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Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Mother Mags

If it weren’t for his racist and asinine blog posts, former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal would likely be sitting in the same office today. Although the former conservative legislator and first-term education chief received a shitload of criticism from the left for his support of the Ethnic Studies ban in Tucson, as well as his constant pimping for charter schools, Huppenthal remained the GOP’s guy going into the 2014 election. Sure, he was primaried from the far right by moon-howlin’ Diane Douglas, but Huppenthal was generally seen as a safe bet to win the Republican primary and general election.

Oops! Then in June 2014 news broke that Huppenthal’s other job, which he occasionally performed at his real job, was as an online sockpuppet defending the indefensible policies of one John Huppenthal. The good folks at Blog for Arizona uncovered the ruse when they started to question the posts of “Thucydides,” that ancient historian. In his support of Arizona’s education policies, Thucydides revealed information about Superintendent Huppenthal and his state agency that only he could know. When confronted by the media, John Huppenthal confessed that, yes, he was Thucydides.

In itself, there’s nothing wrong here; heck, let’s encourage public officials to interact with citizens online. Nor is there a problem with Huppenthal blogging anonymously, a common tactic when the writer serves in a political or otherwise delicate position. The issue wasn’t that Huppenthal blogged anonymously: no, it was the nature of his posts, which were racist, historically inaccurate, insensitive and highly inappropriate, especially since he was in charge of public education.

"Obama is rewarding the lazy pigs with food stamps."
"It was Darwin, not Hitler, who named the Germans the master race."
"Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood was given the job of eliminating African-Americans."
"We now know that (Franklin D. Roosevelt) was almost completely responsible for the great depression."
You get the picture—writing worthy of the textbooks approved in Texas. His demeaning comments were even too much for Arizona’s looney tune GOP, and many called for him to exit the 2014 race. Huppenthal refused but was handed his ass in the primary by Diane Douglas, an ill-qualified, raving tea party pinhead. Given Arizona’s political demographics, in the November election Douglas defeated Democrat David Garcia, an experienced educator who was endorsed by nearly everyone, from the conservative Arizona Republic newspaper to political, community and education leaders statewide. Didn’t matter: Douglas had an R after her name, which is all that matters in too many Arizona races (think: Joe Arpaio).

Douglas and Gov. Doug Ducey immediately got into a highly publicized spat that seemed to indicate there’d be an ongoing war between the education department and executive office, but they did agree on one thing: students in Arizona don’t need so dang much government support. With help from the batshit crazy legislature, they cut K-12 another $13 million, wacked $95 million from the university system, and eliminated almost all community college funding. This hatchet job was on top of prior cuts to public schools and colleges that, since the recession, were among the deepest in the nation. Mission accomplished! After all, how else are they going to pay for those new prisons and corporate tax breaks?

The Chief of Staff for Diane Douglas who helped engineer this draconian policy is Michael Bradley, who was also responsible for the early standoff mentioned above between Douglas and Ducey, when he orchestrated the firing of two education board members because they weren’t as crazy as Douglas. Problem is, those appointments are gubernatorial and new Gov. Ducey did not look kindly upon the usurpation of his powers. He fired back and the two board members remained.

But now, in a scenario reminiscent of John Huppenthal’s online downfall, Bradley is being questioned for operating a website that some deem inappropriate for a person who’s in charge of education policy for over a million Arizona children.

Michael Bradley, who is in charge of day-to-day operations at the Arizona Department of Education, runs a website featuring items of general interest, including pictures of dogs and quirky news items, as well as thousands of photos of scantily clad women in costumes, and sexually suggestive images and humor.
The website (which I won't link to) receives about 3,000 hits a day and describes Bradley, who publishes a lot of time-travel books, as an author and public speaker, but it does not mention his role at the Arizona Department of Education. Like many personal websites, it includes a lot of pet photos, screen shots from movies and TV, jokes and his personal musings, including a recent rant about the Arizona Republic story in the blockquote above. Back issues contain more big boob photos than I’ve seen in one place, which children’s advocates call “offensive,” and Bradley has agreed to remove some images.

He says he told Diane Douglas about his online activity when she appointed him to the $150,000 a year position, and he warned Douglas that her opponents will use the website to attack her. Which raises the question: If they both knew this why did Douglas hire him, or why didn’t he shut the site down or at least change the content?

Frankly, we should be less concerned about Bradley's website than the ugly policies he's helped to push through. The site is pretty tame compared to a lot of what’s online, and he certainly has every right to operate it, especially as an outlet for his writing, which doesn't include, like Huppenthal, bogus education BS. But what is on the site does call into question his common sense.

Former schools Superintendent Jaime Molera says he supports freedom of speech, but that given his position, Bradley's online activity crosses a line for parents and teachers.

"If he's a private guy and this is his genre of writing, that's his decision, and certainly there's a whole lot of people who are into that," Molera said. "At the same time, he's the chief of staff to the state schools superintendent and there is a standard that they have to portray to the public—particularly schoolkids.”

The shit gets deeper: Bradley hired one of the women who poses on his website to serve as executive assistant to Diane Douglas. But that’s okay he says, because her position is “low level”—only the assistant to the state’s public school chief.

Is it any wonder Arizona continually ranks at the bottom of nearly every education measurement? For too many years rightwing agenda-driven ideologues have run the state agency, and public schools have clearly paid the price. If I were their consultant, I'd advise today's education officials to steer clear of the blogosphere, but I'm happy they don't, if only to shine a light on what they're doing to Arizona's students and teachers.


Sun Apr 26, 2015 at 05:00 PM PDT

Baja Arizona Open Thread

by Azazello

Greetings from Tucson

       The weather here is windy and a little cool, not what we usually expect for this time of year, but I'm sure it will warm up a little by next weekend. Next weekend, of course, is the weekend of the 5th Annual Baja Arizona Kossacks Picnic. The Picnic will be held Saturday, May 2 at Garfield Park in Bisbee, starting at 2 PM.

                                                     more below  

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Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Mother Mags

Tuesday in Phoenix, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's civil contempt hearing began, and the first day was a doozie. US District Judge Murray Snow ordered Sheriff Arpaio to appear at the hearing because the bigoted blowhard had arrogantly defied the judge's orders following Melendres v. Arpaio. In that 2007 incident, argued by the ACLU, the court found that the sheriff's office did indeed use race as a determining factor in traffic stops and other detainments, the very definition of racial profiling.

Following the Melendres verdict in 2011, which was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court a year later, in 2013 Judge Snow ordered three major reforms: Arpaio must end his infamous immigration roundups (neighborhood "sweeps"), turn over video evidence from traffic stops, and install a court-appointed monitor to oversee compliance. Arpaio did none of this; in fact, he destroyed video evidence and continued his sweeps. Having run out of patience, last month Judge Snow, a George W. Bush appointee, ordered Arpaio and several key deputies to appear at this week's four-day contempt hearing.

Immediately after the judge announced the hearing, Sheriff Arpaio tried to buy his way out of the mess—admitting his guilt and promising to donate $100,000 to a civil rights organization if the judge would cancel the contempt hearing. Judge Snow said no and the proceedings began yesterday; he will decide if Arpaio and four key deputies are guilty of civil contempt or perhaps whether the case should move to a criminal phase.    

The hearing's first day was explosive, and not in a good way for the sheriff. First, his lead attorney resigned, stating a conflict of interest since he also works for Maricopa County.

Tom Liddy, one of Arpaio's attorneys, abruptly quit, citing a conflict of interest and saying he was "filing an application to withdraw from the case."
Another long-time Arpaio attorney, Tim Casey, had jumped ship back in November, leaving only one of the original three-person legal team. The worst turn for Sheriff Arpaio, however, was the testimony of two former deputies, who essentially said the sheriff willfully ignored Judge Snow's orders. "Willful" is key here, since it would lead to a criminal trial.
Sgt. Brett Palmer testified Arpaio's immigration tactics were driven by public relations and media attention, and never complied with court orders to stop Arpaio's highly publicized immigration roundups.
ACLU attorney Cecilia Wang said the sheriff ordered Palmer to detain immigrants, even though there was no cause, so he could "come and do a press conference." What a surprise, Sheriff Arpaio seeks the cameras! Another former deputy corroborated Palmer's testimony.
Another of the sheriff's top brass, retired Executive Chief Brian Sands, testified he made several suggestions as to how the sheriff's office should comply with the court orders, all of which he said the sheriff ignored.
According to the Arizona Republic, the two "statements were the strongest support yet for claims that Arpaio's failure to abide by Snow's orders were deliberate." And that was Day One—better than any soap on TV. It looks like Sheriff Arpaio will take the stand today or tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Well, the hearing took a strange turn today. On the stand Wednesday and Thursday, Sheriff Arpaio did pretty much what everyone expected: admitted his guilt, apologized for defying Judge Murray Snow's orders, and blamed underlings for his conduct. But then, toward the end of his testimony, the sheriff said this:

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio dropped a bombshell in court Thursday when he said his former lawyer had hired a private investigator to look into the wife of the federal judge presiding over a contempt of court case against the sheriff.
We've always known Joe Arpaio is a vindictive official—often investigating, indicting or otherwise harassing politicians, activists and others who object to his police state tactics. Now this! The judge's wife no less. Pass the popcorn.
Reposted from Desert Rose by Azazello

I have not seen this discussed here. Earlier in the week, a video was released showing a Marana, AZ Policeman accelerating his car and slamming into a man carrying a rifle. This man had been on a crime spree, and had stolen the rifle from a nearby Wal-Mart.  He also was a suspect in other crimes in Tucson,  The suspect had aimed the gun at his own head several times, and once at the police car.

The video shows a policeman in another car following the man and attempting to get him to drop the gun, when the second car suddenly appears and runs the man over.

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Wed Apr 15, 2015 at 09:36 AM PDT

Cops run over suspect at 50MPH

by gjohnsit

Reposted from gjohnsit by sneakers563

 Granted, the guy needed to be arrested. He had earlier robbed a 7-11 while dressed only in his underwear. He then set fire to a church. He had threatened suicide several times.
   Clearly he was mentally disturbed.

 But please explain to me what police department has rules for using their car as a deadly weapon. Especially when we wasn't pointing his weapon at anyone, and no one was in danger at the moment.

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Reposted from sneakers563 by sneakers563

Raul Hector Castro, a great Democrat, Arizona's only Hispanic governor, and an American ambassador to three countries, died Friday in his sleep in San Diego, where he was in hospice care. He was 98.

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Tue Apr 07, 2015 at 08:04 PM PDT

Rahm Emmanuel wins again?

by Desert Rose

Reposted from Desert Rose by Desert Rose

So what's up with this? Why no diaries on Rahm DINO who had to run in a runoff because he couldn't get enough votes to win outright.  

Then Rahm runs against a progressive and slanders him as an unqualified (Mexican/) saying Garcia can't steal pensions correctly,.

Then RAHM WINS AGAIN in a major American City.

Tell me again where and how progressives influence the party?


Mon Apr 06, 2015 at 11:18 PM PDT

McCain: I'm running

by Mother Mags

Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Mother Mags
US Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage after shaking hands with Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at H
Off and running
Many people believed Arizona Senator John McCain would run again for his senate seat in 2016, by which time he'd be 80. Their belief was confirmed today when the senator told the Arizona Republic that he'll announce tomorrow.
Veteran U.S. Sen. John McCain will announce Tuesday that he will seek a sixth term in 2016. McCain, R-Ariz., plans to officially declare his bid for re-election during a speech before the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Arizona Biltmore resort in central Phoenix.
The senator is certain to be challenged from the vocal tea party wing of the Arizona GOP—the goonballs who want a war at the border, who would ban gay everything if empowered, who still speak birther, who'd prefer mandatory church attendance. In the 2010 GOP primary McCain was challenged from the looney right by former congressman, TV/radio personality and Foghorn Leghorn impersonator JD Hayworth. His nativist campaign forced the senator, who used to embrace immigration reform, into making that "Build the Dang Fence" ad, reflecting a shift toward militia craziness on border issues.

But the nutters still think McCain is too moderate, believing his more extremist language is just electioneering, not core belief. It's still pretty much 24/7 McCain bashing at the far-right local blogs. Last year outgoing chair of the Maricopa Republican Party A.J. LaFaro, who's a Joe Arpaio ally and crackpot critic of Sen. McCain, called the rift between his hard right pinheads and McCain "one of the bloodiest political civil wars." It hasn't gotten better since LaFaro said that more than a year ago.

One name that's surfaced in Oz is Republican state Sen. Kelli Ward from Lake Havasu City, home of the London Bridge, but that's another diary. She certainly meets the NRA and Christian right's qualifications. When that tax cheat Cliven Bundy was all over Fox News, Sen. Ward and a few other Arizona pols drove up to get their pictures taken with the old Nevada coot, and talk about land-grabbing Nazis in DC. Sen. Ward gave a speech there that was covered by the local media—more bellyaching about government control, for stuff like driving. Yeah, she said that: no driving laws. Sen. Ward and the others posted those Bundy photos on their websites, until the criminal rancher explained what he knew about the Negro. The Ward-Bundy pictures vanished.

Heck, if she found and used those photos, that would probably earn her points with a lot of the Arizona GOP. But their clown car will soon fill with other candidates; we are not deficient in bible-thumping border hawks who hate Obama. It'll be interesting to see who the Koch Boys sponsor. Their dark money certainly influenced the governor's race, and if, in the senate primary, they threw a lot of cash at a winger like Rep. Matt Salmon, who said he's considering, it could be fun to watch.

They'll all wink-wink about Sen. McCain's age without mentioning it directly, although he confronted running at 80 head-on:

He shrugged off questions about his age, saying his health "is excellent" and noting that his mother is 103 years old and "doing fine." ... "I would be glad to show somebody my daily schedule, both here and in Washington," McCain said.
So, is he telling us he's going to be around another 23 years? Heck, at 80 he's a schoolboy compared to Sheriff Arpaio, who'll be 84 when he runs next year. And he is running, with a big fat war chest. And a crapload of lawsuits.
Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Mother Mags
Teaser panel for Jen Sorensen comic on plastic bags.
Sorry Arizona cities, no passing laws your citizens want
Chances are, if you live in an urban area in a big rural state, you might not be represented by your legislature. That's been apparent watching Indiana, where two of the largest cities, Indianapolis and Bloomington, are fairly progressive—one the capital, the other a cool college town. They tend to elect Democrats to the legislature and Congress, and both passed same-sex anti-discrimination measures. But then the state legislature and governor enact a POS like the Religious Freedom Act. Go figure.

It's a similar story here in Arizona. Many people in Tucson, downtown Phoenix, Tempe or Flagstaff don't share the values of the legislature, which passes some of the most hateful and asinine shit in the nation. They've shifted into a fifth gear of insanity with Gov. Ducey in the driver's seat: deeper cuts to education and social programs, more abortion restrictions, a larger role for the Christian right, voter suppression bills, giveaways to the wealthy and corporations, assaults on workers' rights.

In other words, an E-ticket ride at Kochworld. Documented: Dirty Koch money did dirty Ducey deeds, with his knowledge, after he was elected. It wasn't just that their money shaped the election, it's that their crackpot influence remains in the legislature and governor's office.  

Money goes after local laws over the fold.

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Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Mother Mags
Three grandmothers trying marijuana
The enemy.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio isn't the only Maricopa County official who regularly makes an arrogant ass of himself; the County Attorney's office has done a pretty good job of it too. Andrew Thomas was the County Attorney who helped Arpaio erect his police state, giving legal cover to the sheriff's most discriminatory and vindictive practices. But then Thomas was disbarred for being such an overzealous, unethical, bigoted dickhead. He resigned in 2010 to run for attorney general but his racism in the name of Christ was even too much for Arizona's Republicans, and he lost in the primary.

After Thomas resigned to run for AG, Bill Montgomery won the County Attorney seat in a special election, even though former Republicans who held the office endorsed the Democrat. It's no wonder: Montgomery is another Christian fundy who's as looney as the rightwing zealots at the legislature. Remember Arizona's version of the Indiana LGBT discrimination bill that Gov. Brewer vetoed last year? Montgomery not only endorsed it but testified at the legislature in support of the vile POS.

Montgomery shifts his ugly attack to veterans over the orange cloud.

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Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Mother Mags
Arizona state flag
Shut up or we'll shut you up!
Since 2008, Arizona has cut K-12 and university budgets more than just about every other state, to the point we now spend, in the public school classroom, roughly 70 percent of the national average per pupil: $7,382 in Arizona vs. $10,667 nationwide, one of the lowest rates in the country. For higher ed we're even worse, number 50 in per student spending.

Republicans like to say "education is not about the money," and that may be true to a point; but when you get down to the marrow, it is about the frickin' money, and the results here are predictable. For K-12 Arizona consistently ranks 40th or lower in nearly every performance category—graduation rates, teacher training, classroom spending, test results, and college and job preparation. The poor performance numbers ripple out into society at large, since we're not attracting high-value industries that demand an educated workforce.

In addition to reduced state funding, some K-12 schools find themselves in districts that include retirement havens, where residents historically turn out in droves to vote down budget overrides, the argument being, "I put my child through school in Michigan, why should I pay here?" Twelve of 36 school bond elections failed in November, so a district like Dysart, which has the misfortune of being near Sun City, had to lay off 143 teachers. Mind-boggingly, the dunderheads who voted against the override because they have no children here don't see why it benefits them to have good schools in the community—and don't get the meaning of "citizen."

For public education, the one-two punch of less state funding and failed budget overrides, in the face of increasing student populations, means districts are barely hanging on. Combine that with the legislature's giveaways to charter schools, and the GOP's goal is all too clear: privatized education. Also, the constant and very deep cuts to higher ed, including Arizona State, the largest university in the nation, have resulted in higher tuitions and increased corporate funding—making college less affordable to all but the wealthy and giving private industry more leverage in curriculum design.

More people are speaking out, many of them educators. I mean, really, what are they supposed to say when their profession is attacked and their budgets are dismantled year after year? "Thank you sir, stick it to us again!" Are responsible university presidents and district superintendents not supposed to inform the community about the effects of the legislature's dick moves? But now any such criticism or perhaps even discussion is about to be outlawed.

Head below the fold for more on this story.

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Reposted from Maggie's Farm by Mother Mags
Arizona's GOP: Who cares if the procedure is unproven? Doctors must tell women about it
Let's say you have a stomachache and go to the doctor, but a new state rule mandates that your physician must tell you about an unproven procedure involving monkey dung and turnip juice. Hey, a guy in Malaysia says it works! For what medical procedure are doctors required to do something like this—tell you about unproven, experimental treatments? Well, we have one.

That's the substance of SB 1318 in Arizona, which passed the legislature yesterday and immediately landed on Gov. Doug Ducey's desk. He's been such a suck-up to Cathi Herrod and her far-right Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), which has spearheaded at least 30 anti-abortion measures here, that it's unlikely the former ice cream businessman will veto the bill.

UPDATE: Ducey did sign the bill on March 30. Herrod called it "a good day for Arizona women."

SB 1318 started out bad enough, as a measure prohibiting private insurers from offering abortion coverage to patients who signed up on the federal exchange. But it became even more odious when an amendment was slipped in that requires physicians to tell women about an unproven procedure that might reverse the effects of the abortion pill. The bill also directs the Arizona Department of Health Services to list the experimental and highly controversial practice on its website.

Worse and worser over the bump.

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