Snuff, Already
The Arizona Department of Corrections seems to be suffering some insecurity about what it does.

A New Times writer called the DOC last week and asked to be put on the waiting list to witness an execution. DOC spokesman Mike Arra replied that he didn't think there was any chance of a New Times writer being invited. Arra was upset about The Flash's recent parody of the execution checklist.

"The New Times made jokes about it," Arra carped. "We don't think a person's death is a laughing matter."

Neither do we. But then, we don't kill people. If the folks at the DOC are developing a complex about it, maybe they'd feel better if they didn't, either.

In the meantime, since New Times apparently lacks the sensibility to win the official sanction of Mike Arra, we'll just have to ask one of the condemned to invite us.

Johnson-Basha Slap Fight
If the Democratic primary battle that will pit mega-grocer Eddie Basha against onetime Phoenix mayor Paul Johnson seems quiet, don't be fooled.

A war of sorts--lopsided so far--is being waged by snail mail and e-mail on the Internet from Johnson's Web site (

A spate of testy e-mails is being sent by Johnson and his staff to media and others questioning whether Basha, who lost the 1994 gubernatorial election to Fife Symington, has the stuff to win in '98. Johnson can't resist alerting media via e-mail to point out stories that reflect poorly on Basha or make Johnson seem politically potent.

Enough is enough, Basha's forces apparently felt. So a memo was sent to Democratic State Party Committee members from a Basha aide, apparently pooh-poohing Johnson's e-mail, even pooh-poohing Johnson as a reliable Democrat, and suggesting Johnson's e-mail barbs are hurtful to the party.

The memo (contents not released) stung Johnson enough that he sent his own letter to Dem bigwigs (contents freely released on the Internet), ridiculing Basha and dripping with sarcasm.

"There is nothing to fear from an open and honest dialogue about the direction our Arizona Democratic Party has taken in recent years," Johnson writes.

"Some people, even among our fellow Democrats, simply fear self-examination and the change that often comes honestly."

Johnson dusts off a Bill Clinton quote apparently to make the point that another Basha candidacy may not be good--"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result."

Then the gloves come off:
"The facts are that following a three-way Democratic Party primary for governor in 1994, Eddie Basha began the general election with nearly a 20 percent lead over Fife Symington--clearly, Eddie's decline and eventual defeat is not something for which either Terry Goddard or Paul Johnson are to blame.

"So, if and when Eddie decides to run in 1998, I suspect that a primary election will not hurt either of us, however, the real question is more fundamental . . .

"Which Democrat, Paul Johnson or Eddie Basha, can actually win in November and begin the process of rebuilding the Democratic Party into a majority party?"

And just think, the real campaign is still a year off.

It's Only a Movie
In light of the renaming of a portion of State Route 347--a portion which runs through the Ak-Chin Indian Community--as the John Wayne Freeway, The Flash would like to see another Hollywood notable honored.

Therefore, The Flash proposes that a portion of Route 101 be dubbed the Kurt Katch Freeway. Katch, as you no doubt recall, played Nazis and other Axis heavies in numerous World War II films, among them Watch on the Rhine, Berlin Correspondent, Background to Danger, The Young Lions, Don Winslow of the Navy and The Purple Heart.

The Flash reminds those who might find it offensive to have the road named after a person whose career was based on playing notorious enemies of the United States that Katch was just an actor and, in real life, no doubt, a lovely fellow.

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