Holiday Weekend Open Thread: What the Hell is THAT? Also: Josh Newman to Chair Vets’ Committee!




(1) A Rorschach-ingly Inappropriate Image from Anaheim Blog!

First of all, send your children out of the room right now!  You don’t want them to be scarred for life.

We were puzzled by the thumbnail that Matt Cunningham used in a story attacking Anaheim Councilwoman Denise Barnes — but, sadly, we think that we may have finally figured it out.

Matt Cunningham published a piece last week, too late for inclusion in last week’s Weekend Open Thread (which, to be fair, never actually materialized) attacking newly installed Anaheim City Councilwoman Denise Barnes for supposed hypocrisy because she wanted to restore the position of Tom Tait’s aide Mishal Montgomery to full-time.

Supposedly, the justification for Montgomery getting less money than other Council aides is that she gets a pension, which overlooks the fact that as a real, true policy aide rather than what most other Councilmembers have had, she’s is in a professional level position that warrants a pension.  Those PowerPoint presentations that Mayor Tom Tait has used to stand in the way of Council giveaways and cronyism aren’t created by magical fairies, but by Montgomery working in close association with Tait as they jointly study the implications of City agendas when they finally see what Paul Emery and whomever else in the Pringle Ring he consults with are done fashioning them.  By comparison, some or all of Kris Murray’s public money goes to a PR person, Arianna Barrioswho also happens to provide that service for Murray’s campaigns!, apparently because she’s not that concerned with policy analysis but moreso with how to sell people crappy policies resting on foundations of deceit.  To each their own, I suppose.  You bet!

But that’s not what this post is about.  This is about the thumbnail that Cunningham posted with the article, which you can see above in the top center of the graphic.  I would say that at first I found it vaguely disturbing, but with repeated viewing the disturbance became much less vague.

The thumbnail comes from printing a double-image, one side reversed and then placed back to back with the other, that seems to have been supposed to depict Tait as being “two-faced.”  (Evidently, finding a photo of Barnes would be too much trouble.)  It’s a stupid accusation and a meh sort of graphic, but it’s within the realm of dopey blog graphics custom.  (I think that I may have used this sort of “creating symmetry” here before.  The famous Rorschach test largely relies on it to generate ambiguous images that people can interpret to be various things.)  The problem here is that it generated a thumbnail that seems … well, “out of place,” especially in a graphic involving a Councilwoman.

I’ve magnified the image to the left of the illustration and included a photo of Barnes herself to the right.  Here’s my rule of thumb here — if you even accidentally generate a thumbnail image that looks this disturbing, then you change the underlying image into something that generates a thumbnail that won’t be.

Perhaps Matt is too innocent to look at that thumbnail and say “WHAT the FROINK?!!!”  That hypothesis remained viable until I remembered that Matt Cunningham represented the owners of a strip club a few years ago, which Vern memorialized in a story that included (at reduced size) the collage at the bottom of the illustration above.  I think that it’s safe to say that Matt should have been expected to look at his image — presuming that he does read his own blog — and say “uh, maybe I’ll start from scratch.”  (If I thought that this was done intentionally to undermine Barnes as a woman, like his posing a wounded-looking teddy bear next to a votive candle was intended to slam the mothers and other mourners of Anaheim’s victims of police violence, then this piece would be much harsher.)

If you don’t see anything disturbing in the image — good for you!  Just don’t imagine looking at those same strippers from the front side, and perhaps your mind will stay pure.

(2) State Senator Josh Newman gets the perfect assignment as Committee Chair

This is one of those appointments that should have been obvious, but in Capitol politics obviousness is not always enough to lead to the right result.  Kevin DeLeon, though, is a pretty smart dude and made the right call.  As Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Army Vet and Fullerton homeboy Josh Newman will be well-placed to take many of the concerns that motivated his nonprofit, ArmedForce2WorkForce, and apply his expertise statewide.  His office puts it this way (tweaked slightly to insert a colon and semicolons):

His priorities as incoming chair include workforce development and greater accountability and oversight of existing programs.

“I am honored to receive this assignment and recognize the significance of this Chairmanship. As a new member of the legislature, and former Army Officer, I am eager to get to work to tackle the issues facing today’s veterans. I am committed to ensure that we adopt good policy and work harder to meet the needs of this community.”

In addition to being nominated for chair, Senator Newman will also sit on four other committees: … the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee; the Health Committee; the Human Services Committee; and the Insurance Committee.

This is a very nice set of appointments for someone in a swing district.  Of course, Newman is less likely than some — not mentioning any names here — to use the Insurance Committee as a way to shake down insurers for campaign contributions.  He is in a great position, though, to work with California’s excellent Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones on some great projects.  And, of course, he’ll be a great steward of OC’s interest in the Veteran’s Cemetery in (or near) Irvine’s Great Park.  His website is

(3) A Mixed Assortment of Yummy Links to Get You Through the Holidays

  • As you may know, Orange Juice Blog is ALL ABOUT the dance music, which is why that is all that Vern plays at his concerts.  (Note: this is not at all true — but if you’re a fan of dance music and this claim gets you in the door of one of his concerts, you won’t likely regret it.)  Here’s a nice story from Slate about the British Invasion that is inserting harmony, melody, and general tunefulness into the genre — and it has a nice virtual mixing table embedded so that you can see how it all works together.  (The only thing that you absolutely should not drop out is the drums.  You’ll be amazed at how muddy it suddenly sounds without them.)
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates has a powerful column that has been making the rounds this week entitled “My President Was Black”, which I’ve heard is extraordinary and I’m waiting to read during some holiday lull.  Here’s the one that came before that one, which compares the hoops that President Obama and President-Elect Trump had to go through to attain that office.  Very much worth reading.
  • Will Trump be impeached?  Magic 8-ball says: Yah.
  • How did OC vote?  Here’s the official summary of the final results, though one can (and we will) go much deeper into these weeds.  (Here are the weeds.)  And if you want to remember how many of each kind of ballot was counted, check here.
  • Some people iz not likin California cuz we vote rong!
  • Jay Chen got flak for busting up Tucker Carlson on immigration, but is standing tall.  I really wish that he would run for AD-55, so that we could have a Chen-Chen race!
  • As he’s no longer an endorsed Democratic candidate, it’s OK to go after Lou Correa again!  This bit was published in September and I’ve been sitting on it since then.
  • Department of Miscommunications. Two entries this time:
  • Here are some other takes on why Trump won the election:
  • And finally, for those of us raising kids more than halfway to age 10, this is very good.  Might try it this year!

This is your Holiday Weekend Open Thread!  Talk about all that, or whatever else strikes your fancy, within reasonable bounds of discretion and decorum.  Merry Christmas, Khappy Khanukah, Meaningful (if belated) Mawlid al-Nabi, Contemplative Kwanzaa, Splendid Saturnalia, Delightful Dhanu Sankranti (seriously, try the rice flakes), Excellent Equinox, Hippie Holidays, and all of the rest from your friends at the Juice!

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)