If you notice that the California section of the Los Angeles Times seems a little brighter, a little more giddy (or giddy up?), there's a reason for that. Times managing editor Doug Franz has been reaching out to the drones of that section, and spreading happiness all around. As he announced in an email obtained by LA Observed:
The happiness of the editors in the California section is never far from my mind. I know you are all working hard, and that the demands from reporters and higher-ranking editors makes it feel sometimes like you're squeezed in a demented vice [sic].
And to show his commitment to keep the California staff happy, Franz invited the editors (and the reporters, if the editors chose to bring them) to join him at a empty-ish lot near Times HQ yesterday at 12:30pm, when he would reveal his plan for keeping the staff happy. His plan: treat them like six year olds. His method: pony rides for everybody! One lucky staffer emailed a description of the special event to LA Observed: "You get on the horse and get led around in a circle for about 30 seconds." A delightful time was had by all, no doubt. Keep up the good work California section, and maybe next time you'll get balloon animals.
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John Rogers, on the other hand, has a fascinating post on his blog Kung Fu Monkey, which recounts an incident from his bartending days when his boss made it clear that his employees were to be treated with respect. It's great stuff, and you'll readily understand why Rogers writes that that incident was "The single most patriotic moment of my life." The story comes as part of a post on Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz and his latest repellent theory. A theory even more repellent than Dershowitz's defense of torture. (Dershowitz last made news that could have been covered by the horsey set of the Times California section, when he tried to get Governor Schwarzenegger to pressure the University of California Press into not releasing a book critical of him (Dershowitz). Schwarzenegger, to his credit, refused.) Dershowitz occasionally frequented the bar where Rogers worked, and it should surprise no one to learn that "[Dershowitz] was, in bartender short-hand, how would we say ... an asshole." But in defense of assholes, even most of them wouldn't try to justify the killing of civilians the way Dershowitz has. Read the post.