In light of all the controversy surrounding illegal immigration, social security, Medicare, Iran, the Iraq War, and other issues, I suffered a serious brain-freeze and decided instead to pass on a few fun facts that you ought to know.

Fun Facts:

• According to Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Brooks Firestone, the Environmental Impact Report required for the planned 101 widening project is budgeted at $20 million.

• Oakland School District Administrator Randolph Ward “personal bodyguard” costs local taxpayers $173,308 last year alone. In order to pay for it, campus security officers were laid off. – Oakland Tribune

• At Western Michigan University, more than 35% of full-time faculty examined by auditors taught only half-time or less. – Detroit Free Press

• UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton (whose salary is $275,000 a year and whose partner receives another $192,000 from the UC system for a job created especially for her) submitted a bill for $30,383 to install a dog run. It was paid by the school. – San Francisco Chronicle

• UC President Robert Dynes charged the UC system $30,903 to construct a kitchenette upstairs at his UC funded home (a multimillion dollar 13,239-square-foot mansion), even though President Dynes has access to a private kitchen just down a flight of stairs. – San Francisco Chronicle

• About 105,000 UC employees last year shared $871 million in extra compensation above their regular salaries and overtime. The biggest chunk, $343 million, was earmarked for employees at the medical schools and teaching hospitals from clinical revenue. Another $172 million went for relocation allowances, fellowships and temporary work outside of employees' normal duties. The rest was split among a variety of other types of pay, including extra teaching and research ($147 million), severance pay and accrued vacation ($54 million), bonuses and incentive pay ($39 million), stipends ($30 million) and housing and auto allowances ($4 million). – San Francisco Chronicle

• UCLA’s preferred version of American history includes a 14th century African king but excludes Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright brothers. It also mentions Harriet Tubman six times but does not mention Robert E. Lee at all. – The Wall Street Journal

• More employees in the sprawling Los Angeles Unified School District are calling in sick, costing taxpayers $430 million a year, the Long Beach Press Telegram reported April 30, 2004. The district's 70,000 employees have missed 1.5 million hours of work so far this school year. – www.caltax.com

• More than 8,500 UC employees collected $20,000 or more in bonuses last year. The overall sum was $599 million. – San Francisco Chronicle

• Former state Sen. Neil Bryant of Oregon withdrew his name from consideration for a state board appointment after apologizing for writing "white/male" on a form asking if he had a disability. – The Oregonian

• Marsha J. Evans’s salary for year ending 06/30/03 was $651,957 plus expenses. Her position? President and CEO of the American Red Cross. – Forbes Magazine

• According to ConocoPhillips, the company only makes 9 cents per gallon of gas, compared to the State and Federal government, which take in over 50 cents a gallon combined.

• According to the man in charge of the Exxon Valdez oil spill cleanup, it took 10 years for areas that were steam-cleaned in Prince William Sound to attain the biological health levels of the nine areas left untouched. – John Robertson, Montecito Journal

• “…between 1530 and 1780 there were almost certainly 1 million and quite possibly as many as 1.25 million white, European Christians enslaved by the Muslims of the Barbary Coast.” Davis’s new estimates appear in the book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan).

• 1935 - Following demonstration by Jacobson and Fulton that frontal lobe mutilation produced a "calming effect" in monkeys, Antonio Egaz Moniz cut the frontal lobes of 20 of his psychiatric patients and reported a similar "calming" effect….1936 - Walter Freeman and James Watts introduce a surgical technique for frontal lobe lobotomy into the U.S.A. Early 'technique' involved drilling burrholes, later Freeman developed his famous transorbital approach pushing literally an ice pick into the brain via the eye sockets…1949 - Egaz Moniz wins Nobel prize for his lobotomy techniques. – Brief History of Lobotomy by Andrew T. Austin

• In the 1700s, some people had tooth transplants, having donors' teeth jammed into sockets in their own jaws. Later, teeth extracted from dead soldiers after the battle of Waterloo in 1815 were made into dentures – 2201 Fascinating Facts by David Louis

• www.montecitojournal.net won the Montecito Journal Award for “Greatest Website Ever Created.” – votes were cast only by Montecito Journal employees