Thursday's Headlines & Surprises: Fishy Rohrabacher
- Fishy Rohrabacher? The Huntington Beach Independent features a visit by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Skipped Vietnam Combat Duty) to Coatings Resource Corp., a local company owned by Edward Laird. Michael Alexander's story says that the Chinese had nabbed Laird's paint contract with Mattel Toys. The lead scandal prompts Laird to call the Chinese cheaters. Laird's not mad because he says his company is hoping to work with the Chinese to certify the paint they use for Mattel toys. All good to this point, right? But relevant points never materialized in the article. Laird is a longtime Rohrabacher campaign contributor and social pal. And, perhaps more importantly, at the same time Rohracher is using his position in Washington, D.C. to demonize the Chinese and hint at new, strict trade sanctions on that nation, Laird is negotiating a business deal tied to those same communists. I'm sure it's a coincidence. Forget that federal investigators uncovered documents proving Rohrabacher (pictured promoting Laird's company) used his official position in Congress to quietly aid the slimy business dealings of his pal/lobbyist//convicted felon Jack Abramoff.
- Even More Lost in OC: Similiar to yesterday's embarrassment, the top five Times stories listed in the paper's online Orange County news section: Phil Spector trial in LA, column on the national healthcare debate, LA Unified School District reform summit and an immigration/visa debate in Vista. Thankfully, Times OC columnist Dana Parsons prevented the section's shutout with a decent column about the Garden Grove AARP's efforts to help a 37-year-old, 320-pound bar manager after July 4 fireworks destroyed his property. Yesterday, none of the top five online stories in the paper's OC section were about OC. Register management must be smiling.
- OC resident still captive in Iran: The New York Times reports this morning that Lake Forest resident Ali Shakeri remains locked in an Iranian prison for unknown reasons. Security agents with the Iranian government grabbed the 59-year-old real estate and mortgage broker off a departing airplane and threw him in prison. Shakeri, who flew to Iran to visit his ailing mother, has been held in solitary confinement for 134 days without charges. Iranian officials are worried about efforts to undermine their government. According to Times reporter Neil MacFarquhar, “Skakeri is a founding member of the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding at the University of California, Irvine, and his biography on its Web page identifies him as a democracy advocate.” His son says Skakeri wasn't seeking violent overthrow but rather “channels of communication.”
- Who Let The Dog Out? KCBS Channel 2 has the year-old video purporting to show a Disneyland's Pluto character angrily chasing a small child in the crowded Anaheim theme park. The kid's mother, apparently angry too, chases Pluto and eventually pushes the character to the ground. What prompted the chase is unnkown. Disneyland officials admit they've seen the footage but tried to downplay it. They say Pluto, born in 1930, has no temper. I say the kid's a future felon.