Diary of a mad county

MONDAY, May 13 As this week's items show, we've all reached the had-it-up-to-here point. An in-depth poll out today shows a majority of Americans do not support pro-Israeli hawks in the White House and Congress. Two-thirds want Dubya to be even-handed in approaching the Mideast conflict, but 58 percent believe he's already on Israel's side; the others wouldn't know Shamu from the Wailing Wall. Add in daily revelations about what the FBI/CIA/Dubya knew about looming terrorist strikes and when they knew it, and it's no wonder it feels like '68 or '69 or '72 all over again. Remember all that rally-'round-the-flag crap mere months ago? Darva Conger's marriage lasted longer. A press release dated today lands on our desk for an upcoming Huntington Beach Union High School District function, but someone has circled “Patriotic dress is suggested” and scrawled a one-word reaction: “Enough!”

TUESDAY, May 14 About 40 Southern California Anarchist Alliance members in basic black converge outside the Orange County Courthouse to protest a comrade's jailing. You may recall the Weekly's Rich Kane breaking—and following up on—the story about white supremacists planning to hold an Adolph Hitlerbirthday party concert on April 20 at the La Habra Moose Lodge. The show did not go on (thanks, Rich!), but Long Beach police detectives turned up in the Moose parking lot to pluck Anarchist Alliance member Matthew Gordon Lamont and a gas can out of a car and arrest the 20-year-old for allegedly making a Molotov cocktail. The Alliance claims Lamont was framed; hence the protest on what was to be the day of his arraignment. But the hearing is delayed until May 21, so the kids opt for a peaceful presence amid a phalanx of baton-toting sheriff's deputies in full riot gear.

Roughly 70 people stage a demonstration at Chapman University in reaction to janitor Marcos Carranza losing his job for trying to win a union for his fellow custodial workers. At the protest, Carranza says he was fired without explanation a week earlier, just minutes after providing union information to a work supervisor. But like Carol Lynley blankly lip-synced in The Poseidon Adventure, there's got to be a mornng after, and the morning after the boisterous lunchtime rally on the Orange campus, Carranza got his job back—and still had it at press time. He says he was offered a raise if he refused to join the Service Employees International Union, which has been organizing Chapman's janitors for the past month. Carranza balked. “I'm not for sale,” he defiantly tells us.

WEDNESDAY, May 15 A day after rallying for Palestine, members of UC Irvine's Muslim Student Union launch two days of teach-ins with titles like “The Forgotten Apartheid,” “The Real Anti-Semites” and “Zionism 101” (don't forget your blue books!). It's all part of Zionism Awareness Week. Finding this crew on the sprawling campus is no problem: just follow the “wanted dead or alive” posters featuring Ariel Sharon's mug. A Jewish activist sounded nearly envious when he recently remarked on how visible Muslim activists are at UCI. They've certainly caught the attention of campus administration, something that's bound to happen when you rally around the administration building flagpole on the same day incoming freshmen and their parents visit the campus.

Illustration by Bob Aul

We'll return to local dissent after this short break courtesy of EXTRA, the gossipy television show. Celebrity justice correspondent Michel Bryant shows up at Weekly World Headquarters to interview your favorite Tick-Tocking Tattler about Newport Beach residents Chuck Finley and Tawny Kitaen. Writing two brief items on the warring couple has apparently made us the national expert on their nasty divorce proceeding. But tuning in to our segment the next evening, we learn this about TV pundits: most of what we say that actually makes it on the air is spoon-fed by the interviewer. Our 15 minutes of fame lasted two.

THURSDAY, May 16 Now back to our regularly scheduled protest: 30 or so friends and family members of Orange doctor Riad Abdelkarim, who has been held in an Israeli prison for two weeks, march silently outside Chris Cox's Newport Beach office. They want the Republican congressman and other politicians to fight for the release of Abdelkarim, who went to Israel on a medical fact-finding mission but got popped for allegedly plotting terrorism. But their pleas do not fall on Cox's ears—he is tied up in Washington whoring for corporations and screwing average Americans. FRIDAY, May 17 More than 200 students at El Toro and Trabuco Hills high schools ditch classes to protest stalled contract negotiations between teachers and the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. It's the season of educational discontent as unions have also declared impasses in the Irvine, Santa Ana and Capistrano Unified districts. Some accuse the Saddleback teachers of brainwashing impressionable youths, whose walkout may cost the district as much as $7,000 in state funds tied to attendance, The Orange County Register reports. Hey, don't blame the teachers. Students ignore them daily. Who knew the kids would actually listen for a change? SATURDAY, May 18 Future protesters for the ruling class endure rigorous programming at Dickland. But the Republican Party of Orange County bars a Weekly shutterbug from its 2002 Youth Convention at the Richard Nixon Library and Mirthplace in Yorba Linda because, uh, the kids are underage. A library spokesperson also tells us that at least one kid cried upon reading in our calendar that “local GOP bigwigs” would “attempt to recruit youthful converts to the party of greed and militarism.” But guess who shows up to drone to the chitlins? None other than Chris “Oh, Look, Suddenly Available” Cox! SUNDAY, May 19 There may be a protest somewhere, but we stay in bed all day, weeping uncontrollably over having bummed out young Republifucks. But those tears turn to tears of joy when Israel drops all charges and releases Dr. Riad Abdelkarim. MONDAY, May 20 Eighty people demonstrate outside Unocal's shareholders meeting in Brea. Upset shareholders, political exiles and assorted rabble-rousers are pissed that Unocal is profiting from forced labor in its Burma gas-pipeline project. Street actors re-create a scene in which slave laborers in chains carry a 20-foot Unocal pipeline. The theatrics work: 90 percent of the shareholders meeting ends up being dedicated to the Burma controversy. TUESDAY, May 21 Atlachinolli Front—a coalition we'd describe were we not afraid we'd somehow offend—picket outside the Fullerton Joint Union High School District board of trustees meeting. The coalition believes Fullerton High School's “Indians” and Sonora High's “Zapata Raiders” mascots are racist and must be removed. The school board considers removing the Altachinolli Front to Israel. Nick Schou contributed to this week's report.

Shoot! TUESDAY, May 14: Justice for a Chapman janitor.
Photo by Nick Schou

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