WTF Friday, 3/2/2012

Thanks to Shelby Grossman for pointing out some highlights of the Viktor Bout interview for those of us who don’t have a New Yorker subscription. “We learn that Bout researched the FARC before the meeting with undercover DEA agents, and arrived in Thailand with a copy of Lonely Planet: Colombia.” I’ll definitely be hitting the newsstand for this asap.

I don’t mean to go all “domestic” on you guys, but this man is too epic of an asshole to ignore (though I really should). Highlights:

  • “Arpaio, vowing that no troublemakers would be released on his watch because of overcrowding, procured a consignment of Army-surplus tents and had them set up, surrounded by barbed wire, in an industrial area in southwest Phoenix. ‘I put them up next to the dump, the dog pound, the waste-disposal plant,’ he told me.”
  • “He banned cigarettes from his jails. Skin magazines. Movies. Coffee. Hot lunches. Salt and pepper—Arpaio estimated that he saved taxpayers thirty thousand dollars a year by removing salt and pepper.”
  • “Why the Weather Channel, a British reporter once asked. ‘So these morons will know how hot it’s going to be while they are working on my chain gangs.’”
  • “He got a tank from the Army, had the howitzer muzzle painted with flames, and “Sheriff Arpaio’s War on Drugs” emblazoned on the sides, and rode in it, with Ava, in the Fiesta Bowl Parade.”
  • “A federal investigation found that deputies had used stun guns on prisoners already strapped into a “restraint chair.”
  • “He meant a press release. The Sheriff gathered eight or nine aides around a big table in his office. ‘Illegal Immigration Breeds Crime, Disease,’ Arpaio suggested.”
  • “The public-health specialist said gently, ‘Surgical masks do nothing to combat this virus.’ Arpaio erupted. ‘This is my press release! I’m the sheriff! I have some knowledge! I’m not just some little old sheriff!’”
  • “In 2005, he forced nearly seven hundred prisoners, wearing nothing but pink underwear and flip-flops, to shuffle four blocks through the Arizona heat, pink-handcuffed together, to a new jail. When they arrived, one prisoner was made to cut a pink ribbon for the cameras. This elaborate degradation, which is remembered fondly by Sheriff Joe’s fans, was ostensibly in the name of security—the men were strip-searched both before and after the march. But Arpaio also told reporters, ‘I put them on the street so everybody could see them.’”

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