A Clockwork Orange

Hello, Clarice: MCOKER@OCWEEKLY.COM

Posted Oct. 19, 6:20 p.m.

A CLOCKWORK EXCLUSIVE!
Through our intimate sources -- in your face, Judy and Libby (sitting in a tree, l-e-a-k-i-n-g!) -- Clockwork has obtained this exclusive booking photo of Tom DeLay. We also have it on good authority that for his last meal, DeLay's ordered Ronnie Earle's liver served alongside fava beans and washed down with a nice chianti.


NO ROOM AT THE INN
You know, Clockwork was just thinking about this today as we did our, ahem, morning business, which also involves a quick scan of the metro fish wraps. There were all these biz section stories about a robust economy and how it was producing an office-space shortage in Orange County and blah blah blah. And that's when it occurred to us: when is the average worker gonna get a little sumptin' sumptin' for all this economic robustness. It seems to us that hiring is still pretty much frozen, more work is being heaped on those fortunate enough not to get pink slipped and raises? Don't know about you, but we don't know anyone who's received a raise since BEFORE 9/11.

Come to think of it, 9/11 is STILL being cited as the reason for no raises. Heck, that was -- lessee, carry the 2, subtract 8, divide by three -- well, let's just say math was never Clockwork's best subject (and fuck you right back at whoever just said "Writing, neither." Oh, we've got ears on the back of our head, mister!)

Attention, people, this about companies, companies that are doing better. And, here in California, not only are the workers under attack, but many of their jobs are going overseas and, when it comes to public employee unions, Arnie's fixin' to wipe 'em off the map.

Whew, good thing the cost of living has been in steady decline.

PSYCH!

Nope, dem bills just getting worse and worse. Anyone who lives in Orange County lives on plastic to keep with the Fletcher Joneses, and not only is that debt compounding along with the outrageous interest, Congress, backed by one of Chris Cox's final suck ups to his financial overlords before he fled to the SEC, where he'll rule over them (okay, we just spewed our Big Gulp over that one, too), the House has made it damn near impossible for the average worker to protect credit-card balances through bankruptcy -- a mechanism that remains intact for Corporate America, naturally.

It's enough to make you start selling your sock collection on eBay. Good thing we ain't getting hit by higher housing costs.

DOUBLE PSYCH!!!

Jeez, you really are a rube.

USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate (killer frat parties!) released a study Oct. 20 that shows Orange County rents rising 3.5 percent this year, resulting in rates of about $1,200 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, $1,500 for a two-bedroom and $2,000 for a three-bedroom unit.

Irvine has the highest rates of all the county's submarkets, with the average rent for a three-bedroom unit placed at $2,058 a month. The same size unit is $1,494 in Anaheim.

"Apartment occupancies are at all-time highs in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties because of a steady stream of young professionals and ...

Here it comes...

... Latin and Asian immigrants...

BOO-YAH!!!

... who cannot afford the average home, along with relocated executives who choose not to get locked into a mortgage," says Delores Conway, director of the Casden Real Estate Economics Forecast.

Hey, why rent, people?

Uh, perhaps because the median price of an Orange County home has jumped more than 13 percent to $617,000?

Survey says: DING! DING! DINGGGG!!!

Ah, well, at least all those companies are making out like gangbusters.

UN-PSYCH...

But isn't that really what it's all about?


THIS IS HOW THEY SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
About 20 percent of the soldiers who served in Iraq and 12 percent of those in Afghanistan returned home suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a preliminary study published in the July 2004 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The report by Colonel Charles W. Hoge, M.D., the chief of psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Institute, found that there is a clear correlation between combat experience and the prevalence of PTSD. Basically, the more often a soldier was involved in combat, got shot at, killed an enemy combatant, was directly involved in the death of an innocent, saw or handled corpses or witnessed colleagues getting killed or seriously wounded, the more prevalent the PTSD symptoms.

But while Dr. Hoge's study found the number of soldiers suffering from PTSD is high, a majority of veterans are not seeking treatment. Ninety-five percent of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been shot at, and the average soldier engages in two firefights a day, but only 40 percent of returning soldiers acknowledged that they need mental health care, and only 26 percent were actually receiving care.

And so, the number of veterans approved for PTSD compensation by the Veterans Administration is relatively small. The VA's response? Review approximately one-third of the cases of veterans who are receiving disability benefits for PTSD, with designs on eliminating them. Why? Because the VA all of a sudden fears it was too lenient in deciding which soldiers were eligible for those benefits. Americans at War contributor (forthcoming from Greenwood Press) and former college professor Gene C. Gerard floats this theory: the Bush administration, searching for more funds to keep its endless war funded, is putting the squeeze on the VA to reduce PTSD compensation. It also serves as a double whammy for Dubnuts, benefiting his PR campaign that casts this as a just, painless war with no lingering ramifications.

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