Thursday, December 09, 2010

Another Reason To Like Wildflower Bread Company

They consider "Baby It's Cold Outside" to be Christmas music.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Once Again, It's Arizona Tax Credit Time

It’s time again to remind readers of this humble blog of the whacked-out Arizona tax laws which make it exceedingly easy to make several types of charitable donations--at least for relatively well-off taxpayers. Of course, you should be giving to charity anyway. But in Arizona, we make it really easy even for die-hard libertarians (a euphemism for “the obnoxiously and ideologically cheap”) to act charitably.

Several tax credits let you reduce your state income taxes by the entire amount of your donation. This discussion, as always, assumes you itemize deductions and don’t pay alternative minimum tax (AMT). If so, donate by December 31, then in April, you pay that same amount less in state income taxes by the amount of the donations due to several dollar-for-dollar tax credits. All it costs you is some time (and some stamps for those where you can’t or don’t give online).

First, contributions to “private school tuition organizations” that offer scholarships to private schools qualify for a tax credit for individuals of up to $500 and for married couples up to $1,000. Please consider giving to Schools With Heart Foundation, 1131 E. Highland, Phoenix, AZ 85014 or donate online here. Designate your contribution for The Family School, which (in addition to getting our annual contribution) is the site of our youngest son’s Eagle Scout project; he and his Scout buddies painted the school 3 years ago. Schools With Heart is one of the better PSTOs; it doesn’t let donors earmark for specific children, doesn’t spend money on insiders, and isn’t violating the Internal Revenue Code rules on charitable organizations like numerous Arizona PSTOs. With The Family School, you don’t have to hold your nose when you write your check.

You contribute now, then report your contribution on Form 323 when filing state income taxes in April, getting a full dollar-for-dollar credit up to the cap. But make sure to include these donations as charitable contributions on your federal return to get the full benefit.

Second, this being Arizona, there's a less-generous public school tax credit lets single taxpayers give and get back up to $200, and married taxpayers, up to $400. You write the check directly to the school, not to a PTO or foundation, and report this credit on Arizona Form 322.

Of course, wealthier school districts benefit more from these tax credit donations, so if you want your money to make more of a difference, you should contribute to the Isaac School District, 3348 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85009. You can download the contribution form, or call Sophia L. Flores (602) 455-6774. Your gift is far more significant in a school district with (last time I checked) 90 percent of its students at or below poverty and two-thirds from non-English-speaking homes.

Third, donations to charities which assist low-income residents qualify for another tax credit if you exceed the “baseline” of your charitable contributions for 1996 or the first year you itemized, if later. Lots of Arizona charities qualify for this Form 321 credit (the list for 2010 is here, and you may already have donated to one of these organizations). This particular credit is available up to $200 for single taxpayers and $400 for couples.

But if you haven't made a qualifying donation yet, I serve on the board, and having disclosed that can urge you, without any guilt whatsoever, to contribute to Devereux Arizona and its behavioral health programs. Devereux’s “My Little Stocking” program provides holiday gifts to children in foster and residential programs who otherwise wouldn’t get anything without contributions like yours. You can give gifts at no cost because you’ll pay exactly that much less in state income taxes. Send your check to Devereux Arizona, 11000 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 260, Scottsdale, AZ 85254, or click here to donate to the program. You also can give to Devereux Arizona online and make your qualifying donation that way.

Additional information on these three tax credits, and links to the necessary Arizona tax forms, is available from the Arizona Department of Revenue’s tax credit page. However, the page hasn’t been updated to include two other available Arizona tax credits.

The first of these two “mystery” tax credits is the Arizona Military Family Relief Fund tax credit which, for tax years through 2012 only, allows individual (but not entity) taxpayers to claim $200 for single taxpayers or heads of households, and $400 for married couples filing joint returns, for MFRF donations. To claim the credit, you need a receipt from the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, and to give you a receipt, the ADVS needs your full name, address, and last four digits of your Social Security number. (The SSN numbers are required by law, A.R.S. §41-608.04(F).) The MFRF is also capped at $1 million a year, so you need to give before they reach the ceiling – if they do; as of last weekend, there were about a quarter of the way there. Send your contribution to MFRF, c/o Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, 3839 N. 3rd Street, Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ 85012. The contribution form is here, or you can call ADVS at (602) 263-1837.

The same deal applies as with the other credits; you take the credit on your Arizona return, and make sure you include it in your charitable donations for deduction on Schedule A of your federal return, and the contribution is completely offset by the credit and deduction and costs you nothing.

Then there’s a fifth credit available, from Arizona’s voter-approved but endangered system publicly-financed state elections. This credit may not survive those judicial activists on the U.S. Supreme Court, but you can still write the checks in 2010 and pay less in state taxes in April. (However, it’s not a true dollar-for-dollar credit because contributions are not deductible for federal taxes.) The credit is now $640 for individuals and $1,280 for couples, or up to 20% (yes, that’s one-fifth) of your total state tax liability, whichever is greater. Send your contribution to Citizens Clean Election Fund, 1616 W. Adams, Suite 110, Phoenix, AZ 85007. There are no specific forms for this credit, either for the donation or for your Arizona tax return, where you instead list the credit directly on your Form 140. For more information, the CCEC website offers this page. You can’t designate the contribution for a particular candidate or party; instead, you’re limited just to supporting democracy in general.

So make some donations by December 31 and reduce your state taxes this coming April 15. Yes, it’s a series of bad laws, but you still can use it to do some good. And consider it useful training; learning how to make charitable contributions when they’re free is the first step toward training yourself to make them when they’re not.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Night Analysis

I'll be on KJZZ-FM, our local NPR station, between 10-11:30 pm MST tonight doing election commentary. I'll try not to be too depressing, because (1) as one wag noted, states with laws closing the bars on election day only prohibit the purchase of alcoholic beverages, you can stock up in advance and consume as necessary, and (2) at the state and local level, in 2008 Arizona voted like Utah or Idaho anyway, so this year should be not much change from last cycle.

However, I will advise the 'wingers to watch the "take our country back" talk in Arizona. If some of the tribes start liking that idea, it might not work out so well for all concerned.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Political Crankiness Equivalent of Classic Rock

One day last week our receptionist buzzes me, and says that "some old crank from Tucson" called about the “Vote No on All Propositions” signs; we’re the office for the 10 ballot committees involved. (The reason for 10 committees is a long story, not worth your time because doesn’t set up this joke but rather another one.) She gives me the message, which says that the guy really likes those signs and wants to know if he can get some to put up around Tucson. I then look at the name—it’s former state Sen. John Kromko. “That’s not some old crank from Tucson,” I exclaim. “That’s the ORIGINAL old crank from Tucson.” It’s like getting a message from Eric Clapton saying he liked your playing on that YouTube video somebody sent him.

So when John asked that I distribute this cartoon , of course I’m going to do it. Medical marijuana is 203, not 201, but you get the idea. (Click for larger version to read the text.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Get Your Fracking Early Ballots In Already

This goes especially for our sons. Also, an update on the Scottsdale School Board. The SEA (teachers) made an endorsement over the past week, it just went up on the website; they're endorsing Schaefer and Denny Brown, not Kirby. If I hadn't submitted my ballot already, that would have been enough to switch my preference. UPDATE: Or maybe not, my guru on SUSD matters heard from some still-involved parents she trusts who still prefer Kirby over Brown, so maybe my ballot was filled out correctly after all. Finally, on CAWCD, I couldn't bring myself to vote the straight nihilist ticket; I voted for Frank Fairbanks and Arif Kazmi. What can I say? As a liberal, being irresponsible is just too darn difficult.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2010 General Election Recommendations

It looks like a particularly dispiriting election next month, so forgive me if these recommendations have a somewhat nihilistic air. I’ve had it with people who think photo radar cameras are an outrage to privacy, but asking suspicious-looking Hispanics for their papers answers a moral imperative. I’ve had more than enough of people who oppose socialized medicine because they already have their Medicare. And don’t get me started on people who are upset about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that President Obama supposedly started. As Mencken said, the American people want democracy, and they deserve it -- good and hard. And apparently, that’s what we’ll get.

The only saving grace is that the last of our kids finished with Arizona public schools this year, everybody is healthy, and we actually read economic statistics and know that we’re in the top 1-2% of the US income distribution. Private universities outside the state aren’t dependent on the forethought and wisdom of the Arizona legislature, thankfully and blessedly none of us is under treatment for either chronic or behavioral health issues, we hope to sell our house before global warming makes Arizona as climatologically inhospitable as it is politically, and it’s a fabulous time to be rich in America because nobody pays for what they get, and you're encouraged to whine about what you do pay.

I got a call from a voter, with Medicare coverage for full disability, who opposes health care reform; she got hers, nobody else needs apply. She wants to vote for Prop. 107 because (and this is the only reason she could give) she’s upset that when she shops at J.C. Penney at MetroCenter, they don’t stock what she wants to buy, they’re aiming for a different (read: Hispanic) consumer. Yes, we should abolish affirmative action so she isn’t uncomfortable when clothes shopping. I would have suggested she move back to Ohio -- but then she probably moved to Arizona in the first place because Ohio became too diverse racially for her.

So vote. It may be like pissing in the wind, but boy, does my bladder (and spleen) feel full. To the recommendations:

You don’t need to read me for the big offices, like Congress and the statewide races. The campaigns with which I’ve worked most closely this cycle are Rodney Glassman for US Senate; for the US House, Harry Mitchell in CD-5, Gabrielle Giffords in CD-8, and Jon Hulburd in CD-3; statewide, Terry Goddard for Governor and Felecia Rotellini for Attorney General.

For Corporation Commission, single-shot David Bradley following Jorge Luis Garcia’s death, and hope that Commissioners Kennedy and Newman elect him chair.

Key legislative race: In LD-11 House, single-shot Dr. Eric Meyer, don’t vote for either of the Republicans. For LD-11 Senate, I like Adam Driggs personally, and I really like and respect his father, but Driggs knew he should vote against SB 1070 but couldn’t do the right thing for fear he would lose his primary. He was probably correct on the politics, but you should vote for Rita Dickenson because some things are more important than winning a primary.

Maricopa County Attorney: Go ahead, vote for Kielsky, the libertarian, or write in David Lujan.

Scottsdale School Board: A very surprising election, with very little information or community concern; even the Scottsdale Education Association hasn’t made an endorsement. I’m told Dieter Schaefer carefully weighs his decisions and isn’t a knee-jerker, and Pam Kirby is basically unknown, but seems to have a district-wide perspective. I tend to stay away from candidates who tout their limited geographic interests; I may live in the southern end of the district, but that’s a loser’s game for us, in the long run we’re better off with a board which has the whole district in mind, but you may feel differently about Denny Brown’s approach than I do. So Schaefer and Kirby and hope for the best. Again, I’m hugely glad my kids have graduated already; it’s not a good time to serve on an Arizona school board, so whomever wins, they have my sympathy. Also: vote yes on the SUSD bonds. UPDATE: The SEA finally issued an endorsement, for Schaefer and Brown, which would have changed my opinion, but I've already voted. UPDATE 2: Or maybe not, my trusted guru on all things SUSD is sticking with Schaefer and Kirby, so my ballot might have been completed correctly after all.

Ballot propositions: You would not be doing a bad thing -- indeed, you’d be doing a considerably correct thing -- by voting “NO” on all ten. All but one came from the legislature, so voting yes means encouraging them and thus getting more of the same. The only possible “yes” votes would be for Prop. 110, on State Trust Lands, which is endorsed by key people on all sides of that issue, and Prop. 112, which tweaks the rules for submission of ballot initiatives to make election administration better, but both of those are weak “good government” tea, and not huge problems if they fail.

You also could make an argument for Prop. 111, which creates a lieutenant governor position, and for Prop. 203, medical marijuana, but I’m voting no on both -- although it’s a closer call on 203.

For 111, I found the campaign in favor to be juvenile and puerile, and there are substantive problems in that the Gov and Lt. Gov candidates run separately, in partisan primaries, so there’s no guarantee (and it’s actually unlikely) that the LG would allow continuation of the Gov’s policies. This proposition reminds me of the 1988 change to the state constitution to require a majority to elect a governor, which was passed in hopes of preventing a repeat of the Ev Mecham 3-way plurality election, but which then forced a pointless repeat runoff between Terry Goddard and Fife Symington because of a 3% spoiler third-party candidate. So vote no.

Some people I respect also support Prop. 203, Medical Marijuana, which is better drafted than the California version on their ballot, for what that’s worth. I’m just not seeing it, and I’m voting no, but your mileage may vary.

So just vote no on the propositions -- especially on 302 (putting First Things First money into the Legislature’s hands, are you kidding?) and 301 (same for the Land Conservation Fund, don’t be ridiculous!) as well as 106 (health care -- I have my Medicare, so you should be left to the tender mercies of the insurance companies!), 107 (clothes for white people at Penney’s!), 109 (hunting and fishing trump everything else!), 113 (beat up on the unions even more!), and 111 (no lieutenant governor until the people of Arizona prove they can be trusted electing a governor!) Vote yes, maybe, on 110 (state trust land reform) and 112 (initiative petition clean-up). Flip a coin on 203 (medical marijuana) but I’m voting no.

Judges: No real clunkers in this year’s group; some are obviously better than others, but nobody strikes me as below the standard for retention. If you’re are pressed for time and want to highlight only the top judges, then make sure you take the time to vote for the following:

Court of Appeals: Dan Barker, Pat Irvine

Superior Court: Peter Reinstein, Randall Warner, Sally Schneider, Dawn Bergin, William Brotherton, Gary Donahoe, Bethany Hicks, Douglas Reyes, Samuel Thumma, Jean Hoag, Roger Broadman

That’s 13 judges out of the horde, for whom you should take the time to vote yes.

Central Arizona Project: The toughest thing on the ballot for me this year. The CAP, as you may have heard, is in the middle of a fight where right-wing Republicans are trying to take over the Board. If they elect 4 or 5 (not clear) more, they will have a majority and can bring the full weight of their ideology to bear on the CAP. This possibility has gotten much of the downtown business community, and the local excuse for a newspaper, upset, because ‘wingers tend to micromanage government and have a very short-term, dollars-only attitude toward vital public services. This strikes those groups as very dangerous when it comes to water, but perfectly acceptable when it comes to the US Congress or the legislature.

People I respect, like Grady Gammage, a former member of the CAP Board, see a 'winger takeover as a huge threat to the state. And a number of good people are running, including former Phoenix city manager Frank Fairbanks, who is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. But why wouldn’t the CAP Board be the place to demonstrate whether this low-tax-and-no-spend theory of government actually could work? Why is water sacred, but public education, public health, and behavioral health are perfectly acceptable playgrounds for ideological tax-cutting fervor? If the newspaper’s editorial board wants us to send small-minded bean counters to Washington to govern the entire country, why is staff expertise and light oversight so important when it comes to mere water? It would make much more sense to experiment with ‘winger control on a limited, but important, board than to experiment with the entire state, as would be the result of voting for Jan Brewer for governor.

So I probably should do the right thing, and vote for Frank Fairbanks as well as Arif Kazmi, whom I’ve met at a number of campaign stops this fall, as well as the other “traditional” candidates (Tim Bray, Sid Wilson, and Jim Holway). But I am sorely tempted to vote for Kazmi and the four-member ‘winger slate, to give the downtown business community a good, hard taste of their own medicine. They support this stuff, they should have to live with it. If you’re similarly inclined to heighten the contradictions, the four wackos running for CAP are Bundy, Johnson, Moulton, and Rosado. Mark Lewis isn’t part of the group, but for some reason they find him simpatico. Your call, I still don’t know what I’m going to do. UPDATE: I voted only for Fairbanks and Kazmi.

Thus sayeth your oracle. Go vote, and hope for the best. If you see things otherwise, comments are welcome, I'll try to check and post them daily.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tour de Scottsdale 2010

A training ride, not a race this year, for me; I'm resting on my Nations Tri laurels for the season. I rode with friends, helping the cousin of one, who hadn't ridden longer than 50 miles, make it around the course, stopping at every rest area, plus a flat tire around mile 55. Nice shirt, and this year, bike socks in the goodie bag. No wind, but pretty hot--upper 90's by the finish. Still, a nice day, and 4:37:18 for 70 moderate miles, 56/72 in my age group.

Monday, October 04, 2010

We've Ended Our Subscription, Too

No more of our money for mendacious media morons. How do you say "unfortunate dustup" in Spanish?

From Karen Scates:
Today I canceled my subscription to the Arizona Republic. For more than 40 years I have been a subscriber and also to the Phoenix Gazette until it shut down. I am one of the Neanderthals who likes to read a morning paper, and even though it has become mostly a bird cage liner, I've kept my home delivery.

The editorial endorsing Jan Brewer was the most nauseating column I have ever read. Even excusing the fact that I'm a Democrat or that I work for Terry Goddard and he is my friend, there is no reasonable person with a modicum of education who could embrace their disingenuous and spineless endorsement. To refer to her signing of SB1070 as an "unfortunate dustup" after they have been editorializing against it and to suggest that she has "out performed expectations on a host of fronts" is stretching anyone's imagination. To suggest she has a talent for handling the legislature is insulting and false since they have whipsawed her, along with her lobbying friends, at every turn.

The dumbing down of our education system and nasty political environment is only matched by the questionable journalism and lack of bold leadership we are surrounded by and reinforced by this ridiculous excuse for a newspaper. Our State has become a laughing stock and now Jan Brewer is only matched by the travesty of the morning newspaper.

I believe in consequences for bad behavior (does not include boycotting the state!) and my small protest is to cancel my subscription. Maybe they'll understand lost revenue if nothing else. Maybe you'll feel the same and join me.

My old boss, Mo Udall, used to say, "I'm a man of principle and my first principle is flexibility -- them's my views and if you don't like 'em, I'll change 'em!" I think this is one time he would agree that there's no room for flexibility.

The best "consequence" would be to elect Terry Goddard as Governor. It might be an uphill battle in this insane environment, but let's all double-down and make it happen. Our future depends on it!!
The Arizona Republic: The Newspaper for People Afraid of the Future.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Win An Award!

From the state Republican party, which as always has trouble differentiating between adjectives and nouns. Let me know if the link doesn't work and I'll send you copies of the PDF. FOLLOW-UP: Nobody's contacted me yet to confirm I get an actual award and not just a crummy press release. I'd like to get the schedule set so I can see if our kids could travel back to Phoenix for the presentation.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nation's Triathlon 2010

Olympic distance, with a swim in the Potomac, a bike ride out the Clara Barton and Rock Creek parkways, and a run around the monuments and Tidal Basin. I finished in 2:47:48, which is a new PR, and top 25% of my age group. A very nice day in a steady rain that finally started letting up during the run. Full results here. Scroll down to "Watch Review" for the coolest display of charts, graphs, and a computer simulation of your race, assuming you kept an even pace the entire day in each event. ("Go, Red Dot! Don't let that grey dot pass you!"). And (at least temporarily), some photos plus two official finisher videos here. (And #3236 should learn not to raise her arms and celebrate until after getting to the finish line.)

Plus permanent video of the finish, courtesy of Andy:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

White Guys At Arizona Republic Editorial Board Say Racial Profiling Isn't A Problem

Or at least not their problem. The Republic's position: We are kind of, sort of, in a really quiet way so it doesn't upset the focus groups, wishy-washily against SB 1070, Arizona's Suspicious-Looking Latino Law. Instead, what we're really against are people who are against SB 1070.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's Pat McMahon, So I'll Ignore The Rest Of The Programming On That Awful Station

I will avert my eyes from the otherwise evil doings of the corporate overlords at Bonneville to appear on the Friday, Aug. 20th edition of The McMahon Group. It's the next best thing to getting a Ladmo bag. UPDATE: The show was recorded on Aug. 20, but actually airs at 4 PM MST on Sunday, August 22.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Because We Can Focus On Only One Boogeyman At A Time

So what if the one lasting result of now-enjoined SB 1070 is that we finally get gay marriage in this country because angry white guys are too busy hating on Mexicans to fuss anymore about the gays?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

More Mad Men

Killer line from Episode 4.02: "In a nutshell, it all comes down to what I want versus what's expected of me." Dr. Faye Miller, played by Cara Buono.

Monday, July 26, 2010

9500 Liberty

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix is hosting a free screening of the film, 9500 Liberty, at the church, 4027 E. Lincoln Drive in Paradise Valley. More details, including the trailer for the documentary, here. Roger Ebert's review is here.

The event is free, although contributions are welcome, and the movie will be followed by a panel discussion with the director/producers of the documentary, Annabel Park and Eric Byler, joined by Dale Wiebusch, Legislative Associate for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, and yours truly. I plan on bringing my moderate and emphathetic anger and outrage over SB 1070 to the UU crowd.

Take the ACLU of Arizona Racial Profiling Quiz

Isn't it also against the law to drive over the speed limit? In that case, WHAT PART OF ILLEGAL DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Press Release from President Coppersmith

As in Jeffrey (no relation) Coppersmith, President of the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How Could Something So Wong Feel So White?

Corporation Commission candidate Barry Wong's out-of-right-field idea to have utilities somehow figure out a way to deny service to illegal immigrants. Next, can we force shopping centers to deny parking spaces to illegals so I can park closer to the entrance?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

What's Escalating at the Border Is BS, Not Crime

Sam Seder:

H/t: Atrios.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

More Factually Challenged Stuff

Is it ethical to try to rehabilitate Arizona's image and encourage tourists to visit if it's true that Phoenix is the "kidnapping capital of the world?"
Update: See also.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Don't Bother Me With The Facts!

You have to use the Interwebs to find out this stuff, because our local media hasn't noticed that:
  • According to the FBI crime statistics, incidence of violent crime is down in Arizona over the past two years--dramatically
  • According to Arizona Department of Public Safety statistics, violent crime--murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault--is down for the third consecutive year, down 15% from the 2006 peak and still 12% lower than when DPS started putting the statistics online in 2000
  • That crime statistics in incorporated cities in Maricopa County--Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale--show significant drops, while crime is increasing (along with response times) in unincorporated Maricopa County, the responsibility of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

You should read the whole thing, because Dara Lind, subbing for Matthew Yglesias, has got the statistical goods on this "massive crime wave" BS, but here's the conclusion:

As far as I see it, there are two possibilities here. The first is that Arpaio really has been fighting a "crime wave" committed by a bunch of "criminal aliens" who are deliberately avoiding the border region, hanging out in Maricopa County and taking care to commit their crimes outside city limits. Even if this were plausible, it wouldn’t speak terribly well to the effectiveness of Arpaio’s tactics.

Alternatively, of course, it could be the case that other law-enforcement officials in the state (from the chief of Tucson to the sheriffs of Pima and Santa Cruz Counties) are correct when they warn that Arpaio-like, 1070-like tactics cause crime to increase. Police officers who are forced to prioritize immigration enforcement have less time to investigate violent crime, and less help from immigrant and Latino victims and witnesses when they do. Indeed, as Conor Friedersdorf pointed out a few weeks ago, there’s plenty of evidence that Arpaio’s office has let its attention to public safety slip: the average wait time in Maricopa County for response to 911 calls is ten minutes, and arrest rates have fallen dramatically over the last decade and a half. To recap: more crimes, fewer arrests. What a role model!

It's hard not to conclude that Arizona is engaging in "worst practices"-based governance, that the Crime in Arizona 2010 report will reverse the trends of the last few years and turn the much-hyped "crime wave" into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So: Crime is down. The numbers of illegal immigrants in Arizona is down. The number of illegal border crossings is down. The number of Border Patrol officers is up, significantly. I get otherwise decent liberals believing in bizarre anti-immigrant urban legends. When did everyone start taking crazy pills?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

So How Come

It's apparently necessary to have read all of SB 1070 to oppose it, but it was perfectly acceptable to oppose the Affordable Care Act without having read a single word?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

News from British Columbia

Women coppersmiths, or Coppersmith women. Either way, the headline works.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Flash Opera!

Brindisi (The Drinking Song) from Act I of Verdi's La Traviata. The first performance is at the Central Market in Valencia, Spain, in 2009, then in 2010 at Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market. Philadelphia being the one US city with a large indoor central market and a cool opera company. (Get on the stick, DC!) Lyrics here.



Monday, May 03, 2010

Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon 2010

3:25:13, with a swim of 32:45. After working myself up into a lather, the swim was great, hope to do that again. The bike, not so much. The run was difficult, but when you round the Golden Gate on the return to start heading downhill, and there's La Bridge, the Bay, and you see Alcatraz and think to yourself, "Hey, we just swam that!" it's a pretty glorious day.


And yes, the swim start really is like this:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

The word is "recuse," which apparently means "excuse" or "take a powder on a controversial issue" as in this use of the term:

The new law is controversial even within Arizona. Its critics include the attorney general, Terry Goddard, a Democrat running for governor. Mr. Goddard called the law a “tragic mistake” that “does nothing to make us safer.”

Mr. Goddard, however, has the obligation to defend it in court as the state’s chief lawyer. He said he would probably recuse himself, and enlist Mr. Kobach for the defense, as he did in the case involving the 2007 law.

"Mr. Kobach" is a law professor at University of Missouri-Kansas City, and an author of SB 1070, and an Ashcroft guy who helped, in some small way, to prepare the U.S. Department of Justice for the Alberto Gonzales era. So we elect a Democrat as Attorney General so he can avoid representing the state in this case, and instead turn over the litigation to the guy the wingnuts would have picked if left to their own devices (but with public funds)? That certainly makes me delighted that elections have consequences.

UPDATE: More on Prof. Kobach here. After all, it's well known that it's illegal immigrants who put cars up on blocks in the front yard. Like the entire state of Alaska.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Just Wondering

If there hadn't been a boycott, if the NFL hadn't pulled the 1993 Super Bowl--then today, would Arizona have an official MLK holiday?

UPDATE: The Major League Baseball Players Association connects the dots.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gov. Brewer Signs Immigration Bill

Hey Arizona, No Salsa For You!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Congress to Campus Trip to Vancouver

Here's my article from the spring newsletter of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress regarding my March visit to Simon Fraser University and University of British Columbia.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Legal Self-Promotion

On May 25th, I am lecturing on Land Use Law: Current Issues in Subdivision, Annexation and Zoning for NBI-National Business Institute. The program brochure is available here. My topic is "Analyze the Land Subdivision Process." If you really, really want to know about the legal foundation of the land development process in Arizona, here's your chance.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

El Tour de Phoenix 2010

3:35:22 (gun time only). 386/993 overall, they don't do age group results. I was 4 minutes slower than last year, but still comfortably within the "gold" category, and I averaged 20.1 mph. A good day. No photos yet.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Doug MacEachern is a Plagiarist

Read this. Then read this. Even when he unethically truncates quotes, MacEachern can't do it originally. Apparently, the Arizona Republic has no trouble following the lead of the Weekly Standard and countenances outright lying. We'll see if they're also tolerant of politically-compatible plagiarism.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

For A Frivolous Lawsuit, Don't You Need A Frivolous Lawyer?

So the State of Arizona is broke, but it has enough money to sue to try to allow insurance companies to rescind policies when people get sick, or to take away health insurance from kids. But why would Gov. Brewer be bothering with a responsible attorney like AG Terry Goddard for a political stunt? If you want a stupid, politically-motivated, and ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit, shouldn't you instead call Andrew Thomas?