Category Archives: Commentary

2017 AZ Lege: Heads up – the train’s a comin’

By Craig McDermott, crossposted from Random Musings

This post is an information post with almost no “commentary” (but me being who I am, there may be one or two instances of wiseass-ery 🙂 ).

Scheduled start: January 9, 2017 (tomorrow, as I write this)


Approximate end: Third full week of April (“approximate” because while the 100th day of the session will fall during that week, and 100 days is the unofficial target for the length of a legislative session, 100 days is *not* a requirement).


House –


Speaker – JD Mesnard.  Previously: David Gowan (ran for Congress, lost in primary)

Majority Leader – John Allen.  Previously: Steve Montenegro (elected to state senate)

Majority Whip – Kelly Townsend.  Previously: David Livingston (reelected to the state house, but no longer part of leadership; not sure why)


Minority Leader – Rebecca Rios.  Previously: Eric Meyer (ran for state senate, lost a close race)

Assistant Minority Leader – Randy Friese.  Previously: Bruce Wheeler (did not run for reelection)

Minority Whip – Charlene Fernandez.  Previously: Rebecca Rios (now minority leader)

Senate –


President – Steve Yarbrough.  Previously: Andy Biggs (elected to Congress)

Majority Leader – Kimberly Yee.  Previously: Steve Yarbrough (now senate president)

Majority Whip – Gail Griffin. Previously: Griffin

President Pro Tempore – Debbie Lesko.  Previously: Sylvia Allen (reelected to the state senate, but no longer part of leadership; not sure why)


Minority Leader: Katie Hobbs.  Previously: Hobbs

Assistant Minority Leader: Steve Farley.  Previously: Farley

Minority Whip: Martin Quezada,  Previously: Quezada

Minority Whip: Lupe Contreras.  Previously: Contreras

First bill: SB1001, from State Senator John Kavanagh.  In a rare (rare for Arizona legislative Republicans, anyway) “good government” proposal.  If enacted, it would protect from civil liability a person who breaks into an unattended vehicle in order to rescue a minor or a domestic animal. Continue reading

The New Fourth Estate

Cross-posted from

I recently read that today’s youth can’t determine whether or not a story is factual or fictional. Some of this no doubt is because there is just too much information available and there is no consequence of disseminating false information. I had an interesting conversation with a smart, older millennial recently and she didn’t know the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) once required holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in a manner that was honest, equitable and balanced. The policy was called the Fairness Doctrine and its intent was to ensure viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints. The FCC eliminated the Doctrine in 1987 and some believe its demise played a role in an increased level of party polarization.

Fast forward to 2016. We now have a President-Elect who tells outrageous falsehoods, (on TV no less), and then claims he didn’t say them. We have his surrogates who lied repeatedly during his campaign and continue to do so. We have Scottie Nell Hughes, Trump supporter and CNN commentator, who recently said “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore of facts.” (Evidently, there’s no such thing as proper grammar either.) She followed that outrageous comment with “people believe they have the facts to back that [Trump’s tweets] up.” WHAAAAAAAT? No. Believing you have facts is not the same as well…ACTUALLY HAVING THE FREAKIN’ FACTS!!! Continue reading

Great Hamburger Hunt Ends With a Surprise Winner

Sorry, but I need to put politics aside for a special report.

A few months ago, I had a conversation with our two youngest, Bennet and Seth, about Whataburger restaurants and how they were disappearing. We decided it would be a good idea to go to one before they were completely gone (It turns out they’re nowhere near gone and actually are still selling franchises).

We did, and it evolved into the Great Hamburger Hunt (I never was able to pull off the vegetarian thing completely, but I have cut back).  In order to be considered, there had to be more than one of a restaurant. Specifically excluded were chains like McDonalds, Burger King, and Jack in the Box, because we knew they couldn’t win and none of us wanted to die an early death.

The initial list of competitors turned out to be: Continue reading

Trump analogy time: Less “Hitler” and more “pre-Hitler”

By Craig McDermott, crossposted from Random Musings

Godwin’s Law, courtesy

A term that originated on Usenet, Godwin’s Law states that as an online argument grows longer and more heated, it becomes increasingly likely that somebody will bring up Adolf Hitler or the Nazis. When such an event occurs, the person guilty of invoking Godwin’s Law has effectively forfeited the argument.

For the purposes to discussing the president-elect, Donald Trump, and/or his administration and advisors, I’m going to have to violate Godwin’s Law, or simply consider it suspended for the duration.

The comparisons are too obvious to ignore.


The comparisons of Donald Trump to Adolph Hitler seem to me to be both a case of overreach and being premature.  He hasn’t even taken office yet.

Nope.  While it’s not a perfect analogy (any analogy is an imperfect comparison between two entities), right now he looks to most closely resemble Paul von Hindenburg. Continue reading

How Bad Things Will Happen (If They Do)

The specter of White nationalism is real. We ignore it or discount it at our peril.

The problem already is upon us, as Benji Hart explains in White Nationalism Lives and White People Need to Fight It:

More recently, white nationalism has been linked with a spate of police murders. Scott Michael Greene, who killed two officers in Iowa in late October, allegedly did so because he was enraged that Black athletes kneeling for the national anthem had not been arrested. Over 70% of police killings in 2016 have been carried out by white men, a fact around which many have noted a telling silence among conservatives. The FBI itself has been warning of growing white supremacist activity within law enforcement for more than a decade, and some pundits have gone so far as to call white nationalism the greatest standing threat to national security.

Impending demographic change undoubtedly will worsen the threat. Whites will be in the minority by 2042, according to projections. Emily Schwartz Greco explores the connection of that reality to white nationalism in Will Trump Target Both Documented and Undocumented Immigrants? Continue reading

Election Night 2016

By Craig McDermott, crossposted from Random Musings

9:50 –

There were 19 school district-related ballot questions in Maricopa County.

Right now, it looks like 15 will pass, 3 will go down, and 1 is still to close to call.

This is actually much better than average here.


9:30 –

In Scottsdale, all incumbents are on their way to reelection.


9:21 –

It looks like the AZ lege will tighten.  My read on races right now:

AZSenate – 14 R, 13 D, 3 too close to call.  If all three races in the “too close to call” category go D, then control flips.  16 – 14 R seems more likely, but this is far from over.

AZHouse – 33 R, 26 D, 1 too close to call.  The Rs retain control.


9:20 –

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s race has been called for Paul Penzone!


8:06 – early votes only:

Maricopa County Sheriff: Penzone up over Arpaio big

Maricopa County Recorder: Fontes up over Purcell

CAWCD – Arboleda, Graff, and Holway all in the top 5

LD18 legislature – Bowie (senate) and Epstein (house) ahead

LD28 Senate – Meyer slightly ahead of Brophy-McGee

US Sen – McCain thumping Kirkpatrick

CorpComm – Not looking good for Mundell or Chabin

LD6 – Bagley (D) and Allen (tin foil) – too close to call

Ballot measures –

Prop 205 (legalizing recreation marijuana) – losing

Prop 206 (raising minimum wage) – winning

…is shaping up to be a lot like election night 2000.  Florida will be keeping us holding our collective breath…

Once AZ results start coming in, this post will be updated, with an focus on statewide, legislative, Maricopa County, and Scottsdale races.