Today marks another win for civil equality and humanity.
New Mexico is officially the 17th state plus the District of Columbia to allow same sex marriage. The New Mexico Supreme Court declared it is unconstitutional to deny a marriage license to gay and lesbian couples. There were eight counties issuing marriage licenses before the law was ratified, according to AP.
Former NM Governor Gary Johnson celebrated the news on Twitter:
Just announced: New Mexico Supreme Court upholds #marriageequality. Great news in my home state! http://t.co/AszSXr6Qlp #tlot
— Gov. Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson) December 19, 2013
Utterback Magnet Middle School students were given a letter from principal Cindy Mady last Friday, Dec. 13, to let parents know that the dozens of murals painted throughout the school's hallways "will no longer be present."
Here's a copy of the letter:
"Utterback's halls will be repainted, which means the mural art that has decorated these halls will no longer be present. In preparation for this painting upgrade, action is being taken to memorialize these pieces of Utterback's culture. This week, members from the TUSD Magnet Office will be photographing the murals so they will be permanently remembered. These photographers will be collected into a portfolio and a slide show of the murals will be created."
Will the new murals be painted in their place by current students? A Range source said it's been discussed, but that each mural will have to go through an approval process. However, there's a plan for those photos taken of the murals according to the principal's letter, "eventually the photos of the murals will be framed and mounted and hanging in Utterback's hallways. The slide show will be available for playing in our front on performance nights."
Well, at least it's good to know the school will still have performance nights for dance, choir and drama classes. So, part of the magnet plan isn't only about figuring out how desegregation failed in TUSD's magnet schools all these years, but it's also about upgrading the schools, too? But keep in mind, Utterback is an arts magnet, which means it should be able to roll a little differently than other schools (the theater in the school is a district gem; it really is).
In what is certainly a harrowing experience for anyone in the area, a shootout occurred at the Bella Sirena condominiums this morning, with blog reports stating that a helicopter gunship was seen firing into the complex itself.
Currently, the U.S. Consulate is advising that American citizens in the area shelter in place.
El Imparcial is reporting that the state prosecutor, Carlos Navarro Sugich, has confirmed that four are dead, all "linked to organized crime" from a shootout that involved the Federal Police and the Navy.
UPDATE: If you're fairly proficient with the Spanish language, Lourdes Encinas Moreno, a reporter in Hermosillo, is collecting updates in Storify form.
UPDATE: The death count is now five, according to Sonora's Attorney General.
More information as we get it.
Video taken this morning from a balcony at the Bella Sirena condos in Puerto Penasco while a shootout between federales and narcos took place outside of the complex itself.
(via TucsonScene James)
"My health is not great right now," she tells Rolling Stone. "It's most likely I that I won't be able to make it to New York in April. Travel is very difficult for me."
On last night's AZ Illustrated Politics: State Rep. Bruce Wheeler, former lawmaker Jonathan Paton and attorney Jeff Rogers talked about the federal budget deal that passed the House of Representatives this week, looked ahead to the upcoming legislative session, debated why a push to expand background checks fizzled out this year, weighed the chances of a gas-tax hike, and unpacked the brewing battle between the federal courts and Tucson Unified School District over magnet schools and desegregation programs.
The budget plan cooked up by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) made it through the House of Representatives last night on an 332-94 vote.
The proposal provides some relief from the sequester spending limits and provides a budgetary framework for the next two years. That will prevent some cuts to military and social programs while raising some fees, such as the federal surcharge on airline tickets. (If you're interested in digging into the details, Wonkblog rounds up a whole bunch of coverage here.)
U.S. Reps. Ron Barber (D-CD2) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1), who are both in competitive congressional districts in next year's midterm elections, voted in favor of the budget proposal.
Barber sent out the following statement:
I came to Congress to solve problems for Southern Arizonans and to work with people, even when we disagree. Today I joined Republicans and Democrats to pass a budget and curb the mandatory and irresponsible cuts known as sequestration that have been hurting Southern Arizona families, businesses and our military.
While I don't agree with everything in this bill, this is a critical step to end gridlock in Washington and create certainty for Arizona's economy, Border Patrol agents and their families, educators who teach our children and our national defense and readiness.
When you have a deal, sometimes you have to move fast. And so the House of Representatives will be voting later today on the small-ball budget deal hammered out by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
Here is a breakdown on the deal, which would essentially set a spending plan for the next two years and break the sequester. New York magazine's Jonathan Chait explains why he believes this isn't the beginning of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, but the only deal they could strike—and not a very big one.
Congressman Raul Grijalva blasted the proposed deal when details emerged earlier this week:
Federal employees work every day to inspect our food, deliver Social Security checks and ensure our loved ones arrive safely at airports around the country. Our thanks to them over the past few years has been a series of pay freezes, furloughs and reckless government shutdowns. Federal workers’ pay and pensions should not be on the table and neither should unemployment insurance, which temporarily fills the gap for families during hard times.
I strongly oppose a budget deal that asks federal employees to endure another pay cut, ends an important economic lifeline for out-of-work Americans, and preserves unfair corporate tax giveaways. Congress should pass a budget deal that invests in jobs and the economy. American families should not be hurt in the process.
Southern Arizona's other congressional members, Reps. Ron Barber and Ann Kirkpatrick, have not yet commented on the legislation.
Families sing, listen to a reading of The Polar Express, have pictures taken with Santa in front… More