Arnold’s visa advantage

Minute-mania: Arnold Schwarzenegger surprised a few people with his recent condemnation of that Spanish-language newscast billboard and his praise for those border-patrolling Minutemen (folks that even George W. Bush refers to as “vigilantes”). Democrats dismissed it as a desperate attempt to distract from recent political setbacks, while immigrant activists bemoaned the willingness of a former immigrant to condemn his latter-day counterparts.

All of which got Bites to wondering about Herr Governator’s own immigration record. Why, it seems like just yesterday, but was actually back during the recall, that the San Jose Mercury News first endeared itself to the Schwarzenegger campaign by raising questions about the young bodybuilder working in the bricklaying business, an apparent visa violation that could have gotten him deported. Especially fun was a September 21, 2003, Mercury News article in which newly hired spinmeister Sean Walsh executed all sorts of verbal gymnastics in order to reconcile the historical contradictions, going so far as to question his boss’s own recollections of those early years.

Of course, once elected, Arnold filed the immigration question right next to the groping issue, which he’d promised to explain after the election but quickly dismissed as “old news.” A call to the Mercury News’ Dion Nissenbaum, who broke the story, confirmed that the Arnold camp never has answered the questions raised in the article or turned over the requested immigration records.

All of which might matter if the Governator wasn’t above the law in the first place. As a Schwarzenegger aide told Nissenbaum at the time, even if Arnold did violate the terms of his visa, it was a violation akin to driving 60 mph in a 55-mph zone.

Where were those Minutemen back when we needed them?

Let the eagle soar: Former Attorney General John Ashcroft will be providing aid and comfort to a red county trapped in a blue state tonight (May 5), as he is the featured speaker at Rocklin’s Whitney Oaks Golf Club. Ashcroft appears on behalf of the Placer County Republican Party’s first annual May Gala Fundraiser. For a paltry $125, those lucky enough to snap up a ticket to this event will be treated to Ashcroft’s speech on this year’s theme of “One Nation Under God.”

Assemblyman Tim Leslie could not help but remark on the joys of having Ashcroft on hand to “celebrate God and country with us on the National Day of Prayer,” a comment that’s sure to delight church-state separatists. “I am sure he will be a big hit here in the most Republican county in California.”

Festivities kick off at 6:30 p.m. with a 15-minute press briefing beforehand. Organizers could not confirm or deny that the erstwhile attorney general would be taking musical requests.

Bikes bite: Media folks stereotypically are not known for being in the best of shape, and Bites has to admit that it has been some time since the old Bitescycle has hit the streets. (Hey, it’s an ancient ’50s Western Flyer, and Bites lives up a long flight of stairs with no garage; have you ever tried to even lift one of those things?)

But that won’t stand in the way of Bites sending a somewhat hypocritical shout out to the many folks who will be participating in next week’s Sacramento Region Bike Commute Week. From May 16 to May 22, organizers are asking folks to give the SUV a rest and get into the urban cycling experience for their daily commute.

While you’re at it, you can also log onto their Web site (at and become part of their Million Mile Challenge, an attempt to collectively log that many miles during the month of May. As of this writing (the afternoon of May 2), only 11,477 miles had been logged, but hey, that’s just for starters.

Bites especially likes the site’s constantly updated “Who has logged the most miles?” feature. So far, Intel has a lock on top employer with 836 miles, El Dorado County Supervisor Rusty Dupray is the top political personality (22 miles), and Melissa Crowley holds the position of top media personality (0 miles).

Zero miles? Hey, maybe Bites has a shot at this thing after all.