Diary of a Mad County

Illustration by Bob AulSUNDAY, JUNE 2The Bush administration issues a report that surprises everyone, agreeing with conventional worldwide scientific wisdom that finds global warming exists, is caused by human activity and is likely to get worse. So what should we do? Get used to it, Dubya recommends, because damn if he's going to impose regulations on his big-industry steam-room buddies. He blames the release of a refreshingly honest White House report—which he never read—on "the bureaucracy." We Californianscan expect hotter weather and less water to quench our escalating thirst, say UC Santa Cruz researchers, who forecast a declining annual snowpack over the next 50 to 100 years. So what should we do? Depending on the outcome of studies now under way in Australia, farm-rich Cali may want to import armies of kangaroos. The Aussies have noticed that kangaroos do not fart nearly as much methane into the atmosphere as cows and sheep even though all the species feed off the same grass. Researchers want to know if the bacteria breaking down food in kangaroo stomachs can be transferred to other species to cut methane gas emissions. After cows and sheep, they can move on to El Torito customers.

MONDAY, JUNE 3 The Costa Mesa City Council wisely rejects a staff recommendation to impose Draconian restrictions on cybercafs. Despite having received no reports of crime at the town's two cybercafs—Cyber City and 3rd Dimension Online(3DO)—"the bureaucracy" calls for midnight curfews and 20 other restrictions on such businesses. Murder, assaults and other crimes at cybercafs in other Orange County cities prompted the recommendation. But a majority of council members agree it's unfair to impose restrictions on legitimate, crime-free businesses that keep young people where they belong: off the streets and in front of computer screens for hours on end.

About 25 students protest outside the Long Beach Unified School District headquarters over filthy restrooms at Cabrillo, Jordan, Poly and Wilson high schools. They wave banners. They chant slogans such as "No justice, no peace without a place to pee." They show a Long Beach Press Telegram reporter photos of bathrooms with mangled stall doors; toilets with seats ripped off; urine backed up onto the floor; and empty racks and dispensers for soap, tampons, toilet paper and paper towels. Meanwhile, two choir students at Helix High School in La Mesa are demanding an apology from their teacher, who would not allow them to use the restroom on a charter bus bound for Fullerton back in April. The girls wound up peeing in a bottle and a plastic bag, which students in Long Beach would no doubt consider luxuries.

TUESDAY, JUNE 4 Lori Elizabeth Fischer, 21, of Mission Viejo, is arrested for allegedly being the sicko who placed nails, glass shards and razor blades in park playgrounds throughout Orange County. The most surprising thing about the story is not the fact that the suspect is a woman, that she worked as a temporary file clerk for the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!!! (does anyone screen anyone anymore!?), or that she penned the punk hit of the decade (her sample poetry: "More hazards are found/Nails, razor blades, broken glass/The innocence is shattered/Yellow police tape encircles/The once peaceful haven/Beep, beep, beep." Oi! Oi! Oi!). Nope, what's most unusual is how neighbors describe Fischer to reporters. It's not the stereotypical "she was quiet" or "she kept to herself" or "she was the perfect tenant" that we hear so often about your garden-variety serial killers. Instead, many friends, neighbors and co-workers describe the woman as intense, lonely, depressed, troubled and eccentric. But other than that, a real South County sweetheart! WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5 More than 140 University of California professors have signed a petition urging the university to divest in American companies that sell arms to Israel, the San Jose Mercury News reports. A quick click on www.ucdivest. org identifies the UC Irvinesignees: Dina Al-Kassim (English and comparative literature), Duran Bell (economics), Benjamin N. Colby (professor emeritus of anthropology), James Ferguson (anthropology), David Theo Goldberg (African-American studies), Inderpal Grewal (women's studies), Susan Jarratt (English and comparative literature), Laura Hyun Yi Kang (associate professor of women's studies), Glen Mimura(Asian-American studies), Jane O. Newman (English and comparative literature), Mark Poster(history and visual culture), Leslie W. Rabine (French) and Bert Winther-Tamaki (art history). The fact that the professors stole a page from the 1980s anti-apartheid campaign and are comparing the Israeli occupation and domination of the West Bank and Gaza with the old white racist South African regime rankles some academics, with one predicting it will increase tensions between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian student groups. Ironically, pro-French student groups have already surrendered. THURSDAY, JUNE 6 A group calling themselves Twelve Angry Citizens From Orange County—composed of Libertarians, medical-marijuana activists and the chicks who dig them—protest outside the Federal Building in Santa Ana as part of a nationwide demonstration at more than 50 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) offices. This day was chosen because the DEA has announced that on or after June 6, they will shut down dispensaries providing medical marijuana to Californians under Proposition 215. Rick Root, who is dressed in an Uncle Sam costume, serves a mock cease-and-desist order to a Santa Ana DEA official. Also present is Marvin Chavez, the medical marijuana activist whose conviction for providing reefer to undercover cops who had given him a fake doctor's prescription was just upheld by the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Santa Ana. Chavez, who could now be prison-bound, vows to fight on to the Supreme Court. Sadly, someone has to. FRIDAY, JUNE 7 A federal judge releases five of the 10 Chinese men who took a slow boat from China and swam ashore near Laguna Beach. This will allow them to testify against their smugglers (who later pleaded not guilty) and learn an important facet of the American legal system: how to cut deals with prosecutors to save your neck. Why, if they'd pulled this stunt back home, they would have to testify and still get hard time making sneakers for Nike.


SATURDAY, JUNE 1: As his partner cites Matt Martinez for spitting on a public sidewalk near the site of an anarchist news conference over comrade Matt Lamont's incarceration, a Long Beach police officer motions to Weeklyphotographer Jack Gould (who shot the picture) to "step back and let me do my job." Of course, under the First Amendment of the Constitution, photojournalists are supposed to be allowed to do their jobs—or at least that's how it was in the pre-John Ashcroft days. Gould later approached the officer and explained he meant no disrespect, but that the credentials dangling around his neck clearly identified him as a member of the working press. The officer claimed he didn't see the credentials. Maybe he should clean those shades.

Photo by Jack Gould

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