Here are some people who deserve, in the words of Frasier Crane, a good cuffing:
• The member of the Jackson 5 who named his son Jermajesty. Yes, Jermajesty. Apparently, the name Pleasekickmyass was already taken. To be sorta fair, the dad's name is Jermaine, so their names share the first four letters. However, when my wife and I had kids, I'm certain that my wife, Ana, never once considered naming the child Ana Throne. Or Tomp and Circumstance.
• Whoever named that volcano in Iceland "Eyjafjallajökull." There's a reason that Iceland has the worst teen-drinking problem in the world: The kids all get disillusioned after the geography spelling test in the sixth grade and climb into a bottle. I'm not quite sure how, but it probably also has something to do with the fact that 63 percent of all births in Iceland are to unmarried women, by far the highest rate in the developed world.
• Members of the Mexican Senate and the Mexican foreign ministry for advising Mexican citizens not to travel to Arizona after the passage and signing into law of SB 1070. Pardon me, but had not so many Mexican citizens "traveled" to Arizona over the years, perhaps the rednecks in the Arizona State Legislature wouldn't have gotten the urge to pass that bill.
The powers-that-be down south of here might want to consider giving Mexican citizens a reason to want to stay in Mexico.
• Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, for asking prospective NFL draftee Dez Bryant if Bryant's mother was a prostitute. NFL general managers ask all kinds of off-the-wall questions to prospective players to help gauge how the athlete responds to pressure situations. After all, these clubs will be investing millions of dollars in the ballplayers, so the more the team knows, the better. The athletes usually give rehearsed, pat answers, but how does one rehearse an answer to that question?
(The correct answer is, "No, is yours?")
• The people who responded to the story about Jeff Ireland like it was a public lynching. The question was inappropriate, but it didn't come out of nowhere. Dez Bryant's reportedly said his dad was a pimp, and Bryant has said that his mother worked for his dad. The question is almost a logical progression. (Bryant's mother served 18 months in prison for selling crack cocaine and had Bryant when she was 15. That, however, doesn't mean that she was ever a prostitute.)
Nevertheless, the 24-hour-a-day media grabbed onto the story as though it were ... oh, I don't know, a story.
• Alabama Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James, who used the phrase, "This is Alabama; we speak English," in his campaign. People have given him crap about racism and using veiled references to a growing Hispanic population to drum up votes. That may or may not be true. What bothers me is that James claims that what is spoken in Alabama is English.
He did have a good point, however. The state of Alabama gives the driver's license test in 12 different languages, including Farsi. What, did the Pahlavis settle in the Mobile area?
This is one of those places where the politically correct and the easily offended need to take a step back. It is perfectly reasonable for a driver's test to be given only in the language that will appear on the traffic signs. What good is it if somebody who only speaks Thai knows the proper distance to follow somebody in 35 mph traffic if he can't read a sign that says, "Right Lane Ends, Merge Left?" This isn't a history quiz for English-language-learners at the middle school. This is a potentially life-or-death situation in which liberal guilt leads to driver's licenses being handed out to people who cannot properly function in traffic.
Of course, there are non-Hispanic people who have lived their entire lives in Arizona who apparently can't read a "Yield" sign. (They think it says "Just Cut In.") But please stop and think for just a moment if you believe that it's OK for people who can neither read nor speak English to be driving on roads where all of the instructions are in English. And if you, for even a moment, rationalized that such people could just memorize the shapes of the traffic signs, slap yourself really hard. I don't have time to get around to all of you.
• The Santa Clara County (Calif.) Board of Supervisors. All right, get this: These petty little weenies passed a law that bans fast-food places from giving out toys with children's meals if the meals don't fit the board's narrow standards of "healthy." Said board president (and sponsor of the measure) Ken Yeager, "This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes. It imposes common-sense nutrition on meals linked to toys. We hope that other municipalities, counties and states will follow suit."
Well, I hope that I live long enough to dance on your tofu-oozing grave, you intrusive little twit. You're a county supervisor; do your damn job. Fix the roads; hire some sheriff's deputies. And if there's any money left over, give it to a program that deals with the growing problem of childhood obesity (or maybe just keep the parks open longer).