Diary of a Mad County

MONDAY, March 31: Over the weekend, Daily Pilot editor Tony Dodero writes, "We are fortunate to live in a country that allows the expression of dissenting opinions." Allows. I've seen and heard this sentiment for some time, so let's make this clear: the United States does not allow us the freedom to dissent. The freedom—the DUTY—to dissent is the frigging country. Got it? Saying that United States citizens are allowed to dissent is like saying an elephant is allowed a trunk. That right is inalienable, absolute, unassailable, immutable; it is not to be meted out like candy for a good report card. This country is born from dissent. Dissent is our birthright. If you don't believe so, then you don't believe the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Stop apologizing for what is yours. Some people will be more than happy to take it off your hands. . . . Quiksilver is now available in New York's Times Square, as it announces the opening of a 3,300-square-foot space. In a related story, Ocean Pacific (OP) announces it is now available out of the back of some guy named Jerry's Buick Electra. . . . The Bush administration, through eco-terrorist Gail Norton, announces it will not challenge California's ban on offshore drilling. Norton says the White House has always supported the ban, which comes as news since it spent the past three years trying to overturn it. Norton also announces the White House has always been in favor of adherence to UN resolutions and the direct, popular election of the president.

TUESDAY, April 1: Concordia University's men's basketball team wins the NAIA championship with a thrilling 88-84 overtime victory over Mountain State. Coach Ken Ammann, who inherited a 14-17 team, brought in key transfers and instituted an uptempo game that made liberal use of the three-point shot—Concordia took nearly 200 more three-pointers than opponents this year while outscoring them by an average of 23 points. . . . Speaking of winners and losers, failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon wins a case against the government that had been the subject of attack ads by Governor Gray Davis. Following the court's decision, most experts agree Bill Simon is a tool.

WEDNESDAY, April 2: In Medea-like overreaction, Mater Dei High Schoolcancels classes today, concerned that students will get caught up in a violent anti-war demonstration near the campus. This is news to the demonstration's organizer, Mater Dei student Luis Sarmiento—or, as he is now known, The Most Popular Kid in School—who was expecting, at most, 30 people to attend. Sarmiento says the demonstration, which wasn't even planned to start until 2 p.m, was his duty as a Catholic since Pope John Paul II has spoken out against the war. That argument does little to sway Mater Dei officials who, like most American Catholics, don't recognize the Pope's authority. . . . You know what I missed? I missed the part where they found all the weapons of mass destruction that the war was apparently about before it became about freeing the Iraqis who we suddenly loved to death, literally.


April 3: TBN host rejects Prince—of Persia

THURSDAY, April 3: In a little less than two hours, Adam Koch becomes the first man to kiteboard from Catalina to Seal Beach. Koch's journey was not smooth—he encountered 22-knot winds and 10-foot swells and fell a couple of times. News of what was accomplished by Koch, a professional kiteboarder, reminds many Americans that this country used to make steel. . . . Flipping channels, I stumble upon the bumpkins at TBN and am entranced by the fact that they and their audience are presently standing Nuremberg-like, straight-arm saluting the flag, saying something like, "We reject the Prince of Persia" or some nonsense, and I'm thinking this is really big talk coming from a bunch of 'billies who just got their born-again asses handed to them by the Costa Mesa Planning Commission. Now turn off those lights, Jethro! . . . Those weapons of mass destruction? According to White House collaborators, they've been smuggled across the border to Syria. Uh-huh. Yeah, that's right. The Iraqis, who can't get 10 guys together in any semblance of order, successfully took hundreds—thousands?—of missiles across the desert undetected during a war. How stupid are people?

FRIDAY, April 4: Incredibly stupid! And soulless! An LA Times poll shows that not only is support for the war in Iraq high, but in a show of hubris normally found only in guys who marry their mothers, half of Californians support military action against Iran, too, if that country develops nuclear weapons. What's more, 42 percent favor going after Syria to get at those weapons of mass destruction that aren't there. Somebody wake me when the Visigoths show up. . . . We have a leader in the clubhouse for best quote of the year, and his name is Jim Amormino of the OC Sheriff's department. Amormino was his department's spokesman in reference to the Mendiola family of Lake Forest who last week had one member arrested for murder, another arrested for kicking a deputy and still another for trying to interfere with an officer. It's the same family that has had run-ins with police ranging from spousal abuse to possession of stolen property andis the same family that was so abusive to opponents at local high school basketball games, special spectator rules—known as the "Mendiola Rules"—had to be instituted. Said Amormino, "Apparently, they're a high-strung family."

SATURDAY-SUNDAY, April 5-6: I am presently trying to figure how Weekly contributor Nathan Callahan rates to get on a "traitor list" featuring such luminaries as Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and Jimmy Carter. The list is at www.probush.com/traitor.htm and defines you as a traitor "if you do not support our president's decisions," so apparently, I grew up with a treasonous dog who went by the alias "Mom" during the Kennedy administration. I called Nathan, and he said he heard about the site, went to it and simply jumped to the bottom of the page where it tells you to "have a traitor added to this page." He typed in his own name and sent them a digital photo, and pretty soon, he was nestled between Mike Farrell and Whoopi Goldberg. Since we are defined by our friends and enemies, I say we all do likewise. I'd be proud to be posted in the same neighborhood as Martin Luther King III and Hillary Rodham Clinton. The list has even given me a new appreciation for the likes of Madonna, who I thought too fluffy for such a list, and Al Gore, who, by my count, is the President of the United States, but then I was never good at the new math.

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