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On Wednesday we reported that Conan O’Brien was set to host America’s Next Top Wanna-be Reality TV Star, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Well, about a hundred people called in to complain about the Sheriff’s atrocious record, filling up NBC’s late night voicemail box before the audience had time to find their seats.
The Conan crew had not done their homework. When we called, they seemed genuinely surprised to find out that Joe had 2,700 lawsuits filed against him and a track record of unapologetic racial profiling. A diary on Joe over at Daily Kos today summed Joe’s actions up right in the title: “A police state right here in the good ole USA….”
Indeed, self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio left O’Brien “a bit confused,” according to the Tucson Citizen. Conan went so far as to call the show “a true sign of the apocalypse.”
Video from Crooks and Liars:
He was only half-joking.
Here’s the take (and a video) from David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars:
O’Brien couldn’t evade the fact that Arpaio is a controversial figure (in fact, NBC had been inundated with phone calls protesting his appearance), and brought it up:
O’Brien: OK, let’s cut to the chase. You are quite a controversial, polarizing figure. You’ll admit that, that is true. You’ve done some things in your state that have a lot of people upset. We actually had a group distributing leaflets downstairs for a group protesting your appearance on the show. That has not happened since Howie Mandel was here several years ago. [Laughter]
O’Brien then starts to enumerate the supposed reasons people are “upset” with Arpaio — and names Arpaio’s use of pink underwear for his inmates in Maricopa County’s jails. […] The people downstairs don’t care that much about the pink underwear. What they care about is the naked racial profiling Arpaio has indulged in harassing Latinos in his county. They care about the horrendous law-enforcement record that Arpaio’s fetish about illegal immigrants has produced. They care about the expensive lawsuits taxpayers will have to ante up for that Arpaio has wrought, mostly from the horrendous jail conditions he has permitted.
Even if you subscribe to Fox’s peculiar brand of humor, you have to ask yourself what kind of Sheriff gets a kick out of allowing 40,000 real felons to roam free in his jurisdiction. What kind of guy gets a laugh out of tearing a few hard-working immigrants from their families instead of prosecuting dangerous criminals-all on the taxpayer dime.
Today marks the Sheriff’s first official crime sweep of the New Year, where Joe and his volunteer “posse” will go out of their way to pull over people who look brown for minor traffic violations. They will ask these unwitting brown motorists for their immigration papers, and haul them into jail if they can’t cough ’em up.
Sheriff Joe will kick it all off with a good ole-fashioned press conference at 3 pm. For Joe, publicity is clearly king.
“It’s either a brilliant idea or the true sign of the apocalypse, that things are coming apart in this country.”
We’re gonna go with apocalypse.
But now you can fight back.