By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
The only thing The Bird hates more than a bag of seeds and stems (see the recent column on bong laws, dude) is a bag of hot air.
Which's why it loves politicians so much. Especially ones who cultivate the appearance of getting all puffed up about the deep injustices brought on by other politicians -- as if bringing on deep injustices isn't something the majority of elected officials do every damn day.
Anyway, The Bird's Big Bag of Hot Air Award this time goes to (drum roll, please!) Democratic congressional candidate Mike Caccioppoli.
See, Caccioppoli joined ranks recently with a pile of state senators who were falling all over themselves to chastise fellow state Senator Jack Harper (R-Surprise) for ragging on former Arizona Democratic Party chairman Jim Pederson's family.
According to these sanctimonious pols, Harper should be drawn and quartered politically for an untoward remark concerning 24-year-old James Robert Pederson's arrest on a "misconduct with weapons" charge and on various drug charges, including possession of narcotics, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. A story in the, um, always-objective Arizona Republic suggested that Harper could certainly lose his Senate seat in the next election over this. Umm, hmm.
Here's what happened: During a Senate floor session, Harper blabbed that young Pederson's bust "points to a culture of corruption in the Pederson household."
Now, The Bird's had huge respect for Jack Harper lately for bucking the powers that be in the state GOP and insisting on a long-overdue investigation of voting irregularities in the Maricopa County Elections Department (and this feathered fiend's got to think that some of the faux outrage by Republican bigwigs over badmouthing a formidable Democrat has something do with that). But it's got to admit that Harper's remark about the Pederson family shows him for what he is:
A Bible-thumping Republican Neanderthal.
So . . . what else is new? Everybody knew that already. Just because Harper's on the correct side of the elections department issue doesn't mean he's got progressive ideas. And The Bird uses that hippie-dippy term loosely!
This foul fowl's saying about Harper's making his stupid remark: It ain't that big an issue in the real world. It's not like he tried to cover up elections officials' incompetence and/or fraud in our fair state, as did a fellow state senator or three who could be mentioned here.
The list of senators who wanted Harper to get down on his knees and apologize to poor, disabused Jim Pederson is too long to list here. Scottsdale Republican Senator Carolyn Allen was typical of those in her party suddenly worried about the tender feelings of the Pederson family, calling Harper's blurt "totally inappropriate."
Did this extended middle finger mention that Jim Pederson in all likelihood will be the Democratic contender against Republican incumbent Jon Kyl for the U.S. Senate? Well, that's the deal. And Pederson should be sending Harper a check for his services. The Bird's saying, with enemies like Harper, who needs campaign advertising?
As for Kyl, if The Bird were him, it'd advise Allen and other local-yokel GOP morons to shut the fuck up, because all they're doing is generating sympathy for and giving added name recognition to the worthy opponent.
And Kyl to Harper: Thanks for helping me out by stirring up the inmates at the asylum. No, not really!
Which brings us back to Democrat Mike Caccioppoli, the former WABC radio correspondent who lives in Flagstaff and is running for the U.S. House District 1 seat. The points this pesky pelican's making weren't lost on him.
Caccioppoli was out of the gates ahead of the political pack in calling for Harper's head. In his e-mail diatribe to the state's media, Caccioppoli denounced Harper's comments as so much political grandstanding. He squawked the same thing to The Bird in an interview:
"Jack Harper is just using this issue to draw attention to himself. And that's not right!"
In his mass e-mail, Caccioppoli spewed that all Harper's comments were about was making "political hay" for himself.
Now, Mikey knows as well as this winged wonder that Jack Harper's about the last person who was trying to draw attention to himself in this fandango. It's never a good idea when a pol paints a target on himself. This has been attention Jack Harper doesn't need! (By the way, Harper did wind up apologizing to the Pederson family.)
As The Bird's been tweeting here, it's everybody else who's fallen all over him- or herself to slam Harper who's making political hay out of the incident.
Like Mike Caccioppoli, who's got a donkey's chance in an elephant farm of surviving in a race against GOP Congressman Rick Renzi. But he heehawed in protest when The Bird suggested that he cared so much about justice against Harper only to get his name in the paper.
"I'm defending Jim Pederson because he's a great guy," Caccioppoli insisted. "And because Republicans are always pushing this phony high moral ground, and then one of them pulls something like this."
After more woodpecking that there must be some sort of political agenda in play here, Caccioppoli conceded: