Follow the MoneyAlert the Guinness Book: We have a new champion! Vice President Dick Cheney brought home a record kill when he went buck huntin' with Sen. Jon Kyl--and the dynamic duo did it without shooting a single GOP lawyer in the process. The Westin La Paloma veep fest last Thursday, March 23, brought in more than a half-million dollars, shared between Kyl and the Arizona Republican Party.
Kyl will be breaking all manner of fundraising--and spending--records as he faces a re-election challenge from Democrat Jim Pederson, the Daddy Mallbucks who has already spent millions of his own fortune making the Democratic Party into a viable political machine that he hopes he can drive into the U.S. Senate.
Cheney said we needed to keep Kyl in the Senate to continue supporting the White House, no matter how crazy this administration gets. The main talking point: If we cut and run in Iraq, the country could destabilize and fall into the hands of terrorists. Who could have seen that coming before the invasion?
No word whether Cheney got his standard demand when he checks into a suite at a hotel: The staff should stock the room with four cans of caffeine-free Diet Sprite, set the thermostat at 68 degrees and turn all TV sets to Fox News, as revealed last week by those scoundrels at thesmokinggun.com, who posted a copy of Cheney's tour rider.
The day after Cheney's visit, thousands of protesters marched on Kyl's Phoenix office (with a smaller number marching on his Tucson office) to protest his immigration-reform plan, which requires illegal immigrants to get out of the United States within five years. Congress is taking up border-security legislation this week.
Pederson's bite on the march: "It's no surprise that thousands of people, including many of my friends from the business community, marched on Kyl's office today. They know that Jon Kyl's immigration plan is no plan at all. It's unworkable, partisan and needlessly divisive."
Unhappy AnniversaryBack to Iraq for a moment: We forgot to mention that three years after the U.S. invasion, the country continued its slide into all-out civil war, if you can call mosque bombings, revenge killings, drive-by shootings and other sectarian violence a "civil war." Headline in the Saturday Arizona Daily Star: "Iraqi leader: New government won't take long." Two words cut for space considerations: "to collapse."
Grabbing some more ink on his way to the 2008 presidential race, Sen. John McCain did a bipartisan team-up with lib Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold for a trip to Baghdad. At a press conference covered by The Associated Press, McCain sounded the administration's stay-the-course message and pushed for Iraqis to get it together already: "We need very badly to form this unity government as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, Operation Enduring Freedom continues in Afghanistan, where a court has dropped charges against Abdul Rahman, who was on trial for his life for converting to Christianity. No matter: Some clerics were promising last week that if Rahman somehow beat the charges, good Muslims would rip him from limb to limb.
Road RageTucson police arrested Edmond Gonzalez Jr., 42, on charges of second-degree murder and leaving the scene of a fatal accident after Gonzalez allegedly used his 2005 Dodge Caravan to ram a motorcycle driven by Vince Schoenherr, 45, during a road-rage incident on Saturday, March 25. Police say Schoenherr was killed after he lost control of the motorcycle as a result of being clipped by Gonzalez on Golf Links Road at Mann Avenue; Schoenherr skidded under a car waiting to make a U-turn. Police, who captured Gonzalez at a Marana home, added that he was "upset over personal matters" and driving "in an aggressive manner" before he got into a verbal altercation with Schoenherr, whom he proceeded to pursue until the crash.
Gonzalez was booked into Pima County jail.
Stellar ShotsThe UA-designed High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment--aka HiRISE--camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has started transmitting the first of an anticipated 10,000 photos of the Martian surface. How do the pics look? "Spectacular," according to UA researchers. Check out the snapshots at hiroc.lpl.arizona.edu/first_images.
Want to meet the man behind the camera? UA Lunar and Planetary Lab professor Alfred McEwen will be on hand for Mars Mania II, a celebration of space travel from 1 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, at the Charles P. Sonett Space Sciences Building on the UA campus. The mania will also include a star party, robots in action and other activities for both kids and adults. More info: 626-7432.