Category Archives: Commentary

J Pride “Love Wins Party”

“JPride will sponsor a Celebration of Love, Family, and Community at the Jewish History Museum on Sunday, June 25, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This is the group’s second annual event commemorating the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage on June 26, 2015.

Weather permitting, the event will be held in the museum’s garden.

JPride, then known as the LGBT Inclusion Project, began in 2005 when the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona became one of the first federations in the country to actively reach out to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members of the Jewish community. JPride is a joint project of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

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What are Democrats Doing for Disillusioned Trump Voters in Mobile Home Parks??

There’s a groundswell of new volunteers at the Democratic Party. Candidates are talking about healthcare, gay rights, and Planned Parenthood. This plays great with progressive voters. But we are all talking to ourselves inside a bubble.

What are we doing for all the white and Latino working class people who voted for Trump? Are we going to totally blow it in 2018 because we ignored the victims of bad housing because we didn’t knock on doors in trailer parks? These are the people who elected Trump, and they are losing confidence in him.

Consider this:

  • 44,000 people live in mobile home parks in Tucson. They are Trump voters if they voted.
  • There are 430 mobile home parks where tenants are living in a housing nightmare, being abused and taken advantage of by park landlords. They live at the whim of the landlord.
  • 10% of housing stock in Tucson is mobile home parks.

It is Dickensian and it’s right here in town. In my Precinct, #238, I knocked on doors and made phone calls to people who live in beautiful condos and grand houses sitting on enormous lots. As Tamar Rala Kreiswirth pointed out, 25% of these Democrats in Tucson didn’t vote in 2016.

You know that lily-white Republicans would never leave their country clubs to  dirty their hands by going into a trailer park.

Are we going to let it happen again?

Are we afraid to see poverty in person? Do we lack the guts to meet housing victims face-to-face? Are we too prissy and effete to actually go to the homes of people who need our help?

Or are we Democrats people with cojones, guts and heart?

The National Low Income Housing Coalition shows that a typical Arizona renter needs to work 70 hours a week just to pay rent.

A person working in zip code 85705 makes $13.27 per hour or $520 per month. The Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom home is $690 per month.

Read some of the headlines:
Two weeks without water for mobile home park residents

Tucson’s aging mobile homes: Problems run deep, but solutions do exist

Goal: Hold irresponsible trailer-park landlords accountable in Tucson

So put on your camo baseball cap, change out of your sandals and get into some shoes from Walmart. Put on a shirt from Bass Pro Shops. Leave your jewelry behind and stop reading The New Yorker and read Hillbilly Elegy.

We may be able to win seats in the 2018 mid-term election, but not if we sit in our comfortable houses and ignore voters who are being viciously mistreated. Get out there and be real Democrats, dammit.

JFK, Where Are You Now That We Need You?

By Larry Bodine, Precinct Committeeman, Precinct #238, Tucson.

I remember when as a young boy, still in grade school, I shook JFK’s hand. JFK would be 100 years old this week, were he still alive.

The day was August 17, 1962, and President John F. Kennedy spoke at the opening of the Oahe Dam in South Dakota. It was a beautiful day in the summer, and cars from hundreds of miles around lined up in rows on a big hillside.

At the bottom of the hill was a podium with cloth fluttering in the wind. The hydroelectric dam is the second largest one on the Missouri River. It took 14 years to build.

JFK stood at the podium and spoke in that unmistakable accent. You can listen to his speech on Youtube.

I was so optimistic that I wanted to join the Peace Corps.

I felt so idealistic that I wanted to serve my country.

Before he left, he walked into the crowd of well-wishers and shook my hand.

Then he climbed into a black Lincoln Continental convertible with two American flags flying on the front bumper and rode off as thousands of people cheered. I have never forgotten that day, 55 years ago.

Where have you gone, Jack Kennedy?

As I look around the toxic Arizona legislative leadership and governor, I ask myself, “where are the political leaders who inspire us?”

I don’t see them. Certainly not in our state Capitol.

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Jim Bunning: Should He Really Rest in Peace?

Leading obituary in today’s New York Times: Jim Bunning, Hall of Fame Pitcher Turned Cantankerous Senator, Dies at 85. In the online version, the Times changed “Turned Cantankerous” to “and Blunt-Spoken.” I like the print title better.

Should anyone from the general public be mourning Bunning’s passing?

Not in my opinion. Pissing on anyone’s grave is not an especially endearing act, so I’ll catch a few darts for this one, but I believe there should be a special place in hell for anyone lucky enough to make a fortune playing a sport who sees fit to deny poor people safety net benefits. Continue reading

Are Three Decent Republican Senators All it Would Take?

The refusal of Congressional Republicans to confront Trump is breathtaking.

By all appearances, they’re the last – and most critical – domino that must fall in order for Trump to be removed. Many in the conservative media no longer will defend Trump. Yes, Fox News still is hanging on, as is Rush Limbaugh, but conservative journalists as a group largely have given up. And some, Joe Scarborough for example, are among Trump’s harshest critics. The public has abandoned Trump as well. The latest poll on his approval rating, placing it at 36%, was taken before the Comey firing. And you don’t see many former Republican office holders flocking to Trump’s defense.

Yet, with few exceptions, Ryan, McConnell and the rest of the gang that control both houses of Congress have barely budged.

So, what would it take to move them?

Theoretically, as few as three Republican Senators with a shred of decency could make it happen. And there are possibilities: McCain, Flake, Corker, Collins, Murkowski, maybe even Burr.

Why three? Continue reading

When Newspaper Editorials Belabor the Obvious, is the End Near?

In its lead editorial on Tuesday, Donald Trump Embraces Another Despot, the New York Times was unsparing in its criticism of Trump’s invitation to Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, to visit the White House. The Times’ editorial was dead on. There was not a word with which I disagreed. The editorial was well written. In sum, the editorial said what needed to be said, and said it well.

It also was deeply disturbing that the Times ran it.

Why?

Because the call was too easy. Consider this passage:

After his election last year, Mr. Duterte took the killing campaign nationwide, effectively giving free license to the police and vigilantes. He has boasted about his tenure in Davao, and admitted to personally killing three kidnappers without trial. The mayhem got so bad that last week a Filipino lawyer formally asked the International Criminal Court to charge Mr. Duterte and 11 officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of nearly 10,000 people over the past three decades.

Should Americans need the Times to explain to them why Trump’s invitation to Duterte was dead wrong?

Yet many do.  Continue reading