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Friday, November 18, 2016

What Will We Tell the School Children?

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 5:15 PM

COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA.ORG
  • Courtesy of wikimedia.org
How should teachers deal with the Trump presidency in their classrooms? Tough question. Genuinely tough question. The campaign was a hard enough call in the classroom, what with its graphic accusations of Trump's history of sexual predation and the allegation that Hillary should be spending time in jail, not in the White House. But now the election is over. Trump is president. How should teachers discuss the president elect in class?

Before delving into the present, I want to take a look at a classroom controversy during Obama's first year. It came in September, 2009, when Obama planned to give a back-to-school talk to the nation's children. The first President Bush delivered a similar talk in 1991. Before him, in 1988, Reagan did the same. No major fuss was raised about either event, accusing those presidents of trying to brainwash impressionable children with partisan speechifying. But the anti-Obama scream machine cranked its outrage up to eleven, calling the speech part of Obama's agenda to corrupt the youth of America, as if classrooms across the country were giving the Grand Wizard of the KKK an hour to poison innocent minds. The topic dominated the news for days. The result was, some schools refused to air the speech, others gave teachers the option, and many said students could only watch if they had a permission slip from their parents, like a speech from Obama was the equivalent of an R-rated movie.

So anyone who says teachers and everyone else should simply say Trump is our president and he represents all of us needs to remember Obama's back-to-school speech and the never-ending Tea Party outrage directed at our current president. To tell people to cool it about Trump is to say, "We all need to respect the president, starting . . . NOW."

Some teachers believe, as I do, that Trump and what he represents has the potential for being the worst thing that's happened to this country in our lifetime. Others are overjoyed with the election results. I don't think teachers should walk into the classroom and launch into diatribes about their opinions on the election. But the Trump presidency and its ramifications is a fit subject for spirited, even controversial classroom discussion.

If there are instances of bullying at school related to the agenda Trump pushed during his campaign, those issues deserve a complete, open airing. If some students seeing Hispanic students start chanting, "Build a wall. Build a wall," if some students seeing students of Middle Eastern dissent shout, "Terrorist, get out of my country!" those are direct results of the campaign. Schools should condemn those students' actions and punish them for their behavior, but schools are also justified, I would say almost duty bound educationally, to relate the incidents back to Trump's rallies which encouraged that kind of behavior. To do anything less would be to pretend our president elect never said what, in fact, he said over and over.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

T.H.R.E.A.T. Watch: Lock Harry Reid Up! Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 1:30 PM

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A post-election shot across the bow of the First Amendment.

Kellyanne Conway:
"I find Harry Reid's public comments and insults about Donald Trump and other Republicans to be beyond the pale. . . . And he should be very careful about characterizing somebody in a legal sense. He thinks — he thinks he's just being some kind of political pundit there, but I would say be very careful about the way you characterize it." [boldface added for emphasis]
Throughout the campaign, Trump claimed Hillary should be in jail, that if he were elected, he would appoint a special prosecutor to go after "crooked Hillary." Gleeful crowds responded, "Lock her up! Lock her up!" Trump called the women who accused him of sexual assault liars and threatened to sue them. His antagonism toward the media led him to say he would "open up our libel laws" so the press could be sued for what is now legally protected speech. But all that was before the election, when Trump was only a candidate. It was just idle talk—vicious, dangerous, but idle talk.

The election is over, and Trump is president-elect. Nothing he or his closest advisors says is idle talk anymore. Kellyanne Conway made the statement above five days after the election, so it means something. It was Conway letting everyone know that outgoing Senate minority leader Harry Reid better be damn careful about the way he criticizes Trump, or else. Of course, she wasn't just addressing her comment to Reid. She was telling everyone who was listening, politician, pundit or private citizen, to watch what they say about Trump, or his administration just might come after them with the full force of the U.S. government.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Anti-Trump Rally at UA

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Part of the growing crowd a few minutes before the rally began. - DAVID SAFIER
  • David Safier
  • Part of the growing crowd a few minutes before the rally began.

I'm a day late writing about the rally against Trump on the UA Mall Monday night, and four decades too old to be an age-appropriate witness to the student-organized, student-led and student-centered gathering, but that won't stop me from saying a few words about the event which, for me, ranged from positive to inspiring.

I arrived around 4:30pm when there were a few dozen people milling around on the grass and a handful of organizers setting up the stage. By the time the rally began at 5, the numbers had grown to a few hundred. I was near the front, so I couldn't get an accurate read on the size of the crowd, except that I saw the arc of bodies surrounding the front of the stage swelling as the event progressed. The Star, which isn't known for exaggerating numbers at events, wrote that there were thousands of people. I'd say that's about right.

The vast majority of the crowd was college-aged. There was nothing "professional" about the organizers or the crowd, contrary to the accusation from Trump that the people on the streets since he was elected have been "professional" protesters. Seven UA students planned the event and got all the necessary permissions from the university, and the crowd was dominated by young-adult faces with younger and older folks mixed in. I'm guessing many of the participants haven't attended a whole lot of protests before this rally.

The rally on the Mall lasted two hours before the crowd headed to Catalina Park. Mostly, people took turns talking onstage. That's a long time to listen to speaker after speaker, time enough for people to get bored and drift away. But the crowd stayed, and grew. I was surprised to feel its energy increase with each speaker.

The early speakers embodied the youthful idealism of Love, Peace and Righteous Pain and Anger. I enjoyed being in the midst of all that energy—it took me back to my college protest days—but I have to admit I'm too old and jaded to feel like I was a part of it. But as more people came to center stage and spoke, something gripped me which was more important and visceral than a condemnation of Trump and a celebration of the speakers' values. The people who came to center stage one by one or in twos and threes represented a rich tapestry of races, ethnic groups, religions and sexual orientations. If I remember correctly, most of them were female, with straight, white females in the minority. Many spoke of their fears. They felt targeted directly or indirectly by Trump and his followers. They felt unsafe. A country that seemed to be leaning in the direction of tolerance and acceptance over the past eight years was threatening to turn angry and vicious, with Trump and his allies who will soon run the country leading the way.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Trump Human Rights Erosion And Termination Watch (THREAT Watch)

Posted By on Tue, Nov 15, 2016 at 9:00 AM

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I can't just sit by and do nothing. As worried as I am about the fate of this country under a President Trump, I have to do something. Actually, I have to do a number of somethings. The question is, what?

This post is a start. It's the beginning of what I plan as a continuing feature: Trump Human Rights Erosion And Termination Watch. THREAT Watch.

All kinds of terrible things are going to happen with Trump in the White House, a Republican majority in both houses of Congress and a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Taxes and business regulations will favor the rich even more than they do now. Entitlement programs for the poor will be cut dramatically. Comprehensive women's health care which includes abortion will be nonexistent in many parts of the country. Obamacare, Medicare and Social Security will be savaged. The list goes on. We absolutely must fight to limit the damage in all those areas using every legislative, political and people-powered means at our disposal.

But as bad as those changes will be, my worst fears for the country have to do with the loss of human rights and the suppression of dissent. Trump and his allies don't have to pass new laws to persecute minority groups and target enemies. All it takes to create a police state and a climate of fear is an increased use of force against citizens and credible threats directed at the media. A Trump administration can do that on its own. It can make people afraid to congregate, afraid to act, afraid to say and write what they think—even afraid in some cases to come out of their homes.

If we're paying attention, it's not hard to notice when new laws are passed and new court decisions are rendered, but suppression and repression can creep up on us so gradually, we hardly know they're coming until they're here. It's far too easy for us to turn into frogs in a pot of water being brought to a boil. ("Is it getting hot in here?" "No, it's your imagination. Well, yeah, maybe it's getting a little warmer, but nothing we can't handle.") Repression can be targeted against one group while the rest of us look the other way. ("First they came for the immigrants, but I didn't speak up because I wasn't an immigrant. . . .") The media can be badgered into normalizing the administration and its actions by perpetuating false equivalencies and downplaying the dangers of its most dangerous words and deeds.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Republican Clodfelter Moves Ahead in Central Tucson House Race

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 4:24 PM

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Still plenty of ballots left to count, but The Range reported earlier today that Republican Todd Clodfelter was within striking distance of state Rep. Stefanie Mach.

After more ballots were counted today, Clodfelter now leads Mach by 230 votes.

More updates as we get ’em!

Two Close Races Remain Undecided in Pima County

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 10:50 AM

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As usual, there are plenty of ballots left to count in Pima County (thanks to those irresponsible voters who dropped off early ballots at their polling places), so the election ain’t over yet. The unofficial word: There are 60,000 to 70,000 ballots left to sort through.

There are two remarkably close races out there:

• In Tucson’s Legislative District 10, one of the most competitive in the state, just a handful of votes separate the three candidates for two seats in the Arizona House of Representatives. Democrat and Political rookie Kirsten Engle leads the pack with 37,713 votes; Democratic incumbent Rep. Stefanie Mach is in second place with 37,290 votes; and Republican Todd Clodfelter trails her by just 36 votes at 37,254.

• In the Tucson Unified School District race for three seats, incumbent board member Mark Stegeman leads the seven-member pack with 47,480 votes. Coming in second is incumbent board member Kristel Foster, at 44,297. And in third place: Rachael Sedgwick, with 40,907 votes. But Sedgwick is ahead of three-time candidate Betts Putnam-Hildago by just 927 votes, so as the remaining ballots are counted, we could see Putnam-Hildago narrow that gap. One thing is for sure: Incumbent Cam Juarez, who has just 37,006 votes as of this morning, won’t be returning for a second term, which definitely scrambles the current balance of power on the TUSD board.

Check out the Pima County results here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Matt Heinz: 'This Has Been a Very Interesting Night'

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 10:41 PM

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Democrat Matt Heinz just told the remaining Democrats at the Marriott Election Night gathering that he called Congresswoman Martha McSally to concede the race.

"This has been a very interesting night," Heinz told the crowd.

As of the most recent count, McSally was leading with 54 percent of the vote.

Heinz said he hoped that Trump wouldn't win the White House, but if the GOP does hold the White House and Congress, "I know we're going to get through this because America always does."

Meanwhile, Democrat Tom O'Halleran's chances of victory look good, but he has stopped short of declaring victory of Republican Paul Babeu in Congressional District 1.

"Tonight demonstrated that Tom's message of bringing people together to solve problems has resonated with voters across Arizona's First Congressional District," said O'Halleran campaign manager Jacob Becklund. "We are confident that when all the votes are counted Tom's message will have prevailed."

Henderson 'Did the Work'

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 10:40 PM

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Republican candidate for State Representative of District 9 Ana Henderson believes that her campaign got the job done.

"I did the work." said Henderson "People deserve respect and they deserve representation. That's a two way conversation."

As of now, Henderson is trailing her opponents and Democrats Randall Friese and Pamela Hannley.
Hannley is in the led with 35,974 votes, Friese with 31,714 votes and Henderson with 25,790 votes.

"I feel like I was very competitive," said Henderson when asked about her opponents campaigns. " but this wasn't a race against them, it was a race for the people."

The Tucson Weekly endorsed Randall Friese and Pamela Hannley.

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