[Year In Review] OC Weekly's News Blog, Navel Gazing, Gazes Back at 2009

Attack of the Blob, er, Blog
OC Weekly’s staff news blog Navel Gazing gazes back at 2009

As everyone knows, daily newspapers are pretty much dead. Local alternative weekly newspapers are in better shape—or at least that’s what they keep telling us—but we, too, are not immune to a public that wants its news NOW! As Walt Whitman once wrote in his groundbreaking—NO, MORE NEWS NOW!! Er . . . um . . . where were we? Oh, yes, it was the Pennsylvania Dutch who discovered—GIVE ME MORE GODDAMN NEWS RIGHT NOW, SCUM!!!

Okay! We get it. You people like your little weekly paper product just fine, but you also demand up-to-the-minute news, opinions and randomness immediately dispatched into your personal computer, laptop, cell phone, PDA and heads via implanted chips (thanks, Obamacare!). For that reason, has long included a staff news blog, and as we reflect on the brutal year the hipsters nicknamed “2009,” it is time to revisit the content you read first last year on Navel Gazing. Some of it made it into print in one form or another; most of it didn’t—but in any case you got it NOW! NOW!! NOW!!!

Trevor Keen
So how was the Li'l Sheriff?
Trevor Keen
So how was the Li'l Sheriff?

OC’s New Pedo-Apologizing Bishop
The Vatican announced Jan. 5 that the Reverend Cirilo Flores of St. Anne’s in SanTana is the auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Orange, replacing homo-hating pedo-apologist Jaime Soto. By springtime, troubling revelations emerged that nearly 30 years ago, Flores was involved in investigating a nationally notorious child-abuse case involving pupil-binding nuns with the Diocese of San Bernardino. Not only did Flores do nothing about it, but he also agreed with the abuse. Then there was the case of Edward Anthony Rodrigue (not a typo; this is his last name), who in December 1979 was convicted of two misdemeanor counts of child abuse but placed on three years’ probation and ordered to undergo rehabilitation. Of course, none of this worked, and Rodrigue was placed back in ministry in the San Bernardino diocese. A diocesan attorney at the time of Rodrigue’s “rehabilitation”? Flores. (Gustavo Arellano)

Random Reader Comment: As a victim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest in LA as a child, I am now, over 35 years later, starting to understand how much religion sucks. Most, like the Catholic church, have lost sight of what is right in the eyes of their higher power and are more concerned with their own power. I am convinced that religion hardens the heart and weakens the soul. (Mark Gauer, Jan. 6)

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Mike Carona: Unrepentant Dirty Ex-Sheriff Convicted Felon
After a Santa Ana jury on Jan. 16 found Mike Carona not guilty on five counts but guilty of coaching a potential federal-grand-jury witness how to lie under oath, the ex-Orange County sheriff acted as if he’d won a Super Lotto jackpot or a Hank Asher-paid trip to a Nevada whorehouse. “I absolutely feel vindicated,” he told a reporter. “Beyond vindicated . . . I never gave up the belief that I was innocent.” Jurors insisted in interviews that Carona did accept bribes, lie and cheat, but they felt constrained by complicated jury instructions and the statute of limitations. “He shouldn’t be celebrating anything,” said one juror after the verdicts were announced. “His conduct as the sheriff was deplorable. He really should be ashamed.” The judge later shamed Carona with a 66-month federal prison sentence, although he remains free pending appeal. (R. Scott Moxley)

Random Reader Comment: Am I the only one who can’t scan the name “Mike Carona” without humming the Knack? (Anonymous, Jan. 19)

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Rick Warren’s Traveling Obama Invocation Road Show
A day after getting shouted down while speaking at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Purpose-Driven® Rick seemed either tired or unenthused when giving President Barack Obama’s invocation in D.C. the morning of Jan. 20. He also seemed a bit apologetic—maybe he’d finally grown a soul and was repentant for his anti-gay rhetoric the previous couple of months. AOL’s political blogger counted 10 people in the crowd of millions clapping when Warren was introduced. (GA and Matt Coker)

Random Reader Comment: Looks like G-d’s wrath on Rick Warren for his behavior was REALLY BAD HAT HAIR for his big worldwide appearance. (Publius, Jan. 20)

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Ganging Up on Orange Residents
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas on Feb. 25 filed another in a string of gang injunctions, this time against the Orange Varrio Cypress (OVC) gang based out of Orange’s historic Cypress Street barrio. Among more than 500 pages of evidence was a gang cop’s critique of the work of historic muralist Emigdio Vasquez, whose Orange murals “reference the OVC gang and the gang lifestyle.” But Vasquez depicted his life growing up in the barrio in the 1940s, while the OVC wasn’t established until the 1970s. The Orange injunctions were met with community demonstrations before the ACLU mounted a legal challenge that shot so many holes in the case prosecutors filed to completely dismiss it. But the DA later repackaged a permanent gang injunction against dozens of people it concluded are active OVC participants, including the 62 individuals named in the dismissed version. The ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit alleging the DA violated due process and the California Constitution, then an injunction to stop the gang injunction. The latter was tossed out by a judge; the suit has yet to be heard. (Daffodil J. Altan)

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