Letters From the Issue of Thursday, March 23, 2006

Wool Power

Just give him time: Jeez, way to go in turning the story of that Mesa fire chief guy and the lamb into a justified slam on Sheriff Joe Arpaio ("Baa-aaaaad News," The Bird, Robrt L. Pela, March 16)! The foul fowl is such a funny writer!

Even though I laughed my ass off at the turns of phrase, it's really galling that Sheriff Joke would testify in the jail death lawsuit you wrote about in the same issue ("Death Sentence," John Dougherty) and then hold a press conference the same week calling for an end to intercourse with animals.



This was the ultimate sheepshit attempt to get on TV by the sheriff. And it worked! Doesn't the guy have any scruples? I guess he figured only New Times would bring up the insanity of his actions, if anybody, because the rest of the media are such butt-lickers.

The only thing that would've made a better story for you is if Arpaio had been the one discovered with his pants down behind a sheep, instead of that poor, pathetic-looking guy pictured on the link you provided with The Bird (www.smokinggun.com/archive/0307062sheep1.html).

Because a scandal like that is the only way we could get rid of Arpaio. No amount of writing stories like Dougherty's on guys who wind up dead because of the malfeasance of jail personnel is going to convince the conservative voting public around here that Joe should go.

It's sad but true. Nevertheless, hope springs eternal. Keep up the good work.
Lonnie Hackman, via the Internet

Homeland Insecurity

Balls "R" Us: Oh, man, I'll bet you're going to get verbally tarred and feathered for what The Bird said in "Howl of Sanity" (Robrt L. Pela, March 9)! Ha, maybe only tarred!

Not that the feathered fiend isn't right on the money.

And money is what all this is about; it's so true that Phoenix and Tucson would go under without cheap Mexican labor. Lots of other places in the Southwest (including California), too. How many of us Americans really want to do the scuzzy jobs that Mexican immigrants do? I'd bet that fast-food franchises and construction sites would be crying for workers if they couldn't rely on illegal aliens.

Why the idiots in this state can't understand that is beyond me, except that they are a bunch of racist fools.

To be sure, you're going to get a lot more complaints about your Bird story on Kyrsten Sinema than you are about publishing those Muhammad cartoons ("The Chosen One," Joe Watson, March 2). In both cases, I've got to admire your big brass balls!
E.S. Griffin, Phoenix

Opportunistic knocks: The Bird wrote that "while local politicians wrangle over how and why to secure the Arizona-Mexico border, someone's keeping an eye on the 'opportunistic' bums who've taken policing the border into their own hands."

Opportunistic? Bums? Is that what you call people who volunteer their time to be the eyes and ears of the United States Border Patrol?

State Representative Kyrsten Sinema needs to read some history. She is a silly woman who has no place in our Legislature. Her primary responsibility (by law) is to protect the rights (not wants) of individuals.
Mark Yannone, Phoenix

Smell the coffee: Oh, my God, it's about time someone opened his mouth about the problems on the border! I think it's a great idea to fine assholes like the Minutemen.

Your idea to sentence the Minutemen to walk from the border to Phoenix in July wasn't bad either.

How can we Americans hold it against anyone who wants to make a better life for themselves and their families? Didn't we fight the English for our freedom; haven't we stood up against people who try to knock our asses in the dirt?

I mean get a grip and let's face it; if it weren't for Mexicans, where would we be? Who do you think helped build this country? Not just them, but all manner of races and nationalities.
Name withheld by request

No, really, smell it: Take your head out of your ass! Do you even live in the area, and if you do, do you ever leave your house?

I guess people crossing the border constitutes no problem if you aren't the one dealing with the problems these people bring with them.

If you have to ask, "What problems?" then you shouldn't be writing articles and spewing your opinion. Go rent/buy a house 50 miles from the border and see how long your Honda Civic lasts in the carport.

Americans living in the border towns are being terrorized. It's easy to look the other way when you are so distant from the real problem.

I say, tell all those starving Africans to go to McDonald's.
David Philipp, Phoenix

Don't shoot; we're legal: I totally agree with The Bird's point about the Minutemen. They are giving Arizona a bad name. Who asked these motherfuckers to patrol our border anyway?!

I'm seriously thinking about taking some of my toughest friends down there to kick some Minuteman ass. Now wouldn't that be a turnabout!
Marc Santos, Phoenix

The Bird is rubber and you're glue: These Minutemen are patriots who have the guts the Feds don't have to secure our border. And you call them vigilantes? That must make you a blithering idiot!
Name withheld by request

Who hates Mexicans more?: The Bird's suggestion that we shouldn't enforce immigration laws for the sake of the Arizona businesses that rely on cheap labor is akin to saying we shouldn't have emancipated the slaves out of concern for the plantation industry.

Can someone explain how it is that the same liberals who have traditionally prided themselves on being champions for the working poor (from advocating increases in the minimum wage, workplace safety regulations, overtime pay, health benefits, family leave) now find themselves shamelessly siding with American businesses who exploit the illegal status of migrant workers to deny them these same benefits?

The Bird goes on to suggest that the Minutemen "despise Mexican people," then advocates punishing the Minutemen by forcing them to perform the same death march through the desert that illegal immigrants must make to get to Phoenix.

But isn't the ultimate goal of the Minutemen to prevent anyone from attempting this dangerous journey in the first place? The Bird, meanwhile, would see this suicide ritual continue unabated, body count be damned.

So, Bird, who really despises the Mexican people?
Name withheld by request

Rights as big as Texas: I was traveling through from El Paso, Texas, to Las Vegas. During a stopover in Chandler, I picked up a copy of New Times and read the column by The Bird. It's a shame that a Texan knows Arizona law better than this columnist or than Democratic state Representative Kyrsten Sinema.

Before I mention the law, I might note that The Bird, in the guise of Mr. Pela, is a bitter little man. He calls people who are doing what the federal government should "opportunistic bums" and a "bunch of cowardly scumbags" and "Minutemen mo-fos" and "vigilantes."

Obviously, he knows nothing about these people except that they are conservatives.

These people are committed to taking back our border from criminals and forcing the government to do its job. They carry weapons as allowed by Arizona law. The Minutemen have stated constantly that they are armed only to protect themselves in case of violence. If the criminals infesting the border from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas, aren't afraid to shoot at the U.S. Border Patrol, what makes The Bird think they won't attack anyone else?

The law being presented by Representative Sinema denies the citizens of Arizona a right to carry arms guaranteed them by the state constitution. Maybe The Bird should read the state and national constitutions so it knows what it's talking about.
Rod Linkous, El Paso, Texas

Monsignor Winces

Side two: I thought this was supposed to be a newspaper, but here you are, rehashing the same old accusations against Monsignor Dale Fushek ("Jesus is Pissed," The Bird, March 9).

You seem to believe that, in this one instance, if Maricopa County Attorney Andy Thomas says Fushek is guilty, it must be so. In most other situations, you think Thomas is way off base. Only when he attacks the Catholic diocese and its priest have you suddenly given him credibility.

Anyway, real journalism requires that you get off your butt and dig for the truth instead of just throwing around the same old dirt. You're ignoring a host of facts, any one of which would make a good news story. Here are some samples about the Fushek case:

• None of the so-called victims has ever initiated a police report. The first alleged victim, whose accusations are based upon what reputable psychologists consider nothing more than a bad dream, filed a lawsuit against an institution known for paying off rather than fighting. Seeing that he had a shot, several others joined the crusade.

• The misdemeanor charges are totally the result of the County Attorney's own initiative. No alleged victim asked for a criminal investigation.

• In this case, the Diocese of Phoenix is not talking settlement. They settled an early claim (of sexual harassment) against Fushek without a serious fight, and it came back to haunt them.

• Fushek is supported by hundreds of people who have known him for years and totally disbelieve the accusations. There's a Web site for his supporters and they raise funds for his defense.

• Fushek's request for release from house arrest was based in part on his inability to visit with his mother and brother who were too ill to come to him. And, yes, as a Catholic and a priest, he missed going to Mass.

• The misdemeanor charges were filed just before the statute of limitations ran out on them. Up to that point, the County Attorney couldn't find anything amounting to a felony. But filing something, however bogus, bought him more time.

Remember that the County Attorney's Office never forgave Bishop O'Brien for writing a letter in support of a priest who re-offended on probation. With O'Brien now gone, Fushek represented a target of opportunity because prosecutors haven't gotten quite enough revenge against the Phoenix diocese.

Where else in the country has a prosecutor filed only misdemeanor counts against a so-called bad priest?

There are at least two sides to every story, and you never bothered to apply that principle to this case. Would Jesus be pissed about all this? Probably, because he fully understands what it is like to be falsely accused and publicly shamed when your only offense was serving God and your fellow man.
Charles Pyeatte, Chandler

Editor's note: New Times stands by what it has written about the Dale Fushek case. For the extended story of this prominent priest's travails, see "Life Teen Founder Busted," December 1, 2005, and "Cross to Bare," February 24, 2005, both by Robert Nelson.


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