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Bird Boycott

The Bird, a racist? That's the accusation leveled by a cowardly campaign of avian-haters, featuring form letters denouncing this funky feathered fiend being sent to some New Times advertisers.

The malignant missives are addressed "Dear Business Owner" and sound like some nasty little chain-mail scheme from back in the day. The kind that would threaten you with death if you didn't send a copy to five of your pals and promise to dedicate your firstborn to Beelzebub.

"Your advertising in the New Times is an implied endorsement of the atrocious lies and hateful words of this column's author," reads the screed, which continues, "Please demonstrate your disavowal of the New Times racism, intolerance and continued bigotry by removing your advertising from their paper and spending your advertising dollars elsewhere."

Needless to say, no one's pulled ads because of the intentionally vague and misleading snail mails. What exactly does the mysterious author of the form letter mean by "continued bigotry"? And because a form letter implies organization, why does the true source of the correspondence operate under anonymity? You know, like a pre-arrest Baseline Killer.

After obtaining a few of the letters, this wacky wren decided to look up some signers. When rung up by this raven, Glendale resident David Scott screeched that he was a Minuteman, a Phoenix firefighter, and a regular attendee of Rusty Childress' Thursday night anti-illegal immigrant prejudice parties, which have hosted such wackjob racists as white supremacist J.T. Ready and brown-basher State Representative Russell Pearce. The latter's known for arguing for a return to the Dwight D. Eisenhower-era deportation program Operation Wetback, and for forwarding an e-mail from the neo-Nazi National Alliance last year.

Not the brightest crayon in the box, Scott first claimed he wrote the letter, and that the others who signed duplicate letters were "acquaintances." Asked what was racist about The Bird's columns, Scott, who confessed he's as white as a sack of pigeon crap, replied, "When you call Minutemen racist, it just shows how racist you are."

So, according to this Albert Einstein of the Phoenix Fire Department, this ivory-hued albatross is racist against racists! That's akin to David Duke asserting that Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees is prejudiced against Klansmen. Or that Anti-Defamation League chairman Abe Foxman hates neo-Nazis.

Reminds this rabble-rousin' robin of that ol' Woody Allen line from Annie Hall: "I'm a bigot, I know, but for the left."

In a later call, Scott admitted he hadn't written the form letter but wouldn't cop to who had. Queried as to why he'd stated otherwise, he argued that signing the letter "was just as good as me writing it."

Isn't it reassuring that Mensa members like Scott are the ones responding to your emergency calls? Ahem, The Bird knows it feels safer.

This persistent penguin acquired another copy of the form letter signed by Russ Dove, a Tucson nativist infamous for such antics as burning Mexican flags with lesbo anti-Mexican immigrant lightning rod Laine Lawless (see "Burn, Baby, Burn!" February 15), and their pal, anti-immigrant activist Roy Warden, whose big thing is drawing a perimeter around himself and promising to blow the head off whoever crosses his imaginary Maginot Line.

Dove was more straightforward than Scott. Though he didn't remember signing the letter initially, he soon recalled that he did so while in Phoenix speaking at — you guessed it — one of Rusty Childress' Thursday evening Mexican bash-o-ramas, held at Childress' Kia dealership on Camelback Road, east of Interstate 17.

"There was a table up there with a whole bunch of paperwork on it, and the gentlemen there wanted me to sign it," stated Dove, explaining that, "I know the New Times has been running a lot of really bad articles about Rusty that aren't fair and aren't real."

Thing is, everything New Times has told the public about Childress has been spot-on, from the undercover description of Childress' prejudice powwows to his support for the Ernst Roehm of the East Valley, J.T. Ready, and the petty destruction of an NT newspaper rack by one of Childress' employees in apparent retaliation for what's been written about Rusty's activities.

In case you're not getting this, the secret smear campaign against this starling apparently is emanating from the hoe-downs at Rusty's auto mall, where his group, United for a Sovereign America, meets.

Gee, what's next, Rusty? A mob-style hit? Heh, take your best shot, Oswald.

By the way, this tweeter would love to print whatever Rusty has to say about this and other issues. But Childress either declines to comment or refuses to return The Bird's many calls. Like a lot of pricks born rich, he likes to crouch behind the scenes and let the likes of Russell Pearce and, possibly, Russ Dove do the dirty work.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons