Like you needed more proof that immigrant-bashing nativists are low-life garbage. Noted Yosemite Sam impersonator "Buffalo" Rick Galeener was allegedly caught enjoying the pause that refreshes recently in front of some poor lady's house nearby the Macehualli Work Center on 25th Street, just south of Bell Road.
A bigoted redneck who refers to nonwhites as "monkeys," Galeener's one of the nastiest members of former Kia-peddler Rusty Childress' anti-immigrant hate group United for a Sovereign America, which has been protesting the day-labor center since the beginning of the year. This pistol-toting pack of losers parks itself outside Macehualli's fence daily, where its members wave signs, shout obscenities, and generally harass anyone going in or out of the place.
Although there are fast-food restaurants with restrooms a block away on Bell, Galeener allegedly opted to empty his bladder into a plastic bottle just outside Paulita Cortes' home, where he'd parked his truck. A contingent of four or five plainclothes Phoenix police officers is always near the work center to make sure tensions between the jornaleros who wait for day jobs at Macehualli and the armed U.S.A. demonstrators don't turn violent. Cortes was soon hollering for their help.
"My son was running behind me, and I turned to grab his hand," Cortes told The Bird via translator. "And that's when I saw [Galeener] holding his penis with one hand and the bottle with the other."
Cortes yelled. The cops came running, and Galeener was cited for indecent exposure, a class 1 misdemeanor, which carries up to six months in the slammer. According to Sergeant Brian Murray of the police department's Community Relations Bureau, buffalo chip copped to doing number one, but said he was whizzing inside his truck, not outside it. Murray pointed out that whether Galeener was urinating inside or outside his vehicle was irrelevant.
"[Cortes] says she saw his penis," said Murray. "That was her statement. So we just cited him for that. It doesn't matter if he was peeing or not."
Murray also indicated that Galeener may have narrowly escaped a more serious charge.
"If you have a victim that's less than 15, it's a felony," Murray informed this egret. "[Cortes] was an adult. Now, her 2-year-old son was with her. We don't know what he saw or what he did not see. He's only 2 and couldn't articulate what he saw or not."
Both Cortes and Salvador Reza, the operator of the work center, wondered why the police didn't slap the cuffs on Galeener and take him in. They believe that if Galeener had been Mexican, he'd have been placed in stir lickety-split.
Murray insisted Galeener was treated just like anyone else who decides to take a piss at high noon on a city street. Because Galeener had a valid Arizona driver's license, the cops accepted his promise to appear for a preliminary hearing March 18.
There have been two other people cited in minor incidents during the Macehualli face-off, according to police spokeswoman Stacie Derge. Murray denied favoritism's shown to either side. But there's no doubt members of U.S.A. have been making themselves at home, lounging in fold-up chairs, setting up card tables, even hosting a weenie roast on one occasion (no pun intended).
Nor has U.S.A. ever been shy about accepting extremists into its ranks. Both Mesa neo-Nazi J.T. Ready and Mexican flag-burner Laine Lawless have attended U.S.A. meetings and events, as have members of the Tonopah-based separatist group White Knights of America, and racist skinheads such as Damon Ashenfelter.
On February 9, neo-Nazi icon Elton Hall, 74, an organizer for George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party back in the day, was injured during a two-car collision while standing at his usual post at the corner of 25th and Bell. Hall's been in white power circles so long he's actually mentioned in books on the subject. Nevertheless, Childress' U.S.A. Web site lauded Hall as a "patriot."
The neighborhood surrounding Macehualli wants this ragtag assortment of nutbars out. Businessman Keenan Strand, owner of the McDonald's where Galeener opted not to urinate, organized a neighborhood demo in January asking the protesters to vamoose. But U.S.A. intends to remain at Macehualli indefinitely, forcing the PHX PD to keep detectives on sight and pay overtime for the same cops on weekends.
Certainly, U.S.A. members have their First Amendment rights, as does any gaggle of extremists. But at what point do the residents of that area earn some respite from these wackos, their intimidation tactics, and the odd geezer flashing his wrinkled manhood to a mom and her little kid?
There's a soft spot in this wacky warbler's heart for flimflam artists, especially those able to make a mint off their cons, like the late, great founder of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, who's famous for saying, "If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion."
Sure, Scientology's bunk, and celebrity adherents like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Isaac Hayes are idiots, as are the millions of others who've fallen for the pseudo-Freudian rip-off. But Hubbard, who started off as a sci-fi writer and dabbler in the occult, made himself a gazillionaire by hawking a pathway to enlightenment titled Dianetics and reeling in suckers willing to fork over their paychecks to his church.
As a result, Hubbard lived like a pasha, hopped up on drugs, cruising the high seas as the commodore of his own private navy, his every whim seen to by a crew of hotpants-clad teenage girls who followed him around and caught the ashes flicked from his cigarettes.
Granted, Scientology's done some evil shit. Enemies of Scientology have been declared Fair Game, meaning, according to a Hubbard directive, they "may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. [They] may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed."
In general, Scientology is authoritarian, mercantile, and a cult. But compare it to the Roman Catholic Church and its protection of pedophile priests, or to Protestants, who burned witches once upon a time. Don't even get this dodo started on the freakin' Spanish Inquisition.
That's why The Bird regards with jaundiced peepers the activities of an international group of young Internet vigilantes who refer to themselves as Anonymous. Though Anonymous has been around for a few years, pulling pranks like revealing the ending of the latest Harry Potter book, and hoaxing Fox News into reporting that the amorphous Web entity was some sort of terrorist outfit, what's really gotten Anonymous rolling is Scientology's January attempt to have that famous Tom Cruise video about Scientology yanked off the Net.
Anyone can be a member of Anonymous, but the majority of Anons are very, very tech-savvy. Pissed off at Scientology's attempts at Internet censorship, they instituted Project Chanology, its intent being to crush the commodore's religion by pulling down its Web sites, sending Scientology "black faxes" of totally black pages, which can sabotage a fax machine, and by protesting at Scientology churches.
On February 10, thousands of people protested in dozens of cities worldwide, including Phoenix, where, according to this pigeon's police sources, about 60 demonstrators gathered at the Scientology Church near Seventh Street and Indian School Road. It was a peaceful demo, with some Anons covering their faces to protect their identities from vindictive Scientologists — they wore surgical masks or, in some cases, Guy Fawkes masks, like those in the flick V for Vendetta.
Cynical this sandpiper may be, but he's impressed that Anonymous was able to round up 60 souls on a Sunday for the February event. So The Bird flew down to ASU's Coor Hall to meet with a five-person clique of Anons. They were fliering the campus with info concerning the next Scientology protest on March 15, two days after Hubbard's birthday.
The quintet at Coor Hall consisted mostly of young people, the most enthusiastic being Evan Bryner, a 23-year-old Philly native in a beard and a suit. (Anonymous' logo is a headless dood in a black suit.)
Bryner, who described himself as a "hyper-conservative libertarian," explained that it was the way the Scientology church acted online regarding the Cruise video that ticked off Internet-obsessed Gen Y-ers.
"[The church] threw rocks at the hornets' nest," said Bryner. "And eventually, when you throw enough rocks, the hornets are going to swarm you."
Tiffany Johnson, an unemployed chick who says she spends about 16 hours a day online, agreed.
"You can't piss off the Internet," declared Johnson. "[Scientology] pissed off the Internet, and the Internet is going to bite them in the ass."
All this for a Tom Cruise video? Still, to a generation weaned on the Web, Internet freedom is serious stuff. This woodpecker just wonders when Anonymous plans to take on all the Web censors in the People's Republic of China.
Johnson was hoping Scientology would lose its tax-exempt status. A fellow Anon who declined to give his full name or the college he was attending, said he was motivated after reading about Scientology's "crimes." But the Anons admitted that there was an element of "lulz" involved — lulz being computer geek slang for the shits and giggles you get from punking a bitch like the Scientology church.
Hey, The Bird wouldn't want to deny anybody lulz. Plus, the shenanigans that Anons are promising when they gather at Scientology's PHX headquarters on the Ides of March sound seriously lulz-ish. This jaybird just wishes the Anons would aim their prankish ire at AZ assholes like Sheriff Joe Arpaio or state Representative Russell Pearce.
Meanwhile, those interested in Anonymous can check out the Project Chanology wiki at www.partyvan.info/index.php/Project_Chanology#March_15th_Protest.
This beaker may finally be off the fence regarding the Phoenix Suns' acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal, who recently took up residence on our home court as the Big Cactus. That is, as long as Shaq keeps playing like he did against the San Antonio Spurs in that hard-fought 94-87 Suns win.
Did you see the way Shaq-Fu clotheslined the Spurs' Fabricio Oberto like the 6-foot-10, 245-pound Argentinean was a rag doll? The way the Desert Diesel refused Tim Duncan's help up at one point, opting for the assistance of his Planet Orange-clad teammates? And the way he dived three-rows deep into the crowd following an errant ball?
The Spurs' Manu Ginobli confessed at halftime that it was tough getting a rebound with Shaq playing D. O'Neal's 14 points and 16 rebounds helped the Suns garner that fourth win out of 10, hopefully turning the corner in the team's attempt to retool itself following its trade of Marcus Banks and ET-look-alike Shawn Marion for the 7-foot-1 36-year-old.
But something worries this buzzard about Shaqzilla unrelated to his game. Specifically, the way he snuggled up to Sheriff Joe Arpaio in 2006 while in town with the Miami Heat. Joe wooed The Big Baryshnikov like he was a Honduran cop just up from Tegucigalpa, taking O'Neal on a tour of Tent City and making him a captain in Joe's posse.
"He's a great sheriff," gushed O'Neal at the time to the Arizona Republic. "One of the best."
Now, the Taloned Terror knows O'Neal wants to pursue law enforcement as a career once his dunking days are kaput. Shaq's a reserve officer with the Miami Beach PD, and has aided with collaring criminals in the past.
And The Bird can forgive Shaq for having stars in his eyes while a visitor to Sand Land. But as a Zonie, he needs to know better. Arpaio's flacks would love to score a photo op with our Superman in sneakers, maybe even get his endorsement for Arpaio's re-election bid.
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But, Shaq, trust this T-bird: Arpaio is a bad man, and The Bird don't mean "bad" in the good way. He's corrupt and mean, and he wastes the taxpayers' money: $43-plus million in lawsuit payouts and insurance premiums, among other red ink.
Shaq spooning with this scandal-plagued sheriff would be a coup for Arpaio's goons, but a disaster for the real big guy. Plus, there are real lawmen in town Shaq can canoodle with, if he wants. Check out Mesa Police Chief George Gascon, for instance. You may remember him from LA, Shaq.
Shaq, you're smart. And be forewarned: Locals here with more than a couple of IQ points to rub together regard the MCSO as a sick joke.
The Bird's saying: We care about you, Shaq. We sided with you against Kobe Bryant from the start. You're cool; he ain't. So steer clear of our crotchety top constable so that none of his dirt rubs off on you, and Arizona may end up renaming a certain local precipice Camel-Shaq Mountain.