Posted July 10, 2008 in News


It’s been nearly two years now, but the memory of Floyd Landis’ stunning comeback in Stage 17 of the Tour de France—a comeback achieved on a disintegrating hip—remains as fresh as ever. Nobody will ever be able to take that away. Not so true of the trophy Landis won in 2006; it was taken away shortly after the race, when he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. And now, after a long, bizarre, very public, multimillion-dollar appeal process, it’s official: he’ll never get it back. Floyd Landis, the 32-year-old Murrieta resident, the son of Mennonites, is officially a cheater. Of course, sports fans are getting used to this—of having our unforgettable moments erased from record books, or otherwise reduced into figments of our imaginations. But sports have always been fantasy, really, the illusion that there really is something heroic about winning a game or setting a record. I’m glad they found out Landis is a cheater. But I didn’t mind believing in him at the time; it was a lot of fun. Today there will be another moment to believe in. Good enough for me.



The Press-Enterprise exemplifies the continued importance of a strong, independent, daily newspaper—despite all the contentions that the industry’s time has passed—by winning its case to unseal a search warrant a judge had issued in April so that the San Bernardino District Attorney could raid the office of County Assessor Bill Postmus. The warrant reveals that a county grand jury criticized the Postmus’ office for using county e-mail systems for political activity, including “arranging political meetings, solicitations for campaign contributions, instructions to move campaign monies from one campaign fund to another, solicitation of political proxies” and political discussions on a Republican blog. The grand jury findings led to the arrest of a top Postmus aide, Adam Aleman, on six felony charges. The investigation remains ongoing. Thankfully, the P-E does, too. 



Corona police officers encourage, condone and praise a minor—probably one of those Explorer Scouts they so often train and mentor—to tell bald-faced lies to about 80 patrons of downtown stores for the purpose of entrapping the people to break the law. The cops proudly reveal that the minor stood outside the stores last week and interrupted people who were minding their own business to plead with them to buy him an alcoholic beverage. Maybe you’ve been in that situation before—maybe both situations, over the years. I have. I’ve been the kid, coming with a pitch that usually began, “Uhhh, excuse me, could you do me a favor?” I’ve been the adult, usually answering with a regretful, “Uhhh, sorry, I really can’t”—but once or twice, I’ll admit it, saying, “Weeellll, OK.” In all cases, however, everybody was at least telling the truth. But in the cases perpetrated by the Corona police—a five-hour evening of trickery funded by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control—the young kid was coached into becoming dirty little liars. The seven (out of about 80) people who bought him an alcoholic beverage—people who had no intention of breaking any law when they arrived at the store—were made into criminals. Nice. By the way, the five-item text of the Explorer Code of the Boy Scouts of America, expressing the ideals to which all Explorers should be dedicated, includes promises to “maintain a personal sense of honor in my own life” and to “recognize the dignity and worth of my fellow men and [to] use fair play and goodwill in dealing with them.” Real nice. 



Happy No. 232!



Venus Williams.



Rafael Nadal.



It’s called Palm Springs, but lots of people aren’t that fond of living among the stiltsy trees that give the city its name. Especially at this time of the year, when they are trying to reproduce—the trees, not the residents—and end up sprinkling tiny seeds, flowers and fruits all over the place. So people pay to have the palm fronds trimmed. Desert biologist James Cornett doesn’t like that, and the Desert Sun always prints his annual rant against the practice, then the letters of people ranting against Cornett. I agree with Cornett, but the angry residents write the better letters, if only because I can never get enough of the whining of the privileged. Listen to their trauma: “Each morning I vacuum or sweep up the tiny flowers and fruits, as well as net the pool and empty the filter basket trying to keep the seeds and palm debris from soaking up the pool chemicals and clogging the filter. Twice a week a pool service cleans the pool and empties the pool catcher. I find untrimmed palm trees unattractive.” And: “Before I can use my pool I have to clean out the flower stalk, and after each wind storm I have to pick up the fronds scattered in my yard and pool, not to mention the dying fronds block my mountain view. Lastly, when the palm fruits ripen and birds gather they leave behind their waste all over my car, house and pool deck where one of course likes to walk barefoot.”




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