Diary of a Mad County

Jan. 24-Jan. 30

Wednesday, Jan. 24
In a story about the dying newspaper industry, dying newspaper the Washington Post writes a thing or two about fellow terminal case the OC Register. One passage concerns the Register's pet project, the wee-sized OC Post. The Post is the journalistic equivalent of Highlights, you know, except without the pro-gay agenda—or didn't you know that Queer As Folk is directly based on "Goofus and Gallant?" So, anyway, the Post—the big one with the Pulitzers—says the Post—the little one with the 250-word stories about global warming—was expected to have about 150,000 subscribers. As of today they have 15,000. That would be less than, or, put another way, not as much as 150,000. This is used as an example of how tough things are in the newspaper biz. I think it's an example of how stupid things are in the newspaper biz, in that most papers have such ridiculous expectations. I mean, 150,000 subscribers?! That's nearly half of the Register's present subscriptions, and that took 100 years to build. But, see, American newspapers are like that. Good enough never is. Look at the Regi. They laid off a whole bunch of people last month because they weren't making enough money, even though they have upwards of a 20 percent profit margin, which people with money tell me IS A LOT OF MONEY. Newspapers still make a lot of money, it's just that people who own stock in newspapers want to make TREMENDOUS amounts of money, you know, enough to provide their ponies with daily waxings.

Thursday, Jan. 25
Will you look at this? What a day! Will there ever be such a day as today has been?! I never thought I'd see this day, I can tell you that. Oh, sure, there was talk of this day coming some day, you know, theoretically, but I never actually thought I'd see it. It just seemed impossible, I mean when I heard the news from those very lips I thought "Is this actually happening?" Am I imagining all this? No it's really happening. Rebecca Schoenkopf is actually buying me lunch. Will things ever be the same? Will they?

Friday, Jan. 26
Superior Court Judge George W. Wu issues a tentative ruling upholding his previous decision to bar two children of Orange County Master of Time and Space and Awnings, a.k.a. Donald Bren, from receiving any additional child support from the richest man in Orange County. Bren had the children—Christie, 18, and David, 16—with Jennifer Gold, who claimed in a 2003 suit that Bren had provided minimal emotional and financial support for them despite allegedly telling her he would "provide for them in a manner commensurate with his station in life," a manner which would translate into each getting their own planet. And a pony. And the pony gets a smaller, pony-proportioned planet. Enough with the ponies!

Saturday, Jan. 27
You may remember an item I ran in December about how Dana Rohrabacher and his Republican Congressional buddies were trying to fill their free time now that they don't have to worry about governing anymore. One of the things they came up with was becoming pen palswith other people playing out the string, and wouldn't you know the first person they wrote to was George W. Bush, with a request that he commute the sentencesof Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. The two men received 11- and 12-year prison terms, respectively, for shooting Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, but as the letter pointed out, Aldrete-Davilla was an illegal immigrantwho was smuggling drugs—a fact Rohrabacher pointed to at a press conference when he said "These Border Patrol agents are heroes" and "Bringing felony charges against them is a travesty of justice beyond description." Well, an editorial today in the Wall Street Journal described why it was the right thing to do. Of course, this being the WSJ, there's an obvious liberal bias to the piece, not to mention a blatant use of facts:

"When [Aldrete-Davilla] saw the agents he sped off, eventually abandoning the vehicle and fleeing toward the border on foot. At one point, Aldrete-Davila stopped running and raised his empty hands to surrender. But when the first border agent to approach him stumbled, Aldrete-Davila took off again toward the Rio Grande. At this point, Agents Ramos and Compean opened fire, shooting at the back of a suspect who they knew was unarmed. They fired 14 rounds in all—Agent Compean even paused to reload—finally hitting Aldrete-Davila in the buttocks. The suspect was wounded but still managed to make it across the border and escape. It later was determined that Aldrete-Davila was in the country illegally and smuggling drugs. Nearly 750 pounds of marijuana were found in the van. But Ramos and Compean didn't know the suspect's immigration status when they shot him. Nor did they know the contents of the vehicle he was driving. What the agents did know is that they had broken any number of border patrol policies. So Compean and another agent returned to the scene to gather shell casings and discard them in a drainage ditch. Compean and Ramos, who'd been disciplined for past conduct unbecoming a federal officer, then filed a false report."

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