Flashes 03-23-2000

Investigations are continuing into the illegal killing of three other wolves in 1998. The Defenders of Wildlife and a coalition of environmental groups are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone illegally killing a Mexican gray wolf. To rat on wolf-killers, call 1-800-352-0700.

Malevolent Micks

Last year, the South Boston Tribune reported that somebody at a Boston Housing Authority diversity meeting suggested banning the shamrock from public display as a "bias indicator" and hate symbol. Naturally, the largely Irish community of South Boston passed a collective blarney stone and the controversy, despite repeated apologies and denials that there is such a plan, has refused to die.

So on St. Patrick's Day, the Flash grabbed a notebook and staked out the Irish pub, Casey Moore's in Tempe, fully expecting it to be vacant due to the media mosh, but -- quite shockingly -- the watering hole was crowded with hundreds of beer-guzzling hatemongers.

The emerald monogram of antipathy could be found everywhere -- on stickers, beer ads, hats, suspenders. Some patrons were even getting the Irish swastika painted on their bodies as symbols of their contempt for inferior, non-Irish-speaking citizens.

The Flash demanded an explanation from the publican himself, Casey Moore's co-owner Gavin Rutledge, who engaged the Nuremberg-style rally by removing his pants and performing a handstand on the roof.

"Some people have too much time on their hands," he said without a hint of irony. "It's like saying a state bird is a symbol against people who don't live in that state."

A pair of scantily dressed representatives of Southern Wine & Spirits, a distributor, probably there to slake the seedy desires of the Irish elite, were similarly dismissive of the imbroglio over the loathsome lucky charm.

"The shamrock is a plant!" said one. "It's a leaf! How can it be a hate symbol?"

Unable to tolerate any more blatant discrimination, The Flash left the gratuitous riverdance of repression. When will society learn?

Dearth & Taxes

And now, on a completely unsarcastic and positive note: State paper-pushers deserve accolades for ensuring a kinder, gentler tax burden for Arizona's low-income families. According to a press release issued last week by the Children's Action Alliance, Arizona's state income-tax threshold is ninth in the nation -- meaning a family of four does not owe any state income tax if their combined income is below $23,600. There's no mention of what Mom and Dad owe if they fail to procreate twice or if Mom dies in a trailer house accident, but the Flash assumes it's also a comparatively eased financial hardship.

CAA Board of Directors President Nadine Mathis Basha is quoted: "This study shows that Arizona leads the nation with an income tax policy which adds balance and fairness to our tax system."

It's certainly a step in the right direction. Saying we're leading the nation from ninth place, however, is laying it on a bit thick. Plus, the press release fails to point out that the ranking, by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C., doesn't include the eight states that have no state income tax whatsoever. So we're actually more like 17th.

And, of course, the families still have to live here.

Drat! Didn't the Flash say this would be completely unsarcastic and positive?

Feed the Flash: voice, 602-229-8486; fax, 602-340-8806; online, flash@newtimes.com

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