The Range

Gay Old Time

In Tempe's mano-a-mano presidential debate last week, Democrat John Kerry let it slip that Vice President Dick Cheney has a lesbian daughter! This bit of news provoked outrage from Dick and Lynn, as well as other right-wing political hacks who were horrified to discover their reprehensible efforts to use gays as wedge issues against Democrats had somehow come back to bite them on the ass. Frankly, we think it's terrific that Mary Cheney likes girls, but we're creeped out by the fact that she's working to get this anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-science administration re-elected.

In the pre-debate warm-up, state Rep. Ted Downing of Tucson found himself punk'd by late-night TV show host Jimmy Kimmel, who set a Wolf Blitzer lookalike loose to goof on the likes of Jesse Jackson, National Democratic Committee boss Terry McAuliffe and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The Wolf impersonator paused during an interview to ask Downing to peer into his mouth and help him get a bit of corned beef from between his teeth.

Downing, who shared a tape of the show with The Range, was sporting about the hoax, saying: "About the best thing this legislature can give people is a laugh."

Before the debate, Northern Arizona University released a new poll showing the presidential race recently tightening in Arizona. NAU's Social Research Laboratory's survey of 401 likely voters showed 49 percent supported Bush and 44 percent supported Kerry. The poll, which had a margin of error of 5 percent, showed a much closer race than other recent surveys.

Arizona has not made the final list of swing states up for grabs, according to the Associated Press, which reported that the race has narrowed to eight states: Our neighbors New Mexico and Nevada, as well as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire and, of course, Florida.

Speaking of the Sunshine State: The Palm Beach Post reported earlier this week that problems erupted within an hour of early voting in Florida--which pretty much caps the absurdity of 2004, doesn't it?

Protect Arizona Now and Then

Support for Prop 200, the Protect Arizona Now initative, continues to drop, according to another poll from NAU's Social Research Laboratory, which showed that 42 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for the proposition, 29 percent oppose it and 29 percent are undecided.

Supporters of the intiative say it would prevent welfare and voter fraud by illegal entrants, while opponents say it would cost a small fortune to implement and lead to a steady stream of lawsuits.

Deadly Prescription

Pima County sheriff's deputies arrested two suspects in the brutal murder of local pediatrician David Brian Stidham, who was stabbed and bludgeoned outside his office on Oct. 5, according to Deputy Dawn Barkman. Investigators suspect that Stidham's former partner, pediatrician Bradley Schwartz, 39, hired Ronald Bruce Bigger, 38, as a hit man.

Highway Homicide

Five people were killed and 23 were injured after a stolen truck packed with illegal entrants plowed into a line of cars waiting to make a left turn outside of Sierra Vista last Saturday, Oct. 16, following a chase that had reached as high as 90 m.p.h.

While authorities were still sorting out details, a federal complaint named two Mexican nationals, Jose Luis Zepeda-Cruz and Carlos Cortez, as co-conspirators in the scheme to smuggle migrant workers across the border, according to Wick News Consortium reporter Bill Hess of the Sierra Vista Herald. The men are facing a legal shitstorm of heretofore unmatched magnitude for the deaths of a newlywed Cochise County couple, 75-year-old James H. Lee and 71-year-old Emilia Guthrie, as well as three of the illegal entrants.

Choice Cuts

The Range watched Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy get gang-swarmed by a crowd of pro-life activists while leaving the Marriott University following a speech to UA law students.

The pro-lifers set up camp outside the Marriott three hours before Kennedy's arrival, then raced to confront him as he entered the hotel, warning that he was facing excommunication from the Catholic Church and an eternity burning in hell for his pro-choice voting record, according to Range correspondent Jon Hobson.

The protestors remained outside the Marriott for a couple more hours and then charged Kennedy again as he climbed into a white SUV. Kennedy's car raced into the night, followed quickly by two suits who dashed to a nearby pickup truck. Following Kennedy's escape, the pro-lifers regrouped in a nearby parking garage, holding hands in a circle and leading one another in prayers.