A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

The Minute Rice Man: MCOKER@OCWEEKLY.COM

Posted Aug. 30, 6:15 p.m.

NO MINUTEMAN, NO HOW
Jim Gilchrist would like to be your 48th District U.S. Congressman--think Chris Cox's Newport Beach-based seat, without Cox in it--but he's getting no help from the California Secretary of State's office. Following complaints from other candidates, most noticeably Demo Bea Foster, Gilchrist was forced to abstain from using "Minutemen founder" as his ballot designation in the Oct. 4 special election. The Minutemen, of course, are the rolling band of rednecks patrolling the Arizona border for those goll darn, rootin'-tootin' illegals. At the time Foster got the state to un-Minuteman Gilchrist--the rules state you must go by your occupation and not bring into the mix any organizations you head up, lest you be unfair to the rest of the field--Gilchrist or his peeps or Clockwork can't recall who from that camp nearly characterized it as a death blow to the congressional campaign, because with the Minutemen, who in Hades is Jim Gilchrist?

Well, Gilchrist faxed over word just now that Secretary of State Bruce McPherson has rejected Gilchrist's request to be designated simply as "Minuteman" or "Minuteman Project Founder" or "Modern Minuteman." In his release, Gilchrist vows to now take the matter to the courts (you know, the ones with all those goll darn, hootin-and-a-hollerin', illegals-protectin' activist judges). "Minuteman is Jim Gilchrist's vocation and calling," states Howie Morgan, Gilchrist's campaign manager. "These terms hold significant value to the electorate in their ability to properly associate Jim's name with his active dedication to ensuring the safety and security of our nation. [CLOCKWORK: cue the pomp and circumstance.] These terms hold equivilent value to labeling another candidate plumber, lawyer, businessman or CEO."

Say, wasn't that an Aaron Spelling miniseries?

Now, that's all well and good, and we can somewhat see where the independent candidate is coming from. But didn't he help organize a huge grass-roots effort that drew nationwide media coverage and has turned him into something of the superstar on the NRA/NASCAR/NO N-WORD circuit? Wouldn't his same knack for getting out the 'necks serve him well in getting out the vote? Isn't that how folks used to get elected to Congress? Or is that sooooooo retro? Sounds like what the independents need is their own Tom Fuentes to scare all the moderates, womenfolk and straight men out of the race. But the closest thing Gilchrist has to Fuentes is B-1 Blog Dornan, who'll tell you he knows all there is to know about polling, grass-roots campaigning and knowing precisely how much more support he has in a district than his opponent, which is why he's cooling his red noggin' in Virginia these days.


Posted Aug. 30, 2:35 p.m.

ARE WE THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK?
According to the San Francisco Bay Guardian, our overlords, Village Voice Media, and another alternative media company, New Times, have documents lying around that suggest we'll be merging soon--soon like in November soon. Now, the Guardian, which is in the midst of a newspaper war with the New Times' SF Weekly, thinks such a merger will be disastrous, as it would create an enormous (hah!) 18-paper chain owned by mysterious venture capitalists with no newspaper backgrounds. The documents the Guardian cites also show--allegedly--that more control of ownership and a nine-member board overseeing the new venture being in the hands of the people who run New Times and their investors, although the VVM's current president David Schneiderman would apparently run all internet operations. And, as your faithful daily blog who hopes beyond hope to still be around when the smoke clears, may A Clockwork Orange humbly mention right here how much we admire, respect and any other ass-kissy verb you wanna toss in Mr. Schneiderman. Oh, one other aspect of all this that may please our large and happy neocon readership: the New Times is generally neocon and generally plays a heavy hand when it comes to what you read in its papers. So goodbye Commie Girl, hello Fascist Girl! Goodbye Ask a Mexican, hello Ask a Patrician! And goodbye A Clockwork Orange, hello A Clockwork Red State!


GONE TO MAUI
Former Weekling Anthony Pignataro is stirring things up as editor of Maui Time Weekly. Here he takes on the island's daily Maui News for creating news by flying Jessica Lynch, America's favorite rescued Iraq war vet, to the island, then covering her visit like it was a real news event. Clockwork's favorite excerpt:

The story had no real news hook—no reason for its length, lavish use of photographs or even existence in the paper—save a single line that the casual reader probably skipped over without much thought:

"TheParkersburg News & Sentinel, a newspaper near her hometown in West Virginia, and its sister publication,The Maui News covered the travel expenses for her and two of her girlfriends."

Behold:The Maui News is now a travel agency! Who cares that Lynch hasn't been news for over a year--we'll fly her out here at our expense and then just write a story about that. This startling statement was matched by a note fromNews publisher Joe Bradley--who appeared in a front-page photo giving a lei to Lynch at Kahului Airport--attempting to justify why the paper was so generous:

"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 REGISTER PUTS THE "CON" IN CONDO-SCANDAL COVERAGE
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.


AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
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!


QUOTE OF THE DAY
"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.


QUOTE OF THE DAY, THE SEQUEL
"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.


Posted Aug. 29, 5:45 p.m.

FAT SUIT
Following up on a story the Riverside Press Enterprise got its mitts into this past June, and which the Los Angeles Times followed Aug. 7, People magazine's Sept. 5 issue will report on a general physician who is facing growing accusations of negligence following the deaths of 13 patients on whom he'd performed gastric-bypass surgeries. Dr. Terry Sanderfer, who was educated at UC Irvine School of Medicine, and who now practices at various Riverside County-area hospitals, has faced 21 malpractice suits in recent years alleging deficiencies in gastric-bypass surgeries. People's piece opens with the story of Felicia Miars, a 24-year-old out of Colton. She went from loving wife, mother of a 2-year-old boy and vivacious office clerk with dreams of someday being as doctor to being dead mere weeks after the surgery to take some of the 270 lbs. off her 5'7" frame. The family claims Sanderfer nicked an artery during surgery. Early stories in the Riverside P-T, back when gastric bypasses were a relatively new procedure, have the doctor conceding that such surgeries are high risk and intended only for high-risk people.


POOR IT ON
Hats off to the Orange County Register's Barry Koltnow for Sunday's story, which got picked up by all the news services and will do doubt get full play on tonight's TV infotainment circuit, that The Constant Gardener star Rachel Weisz discovered that there are masses of impoverished people living in--get this!--Africa! Hey, somebody throw a concert! "In this film, I'm just trying to remind people that there is this place on the planet called Africa where people are living in terrible poverty," Weisz told Bar. "That is the message of my movie." My movie!? Ahem . . . yeah . . . anyhoots: Way to go, OC Regerino! It makes us proud. It also kinda makes us wish Orange County's supposed paper of record had been that keen about the story of crushing poverty in Santa Ana--you know, the rusting real estate that surrounds the Reg's bustling newsoleum? The Associated Press on Sept. 4, 2004, broke the story about the Rockefeller Institute of Government issuing a study about poverty rates across the United States. Santa Ana's fate as the worst of the worst was exposed the following day to readers of daily newspapers in Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Omaha, Oklahoma City, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, North Carolina, Birmingham, Alabama, Albany, New York, Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas,and Seattle, which got the added benefit of getting to boast about being the least troubled American city when it came to poverty. (But iconic rock star suicides? Still No. 1, baby!). The Los Angeles Times also got in on the action on Sept. 5, not simply relying on the same warmed-over wire story but throwing two reporters at it to make the story their own, proving it helps to have things like armies of reporters and unlimited resources (well, we peons at the lean Reg and leaner, meaner Weekly consider 'em unlimited; the suits at Tribune, Inc. may beg to differ--and how!). It was not until Sept. 6--a.k.a. an eternity in daily newspaperland--that the Grand Avenue Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight churned out some copy on their own home city's piss-poor poorness. Keep in mind this is the fish wrap that claims "we're on Orange County's side." But don't be too hard on our pals down the block; it's not like they had the benefit of a Hollywood starlet giving them the scoop on that one.


AND NOW YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY
Re: The email exchange below:

Matt:
Good to hear from you.
Hack n Flak blogger Josh Lyman--the biggest little consultant in the world--is going on sabbatical. CA-48 blogger Sam Seaborn--me-- is staying put, and will continue to provide daily commentary on the special election.

Keep in touch,
Sam


Posted Aug. 26, 6:06 p.m.

RECTIFY!
And now a nice little email exchange:

On 8/26/05 2:37 PM, re: 15 Minutemans of Fame, Sam Seaborn wrote:

Matt:

Why no mention of CA-48 in your latest roundup on the race to succeed Chris Cox?

Thanks,

Sam


On 8/26/05 5:38 PM, Me:

I'm sorry, CA 48, I didn't mention because I didn't know. In fact, I read and re-read this email several times because I thought you were saying I neglected to mention the House district. Silly me. I shall rectify my error of omission in a few minutes. Hopefully. Very soon, I swear.

So CA 48 is going on sabbitical or somesuch?

Posted Aug. 26, 4:00 p.m.

WHEN NINO COMES TO TOWN
Circle the wagons, call in the calvary and send word to your mother: one of dem dare activist judges is coming to OC. Goes by the name of Scalia, Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court's so-called Italian Stallion or Fat Tony or Pitbull the Dago if you're George W. Bush or Nino if you're in Scalia's inner circle of baby blood drinkers. He'll be at Chapman University's Memorial Hall at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29, to take part in a re-enactment of the 1905 Lochner v. State of New York case by students and faculty from the Chapman School of Law and Wilkinson College of Letters and Sciences. This is the 100th anniversary of the controversial Lochner decision that, for a time, barred legislative regulation of working conditions. Given his record, we guessed before knowing any better that Scalia would argue for that ruling, and sure enough, he'll be sliding into the robe of Chief Justice Melville Weston Fuller, who, bitter from years of taunting because of his first name, argued with the majority that a NY law limiting bakers' working hours violated bakery owners' property rights and interfered with a "right to contract" implicit in the due process clause. California attorney general/onetime Weekly HQ visitor Bill Lockyer, who is also hubby of OC's sexiest person Nadia Maria Davis, will take the part of counsel for the State of New York, and Chapman School of Law professor John Eastman will argue on behalf of Kodak, er, Joseph Lochner, challenging the New York law. Scalia will also bum around the campus for a few hours in order to return to Memorial Hall at 7:30 p.m. to deliver the School of Law's annual Madison Lecture--little known fact: named after Dolly not James--the highlight of the law school's 10th anniversary of the Chapman School of Law. Seating for either event is free and open to the public, but because of limited seating you'd best call (714) 628-2610 or you may be forced into a sweaty lobby with the other peons and late comers, as we were for Ralph Nader a presidential campaign or two ago. Chapman supplied a Scalia bio with their news release on the festivities--born in 1936 in Trenton, NJ; served in the Nixon and Ford administrations (yet was not a crook; who knew?); appointed by Reagan first to the U.S. Court of Appeals, then the Supremes; spends his spare time killing things while wearing waders with Dick Cheney; yadda yadda yadda—but you'll find much more entertaining biographical details about his defense at being a constitutional originalist (ruling that the Constitution means only what it meant when it was written, saying "the Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead."). Or how he relishes being in dissent--even with his court's conservative majority, and often all by his self (In his drive to keep constitutional interpretation frozen in the aspic of 1789--and in his allegiance to a moral agenda that disapproves of abortion, homosexuality and other modern vices--Scalia has frequently found himself at odds with the majority of even this conservative court. In the term that ended in June, Scalia dissented 16 times, second only to Clarence Thomas' 21. Sweet!). Or, for all you Back of the Weekly Readers, his unbridled support for orgies.

Prediction: He'll be greeted like the conquering hero at Chapman. Especially 'cause of the orgies thing.


PREVIOUS POSTS:
A Clockwork Orange (Aug. 22, 5:07 p.m.-Aug. 25, 6:01 p.m.)
A Clockwork Naranja (Aug. 14-22, 10 a.m.ish)
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