- Picking themselves up with your bootstraps: The lobbyists at the Orange County Tourism Council believe they are entitled yet again to a public handout. And, once again, they're going to get it without even a minute of public debate. The board of supervisors placed on its Tuesday consent calender a $150,000 corporate welfare payment to the large businesses--the Irvine Co., Disneyland, Marriott, Wyndham etc--which already prosper handsomely on OC tourism. Good for them. But why should local taxpayers pay a dime for their marketing? Why can't they be self-sufficient like good little capitalists? Why did Supervisors Moorlach and Norby cave on this waste of money? Meanwhile, the county continues to increase parking fees at county beaches because public coffers are allegedly low...
- Thumb operations spike to aid iPhone usage? Here's a new cottage industry in the cosmetic surgery world: carving your thumbs to better use cell phone messaging keys! From www.engadget.com: “Thomas Martel hails from Colorado, and after upgrading to an iPhone, he decided his big hands were just too much of a burden to bear. So what's a man to do? Why, get those digits downsized, of course. Thomas went under the knife for a new technique called 'whittling.' The doctors made a small cut in each thumb and shaved down the bones, then they adjusted the muscles and fingernails to fit the new thumb size. Martel's new thumbs look a tad effeminate, and there's always that problem of expense and general discomfort, but he thinks the procedure 'will pay for itself in ten to fifteen years. And what it's saving me in frustration - that's priceless.'" The story, which appeared first in a Colorado newspaper, was a hoax.
Story of the Day: Reporters John Gittelsohn and Ronald Campbell managed to take a less-than-exciting topic, subprime lending, and make it interesting by focusing on what happened to a single Santa Ana neighborhood. Here's Gittelsohn and Campbell:
"An Orange County Register investigation found that lenders targeting Hispanic buyers wrote $19 million in loans on this modest Santa Ana block of 1920s bungalows, where roses and jasmine bloom behind white picket fences. Those loans helped nearly triple sales prices from $182,000 to $600,000 over five years. Some owners got cash out. Others sold for big profits.
Then the credit stopped. And home values crashed.
Lenders seized the homes at 920 and 946 after owners failed to keep up with payments. 946 sold at a loss, and 920 is in escrow at a loss. Lenders also filed default notices against the owners of 926 in April and 937 in June. "For Sale" signs hang outside five of the remaining 48 homes. Desperate to escape escalating payments, the owners of 937 and 1033 have slashed prices."
To see how the reporters personalized the issue, read the story here.
- LAX Hell: A U.S. Customs & Border Protection computer system breakdown at Los Angeles International Airport Saturday left almost 6,000 international passengers stranded for as much as six hours, KCBS reports. The cause of the problem is unknown, but event became operational again. Incoming flights were diverted Ontario and Las Vegas. From a cell inside a plane stuck on the tarmac for five hours, Chris Cognac said, "People are getting a little stir-crazy, feeling claustrophobic." Houston resident Gaynelle Jones landed at LAX after a 13-hour flight from Hong Kong, was forced to stay on the plane for another five hours and described the ordeal as “just unbearable.” KCBS has a video of angry people at its website.
Sharp as a mashed potato: In his latest installment of “I love the feel of a firm badge in the morning,” Gordon Dillow did the impossible. Brace yourself. He insulted Orange County cops. The Register columnist had written something like 29,397 consecutive, shamelessly fact-twisting pro-men in uniform columns. I particularly enjoyed his recent tacit, golly-gee defense of soldiers who murdered, raped and planted evidence on unarmed Iraqi men, women and children. We demand too much from our soldier, he offered.
But this streak is now toast and Gordo's got to struggle with the knowledge that he wasn't 100 percent pro-cop during his career. I'm sad because I know this feat ended on an unintended error. Mistakes happen when someone gets all excited--like Dillow does when he sees shiny shoes and thick leather belt buckles accentuated with steel black Glocks.
Here was Dillow's argument: Cops--particularly ones in Anaheim--make relatively crappy salaries. (Wonder why he failed to disclose that every new cop hire costs city taxpayers a whopping $180,000-a-year in salary and sweet benefits?) Cops have “awesome powers . . . to enforce the laws, to arrest, even to lawfully kill – to me it only makes sense to pay them top dollar up front,” he wrote. “Because cops are like anything else. You get what you pay for.” (My emphasis.)
So if Dillow's right that Anaheim cops are paid shit, then according to Dillow's logic the city is filled with shitty cops.
Shame on you, bootlicker.
- And finally: "World championship" boat races today at the Long Beach Marine Stadium (PCH and 2nd Street). They request no BYOB. There's a beer garden on site. Free admission to soldiers with a military ID. Adults pay $10. Save $3 bucks per ticket with a coupon on page 47 in the current OC Weekly.
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