Thursday's Headlines & Surprises: Hiii Chemerinsky!

  • The Government has gone Plasma TV crazy: Even though they have an entire cable television channel to carry their lame communications, Santa Ana city officials are spending at least $242,000 more to install 10, 42-inch flat screen TVs at 10 public locations. These TVs will have no sound, and will broadcast city-inspired videos. City Manager David Ream told the Register's Doug Irving that videos will promote "projects we're really proud of." Ream mentioned the privately-owned City Place development near Main Place Mall. (Should the government be marketing a private business?) According to Irving, Councilman Carlos Bustamante (pictured), an allegedly conservative Republican, pushed for the spending. Bustamante--an empty suit with high political aspirations--called it "a free communication system" for residents who can't afford cable TV. If you're not laughing at this point, you must be crying. Winner of all this ridiculous government spending? Well-connected Republican businessman Fred C. Armedariz, a member of the Lincoln Club, a Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointee and, so he can carry a pretty badge, an Orange County reserve deputy sheriff. Hey thanks Fred and Carlos! I'm sure the poor folks of Santa Ana would rather have your stinking no-sound TVs than food and health care.
  • What's a week without Dana worrying about Asteroids? The Washington Post recently reported that Huntington Beach/Long Beach Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Skipped Vietnam Combat Duty but tells voters "I've bled for this country") is trying to get tens of millions of dollars more in federal funding for Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The place houses the "world's largest and most sensitive" (ahhhh) radio telescope that can track space activity, according to the Post. Rohrabacher tells the paper that there are "objects coming from space that could cause colossal loss of lives on our planet." It's a damn good thing that there is nothing currently on earth causing the colossal loss of life that requires our financial attention.
  • Is UC Irvine's Leader a Liar and a Coward? Biggest story of the week in OC is the eyebrow-raising hiring/firing of famed constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as the first dean of the new law school at UC Irvine. Garrett Therolf and Henry Weinstein of the LA Times report today on circus-like flop-flops of UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake. Apparently, Drake told Chemerinsky--a prominent liberal--that he had underestimated conservative outrage of the hiring. Now, according to the Times, Drake is claiming there was no outside influence. Even conservative law professors and commentators told the paper that Drake had blundered for withdrawing his offer to Chemerinsky. Marla Jo Fisher at the OC Register sorts lightly through various conspiracy angles--was Irvine Co. Lord Donald Bren, a conservative Republican billionaire--behind the sacking? Of course not, claimed Bren spokesman Larry Thomas, nicknamed years ago "Lyin' Larry" by my former colleague Matt Coker. (Pipe in the evil-themed Star Wars soundtrack here.) Or was powerful OC GOP boss Michael J. Schroeder--AKA "Vader"--involved? Hmmm. "I think [Drake] made the right call," he told Fisher. The LA Times editorial folks went ballistic over the firing in a column today, "UC Irvine's Cowardice." It's so rare when OC issues penetrate--rile!--our friends on Spring Street. They called Drake's move "an act of intellectual cowardice and self-destruction that brands the school as a haven for political correctness and threatens its academic integrity two years before it even opens its doors." If you're undecided about Drake's credibility, consider that Chemerinsky said the chancellor asked him to lie about events and claim they had mutually agreed to part ways. Nice to know UCI's leader is a fibber. This Dog Has Legs: On KPCC radio (89.3 FM) Air Talk's Larry Mantle interviews Chemerinsky sometime after 10 a.m.
  • OC Blog/Red County Put its Camera in Mike Huckabee's Face: Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee wants to win the Republican nomination to face Hillary. Despite conventional wisdom, his campaign has shown signs of life. "If you are a hunter, you don't point your rifle at a dead animal," he says at recent attacks on his candidacy by fellow GOPers. "So I'm a trophy for someone." There's a Dick Cheney joke in there.

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