And a child shall lead them

Opie goes to Washington: As we write these words on a sunny afternoon, Senator Rico “Opie” Oller is hosting his State Capitol Frog Jump over at the Capitol. But don’t think for one minute that the senator’s ambitions end there! Oller’s publicist just passed along a letter written by U.S. Representative John Doolittle—and co-signed by Bill Simon, Matt Fong and Richard Pombo—that seeks to draft Oller as 3rd Congressional District replacement for Doug Ose, if the Congressman goes up against Barbara Boxer next year. Could the man who cheers on a bunch of frogs (wistfully nicknamed Deficit Darling, No Tax Max and Shortfall Sam) today soon find himself in Washington yukking it up with a higher class of reptiles? Stranger things have happened, at least in theory.

Democracy canceled: Though Bites will defend to the death any individual’s right to remain uninformed, we’re less enamored with the media’s right to make that decision for us. Witness the first Democratic presidential debate: ABC successfully bid for the broadcast rights, but only 50 affiliates aired it Saturday night.

Because News10’s business office closes shop on weekends, Bites was among those who called the station Saturday afternoon to find out if it would indeed be airing the reported 11:30 p.m. network feed (delayed so as not to interrupt Russell Crowe in Gladiator). The woman at the news desk consulted a passing producer. “They want to know if we’re airing the—what was it again?—oh right, hold on. They want to know if we’re airing a Democratic presidential debate.”

The producer knew nothing about it, so we were asked to call back in 20 minutes, so they could consult a list of programming additions. Nothing shown, the woman later reported, “unless you want to know when The Bachelor’s on—now that’s what I wanted to know, but whatever.”

The debate’s time slot was given over to Living Large instead. “That’s that show with Carmen—you know, the Playboy girl, what’s her name—Carmen Electra. Heaven forbid we interrupt that,” said our new News10 friend, laughing. Still, Bites’ suggestion that News10 run a story on how its station wasn’t airing the debate proved less-than-persuasive: “I really don’t think we’d be able to put something like that together on a Saturday.”

So much for living wages: Looks like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the left-leaning do-gooder group that’s part of the push for a living-wage law in Sacramento and other places around the country, could use a refresher on its own principles. The grassroots group’s “People’s Platform” demands that every person have the right to be paid a living wage and, “most fundamentally, the right to organize.” Sounds nice, but it’s not how ACORN treats its own workers, who are expected to put in 54-hour weeks for $18,000 a year. According to a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board, employees in the Dallas office who expressed interest in forming a union to ask for, among other things, weekends off didn’t get far with management. Rather, the board recently found that three organizers got interrogations, threats and pink slips. ACORN’s national president said in an e-mail that ACORN supports unions and is working with the board on how to comply with the order. Teamsters, anyone?

Calling all Bites: After Bites bagged on The Sacramento Bee for skipping the Lockyer/Wal-Mart story (“Simple minds,” SN&R Bites, April 24), a reader called in to point out another, albeit less dire, Bee omission. Editors printed a Madonna profile by USA Today’s Edna Gundersen intact, our reader notes, but excised four paragraphs in which la fille matérielle talks about the tyrannical tendencies of early Christians. Happily, Madge’s less-controversial musings all were preserved, as were the writer’s own deep thoughts (e.g. “If the tough temptress of Like a Virgin is an artichoke, the ardent soul-searcher of American Life is its delicate heart”). As always, readers are encouraged to let Bites know when our favorite local daily exercises its editorial discretion.