Saturday, July 04, 2015

"Top Two" primaries: Propaganda vs. truth

It's baaaack.

"It" referring to the "Top Two" primary proposal.

In 2012, Arizona voters soundly defeated a proposal to change Arizona's primary election system so that the two top vote-getters each currently-partisan race would go on to the general election, regardless of partisan affiliation.

As of this writing, there is no record on the AZSOS' website of such a proposal being in the works for the 2016 election, but Jackie Salit, who fronted the scheme in 2012 and is still out pushing it, had an op-ed piece published in the Arizona Republic in late June.

Note: AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona has a response to Salit's piece here.

The stated goal of the scheme was/is to both reduce the effects of partisanship in the electoral process and to increase voter participation because more non-affiliated voters would participate.

The method was approved by voters in California in 2010 to cover elections in 2012 and beyond.

And if the stated goals are used as a measuring stick, it is an abject failure.

While the measure has caused an upheaval in certain district races (basically, two minority party candidates making it to the general election in a district dominated by the other major party because there were so many candidates from the majority party that the vote was diluted), no non-major party candidate (meaning Democratic or Republican) has won a general election race.  In fact, only one non-major party candidate has even exceeded 40% of the vote in a general election race.

It hasn't even impacted voter turnout.

California's general election turnout figures, since 1992 -

Year Turnout %
1992 75.32
1994 60.45
1996 65.53
1998 57.59
2000 70.94
2002 50.57
2004 76.04
2006 56.19
2008 79.42
2010 59.59
2012 72.36
2014 42.20

In chart form (visuals really help when looking at things like this :) ) -

As you can see from the chart, California's voter turnout has been trending downward for the last quarter-century.  While there have been upticks in presidential election years (a marked uptick in 2008), the overall trend has been almost inexorably downward.  2014 saw a record low turnout, but "Top Two" may not be the proximate cause of that - the overall trend was downward before the implementation of "Top Two".

On the other hand, it sure as hell didn't slow the decline.

Well, maybe it had an impact in turnout in primary elections.  The turnout figures for California's primary elections, since 1992 -

Year Turnout %
1992 47.46
1994 35.05
1996 41.88
1998 42.49
2000 53.88
2002 34.59
2004 44.21
2006 33.63
2008 28.22
2010 33.31
2012 31.06
2014 25.17

In chart form -

Let me be clear, I have no problem with and would support true election reforms that result in reduced apathy and increase participation on the part of voters.

However, "top two" isn't one such "reform".

Some people, such as Salit, might argue that partisans exercise an outsized influence on American politics.

Some people, such as me, believe that the group with an outsized influence on American politics is a group that Salit purports to represent, the apathetics.  By not "showing up", by not participating in a major part of civil society, they help to elect bad politicians.

And increasing the influence of that group would not serve to improve America's political culture.

Supporters of the scheme, such as the editorial board of the LA Times, argue that there hasn't been enough time to see if "top two" works, but that if we keep using the method, it will eventually work.

Kind of the same thing said by proponents of never-ending tax cuts for corporations and 1%ers (aka - "tinkle-down economics").

California's election data can be found here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

2016 Committees Update

...This will be a quick post because a lot of plans are on hold, waiting for Monday's pending decision by the US Supreme Court on the Arizona Legislature's attempt to usurp control of the state's redistricting process from the people of Arizona.  Once that decision is made public, the dominoes will start falling...

- In Maricopa County, Royce Flora, the deputy county treasurer, has filed for a run at the top spot in the office, currently held by Charles Hoskins, who is retiring.

Won't say that he is the "annointed" candidate, buuuuttttt... :)

From his campaign paperwork -

- The cities of Mesa, Tempe, and Scottsdale have been quiet on the candidate filings front.

- Filings for legislative seats have been quiet, though that will change once the Supreme Court hands down its decision.  Some legislators will decide to run for Congress, others will take a pass.  Which names do which will vary depending on the decision.

- Filings for runs for Congress and US Senate have also been quiet, and pretty much for the same reason.

While she hasn't filed anything yet (none that I could find, anyway), Democratic State Rep. Victoria Steele has announced that she is exploring a run for the Congressional seat, representing the 2nd Arizona district (basically, southern Arizona).

The seat is currently held by Martha McSally.  If the Supreme Court supports the Republicans in the state legislature, it is expected that they will strengthen the R advantage in that district (and most of the other Congressional districts in AZ, for that matter) and that Steele will take a pass.

If the status quo of having Congressional districts that are drawn by a voter-created Independent Redistricting Commission is maintained?

McSally is probably out of a job.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

AZ State Senator equates affordable health care to slavery...

...and spent the rest of the day saying "No, I didn't!"...

Yup, she went there, "she" being State Senator Kelli Ward (R-LD5), an ostensible challenger to US Senator John McCain (R-never met a war he didn't monger).

Right now, she's exploring a run at McCain; many more days like this one, and she may not get beyond the "exploring" stage...

...After today's momentous Supreme Court decision upholding a vital part of the Affordable Care Act (aka - "Obamacare"), Sen. Ward tweeted the following -

As much as she insists to the contrary, she *did* go there.  Wholeheartedly, in fact.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Charleston: a few thoughts

As everyone knows by now, last Wednesday in Charleston, South Carolina, a white man walked into a historically black church, sat and prayed with some of the congregants there for an hour, and then, using a gun, murdered nine of those congregants.

He fled the scene, but has since been apprehended.  As of this writing, he's sitting in a Charleston jail.

Much has been written and said about this attack, most of which is focused on two main areas:

1.  The racial component, the mass murder of African Americans by a white man.

2.  The gun violence component, the use of a gun in that mass murder.

I'd love to be able to say that I have an insight into how to change the unthinking hatred that fills the hearts of some people, but I've got nothing here.  People doing evil things to other people who have done no harm to them, but are just "different" in some way, is something that has been happening throughout recorded history and, sadly, will almost certainly continue to happen in the future.

Having said that, I *do* have a few general thoughts -

...There is a serious groundswell of opposition to using Confederate symbols as part of any official activity - moves to take down the Confederate battle flag flying outside the capitol building in South Carolina, removing the stars and bars symbol on license plates in Virginia, etc. - that threatens to make people forget that there are nine murder victims here.

Not nine "symbols", but nine human beings, with family and friends who are also human beings.

Human beings who have had huge, gaping holes ripped in their worlds.

On the other hand, having some of the glare of the national spotlight moved elsewhere may just allow enough breathing room for the family and friends of the victims to mourn their loved ones.

For the record, in my opinion, at no level of government - state, county, local, or other - should that symbol and the evil it represents be given official sanction of any kind.

However, that leads to...

...Companies are banning the sales of merchandise the Confederate symbol or are Confederate-related.  Where the companies are private retailers (such as Walmart or Target), it's their choice - they can stock their shelves, or not, with whatever merchandise they wish to sell, or not.

Where the companies are essentially just conduits for individual sellers (such as Ebay), the move runs close to being censorship.  I don't think it steps over the line in this case, but it is something to keep an eye on.

If it becomes a movement by a governmental entity to officially ban such items, it will become a First Amendment issue

 And I am a BIG supporter of the First Amendment.

That means I support the freedom to express unpopular ideas, even ideas that I find to be utterly repugnant.

Of course, that's an idealistic view; there is also a pragmatic view.

The stars and bars symbol is not only a symbol of bigotry and hatred in general, specifically, it is the emblem of a group of violent and bigoted traitors.

And if someone wants to voluntarily declare their affinity with that group, we shouldn't do anything to discourage that.

If nothing else, it's an efficient way of identifying the assholes of the world.

...Lastly, there is the "gun" aspect of this.

In the immediate aftermath of the mass murder, there was an attempt by the NRA, in the person of one of the members of its board of directors, to blame the victims for their own murders.

All that proved was that one doesn't have to rack up a body count in order to prove that one is a vile human being.

The victims didn't pull the trigger; the murderer did.


As for ideas to prevent this from ever happening again, I don't have one, and I'm not sure that there *is* one.

What can be done is to take steps to reduce the ease with which this was done.

One idea:  end concealed carry in public.

People would still be allowed to possess firearms, but concealing one would carry a minimum of, say, a year in prison, to be consecutively with the sentences for any other crimes committed while possessing a concealed firearm.  And if no other crimes were committed while possessing a concealed firearm, it would still mean a year in prison.

Oh, and change guidelines for use of force in self defense from the use of force being OK when dealing with a "perceived" threat to OK for dealing with an "actual" threat.

Call it the "do what you gotta do...just don't be wrong" doctrine.

Failing that (and face facts - the NRA and other gun fetishists would do everything in their power to curb any attempts to stymie their dream of turning us into a "kill at will" society), change use of force doctrine to allow perceiving the carrying of a concealed weapon as an imminent threat that can be responded to with any level of force that the threatened person deems necessary.

The NRA and gun fetishists want to create a world where civil society is as afraid of them as they are of us.

They should be careful of what they wish for; they just might get it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Short Attention Span Musing: Fun With Social Media

I've been trying to write something about last week's mass murder in Charleston, but my thoughts are so jumbled, nothing I've written is all that coherent (outrage tends to do that to me), so, for now anyway, I'm going to go with a weekly dose of snark, in the form of "Fun with social media".

...First up:  The "Really should get a clue...or at least just go away" division.  This appeared on my Facebook feed on Friday -

...Now for the "Yes, there is a divide in the country, and sometimes it is obvious enough to show up in my Twitter feed" department -

I've got no problem with Twitter generating revenue with "promoted" posts and the like, but they should really pay attention to context...

...From the "Should not be an elected official" department, this nugget from professional turd blossom Franklin Graham, shared on Facebook by Arizona's own Rep. David Livingston  -

Dear Rep. Livingston: The guy with the gun was the one in the church murdering people because of the color of their skin, not Hollywood.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Glendale starts to part ways with the Arizona Coyotes; will Phoenix step in to make the mistake that Glendale is try to rectify?

From -

The Glendale City Council voted 5-2 Wednesday to cancel its 15-year, $225 million arena lease agreement with IceArizona, which co-owns the Arizona Coyotes.

The city council's vote was based on an Arizona statute that allows an agency to cancel a contract when an employee who was highly involved with the agreement becomes an agent or employee of the contract's other party. Craig Tindall has served as general counsel to the Coyotes since 2013 after stepping down from his role as Glendale city attorney shortly before the lease was approved.
This is a "start" because this conflict is a long way from being over - the Coyotes have already gained a restraining order to prevent the city from cancelling the lease, as well as taken steps for filing a $200 million lawsuit against the city.

There have been many critics of the vote by the council, but there are also many supporters - people like me, who believe that public resources should be used to benefit the public, not to subsidize private businesses to the detriment of the public (to be fair, there are also people, like John Washington, Libertarian/Republican author of the blog Scottsdale Trails, who support the Glendale council's vote, but because he believes that all public assets should be privatized*).

However, no matter the political position of the observer, nearly every observer acknowledges that the contract almost *had* to be cancelled by the Glendale City Council - it was serving to devastate the city's finances.

The eyebrow-raising fact that the city's former attorney is now working for the Coyotes is just the Coyotes being arrogant enough to believe that they are untouchable, beyond any kind of push back or accountability.

There *is* word that at least two of the politicians in the city of Phoenix, Councilman Michael Nowakowski and Mayor Greg Stanton, are maneuvering to bring the Coyotes back to Phoenix.

Considering that the success of the Coyotes' business model seems to be predicated on impoverishing the community they are based in, Nowakowski and Stanton would have to be complete idiots to support the Coyotes moving back to Phoenix.

And while I don't know much about Nowakowski, I have met Stanton, and he is definitely not an idiot.

Of course, the sums of money that are being talked about here have been known to make even the brightest star a dim bulb.

* = John is a friend, and while he is on the wrong side of almost every issue in America where there is a partisan/ideological divide (with him being on the "Right" side, and me being on the correct side :) ), he genuinely cares about Scottsdale and his blog provides indispensable coverage of the political going-on here.  I highly recommend making it part of your regular reading.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Short Attention Span Musing - Cleaning out the inbox

It's been a busy couple of weeks (traveling for a nephew's high school graduation) and a few items have piled up in my email inbox...

...The US Environmental Protection Agency issued a draft assessment report on the potential effects on drinking water of the use fracking (aka - hydraulic fracturing) as a method of extracting oil and gas from the ground.

It's wordy and, as the risk of sounding that I'm making a pun (I'm not), dry reading, but is well worth the time and effort needed to get through it.

Note: it was written as if one of the contributors was on the payroll of someone who profits from fracking activities, so plan to "read between the lines".

...Infamous warmonger John Bolton announced his endorsement of, and financial support for, Congresswoman Martha McSally (R-AZ7).

This endorsement may hurt her more than it helps - she's been trying to project an air of moderation as she tries to keep her job of representing a competitive district, but Bolton isn't know for picking sane people to support.

...From Thursday, July 16 thru Sunday, July 19, Netroots Nation will be taking place in Phoenix.  There will be dozens of discussion panels and training sessions as we gear up for 2016, but one of the highlights is certain to be an appearance by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Friday morning (7/17), a longtime favorite of activists.  Get your tickets here.

...Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced his proposal to give additional funding for Arizona's schools by taking a greater amount of money from the state's land trust fund (which is funded by sales of state trust land and was created to provide support for the state's schools, something that it has done for over 102 years).

Of course, the trust fund was created in an era when it was inconceivable that the state's legislature and governor would work so enthusiastically *against* the long term interests of the people of Arizona.

Does anyone else see the parallel between this and Aesop's fable about the goose that laid the golden eggs?

This will take the approval of Arizona's voters.  If a majority fall for this scheme (not a sure thing), expect the governor and legislature to propose further schemes to undermine the long term fiscal stability and viability of Arizona in the quest to enhance corporate profits (aka - provide cover for more massive tax breaks for corporations).

...Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who, along with John McCain, is one of the country's most enthusiastic supporters of a US foreign policy of "Forever War", has become yet another passenger in the clown car known as "The Burgeoning Republican 2016 Primary Field Of Candidates".

In one of the first interviews he gave after his announcement, he advised that anyone who is "worn out by war" to not vote for him.

Wasn't going to vote for him anyway, but I thank him for the advice.

I'm going to guess that he secured the support of the Cheney wing of the GOP with that statement, though...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Kirkpatrick running for Senate: Dominoes will start falling

Crossposted from Blog for Arizona

...And I don't mean the pizza place, either...

With the announcement that Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (CD1) will challenge John McCain (R-Warmonger) for the US Senate seat that he currently holds, expect current state legislators to look at the CD1 seat...and other, lower-level, electeds to look at running for the legislative seats being vacated by those looking to run for Congress, and so on.

And that's not even considering the possibility of one or more additional members of Congress going after McCain's seat (i.e. - Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) and/or Matt Salmon (R-CD5) ).

Nor does it consider the possibility of a political newby/unknown entering (and upending) a race.

And finally, it doesn't factor in what the Supreme Court will rule in the case before it, where the Republicans in the Arizona Legislature sued to wrest control of the decennial Congressional redistricting process from the voter-created Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.  The USSC will issue its ruling on the issue in the coming weeks, and a ruling in favor of the legislature could result in a wholesale redrawing of Arizona's Congressional districts.

A ruling for the lege will result in many Rs jumping into races for what they consider to be "safe" districts; a ruling for the status quo will result in more Ds running for "competitive" districts.
Among the names being bandied about (and as the US Constitution requires only that candidates for Congress live in the state, not the district, most of these people could be considered to be carpetbaggers of a mild sort):

Update on 5/26/2015:

- Catherine Miranda, Democratic state senator, has already announced that she is "exploring" a run for the CD1 seat.  Her main claim to fame: she endorsed Republican Doug Ducey for governor in 2014, which probably won't help her much in a Democratic primary.

End Update...

- Andy Tobin, Republican former speaker of the AZ House, a former candidate for Congress, and current head of the soon-to-cease-to-exist Arizona Department of Weights and Measures

- Carlisle Begay, faux-Democratic state senator; had already been rumored to be considering a challenge to Kirkpatrick.  OK, the only real question about his candidacy was if he was going to run as a D or an R...

- Ben Quayle, R former Congressman; last seen working as a lobbyist

- Adam Kwasman, R former state representative and candidate for Congress

- Frank Antenori, R former state senator and candidate for Congress

- Russell Pearce, recalled R former president of the state senate (who has been making noises about a political comeback of some sort)

- Kelli Ward, R state senator who's exploring a challenge to McCain; she may decide that a run at a vacant Congressional seat is more viable

- Christine Jones, R former candidate for governor, who's always in the rumor mix when there is an open seat

- Chad Campbell, D former minority leader in the AZ House of Representatives, who is widely expected to run for a higher office.  The only real questions about that regard which office and when

- Paul Babeu, R sheriff in Pinal County.  Once considered a rising star among the Rs, he briefly ran for Congress in 2012.  During that campaign, news broke that he is gay.  End of campaign for Congress.  Still working the nativist circles in the Republican Party, so he may be looking for another run at higher office

- Jamescita Peshlakai, D state representative; unlike most of the people named about, she actually lives in northern AZ

- Chris Deschene, D former state legislator and former candidate for president of the Navajo Nation; widely respected and always on the short list of potential candidates in northern Arizona

- Ken Bennett, R former secretary of state and state legislator, he's been raising his visibility recently; while he now lives in Maricopa County, he has ties to northern AZ

More dominoes will fall once the USSC renders its decision, so stay tuned...

Kirkpatrick mounting a 2016 run for US Senate in 2016

The first "Wow!" moment of the 2016 election cycle, courtesy a tweet (via Facebook status) from Brahm Resnik of Phoenix channel 12 -

The full story is here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

With polls, both formal and informal, it's all in how the questions are worded

In scientific polls, say, by a professional and unaffiliated pollster, the questions tend to be neutrally worded, to ensure that the responses are as informative as possible.

In less scientific polls, say, by a campaign or a pollster working for a campaign, the questions tend to be less neutral, either to garner a specific response or to test "messaging".

In unscientific polls, say, an online question, the questions tend to serve as clickbait or something designed to a specific response to support a specific argument.

Not surprisingly, anti-voter Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan seems to favor the latter, especially when looking to protect the corrupting influence of dark money from the disinfecting sunlight of disclosure.

Reagan is in a tizzy* over the moves of the voter-created Citizens Clean Elections Commission to update its rules regarding campaign finance disclosure, changes that would clarify that entities that are "created within the six months immediately preceding the beginning of a legislative election cycle or that is formed or created during the election cycle and knowingly makes expenditures or takes contributions of $500 or more for any election in this state in a calendar year..." as political committees subject to disclosure requirements.

* - Probably more "cold and calculating fury" than "tizzy", but I believe that the word tizzy isn't used enough these days, so "tizzy" it is. :)

To that end, she has published a "statement" criticizing the CCEC's "power grab".

At the end of that statement, she has appended a poll.

That question, coming at the end of her statement excoriating the CCEC, looks to be crafted to rouse the ire of "small government" partisans, the kind that voted for her for SOS last year.

Apparently, I am not one of her "kind of people" (the kind of partisans who voted for her).

So I voted "Yes" (of course :) ).

Apparently2, the majority of other people voting in this poll aren't exactly her kind of people, either.

After my vote, the following screen appeared -


Probably not the sort of result that Reagan was looking for when she posted the poll.

On the other hand, she shouldn't be surprised - in scientific poll after scientific poll, the majority of Americans supports more oversight of campaign finance.

If, as I believe she has, she has aspirations to higher office (like the governor's office, which is both higher on the ballot and higher in the Executive Tower than her office), it might behoove her to take the poll results (both scientific and unscientific) into consideration before doubling down on her support of dark money and the anonymous purchase of elections and elected officials.

By the time the Doug Ducey era comes to a close, even the voters of Arizona may be tired of corruption in politics.

And its enablers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2016 races already heating up...local races, anyway

OK, mostly in Tempe, because Tempe is small enough that they still conduct their elections on a March/May calendar (for elections in larger municipalities, counties, the state, and federal offices, an August/November calendar is used).

For Tempe City Council:

Randy Keating, a long-time community activist and leader, has filed for a run.  Tempe icon Harry Mitchell (former: high school teacher, city council member, mayor, state senator, and Congressman) will be serving as his campaign chairman.

Keating, courtesy Keating for Council

Phil Amorosi, another long-time community activist and leader, has filed for a run.

Amorosi at a community event, June 2014

Joel Navarro, incumbent member of the council, has filed for a re-election run.

Courtesy Navarro's Twitter page

Robert Kizere, yet another long-time community activist and leader, has filed for a run.

For Tempe Mayor:

No filings as yet, but incumbent Mark Mitchell is running for re-election.

Mitchell at a community event, March 2015

Others will file for both races; stay tuned.

For Scottsdale City Council:

So far, only incumbent Suzanne Clapp has filed.

Courtesy Klapp for Council

Others will get into the race...

I couldn't find any new/significant filings for city of Mesa, Maricopa County, state, or federal offices as of 8:00 p.m. on 5/13/2015 (caveat: the county elections database was down tonight).

Yet.  That will change. :)

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Intelligent discourse or guns, what's your flavor?

 Note to readers: The following is not a commentary on the country's problem/obsession with guns.

...It could be "intelligent discourse on guns" but that just doesn't happen in the US, and the reasons for that are best left for another post...

Two upcoming events that would be a great topic for a "compare and contrast" assignment in English 101 (the basic composition course in Arizona's public higher education system) -

First up, The chair of the Federal Election Commission:

Invitation to Attend a Public Forum on Women in Politics

You are cordially invited by Ann M. Ravel, Federal Election Commission Chair, to a public forum on the challenges women face in the political arena. The purpose of the forum is to begin an open discussion with scholars, social scientists, political practitioners and the public to consider why, despite record-breaking numbers of women in the 114th Congress, women remain significantly under-represented in politics at all levels of government. To ensure a productive and wide-ranging discussion, we ask that all forum participants be ready to share their thoughts on this topic at the forum.

Public Forum Schedule

Session 1, Defining the Problem

9:00 am – 10:30 a.m.  

Why are women under-represented in elected political office?  What barriers do women face in political fundraising?  How has the federal campaign finance system helped or hurt women seeking political office?

Session 2, Crafting Solutions

10:45 am – 12:15 p.m.

How can we encourage women to seek elected political office?  Are women-focused fundraising PACs the solution?  How have other countries successfully fostered women’s participation in the political process?  What lessons can the United State learn from such programs?

  • Justice Maria del Carmen Alanis Figueroa, Federal Electoral Court of Mexico
  • Marni Allen, Political Parity
  • Victoria Budson, Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard University
  • Betilde Munoz-Pogossian, Organization of American States
  • Pippa Norris, Harvard University, Sydney University and the Electoral Integrity Project
  • Darren Rosenblum, Pace Law School


The forum will be open to the public and press. The forum will be held in the FEC’s ninth-floor hearing room, located at 999 E Street, NW, Washington D.C., on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 from 9:00 A.M. until 12:15 P.M. Those wishing to participate may do so either in person or online.


If you would like to attend the forum in person, or if you are unable to attend but would like to submit written comments, please email us at If you would like to participate online, live audio and video will be available. Links to both feeds will be available at All are encouraged to submit comments and questions via Twitter, using the hashtag #FECWIP, or in the video webinar via chat box.  

Please note that this meeting will focus solely on understanding the challenges facing women in politics. If the discussion raises issues that suggest the need to consider revisions to or adoption of Commission regulations or procedures, the Commission will address such issues through its standard, formal procedures.

Contrast with The Tempe Republican Women:

Join us June 13th, 11-2PM at the Tempe Sheraton, 1600 S 52nd St, for a special summer luncheon with guest speaker Gov. Doug Ducey!

Admission is $25 for members (to cover our cost for the lunch and venue) and $50 for guests. For this event only, all guests paying for admission will get a free yearly membership to Tempe Republican Women as well (a $30 value.) Must be a registered Republican woman in Arizona. Republican men and members of other Republican women clubs will be given a free associate membership ($15 value) with purchase of guest admission.

A plated lunch is included with admission. Meal choice is Achiote Chicken. A vegetarian option is also available. Select at checkout.

We will be raffling off a new gun, donated from AZGuns of Chandler, as well as several giftcards to local restaurants. Stay tuned for more information.

Don’t miss out! Q&A will follow the Governor’s speech. Limit to 1 question per guest, unless time permits more.


Questions:  or  480-306-2545

Want a pic of the gun? 

From their Twitter feed:

I would like to point out two things here:

1. Republicans in Tempe seem to have a thing for putting more guns into circulation.

2. It isn't just Tempe Republicans.

3. As creepy as this is, IMO it isn't as creepy as the Tempe Republican Women's give away of an autographed pair of Joe Arpaio's underwear -

The first event (FEC forum on women in politics) sound interesting.  However, it takes place this coming Tuesday, a work day for me, and starts at 6 a.m. Arizona time.

There might be some readers who might be enthusiastic and engaged at 6 a.m. (in any time zone), but not me. :)

Monday, May 04, 2015

Short Attention Span Musing

...Being offensive isn't a capital crime.

From CNN, via Phoenix Channel 3 (KTVK), written by Saeed Ahmed, Ed Lavandera and Joe Sutton -
A cartoon contest featuring controversial images of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed turned deadly Sunday night when two men pulled up in a car and opened fire. Police returned fire, killing both men after one wounded a security guard.

None of the approximately 200 people attending the event were hurt.

The two shooters have Phoenix ties, sharing an apartment in north Phoenix.

Let's keep it short and simple: 

"Freedom of speech", as an American value, is almost universally treasured, even revered, here. It covers many activities, from "speaking truth to power" to "being obnoxiously offensive".

The organizers of the "cartoon contest" are rabid Islamophobes and were deliberately trying to offend and upset as many people, mostly Islamic, as possible.

They exhibit no redeeming qualities as human beings and offer no benefit to civil society.

They were completely wrong in their behavior.

And as wrong as they were (and still are), they were less wrong than the people they so offended and outraged that those people expressed their outrage by grabbing guns and attempting to kill those that offended them.

And2, this is not even a close call.

...The GOP 2016 presidential field may have to trade in their clown car for a tour bus if this keeps up.

From the Huffington Post, written by Chris Weigant -
Last week, the field of officially-announced Democratic presidential candidates doubled in size, from one person to two. This week, the Republican presidential field is likewise going to double, from three candidates to six. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio have all previously officially announced their candidacies, and this week they will be joined by Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson (who announced today), and Mike Huckabee (scheduled to announce tomorrow).

There are at least a half-dozen more Republicans who are looking to jump into the race, ranging from serious (i.e. - Jeb Bush) to "serious" (wink, wink) (i.e. - the Rick twins, Perry and Santorum).

There are others who are also making noises about getting in the race like Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-bat shit crazy) and Governor John Kasich (R-OH).

Assuming that all of the people who are "rumored" to be running (in quotes because some, like Jeb Bush, are widely known to be running, but haven't officially announced their candidacies) and that at least a few of the dark horses get into the race, the R field will need a larger vehicle to go from state to state.

I'm sure the Koch Brothers can afford it though.

...Doug Ducey may not be courageous, but no one can say that he is stupid.

From the Arizona Republic, written by Laurie Roberts -
The Arizona Board of Regents are voting today on a plan to raise tuition and fees at the state's three universities.

MIA from today's meeting: the person responsible for the Board of Regents having to raise tuition and fees at the state's three universities.

Gov. Doug Ducey, that would be.

...The Grand Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club released its report card on the 2015 legislative session, and to no one's surprise, every Republican at the Capitol except for two, Rep. Noel Campbell and Gov. Doug Ducey, earned "Fs".

Those two earned "Ds".

Next year being an election year, expect all of them to earn "Fs"...unless the Sierra Club adds "G" to their list of possible grades.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Know who had a bad week this week? Joe Arpaio

It is far too early to gloat - Arpaio has a seemingly uncanny ability to weasel out of trouble, often by throwing others under the bus.

He did that a lot this week, only to see many of his "throwees" drag him under the same bus.

First up: a primer (see the video above).

Note: it isn't perfectly accurate (for example, the infamous nativist bill SB1070 became law in 2010, not in "the 2008 - 2009 time frame") and most lawyers will cringe at it (much of the terminology used is for laymen, not those with JDs).  However, it effectively explains the factors that lead up to the current situation.

Second up: what happened this week in federal court in Phoenix.

A. A civil contempt hearing looking into possible violations of a court order by Arpaio took place.

B. At the hearing:
     1. Arpaio threw his lawyer under the bus.
     2. One of Arpaio's senior officers threw Arpaio under the bus.
     3. Arpaio's lawyer withdrew from the case.
     4. Arpaio admitted, under oath, to news broken last year by Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times - that he had the wife of the judge in this case, Murray Snow, investigated.

Personal observation: I don't know if Arpaio is a praying man, but if he is one, he should give a heartfelt prayer of thanks that Snow is the judge hearing this case.  Upon hearing that admission, most other people, including many judges, would have simply turned to the nearest court officer and ordered that Arpaio be taken to the darkest, dankest hole in the federal prison system and dropped in it.

Because Snow is the judge, Arpaio is still sleeping in his own bed.

So far, most of Arizona's Republicans haven't publicly weighed in on Arpaio's travails, though a couple of "fringe-y" folks have (in this case, "fringe-y" speaks to their likelihood of holding office in the near future, not to their political positions.  At this point, most members of the AZGOP espouse positions that are pretty "fringe-y.)

One that is (very) mildly critical of Arpaio: Christine Jones, a 2014 candidate for governor.  From her Twitter feed:

Another, stridently supportive of Arpaio: Jack Harper, a former state legislator and legendary whackjob.  From Donna Gratehouse, friend and fellow blogger:

Personal observation2: If one thinks about the ramifications of it, Harper's "logic" would ultimately preclude court actions against public officials who are corrupt or otherwise abuse the powers of their offices.

Anyway, it really is too soon to start gloating over Arpaio's political demise (this is a long way from over), but that hasn't stopped some people from quietly speculating over who among Maricopa County's Rs will angle for the sheriff's job should Arpaio not run for reelection next year.

My (not-so-quiet) speculations:

1. Someone from MCSO who is unfamiliar to the general public but who is an Arpaio lifer.
2. Russell Pearce, former legislator and longtime Arpaio ally.
3. John Kavanagh, current legislator and also a long-time Arpaio ally.

One thing all have in common:  If they gain the office, they almost certainly won't investigate the previous administration.