"It's our hope that Jessica's trip will be seen as a tribute to all of those in the military who have served in the Middle East."

In other words, Wheeling, West Virginia-based Ogden Newspaper Group, the parent company of theNews and the Parkersburg paper--which ran Monson's story on Aug. 15--paid Lynch to fly to Maui so its papers could then write a big story about her that would generate a lot of publicity about what a great a company it is.

The Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register and the wires are all over the story, as they should be, of former Huntington Beach Mayor Pam Houchen cutting a plea deal that'll have her serving years in the pokey for her involvement in an illegal condo scheme. But we here at Weekly HQ were galled beyond belief over this line in the Reg:

Houchen was elected in 1996 and resigned a year ago, the day theRegister published a story detailing her involvement in the scheme.

While that's true, that her resignation happened on the same day as publication, the Reggie seems to be implying that the two incidents are related, that its was their newspaper story that led directly to Houchen quitting. Yeah, and you know what, that same day, Clockwork found corn in its stool; surely the resignation, the Register story and my undigested bits are all related. And speaking of warmed-over B.S., the Weekly has already called the Register out on its shenanigans before, as witnessed in this piece by Nick Schou:

Because of the timing of that story, theRegister has attempted to take credit for unseating Houchen. Yet despite writing numerous articles about the city's investigation of dozens of illegal conversions, theRegister never reported Houchen's involvement in the scandal until May 1, 2004, several months after theWeekly broke the story in October 2003. ThatReg article ran under the headline "Council member Part of Condo Dispute," and like the newspaper's subsequent follow-up stories, theReg never credited theWeekly for the scoop.

In journalism, we call that really fucking rude.

Schou has reason for the salty language. Here are stories published in the Weekly under his byline BEFORE the first Register story tying Houchen to the condo scheme:

Warm Up the 'Dozers: Houchen pushes to make it even easier to develop in Surf City, March 5, 2004

Condo-Mania: HB Councilmember Houchen ensnared in new ethics scandal, October 17, 2003

And this one, which isn't related to the condo scandal, but Clockwork came across it while compiling all these other ones and we found it a fun read:

Million-Dollar Munchikins: How a councilwoman's taxpayer-funded multiple childbirth complicated HB's budget crisis, October 10, 2003

Schou also wrote several stories about Houchen after the Register woke up, which you can find by typing "Houchen" in our search engine.

We've read and heard and lost our lunch over the movement in this country to turn back the clock/reality/logic when it comes to what's taught in our schools, what's displayed in public squares and, now, higher academic freedom. But, according to everything Clockwork's read, heard or lost a lunch over, the coverage has predominantly been heavily geared toward the Christian Right's fairytale believers and how scientific theory and fact (let alone what you see with your own bleeding eyes) somehow discriminates against their beliefs.

By the way, before I go on, I was watching this Bill Hicks DVD last night, and he had this funny routine where he mentions how offended Jesus Christ will be when he returns and sees all these crosses all over the place, especially the ones dangled around people's necks. Hicks riffs it would be like wearing a sharpshooters rifle pendant around Jackie Onassis (still alive when this was taped, apparently). He then goes on to show someone wearing the pendant and mingling with the former Mrs. JFK and giving the thumbs up sign, and saying it's out of respect for her slain husband, and, you know, motioning holding a rifle, and later firing the invisible rifle, and later recreating the impact of the bullet against President Kennedy's head.

Good times!

Anyway. Yes, the one-sided coverage. Refreshingly, Americans United for Separation of Church and State-Orange County are going to counter with the other side of the previously one-sided argument at their next general meeting. "Defending the Teaching of Evolution in the Public Schools," with guest speaker Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Irvine Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave. (at Waterworks), Irvine. Be there or be square Earth!

"In 1900, American women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we'd all be thrilled. I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy."
-Reuel Marc Gerecht, former Middle East specialist for the CIA.

"The first time I ever was in a Wal-Mart, and it's on a poster."
-Lauren Conrad, a 19-year-old college student from Laguna Beach and one of the "stars" of MTV's reality show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, speaking to the New York Times about learning her shyly smiling image appeared in a huge, four-color Laguna Beach group shot hanging in a Wal-Mart.

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