what he believed were vision problems; he consulted over forty doctors and feared he was going blind. Motivated by the fear that blindness would cause him to lose his pilot’s licence, he began conducting online research about methods of committing suicide before deciding to crash Flight 9525.
So, knowing he was suffering from an illness that made him a danger not only to himself but everyone around him, Lubitz instead decided to kill himself in a manner that would enable him to take as many people as he could with him also (including Drexel University student Emily Selke and her mother, Yvonne Selke).
I realize that we’re talking about mental illness here, and the rules of rational human behavior don’t apply. However, when it comes to a single act that was as self-destructive as you can imagine by a single individual, taking as many lives as he could and ruining many others on top of that as a result, Andreas Lubitz is, hands down, Dregs of the Year (and if one believes in this sort of thing, one can only imagine the afterlife he is currently enduring as a result).
Also, a runner-up citation here goes to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the terrorist and murderer (and not “mastermind,” as some have referred to him) behind the November Paris attack that left 130 dead; he was also responsible for other attacks in that city and had planned more before he was killed (here).
Do-Gooder of the Year
I don’t know how many other people besides me noticed this, but John Kerry had an absolutely bangin’ year of 2015.
“We welcome the announcement that the U.S. government and other major world powers have reached a framework accord to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” said the statement, published by the Iran Project.
“In view of this hopeful progress, we call on the U.S. Congress to take no action that would impede further progress or undermine the American negotiators’ efforts to complete the final comprehensive agreement on time,” the group said.
The statement is signed by former senior government officials, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. James Cartwright, former Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command and retired Navy SEAL Adm. Eric Olson.
The statement said, while “technical details are still to be fully resolved, important U.S. objectives have been achieved.”
Those objectives include limiting uranium enrichment and plutonium production, reducing Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, “broad and sweeping inspections,” and a two-thirds reduction in installed centrifuges, they wrote.
The statement also acknowledged that “important, difficult, and ambiguous issues still remain,” including how Iran’s current stockpile will be dealt with, how Iran will address concerns on the past military dimensions of its nuclear program, and how sanctions on Iran will be lifted.
Still, they said, the framework represents “important progress toward our goal of blocking an Iranian nuclear weapon.”
“Before members of Congress or its committees decide to act on this matter, we urge them to hold hearings so that the framework can be fully discussed and debated,” they wrote.
(And if you want to see this treaty put to work in a real-world way, check this out, though I have to admit that it’s kind of a “pick your poison” scenario when it comes to giving enriched uranium to our ol’ buddy Vlad Putin – still progress, though.)
And on top of that, Kerry just announced a framework for a climate change deal agreed upon by 188 countries (here)…
PARIS — Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that he would sell an agreement on tackling climate change to the American people almost entirely as a jobs and economic issue.
“This is the most extraordinary market opportunity in the history of mankind,” Mr. Kerry said at The International New York Times Energy for Tomorrow conference in Paris.
In a conversation with the New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, Mr. Kerry said that investing in renewable energy to lower carbon dioxide emissions was a far bigger opportunity than the information technology boom in the United States.
“I think there are millions of jobs to be created in this,” he said, referring to people “who would build and service and profit from this transformation.”
Mr. Kerry pointed out that the climate agreement being negotiated in Paris would not need to go before the United States Congress for debate.
Asked whether he thought putting the deal before Congress would strengthen it, he referred broadly to the gridlock that increasingly paralyzes the Senate, as well as to the rejection by many members of Congress to established climate science that indicates the earth is warming because of the burning of fossil fuels.
And yes, it’s true that Iran could abrogate its agreement and try to acquire nukes, but if they did, the treaty compliance mechanisms are such that it would be known right away. And it’s also true that the climate deal is pretty much “a common expression of good intentions, as noted here.
But here is my question; what is the alternative? The minute someone else does something better on these issues, I’ll take note of it. But for now, I don’t see anyone who actually has (an opposing viewpoint citing former NASA scientist James Hansen is here).
So, for that reason, Obama Administration Secretary of State John Kerry is my Do-Gooder of the Year (in no small part because of having to deal with nonsense like this also).
(By the way, a runner-up citation goes to the activists with Greenpeace and the group Oceana who fought, successfully, to keep Royal Dutch Shell from drilling in the Arctic, as noted here. Yes, I realize that falling oil prices played a part too, but I’m happy to celebrate the few victories we have mustered on behalf of the only planet we live on, as of now at least.)
That about does it for me on this; as is my custom, I want to take a minute and thank anyone who, over the prior year, has visited either this site or my home on Blogger. This may be it for “Do-Gooders and Dregs,” by the way – I just don’t know yet if I’ll keep doing this or whether or not I’ll change things up a bit (stretches the “Doomsy World Enterprises” budget more than a little :- ). I’ll do my best to keep things current, but after 10-plus years of doing this, I think I need to take another look at this whole thing (yeah I know – boring meta blah blah blah…).
I hope you have all good things in 2016 (and let’s hope and pray and get out and work to make sure that the “D” party still owns the White House this time next year!).