Who is the New LD7 Representative Nancy Barto?

BartoNancy Barto was selected by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to
replace LD 7 State Representative David Burnell Smith, who was forced
out of office for campaign finance violations. Although Burnell Smith
was one of the six nominated by the LD 7 PCs to replace himself, the
PCs were wise enough not to select him as one of the three names to
forward to the Board.

The Board selected Mrs. Barto, who was the LD 7 Chairperson of the
Republican Party, over Howard Levine and Howard Sprague. Her selection
is about as close to re-selecting Burnell Smith as they could get
without actually trying that stunt, however. Mrs. Barto is a staunch
supporter of Burnell Smith in his fight with the Clean Elections
Commission and the courts to keep his job. Mrs. Barto claims that there
is still strong support for Burnell Smith in the district, as well as
strong animosity toward the Commission.

Barto said, “I’m disappointed that they [the Commission] would go this
route. I don’t think they have the authority to overrule the voters of
this district.” The Arizona Supreme Court and the voters of Arizona, in
adopting and continuing to support Clean Elections, disagreed.


I have been reading a lot about Christianity lately. I recently
finished reading “The Five Gospels: What did Jesus really say?” by the Jesus Seminar. As a complement, or in some cases an
anodyne, to this fare I also watched the documentary film The God Who Wasn’t
and skimmed “Holy Writ as Oral Lit : The Bible as Folklore” by Alan Dundes, both of which postulate the idea that
Jesus was not a historical figure at all, but rather a construct of
folklore. In addition, I am currently halfway through listening to the
audio edition of “The Gospel of Judas” by Simon Mawer
about the discovery of a previously unknown account of Jesus’ life from
the viewpoint of Judas Iscariot. In sum, I have of late been steeped in

I didn’t have any particular program or goal in mind in digesting this
material, I just felt that I hadn’t taken a good look at biblical
scholarship of late, and there might be something of interest in either
fiction or non-fiction. With the runaway success of essentially
heretical biblical scholarship in “The DaVinci Code” I thought I would
get ahead of the curve and see what might be next to hit the Christian
cultural zeitgeist.

SOTU, So..?

FlagbaloonNot surprisingly, I was quite unimpressed by Bush’s State of the Union. He started with the lie that our Union is strong, and didn’t stop with the lies and half-truths and terrible ironies throughout. The high point was when Bush alluded to his defeat on Social Security ‘reform’ and the Democrats gave him a standing ovation. The rest was Bush’s characteristic jive of taking our highest ideals and traditions and shitting all over them for the low and corrupt ends of his ‘base’.

But I don’t really want to talk about the SOTU. It is never politically significant, anyhow. Most years, Bush’s ratings have fallen following his SOTUs. And while he didn’t drop any real clinkers this year, such as addressing the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional sports, neither did he say anything that will have any resonance or ring true outside his base. What I thought was really interesting was the Democratic Response.

Coyote Carnival

I would like to invite you all to participate in a new blog carnival that I have started to highlight the best and brightest blogging in the Arizona Sonoran Desert region: The Coyote Carnival. Please submit your nominations for the best writing from the best blogs based in the region. The topic at this point … Read more

Bush Brings Hamas To Power in Palestine

Fatahhamas_1Bush’s self-appointment as the ambassador of democracy in the Middle
East continues to misfire with
the Palestinian elections handing a clear majority of 76 of 132 seats
in Parliament to Hamas
, which is officially considered a
terrorist organization by the United States’ government and Israel, as
well as the EU and Canada. Hamas also does not recognize the state of
Israel and its destruction is part of the
organization’s charter
, as are some other choice bits that are likely
to make the peace process difficult at best:

"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."

"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through
Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a
waste of time and vain endeavors."

Bush is calling for Hamas to change it’s charter. Don’t hold your
breath. Though Hamas has made some hints that it
intends to continue to negotiate with Israel through intermediaries, it
is not altogether clear that Israel will be receptive. Israeli hard-liners may use the rise of Hamas as a reason to break off all talks, likely prompting another intensification of mutual violence.