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Jan 12 2012

Ben Stein is such a goon

Oh, Ben Stein. How I love to laugh at you. You really are a great comedian.

His latest stunt: Kyocera was negotiating with him to hire him as a professional pitchman for their products, when they learned that his reputation wasn’t exactly suggestive of intelligence and technology — quite the opposite, actually. He’s a global warming denialist and professional buffoon.

So they retracted their offer.

Ben Stein’s response was to sue them. It wasn’t for violation of contract, though — he hadn’t been contracted yet. Ben Stein is suing a Japanese company for violating his Constitutionally mandated freedom of religion.

Also, according to Stein, he has a right to the $300,000 under the Constitution, which guarantees him freedom of religion. See, Stein believes that global warming isn’t real because "God, and not man, control[s] the weather." When Kyocera declined to pay Stein $300,000 to represent the corporation in part because it doesn’t want to be associated with that belief, it violated Stein’s constitutional right to $300,000. He also accuses Kyocera of violating his "freedom of speech" and "political freedom." Stein has no political freedom, because Kyocera robbed him of the freedom when it refused to pay him $300,000.

You can read the whole complaint, if you can stomach the self-serving fluff at the beginning (yes, Ben Stein is still bragging about his bit part in a movie 26 years ago). He really does make the argument that “BEN STEIN’s questioning of whether man makes the weather or God makes the weather is a matter of his religious belief.”

The man is a total loon with a Republican sense of entitlement.

121 comments

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  1. 1
    irisvanderpluym

    Republican sense of entitlement.

    Is there any other kind?

  2. 2
    'Tis Himself

    I must have missed the part of the Constitution which promises goddists money for climate change denialism.

  3. 3
    Randomfactor

    I can picture Stein in court, calling his first witness.

    “Yahweh?”…”Yahweh?”

  4. 4
    Ingdigo Jump

    Breach of contract for a contract that was never signed.

    Sadly knowing the way our system works they’ll have to settle, just like how people settle with Trump when he sues them for suing him for breach of contract.

  5. 5
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I’d forgotten about him since the last episode (was it the firing from giving the graduation address or the firing from a newspaper for not revealing his conflicts of interest?).

    I love this aside: “(KYOCERA, after years of working with some of the most toxic chemicals in industry, had recently adopted a posture of deep concern for the environment and especially for limiting carbon emissions).” Of course, despite STEIN’s subsequent claim to concern about the environment, he was willing to be a pitchman for anyone who paid him, toxic chemicals or no. What integrity.

  6. 6
    Marcus Ranum

    Wow – that sheer genius!!! Now, he can be pretty sure that not only will nobody offer him a contract ever again, nobody’ll even offer him a job!

    Shoot, someone that lawsuit-mad won’t even be able to get the time of day for fear that he’ll sue if he’s late to his next meeting. Hoist the “I am a toxic person!” flag, Ben!

  7. 7
    strange gods before me ॐ

    What exactly happens to Ben Stein’s money, that he needs another $300,000 at his age?

  8. 8
    Evader, the parasite-infested branch on the evolutionary tree

    Oh my… Funny! Props to Japan/Kyocera for dropping him. Makes perfect sense, bravo.

    Also, thanks Randomfactor (comment #4) for that visual… hilarious.

  9. 9
    Wesley

    Ben Stein is a goon, but Gawker and PZ are misrepresenting the suit and the law. I’m reading through the complaint now, and Stein alleges that there had already been and offer, acceptance, and all material points were agreed to, which is a legal basis for a contract — signed piece of paper or not. He IS arguing first that there was a breach of an existing contract, as well as that, based on that contract, his dismissal amounted to religious discrimination. That religious discrimination by a private party is not prohibited by the Constitution and Stein does not claim it is; he generally refers to state and federal law, and the federal law would be various statutes passed since the Civil Rights Act.

    Obviously Stein is a moron who does not deserve to be considered intellectual by anyone. But the lawsuit is not as crazy as PZ’s post makes it out to be. Well, the “religious discrimination” part still is because he does not have a right for people to accept his demonstrably wrong views on science, but for all I know there may be a good argument for a contract having existed.

  10. 10
    Ingdigo Jump

    Ben Stein is a goon, but Gawker and PZ are misrepresenting the suit and the law. I’m reading through the complaint now, and Stein alleges that there had already been and offer, acceptance, and all material points were agreed to, which is a legal basis for a contract — signed piece of paper or not.

    Psh please

    Everyone now, finish the sentence

    “A verbal contract is worth________”

  11. 11
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I thought his complaint that the economist they hired (Morici) was told to and did perform in the ads in imitation of Stein’s persona was superficially plausible, so I checked.

    I’m not seeing it. He doesn’t own the bow tie, and nothing else seems like him at all. In fact, if they were looking for an economics-professor type to begin with (which he acknowledges they were), this guy’s quite different in manner.

  12. 12
    Alverant

    Wesley, keep in mind who we’re talking about here. I’m skeptical that the offer actually existed. Language can be pretty flexible especially when translated. It’s possible Stein assumed an offer was made when there wasn’t. Could be something like, “I have to check with my superiors but at this point you can probably expect an offer.” Remember Stein loves to leave out little bits of critical information when it serves his purposes.

  13. 13
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Not to mention that Morici is in fact an economics professor with a doctorate in the subject, which Stein is not.

  14. 14
    anteprepro

    Wow. Using religion as an excuse to deny global warming? I somehow get the impression that it would’ve been easy to Win Ben Stein’s Money if there was a significant number of science and logic questions involved.

  15. 15
    raven

    LOL. It looks like Ben Stein has build up a lot of bad Karma. And it is coming back to him.

    Hmmm, oops, wrong religion.

    Well anyway, As the magic book says, “As you sow, so shall you reap”. Ben is collecting on what he has sown.

    God controls the weather? Really? I’ve always taken this to mean that god hates the fundies. He’s always sending tornados and hurricanes into fundieland. They never catch on though.

    God makes coal fired power plants that emit CO2? How strange. I always thought they were built by contruction companies.

  16. 16
    raven

    Ben Stein was also totally wrong about the last and gigantic stock market collapse. He missed it and anyone who followed his lame financial advice lost huge amounts of money.

    wikipedia:

    Stein: …Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place, and science leads you to killing people.

    Stein has said a lot of very stupid things. Perhaps his greatest quote was how science leads you to killing people. He apparently doesn’t realize that science is the basis of our modern civilization.

    PS He isn’t going to win his lawsuit. It’s totally bogus. He has a right to be evil and dumb, but no right to be paid for it.

  17. 17
    shouldbeworking

    IANAA (I am not an American), but suing a Japanese company for violating Ben’s constitutional rights? I didn’t know the constitution was in force all over the planet. Unless it was the American subsidiary company.

  18. 18
    raven

    I’m reading through the complaint now, and Stein alleges…

    Stop right there.

    Stein alleges…

    Given how dubious Ben Stein is and how many wild statements he has made over the years, how believable is anything that “Stein alleges”.

    Not much.

  19. 19
    Wesley

    Wesley, keep in mind who we’re talking about here. I’m skeptical that the offer actually existed. Language can be pretty flexible especially when translated. It’s possible Stein assumed an offer was made when there wasn’t. Could be something like, “I have to check with my superiors but at this point you can probably expect an offer.” Remember Stein loves to leave out little bits of critical information when it serves his purposes.

    This is all true. My point isn’t that Stein is not a laughingstock or a well-established liar, but that he is loony enough without his critics needing to resort to same distortions (intentional or not) that he routinely uses. We should strive to be entirely honest and accurate precisely because he doesn’t.

    Gawker’s legal summary is wrong because Stein does claim there is a contract, and that “firing” him (assuming he was hired in the first place) amounted to discrimination contrary to federal law which actually does prohibit religious employment discrimination. Based on his own complaint and legal analysis, if there was no contract, Stein would agree that there was no unlawful discrimination. Gawker and PZ make it sound like he is alleging a violation of a Constitutional right for NOT agreeing to a contract. This is mildly crazier than the legal arguments Stein has actually asserted.

    That being said, he does actually argue that his global warming denialism is a religious belief, which would seem to negate all of his pretenses of actually giving a crap about evidence.

  20. 20
    Walton

    Psh please

    Everyone now, finish the sentence

    “A verbal contract is worth________”

    That’s a misunderstanding of the law. In English common law jurisdictions, of which California is one, a contract made verbally can, in general, be binding and enforceable (albeit with certain exceptions, such as contracts for the sale of interests in land).

    And Wesley is correct: reading the complaint, Stein is, indeed, alleging that the defendants made an offer which he accepted.* If this is the case – which will be up to the court to determine on the facts – then he does, indeed, have an action for breach of contract. There are also several other causes of action alleged in the complaint, most of which I can’t evaluate because they relate to specific federal or state statutes with which I’m not familiar, but the breach of contract claim does not seem to me to be unreasonable. (Though I should stress that I have a background in English rather than California law, and that this is obviously not legal advice of any sort and should not be taken as such.)

    (*”Offer” and “acceptance” are technical terms in contract law. An offer is an expression of willingness to contract on certain terms, with the intention to be bound legally if the terms are accepted. An offer is distinct from an “invitation to treat”, which is simply an expression of one’s willingness to negotiate terms: for instance, a shop advertising goods for sale at a specified price is an invitation to treat, not an offer.)

    In short, the Gawker article’s author has missed the point somewhat, and should probably have talked to an actual lawyer (or at least done some research) before writing the article.

  21. 21
    Fern

    Functionally, “A verbal contract is worth________” is true, but as Wesley and Walton have said, that’s not because a verbal contract cannot be a legally binding contract. It’s more of an evidentiary issue: in most business scenarios (including this one), it’s implausible that a contract existed without documentation. I suspect that Stein’s contract claims will survive a motion to dismiss, but ultimately a jury would be unlikely to believe that he had a valid contract without the paperwork one would expect from such a deal.

  22. 22
    peterh

    Is Stein being Expelled or simply Left Out? Given his track record, it will take much sifting and sorting to figure the whys and wherefores of the matter. If one has the stomach for it.

  23. 23
    RFW

    The difficulty with verbal contracts lies in proving that there was a contract at all. Unless Stein can come up with witnesses, and those witnesses report language that amounts to a contract, according to established law (ie. case law), he’s out of luck.

    The judge may find himself in a he said, she said kind of situation where the truth is impossible to ascertain.

    Stein: “They said X and I said Y and that’s a contract.”

    Kyocera: “No, we didn’t say X; we said Z. And anyway an X-Y exchange does not constitute a contract.”

    The lawyers stand to make some money out of this one.

    A more important issue: the US Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech is a restriction on government, not on personal behavior. I can tell you to shut up or get out of my house. Kyocera is fully entitled to discriminate against Stein if they don’t like his speech.

  24. 24
    Ingdigo Jump

    That’s a misunderstanding of the law. In English common law jurisdictions, of which California is one, a contract made verbally can, in general, be binding and enforceable (albeit with certain exceptions, such as contracts for the sale of interests in land).

    No it’s an observation that it’s impossible to enforce a contract where one side can just say “what contract? We remember no contract?”

  25. 25
    Walton

    Yes, there is an evidentiary problem: it may well be that Stein’s account of the facts is wrong, and/or that he will not be able to produce enough evidence to substantiate it. All I was saying is that the Gawker post misrepresented the complaint, and that Stein is, in fact, alleging a breach of contract (and making a plausible legal argument to that effect). Stein himself is a buffoon, as we all know; but I don’t, thus far, see any obvious reason to impugn the competence of his lawyers.

    (If you want to see a real example of inept lawyering in action, try reading some of the judgments from the Orly Taitz birther suits.)

  26. 26
    Glen Davidson

    Babbling idiocies is a mark of religion?

    Stein finally got something right, I guess.

    Glen Davidson

  27. 27
    Walton

    No it’s an observation that it’s impossible to enforce a contract where one side can just say “what contract? We remember no contract?”

    Not always. There are cases in which oral contracts have been enforced by the courts. Although you’re right, of course, that they pose inevitable evidentiary problems.

  28. 28
    Mike

    Hey, if he wins I’m gonna sue Liberty University for not hiring me as Head of Faculty

  29. 29
    'Tis Himself

    Stein is a lawyer and even taught law at a genuine university. He may be an idiot but he’s an educated, experienced idiot.

  30. 30
    phoenicianromans

    Ben Stein is a goon, but Gawker and PZ are misrepresenting the suit and the law. I’m reading through the complaint now, and Stein alleges that there had already been and offer, acceptance, and all material points were agreed to, which is a legal basis for a contract — signed piece of paper or not.

    Really?

    ‘cos, you know, looking at the complaint, I read:

    “Hurwitz has been in this field for 34 years and considered the deal done. On that assurance, BEN STEIN changed his winter schedule to accommodate the work contemplated in the deal.”

    But Hurwitz is identified as working for, oops, Stein.

    And there are three elements of a contract

    - an offer,
    - an acceptance which must exactly mirror the original offer made
    - and a consideration.

    Now let’s see – there were points still under discussion, so there was no valid acceptance, and no consideration had changed hands. That last point is a killer – what exactly did Stein receive from the company to seal the deal?

    http://www.weblocator.com/attorney/ca/law/c06.html#cac060100

    And note Stein’s complaint:

    The e-mail said that Kyocera had decided to “withdraw its offer” to BEN STEIN (despite the fact that there had already been offer and acceptance, and a change of position (i.e. a contract, not simply an offer)

    It seems to me that Stein might have grounds to sue Hurwitz instead…

  31. 31
    Russell

    The Ben defenders have circled their wagons at :

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/12/the-new-hollywood-blacklist/

  32. 32
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    The Ben defenders have circled their wagons at :

    [I haven't gone there to read, so this might be addressed, but...] That’s interesting. Seems unwise for them to be attaching themselves to a suit that explicitly roots AGW denialism in religion. “I don’t believe it because I believe God controls the weather” is clearly a religious, nonscientific belief. Stein is also on record denying evolution and claiming that science leads to killing people. Furthermore, the document refers to his denialism as a political (again, not a scientific) position. As I see it, the fact that they would cheer on this suit shows how desperate and stupid they are.

  33. 33
    Aquaria

    “Hurwitz has been in this field for 34 years and considered the deal done. On that assurance, BEN STEIN changed his winter schedule to accommodate the work contemplated in the deal.”

    “Considering the deal done” and the deal being done are two completely different things.

    I was about to ask where the agent was, and there she is, anyway.

    Marcia Hurwitz is a good agent, but I’m wondering what she actually told Stein, since agents can be a little slippery and difficult to pin down with things sometimes. Her exact words might have been, “The deal is all but done, Ben, baby. Hang tight. That could have meant they had a tentative agreement, and now she had to hammer out the nuts and bolts of the deal. Or it really was effectively done and only needed his signature.

    It could go a lot of ways.

    It’s impossible to say what happened until we know what Hurwitz told him, specifically–and she’ll know what she said. She’s too experienced not to have jotted down what she told him. I have a feeling she knows to do it with him, especially. What do you want to bet that Stein is the kind of asshole who’s constantly on her ass with demands? Hurwitz probably told him whatever it took to get him to leave her alone so she could do work for her other clients. You know, the ones with real jobs.

  34. 34
    feralboy12

    Maybe Hank Williams, Jr. could do a benefit concert to help with his legal fees.
    Killed By Fish

  35. 35
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    What is ignored by Ben Stein’s complaint and by his defenders is that, yes, he alleges that a contract existed, BUT if anything was exchanged on paper or through e-mail, it almost certainly contained language that said, “this contract to be executed upon signature” and other technical details of enactment. If Kyocera didn’t do this, their lawyers were amateurish. If they did, then Ben is full of BS. He knows that this language means that nothing does count as offer or acceptance except a **signed version** of those documents.

    I can imagine some verbal communication as well as some papers being passed back & forth, with Ben saying that since some verbal stuff existed and that verbal stuff didn’t include the boilerplate, then the verbal stuff did constitute an offer. Kyocera will say: “obviously we meant for things to be executed only in writing with signature because we specifically said so, in writing. The fact that we didn’t repeat it every phone call doesn’t negate the fact that we said that enacting the contract is dependent on the signatures of the concerned parties.” Given that this is standard business practice, Stein will have a hard time arguing that a verbal statement that “issues have been resolved” or that “we look forward to working with Stein” constitute legal offer or acceptance.

    Further, regarding the consideration concern noted above – what consideration exchanged hands? Stein will undoubtedly argue that Kyocera wanted him free on certain days and that he changed his schedule to accommodate that. If he spent any money to do so, that might constitute consideration, but it would be an interesting question. The point is that saying “consideration didn’t change hands” as was implied above is an overly certain statement.

    ======

    The most ridiculous statement in there that I can note is his allegation that defendant’s statements that they were “excited” and “looking forward” to be working with him constitute proof of bad faith negotiation because no one could have been excited to work with him and then reconsider based solely on the concern that associating a high tech product with a science denier is less than the wisest of moves.

    He literally says that these statements make it illegal to back out of negotiations. Can you imagine? When has any agent/studio/etc. not said something like this? But in Stein’s world, this is proof of illegal bad faith in negotiation —- in other words, one loses the right to fail to execute a contract if at any point in negotiation you express excitement about a future deal.

    This man is a bully and a class 1 jerk. Kyocera should countersue for frivolous litigation.

  36. 36
    R Johnston

    The difficulty with verbal contracts lies in proving that there was a contract at all.

    The problem is really that verbal contracts almost never exist. If the general understanding is that a deal is to be concluded by signing a written contract then there is no offer in the legal sense until one part tenders the other a contract to sign. A verbal agreement prior to executing the written contract is, absent extenuating circumstances such as actual performance of the contract or a mutual expectation that no written contract will be executed, at most a promise to make a written offer in the future. Absent actual performance of the contract a verbal agreement in a case like this is pretty much always going to be considered a mere unenforceable promise to make an offer at a later time.

  37. 37
    phoenicianromans

    What is ignored by Ben Stein’s complaint and by his defenders is that, yes, he alleges that a contract existed, BUT if anything was exchanged on paper or through e-mail, it almost certainly contained language that said, “this contract to be executed upon signature” and other technical details of enactment. If Kyocera didn’t do this, their lawyers were amateurish. If they did, then Ben is full of BS. He knows that this language means that nothing does count as offer or acceptance except a **signed version** of those documents.

    On reading up, there’s also the element of “communication of acceptance”.

    Imagine this exchange:

    Judge: “And at what exact date did Mr Stein or his agent communicate acceptance to Kyocera?”

    Lawyer: “Well, they were still discussing some of the det- bugger.”

    Judge: “Precisely.”

    You sit both sides down and get them to sign a dated contract in front of each other, and there’s no argument about this.

  38. 38
    raven

    wikipedia Ben Stein:

    Stein: When we just saw that man, I think it was Mr. Myers, talking about how great scientists were,

    I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed

    … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you.

    Another Ben Stein quote from Trinity Broadcasting.

    Were you there Ben? Did you actually see scientists working as guards in concentration camps. If your relatives were gassed, they weren’t in a position to tell you that either.

    It’s just a stupid lie. Guards worked in concentration camps, the vast majority of which were good German Catholic and Lutheran xians. Not scientists.

    FWIW, the Mr. Meyers above is actually Dr. Meyers, some scientist that Ben Stein has also smeared.

  39. 39
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Psh please

    Everyone now, finish the sentence

    “A verbal contract is worth________”

    Also, I believe I remember from my business communications class that that’s especially true in Japanese culture (I may be thinking of the section on China, though; the class was a while ago and taught by a fucking idiot who could respond to a simple direct question for five minutes while not answering and in fact saying nothing at all, all the while maintaining an exaggerated, obviously phony affect of deep concern and engagement, though the Discovery Institute was doing wonderful science, and ‘corrected’ me on whether Lysenko’s model was Darwinian).

  40. 40
    R Johnston

    I’m not seeing it. He doesn’t own the bow tie, and nothing else seems like him at all.

    On top of that, anyone who can do an online image search can find out that the professor who did the ad is known for wearing bow ties and even appeared on television wearing them long before he did the commercial at issue.

  41. 41
    municipalis

    This section made me laugh out loud:

    BEN STEIN’s questioning of whether man makes the weather or God makes the weather is a matter of his religious belief. For him to be fired because of his religious belief is a clear case of discrimination against him for religious belief in violation of state and federal law.

    I have trouble believing a lawyer wrote that. Maybe Ben Stein is trying to save money?

    And this made me go “awwwwwww, poor baby”:

    …defendants have inflicted emotional distress on plaintiff… The fact that defendants fired BEN STEIN solely due to his political and religious beliefs greatly distress plaintiff.

  42. 42
    municipalis

    Also, if it isn’t obvious:

    Stein is claiming religious discrimination on the basis of his publicily stated “religious” beliefs against climate change.

    Kyocera, however, has publically stated a commitement to the environment and against climate change:

    The Kyocera Group has also been actively involved in measures to prevent climate change through its promotion and use of solar power generating systems; its early entry into the fuel cell market; and through its other business operations.

    Stein is being hired for a marketing position, and has publically stated views (religious or not) that are contrary to the company’s other business and marketing practice. In other words, Kyocera’s CSR marketing could very plausibly be damaged by hiring, as a spokesman, someone with publically-stated antithetical views.

    Does Stein really think he has a chance here, or is it just another way for him to trumpet the victim card to bozos?

  43. 43
    cmv

    Maybe this will post without a link … Kim Bassinger had to pay $9 million for a verbal agreement which she backed out of. While Stein is a bozo and his religious claims are spurious, he may have a case for breach.

  44. 44
    lordshipmayhem

    Peterh @ 22:

    Is Stein being Expelled or simply Left Out?

    Neither. He’s being Left Behind.

  45. 45
    dornierpfeil

    Since conservatives of Stein’s ilk are so insistent that corporations are people, what about Kyocera’s constitutional right to freedom of association, or lack thereof.

  46. 46
    craigore

    So I guess being an outspoken fraud and enemy of science (“science leads to killing people”) is protected under freedom of religion now is it?
    Sorry Ben, a science company is lookin for a science type – and you aint it. Do not pass go, do not collect $300,000.

  47. 47
    phoenicianromans

    Maybe this will post without a link … Kim Bassinger had to pay $9 million for a verbal agreement which she backed out of. While Stein is a bozo and his religious claims are spurious, he may have a case for breach.

    That would be this?

    http://articles.latimes.com/1993-03-01/entertainment/ca-150_1_boxing-helena-lawsuit

    —-
    “In Hollywood, movie deals involving millions of dollars are routinely made with a simple handshake. It’s often the case that a film has been completed before the lawyers work out the details and the star signs a contract.

    This may be common in industry circles. But will it make sense to a jury of Los Angeles County residents?
    [...]
    On Friday, details of a memorandum from Main Line to Basinger were presented by the producers as the jury watched copies of the letter projected onto a screen. Among the 13 points in the preliminary agreement: For about $3-million compensation in the long run, she would work six weeks and have a “star”-size dressing room, including a VCR, sitting area and a treadmill.
    [...]
    The agent noted that what makes cases like this interesting is the big dollar amounts that are contingent on handshakes. “This is entirely different from other businesses. And in the theater, you don’t set foot on the stage until you have a formal contract signed.”
    —-

    Now, I’m willing to wager that Stein, who has been in several other commercials, signed contracts for each and every one of them before filming started…

  48. 48
    phoenicianromans

    Also

    http://articles.latimes.com/1994-09-23/local/me-42074_1_boxing-helena

    “There were various drafts of a deal memo drawn up by the actress’s lawyer that Main Line contended stood as a binding contract.”

    Strangely enough, Stein’s complaint fails to mention a deal memo, let alone assert that it constituted a contract.

  49. 49
    cmv

    Seems I can’t post links. Not sure why. The article was on EW weekly, called the $9 million maybe.

    Mostly I pulled from memory, and maybe there was more in writing than there is in this case. But preparing a contract is preparing a contract, and signing is a different matter.

  50. 50
    phoenicianromans

    Easy though it might be, but since neither of us is a contract lawyer or Kim Basinger, I prefer to do the work of looking up actual information resources on the elements of contract law and actual news reports rather than relying on your memory. Maybe that’s OCD or something, I dunno.

  51. 51
    madtom1999

    I hope he wins.
    Then we can all apply for jobs as religious leaders and if we don’t get the job we can sue them into oblivion.

  52. 52
    phoenicianromans

    I hope he wins.
    Then we can all apply for jobs as religious leaders and if we don’t get the job we can sue them into oblivion.

    Pope Gertrude Silverstein…

  53. 53
    R Johnston

    re: the Bassinger case, and applicable to the allegations in the Stein matter, and to whatever extent you lend credence to summaries on lawyers.com, and to whatever extent those summaries are applicable to California law:

    Unless there is contract for employment, employment in the United States is “at-will,” that is, an employer can fire an employee at anytime for any reason, and an employee can quit at any time for any reason. Usually, neither party has a claim against the other for any type of damages that arise from the termination of the employment relationship.

    But, what about when a job offer is made and accepted, but the offer is rescinded, or taken back, before the prospective or “would-be” employee begins work? There is no clear-cut, universal rule: in some states the “at-will” doctrine will bar the employee from recovering damages, but in some states the prospective employee can recover damages under the theory of “promissory estoppel” or “detrimental reliance.”

    . . .

    What Damages Can Be Recovered?

    For the most part, the would-be employee whose offer was revoked can’t recover lost wages or the salary that he or she would have made if the offer had not been rescinded. However, it might be possible for the employee to recover the wages that were lost when the employee quit his or her current job for the new job. This might include salary-related items like fringe benefits, such as insurance coverage and parking allowances.

    Most commonly, prospective employees are able to recover various expenses that are related to the job offer. These expenses include things like moving expenses and clothes or tools that were bought for the new job.

    An “employer” can recover reliance damages without a formal written contract just like an “employee” can, and that’s what Bassinger had to pay. But without a written contract a person whose accepts an employment offer which is then rescinded before actual employment doesn’t get to recover expectation damages, i.e. salary. He only gets to recover those costs he incurred in reliance on the offer. So even if there is a verbal contract here, Stein gets reliance damages only. He claims to have rearranged part of his winter schedule, so, for example, if he paid a fee to change a flight because he delayed a vacation he might be able to recover that. $300,000, however, is just crazy talk.

  54. 54
    R Johnston

    Ack. Forgot the link in the post above. Here it is.

  55. 55
    ambulocetacean

    What a fuckknuckle.

  56. 56
    Russell

    Ben’s employment discrimination suit seems designed to offset another in which he is the defendant-

    Second, I am working day and night on preparation for litigation which may come at any moment involving a spasm of totally, absolutely false allegations of misbehavior by me towards a makeup artist, involving employment discrimination and harassment.
    To those of you who have come to know me over the years, these allegations will be actually funny if they ever become known. But in today’s world, I have to work like a beaver and spend a lot of money to prepare my defense (and offense). My nemesis is represented by a super star celebrity woman attorney who is also an extremely close friend of the woman in question. This will be interesting but it consumes a lot of time. (On the other hand, it organizes my day.)

    I also have been down thinking about Mr. and Mrs. Richard Nixon, the peacemakers. There are some people who start wars and some who finish wars. Nixon was a peacemaker. He just had his 99th birthday. Mrs. Patricia Ryan Nixon (I LOVE THE IRISH) had her centenary.

    When I think of their crucifixion by the left and the media pooh-bahs, I still weep. Peacemakers always get crucified.

    http://spectator.org/archives/2012/01/12/back-in-touch.html

  57. 57
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    …does he not realize Nixon’s dead?

  58. 58
    House Tleilaxu

    Russell @ 22:
    Wait…so Stein thinks that the left hates Nixon because he was a peacemaker? I’m pretty sure it had more to do with the whole trying to subvert democracy and illegally bombing countries thing.

  59. 59
    otrame

    Guys, guys, you want to know why he is doing this? Let me ask you, has he started asking for money yet to defray the cost of the lawyers yet?

  60. 60
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Yeah, it wasn’t the “peace” we objected to, it was the “rest in.”

  61. 61
    drxym

    Kyocera used to have prominent ads on PCW even 20 years ago touting how their printers were more eco friendly than the opposition’s (and cheaper to run). While how much of that ad speiele true is debateable but it seems obvious to me they are trying to project an eco-friendly image and do have solar panel interests. So they are hardly likely to want an ardent god bothering climate change denialist representing them.

    So good on them for dropping the guy. Though maybe next time they’ll practice a little more due diligence and do a background check before considering hiring someone.

  62. 62
    pentatomid

    Despite the list of self-serving fluff at the start of his complaint, he forgets to mention his most important achievement: he did the voice for all the evil pixies in The Fairly OddParents cartoon on Nickelodeon!

  63. 63
    Alex the Pretty Good

    @Wesley, 19

    My point isn’t that Stein is not a laughingstock or a well-established liar,[...]

    I take it you’ve never seen or even read an analysis of Expelled?

  64. 64
    Alex the Pretty Good

    @ Azkyroth, 57

    …does he not realize Nixon’s dead?

    Maybe he thinks Futurama is a documentary?

  65. 65
    Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

    @drxym #61
    Towards the end of the 90s my then employer decided to switch from HP to Kyocera printing, although these were more for cost reasons. Although I don’t know how the manufacturing process was, the units were definitely cheaper to run and less waste from consumables then the HPs. However, they were really fiddly to support (as the consumables were all seperate & in minimal packaging, not in self contained cartridges) and the management software was shocking…

  66. 66
    carlie

    I don’t see how he could win a case if he can’t show that he is a verified member of a religion that officially has anti global warming listed as one of their main tenets.

  67. 67
    DLC

    Stein is just angling for a payoff. He’s hoping that Kyocera is too big to be bothered with pissant lawsuits and will settle in order to spare themselves the annoyance of continuing. Stien’s a damn fool if he thinks Kyocera hasn’t got a whole office block of lawyers just to hammer twits like him flat. Yes, Ben, I’m calling you a twit. in my opinion, and in the opinion of anyone with enough brain cells to keep breathing, you’re a 2nd rate vacuum-headed poltroon. Quit now before you further embarrass yourself.

  68. 68
    shouldbeworking

    I wonder what’s going to happen to the marketing department bright light who thought Ben would be a good spokes twit?

  69. 69
    adamkamp

    To pile on, I too have to say that PZ and Gawker have really misrepresented his complaint, which has nothing to do with the Constitution. We shouldn’t do that.

    The discrimination claims are an utter crock, though, and if that’s the best argument he can make for a breach of contract it doesn’t look good: when you’re saying, “Well, he might win on that” and the other party hasn’t even responded yet, it’s probably going to end poorly for him. Boo-hoo.

  70. 70
    karleyjohnston

    You’d think global warming and Bible belief would go hand in hand. After the flood thing, God said that next time he’d cleanse the world in fire (IIRC). Ergo, global warming!

    Because the Bible is the source of belief, right? It’s not like their real masters are their corporate overlords and the Bible is just a meaningless rallying flag.

  71. 71
    scottplumer

    Ben Stein IS an intelligent man, so I don’t know why he believes such poppycock.

  72. 72
    adamkamp

    Because it’s more important to him to believe these things than to care about what’s true.

  73. 73
    marcmorgenstern

    It’s funny, I’m in the entertainment industry and there is a term ‘pay or play’ – meaning that if you want a celebrity, because of their hectic schedule, celebrity, etc, you have to pay them regardless if you make the commercial or project or not. – When the company made him the offer, and Ben had blocked his time, that essentially confirms the contract. He should be going after them for that. As well as he has a recognizable character, and they used that character without his permission (think of Pee Wee Herman if someone decided to do that character.) – It’s intellectual property and we know him as that, regardless of his role in Ferris Bueller. He should win on that basis alone. But he can’t get past the ‘he’s a victim of religious persecution.’ Now, I’m not an entertainment lawyer, so I don’t know the particulars of the law, so I’m not going to pretend that what I say is canon.

  74. 74
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    This part is so funny:

    Because he played an Economics teacher in a famous scene in a famous movie and really is an economist, BEN STEIN has been described as ‘…the most famous economics teacher in the world’. [no citation for this oddly ellipsed characterization]

    BEN STEIN often appears in TV commercials in a bow tie and professorial sports jacket.

    So Morici is imitating Ben Stein’s portrayal of an economics professor. Ignore the fact that Morici is an actual economics professor. John Agar should totally have sued Carl Sagan.

    Then:

    Until recently he was a columnist for the New York Times Sunday Business Section,…

    Oh, yes. That’s who fired him for violating their ethics policy with his undisclosed COI. Definitely want to call attention to that on page 2.

  75. 75
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    When the company made him the offer, and Ben had blocked his time, that essentially confirms the contract. He should be going after them for that. As well as he has a recognizable character, and they used that character without his permission (think of Pee Wee Herman if someone decided to do that character.) – It’s intellectual property and we know him as that, regardless of his role in Ferris Bueller. He should win on that basis alone.

    Translation: I can’t be bothered to read or investigate anything beyond the complaint itself, or to read that critically.

  76. 76
    w00dview

    His “God controls the weather” claim had me thinking; how often is climate change denial rooted in religious belief? I remember some republican kook who said that we should not worry about global warming because God promised Noah that after the flood, the earth is going to be hunky dory. i think Ishtmis was his name?

    I always assumed anti environmentalism was just espoused by small government Ayn Rand types but this dangerous tripe seems to be spouted by many fundies as well. Why? If they truly believe that the Earth is God’s creation why are they so intent on pissing on his creation?

  77. 77
    interrobang

    My point isn’t that Stein is not a laughingstock or a well-established liar

    Actually, I would say that the entirety of Expelled establishes — on video — that he’s a liar, and so does the conflict of interest over which he lost his NYT column. Not to mention that it’s anybody’s guess why anybody takes him seriously about anything, especially economics, after his predictions consistently turn out to be disastrously wrong. Given that kind of track record, I think pretty much anything alleged by Ben Stein should have a giant [CITATION NEEDED] appended to it, just on general principles.

  78. 78
    raven

    His “God controls the weather” claim had me thinking; how often is climate change denial rooted in religious belief?

    A lot of gods are just sockpuppets.

    A lot of fundie xianity is just right wing extremist politics with a few god stickers stuck on it.

    Stein is Jewish but his beliefs are often straight out of fundie xian cults. Most likely because they pay him once in a while and hate the same things he hates.

    I doubt he really believes that or cares. Ben Stein probably believes he should get paid a lot of money and anyone to the left of Ronald Reagan should disappear.

  79. 79
    raven

    His “God controls the weather” claim had me thinking; how often is climate change denial rooted in religious belief?

    There is one notable example.

    Boko Haram is an Islamic sect that rejects the cloud theory of rain because the Koran says rain comes from god. They also believe the earth is flat.

    This is the Nigerian cult that keeps slaughtering xians by the dozens.

    So Stein has something in common with the worst of Moslem terrorist murderer cults.

    If you step back a ways, this looks like a typical shakedown lawsuit. File the papers and fluff out your fur and Kyocera will probably pay him $50,000 to shut up, go away, and stop bothering them.

  80. 80
    municipalis

    w00dview

    how often is climate change denial rooted in religious belief?

    I’d wager that most of what passes for ‘belief’ in these cases is just people attempting to justify their political (and economic) positions. At least that’s the case among the conservative elite. The ‘rabble’ will probably believe anything they’re fed.

  81. 81
    d cwilson

    IANAA (I am not an American), but suing a Japanese company for violating Ben’s constitutional rights? I didn’t know the constitution was in force all over the planet. Unless it was the American subsidiary company.

    The company does business in the US, so the division that represents its US interests is subject to US laws.

    But Stein’s fallacy is worse than that. Companies cannot violate anyone’s constitutional rights. The Constitution is all about what the federal government can and cannot do. It says nothing about what a potential employer can do. For example, if you trash your employer on Facebook, they can fire you for it and that wouldn’t be a violation of your constitutional right of free speech.

  82. 82
    municipalis

    Wesley

    My point isn’t that Stein is not a laughingstock or a well-established liar

    Alex the Pretty Good

    I take it you’ve never seen or even read an analysis of Expelled?

    interrobang

    Actually, I would say that the entirety of Expelled establishes — on video — that he’s a liar…

    I know there’s a double-negative in Wesley’s sentence, but spending a few extra seconds comprehending what someone just wrote before banging out a snarky reply would make you seem a lot more intelligent.

  83. 83
    Ingdigo Jump

    Iirc my weak grasp of Japanese culture, aren’t contracts finalized with a stamp of a personal seal? I thought even a signed contract was no good unless you had the actual ink stamp on it?

  84. 84
    a miasma of incandescent plasma

    #76
    Why? If they truly believe that the Earth is God’s creation why are they so intent on pissing on his creation?

    Because their magic book said the Earth would be just fine and to take “dominion” and all that… up until god destroys it with sword-mouth jebus and 7 seals bouncing balls on their noses or something…

    You see, humans simply can’t destroy the world, that’s god’s job, and we’re too low and pitiful and awful and sinnerful to be able to mess with god’s plan. You see, god made the 13.7 billion light-year wide universe firmament and divided the light and put the earth on pillars and sits above and watches everything because we are special and loved and unique, and we’re so humble that we know exactly how the universe will end and it will center around us (see, we’re humble!), so obviously we’re too stupid and dumby and evil and wicked and tainted to actually have the power to influence anything about that… except for the stuff we can influence through prayer.

    See?! Makes total sense. ;)

  85. 85
    Moggie

    w00dview:

    I always assumed anti environmentalism was just espoused by small government Ayn Rand types but this dangerous tripe seems to be spouted by many fundies as well. Why? If they truly believe that the Earth is God’s creation why are they so intent on pissing on his creation?

    A large component of religious faith is simply wishful thinking. It’s not really surprising if the sort of person who believes in an eternal afterlife because they’re afraid of death will also entertain fantasies which deny such threats as climate change and oil running out.

  86. 86
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Ben, Ben, there’s a whole big world out there–not all of it agreed to your rights within the U.S. to spout believe whatever myths you prefer and spout off about them nonstop. But, seriously, most employment in the U.S. is “at will”–which means your employer can dump you at any time for any reason or none. Welcome to the rights of corporations. So even if you think you can apply U.S. laws to the rest of the world, please pick something that’s applicable to employment!

  87. 87
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Ben–why waste Ben Stein’s money on a lawsuit? Just pray for them to change their minds!

  88. 88
    baal

    Eh the “is there a contract” part depends a lot on the facts and what each side can offer up. The part I found nutty is count 5 – Negligent or Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. These counts rarely win and were created for harms such as seeing a loved one killed in front of you.

    What’s Ben’s emotional harm? Being denied a contract for believing climate change is God’s will upon the planet. Yep, a nyuh-uh he got for goddidit.

  89. 89
    Ingdigo Jump

    The emotional distress part would require a jury to believe that Stein suffered an emotion. His brand is gonna work against him on that.

  90. 90
    Glen Davidson

    I know there’s a double-negative in Wesley’s sentence

    That double negative just makes him twice as wrong, don’t you know.

    Glen Davidson

  91. 91
    Anthony K

    You see, humans simply can’t destroy the world, that’s god’s job, and we’re too low and pitiful and awful and sinnerful to be able to mess with god’s plan.

    Right. Unless we teach kids tolerance and evolution. Gay marriage and liberalism has the ability to destroy the world. But not CO2 emissions.

    But other than that, what a miasma of incandescent plasma said.

  92. 92
    w00dview

    Thanks for all the replies. It seems to be a combination of wishful thinking and slimy politicians and pundits using God to justify any awful policies they have in mind. Certainly explains why republicans are so eager to cut the Department of Education. An educated public can see through their bullshit and they can’t have that!

    Here is an interesting article I found about the attitudes of certain Christians towards the environment:

    http://tbknews.blogspot.com/2006/06/this-stinkin-earth.html

  93. 93
    Gregory Greenwood

    Moggie @ 85;

    A large component of religious faith is simply wishful thinking. It’s not really surprising if the sort of person who believes in an eternal afterlife because they’re afraid of death will also entertain fantasies which deny such threats as climate change and oil running out.

    There are also the vested interests to consider. For all its claims of being a ‘religion of the meek’ christianity has a long and very ugly history of being the religion of privilege – keeping the rich obscenely wealthy and the poor struggling just to survive since the Bronze Age alongside having a hand in racism, misogyny, homophobia… you know, pretty much every form of human oppression and deprivation imaginable, especially when there is a profit margin in it.

    Today a great many of the rich and powerful in our society have founded their wealth in petrochemical industries or other endeavours harmful to the environment, and see great utility in adapting the god myth to salve potentially troubled consciences and keep the bulk of their consumer base placid by putting forward the idea that the magic man in the sky won’t allow anything bad to happen, and that all the mountains of evidence for AGW must be a temporary blip/a punishment for ‘teh ghey’/part of a dirty commie plot.

    The god-myth really is the swiss army knife of delusions; the ultimate long-con. It can be adapted to support almost any self-serving agenda with little effort.

  94. 94
    Amused

    He’s suing a private entity for an alleged Constitutional violation? I think I’ve lost whatever faith in humanity I still had left when I saw that this drek was actually signed by an attorney. If I represented Kyocera, I’d ask for sanctions. Of course, Stein and his legal team are probably hoping the judge will be too scared of a backlash by goons to punish anyone for an obviously frivolous lawsuit since it involves religion.

  95. 95
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    …what about when a job offer is made and accepted, but the offer is rescinded, or taken back, before the prospective or “would-be” employee begins work?

    I’ve known people who got an offer of employment (not contract work), gave notice to their old job, and then were told that the new employer had changed its plans. They were out of luck.

  96. 96
    Ingdigo Jump

    I’ve known people who got an offer of employment (not contract work), gave notice to their old job, and then were told that the new employer had changed its plans. They were out of luck.

    Happened to me a lot when I was looking for a graphics art job. A LOT of employees did a bait and switch at offering a hourly job, waiting for me to accept then withdrawing to a by commission job for pittance.

  97. 97
    paleotrent

    I hope Ben Stein doesn’t egosurf, then come read these comments, because if he happens to see that “Grace Prayer” ad up top and submits a prayer request, he’s going to win that lawsuit!

  98. 98
    Glen Davidson

    I realize that there is a logic behind this lawsuit, probably to get Kyocera to pay him to go away.

    I still can’t help but think that it’s stupid. He’s said a host of stupid things, including that whole ‘science leads to killing people’ that even “creationism is true science” Luddites wouldn’t accept, and he’s gotten away with it to a considerable degree.

    Now he’s just forcing every company out there to consider him a potential liability, someone with whom they shouldn’t even begin negotiations. A Luddite know-nothing who sues over religious discrimination when found to be an anti-science ignoramus.

    Even if he had a case–and I have to guess that he doesn’t or he’d be suing over breach of contract or some such thing–it’s likely a stupid move on his part. Sure, he’s ignorant of science yet fairly smart, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not delusional about these matters.

    I don’t expect to see him in many more commercials after this. Not that he’s about to become poor, as he’ll probably continue to give hackneyed speeches to dull conventions (still better than the corporate flacks, you know), but I think he’s turned himself into poison on the advertising scene.

    Glen Davidson

  99. 99
    w00dview

    Rush Limbaugh also thinks God will save us from doing damage to the environment.

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201002020036

    “The god-myth really is the swiss army knife of delusions; the ultimate long-con. It can be adapted to support almost any self-serving agenda with little effort.”

    QFT.

  100. 100
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Glen

    You’d think but once you get enough money you can seemingly get away with that sort of shit. Donald Trump is apparently notorious for pulling shit like this and people still deal with him and give him hand outs.

  101. 101
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    We have Stein’s claim that he changed his schedule–where’s the proof? But even if he did, what if he got his hopes up or misunderstood the state of negotiations, assumed that there was a contract (which there wasn’t if details were still being negotiated), and cleared his schedule? It’s not Kyocera’s fault if he’s unreasonably hopeful. Besides, Kyocera is a hardware company, not a Hollywood entertainment company.

  102. 102
    Glen Davidson

    He’s suing a private entity for an alleged Constitutional violation?

    Not really, although the article suggests as much. He’s alleging religious discrimination, which is illegal. Right now I’m not sure if that’s serious, or just something he’s throwing at them.

    Having just read the complaint I now see also that he is suing over “breach of contract,” so I don’t know, maybe he has a case. Even if he does, though, had he done anything that misrepresented his environmental and/or science stance he might be thought to have breached the contract himself.

    Basically, this is for the courts to work out. The religious discrimination bit is nonsense for sure, much as it was in Expelled, yet breach of good faith or some such thing could be correct. I mean, Stein’s idiocies are all over the web, and these bozos started worrying about it at the last minute?

    Even if he wins, though, why would any company begin negotiations with this deluded Luddite to represent them in the future?

    Glen Davidson

  103. 103
    Ingdigo Jump

    Basically, this is for the courts to work out. The religious discrimination bit is nonsense for sure, much as it was in Expelled, yet breach of good faith or some such thing could be correct. I mean, Stein’s idiocies are all over the web, and these bozos started worrying about it at the last minute?

    Counterpoint. is intelligent design and other issues that Stein would show up on actually on the radar in Japan?

  104. 104
    Matt Penfold

    Counterpoint. is intelligent design and other issues that Stein would show up on actually on the radar in Japan?

    One would assume that given the company has a US based subsidiary, and it not exactly poor, it would have had the resources to find out what Stein was like.

  105. 105
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Today a great many of the rich and powerful in our society have founded their wealth in petrochemical industries or other endeavours harmful to the environment, and see great utility in adapting the god myth to salve potentially troubled consciences and keep the bulk of their consumer base placid…

    I’ve been thinking of late, as I’ve been reading about and analyzing conservatism-authoritarianism, about another possible aspect. There’s a powerful element in conservative-authoritarian thought – expressed in Social Darwinism, the fondness for war, and so on – that sees disaster and want as positive and necessary to human development. Calamity and war are believed to be the proving ground that brings out the best in people and creates the conditions for the best to rise to the top. People’s needs being met, in contrast, is believed to lead to complacency and weakness.

    I think it’s quite possible that many of them do recognize that it’s real, and that it’s going to cause unthinkable suffering and death, and they want that. The thought brings a gleam to their eye. It’s the harsh world in which they see masculine virtues being forged and progress made, and the suffering and deaths of millions are just the stage set needed for their fantasy virility drama to play out.

  106. 106
    chigau (違う)

    Was the alleged ad meant to air in the USA or Japan?
    Ads in Japan use foreigners but don’t always match the person to the product.

  107. 107
    Ingdigo Jump

    One would assume that given the company has a US based subsidiary, and it not exactly poor, it would have had the resources to find out what Stein was like.

    I’m note sure those outside of the ID issues are actually aware of it that much. Even in America most people are very very unaware

  108. 108
    Ingdigo Jump

    I’ve been thinking of late, as I’ve been reading about and analyzing conservatism-authoritarianism, about another possible aspect. There’s a powerful element in conservative-authoritarian thought – expressed in Social Darwinism, the fondness for war, and so on – that sees disaster and want as positive and necessary to human development. Calamity and war are believed to be the proving ground that brings out the best in people and creates the conditions for the best to rise to the top. People’s needs being met, in contrast, is believed to lead to complacency and weakness.

    I think it’s quite possible that many of them do recognize that it’s real, and that it’s going to cause unthinkable suffering and death, and they want that. The thought brings a gleam to their eye. It’s the harsh world in which they see masculine virtues being forged and progress made, and the suffering and deaths of millions are just the stage set needed for their fantasy virility drama to play out.

    Any other anime fans thinking of The Colonel’s rallying speech from Hellsing?

  109. 109
    municipalis

    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I think it’s quite possible that many of them do recognize that it’s real, and that it’s going to cause unthinkable suffering and death, and they want that. The thought brings a gleam to their eye. It’s the harsh world in which they see masculine virtues being forged and progress made, and the suffering and deaths of millions are just the stage set needed for their fantasy virility drama to play out.

    Have you ever read The Authoritarians by Robert Altemeyer? Worth checking out. I agree that conservative dogma nowadays is overall defined by meanness and contempt for others. You could probably take any issue and determine what the conservative line will be by looking for the solution which maximizes suffering (especially among the weak).

  110. 110
    Matt Penfold

    I’m note sure those outside of the ID issues are actually aware of it that much. Even in America most people are very very unaware

    Possibly not, but I would have thought if you are planning to make someone centre to an advertising campaign that you do some checking into them. And if you are not conversant enough with the culture to do it, you someone who is.

  111. 111
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Have you ever read The Authoritarians by Robert Altemeyer? Worth checking out.

    I don’t mean this in a critical way, but what is with the overwhelming focus on Altemeyer in the skeptical blogosphere? :) You’d think no one else ever wrote about authoritarianism from a psychological, sociological, or historical perspective.

    Anyway, I’ve got to run and so can’t continue the conversation, unfortunately. Just thought I’d throw that out there about AGW. Have a great weekend, all.

  112. 112
    municipalis

    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I don’t mean this in a critical way, but what is with the overwhelming focus on Altemeyer in the skeptical blogosphere? :)

    He has a free book easily available online which is short; filled with interesting tidbits; and written in an accessible, entertaining, and non-jargony manner. There certainly is other stuff out there, but whenever research is locked behind publisher paywalls, breadth becomes limited. I think the book does have its flaws, but for most people its the best resource they have access to.

    If you get back to this conversation, I’d be happy to hear about other books you recommend. Most of my reading has been on the democratic-thought side of things, so I’d love to branch out. I still have alumni access to one of the world’s best academic libraries, so I should be able to access even the most obscure items.

  113. 113
    Gregory Greenwood

    SC (Salty Current), OM @ 105;

    I think it’s quite possible that many of them do recognize that it’s real, and that it’s going to cause unthinkable suffering and death, and they want that. The thought brings a gleam to their eye. It’s the harsh world in which they see masculine virtues being forged and progress made, and the suffering and deaths of millions are just the stage set needed for their fantasy virility drama to play out.

    I think yoiu may be right, and that is even worse than these morons just being idiots who think that god will wave a magic wand and make it all better.

    This whole thing plays into patriarchy and toxic constructions of masculinity, and of course into the twisted ideology of the rapture-ready crazies who believe that god needs a little helping hand in bringing about the apoocalypse; a hand they are all too willing to provide.

  114. 114
    Ingdigo Jump

    Possibly not, but I would have thought if you are planning to make someone centre to an advertising campaign that you do some checking into them. And if you are not conversant enough with the culture to do it, you someone who is.

    Isn’t that what happened? They expressed interest in the person, checked him out, saw red flags and withdrew.

  115. 115
    municipalis

    We Are Ing

    Isn’t that what happened? They expressed interest in the person, checked him out, saw red flags and withdrew.

    Well, the best practice would be to do a bit of cursory research before expressing interest. That way you don’t have to waste time and money negotiating and writing-up contracts.

    What this case will really come down to is the exact timing and language used by both sides in their communication. I don’t think ‘enthusiasm’ by both sides is enough to qualify as acceptance, but we don’t actually have much detail. The burden of evidence lies on Stein though, not the company.

  116. 116
    robertharvey

    The closest his lawyers come to stating a claim is to try to change advanced negotiations into a contract. There is such a thing as an oral contract, but they generally arise when there is no expectation of a written contract, and where terms are very, very simple (sale price of a piece of personal property). It is much harder to show that an oral contract has arisen in the course of negotiations that were intended to lead to a written contract. The offering party implicitly expects its conditional offer to be accepted only by executing a contract. It’s easy to assert that there were no other matieral terms, but all of the boilerplate in even the most standard contracts contains tons of material stuff that would not be covered in an oral agreement: indemnities, termination provisions, timing of payments, governing law, remedies.

    The claims for punative damages and emotional distress are simply out of place in a contract case. The California Labor Code claim appears to be bogus. The sections he cites do not apply to potential employees (contrary to his assertion), and in any case, Stein would probably be an independent contractor, not an employee. Any legitimate complaint would have to deal with these issues, but Stein doesn’t.

  117. 117
    XXIst Century (now on Daylight Time) Vole

    [Richard Nixon] just had his 99th birthday.

    Which Richard Nixon is Ben Stein writing about? Not only has Nixon been dead for almost 18 years, he was only 81 when he died.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Nixon

    Or perhaps Nixon’s death is right after AGW on Stein’s list of deniability?

  118. 118
    psanity

    I don’t know what Stein hopes to gain from this — he’s never been that good at judging cause and effect, though. Win or lose, he’s poisoning any future contracts he may hope to make with anyone, anywhere, ever. Kyocera may choose to settle and avoid the hassle, but depending on the existence and nature of a written offer, it looks like they have a good case. They also have an obvious counter-claim: they can say Stein and his agent failed to disclose information about Mr. Stein’s employment history and public pronouncements that could be damaging to Kyocera’s reputation as an environmentally responsible company. Kyocera has, after all, devoted significant resources to building that reputation.

    Gregory Greenwood:

    The god-myth really is the swiss army knife of delusions; the ultimate long-con. It can be adapted to support almost any self-serving agenda with little effort.

    The swiss army knife of delusions. I’m totally stealing that. That’s a great analogy. Um, you wouldn’t sue me, would you?

  119. 119
    julietdefarge

    Kyocera should go ahead, hire him, and hand him a script stating how Kyocera is doing it’s bit to reduce the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Appropriate backdrop of dead coral reef. If he fails to read the script with enthusiasm, fire him.

  120. 120
    Gregory Greenwood

    psanity @ 118;

    The swiss army knife of delusions. I’m totally stealing that. That’s a great analogy. Um, you wouldn’t sue me, would you?

    Go right ahead and use it with my full endorsement. I wouldn’t sue over such a thing, but then again I didn’t have a bit part in a movie almost three decades ago, so I don’t have as much to lose as BEN STEIN…

  121. 121
    Crissa

    For example, if you trash your employer on Facebook, they can fire you for it and that wouldn’t be a violation of your constitutional right of free speech.

    But it would be a violation of labor law about retribution for whistle-blowing, which is weak at the Federal level and doesn’t exist in all states, but I do believe it exists in California. You could defend yourself by saying it was the truth in some cases.

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