Diary of a Mad County

MONDAY, Feb. 25 A New York Times story on the Americanization of Red China reports that not only are Chinese people swilling Starbucks, munching McDonald's and driving Buicks, but they're also moving into new housing compounds with such names as “Manhattan Gardens” and a familiar-sounding “Orange County.” “The Americans here are selling not just products but also a culture,” Victor Yuan, president of Beijing's Horizon Market Research, tells the Newspaper of Record, “and it is a culture that many Chinese want.” Goodbye, Great Wall! Hello, Great Park.

Illustration by Bob Aul
TUESDAY, Feb. 26 The question this ticking time bomb wants to ask while sitting in UC Irvine's Bren Events Center trying to listen to Dolly the sheep cloner Ian Wilmut is not, as his lecture title suggests, “To Clone or Not to Clone?” but rather, “Who Let the Freshmen In?” They act like HIGH SCHOOL freshmen. We're surrounded by students who are obviously there to fulfill some first-year college science-class requirement. They're loud, squirmy and in and out of their seats so frequently we think we've stumbled into a Catholic mass. It's a shame because Wilmut presents a thoughtful, non-incendiary examination of cloning and human stem cell research. For instance, he does not oppose human cloning because scientists should not play God, but because he believes it would be unfair to the clones. “You have to ask yourself if you'd want to be an exact clone of one of your parents,” he says. At his speech's end, even before he can thank the audience for showing up, the freshmen loudly race for the exits. To hell with cloning—it's times like this we wish abortion were retroactive. WEDNESDAY, Feb. 27 Nixon Foundation officials unveil plans to nearly double the size of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace. Hours later, the National Archives releases 426 more hours of Nixon White House tapes to give Dick-lovers ideas on how to fill that new space. How about a Lie-sarium, which could re-create Nixon, having campaigned on a promise to pull U.S. troops out of Vietnam, discussing nuking North Vietnam? “Zhat, I zhink, vould just be too much,” responds national security adviser Henry Kissinger, whom Nixon chides for being too concerned about civilian casualties. “I don't give a damn,” declares Dick. “I don't care.” A few weeks later, he ordered a major escalation of the war. Lie-sarium visitors could also listen to Nixon ordering aides to leak false information that the White House had “unmistakable evidence” that the would-be assassin of George Wallace backed Nixon's Democratic rivals George McGovern and Edward Kennedy. Meanwhile, the all-new Anti-Semitic Canarditoriumcould feature an endless loop of Nixon's Jew-bashing, including the latest taped contribution: a post-prayer-breakfast sit-down at which he and the Reverend Billy Graham smear God's Chosen People. Vintage Nixon: “The best Jews are actually the Israeli Jews” and “[T]he Jews are an irreligious, atheistic, immoral bunch of bastards.” Here's Graham after complaining that Jews control the U.S. media: “They swarm around me and are friendly to me. Because they know I am friendly to Israel and so forth. They don't know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country.” Replies Nixon, “You must not let them know.” If the latest tapes don't provide enough fodder for the soon-to-be-expanded library, worry not: another 1,100 hours of recordings are on the way. THURSDAY, Feb. 28 Sixteen months after the Weekly reported on smoke and burning embers from Disneyland Resort's nightly fireworks show raining down on surrounding neighborhoods (Fermin Leal and Vu Nguyen's “Disneyland's Downwinders,” Oct. 13, 2000), the South Coast Air Quality Management Districtreveals it will collect fireworks residue in glass jars for analysis. University of Utah meteorology professor Kevin Perry scoffs at that strategy, telling The Orange County Register's Vik Jolly that more active sampling involving pumps with filters must be used to gauge whether human health is endangered. Wait until he finds out those glass jars are going to be turned upside-down. FRIDAY, March 1 George Saadeh, who grew up in Honduras, becomes the first Latino captain in the Santa Ana Police Department's 116-year history. Officials with the city and human-rights agencies hail the promotion of Saadeh, who will manage the patrol bureau's 200 officers. But amid all the backslapping, this department standard-issue windup's gotta ask: A city in which 74 percent of the residents speak Spanish—the largest percentage in the U.S.—is just now getting a Latino captain? SATURDAY, March 2 We nearly spit out our morning Wheaties reading advertisements parodying the anti-drug campaign sponsored by the Bush administration. The Office of National Drug Control Policy(ONDCP) commercials, which premiered during the Super Bowl, allege that Americans who buy illegal drugs support terrorists. The parodies turn this argument on its soft noggin, with the Libertarian Party's print ad featuring a huge blowup of Bush drug czar John Walterssaying, “This week, I had lunch with the president, testified before Congress and helped funnel $40 million in illegal drug money to groups like the Taliban.” Two new ads by progressives are—like progressives—more somber, showing photos of paramilitary thugs under the headline, “When You Pay Your Taxes Do You Support These Terrorists?” They then meticulously tie U.S. funding to Colombian death squads, the Taliban, other terrorists, chemical and biological weapon use against innocents, hostage taking, blown-up civilian airlines, torture, ethnic cleansing, political assassinations—the works. Unfortunately, the Libs' ad has appeared only in USA Today and the Washington Times, while the progs' is just now busting out on the Internet. Besides being all over TV, ONDCP's taxpayer-funded print ads have run in 293 U.S. newspapers. SUNDAY, March 3 Poor kids: they can't stay out after the streetlights come on, can't take candy from strangers, can't smoke crack. Now a bunch of doctors wants to keep them from riding skateboards or scooters. Saying they're concerned about the number of accidents they're seeing, the American Academy of Pediatrics wants to prevent children younger than eight from riding scooters and those under 10 from stepping on skateboards, reports the HealthScout website (www.healthscout.com). A few days earlier, another physician group recommended keeping young'uns off playground jungle gyms. Has anyone figured out whether kids banned from one potentially dangerous apparatus simply move on to something else that might hurt them? Apparently, these doctors believe the healthiest place for kids is in front of televisions with Mountain Dews and Nacho Cheesier Doritos. Maybe in Orange County, China!

Tuesday, March 5: Morning
becomes erectic in Santa Ana
Photo by Matt Coker
MONDAY, March 4 Resistance Records, the West Virginia-based, neo-Nazi label that turned up in the Weekly's story about skinhead concerts at the Shack in Anaheim (Rich Kane's “Springboard for Hitler,” Sept. 7, 2001), has branched into a new medium: video games. ABC News reports that Resistance has a new video game called Ethnic Cleansing that allows players to assume the persona of a skinhead or Klansman who goes about offing minorities. As hate rock blares, gunmen compete toward the ultimate goal: assassinating a rocket-wielding Ariel Sharon. Obviously the Jews don't own all the media.

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