Tuesday's Headlines & Surprises: Rohrabacher Joins ACLU?

  • Dana Adopts ACLUish Torture Position! At an Oct. 12 rally, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Skipped Vietnam Combat Duty) repeatedly blasted solitary prison confinement. “Long periods of solitary confinement are considered torture,” Rohrabacher said to a tiny Huntington Beach crowd that looked staffed by, well, his congressional staff and their flag-waving relatives. He made the unexpected announcement as a plea for President George W. Bush to free two U.S. Border Patrol agents from prison after a Texas jury found them guilty in the shooting of an unarmed drug smuggler. Speaking from his vast experience in doublespeak, Dana called Bush a “hypocrite.” You see, early this year, he angrily defended the right of our federal government to torture people.
  • Plowing Over Young Mexican-Americans: Recall several weeks ago when a Santa Ana police cruiser accelerated into a young Latino standing in a Norms parking lot near OC Weekly’s World HQ? Damned if it didn’t happen in Anaheim, too. Jose L. Munoz “had his hands in the air and was facing a police officer” when another cop in a car jumped the curb, drove down the sidewalk and struck him from behind at 32 mph, according to Gil Reza at the Times. The 2005 collision ripped open the 23-year-old man’s abdomen and exposed his internal organs. Now, Reza says, the city will pay Munoz $2.5 million to settle an excessive-force lawsuit.
  • Just Like In OC: The Associated Press reports that the United Nations awarded Pacific Architect Engineers Inc. (PAE) of Southern California a $250 million deal for six months of work to build camps in Darfur. UN officials admitted they skipped a competitive-bids process because, they argued, the construction project is just too “complex” to involve other companies. Who could get such friendly treatment? PAE is a subsidiary to Lockheed Martin, the giant defense contractor. The AP story notes widespread corruption in UN procurement practices. In August, the company agreed to repay U.S. taxpayers $265 million in false Pentagon billings. Lockheed Martin officials blamed “a computer glitch” for awarding itself massive “award fees.”
  • Cry Me a Riverbed: The idea of building an 8-mile toll road over the Santa Ana River to extend the 57 Freeway and connect the 5 and 405 is back under consideration, according to David Reyes at the Times. Head Supe Chris Norby (pictured) backs the $2 billion plan as a way to alleviate congestion and provide an alternate route to the 55 parking lot. Mark Rosen, a member of the Garden Grove City Council, is barking no. As chairman of a regional transportation-planning committee, Rosen says the proposed road would wreck Santa Ana neighborhoods and is too costly. “There are more things that you can do with $2 billion without ripping up neighborhoods,” he told Reyes.
  • Fair & Balanced: Jon Stewart at Comedy Central ponders the Fox News reaction to Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize win for his work on global warming. See the video here.
  • And Finally, Naughty, Naughty Foot Tapper Speaks: At 8 p.m., NBC's Dateline broadcasts its Matt Lauer interview with disgraced Senator Larry Craig, a rabidly anti-gay conservative nabbed in an airport men's restroom for attempting to have sex with a male undercover officer.
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