The traces don't look like they're bouncing to LA and back. There would be LA hops in the trace and your latency would jump to around 100ms.
If you can't reach Earthlink's DNS servers, set primary DNS to 126.96.36.199 and secondary to 188.8.131.52, for now. Those are multicast servers, so they should be fast in most areas of the country.
lives in the Atlanta area, so he may have some other DNS server for you to try.