Sleepwalking on Air
The Flash happened to be sitting in the office of New Times scribe Paul Rubin last week as Rubin was being interviewed about the verdict in the Sleepwalker Murder Case.
His interlocutor was Ted Simons, the normally deft afternoon drive-time talker at KTAR Radio. (Disclosure: Simons is a contributor to New Times--as a pop-music critic.) The Rubin-Simons tandem works well. Rubin, who had turned down an invitation to do Larry King Live that evening, spoke more freely than he had during the interviews he'd given KTAR while the trial was ongoing. He even complimented Simons for having a solid grasp of the facts of the case "for a radio guy."
That turned out to have been an overstatement.
During a commercial break, a KTAR producer came on the line and told Rubin to hold on--Scott Falater, the killer himself, was calling the radio station, collect from jail. Rubin warned the producer to do some heavy checking, because he doubted the call was genuine.
KTAR put the guy on the air. They kept Rubin on the phone--but off the air.
Rubin recognized immediately that the caller was not Scott Falater, and said so repeatedly, at the top of his voice, over his phone connection. Rubin also demanded to be allowed to question the caller. "Put me on with him," Rubin pleaded. "It will make good radio--I promise."
Anyone with a passing knowledge of the case--and of Falater's intellect--knew the caller was a poser. At one point, the doppelganger said he was being held in a room with no bed, wearing only his underwear . . . and, of course, the telephone that all convicted murderers get!
Rubin fed the KTAR geniuses--they've been touting themselves as the No. 1 radio news team in America--a simple question to unmask the impostor. "Ask him what his wife's birthday is," Rubin urged.
Finally, that question was asked. Immediately exposed, the caller mumbled, "Uh, no. You've just been done by Jerky Boys," and hung up.
Simons: "It was. I thought so. I thought so. All right. There he goes. And Paul Rubin of New Times also thought it was a fake call. Holy mackerel. Newsradio 620 KTAR. Detour Dan Beach, get us to reality."
Beach (laughing): "Okay. I'm Scott, and ah . . ."
Simons: "That's the wrong reality."
Gee, Ted. If you "thought" the call was fake, why did you interview the guy, live, for 10 minutes?
Is that the sound of rats jumping into the surf? Nah. Just lawyers bolting from O'Connor Cavanagh--one of the state's largest and most prestigious law firms.
Nearly a dozen of the firm's 130 Phoenix attorneys hoofed it last month alone. Earlier this year, the entire workers' compensation team left.
The exodus confuses this Pulsating Strobe. According to its Web site--www.oconnorcavanagh.com--the firm is listed in Top 115 of America's Greatest Places to Work With a Law Degree. That designation must come from a Who's Who Among American Lawyers knockoff, one of those buy-the-space publications that only the cheesiest professionals list on their resumes.
Word has it that OC managing partner Scott Rose--best known to many as Dad of Jason, public relations wanna-be wunderboy--lacks the style and grace of former honcho Harry Cavanagh.
Another clutch of attorneys is expected to jump ship this week.
Presidential hopeful Humble John McCain has a catchy campaign slogan: "The character to do what's right. The courage to fight for it."
Add: "The audacity of a hypocrite."
This week, McCain's presidential campaign debuted a new Web site, www.itsyourcountry.com, which purports to be a tool to enlighten the little guy about the horrors of campaign finance abuse. As it turns out, the Web site is simply another of McCain's own fund-raising mechanisms.
Apparently, McCain isn't raising enough from powerful special interests with business before his Senate Commerce Committee--now he's trying to get into your pocket, too. The Web site asks supporters to "sign the petition with your small contribution"--of up to $1,000! Use your credit card for easy payment.
The Flash appreciates the conundrum McCain faces: You can't change the system unless you win, and you can't win unless you can raise money. But pretending a $1,000 contribution on a credit card is a step toward reform is just plain phony.
The Hotel Emergency
Those anti-democratic corporate socialists on the Arizona Republic's Editorial Board are at it again. (Corporate socialists are a species that taps the public revenue stream to aid private industry.)
In a Tuesday editorial, the Republic once again championed the cause for a third downtown hotel, a Marriott. The corporate commies see another hotel as the linchpin in bringing more convention business to downtown and the Phoenix Civic Plaza, which is regarded as too small and inadequate.
City Hall originally agreed to pay the hotel developer $15 million to build the $113 million palace for business fat cats. The city also offered to guarantee an $83 million development loan, meaning that if the hotel couldn't pay its debt, Phoenicians would.
But then the manager and part owner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel did a terrible thing: He participated in democracy and started an initiative to let Phoenix voters decide whether they wanted to be so generous with a hotelier. (The editorial suggested that the Crowne Plaza manager, who stood to see public funds used to undermine his investment, was guilty of "abusing . . . the state's liberal constitutionally guaranteed right to initiative." Aren't constitutions messy?) Mayor Skippy Rimsza scuttled the original hotel deal faster than you can say Goldwater International Airport.
So City Hall's corporate socialists and the public-teat-suckling Marriott chain put together a new deal that would trim the city's gift to the developer to $11 million (how frugal of the city). The loan guarantee remains, which is incentive for poor management as the Marriott has virtually no risk.
And, oh yeah, the City Council plans to approve the hotel rip-off with the "emergency clause," which would negate the citizens' right to intervene and force a public vote.
Incredibly, the Republic says invocation of the emergency clause is a good idea.
Emergencies crop up in Phoenix whenever the corporate socialists need to scam the public out of its hard-earned money. The mandarins--and their cheerleaders at the Republic--are are only too happy to declare an emergency. Sumitomo Sitix and Bank One Ballpark--two very unpopular projects that cost taxpayers millions and handed private industry eye-popping subsidies and/or outright investment--come to mind.
Both those projects required suppression of possible democratic action through the emergency clause.
In advocating such abrogation of democracy, the Republic shows its true stripe. Corporate socialism, corporate welfare queen, benevolent dictation--call it what you will--it reeks. A real newspaper would rail against anything producing such a high odor. But the Arizona Republic isn't a real newspaper. It's a blind business booster and corporate commie rag--and those are its strong suits.
Lost in all the chamber of commerce platitudes is the sorry fact that the Phoenix Civic Plaza loses more than $10 million a year. This is but another rail of corporate welfare--more public money expended to benefit multinational hospitality corporations.
How do the citizens of Phoenix benefit from conventions? Jobs, to be sure. But the primary beneficiaries are private industry, and many of them aren't even local.
The Republic has acknowledged that the addition of a third hotel will spur a drive to expand the Civic Plaza, creating yet another opportunity for a public fleecing in the face of yet another "emergency."
The reverse Robin Hoods at the Republic should consider a quaint little concept called free enterprise.
Feed the Flash: voice, 602-229-8486; fax, 602-340-8806; online, firstname.lastname@example.org
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