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You want swans? We got swans. Also, political crack and cracked corporate politics!

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Even so, the Thursday announcement – and its attached “respect our privacy” statement from the Segal family – naturally elicited a response from Segal’s foes. First up was Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart, the bawdy lass who came in third in the August mayoral primary. According to Stewart’s always-on Facebook page, you can’t have it both ways.

“As much as elected officials might want to protect family from press, it is impossible to do so,” she wrote, channeling Noelle Bush. “When you are elected, your whole family is elected. Might be why many just don’t want to go through the stress.”

A dusty wind blew across a dry horizon. Or was that a sigh? Whatever it was, it wouldn’t last for long. Just a couple of hours later, Tea Party hero (and also a mayoral primary loser) Matthew Falconer raised Stewart’s Facebook chatter with – wait for it – a press release! Falconer called Segal “friendly, caring and compassionate,” before issuing what may well be his last reported decree.

“I hope the media understands this is a family matter and not of political significance,” he typed to no one. “Politics is about public policy and the human shortcomings of family members of candidates for public office should not be fuel for political campaigns.”

Oh, election season – you sure do know how to bring out the best in people. And by best, we mean worst. And by worst, we mean the hatred that lurks in the hearts of men (and women, too).

Just ask Congressman Alan Grayson, who’s still taking the flak over his campaign ad calling opponent Dan Webster “Taliban Dan.” Admittedly, we did the same thing in our Halloween masks feature last week, only in a better-natured, more satirical way. (Make note of this, political consultants, because it makes all the difference in the world when you’re trying to get your point across: Don’t use doctored sound bites that make candidates sound like they’re saying the opposite of what they actually meant.)

It also brings out the best in our readers, some of whom didn’t find our masks – or our endorsements, which ran in the same issue – very funny or enlightening.

First, there was the creepy phone call from a guy who sounded downright gleeful when he told us that America has spoken: Liberals and progressive ideals are “so over,” the caller crowed. The Tea Party is the shit and we better keep up or it’s all over for us, too.

“Everything’s going to change,” he warned. And seriously, it kinda sounded like a threat more than a promise.

Happytown™ suggested that he write a letter to the editor. We think he just liked the sound of his own voice, though, because he tried to keep talking as we hung up the phone.

And then there was a letter to the editor, sent from a wholefoods.com e-mail address, criticizing us for writing a “political trash article” that compared Webster to “some towel heads who follow that peaceful Mideastern religion.”

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