TUESDAY, JULY 22
Cue the violins and break out the hankies! Randy Cunningham, the Cryin’ Congressman, is making news—and undoubtedly getting ready to turn on the waterworks—by asking President George W. Bush to pardon him for defiling the basic tenets of American democracy. Cunningham, a Republican, used to represent Northern San Diego County in the House of Representatives, where he played the tough-guy Vietnam vet and called himself by the John Wayne-style nickname “Duke.” But when he was convicted of whoring out his sacred vote to defense contractors for $2.4 million in money, expensive dinners, vacations, sports tickets and hookers in Hawaii in November of 2005, Big Bad Duke turned back into his real self—Wittle Wussy Wandy. He broke down into a sobbing, snot-nosed pile of wet diapers, pleading and praying as they hauled his sorry ass off to prison in Arizona. Cunningham has served almost three years of his eight-plus-year sentence, and the one-time high roller apparently thinks that a few years of cleaning jailhouse toilets is sufficient penance for shitting all over his constituents. Here’s hoping his ass is sorry … ouch! And here’s praying that Bush—who has pretty notorious disregard for the laws of the land, himself—doesn’t get played by the one-time Duke who they’re now calling Punk.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23
The sad-assed-ness continues as San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus—a Republican who a grand jury recently charged with using his office for political activity and all kinds of financial shenanigans—reacts to the scrutiny by bailing out … at public expense, of course. The 37-year-old Postmus announces he’s taking a 10-week medical leave, but declines to identify the ailment that’s paining him. News reports indicate that he may be using the time to put together a permanent disability claim, which would pay him $87,000-a-year for life.
THURSDAY, JULY 24
A week after ExpressJet announced it would stop all service at Ontario International Airport on September 2, JetBlue Airways announces it will be pulling out, too. In all, it looks as though Ontario will lose 37 percent of its flights this fall, eliminating routes to places like Tulsa, Austin and New York City. But there’s a bright side to being the black hole of the nation’s airline-industry meltdown—a reduction in the number of Okies, Texans and New Yorkers coming here.
FRIDAY, JULY 25
Six months after voters approved Governor Schwarzenegger’s deal with Indian tribes for a bigger share of their winnings in the casino-gambling industry, the Pechanga Casino announces it will lay off 400 workers. Meanwhile, the Morongo Casino, Resort and Spa near Banning has been steadily reducing its workforce by about 400 to 500 positions this year by not replacing employees as they have left. How, if you’ll pardon the expression, could this happen? The recession. Turns out people don’t gamble as much when they don’t have any money.
SATURDAY, JULY 26
DataQuik Information Systems reports that lenders repossessed 15,065 homes in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in the second quarter of 2008—up between 250% and 315% from a year ago—and that mortgage default notices have been sent to 26,691 more so-called home “owners.” But there’s a bright side to being the black hole of the nation’s housing-market meltdown. The $300 billion bailout bill the House of Representatives passes today practically has the Inland Empire’s name on it, since it is prioritized to distribute the money to cities with the highest foreclosure rates. OK, so that’s not the best kind of publicity for the IE—and probably not especially consoling, if you’re reading this in your sleeping bag beneath a freeway overpass. On the other hand, you can put your copy of IE Weekly under that sleeping bag when you’re done . . . or did you forget that newspaper makes a great insulator?
SUNDAY, JULY 27
Thirty thousand ballots are mailed to Jurupa-area voters who will get to decide whether Republican Congressman Ken Calvert gets to keep a 4.3-acre parcel of land he bought in a 2006 transaction that a grand jury concludes was a violation of state law. The Jurupa Area Recreation and Park District wants the land for much-needed athletic fields. Calvert wants the land because . . . well, because he’s Calvert. He apparently took cuts to the front of the line to acquire the property from the Jurupa Community Services District, despite the fact that California law required the district to offer the property to other agencies, particularly park districts, before putting the land on the market. That never happened in this case despite the fact that the Jurupa park district had expressed interest in the property as a possible park or ball field site as far back as 2001.
MONDAY, JULY 28
Tired. Very tired.