By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
That's right. If you haven't heard, Bennett's 18-year-old son, Clifton Bennett, and his pal Kyle Wheeler, 19, recently admitted to having forced broomsticks and flashlights into the rectums of 18 young boys during a youth camp "hazing ritual" last summer. The butt-probers defended themselves by pointing out that they tried to force the phony phalluses up the boys' bungholes through their clothing, but the teens could have saved their breath.
When your daddy's the state Senate president, you're almost certainly guaranteed a sweetheart deal.
Anyone doubting this must have missed the Yavapai County Attorney's Office's decision -- over the vehement objections of the campers' parents -- to drop 35 of the 36 original charges against Clifton Bennett and reduce Wheeler's case to only two charges. Under an agreement with prosecutors, Cliffy may dodge any real jail time and wind up with no record for sexual assault.
What makes this whole mess so laughable is, Ken Bennett's one of Arizona's foremost proponents of "tough-on-crime" legislation, and his son (who could be a teenage pederast) gets let off the legal fishhook.
But don't get mad at Senator Bennett; he's just an example of the good old American standard of unequal justice, which says that wealthy and influential people and their relations get better deals (read: break laws and get away with it). Check out recent articles on Phoenix Suns star Amaré Stoudemire's mother if you need another example ("Amaré's Burden," March 30, and "Yo Mama," April 6).
And please don't aim your ire at Bennett's son, who investigators say also used a flashlight and a cane on the tykes. The overgrown kid's from a strict family and has an apparent thing for picking on 11-year-old boys; he doesn't need any more problems. Don't even waste your anger on his lawyers for having the nerve to point out that Junior Bennett's an honor student and an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who plans to "make his mission" in the fall.
See, any messy felony conviction for assault would seriously disrupt Cliffy's religious schedule. (Translation: Lock up your little boys if you see a dark-necktied Cliffy -- who looks like his dad in drag -- biking up your driveway with some LDS literature.)
No, the person whose head you should be calling for is Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, who's supposed to be looking out for the welfare of the 18 victims in this case, and not caving in to the pressure of prosecuting the pipsqueak son of a powerful legislator. The Bird's saying, you should be mad at Polk, who, rather than standing up for these abused kids, is putting all her energy into slobbing the knob of Big Daddy Bennett (no, not in the Biblical sense).
Polk's dodging phone calls these days, but in a letter to the media last week, she wrote, "[T]o call this 'sodomy' or 'child molestation' when it clearly is not, harms these victims, unnecessarily taints these defendants and harms the criminal justice system in general. Quite frankly, it is a slap in the face to victims of child molestation and sexual assault everywhere to put this conduct in the same category."
Along with smoking Bennett's political pole, Sheila must be smokin' the good ganja?! Even if these overgrown brats weren't attempting sexual assaults, you've got to wonder what kind of twisted teenage fucks would get off on torturing little boys. Junior Bennett and his pal should stick to pulling the wings off flies. And Polk should stick to applying equal justice in Yavapai County.
The Name Game Somebody's got to stop him before next season!
Because, by then, Amaré will be back and bitchin' and the Phoenix Suns will be enticing even more fans to tune in to UPN 45 for a big chunk of Suns game broadcasts. The Bird believes that, while the Suns could go deep into this year's playoffs, next year will be the championship season.
But, you're probably asking, "Who the hell's got to be stopped, Bird brain?!" (That's Larry Bird-brain to you!)
Well, this round-ballin' robin's at the end of its proverbial wire with UPN 45's affable Suns play-by-play man Tom Leander, whose relentless affinity for cheesy nicknames and catch phrases is driving fans cuckoo. Mercifully, ABC, ESPN and TNT will soon be taking over Suns games during the imminent NBA playoffs, and Leander will be silenced for the time being.
Sure, longtime Suns announcer Al McCoy used to go berserk with one-liners like "Swisheroo for two from TC." That would be Tom Chambers. And "Zing go the strings for Sweet D!" That would be Walter Davis. But The Bird can't fathom McCoy -- who, in the twilight of his laudable career, has been relegated almost exclusively to radio -- wasting a nickname on Pat Burke.
Burke's the latest in a long line of goofy white guys playing backup center whom Leander's now shamelessly dubbing "Irish Spring." (See, he's Irish and he can jump, sort of.)
Backup point guard Leandro Barbosa, Leander calls "The Brazilian Blur." (Duh, he's fast.) Backup point guard Eddie House is "The Howitzer." (He fires in three-pointers like a ______; you guessed it.)