I've got a hot tip for you. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office just sent a press release with information about a jail shakedown. But the event is so important and so ultra-secretive that they've asked the media to embargo the information until 5PM Arizona time, which is a couple more hours. Here's the first part of the release, as reported by New Times:
Please embargo this information until 5:00 PM for Jail Security purposes!! Media Advisory for Friday March 11, 2010 Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will be conducting a large scale shakedown operation within all county jails this afternoon.
And what, exactly, are these "Jail Security purposes" that demand two exclamation points in an official press release? Follow me over the orange croissant.
It turns out, "as a sidebar," the press release notes, that Sheriff Joe will be joined during the shakedown "by his better known Posseman, Actor Steven Seagal." Quick, I gotta get my ass down to Tent City for the 5PM presser! I'd like to ask the pony-tailed one about that sexual assault and sex trafficking lawsuit (CNN). Shouldn't he be sitting in Tent City, not just appearing in a Tent City PR stunt for the Sheriff?
Seagal is in town to film his TV show, "Steven Seagal Lawman," an A&E time-filler that the media whore Arpaio is only too happy to help with. That pesky sexual harassment lawsuit forced Seagal's production team out of Louisiana, but Arizona's Arpaio was only too willing to step up and deputize Seagal into his "Civilian Posse."
"I have a lot of friends in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office [Seagal said], so when Sheriff Joe Arpaio invited me to join them, there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation … now that I live there, I want to help the Sheriff fight [crime] the best way I know how. It’s an honor to serve." Desert Living
And serve he has! The other day with Seagal's production crew in tow the Sheriff's SWAT team raided a cock fighting operation outside of Phoenix while the TV team filmed away -- thrilling television as they chased chickens! I wonder if Seagal drop-kicked a Rhode Island Red. The armored and armed deputies nabbed only one bad guy but lots of birds: "Arpaio said he does not know what will happen to the discovered roosters."
Maybe this is just Sheriff Joe's way of helping out the struggling Arizona economy. Since the state abolished the film agency that used to entice studios here to make movies, Joe's a one-man economic development media machine, with his Cops! and Lawman and Police Women of Maricopa County, and other reality shows.
Well, he needs to make up somehow for all the fiscal damage he's done. In addition to his loud support for SB 1070 and the economic harm that's done to the state, just today the Arizona Republic reported:
Three Pei Wei Asian Diners -- in Tempe, north central Phoenix and Fountain Hills -- are temporarily closed because the restaurants lost so many employees in raids by sheriff's deputies March 4.
Joe's out there nabbing teenage dishwashers (on TV of course), which forced the closure of three very busy restaurants. Imagine the fiscal ripple effect in those communities. But, hey, those dangerous brown kids aren't taking jobs away from "real" Americans anymore. It turns out, however, few people want those jobs. The day after the raids Pei Wei ran full-page ads in the newspaper promising immediate employment. And today they're closed. Good job, Joe.
If you don't think Joe Arpaio is running for Senator Kyl's seat in 2012, you might want to think again. I know it's not a pleasant thought to have that 80-year-old gasbag representing Arizona in Congress, but these gimmicky raids and shakedowns are all aimed at keeping his mug on TV, even more than usual. And he's got a ton of cash, money will not be an issue. While a lot of people roll their eyes at his possible Senate candidacy, many of the same people rolled the same eyes when the scary idea of Russell Pearce as Senate President was raised.
And now look.