Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks.

THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE
Published: 08 January 2012 07:02 PM

Last week started badly for Inland Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and only got worse.

The Twitter-verse erupted Tuesday after security officers found a loaded handgun in Donnelly’s carry-on luggage at Ontario International Airport. Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said he forgot he had put the gun in his briefcase and believed he was carrying his laptop computer.

Within hours, someone had created a “TimDonnellysGun” Twitter account. “Guns don’t kill, they’re like laptops,” wrote the unidentified author, who had 115 followers by Friday.

Big Bear Lake Mayor Bill Jahn, a Republican who is challenging Donnelly in the redrawn 33rd Assembly District, piled on.

“I’m a gun owner, too, but I know where my gun is at all times,” said Jahn, who reported last week that he had given almost $100,000 to his campaign.

The week ended with the failure of a Donnelly led campaign to qualify a ballot measure to overturn last year’s law making scholarship aid available for college students who are in the country illegally.

“Today only marks the end of one battle in a war to reclaim our voice in our legislature,” Donnelly wrote

UCR ‘WASTE’ DISPUTED

A study at UC Riverside that’s trying to gauge the enjoyment people get from social media is making Sen. Tom Coburn an unhappy man.

Coburn, R-Okla., is a frequent critic of what he calls wasteful government spending. And just like Santa, he makes his naughty list known in December, with the release of his annual Wastebook report that identifies the 100 most troubling uses of federal money.

“Video games, robot dragons, Christmas trees, and magic museums. This is not a Christmas wish list, these are just some of the ways the federal government spent your tax dollars,” Coburn said in a news release.

Two Inland projects made the list. UCR researchers are using $149,900 from a National Science Foundation grant to develop a video game for phones and other mobile devices that teaches children the evolutionary development of guppies. The game partners university staffers with private video game companies and includes a social media campaign, Coburn said.

Another UCR project also trades in tweets.

Two researchers were awarded $413,756 over two years to examine whether use of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook make people happy, Coburn said.

The university defended the projects, pointing out that both are led by prominent researchers in their field.

“Since hundreds of millions of people use social media it is important to know whether this helps or hurts psychological functioning,” UCR spokesman Sean Nealon said, in an email.

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