Slate is running excerpts from Christopher Hitchens' new book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, which--as the title suggests--explores the heretical notion that God is a figment of man's imagination. As you'd expect from Hitch, there's not a whole lot of respect for people's beliefs.
All the excerpts are entertaining, but the third one, which examines the origins of the Mormon religion, might be of particular interest to those of us in the Southwest.
So, there's this new little non-chain coffee shop that I've come to like. It's kinda close to my house, and it has free wi-fi, so I have taken to hanging out there while copy editing and whatnot on the weekends.
I noticed that this coffee shop doesn't have a Weekly rack, although it does have a rack for the dailies there. Since I feel that every good Tucson coffee house should have the Weekly, I let Laura the Circulation Manager know; she contacted the management to inquire about getting a Weekly rack in there.
And you know what? They said no, because the Weekly has "objectionable content."
Let me emphasize that this coffee house is completely within its rights to say no to us. And should this coffee shop ever submit an events listing or merit any coverage from us, we will obviously not hold it against them; that's they way we roll. And for that reason, I will not mention the business name here.
But I personally won't be giving them my business anymore, which sucks. 'Cause I really was starting to like the place.
Here are a few events that were received too late for inclusion in our print issue:
Cottonwood Elementary School
9950 E. Rees Loop
Annual Carnival. Enjoy games, prizes, inflatables, food and entertainment. A silent auction to benefit the student body will be held. Punch cards are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.
Hotel Congress Lobby
311 E. Congress St.
Armory Park Walking Tour. Take the last tour of the season. Explore the architecture of Armory Park and its relationship to the railroad. Conducted by Dave Devine. Bring water and a hat. Wear walking shoes. $5. Call 623-2223 or visit www.tucsonhistoricdepot.org for information.
39 N. Tucson Blvd.
Talking Tough Topics With Teens. Counselor Bob Conway will lead a workshop with topics including goal setting, decision making, sexual health issues and healthy relationships. Free. Call 888-2881 for info.
Pima Air and Space Museum, hangar 4
6000 E. Valencia Road
Astronaut Speaks. NASA astronaut Major General Joe H. Engle, USAF retired, will speak about his career experiences, including his 225 hours in space. $5 payable at the entrance to hangar 4.
In case you missed the mention of this YouTube clip on KVOA News the other night...
The Skinny noted this week that Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi had resigned from the House Intelligence Committee but was hanging onto his other assignments. Between the time we filed that report and it saw print, Renzi had already quit his other committees.
In the meantime, we learned from Paul Charlton, the dismissed U.S. attorney for Arizona, that he'd received a phone call from Renzi's chief of staff inquiring about leaks into an inquiry into Renzi's wheelings and dealings, which were briefly summed up in The Skinny this week. Arizona Democrats--and others--have suggested that Charlton was fired for launching the Renzi investigation, although the Justice Department has come up with several other reasons. We're sure Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is searching his memory for details about the Renzi investigation.
Now both lefty blog Rum, Romanism and Rebellion and righty blog Espresso Pundit are suggesting that Renzi is on his way out altogether. If that's the case, then the voters of District 1 will have a special election to replace him. Given the general mood toward the GOP these days, that could mean another Democratic pick-up in the House--and a Democratic majority of 5-3 in the Arizona House delegation.
County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has released a proposed budget for next year. In light of increasing property values, he proposes cutting back the primary property tax rate, but his more audacious idea is providing even more property tax relief--as long as the Board of Supervisors agree to a new half-cent sales tax, which can be created with a unanimous vote from the supes.
Huck says that the county is too reliant on property taxes.
"Since being appointed county administrator, it has consistently been my judgment that the county's general fund revenues are insufficiently diversified to provide a stable, predictable and efficient tax base for the institution or the community," he bureaucrats in his budget intro. "The county is far too reliant on property tax. Historical circumstances that have developed over the past 13 years within the county have reinforced this opinion and illustrated the critical need for enhanced revenue diversification."
If the supes agree, the sales tax would rise to 6.6 percent in unincorporated Pima County and 8.6 percent inside the Tucson city limits.
Huck points out that all the other counties in Arizona have a half-cent sales tax.
In the past, Huckelberry's half-cent sales tax proposal has been blocked by Republican Supervisor Ray Carroll. We're waiting for Carroll to call us back to see where he stands this year.
Arizona ranks No. 1 when it comes to young people suffering brain damage.
In a recent survey, our state ranked first out of the 12 states surveyed. Dr. Andreas Theodorou, UA professor and chief of pediatric critical care with the UA Department of Pediatrics, says that Arizona has 105 young people per 100,000 who are brain damaged, which blows all of the other surveyed states out of the water. And this number doesn’t even account for all of the brain-damaged youngsters who are unidentified because they suffer milder brain injuries.
Dr. Theodorou thinks, however, that we can all contribute to decreasing this number. By wearing seatbelts, avoiding sports injuries, opting not to drink and drive, and prohibiting young ones from acquiring access to machinery such as ATVs, Dr. Theordorou thinks many of these accidents can be prevented.
In a surprise decision, Sen. John McCain has announced he'll seek the presidency.
McCain's announcement comes one day after a new Cronkite-8 Poll by ASU Prof. Bruce Merrill shows that McCain has slipped from 44 percent to 32 percent among Arizona Republicans. Not exactly good news in your ostenstible home state, but these are early numbers that remain soft because the candidates have not yet begun to fight.
George W. Bush's approval rating has hit a new all-time low of 36 percent. Nearly one-third of voters surveyed say that Bush will be remembered as one of the worst presidents in history.
Just more than half--51 percent--tell pollsters there should be a timetable for leaving Iraq, while 42 percent were opposed to the idea.
On the fourth Friday of every month, the Gardens will be the center of all things Frida… More