As the shit continues to hit the fan—that is how Swine Flu is spread, isn’t it?—Rialto Congressman Joe Baca—rhymes with vaca, which means cow—continues to feed his constituents his special brand of bullcrap. The economy is in ruins, people are losing their homes, there’s a plume of poison threatening Rialto’s drinking water—and Baca proudly announces passage of the bill he introduced to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Arnold Palmer, the aging golfing superstar, commercial pitchman and what you call a mixture of orange juice and iced tea. Like most of what Baca does, it didn’t take much work, passing the House, 422-1. “Arnold Palmer is a legend and a giant among golfers,” gushes Baca, an avid golfer, in a news release. “He won 92 championships in professional competition, but even more significant, he is an exemplary American.” Joe Baca? Mooo.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29
One hundred days into the Obama administration and critics are questioning whether or not the new president is taking on too much too quickly. It’s a stupid question with a very easy answer: Of course he has! There’s no way anybody could do their best when spread so thinly. But what makes the question stupid is that it presumes that Obama has a choice. The brink of disaster he has inherited basically forces him—and us—into some kind of hasty, hope-for-the-best action because to do nothing is to certainly make matters worse. So Inland Empire voters, who broke with local tradition last November to vote for Obama, have had to suffer while area schools rescind pink slips that had been issued to hundreds of teachers, while several local transportation projects have been green-lighted and almost 200,000 acres of Riverside County’s wildlands have been preserved for future generations. Bills signed by Obama in his first months also have kept thousands of Inland children from losing their health insurance, will ensure equal pay for women in the workplace and add a few bucks to most people’s paychecks. “I do believe we’re spending way too much money,” whines Rep. Mary Bono Mack,” the Republican douchebaguette from Palm Springs. In fact, I’d like to suggest one more thing for Obama’s plate—tracking down and prosecuting his predecessor. And shutting up Mary Bono Mack.
THURSDAY, APRIL 30
One month into the season, the Dodgers still haven’t lost a home game.
FRIDAY, MAY 1
I’m as much against holding huge, all-night dance parties at Pharaoh’s Lost Kingdom as the next guy—if the next guy would really like to have more information than the hysterical reaction to anecdotal evidence and sketchy arrest numbers before shutting down somebody’s freedom to have fun. Unfortunately, the next guys are Redlands city officials who have filed a lawsuit against the owners and operators of the former amusement park alleging that all-night dance parties at the venue constitute a nuisance under the Drug Abatement Act—and violate the East Valley Corridor Specific Plan, the Redlands municipal code and the business’s conditional-use permit. Police officers have made 99 arrests for drug-related offenses at five events held at the club since January, according to the court document. Sounds like a lot—20 a night, average—until you realize that attendance at each of the events has ranged from 2,500 to 11,000 people.
There have got to be at least 20 drunks driving away from every auto race in the Inland Empire, and nobody seems to use that as a reason to shut down the events. I’m just sayin’. Jan Sundberg, an attorney for the park operators, says the arrests are the result of misdeeds by a few and that his clients have paid tens of thousands of dollars to the city for police personnel costs. “Most kids just want to dance and hang out with their friends,” says Sundberg. “The kids may not be dressed to Redlands standards, but who are we to judge?”
SATURDAY, MAY 2
SUNDAY, MAY 3
Instead of opening the Good Book—which is to say, Sunset magazine—I take a walk though the Biblical Gardens at the Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center in Glen Avon. The half-acre of land at the southern end of the earth science center is filled with foliage mentioned in the other Good Book, thanks to a three-year rehabilitation project by volunteers. Although the Biblical Gardens dates back to the mid-1960s, I’d never heard of them until I saw this week’s story in the Press-Enterprise, which told of the place’s demise over the years—a pond filled in and a beautiful arch fallen into such disrepair that a 400-pound bell was moved into storage for fear it would collapse. The garden became choked with weeds. But a trip to the little patch of land was inspirational. A Girl Scout troop has planted biblical flowers that include the narcissus, hyacinth and Star of Bethlehem. Participants in the Teen Challenge Ministries restored the 22-foot arch that graces the garden entry.
MONDAY, MAY 4
Vacationing in Mazatlan . . . or, as I like to call it in this era of the Swine Flu, in a Pig’s Eye.