After recruiting his daughter for a free throw contest against Dwight Howard (that may or may not have had something to do with a proposed sitcom), columnist TJ Simers departed the LA Times earlier this year, but resurfaced this week at the Orange County Register.  In his inaugural column, Simers says of his new employer, “The Register is big on anyone who spent five minutes in Orange County and now plays sports. But what’s the second paragraph?”

A few years back the Times directed its columnists to tone down criticism of McCourt, the publisher’s pal. They asked me to tone down criticism of Moreno recently; I guess it didn’t look good with all the advertising the Angels were doing on the Times’ website. I have no idea who influences news coverage in the rest of the paper.

But you can imagine my delight when I heard Ashton Kutcher bought the Register and was hiring. No way Steve Jobs buckles to pressure. Who hires almost 200 employees these days to make a newspaper better?

Way to go, Ashton.

“Aaron,” I was told. “Aaron Kushner owns the Register.”