Diary of A Mad County

Wednesday, Jan. 26
Today, George W. Bush, holding the first press conference of his second term, says, “I firmly planted the flag of liberty for all to see that the United States of America hears their concerns and believes in their aspirations.” Let me just adjust the balance for clarity. He said, “I firmly planted the flag of liberty for all to see that the United States of America hears their concerns and believes in their aspirations.” He said, “I firmly planted the flag of liberty” on a day when a helicopter out of Camp Pendleton went down in the Iraqi desert, killing 31. “I firmly planted the flag of liberty. . . .” And when exactly was “I” doing this? When I lied about the reasons for going into Iraq? When I declared the war in Iraq over just when it was getting started? Perhaps when I's defense secretary was signing soldiers' death notices with a machine? The only thing George W. Bush has planted are tombstones for a lot of brave men and women. Dude! I'd say have a little modesty, but what have you ever accomplished in your life to be modest about? You've taken the easy way out your whole life, whether it was using your family name to escape serving during Vietnam, using your family name to get into Yale or, when you failed at business, using your family name to get into politics. Aside to my fellow Americans: now is the time to panic. We knew this idiot talks to God; what we didn't know is he does it while looking into a mirror. American presidents do not talk in terms of “I,” especially during times of conflict. Do you know how many times Lincoln said “I” in the Gettysburg Address? None. He said “we” 11 times, “the people” three and “us” twice. Do you know who does talk in terms of “I” when their nation is in crisis? Crazy people. People who go by single names, people who no one took seriously because they appeared just so ridiculous and harmless, and then you read about them in history books under headings like “The Winds of War” and “The Roots of Disaster,” and they say things like “Who says I am not under the special protection of God?” Do you know who said that? You don't want to know who said that.

Thursday, Jan. 27
Corona del Mar baseball coach John Emme is awarded $700,000 by a jury for damages caused by an overzealous South County parent who sued Emme twice for the way his son, a pitcher, was used, then sent out phony press releases critical of Emme. The whole thing reminded me of my salad days covering high school sports for the LA Times in the '80s, when the running joke with OC coaches was that their dream job was to coach at an orphanage. I'll always remember talking to a football coach who was in the midst of coaching his first season in OC. I asked him what he liked about coaching here. “Oh, the parents—they're so involved,” he said. I then asked him if there were any drawbacks to coaching in the county. “Oh, the parents,” he said. “They're so involved.”

Friday, Jan. 28
Yes, that was the OC Weekly you saw on The O.C. last night for two seconds if you paused the picture, got down on your hands and knees, put your nose within an inch of the screen, and squinted your eyes to see what Peter Gallagher was holding at the bottom of the frame. We await the sycophants.

Saturday, Jan. 29
Though not The O.C. big, Senator Barbara Boxer—whom I've always kinda had a thing for—is becoming sort of a star herself. Hot off roasting Condoleezza Rice's onions, Boxer is not only giving heart to progressives but also perhaps could show other Democrats, especially dude Democrats, it's okay to show a little spine. A friend of mine just e-mailed me with a terrific way to show Boxer appreciation and support. Send her a bunch of roses on Valentines Day with a card that will read, “You are a shining example of what a civil servant can and should be, and we, your constituents and supporters, deeply appreciate your heroic charge to bring accountability, responsibility and honesty back into our government.” The friend has arranged for a national online florist, Coast to Coast Florist, to take $10 pledges from callers for three red roses each, which, in a mass delivery, will be taken on Feb. 14 to Boxer's office in the Hart Senate Building. What you do is call Coast to Coast Florist at 1-888-501-ROSE (7673), a dedicated phone line created for this order. After you press 1 to order, a representative will answer, “Barbara Boxer Appreciation Pledge Line.” Give the representative your credit-card number—you will only be charged $10 for your roses, the delivery fee is being taken care of. That's it. The cut-off date for orders is Feb. 12.

Sunday, Jan. 30
Iraqholds elections today. Conditions being what they are in that war-torn nation, it will take at least a week to tally the results, which still puts them a couple of weeks ahead of the time usually required by Orange County election officials.

Monday, Jan. 31
On a day that begins uneasily with the salutation “Okay, honey, enjoy the Museum of Tolerance” to my daughter, the Knight Foundation publishes a survey of more than 110,000 American students that finds one-third of them believe the First Amendment goes “too far” in the rights it guarantees. What's more, fewer—32 percent of them—think the press has too much freedom, and 17 percent believe people should not be allowed to express unpopular opinions. For those of you who are shocked by this, let me just remind you that these kids have come of age in I's United States, the U.S. of John Ashcroft, where freedom is conditional and disagreement is disloyalty. It reminds me of something some crazy guy said, the kind of thing you find in a history book under the heading “And Then a Bunch of Completely Crazy Shit Goes Down in Germany,” and it goes like this: “When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already.'” Do you know who said that? You don't want to know who said that.

Tuesday, Feb. 1
George W. Bush says he wants to increase the amount of money given to families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sounds like I is planning on more planting this spring.


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