Illustration by Bob AulArnold Schwarzenegger might seek the Republican Party nomination for governor of California in 2002, according to George Skelton's column in the Feb. 5 Los Angeles Times. It wasn't the first time the Austria-born megastar has publicly flirted with the state's top elected office. Clockwork carried an item on Oct. 8, 1999, in which the self-described "koom-pah-shun-naught kuhn-surf-vah-tiff" had pumped himself up for "gah-vah-nah." Most laughed it off with the same chortle muscles they exercised when celeb office seekers Sonny Bono and Ronald Reagan first tossed their chapeaus into the ring. But there was a particularly good reason to discount the Last Action Hero at the time: Governor Gray Davis was still doing well operating the state on autopilot. Now that Davis, in true Democratic form, is tanking badly in the face of his first crisis—the electricity clusterfuck—more people may take Arnie seriously. For his part, Davis has got to feel like he's getting it from all sides. On Feb. 8, once near-dead state Republicans started running radio advertisements ridiculing Da Gov's efforts to solve the energy crisis—despite the fact that the deregulation bill was signed into law by Republican Governor Pete Wilson. And progressives in the prison-reform movement want to seize the opportunity to lock arms with Republicans and topple the despised Davis regime. Yeah, Herr Terminator would be much more lenient with convicts.
POWER ROBBER BARONS After snooping into filings the U.S. Department of Energy requires of utilities, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) last week unveiled some distressing observations about our friendly neighborhood electric-company hypocrites. In the five years before electricity deregulation, California utilities cut in half funding for programs that save energy, save customers' money and help save the environment. The resulting wasted energy would have supplied a year's worth of power to more than 600,000 homes. The solution to their self-created crisis, according to the utilities (and now Gray Davis), is to leapfrog environmental regulations, quickly build new power plants and reopen old dirty ones—something that will still take many months to bring new electricity online. Meanwhile, George Dubya Bush says the solution to California's crisis is to drill the pristine Arctic for oil—something that won't bubble up for another decade. What these numbnuts fail to divulge is that simple, comprehensive energy efficiency (changing light bulbs, weatherizing homes, offering ratepayers financial incentives for installing energy-saving technology, etc.) would be cheaper, cleaner and faster than anything they're proposing. Of course, saving power instead of generating more of it would be bad business—unless your business isn't the energy business.
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS We wish the deans who put us on academic probation our sophomore year were as good at seeing silver linings as California Peace Action. The no-warmongers sent us a press release on Feb. 5 that applauded members of Congress Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) for cutting military aid out of the $1.3 billion in U.S. funding for Colombia. "Peace Action commends Representatives Sanchez and Rohrabacher for refusing to supply more guns to a country struggling to end 40 years of war," says executive director Peter Ferenbach, who noted that the Colombian military has the worst human-rights abuse record in the Western Hemisphere. Swell. But here's what the accompanying report card on congressional votes pertaining to curbing nuclear weapons, arms sales and wasteful military spending shows for Orange County's congressional delegation: Rohrabacher, C-minus; Sanchez, D; and Fs all around for Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach), Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar).
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DENIAL AIN'T JUST A RIVER Brian Bennett, the now openly gay Republican who was the top aide to former gay-hating Congressman Robert "B-1 Butt Munch" Dornan (R-Garden Grove) for 13 years, told the Feb. 13 alternative-lifestyles magazine The Advocate that his appointment to Dubya's transition team proved that the president would not exclude gays from his administration. So here's how many gays the Shrub had appointed to his administration at press time: zero.