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ARPAIO, COMPASSIONATE?

You know it's bad when Sheriff Joe "Nickel Bag" Arpaio comes off looking the teensiest bit reasonable. Like he did August 2 during one of the regular Thursday-night prejudice parties for Rusty Childress' United for a Sovereign America held at Childress' Kia dealership. Golly, this skeptical seagull figured the goofy lawman would be kickin' it with white supremacists like Childress pal J.T. Ready, maybe even high-fivin' the fat Mesa muttonhead. He might give John the Scot of the White Knights of America a big ol' bear hug, or flip skinhead Damon Ashenfelter a neo-Nazi salute. (They have all been past attendees of Childress events, you see.)

That's why The Bird slipped in to the clambake incognito as per usual, so as to suss the situation. There were more folks than normal in attendance, but no Ready, Ashenfelter, or John the Scot this time. Could Childress have told them to stay away, thus avoiding the resulting embarrassment if it were reported Arpaio'd been chillin' with white-power types? Hard to say, especially since there were a couple of people present whom this sapsucker suspects of being skinheads, just not the ones mentioned.

The sheriff stuck to the usual snooze-a-rama in his hour-and-a-half speech to the assembled, patting himself on the back for being such a superb lawman and stroking himself for his racist illegal immigrant hotline, and his new humanitarian idea: not allowing illegals to visit loved ones in his jails. When someone in the peanut gallery suggested the sheriff let illegals in his jails, but not out, the rednecks present went wild, as if they were watching a Jeff Foxworthy marathon on TV.

Other bon mots from the great man: "I would love to hire a maid for my wife, but I can't find a legal one"; "When I do national talk shows, I get flowers from California"; and, "Nobody wants to listen to me. Not one politician has come to me and asked my opinion. And I have 14 years of experience."

At one point, Arpaio asked, "Where's that New Times guy?" Then pointing at some schmuck scribbling, not this beak-bearer, mind you, he wondered, "You from the New Times?"

Jeez, Joe, how could you not know what this falcon looks like? There were pics up all over Childress' dealership there with The Bird's name on them.

The funniest part came when Arpaio said, "I have compassion for the Mexican people, but I'm torn between that and doing my job." It was as if the whole audience of shitkickers mouthed the words silently, "Compassion? For Mexicans?" Sheesh, the sheriff's lucky he got out of there alive.

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