Good evening, night hawks, midnight marauders. It's been a while, as surgery has kept me out of commission for months, relegated to, at best, typing short comments with a few fingers on one hand. But this week offered up such a cornucopia of the Arizona stupid that I had to hunt and peck a longer comment.
1. What else? Guns. Arizona has historically led the nation in lax gun laws; after all, this is the land of Wyatt Earp and the gunfight at the OK Corral (which, incidentally, did not take place at the OK Corral). Hell, after Jared Loughner murdered 6 people and injured 14 others in Tucson, including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, we heard nary a peep about gun control. What the legislature did do shortly after that tragedy was name an "Official Weapon" for Arizona (Colt 45).
Here in the Grand Canyon state anyone can tote a pistol or other holstered gun openly, without a permit, and persons over 21 can carry concealed weapons, again, without a permit. And don't forget: the Fast and Furious debacle can be traced to local gun shops like Lone Wolf Trading Co. in Glendale. You can still go there today and walk out with an armful of AR-15s, without a background check, without registering didly-squat. Arizona's huge gun shows are also popular because just about anyone can buy anything, few questions asked, even when you admit to the seller that you probably couldn't pass a background check. Ha ha, no problem:
In the wake of Newtown, instead of gun restrictions, we'll likely see another proposal to allow more guns, especially in schools, libraries, and other public venues. Earlier this year a bill to that effect passed the legislature but Governor Jan Brewer, in a rare but welcome moment of sanity, vetoed it. However, this week Arizonans are hearing a lot of garbage about arming teachers and school administrators.
A group that advocates for pro-gun state legislation in Arizona is reacting to the Connecticut school shooting by saying that relaxing laws that ban guns from public schools would provide real protection that’s now lacking.
The Arizona Citizens Defense League says it’s long past time to at least allow school employees to be trained and armed so they can deal with situations like the Connecticut shooting. Arizona Republic
I'm a retired educator who, thankfully, never had to use my body to shield students from bullets, like the heroes at Sandy Hook. If one of these assholes, like the idiot liar I saw the other night on Piers Morgan, told me I had to pack heat in the classroom, I'd find another job, and I don't doubt the profession would lose a lot of dedicated men and women if they have to play Rambo.
Governor Brewer, who has consistently received an A+ rating from the NRA, came out of hiding long enough this week to dedicate a Bill of Rights monument at the Capitol, where she displayed her usual quick wit and political courage when asked about the Newtown tragedy:
But whatever the emotional response, Brewer said she remained unconvinced that action on gun control legislation was a necessary response.No, she doesn't know, that's for sure, her stock answer, just like a few weeks ago when she said she doesn't know what causes global warming but she's sure it isn't human activity, you see, because "weather and certain elements are controlled maybe by different things." That's our governor, we are so proud.
"And I'm not sure it's something that needs to be addressed in that respect," she told reporters. "There are evil, evil people in our country, unfortunately, and in the world. ... And I don't know how we get our arms around it." HuffPo
I grew up in a hunting community where camouflage is the official color and the first day of deer season is a school holiday. Most of us belonged to the NRA as kids; hell, they taught safety classes in school. They were the good guys! We got patches and shit. I put guns away when I came home from the war, but many of my relatives still hunt and collect guns. But not one of them supports the NRA leadership, who take absolutist positions like lobbying against background checks and bans on armor-piercing cop-killer bullets. The NRA does not represent hunters or sportsmen/women; it is a malicious mouthpiece for weapons manufacturers, plain and simple. The proposal to arm teachers, and therefore provide more customers for gun makers, is so ludicrous it doesn't deserve comment.
2. What else again? Birthers! Oh goodie, it wouldn't be Arizona without birthers. Yesterday, the chairman of the state GOP, Tom Morrissey, announced he would not seek re-election to that post. Tom didn't mention it, but his decision comes two days after his wackadoodle comments about President Obama's birth certificate.
Morrissey publicly joined the birther movement at Monday's meeting of the Electoral College, when he and two other Arizona electors, Gila County Republican Party Chairman Don Ascoli and former Graham County Republican Chairman John D. Rhodes, questioned Obama's birth certificate... On Tuesday, Morrissey reiterated his skepticism to a radio station in Phoenix, and claimed that he was not aware of the birther movement. HuffPoNot aware of the birther movement?! Let me get this straight: you're the head of the Arizona Republican Party, right? For the past year Republican Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been leading a witch hunt into Obama's birth certificate, which received a shitload of national media attention. Before backing off his dumbfuckery that also drew the national spotlight, Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett said he had doubts about the President's citizenship. During this year's legislative session, Republican Carl Seel introduced a bill that required presidential candidates to prove their citizenship before they can appear on Arizona's ballot. A similar bill was passed in 2011 by the Republican legislature, but Brewer vetoed it because she felt the provision allowing circumcision affidavits to serve as proof of birth was too icky. So Republican Seel returned this year with a penis-free version. And the Republican Party's chairman, Tom Morrissey, claims he's never heard of the birther movement? Bullpuckey.
3. Woman-hitter redux. Oh, this is rich. Remember Scott Bundgaard, the Republican state senator who, back in February 2011, stopped his car on the median of a Phoenix freeway and proceeded to slap his girlfriend around? Bundgaard lost his senate seat for being such a hot-headed jerk, but he returned yesterday with a lawsuit in hand, alleging that the police and mayor conspired to ruin his career. His beat-up girlfriend, Aubry Ballard, is also named in the suit. I guess he's suing her because her face hurt his hand.
A former state senator who resigned in January over a domestic violence incident involving his ex-girlfriend has filed a lawsuit against Phoenix. Scott Bundgaard alleges that city employees conspired to falsely portray him as an abuser rather than a victim in a February 2011 fight on a north Phoenix freeway. ABC15Bundgaard is essentially saying that the four witnesses who saw the freeway scuffle, one being an off-duty police officer, lied:
"He grabbed the woman and slammed her up against the cement barricade in between the freeway and started throwing her around." Another witness reported: "He was beatin' the living crap out of whoever was in the passenger seat." Arizona RepublicHe also charges that the police lied when they said Bundgaard refused to take a blood-alcohol test. He said he wasn't drinking that night, although Ballard said he was and the "Police testified that Bundgaard smelled of alcohol the night of Feb. 25 and refused sobriety tests." Further, he says he did not invoke legislative immunity, when the police report says he did:
The report issued Thursday: "The senator said: 'I demand you take these handcuffs off. I'm state Senator Scott Bundgaard, and according to Article 4 of the Constitution, you cannot detain me. I'm immune from arrest when the Legislature is in session, in which it currently is.' " Arizona RepublicFinally, Bundgaard says Aubry Ballard grabbed the gun in his glove box and threatened him, a claim that is not supported by the evidence in the 50-page police report or Ms. Ballard's statement.
Why would all of these people tell a story different from the senator's? Get this: Bundgaard says he was about to sponsor a bill in the legislature that Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon did not like. So, to destroy Bundgaard, Gordon got the Phoenix Police to falsify their report, he persuaded Aubry Ballard to lie, and he convinced the eye witnesses to concoct a story about Bundgaard flailing away at his girlfriend. Keep digging, Scotty.
4. Attorney General Hit-and-Run. That's right, the top lawman in Arizona, AG Tom Horne, was recently charged with hit-and-run. There's no doubt he plowed into another car in a Phoenix parking garage and then took off, because two FBI agents were tailing Horne at the time, investigating another charge that he had misused campaign funds. So why did Horne flee after ramming the other car, causing about $1,000 in damage? Oops, it turns out that Mr. Horne, a married man, was having an affair with co-worker Carmen Chenal, whose apartment they used for lunch-time quickies:
An FBI report released by Phoenix police Tuesday states, “It should be noted that through the course of the investigation, SA (Special Agent) Grehoski and SA Mason learned that Horne is having an extramarital affair with Chenal and that they utilize Chenal’s apartment in furtherance of that affair. Though motive is not an element of the criminal statute listed above, it stands to reason that Horne did not want any record of his presence in the parking garage of Chenal’s apartment complex, thus he did not leave a note.” Arizona RepublicHorne, who has pleaded not guilty, was once considered a front-runner for the 2014 GOP nomination for governor. Buh-bye.
All for now, see ya'll in 2013. Oh, and Sheriff Arpaio erected a Christmas tree in Tent City. What a swell guy.