Year after year, Arizona's elected officials continue to amaze us with a never-ending stream of stupidity, hypocrisy, and failure.
The year's been no exception -- check out our picks for the 10 worst local political moments of 2013:
If you're a disgraced former county attorney who's since been disbarred for abuse of power, you'd think you would lay low for the rest of your life. Nope. "Candy Andy" Thomas says he's runnin' for governor. Someone should consider attempted-murder charges after some of us almost died laughing when we heard that one.
9.) The Anti-Agenda 21 Hearing
There's a communist plot to take over America in which the government will round up people from their homes, according to a hearing hosted by the nuttier Republican legislators, sometimes referred to as the "Black Helicopter Caucus." Someone put together the highlight reel (above), which ought to make you lose and faith you had in our elected leaders.
8.) Brenda Barton: Obama's Hitler, Park Rangers Are Thugs
Republican Representative Brenda Barton of Payson got called out for her comparison of President Obama to Hitler, but apologize she did not. Instead, she defended it, apparently unaware that Obama's body count is remarkably smaller than Hitler's.
7.) John Kavanagh Gets "Shamed" at Hearing for His Toilet-Policing
Republican Representative John Kavanagh's effort to regulate toilet usage in Arizona was to propose criminalizing the use of a public restroom if the sex on someone's birth certificate doesn't match the sign on the door. Kavanagh, apparently ignorant to the fact that transgender people exist, was forced to listen to two hours of testimony against his bill, as well as a chant of "shame" as he and his Republican colleagues voted to pass the bill.
6.) Steve Smith Says Extra Prayer to Offset Atheist Colleague's Non-Prayer
Democratic Representative Juan Mendez made national news when he left God out of his invocation before a House of Representatives hearing. "I hope today marks the beginning of a new era in which Arizona's non-believers can feel as welcome and valued here as believers," Mendez later said. Instead, Representative Steve Smith embarrassed himself and the state by leading everyone on a second prayer, this one in "repentance" for what Mendez had done.
5.) Bob Thorpe's Thoughts on "Blacks"
If you're an elected official, or even if you're not an elected official, it's probably not a good idea to complain about "blacks" on social media, where everyone can see it. That memo didn't reach Republican Representative Bob Thorpe in time, as he tweeted about his outrage that black teenagers -- "blacks" -- beat up a white boy in Florida. He also suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder is soft on crime because many of his fellow blacks are in prison. Thorpe's response was to make his Twitter account private.
4.) Russell Pearce on Chris Simcox
What does ousted Senate President Russell Pearce think about his old pal Chris Simcox being arrested on charges of child molestation? Well, you know, "good people do stupid things sometimes."
3.) Jeff Flake Raised a "N1ggerKiller"
Someone looked through the public Twitter account of Senator Jeff Flake's 15-year-old son, Tanner, and noticed references to a "faggot" stealing his dirt bike, and a "Jew" stealing his jokes. He also posted a screenshot from an online game, which shows that the younger Flake went by the name "N1ggerKiller." Later, it was discovered that the boy had uploaded a video to YouTube in which he pretended to commit suicide.
2.) Jan Brewer Gets a Mess From CPS
This is a messy political moment for Brewer, but lest we forget the children are the real victims in the scandal of more than 6,500 allegations not being investigated by Child Protective Services. But Brewer has championed CPS reforms, and she's even patted herself on the back for helping create the agency that discovered the ignored cases. She's even claimed that Department of Economic Security Director Clarence Carter (whose agency oversees CPS) has done a "fine job."
1.) Joe Arpaio's Loss in Racial-Profiling Case
Don't get us wrong, the ruling will surely bring positive change to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, but this headline to a Stephen Lemons story puts it perfectly: "Judge Snow's Decision Damns Not Just Arpaio, but All of Maricopa County."