The AZ Republic believes that Gabby Giffords is rude for, and also isn’t capable of, talking about gun violence.

Crossposted at

pearl clutch

We don’t get the physical AZ Republic anymore so I missed yesterday’s editorial wherein the ed board wheezed itself into a paroxysm of umbrage over an ad that Gabby Giffords’ and Mark Kelly’s Responsible Solutions PAC are running in opposition to Tucson Congressional candidate Martha McSally (R). The ad depicts a mother who lost her husband and daughter to the daughter’s deranged ex-boyfriend who was easily able to get a gun thanks to decades of politicians caving in to the gun lobby in every way possible.

Actually the Republic op-ed came to my attention through this Politico piece in which Alex Isenstadt said the dumbest thing ever uttered on Politico. Continue reading

Hey, slow down there Speed Racer!

You may recall that the mythical moderate Republican Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) aka “E.Orr” got himself some media coverage earlier this year for a bill he sponsored pertaining to auto liability insurance. Law could mean increase in auto insurance fees for Arizonans:

Speed RacerArizona motorists may soon have to obtain — and pay for — more insurance coverage.

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Ethan Orr, R-Tucson, would make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle without insurance that provides at least $25,000 for any individual injured. The current minimum is just $15,000.

Similarly, coverage for injuries to multiple victims in any one mishap would have to go from $30,000 to $50,000.

Motorists would need to purchase at least $20,000 coverage for property damage to things like someone else’s vehicle or a city-owned streetlight, double the current figure.

Orr conceded the move will mean increased costs for those who now carry just the bare minimum, and estimates from various sources say the average would be anywhere from $50 to $100 more a year. But he said the move is long overdue.

Orr said the current minimums are not enough to ensure that those liable for accidents have adequate coverage to pay the expenses of those they hurt.

A source who has conducted opposition research into E.Orr provided me with a copy of the report. It turns out that E.Orr has reason to be concerned about auto liability insurance coverage. He should be concerned about his own coverage.

Continue reading

The Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia: thugs to threaten and intimidate voters

A number of years ago I was working an election in Wisconsin, and one of the local voter suppression groups had distributed fliers in African-American neighborhoods advising voters that if they had any outstanding warrants, or unpaid child support, or unpaid traffic tickets, etc. they could be subject to arrest. On election day, police vehicles were parked close by to polling locations just to emphasize the point. (FYI: All of this is illegal voter intimidation).

Now there is the Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia, a bunch of thugs who plan to  threaten and intimidate Democratic voters who signed recall petitions against Tea-Publican Governor Scott Walker, “the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin,” as Charles Pierce of Esquire calls him.

The Capitol Times in Madison reports a developing story in Wisconsin, ‘Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia<’ plans to confront Scott Walker recall petition signers at polls:

TotalRecallA self-described militia group claims to be checking names on the 2012 Scott Walker recall petition and plans to confront those found to have outstanding warrants or tax defaults at the polls on Nov. 4.

We prefer our people be armed,” reads a Facebook post by Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia, screen captured on a blog at “Some will be heading to some of Milwaukee, Racine, and Beloit’s worst areas. We will be armed with a list of people to look for at each location.”

Continue reading

DuVal-Ducey Debate Available Online

Doug Ducey too extremeOn September 18, 2014, Democratic candidate for governor Fred DuVal, Republican candidate Doug Ducey, and Libertarian candidate Barry Hess debated in Tucson. Although it is the only Tucson debate that Ducey has agereed to, it was not aired live on TV or streamed on the Internet. (Ducey didn’t attend the September 21 debate on the UA campus, and he also has bailed on a televised debate scheduled for October 9 at Pima College West. Call him out on this using @DougDucey on Twitter. He is snubbing Tucson and local college students. This is a clear indication how Governor Ducey would treat the state’s second largest city and its citizens.)

Last Thursday’s video is now available on Arizona Public Video. Check out the debate:



Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: Kansas’s failed experiment

“Cathi’s Clown” Doug Ducey is cut from the same cloth as Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. He is a Christian right conservative who subscribes to the religion of faith based supply-side “trickle down” GOP economics.


Four years ago the state of Kansas elected Tea-Publican radicals like Sam Brownback to office, and it has been an economic disaster for the state  ever since. The Neocon Washington Post today editorializes Sam Brownback’s failed ‘experiment’ puts state on path to penury:

GOV. SAM BROWNBACK of Kansas says he has come to regret characterizing his policy agenda as a “real live experiment” that would test the efficacy of deep tax cuts to spur jobs and economic growth. In fact, Mr. Brownback’s choice of words was apt. Few if any governors have undertaken such an extreme trial-by-revenue-deprivation in a state so clearly lacking the economic means to withstand it.

Now, as the damaging social and budgetary impacts of his slash-and-burn fiscal measures have become apparent, Mr. Brownback, a conservative Republican seeking reelection this fall in a state where every statewide elected official is also a Republican, is in the disorienting position of trailing his Democratic challenger in the polls.

Continue reading

Pension Reform: Don’t Lose Sight of the Big Picture

A self-described centrist friend asked me my position on Prop 487 the other day. I told him probably no, but I really hadn’t studied it intelligently enough yet to say with any certainty. Prop 487, for those who don’t know, is the so-called anti-pension spiking ballot initiative for voters in the city of Phoenix.

He then went offered his opinion how we can’t have people retiring at 58, which was kind of odd, because he and I both are about that age, and he’s retired while I’m not. In fairness to him, his retirement is not funded by a public pension, as far as I know. But still.

I kind of pounced a little, as I tend to do in these situations. I should be a little more deliberate. I said something like “Are you saying there is a shortage of labor, such that we need people to extend their careers?” My question was rhetorical. I continued. “No, it’s just the opposite. We have a surplus of labor. If we force people to work longer before retirement, it will mean twenty somethings won’t find work. It will make our surplus of labor worse, which will allow corporate America to screw workers.”

He then brought up life expectancies, noting that people will be living longer and longer, and we can’t afford to fund retirements based on the longer lives. I noted that life expectancies actually are going the other way, at least for the lower half of the population ranked by income. He was skeptical, so I explained that it’s because of the American diet. I’m guessing health care plays a role as well. It’s also about the kind of work we do. Paul Krugman once remarked in a column about the social security retirement age how conservatives expect janitors to extend their careers because lawyers are living longer.

I wish we’d had time for a lengthier conversation. The points I made were far too narrow. Here’s the larger picture: Continue reading