We Read Jon So You Don't Have To
Arizona's second-favorite senator, Jon Kyl, has been keeping a diary of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for his grandchildren--because, as we all know, there's nothing kids like more than hearing gramps tell stories about blowjobs.
In the journalistic coup of the millennium, the Arizona Republic has been lucky enough to get the senator to publish these barely edited, highly revealing, totally candid reflections. Kyl shares the day-to-day drama of the witch hu . . . er, proceedings. Given Kyl's role in all of the back-room dealings and partisan intrigue, you'd think people would be riveted to each thrilling installment. Yet no one the Flash has talked to is reading these hokey history lessons, so this Pulsating Strobe offers the following summary:
January 5: I talk on the phone with other Republicans about the historic proceedings. Not that we're fixing anything. This is not a partisan vendetta. Honest.
January 6: We should be careful about this impeachment business. It's pretty important stuff. Should we call witnesses or not? What a quandary! Of course, I haven't made up my mind yet; I am totally impartial.
January 7: Trial begins. Boy howdy, this is an historic occasion. I'm so taken with the majesty of it all I won't even mention the weird varsity stripes William Rehnquist is wearing--good to see he didn't go with the white robe with the hood. And everyone wonders if there will be any justice in this case. Heck, Rehnquist is a justice. P.S. HBO interviewed me, and not John McCain. Hahahahahaha.
January 8: Our secret impeachment deal-making session with the Dems opens with a prayer. There's a lot of love in this room. Phil Gramm is a genius. In the end, we agree to do nothing. Bipartisanship wins again.
January 11: I read the House report over the weekend, all 400 pages. Okay, well, just the juicy parts.
January 12: Should the impeachment debate be held in public, or in private? Heckuva question.
January 13: Nothing happens today. Grandkids, skip this page.
January 14: Very nervous. Liberals at the New York Times got a story about me wrong. How could they call a meeting held behind closed doors, away from any public scrutiny, "secret"? After all, I wrote all about it here, Dear Diary! Senate listens to a lot of guys from House talking. I stay awake.
January 15: Funny thing, on TV, we're all much meaner to one another. And then, off TV, we're all buddies brokering deals again. Go figure. Still, that Tom Harkin sure isn't as impartial as some senators I could mention. P.S. I sit next to Fred Thompson--he was in one of them Die Hard movies--and McCain. Thompson talks to me. Hahahahahaha.
January 16: We open every day with a prayer, which makes me happy, because I believe in God, unlike some senators I could mention. I blubber like a child when Henry Hyde explains that we have to impeach Clinton for getting a hummer while in office. But I'm still impartial!
January 19: We hold a secret meeting on Iraq, and then hustle over to the trial. What a busy day! Charles Ruff looks like Perry Mason did in that old TV show, Ironside. [Note: This last part is absolutely true.] Then Clinton gives the State of the Union address. Showoff. We'll fix his wagon.
January 20: Lunch.
January 21: Guess what? I think I'm in favor of witnesses after all! Clinton's lawyer sure is boring. He's no Henry Hyde.
January 22: I talk to the media about my anti-terrorism work. Forced to keep reminding them it's spelled K-Y-L. Senator Robert Byrd keeps talking about dismissing the case just because everyone in the country is sick of it. He is so partisan.
January 23: The media are so biased toward Clinton. Just because we want to call Monica Lewinsky as a witness, everyone makes such a big deal of it. The real story is, I asked Clinton a question he won't answer. But does anyone cover that? Nooooooooo.
January 25: The Republic finally gets around to covering the secret meeting we held on Iraq on the 19th, and which I disclosed in this very diary! They even said the Republic "has learned." Senator to Republicans: Hey, are you guys at the paper reading this???!!! We hold a closed session. Just watch those liberals in the media call it a "secret." I can't say anything about it, but you-know-who sure was being partisan and mean. But this is still historic and fascinating.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree
U.S. Representative John Shadegg has had a tremendous burden lifted from his shoulders. No, the Flash is not talking about his vote to impeach (that was a difficult choice), or even his wrenching decision to skip the State of the Union address last week (he stayed in his office, reportedly reclining, not standing, on his principles).
We're talking about his vicious dog, Classic, which the Flash's sources describe as "a big fellow."
Earlier this month, you see, Shadegg emerged victorious in a lawsuit that arose after a guest at his north Phoenix home was bitten on the hand by the Shadegg family pooch. (For you "Clue!" fans: It was the hound, in the kitchen, with canines.)
The plaintiff, a teenage girl, alleged that the Shadeggs were negligent because they were aware prior to the January 1997 mastication that Classic had bitten and growled at others.
Alas. Earlier this month, a Maricopa County Superior Court jury found for the Shadeggs and against the teen. Adding insult to injury, the plaintiff was ordered to pay $499.68 in fees.
Shadegg himself attended some of the trial.
There was one interesting question the jury was instructed to consider: Is there evidence that the defendants "acted with an evil hand guided by an evil mind, thus entitling plaintiff to punitive damages?"
Apparently not in the dog-bites-girl case. But don't get me started on GOPAC.
Compassion's in Fashion
Arizona's best-known politician/golfer, Dan Quayle, seemed too desperate to touch the hearts of Middle America when he appeared on Larry King's CNN network show to announce his candidacy for president.
When King suggested that Americans were satisfied with President Clinton and content with the economy, Quayle did what he has always done--he spoke without thinking. The newly minted Mr. Compassion claimed that distress is rampant in the land, especially among laid-off workers.
This Burst of Light believes Quayle should pay more attention to what's afoot at Central Newspapers Incorporated, on whose board he sits and a company in which Quayle's immediate and extended families hold hundreds of thousands of shares of stock.
Over the past several years, Central Newspapers, which publishes the Arizona Republic, has laid off hundreds of employees. In January 1997, it euthanized the Phoenix Gazette and laid off scores of workers.
On judgment day, journalists were ordered to report to their desks, where they passed the time waiting for the dreaded phone call that summoned them to a meeting with "human resources" workers who told them: "As you know, we're going through a staff reduction in the newsroom. Your position has been eliminated."
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From human resources, each fired employee was sent to an "outplacement counselor" to discuss the employee's emotional state. The employee was handed a pile of documents that had to be signed to receive a severance package.
Back at his or her desk, the fired employee learned that during his or her short meeting, the staffer's computer access code had been changed. The streamlined employee then had 10 minutes to gather personal effects and get out of the office.
Before a downsized employee drove from the Republic parking garage, a security guard appeared to scrape the company parking sticker from the inside windshield of the employee's car.
Yes, Dan feels your pain.