I'm a longtime reader of New Times, and I read the article about Senator John McCain and his treatment of veterans ("Love the War, Neglect the Warrior," Amy Silverman, October 23). Being a veteran myself (eight years in the Marine Corps from 1997-2005), I find it very shameful that he's a former POW in Vietnam and says he understands what veterans are going through but turns his back on them by not giving them the funding they need to get proper care.
I have nothing but respect for Senator McCain, but for him to not vote for veterans needs is a tremendous slap in the face, not only for past veterans but for veterans who continue to wear the uniform. I didn't vote for him, and I'm glad for not doing so.
Ian Isaac, Phoenix
When will we learn?: Sarah Fenske's not alone; I'm also sick about what has become of our Republican Party ("This Used to Be My Party," October 23). You would think that we would have learned from Democrats in the 1980s how irrelevant you can become when you allow your party to get hijacked by its extreme elements.
Your story doesn't even mention half of the state Party that makes me want to puke: legislators Russell Pearce, Karen Johnson, Eddie Farnsworth, Jack Harper, Bob Blendu . . .
What are we supposed to do?
Chad Snow, Peoria
Another Party pooper: I, too, am dropping my lifelong Republican Party membership due to dirty politics. I continue to be amazed at the number of folks I encounter from all age groups who can't see Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for what he is — an egotistical maniac who should've been put out of office after his first term.
Dave Martin, Phoenix
Crackerbabble: I read that Sarah Fenske's leaving the Republican Party because of the smutty smear of Dan Saban by a claque of Republican apparatchiks. It's regrettable. So much is.
Although the current Gen X brand of psychobabble has a surfeit of sexualia in it, it's nevertheless incumbent on Joe Arpaio to denounce it, and proffer to ensure its discontinuance.
Although many think the current phase of genitalia in the press started with Wee Willie lying about his wanker in the White House, it actually started with Joe Biden in Judiciary Hearings airing a hotty Negress describing the Negro pubic hair on a Pepsi can [in the sexual-harassment claim against now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas].
The Arizona Soviet once graced its sports page with a giddy examination of hemorrhoids and homosexuality, and then, would you believe it, your own putrid rag's constantly harping on the putative sexual preference of the governor here in Arizona.
So Fenske's left the party. Big friggin' deal.
Pete Thomas, via the Internet
The prosecution never rests: Please, voters! Please cast the racist ideologues to the "dogs" on November 4 ("A Real Dog of a Case," Sarah Fenske, October 16).
Your point about Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas going to trial on stupid, vindictive cases that he cannot win is well taken. Indeed, prosecuting the innocent is a very bad idea.
Thomas does this more to smite his and Joe Arpaio's enemies than to be tough on crime. I mean, what crime are we talking about here?
And it just keeps getting worse. First, he sics his "dog" [former special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik] on New Times because of his vindictive mentor, Arpaio; then, he goes after the ACLU lawyer; then, he tries to screw over that cop who accidentally suffocated his police dog; then, he takes that poor little veterinarian to trial; and, soon, he will be going after that protest leader down at the county Supervisors meeting who was demonstrating against Arpaio's illegal sweeps [Randy Parraz, the Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability organizer].
In the latter case, the poor guy was merely standing on a public sidewalk when Joe's Selective Enforcement Unit arrested him.
That all these cases [except the one still to come] were thrown out by juries is testament to the fact that the good people of this county do not condone this kind of jackbooted behavior by their top prosecutor and his soul mate, Arpaio.
This has got to stop, and I just pray that voters come to their senses and rid us of this petty tyrant and America's scummiest sheriff.
Mary Stark, Phoenix
Good vet, good guy: I commend your integrity and ability to call it like it is. I've personally known veterinarian Josh Winston for five years and have taken all my animals to him during that time. He's the very best and most caring person I know.
I am also vice president of the FastDogs-FastFriends Greyhound Adoption group. Josh has taken care of many of our groups' animals, and everyone in the animal-rescue community is 100 percent behind him.
As for Sheriff Joe and Andrew Thomas, well, you know they're not getting my vote!
Nina Scozzari, Sun City West
NOT SO TOUGH
Man's inhumanity to man: Buford Pusser of Walking Tall fame, who cleaned out the notorious roadhouses in his Tennessee county using only a large club, was a tough sheriff. Wyatt Earp, who personally faced some of the meanest bad men in the Old West, was a tough sheriff. In Arizona, Maricopa County's self-proclaimed "America's toughest sheriff" is a pompous bureaucrat who uses his office to degrade, dehumanize, and humiliate detainees to feed his vanity and make himself appear larger than he is ("Multiple Misadventures," Ray Stern, October 23; also see Michael Lacey's column, "Basta," and John Dickerson's "Stillborn," in this issue).
Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his PR staff are constantly looking for ways to further hype his bloated ego. Lately, he's been harassing anyone brown, including more than a few American citizens.
Considering the massive 24/7 taxpayer-funded security that surrounds him, Arpaio's biggest personal risk is a paper cut while initiating more oppressive directives from the safety of his plush office.
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After years of abusing detainees, and killing some, Sheriff Joe appears to have become a little paranoid. He recently stressed out when someone mentioned his address in public. Despite the public chest-thumping, he likely jumps at shadows and things that go bump in the night. A while back, he called out the bomb squad when a passerby tossed an old wrought-iron fixture onto his front lawn.
Arpaio likes to see himself as a General George Patton type, but he more closely resembles Sergeant "Fatso" Judson, the sadistic stockade jailer played by Ernest Borgnine in the classic movie From Here to Eternity. Tent City, Arpaio's signature dish and living testimony to man's inhumanity to man, closely mimics an old military prison. Perhaps that vermin-infested, canvas-covered gulag is an appropriate legacy for "America's biggest joke."
Brooke Cabaniss, Chandler