Diary of a Mad County

Photo by David Bohrer/Whitehouse.govWEDNESDAY Sept. 8 Balding ghoul Dick Cheney tells a bunch of Iowans that if he and George Bush aren't re-elected, the country will be hit with a terrorist attack. "We'll get hit again," he says, "and we'll be hit in a way that'll be devastating." He said this just a couple of weeks after figures showed another 1 million Americans are now living under the poverty line. He said this a week after numbers were readjusted to reveal a record federal deficit. He said this the very day the 1,000th American soldier died in Iraq. He also said he'll eat some of their children. He said this will happen regardless of the election's outcome. Dude just likes eating kids.

THURSDAY Sept. 9 This week in foxes guarding chicken coops, reports have it that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will soon name Disneyland safety manager Richard Warner as director of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Some people think it's crazy to name someone from the industry being regulated to head the regulating agency, you know, crazy as naming timber executives to oversee the state's environment (This just in: Schwarzenegger appointed two timber executives to posts overseeing the state's environment.) One consumer watchdog says Warner's appointment doesn't "pass the smell test," neglecting to mention it also did poorly on the "guy-was-safety-inspector-at-a-theme-park-where-people-were-injured-on-a-toy-train exam." On the bright side, he wasn't the safety inspector when that guy died on that same ride last September. . . . Cheney tells the Cincinnati Enquirer that he never said we'd be hit by a terrorist attack if John Kerry were elected. He's a lying sack, of course. Here's what he said: "If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that'll be devastating." Then he totally ate a fat kid.

FRIDAY Sept. 10 Browsing through some old papers, I came across this full-page ad in the Times for one of those dog-and-pony shows to which a bunch of middle managers go cheer and scream and pretend they actually care about selling more office furnishings. This get-together is called Get Motivated, and it's coming to the Arrowhead Pond on Nov. 16. For a mere $225 at the door, you can hear something called a Zig Ziglar talk about "How to Thrive in Every Economy." Though, after you tell them to go into porn, what else is there to say? Also appearing is General Tommy Franks, who's apparently getting all of William Westmoreland's gigs now. But the one that really caught my eye was the person who, the ad says, will talk about "Perseverance." None other than Jessica Lynch, the soldier taken prisoner during the first days of the Iraq War and whose thrilling, daring rescue from hostile forces stirred a nation—until everyone found out it wasn't so much daring as a bunch of Navy SEALs and Army Rangers storming a terrified bunch of unarmed nurses and orderlies. U-S-A! Lynch, it says, will share the secrets of survival "in the most brutal of circumstances." Those circumstances, according to Lynch, were not being abused by anyone at the hospital and in fact being assigned the only specialist bed in the place and a nurse that, Lynch said, "would sing to me." Barbarians. Lynch will also tell the boys from accounts receivable about "Resolving Crisis: Three Tactics that Get Results." I'm just guessing the tactics are 1) get yourself a singing nurse, preferably unarmed; 2) call in heavily armed SEALs and Rangers to stick automatic weapons down singing nurse's gullet, film the whole thing, have two TV movies made about you, and express frustration that you were used "as a way to symbolize all this stuff. I mean, yeah, it's wrong"; 3) go on paid speaking tour as symbol of all this stuff.

SATURDAY Sept. 11Uh-uh. No, sir.

SUNDAY Sept. 12 As if the hair and penchant for neoclassical furnishings wasn't tip-off enough, word comes today that Trinity Broadcasting's Paul Crouch paid a former male employee $425,000 to, among other things, not discuss a sexual encounter the former employee claims to have had with Crouch. Enoch Lonnie Ford, who had a hit with "Sixteen Tons" in the '50s, claims Paul and he got together in a Lake Arrowhead cabin in the fall of 1996. Crouch denies the allegations. In court papers, Crouch, the immaculately coifed, prim-handed preacher with a bushy mustache, claims Ford—who has a history of drug problems and served time for a sex offense—is a liar and extortionist, you know, the kind of no-good bad boy that certain prim girls find so irresistible. Speaking of TV, I'm not saying my kids watch a lot of it, but today, spending a lovely afternoon poolside at my sister's home in Orange, I heard my son say to my daughter, Madison, "Maddy . . . Maddy . . . Maddy . . . Maddy . . . Maddy . . . Maddy . . . Maddy . . ." "What!?" "Let's play police chase. You be the cop. I'll be the perp."

MONDAY Sept. 13 Former Weekly writer Anthony "Toots" Pignataro told me in a phone conversation a few days ago about something R. Scott Moxley did, but I found it hard to believe. Today, I confronted Moxley, and he copped to it, so here it is. You probably know Moxley's been writing about embattled Irvine Mayor Larry Agran—embattled being the political euphemism for "about to get his ass handed to him." One of Moxley's best pieces concerns Agran's filibustering during a recent City Council meeting in an attempt to put off discussion of his various conflicts of interest. Since Scott has been at the lead in digging up such details, Agran takes the opportunity at the council meeting to say you can't believe anything in the Weekly since we print stories "in between penis and breast-enlargement ads." Now that's funny coming from Agran since, when the Weekly was on his side fighting the El Toro Airport, exposing various conflicts of interest, he wrote that our reporting was "incisive and uncompromising" and in a 1997 profile of Weekly Editor Will Swaimsaid that "Will's not afraid of a fight. He's great to have around." Anyway, Larry gets in his little dig, and Scott quickly scrawls something down on a piece of paper and asks a woman if she would read it during the public-comments portion of the evening. The woman, who was already going to speak anyway, says sure, and when she's called on—last—she says her peace then adds that Scott Moxley wanted the mayor to know that "the Weekly also runs ads for unemployed politicians," to which the room generally exploded into laughter and withering stares.

TUESDAY Sept. 14 A spokeswoman for Governor Schwarzenegger says he has signed a bill making it officially illegal in California to have sex with a corpse. She says the law is the "culmination of a two-year drive." Really? I'd think a law banning necrophilia could pretty much pass on a show of hands. I mean, even in our fractured political culture, there's very little gray area when it comes to having sex with the dead—well, except for a couple of girls I dated in college. Still, the law gives law enforcement a powerful tool in fighting this scourge. A bench warrant has already been issued for Lynne Cheney.



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