Who needs to watch "Conan the Barbarian" when there's the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners? The board, which includes two friends from Schwarzenegger's bodybuilding days, one of whom played a part in the film, has launched a coup. They've ousted the board's executive director and ejected their own lawyer, a deputy attorney general, from a meeting. The board is so mired in controversy, reports the Sacramento Bee, that five California Highway Patrol officers were called into a meeting last week to keep the peace.
The fracas centers around the regulation of California's chiropractics industry, which, second only to Hollywood and bodybuilding, is to Schwarzenegger as oil is to Bush. The Governator holds an honorary degree from Cleveland Chiropractic College. In 1999, the Bee reports, he granted an interview to a magazine called Dynamic Chiropractic, in which he said, "People who don't believe in chiropractic always ask me about it. I have now become like a spokesperson for chiropractic."
Schwarzenegger's chiropractic crusaders include Franco Columbu, a two-time Mr. Olympia and occasional actor, and Richard Tyler, the editor of a bodybuilding magazine who picked up Schwarzenegger from the airport when he first arrived in California in 1968, the Bee reported. Both men are also chiropractors, and have bristled at what they see as too many restrictions on the industry. They approved a resolution last week supporting a controversial chiropractic practice known as "manipulation under anesthesia," which was shot down in 2005 by the state's Office of Administrative Law and is the subject of lawsuits filed against chiropractors in the state for unlicensed practice of medicine.
At a meeting of the board in December, shortly before director Catherine Hayes was ousted and Tyler took over as "interim director" of the board, the Bee recounted that she clashed with Tyler over what chiropractors were capable of curing:
Tyler insisted that he had cured earaches in children by adjusting the atlas, the vertebra closest to the head, and using homeopathic remedies.
He then took Hayes to task for signing a pending review of a case stating that "no forensic or scientific evidence" supports claims that chiropractic and homeopathic remedies are helpful in curing earaches, adding that there is more than 100 years of proof.
The debate, though imbued with Californian flapdoodle, ultimately sounds reminiscent of the creationist textbook wars in Kansas. And the Lord said, be gone, earache! (and that'll be $19.95, in four easy installments!) Political Muscle, the Arnold-centric LA Times political blog, seems to agree that this whole scandal defies credulity. "There is nothing left to blog after that," they write. "Schwarzenegger has exceeded all expectations."
UPDATE: In a follow-up piece in the Bee yesterday afternoon, Schwarzenegger threw fuel on the flames. Though the board's website says it's supposed to "protect Californians from fraudulent or incompetent" practices, Schwarzenegger told the Bee that the board "represents the chiropractors." Ouch, my ears are hurting. I guess I need my atlas adjusted.