The Man for Our Time : Edwards for President


Report says ‘Highly Inappropriate’ Conduct by Former Head of FBI Teresa Carlson


 reports: The former head of the FBI’s Milwaukee Field Office is the target of a condemning report. The report by the the Department of Justice mentions her handling of the Sikh temple shooting. The subject of that report is Teresa Carlson.

Carlson is not being prosecuted, but may face disciplinary action. The report says her conduct was, “highly inappropriate,” and showed, “a troubling lack of judgement.”

“It appears that Page died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” said Carlson.

In the days and weeks after the Sikh temple shooting, Teresa Carlson was the face of the FBI.

“We’re looking for any possible motive, and right now we still don’t have one,” said Carlson.

At the time, Carlson was in charge of the FBI’s Milwaukee Field Office. Carlson has since been removed from that job, and now a scathing report offers one explanation why. Read the rest of this entry »

Francis Bacon Work Could Fetch $80M

Three Studies For A Portrait Of John Edwards by Francis Bacon, which is expected to fetch around 80 million US dollars. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Three Studies For A Portrait Of John Edwards by Francis Bacon, which is expected to fetch around 80 million US dollars. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

NEW YORK (AP) — A triptych by Francis Bacon of his longtime companion is poised to sell for about $80 million at Christie’s as the spring art auction season revs up with sales of postwar and contemporary works.

A provocative image by Andy Warhol of the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, race riots and a seminal painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat of a regal warrior figure are among other big-ticket items coming up for sale Tuesday evening.

Andy Warhol's 1964 "Race Riot," in four parts painted with acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen. (AP Photo/Christie's)

Andy Warhol’s 1964 Race Riot, in four parts painted with acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen.                   (AP Photo/Christie’s)

Bacon’s “Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards” was executed in 1984 and comes on the market a year after Christie’s sold his 1969 “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” for $142.4 million, setting a world record for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. Read the rest of this entry »

Rise of the A-hole

John Edwards official Senate photo portrait.

On the night John Edwards first bedded Rielle Hunter in 2006, the former vice presidential candidate, father, self-styled crusader for the poor and husband of a woman dying from breast cancer told his new mistress he had three other girlfriends in Chicago, Florida and Los Angeles, Hunter later said.

Edwards told her he needed her to be his “safe place,” then later admitted that he had fabricated the story about the three other girlfriends — to keep her from getting too attached, Hunter said.

John Edwards was a Hall of Fame-level a-hole. Who are these people? How did they get that way? And what should the rest of us do about them? In his new book, “A–holes: A Theory” (Doubleday), University of California, Irvine philosophy professor Aaron James ponders these questions.

An absurdly unjustified sense of entitlement is critical to a-holism, James points out. Edwards probably felt that he was a tireless advocate for the poor, just as Steve Jobs’ “knowledge of how much people love his gadgets could potentially explain why he felt entitled to park in handicapped spaces, skimp on philanthropic giving and intentionally hurt his associates. As Jobs’ best friend, Jony Ive, explains, ‘When he’s very frustrated . . . his way to achieve catharsis is to hurt somebody. And I think he feels he has a liberty and license to do that.’ ”

There is a shocking aspect to all this: Steve Jobs had a friend?

An a-hole is not a psychopath, but he does feel a right to do what he does — cut to the head of the line, weave in and out of traffic,

English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone...

hijack the conversation — and is surprised by, or simply disregards, others’ objections to his behavior. Also, there is a pettiness to the a-hole’s deeds. And a-holism presupposes a level of intimacy and familiarity.

We don’t refer to criminals, terrorists or even people who sneak across the border as a-holes; Hitler was a monster, not an a-hole. Yet a-hole behavior is so egregious that it spurs us to vulgarity; “jerk” is too mild an epithet for the likes of Donald Trump, Simon Cowell, Nancy Pelosi, Joe “You Lie!” Wilson, Kanye West, Naomi Campbell, Michael Moore, Mel Gibson, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Anthony Weiner and Charlie Sheen. These are a few of the A-holes flagged in Geoffrey Nunberg in his new book, “Ascent of the A-Word: A-holism, The First Sixty Years” (PublicAffairs).

“Every age,” Nunberg writes, “creates a particular social offender that it makes a collective preoccupation — the cad in Anthony Trollope’s day, the phony that Holden Caulfield was fixated on in the postwar years — and the a–hole is ours . . . It signals indignation, with an undercurrent of contempt.”

Nunberg, a Berkeley linguist, notes that the A-word dates back only to WWII, when GIs used it and many thought it meant something like nerd (just as “ass,” which formerly meant “silly person,” is now converging in meaning with the more popular epithet). Norman Mailer was a pioneer of bringing the word to print, and if you’re thinking, “It takes one to name one,” you’re onto something.

A-holism is a virus: The acts of an a-hole are so outrageous they give us cause to be a-holes right back at them.

Be honest: A postseason Sox/Yanks game wouldn’t be nearly so important if you weren’t thinking about how unhappy the other side will be in defeat.

“That’s how a lot of partisans think of themselves, as in the business of infuriating the a-holes on the other side,” says Nunberg. Notice that in the presidential debates, Obama partisans cheered when Joe Biden acted like an a-hole for precisely this reason.

Technology — hello, Twitter! — enables us rapidly to feel familiar with ideological opponents we’ve never met, and you can bet that the day after the election will break all records for public displays of a-holism on the winning side. The modern office career is another boost for a-holism; James notes that a university study found that professional stock traders were more reckless than psychopaths on a competitive test measuring willingness to cooperate and egotism. The study co-author noted, the traders “spent a lot of energy trying to damage their opponents.” It was as if they noticed a neighbor had a nice car so “they took after it with a baseball bat so they could look better themselves.”

In a more cooperative and trust-based job, like construction, a-holism couldn’t thrive; annoy someone too much when you’re putting up a building, and you might find yourself accidentally getting a sack of cement dropped on your toes.

You’ll notice that a lot of these trends are pushing in the same direction. A-holism is one of those things, like traffic and the cost of education, that is always bad and yet always getting worse. Modern life is a rich, fertile environment for louts, jerks and boors: It’s an a-hole jungle out there.