Books for crooks

California prisons have been hit hard by the state budget cuts, with programs such as vocational ed, book acquisitions and correspondence courses on the chopping block. Given all the state’s priorities, perhaps it’s not surprising prison amenities are low on the list when basic services, such as schools, are cash-strapped.

With the prison budget cuts in mind, SN&R’s resident book wrangler and former cop, Kel Munger, has also been helping out. Mountains of review copy (of books and CDs) from publishers and producers flows in the SN&R bunker every week. Everything from Stephen King to roadkill cookbooks.

Since SN&R staff can’t get to most of it, Munger has taken the initiative to send some of the excess books and audio books to prison libraries (as well as schools and foundations).

Perhaps Bounce Don’t Break: Brande’s Guide to Life, Love and Success won’t help prisoners walk the line, but for those doing hard time in these hard times, maybe it can help blow those prison blues away.


Bee nice to the advertisers

Sacramento real -state magnate Michael Lyon has been the center of sordid rumors and investigations into the secret videotaping of his house guests.

On Friday, The Sacramento Bee ran one story on the investigation, and a curious shorter piece, titled “Michael Lyon has impressed and inspired in realty career.”

The latter article was basically a greatest-hits cover of Lyon’s career, with no mention of the recent investigations, though one might think allegations of secret bathroom videotaping would be hard to overlook.

For a while on Friday morning, the Bee also put the gooey profile front and center on its home page.

“Wow. How much and whom does one have to pay for an infomercial like this with no mention at all of the reason he’s in the news in the first place?” wrote one commenter on the article at

Others wrote, “Even for the Bee, this article is a new low in journalism,” and “The Bee appears to have decided to run a puff piece on one of its biggest advertisers.”

As of 2007, Michael Lyon’s company, Lyon Real Estate, did have a $1 million advertising contract with the Bee, though at the time Lyon said he was cutting back from the Bee to focus more on the Internet.

Given all this, Sac Bee sure could use an ombudsperson. Perhaps Scoopy can take a break from weather-page duties and fill in.