Arizonans have long known that John McCain fancies himself a comedian. In fact, the Snowy-Haired Senator bears an uncanny resemblance in demeanor and delivery to Slappy White.
We won't soon forget that during his first run for Congress in the Eighties, Humble John referred to the retirement community Leisure World as "Seizure World." Ha ha.
Last year, he compared the GOP's popularity ratings with those of mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer. Tee hee.
What should we expect from a guy whose high school nicknames were "Punk," "Nasty" and "McNasty"?
The Washington Post broke the news last week of yet another McCain gaffe, made during a GOP fund raiser at a D.C. steak house. But neither the Post nor any other national publication that the Flash knows of actually printed the joke. To its credit, the Arizona Republic did. Here goes:
"Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father." Snicker snicker.
The Clintons were quick to accept McCain's groveling apology, calling him "our bud." (That, no doubt, was a Freudian slip by Bill, who covets McCain's position as a big stockholder in a Budweiser distributorship.) Reno reportedly responded by breaking into McCain's Washington home and slapping him around with a giant subpoena.
But how will West Pointers respond to a slur from a Navy fly-boy? On June 7, at the end of a speech to the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women in Windham, NH, Humble John took a question from a man who identified himself as "a former Green Beret." The question was about the use of "unconventional warfare forces." McCain--who graduated at the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy--answered in a rather unconventional way:
". . . I won't mention that when I graduated from high school I tried to get into West Point, but my parents were married. . . ." Hardy har har.
Technophile political junkies can hear an audio clip of the latest foot-in-mouth at "Running John, New Times' Field Guide to the John McCain Campaign Trail," our comprehensive look at the Snowy-Haired Senator, at www.phoenixnewtimes.com
Starr Chamber Dreams
The high jinks at the Arizona Corporation Commission just never end. After a recent shouting match with Commissioner Carl Kunasek, executive secretary and Kunasek foe Jack Rose is thinking about taking the fight to another level.
Rose angrily charged Kunasek and his aide, Jerry Porter, with "attacking his integrity" after a CorpComm meeting, when Kunasek and Porter detailed allegations that Rose might have violated the state's Open Meetings Law. Rose angrily denied the charges and told Kunasek he should be "ashamed . . . for allowing your staff to go around and spread lies." Rose also accused Porter of "making this stuff up." (On Monday, the Attorney General's Office said there was nothing to Kunasek's Open Meetings complaint.)
But Rose didn't stop there. The same day the fracas appeared on page one of the Arizona Republic, he sent a memo, obtained by the Flash, which asks the Corporation Commission's in-house legal counsel for an opinion on whether Rose can start investigating "a member of a commissioner's staff." Gee, we wonder who that could be.
In the memo, Rose poses a series of questions, asking if it is a "violation of state personnel or agency rules for an exempt agency employee to knowingly make false accusations of illegal conduct at other agency employees?"
Rose also asks if he has "the authority to discipline a commissioner's employee" and if the commission can hold a public hearing, complete with subpoenas and sworn testimony, to investigate a commission employee.
And finally, Rose takes a step toward Kenneth Starr country by asking if the commission has "the authority to hire outside counsel to investigate and present his/her findings to the commission."
The Flash, for one, hopes that the answer is a resounding yes in every case. The Corporation Commission should immediately hire a special prosecutor to investigate every nook and cranny of the agency. No editorialist or columnist within this great state will have to search for material for at least a year.
Will Downsize for Food
Arizona Republic managing editor Steve Knickmeyer was quoted in Columbia Journalism Review this spring, calling Republic employees laid off last year "fat, lazy, incompetent and slow."
That comment got Knickmeyer fired. It also got him sued. Eighteen of those 60 fired Republic employees filed a libel lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court against Knickmeyer and Phoenix Newspapers Incorporated, the Republic's parent company.
Knickmeyer's probably not too concerned about the libel suit. He's looking for a job.
Obviously, Knickmeyer hasn't heeded the advice of a Republic career counselor, who told him he was best suited to mapmaking.
And he's not listing many Republic people as references. Folks at the Rep just can't seem to forget how he quelled rumors that he had been ordered to get counseling--he donned a straitjacket and waltzed through the newsroom with a sign around his neck that proclaimed, "I'm Not Krazy."
Now the Knickmeister wants a go at editorial writing. Here's an actual ad he placed in the National Conference of Editorial Writers' newsletter:
"Award-winning editorial writer who has spent the last several years in management wants to return to writing. Mencken award winner, columnist editorial writer for major metro for three years. Moderate white male. Served as second-in-command of editorial operation in Dallas, selecting columns, editing other writers and arranging board meetings. I'm a stayer seeking permanent position. Please contact Steve Knickmeyer at [email protected]"
The Flash suggests the following blurb might be more apropos:
"Blood-spattered hatchetman who has spent the last several years cleansing Phoenix newsroom of the fat, lazy, incompetent and slow has been cashiered by limp-wristed executives who lacked the will, discipline and training to do the job themselves. Willing to use moderate blackmail. Served as executioner of editorial operation in Dallas, eviscerating columns, flogging writers and arranging boring meetings. Of course, that paper ceased publication when I got through with it, but, hey, it's a dirty job . . . Did I mention that I write real good? Please contact Steve Knickmeyer by placing a personal ad for 'Vernon' in Soldier of Fortune magazine."
Hits and Mrs.
Reporters covering the Republican love fest in Iowa last week saw Marilyn Quayle thoroughly masticate the appendage that nurtures her. (She stood in for her hubby because Danny Boy is reportedly repeating social studies in summer school.) Alas, she lived up to her reputation for frostiness with the media, all the while forgetting the main source of her husband's bread and butter as a stockholder and director of Central Newspapers Incorporated.
When asked by a reporter whether she agreed with the statement by the Southern Baptist Convention that a woman should "submit herself graciously" to her husband's leadership, the Little Mrs. snapped:
"I've only read what's in the newspapers, and coming from the background I have, my dealings with the press, I really don't believe those very much. And I'd rather see the actual statements themselves rather than take them from the newspapers."
Then, when she was read the Baptist statement, she icily told a reporter, "I'd like to see it in continuity, sir."
Editors and reporters of the Quayle-Pulliam newspapers will be heartbroken to know their most celebrated director's wife has so little faith in their profession. Except, of course, when the newspapers pass out dividends to keep the Quayles comfy in their Paradise Valley estate from the sweat of working newspaper stiffs.
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