Feb. 21: Dick or treat
Feb. 21: Dick or treat

Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, Feb. 15
Please stop yelling "Williams-Sonoma" at my son. Thank you.

Thursday, Feb. 16
President George W. Bush says Vice President Dick Cheney has been "profoundly affected" by accidentally shooting his friend Harry Whittington. "I saw the deep concern he had about a person who he wounded," Bush says. "And now our concerns are directed toward the recovery of our friend." That's nice. Um, anybody mention that more than 2,000 American men and women have been killed in Iraq in a war that profoundly affected the good fortune of Cheney's old company Halliburton? Anyone mention any "concerns" for them? Ever?

Friday, Feb. 17
Additional charges are filed against Hollywood producer Joseph Medawar, accused of bilking investors out of $5.5 million. Prosecutors say Medawar told investors he was creating a TV series called DHS (Department of Homeland Security) that would deal with terrorism, just like 24 and American Idol. Key to his scheme, prosecutors say, was dropping legitimate names into his pitch—names like OC Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Medawar paid Rohrabacher $23,000, ostensibly for a script Rohrabacher wrote in the 1970s. Rohrabacher says he believed Medawar was paying him for a script so gripping that no one had touched it in 30 years—this in a town that greenlighted The Mask 2. Rohrabacher says there was no quid pro quo, though he admits he introduced Medawar to Washington officials. "I felt he was on the up and up," Rohrabacher says in an interview. "I honestly believed he was trying to do a TV series. I can't tell you right now . . . if he was a fraud or an incompetent." You know what? I believe Rohrabacher—and that's terrifying. Rohrabacher is chairman of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, the man who says his panel will look into such complicated matters as the U.N. Oil for Food program and Chinese nuclear-weapons technology. He also claims to be an expert on the Middle East, its shifting and murky alliances and characters; he's the guy who said we could trust the Taliban. But he says he couldn't figure out that a U.S. congressman shouldn't do business with the producer of Hard Bodies 2 and Angels Behind Bars? Perhaps he should have listened closely to National Public Radio's March 2004 On the Media program, in which Medawar and partner (now co-defendant) Alison Heruth used Rohrabacher's name liberally to establish their bona fides—but never mentioned his script. When host Brooke Gladstone asked, "To what extent is the White House and the Department of Homeland Security involved in the program?" Medawar answered, "We try to give, on a [sic] every two-week basis, a complete package of what we're filming and what the story's about to the proper authorities that we are working with here in California at the governor's office, and they pass it on. And it continues to the right channels, and the person with us is Congressman Rohrabacher from our district." Heruth added, "Rohrabacher is the one who has had contact with, a complete conversation with the president, and we know that he knows about it; we, we told him ourselves personally." See, the clue that they were really interested in Dana's influence is how they mention how much influence Dana has. Very tricky. Perhaps the congressman also should have paid attention when Medawar bought an SUV for a San Clemente businessman named Mario Rodriguez, who also happens to be former vice chairman of the California Republican Party. Of course, the biggest clue that Medawar was not on the level was that he was a "producer" who wanted to give a "writer" some "money." Dead giveaway.

Saturday, Feb. 18
Nice day.

Sunday, Feb. 19
Angels pitcher Jered Weaver talks with the press about being cited for public intoxication in Long Beach. According to police, Weaver left the Basement Lounge so drunk that he was "unable to care for himself or to be in the presence of others." Weaver, who signed for $4 million last May, said Angels manager Mike Scioscia counseled him that he's not an "average Joe from Simi Valley anymore." Indeed, he's a 6-foot-7 guy named Jered who wears a baseball cap, whereas most guys arrested for drunk and disorderly in Long Beach who are named Jered—or Seth—and wear baseball caps are 5-foot-10.

Monday, Feb. 20
Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nothing doing, baby.

Tuesday, Feb. 21
In its "Life" section, The Orange County Register runs a story headlined "Red-faced Cheney Has Lots of Company," which begins: "When we asked readers to share with Dick Cheney their embarrassing moments, we didn't realize how many gun-related mishaps we would get. We were thinking more like walking out of the bathroom with TP on your shoe. While we got a couple of those, we also received enough literal 'misfires' to make us grateful there's anyone left in Orange County." In the same section that asked readers to send cutesy shots of cats doing cutesy things like getting into the laundry hamper or being shot in the face by Dick Cheney, the Register runs a collection of uproarious tales of accidental shootings and actual maimings, all part of a paper-wide effort to show that what happened to the vice president could and does happen all the time to people . . . who are pointing a gun at someone. Let's see, there's the story of a family nearly wiped out: "We all yelled, hit the ground and duck-and-covered like they teach you to do in disaster drills at school. We were hit! I had a little silver ball in my arm; my mom's temple was grazed; and my brother was hit in the leg." Priceless! And then there's this rib tickler: "When I was ready to retire for the night, I picked up the gun to move it and then the world exploded! I thought we had had an earthquake. I looked at my hand; it was like viewing an episode of M*A*S*H! It appeared that my two middle fingers were missing on my left hand, and yes, blood was arcing up just like in a bad TV episode. . . . I have permanent nerve damage in my left hand as well as permanently crooked fingers. Fortunately, I am right-handed. . . . I am very lucky." Stop, stop, my side hurts from laughter and a hollow-point bullet! Gee, I wish I had known about the Register collecting such stories. I could have told them about when I was in grammar school and a couple of boys, best friends, were horsing around with a gun at one of their homes and one of the friends shot the other friend in the head and killed him. Ah-EWWW-Guh!!! What's more, the surviving friend, who was no more than 13, was so torn up with guilt that he had to be kept on a suicide watch. Boiiiiing!!! The Register has made a concerted effort to downplay the Cheney shooting. In the same issue, cartoonist Mike Shelton draws a panel saying all of this is all old news and people should move on, you know, the way Republicans never mention Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick.



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