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Let’s Speculate Wildly About The Sec’y Of Commerce’s Crazed Rear-Ending Spree (Update)

We recommend keeping three car lengths between yourself and this man at all timesWhen we say “Secretary of Commerce,” what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? For 95 percent of you, it’s probably “Secretary of what?” or “What of Commerce?” But the true hardcore politics nerds among you think “Ah ha, former Washington Governor Gary Locke! One of Obama’s two Asian-American cabinet picks!” And then you’re smug, for knowing this. EXCEPT that in fact Gary Locke hasn’t been Commerce Secretary for over a year (he replaced failed moderate Jon Huntsman as ambassador to China, probably a much more important job, commerce-wise)! No, the current guy is “John Bryson,” who you might vaguely remember as outraging environmentalist types by being a ex-utility exec, but also outraging James Inhofe because he doesn’t want to poison the atmosphere to the extent that we all need to move into tunnel-cities and evolve into underground mole people. Anyhoo, for the next 72 hours or so you will hear “Secretary of Commerce” and think, “Oh, that guy who couldn’t stop ramming cars with his Lexus in a vaguely dodgy part of Los Angeles County yesterday, what’s his deal?”


Here is a true story about your Comics Curmudgeon: Once when he was 22 he was driving his then-girlfriend’s car and almost rear-ended another car at a stoplight and then thought “Whew, that was close, just like all the other times I almost have accidents when I drive” and then like 10 minutes later misjudged a left turn and ran into another car at an intersection, at which point he said, “Yeah, I’m thinking this driving thing isn’t for me,” and so now he takes the bus everywhere that his wife won’t drive him. Thus it was with a certain amount of sympathy that we read the following description from the morning drive-time traffic reporters of the New York Times:

Police officials said the first accident occurred when Mr. Bryson, who was driving a Lexus, allegedly rear-ended a Buick that had stopped for a passing train. Officials said that Mr. Bryson briefly spoke with the occupants of the Buick but then left the scene, hitting the car again.

According to the police, the driver of the Buick followed Mr. Bryson and called police officers, asking for assistance.

“Bryson then allegedly caused a collision involving a second car at about 5:10 p.m. while driving southbound on San Gabriel Boulevard at Hellman Avenue in the city of Rosemead, where he was found alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle,” the release from the police departments said.

Officials said that no one was seriously injured, although several people were treated for pain.

If you are not generously minded, your first reaction is no doubt “This guy sounds hella drunk” (that was certainly the first reaction from the fun conservatives at American Crossroads!) but then you read that the “authorities” said that “Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to have played a role in the crash” and you feel bad but then you read that investigators are still like nah, nah, could totally still be drugs or alcohol, don’t listen to those other “authorities” and then you don’t know what to think. Then you read that the Commerce Department said that Bryson had a seizure and you feel even worse, but then wouldn’t the department flacks say that, hmm?

Perhaps more interesting is the question of what he was doing cruising around Rosemead, California, in his fly Lexus? Your Los Angeles-based Editrix assures us that Rosemead is “two-thirds Asian/one-third Latino and working class, definitely” and that “there are strip clubs in the area (not the IMMEDIATE area), big ones,” but also a vaguely nearby cancer hospital. So the possibilities are (a) touring America’s working-class communities one by one to see how his Secretarial powers might improve their Commerce, (b) visiting a loved one being treated for cancer, (c) seeking an anti-seizure poultice from a local abeula, or (d) titty bars. Speculate wildly in the comments, but just be prepared to feel really bad when you find out about his debilitating medical condition.

UPDATE! A reader reminds us that Southern California Edison’s headquarters are in Rosemead, and it is only very rarely filled with hookers and blow. So that would have been a very good reason for Bryson, its former head, to have been roaming the wilds of Rosemead. Carry on! [NYT/TPM]

About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

View all articles by Josh Fruhlinger
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  1. ManchuCandidate

    I say it was his new GF, Lindsey Lohan, who stole his car and cause the accidents because he didn't want everyone to know about his new "hollywood" GF. If everyone did then they'd figure out that Hollywood is in the tank for the Demoncraps and that it's all a big plot to turn US Americians into loudmouthed dummies who don't read. Also anal probing space aliens.

    /Bitparted Conspiracy Theoryed/

    1. Wile E. Quixote

      Yeah, just think, if Andrew Breitbart wasn't sucking dick in Hell right now he could be investigating this. But there he is, deep in a fiery pit being fucked in the ass and mouth and other orifices carved into his body by demons with huge, serrated penises that ejaculate flaming acid. And if that's not enough imagine how Breitbart, who by now feels that he has suffered an eternity of painful torture, would feel if he knew that only three months has passed on Earth since he choked to death on his own noisome, seminiferous vomit.

      1. emmelemm

        I'm not sure that this follows our new kinder, gentler commenting rules, but I LIKE IT.

        1. Wile E. Quixote

          Well let's see. I didn't mention skull-fucking, or retards or wish that Breitbart was dead so, by a strict constructionist reading of the kindler, gentler commenting rules, I'm good to go.

    2. cbbruuno

      If you check his website they are already floating conspiracy theories about a coverup because they know for a fact no one would behave like that because of a seizure (even though every doctor in the world would tell you that is exactly how one might behave). Even a couple of Chappaquidick comments. Gotta love these folks.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      He's never early, he's always late
      First thing you learn is that you always gotta wait

        1. James Michael Curley

          Then Get your motor runnin'
          Head out on the highway
          Lookin' for adventure
          And whatever comes our way

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      ooh ooh ooh! Black guy, secretary of Commerce, Clinton, Balkans, conspiracy theory of some kind, am I getting warm?

  2. Maman

    Seeing the dodgy part of L.A. might be enough to induce a seizure and running after the accident certainly sounds postictal to me

  3. Dudleydidwrong

    When will the other cabinet secretaries get involved in the destruction of America? What else do they have to do?

  4. Goonemeritus

    I think he was just ramming cars that had faded Ralph Nader stickers sill affixed to their rusty bumpers.

    1. scvirginia

      Ha! Here in SC I don't think I've ever even SEEN a RN bumper sticker, but I might be tempted to ram the car if the sticker was from 2000 election…

  5. BaldarTFlagass

    He had just watched "Ronin" and was driving under the influence of this under-appreciated film classic.

    1. Chichikovovich

      Good thing he passed out because he was just about to drive under a bridge to close a big weapons deal.

  6. Pragmatist2

    Whoa! Whoa!
    The US Secretary of Commerce drives a Japanese car?
    That's the real story here.

      1. Lascauxcaveman

        Naw, Lexus is a high-end brand. They have to make sure they're put together correctly.

  7. actor212

    OK, so here's what happened: Bryson's lovely-but-haggard wife, Loretta (?, guessing here, run with it…) is in hospital for treatment of yet another tumour. Distraught and distracted by traffic, Bryson sees a possible shortcut but ends up in a dicey neighborhood where he runs into the back end of a carload of Messicans looking for a quick insurance rip off. One of the Messicans threatens him with a gun but then Danny Glover comes by in his tow-truck, saves Bryson and they drive happily and gayly off to the Grand Canyon.

  8. iburl

    "…doesn’t want to poison the atmosphere to the extent that we all need to move into tunnel-cities and evolve into underground mole people"

    Cheney Libel!!

      1. Lascauxcaveman

        They probably thought the guy was an elk. Everyone in NE Montana is a hunter, but decent optometrists there are few and far between.

    1. emmelemm

      I was going to say, "That's hilarious!" but felt it might be inappropriate. However, my immediate reaction is: THAT'S HILARIOUS!

  9. chicken_thief

    Don't Lexuses automatically have right of way over Hondas and piece of Detroit shit Buicks?

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      US auto industry fun fact: Over the last 20 years, Lexus has always been at or near the top of those JD Power quality and reliability surveys they do. Buick is one of the few that beats them sometimes.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      I thought that the only Republican in Obama's cabinet was the Secretary of Transportation.

  10. freakishlywrong

    Media: "That's the ticket. Now Obama will not win. This one, this is sure sign. Looks like another horrible week."

  11. SayItWithWookies

    Well he couldn't've been trolling strip clubs — nobody leaves a strip club sober, and for an executive to leave one without a stripper either just doesn't wash. I'm betting he's a real utitlity geek and was checking out some sort of relay station in the area, and probably feeding off of its ambient energy.

  12. SoBeach

    Rosemead is “two-thirds Asian/one-third Latino…

    He was hitting the local ethnic groceries. He needed tomatillos and fish sauce for this killer fusion recipe he wanted to try.

    Or hookers and blow.

  13. Blueb4sunrise

    HAH! WAke uP SHEEPLES!!!! While everyone thought that Bilderberg was meeting in wherever the fuck {East Coast somewhere?] the real meeting was there in Rosemead.

    Runnymead = Rosemead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    "The name Runnymede may be derived from the Anglo-Saxon 'runieg' (regular meeting) and 'mede' (mead or meadow), describing a place in the meadows used to hold regular meetings"!!!!!!!!!!

    from wiki thingy!!!!!!!!!!!!11111

    1. Chichikovovich

      Runnymede was where the Magna Carta was signed. Stands to reason that they would want to meet there again to start undoing it.

  14. SexySmurf

    I'm going with titty bars. Listening to "Cherry Pie" on a continuous loop for two hours would give anyone a seizure.

    So I've heard.

    1. James Michael Curley

      LA is the place where you are most likely to see an accident happening any day – not just the results of an accident which occurred before you drove by, but the peculiarity of seeing an accident happen. The Miracle Mile was a great place to see an accident on any Friday night.

  15. Doktor Zoom

    It is simply the Lexus driver seeing the positioning of the other car that is causing him to have this rear-ending reaction.

  16. BigSkullF*ckingDog

    Combine this with the dead penguin fucking and it sounds a bit like my Friday night!

  17. GhostBuggy

    A quick check of Google Maps shows a psychic right near that intersection. Maybe he was trying to divine the future of Commerce in America, and his head was so full of terrible omens that he lost control of the car.

  18. freakishlywrong

    Considering the gracious restraint of the modern Repthuglicans, who has already cut an ad/fund raised off of this news?

  19. Doktor Zoom

    I heard the tail end (ha!) of this story on the NPR news update this morning, and only heard the name "Bryson" a couple of times. I'm rather relieved to find that author Bill Bryson in not in any trouble.

  20. BarackMyWorld

    Government secretaries can afford Lexuses? Secretaries in the private sector don't make enough to buy a Lexus! Obviously federal workers are overpaid!

  21. An_Outhouse

    I vote titty bars. He's a Dem after all. He doesn't homo rape children like Romney is rumored to do.

  22. mercianomad

    (e) so wasted he didn't know where the hell he was, how he got there, or what he was doing.

  23. WIDTAP

    It's the Robert Novak effect. You can only spend so much time thinking about the GOP deliberately screwing America and then your brain explodes.

    What? too soon?

  24. Guppy

    Because if you're going to be sitting in that chair, getting your chemo treatment, you might as well get a lap dance while doing it, right?


  25. Pop_Socket

    As someone who has been sideswiped and nearly killed by a guy in a diabetic coma, I have no sympathy for people who should be under the influence of drugs when they drive.

    1. Isyaignert

      Damn Skippy! My born-again-religous nut job of a mother had a seizure that left her unconscious for 12 hours and covered with bruises. The docs all told her not to drive for six months since that was the law.

      Her response, and I am not kidding, was that she just had to pray harder and she'd be fine. She kept driving and told everyone who wanted to help her to fuk off and die (not those exact words) because she has Jeezuz on her side. Oh, and the rest of us are going to burn in hell forever. Take that you heathen children!

      At the end of the day, she didn't have another seizure, but she did manage to blow-up her family in the name of Jeezuz. What a legacy to leave. Thank gawd, I didn't get the crazy gene.

  26. MadBrahms

    Well, titty bars have been known to cause "seizures"

    Edit: beaten, totally beaten on page one.

  27. randcoolcatdaddy

    It's refreshing to hear about a "hit and run" involving someone in Washington that wasn't set up on Craiglist m4m.

  28. anniegetyerfun

    You know, as a Seattlite, the idea of tunnelo-cities and life as a mole-woman really doesn't sound that bad.

  29. owhatever

    It is not a crime to hit a Buick. In fact, it is the patriotic duty of every Bubba worth his Truck Nutz. But wasting your Lexus on a Buick is questionable.

  30. barto

    Well clearly he was trying to get the hell out of Rosemead like most sane people, there were just all those damn cars in his way.

  31. cbbruuno

    Not to be a downer on the rather fun speculation but it turns out he was driving home from giving a commencement speech at his daughters nearby school.

  32. chascates

    Questions! 1. Do these big strip clubs charge fees at the door? Cause that totally screwed up titty bars for me. I mean, I expect to pay more for drinks but to pay just to walk inside? Get real.
    2. If you are at a railroad crossing where a train is passing by isn't it normal to slow down and then stop unless you really want to see what happens when you push the car ahead of you into the moving train?
    3. What do you say to the police when they find you along and unconscious behind the wheel of your car because this guy must be some kind of genius. When it comes to talking to cops anyway.

  33. Wile E. Quixote

    Maybe he was jacked up on Red Bull and coming down after a marathon GTA III session.

  34. sullivanst

    there are strip clubs in the area (not the IMMEDIATE area), big ones

    Yes, I do find the big ones are the best places to see big ones.

  35. Ryy

    "Er Nai Cun"

    Or basically "mistress town" is what the Chinese call that part of LA as it is full of second (or third, or…) wives that Chinese dudes send to buy a house and otherwise get their money out of china.

    It's not shady, but it's dull.

  36. Neoyorquino

    "Crazed Rear-Ending Spree." I've been so corrupted by Wonkette, I thought it was another story about teh buttsecks.

  37. Supremectjester

    The Mets have now signed him to play shortstop, so they will finally have someone who can execute the hit and run.

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