Are the Navajo Nation and the Nation of Islam goin' on the warpath together? That's the scenario this carping canary initially imagined when it heard that none other than part-time south Phoenix resident Minister Louis "Lightning Rod" Farrakhan addressed the Navajo Nation Council at Window Rock, the Navajo capital.
Farrakhan, of course, is the head of the N.O.I., the separatist Black Muslim group that preaches African-American self-reliance, the racial inferiority of Caucasians and, er, how a big UFO came down from heaven and beamed up the N.O.I.'s late honcho, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Though he usually keeps a relatively low profile while snowbirding it in the Zona, the violin-playin', bow-tie-wearin' Farrakhan is otherwise known for garnering negative press by the truckload with racist crankery like: "White people are potential humans . . . they haven't evolved yet," or his suggestion that New Orleans levees had been destroyed by explosives during Hurricane Katrina so the black parts of town would be flooded and the white parts left dry.
Yep, Farrakhan's widely regarded as a first-rate loon on the level of the 9/11 conspira-nuts The Bird profiled last week ("Loose Screws," September 7). Nevertheless, Navajo Prez Joe Shirley and the Navajo Council puckered up to the minister during his July visit, treating the Black Muslim leader like royalty, wrapping him in a Navajo code-talker blanket, slipping a bola tie 'round the 73-year-old's neck, and lavishing him with keepsakes. Farrakhan came on Shirley's invite.
What did the Navajos receive in return? A homemade pen, and an N.O.I.-produced documentary on Hurricane Katrina, The Unmasking of New Orleans, which sells online for $15.
Uh, gee, thanks, Minister.
But there were also Farrakhan's words. What wisdom did he regale the assembled leaders with? What advice did he have concerning the widespread unemployment and poverty that plague the largest Native American tribe in North America?
"No one will respect a people who are non-productive," he lectured the council, later telling them, "You are a very rich people because you have land under your feet that is crying for development."
In other words, pull yourselves up by your moccasin straps, kemo sabes, and put in a Grand Canyon-load of strip malls.
What about the racial strife in towns bordering the Navajo Nation? In two separate incidents this June in Farmington, New Mexico, one Navajo man was fatally shot by cops, and three white males were arrested for beating another. Farrakhan's advice? Take it on the chin, red man.
"You cannot defeat racism by picketing," Farrakhan said. "Marching will never win the respect of the people who are looking down on us as a people."
It's counsel the Navajo leaders chose to ignore September 2 during a march to protest both incidents.
Naysayers began chirping shortly after Farrakhan's departure, criticizing the poufy-haired Shirley for bringing in the minister to talk down to Navajos like they're a bunch of little kids. This birdseed-swallower phoned Shirley, but all the Prez did was read a press release aloud, then hang up when asked a tough question.
No wonder Shirley's in a tight reelection race against opponent Lynda Lovejoy, who, if successful, would make history as the first woman president of the Navajo Nation.
"We don't need to have someone come in and make the kind of statements [Farrakhan] made," Lovejoy opined to this ornery owl. "We can say that to ourselves. Why do we have to bring someone in to coach us on how to behave as leaders?"
Farrakhan's granddaughter YoNasDa LoneWolf Muhammad (say that three times fast), herself half Oglala Sioux, organized the event and defended it by stating that Navajos and the Black Muslims are fighting the same struggle against The White Man.
"Our struggle is the same, and we have a common enemy," twittered Muhammad, who heads up part of grandpappy's Millions More Movement, an odd offshoot of 1995's Million Man March.
Muhammad, who grew up in Phoenix, the daughter of late PHX activist Wauneta LoneWolf, should stick to her burgeoning hip-hop career in NYC. To judge from her Web site www.queenyonasda.com, she's talented, even if she is getting help from Wu-Tang Clan rapper Cappadonna. Plus, wouldn't she rather be dope than make her grandsire look like a dope? That's something Minister Farrakhan's good at already.
As for the Navajos themselves, The Bird reckons they've been Farrakhaned!
This worm-licker's gotta hand it to governor-wanna-be Len Munsil: The evangelical Bible-humper sure knows how to make premarital bonin' pay to the tune of a whopping $80,000!
That's right, Munsil just earned more for one act between the sheets than any porn star in history. Someone get Jenna Jameson on the line! Forget about Dave Navarro. We've got a real man for ya, Jenna.
See, $80K is the amount the Citizens Clean Elections Commission awarded Munsil the other day for being the "victim" of an anonymous push-poll that insinuated Munsil's son Will, the eldest of eight, is a bastard, or "conceived out of wedlock," as the pseudo poll question put it. Seems someone counted backward and figured out Will's zygote took hold in mom Tracy's womb at least a month before the Munsils got hitched, and used the illegal push-poll to spread this salacious tidbit. Well, salacious may be too strong a word if you've ever seen a pic of the couple, who're about as hot as June and Ward Cleaver in a Leave It to Beaver rerun.
Munsil admitted the push-poll was correct, then wasted no time asking the CCEC to pony up $239,000 to compensate his campaign for the negative effects of the September 1 poll. The CCEC chopped that down a bit, but Munsil still came away richer than before the push-poll outed him as self-serving hypocrite.
For anyone else, premarital sex would be about as damaging to his or her career as a corn on the big toe. But Munsil loves cramming his Taliban-like view of human sexuality down everyone else's throat. Case in point: Proposition 107, the gay-marriage ban, for which Munsil's Center for Arizona Policy stumps.
The holier-than-thou Munsil also preaches abstinence before marriage, even though he couldn't keep his own jimmie in his pants before tying the knot. Don't worry, Len, this beaker's hero Bill Clinton couldn't check his libido, either. The Bird feels your pain! Lessened, no doubt, as you schlep that $80K check in public funds all the way to the bank.
As this column goes to press, the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination still appears a toss-up between Munsil and Don Goldwater. So it remains to be seen how the push-poll controversy will play with voters. But Munsil's got money in his pocket, whereas Goldwater's already been somewhat tarnished by the affair, especially after going nuclear over the issue on conservative PHX talk radio show Liddy & Hill.
Didn't hear it? You missed a humdinger. Goldwater, you see, was mentioned in the same push-poll, but in a positive light, leading to speculation that someone in Goldwater's camp might be the push-poll's parent.
Goldwater continues to deny that either he or anyone in his campaign fathered the illegitimate poll. But last week Liddy & Hill heard weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. on KKNT-AM 960 did a show on the Republican scandal, suggesting a Goldwater supporter might be the culprit, specifically Goldwater campaign adviser Phil Mason, a longtime GOP activist whom radio hosts Tom Liddy and Austin Hill characterized as having a "checkered past." Mason, it seems, lost a job as a state Senate staffer years back for doing some outside politicking while on the job, a no-no in state legislative offices.
For the record, Mason and Liddy have an old beef going back to Liddy's days as chair of the Maricopa County Republican Party. And Liddy, son of rat-eatin' Watergate felon G. Gordon Liddy, no less, admits to having "no proof" of Mason's involvement, while others, such as conservative political activist Bob Haran, have been accusing Mason of the deed on the 'Net.
Anyhoo, Goldwater called into the show, demanded to be put on the air, denied push-poll paternity, and squawked that he took "partial blame" for Mason's being fired from his Senate job way back when, because "I was sitting around his office putting stickers on an envelope without even thinking about it," when someone came in and told Goldwater he couldn't do that in a legislative office.
"I went, 'Oh, my God, what am I thinking?'" confessed Goober Goldwater. "I backed out, we got the material out of there and [Mason] took the blame for it."
Goldwater seemed oblivious to the fact that he'd made himself look dumber than dirt, and maybe even guilty of something, though of what, this perplexed pecker's unsure. Being good talk-radio jocks, Liddy & Hill instantly went to town on Goldwater's statement, playing it over and over, and scratching their heads over Goldwater's blunder.
Like the gift that keeps on giving, Dimwit Don called in yet again the following day, even more belligerent this time, informing the pair that he'd just learned from Mason's former Senate boss that Goldwater really wasn't responsible for Mason's getting canned.
"The record's been corrected," growled Goldwater. "So knock it off."
And all this because Tracy and Len Munsil did the wild thing before wedlock. So far, the push-poll's meant moola in Munsil's pocket and egg on Goldwater's face. Now, who's supposed to be the victim, again? Kinda makes you wonder, don't it?
This metrosexual magpie has always prided itself on its gay-dar, but for all the feathers on its backside, it can't figure out how Senator John McCain really feels about the love that dare not speak its name.
At times, McCain's practically been a charter member of the Log Cabin Republicans, voting twice in the past two years against a U.S. Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.
But that's on the federal level. Locally, he has come out, so to speak, in favor of Prop 107, the state gay-marriage ban, which also denies domestic-partnership benefits to thousands of Arizonans, both gay and straight. And on September 6, just days before the primary, McCain endorsed the wing-nutty Len Munsil, who all but wants gays to start wearing pink triangles again, like back in the Shoah.
Could be McCain's covering his kahuna, making sure he's square with the GOP's archconservative base before his run for the presidential nomination in '08. Surely, in his heart of hearts, he has no problem with those who'd prefer a Gay Old Party over a Grand Old one? Hmm, after all, he is ex-Navy.
Indeed, 'bout a month or so ago, one of this gossipy gull's pals spotted McCain with wife Cindy and their adopted Bangladeshi daughter, Bridget, in the notoriously gay-friendly bar-eatery Burger Betty's (formerly Hamburger Mary's), well-known for its drag shows, karaoke nights, chummy wait staff, and kick-ass ostrich burgers. (Noshing ostrich might be cannibalism for this omnivorous oriole, but those lean, gamey patties taste so daggum delish!)
"They totally looked like your typical suburban family," tweeted The Bird's bud, who spotted them as they came in for a late lunch. "He was wearing shorts, a polo shirt and a baseball cap. Cindy had on a tee shirt and yoga pants, with her hair in a ponytail. I asked the waiter if that was John McCain, but no one who worked there seemed to know who John McCain was!"
Still, the word must've gotten around, because when The Bird called the Aussie-themed roadhouse on Seventh Street, just north of Camelback Road, general manager Chip Grant confirmed the McCain sighting, though he hadn't been on duty that day.
"They came in, they ate, and they left," chirped Chip. "It didn't really cause a stir."
"So McCain's not a regular?" inquired this avian.
"Noooo," cooed the GM. "He won't be a regular here. We're a gay restaurant. If he's gonna run for president, he doesn't want to be in here too often."
But how could McCain not know Burger Betty's rep, what with cheeky menu items like the "Phoenix Flamer" burger, or the "Bonsai Buns" sammy? Maybe the visit was McCain's way of winking to his gay constituency, letting them know this mess with Munsil and Prop 107 is just politics.
Or maybe the guy's just another fork-tongued asshole. Either way, on that day, McCain most likely sank his teeth into some rather, ahem, queer meat.
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