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Many of the cases that he writes about would have had these defendants walking the streets without any supervision at all but for being placed on life probation. . . . The County Attorney's Office will put together some stats to show how off this guy is. We'll keep you posted.

Mitchell, who was not aware of Reinstein's missive, says of the numbers mix-up, "If I got it wrong--and it looks like I did--I'll correct it. I feel bad about it."

He adds that the premise of his work was that the courts were drowning in cases, and that the correct figures cited by Reinstein would have bolstered his theme.

Aliens Conquer Media
Last Wednesday night, KPNX-TV Channel 12 breathlessly led its 10 o'clock broadcast by announcing that it had the first plausible theory for the March 13 lights sighted over several Arizona towns. Channel 12's theory was neither first nor plausible.

That morning, New Times had reported that Mitch Stanley's telescopic sighting of the lights identified them as airplanes, a sighting that he passed on to UFO media princess Frances Emma Barwood and the star-struck Arizona Republic. Neither bothered to call back after Stanley's friend Jack Jones notified them of Stanley's viewing.

Channel 12 hypothesized that the lights were likely flares fired over a gunnery range south of Phoenix.

What the station didn't bother to explain: how flares falling to the ground south of Phoenix could be seen by people from Prescott to Tucson.

The Arizona Republic, meanwhile, pressed on with more alien frippery, reporting on Thursday, June 26, that aliens had landed in Paradise Valley in 1947. The evidence? Some guy was nervous about people looking in his freezer; there was a shiny observatory dome in a field somewhere; and "ufologist" Jim Dilettoso had found a pencil drawing of swimmers in his attic.

While the Republic continues to celebrate flying saucers--including promoting UFOs on its Web site and investigating the March 13 lights by asking readers if they think they saw an alien craft--the state's largest paper doesn't seem concerned that it might lose some credibility as a reporter of, you know, facts.

The Republic played catch-up Monday, reporting Stanley's account without mentioning that it had ignored him months earlier. Once again, however, apparently doubting Stanley, the flares theory was brought up.

The Flash has the only plausible explanation: swamp gas.

A Flash of Evidence
Wasting time between breaks at the Fifester's trial, The Flash recently rummaged through cases filed at the federal courthouse only to find a Flashes column entered as evidence in a lawsuit.

In March, guards at the state prison in Florence opened inmate Richard Rossi's legal mail in front of him to check it for contraband. By the Department of Corrections' own policy, even condemned murderers such as Rossi have the right to receive, uncensored, mail from their attorneys after envelopes have been searched for drugs, maps or files in birthday cakes.

But when corrections officer Harold Ulmer ran across a document detailing the minute-by-minute process by which Rossi would be put to death, he confiscated it, saying that it was a restricted document.

Rossi's attorney, Dale Baich, objected, saying that Ulmer had violated the DOC's own policy of not censoring mail. And just for good measure, Baich included in a motion for an injunction New Times' May 22 publication of the lethal-injection procedures, including The Flash's italicized annotations, to show that the document (already obsolete when Ulmer confiscated it) was not a carefully guarded state secret.

The Flash is only too happy to help. But he finds it quaint that the state wouldn't want a man on death row to know just how he's going to be put to death. That might be unsettling for him.

Nuts & Dolts
What fun managing editor Jim Fickess had in last week's Arizona Business Gazette, relating anonymous stories from his employer buddies of how stupid Arizona's workers can be.

Take this howler, for example: "A woman riding the bus into work wanted to fit in with the rest of the riders, so she brought a paperback book that she 'read.' Imagine her embarrassment when a fellow commuter told her she didn't seem like the type of person who reads X-rated books."

Fickess had so much fun relating these stories--all true, he asserts, but we'll have to take his word for it--that he's asking bosses to send in a lot more, and he'll protect their identities!

That's right, you too can trash your workers, some of whom may be struggling to learn a new language, and not have to back it up with any evidence!

Fickess will compile the examples of worker stupidity for a July 24 issue dedicated to--get this--education.

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