By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
This just in from the How Stupid Is Andy Thomas Department: Everybody's favorite local race-baiter had a pile of angry motions filed against him the other day from at least four Phoenix defense lawyers, who argued that the Maricopa County Attorney unintentionally disqualified his staff from prosecuting Superior Court cases when he went after Presiding Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell.
The brainy barristers are saying that when Ol' Andy sued the presiding Superior Court judge after she refused to abolish a special DUI program for Latinos and Native Americans ("Mexican Busting," The Bird, January 19, 2006), he created a conflict between defense attorneys and judges in every local courtroom.
Duh. Andy fans will recall that he recently filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court to put the kibosh on what he called "race-based" Spanish-language and Native American DUI courts conducted by county judges. Andy thinks the programs discriminate on the basis of ethnicity and are therefore unconstitutional. The hell with non-English speaking defendants being able to understand fully what's going on, Andy's saying. English is America's language, and if you don't speak it, too damn bad for you, Chico!
Mundell tried to explain that these courts are actually rehab programs for minority defendants who need cultural or linguistic help in understanding how to bust their drug and/or drinking habits. But Andy wasn't listening, and the lawsuit he brought against the Superior Court, according to the defense attorneys who've filed these motions against him, creates a conflict of interest for attorneys who've got to appear before judges they're currently in litigation against. These guys want county prosecutors disqualified from criminal proceedings, which would preclude Thomas and his staff from conducting thousands of felony prosecutions until this whole mess is resolved. And since the primary function of Andy's office is prosecuting felons, that should lead to a lot of thumb-twiddling while Andy grinds his racist ax.
Andy's team is rushing to defend his latest brain-dead, anti-Latino move: Deputy County Attorney David E. Wood filed a court response arguing that disqualification should occur only where an individual prosecutor has an actual conflict with one judge.
Speaking of which, there's something The Bird would like to know. If every judge's objectivity is tainted by Andy's lawsuit against Mundell, who the hell is going to rule on whether these anti-Andy motions should fly?
Maybe the folks at Superior Court could arrange to bring in a special guest judgeto decide whether Andy's going after a judge and some poor DUI slobs who can't speak English is worth all this fuss. But if they do, The Bird would like to suggest they get one whose first language is English.
Otherwise, Andy will probably slap them with another lawsuit.
Okay, Andy doesn't deign to talk to this foul fowl, ever since it crowed that his Latina wife must be very proud of him for all his anti-Mexican actions since taking office. These are too numerous to mention here, but remember how he refused to press charges against that war veteran numb-nuts who drew down on those Mexican immigrants at the rest stop? Even that evil reptile Joe Arpaio was aghast at this callous disregard for human rights.
His refusal to comment on anything to New Times is why The Bird is going to quote Thomas on the DUI courts issue from an opinion page piece he coughed up for the East Valley Tribune. In this hairball, Andy actually tries to make a separate-but-equal argument as if this were the Old South and he were Dr. Martin Luther Thomas Jr.:
"Even throughout our nation's tragic history of segregation and Jim Crow, Southern state governments never established separate courts based on race."
True, Andy. Those good-ol'-boy-run courts with their all-white, all-male juries just railroaded black defendants all the way to the hanging tree, or to a good tar-and-feathering.
Which, in essence, is what you're trying to do to Hispanics who don't speak English around here. Translated: These are in all likelihood illegal immigrants from Mexico (that is, Mes-cans to you Andy) whom you'd rather see starve below the border than get a low-rent job that no American wants, much less justice in Arizona.
Caucasian, please! All you're trying to do here is look like the bad-ass anti-immigrationist that our cracker voting majority around here loves. Everybody knows that you've got your eye on higher office. Dare to dream! You could be the next Ev Mecham. The Bird's got it -- why don't you sue various municipalities in the county for holding Cinco de Mayofestivals? This could do for you what MLK Day did for your mentor.
You claim it's your "constitutional" duty to file a costly federal suit to make sure Spanish isn't spoken in DUI courts, when it's actually the duty of your office to prosecute all those damn cases your no-plea-bargains stance has inflicted on the local court system. Talk about bloody murder -- your prosecutors are screaming it to this winged wordsmith! They'll actually be thankful for the break if your office winds up prohibited from trying all those cases.
The Bird's squawking, Andy, who asked your doughboy ass to get involved in this non-issue?! Stop trying to get on Fox News by playing racial politics and at least try to make your long-suffering Latina wife -- the one you're frequently bringing up as proof that you couldn't possibly be a Mexican-hater -- proud.
Bite o' Christ
Nobody hates the sight of a grown man crying more then The Bird, unless that grown man happened to be Andy Thomas or Janet Napolitano. But when Nick Moran welled up after talking about how the sadistic Roman Catholic Churchhad refused to allow his autistic son to receive communion, this pretend pigeon reached for a hankie itself.
"My son has earned the right to receive communion," Moran wept to The Bird. "And no one -- not a priest or the bishop or the Pope -- is going to stop him."
Maybe. On the other hand, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted seems to be prevailing in attempts to keep 10-year-old Matthew Moran, who has "moderately severe" autism, from participating in the joys of transubstantiation. Olmsted and company are telling the autistic boy's parents, Nick Moran and Dr. Jean Weaver, that because Matthew refuses to consume the host, he isn't receiving Communion properly. And until he does, the mean old church officials won't allow the kid to partake of the church's most meaningful sacrament.
Dad Nick tells The Bird that the Morans, who live in Lake Havasu City, received a letter from Olmsted last month saying that young Matthew's way of taking communion was "bizarre" and that until the boy can "actually take and eat" the Eucharist, he's barred from accepting communion at all.
As if pretending to eat the flesh of God weren't bizarre already!
"But my son has an eating disorder!" Moran wailed. "He's autistic, and he can't swallow foods with certain textures!"
"Well, too damn bad," the Church appears to be telling poor little Matthew. "Your way of eating Jesus is too weird for us."
Because of his aversion to most food groups, Matthew, who received his First Communion about three years ago at his former parish in Pennsylvania, usually just takes the Communion wafer and places it briefly in his mouth. Then dad Nick removes the host from his son's tongue and consumes it himself.
Sketchy. But this, Moran tells The Bird, is the only way Matthew can take communion. Otherwise, according to his dad, he'd just spit it out.
That Matthew's way is just not good enough for the pious Olmsted and his cronies proves they have apparently forgotten that -- if The Bird remembers its catechism correctly -- Jesus touched the leper; he didn't turn the poor slob away.
"If my son didn't have legs, these people would insist that he walk," said Moran, who claims he and his family have been ostracized by the officials at their church, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Lake Havasu, and pretty much ignored by every Catholic agency they've contacted thus far.
While The Bird can't figure out why anyone would want to attend church at all, let alone eat a hunk of pretend flesh from some dead guy, it can attest to being shut out by Catholics, since not one of the folks from the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix would speak to it. In fact, Isabela Rice, director of the local Roman Catholic Diocese Office on Disabilities and Pastoral Care, told The Bird, "We have a very firm rule about not talking to your newspaper about any matter." (Maybe because we observed that ex-Bishop Thomas O'Brien's a sociopathic killer who covered up for pedophiles.) But at least she had the Christian decency to apologize about it.
"Father Michael Deptula is a sick man," Moran said of the priest at Our Lady of the Lake who first got this "no-communion-for-disabled-kids" ball rolling. "He doesn't have the right to revoke a sacrament, and neither does the Bishop. Only the Pope can do that."
Rather than take the matter to Benedict XVI (a.k.a. Joseph Ratzinger), Moran has decided to hire a lawyer to defend his son's rights. But whatever the outcome of this pending case, you won't find Nick Moran becoming a Protestant any time soon.
"I love being Catholic," he sniffled. "It's the only thing I know how to be. I'm not going to change religions just because I have an idiot for a priest."
Not even if it turns out that you belong to a church that's using the Holy Eucharist to discriminate against the disabled?
"Nothing will drive me away," Moran swore. "Church doctrine is supposed to be 'Take this and eat, all of you.' Not 'some of you.' And I'm going to prove that."
The Bird forgets. Did it already call Sheriff Joe a reptile in this column? Oh, yeah, it did. How about a cockroach?
Because that's what this extended middle finger fears he may turn out to be. That is, a creature that not even a nuclear blast could kill, like those armor-plated insects that crawled out from under the rubble in Hiroshima near the end of World War II.
Such thoughts were running through The Bird's brain the other day when Arpaio announced for a fifth four-year term as sheriff -- a year and a half before any other politician would even think of announcing for the 2008 election. He must have been jonesing for a press conference; it had been a whole week since he'd held the one where he came out against sheep-fucking ("Baa-aaaaaad News," March 16).
When it heard that he was already announcing, this avian concluded that Joe's so tough that he'd survive his own detention officers' hooding him and strapping his ass into one of those infamous jailhouse restraint chairs.
He's the ultimate Chuck Norris joke.
When local TV news was screeching that the elderly had better beware of the bird flu, a wag around the New Times office quipped: "Maybe Sheriff Joke will get it, and we'll finally be rid of him."
Another chimed in: "Joe Arpaio doesn't get the flu from birds, he gives it to them!"
At the same time he announced for sheriff, he said he'd decided against running for governor, even though he claimed he'd have a great chance of winning.
The Bird didn't say he wasn't senile. But Alzheimer's or not, it appears that no amount of malfeasance uncovered by the likes of New Times will be enough to do Joe in politically as sheriff.
Unless Joe gets brain-addled in his car again ("Enemies List," John Dougherty, April 28, 2005) and this time drives it over the sidewalk and through the shrubbery and over a boulder and into oncoming traffic, we're probably stuck with the sadistic geezer for another 20 years.