Thursday, June 14, 2007

Paris in Springtime

Last year I did a search through government websites for the term "Paris Hilton" and was surprised to see her name appearing in connection with several federal agencies. Now that she has become a symbol for disregard for the rule of law, her name appears continues to appear frequently in congressional speeches, as it did in connection with what Democrats called "the Paris Hilton Tax Break."

For example, Congressman Earl Blumenauer recently said, "The difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is that they are not willing to make any distinction. For them it is Paris Hilton who is first in line." And last week an FCC chair cites Hilton's conversation with Nicole Richie at the Billboard Music Awards when complaining about a recent indecency ruling.

One government website is saying remarkably little about Paris Hilton: the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department that is currently detaining her. There are no official statements on their website, although an inmate name search will bring up the heiress's information. (Click to enlarge.)

I must say Sheriff Lee Baca, who is facing outrage from communities of color about seemingly light treatment of the blonde female celebrity, has one of the worst websites for a political office-holder that I have ever seen. The images double-up, the text is hard to read, and there is no useful navigation to help visitors to the site.

As The Los Angeles Times reports, a new website Recall is trying to capitalize on public outrage about possible special treatment of the rich and famous. Although it is junked up with ads, this site is considerably better designed than Baca's own. However, the anti-Baca forces leave something to be desired when it comes to spelling. One advantage of years of experience in law enforcement is that most cops I know are scrupulous spellers, because their reports appear in courts of law.

One oddity of coverage of the Hilton circus: spokespersons for the sheriff's department frequently refer to the jail as the "largest detention facility in the free world." How's that for an oxymoron?

Update: Of course, I have to include the latest viral video about Paris's plight.

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