The Bird observed all kinds of weirdness when it attended the massive march for immigration reform on Grand Avenue: white guys (from the news media) peeing in alleyways; illegal aliens (who're normally treated like vermin by Americans) waving U.S. flags; Mayor Phil Gordon.
But the strangest thing The Bird saw was Stephanie C. Harris, media coordinator for Mothers Against Illegal Aliens, bellowing racist dogma to a team of TV news crews. MAIA, the latest hate group to spring up in the war against our brown-skinned brethren, positioned itself near the Fox News camp (natch), but Harris' noisy nattering could be heard yards away. The Bird caught up with Harris the next day, and its ear-holes are still ringing.
"They break lots of laws once they get over here," Harris squawked to The Bird when it asked her what exactly was wrong with Mexicans. "They come in and take our jobs away from us. And so Americans can't feed their kids because people are hiring illegals to do all the work."
It's our American kids, according to Harris, who're bearing the brunt of the horror that illegal Mexican immigrants bring to our, um, shiny, clean country. That's because teachers are forced to slow lessons down in order to cater to kids who don't speak English. Homework's being sent home in English and Spanish, Harris claims, and (horrors!) the Pledge of Allegiance is being said in Spanish.
"The blond-haired, blue-eyed American kid has to wear baggy clothes and dye his hair brown because otherwise the Mexicans will beat him up," Harris crowed. "And these kids are all getting free lunches when the American kids don't. Our kids have no future."
According to Harris' illogic, the problem of crowded-out white kids is made worse because these dang Mexicans just keep popping out more babies who will crowd Whitey's rightful place in the lunch line.
"When the government told Americans we had to go to zero population, we obeyed -- let's don't talk about Mormons or Catholics -- and now educated white people have maybe two kids," Harris explained to this baffled beaker. "But these illegals come here with their Catholic culture, and they have a bunch of babies and they can't afford them. They're breeding like rabbits! Then they go on food stamps and welfare, and Americans have to pay for that."
Although Harris swears she'd welcome immigrants who want to come to our country legally, she also says stuff like, "Why should America be bicultural? The illegals and their supporters say they're all for unification, but trust me on this, the Mexicans don't care about unification. They only care about bringing Mexico to America."
When The Bird mentioned to Harris that the recent mega-march (which this fake fowl's happy to report had neither an official name, a fancy logo nor a souvenir tee shirt) was routed past its own nest, Harris said: "Well, I hope you went inside and locked the doors! You never know what those criminals are gonna pull."
A few days before the march, Harris sent a letter to Governor Janet Napolitano demanding that the good guv call out the National Guard to protect the poor, maligned white man. Harris wasn't all that surprised when Janet didn't respond.
"Of course she's not gonna do anything to protect us, because the government wouldn't pay for it. But the joke's on her: The people in government think they're gonna get votes from illegals by supporting the illegals, but these are people who can't legally vote [since they all look alike to her, she obviously didn't notice that a goodly portion of the Latinos involved in the big demonstration were legal residents registering to vote along the route]. And they won't bother to vote once they are American citizens [she and Congressman J.D. Hayworth certainly hope they won't], although they will definitely cheat and lie and steal identities like they do all the time."
Whatever you do, don't call Stephanie Harris a racist.
"Listen, I'm a better merengue dancer than the people coming across our border," she hollered, when The Bird dared to suggest that maybe she doesn't care about kids so much as she just hates Hispanics. "I love the Mexican heritage, but . . . if there were 20 million Chinese coming over our border, do you think the Mexicans would agree with that? No. Because the Chinese would come in and take their jobs. Mexicans don't care about immigration reform, they want Mexican immigration reform. And I want them to go back where they came from."
All right, then. Harris claimed her organization, headquartered here, has a sizable membership (well, it's got a Web site, anyway: www.mothersagainstillegalaliens.org). Harris maintained that she and Michelle Dallacrose ("She's an Air Force vet, I'm a Minutewoman!") started the national movement.
The Bird doesn't know about Dallacrose, but with Harris' brains now behind the anti-immigration movement, those mean ol' Mexicans are probably running back over the border lickety-split!
Mission: Impossible The Bird's hardly the only citizen who thinks Arizona Senate President Ken Bennett's kid deserves more than just a wrist-slap for poking a broomstick handle, etc., into the anuses of a group of minor-age sleep-away campers.
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.)
After ASU alum House had scored still another field goal during an exceptional scoring night this season, Leander screeched in falsetto: "The House is burning down!"
Three-D's his name for all-around playmaker Boris Diaw (his jersey number's 3 and his last name starts with a D), and whenever Suns shooting guard Raja Bell sinks a three-pointer, Leander often proclaims, "Raja that!"
It's become so ridiculous that TNT analyst Doug Collins recently regurgitated "Brazilian Blur" during a nationally televised Suns game. His broadcast partner shot back, "Where'd you get that?!" Collins lives in Phoenix and had caught Leander's play-by-play.
And just what was Leander thinking when, earlier this season, he shouted during a broadcast, "Steve Nash put a little secret sauce on that shot!"?
"I have no idea," Leander, a hometown guy who went to Brophy Prep and was once a Suns ball-boy, confessed to The Bird. "I'm still paying for that one. [UPN analyst and former Sun] Dan Majerle still gives me crap about it."
UPN producer Bob Adlhoch has never had to pull in the reins on Leander's overzealous oratory. In fact, he wouldn't want to.
"I'm actually kind of surprised Tom doesn't use '3D' five times a game," Adlhoch snitched to The Bird. "There are plenty of opportunities for him to go overboard, but he usually knows the limits."
Really? Then why does this pretend pigeon wake up in cold sweats to nightmares of Leander yelling, "Little Stevie Wonder!"? A Toronto newspaper actually came up with that one during the star point guard's successful run for MVP last season, and Tom's purloined it.
The Bird wanted to blame Leander for "The Matrix" for Shawn Marion (he flies through the air like Keanu Reeves' character in the movies), STAT for Stoudemire (he fills up the stat sheet) and particularly T-Squared for Tim Thomas (get it?) -- but they aren't his fault, damn it!
Who knows who came up with the first two, but it was Gary Bender, the Suns play-by-play guy on Fox Sports Net, who first spouted Thomas' handle -- literally an hour after he'd donned a Suns uniform for the first freaking time!
The lesson here is, gone are the days when only superstars like Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Julius "Doctor J" Erving had handles. Not only do Marion and Stoudemire have theirs (Nash wishes he didn't have his), but so does a clumsy brick-shooting Irish guy. In Tom Leander's world.
Yet Tom's unapologetic. "I'd rather have the fans saying I'm having too much fun," he argued, "than not enough."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.