Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday at the DNC

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 5:00 PM

  • There are some inherent difficulties in covering this type of event which I’ve had to learn about the hard way. The physical space itself presents a huge challenge. There are several miles between the protests downtown and the Wells Fargo Arena, site of the convention proper and additional daily protesters numbering in the thousands. The physical separation is compounded by the paucity of available parking spaces and extreme downtown congestion. Which is all a way of saying this entire undertaking is an eye-opening experience with regards to what journalists accomplish with limited resources and only so many hours in a day and impatient editors and troll infested comment sections. Reporting is not easy, and the people who practice the art well should be applauded, not penned up in the back of a rally and ridiculed. Yes, it all comes back to Donald Trump. No, I am not including myself in the group of people to applaud. I clearly have no idea what I’m doing.

  • Downtown Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon saw a great deal of energy being expended by those deeply opposed to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Many people I talked to yesterday were offended by the behavior of the Democratic National Committee. Fair enough: the DNC acted rather childishly and made some silly remarks during their email game of insider baseball. Perhaps more energy should be expended on investigating the possibility that Russia is attempting to decide the outcome of a US Presidential election and Donald Trump’s financial ties to Vladimir Putin and his council of oligarchs. This Russian connection to the DNC email leak story is being reported by outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times. Surely this is the story, not the election meddling of Debbie Wasserman-Schulz. There is absolutely no question that if this story was about Hillary Clinton and her ties to the Russian government, all hell would break loose for her campaign. Donald Trump has a remarkable ability to skirt by untouched even as he leaves scorched earth in the rearview mirror. The issue of the Russians may prove to be the end of the road for his lightly scrutinized sordid past and present dealings.

  • Wednesday has been incredibly tranquil compared to the first two days of the DNC. There are very few protesters out in the downtown area. The reasons for this probably have quite a bit to do with the energy of pro-Bernie supporters. Their fervor has been dampened considerably by events inside the convention. Hillary has the nomination, and Bernie encouraged a simple roll call vote to get the thing done. All of this feels like an ending to the largest protests, but Thursday may prove differently. As of now, there are no major crowds downtown. Sporadic protests and marches, individuals showing dissent or assent for various issues and candidates, but nothing in the way of mass demonstrations. Thursday will prove an interesting coda to the convention season. 
  • All of this placidity downtown led Jimi and I to make our way to Osage street in west Philadelphia, site of the firebombing of the MOVE compound by the city of Philadelphia in 1985. MOVE is a black liberation group founded by John Africa in 1972. The group is known for communal living and actions taken to protest and combat systemic racism within city government. In 1978 a standoff occurred between MOVE and city police which led to the death of an officer and the imprisonment of nine members of the group. By 1985, tension between MOVE and various city officials and departments reached some kind of tipping point. A standoff developed between John Africa and his followers and the leadership of the city, including Mayor W. Wilson Goode, who declared the group a terrorist organization and ordered the police to end the standoff. 
  • The Philadelphia Police Department procured liquid gel C4 explosive from the FBI, flew a helicopter above the MOVE compound on Osage Avenue, and firebombed the building. The city then stood by as the fire spread from 6221 Osage to surrounding houses. The firebombing by the city of Philadelphia consumed 65 houses completely. Eleven people died as a result of the firebombing and subsequent inferno, including MOVE leader John Africa, five other adults, and five children. I’ll be releasing a video of our trip to Osage Avenue later today. Even now there are numerous abandoned and boarded over houses up and down the block. We spoke to current residents who claimed to have lived on the block at the time of the bombing. Which is all to confirm a great truth laid out by William Faulkner a century ago: “The past is never dead. It's not even past.”

Pokémon Go in the Gardens (Plus a Plant Sale!)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 4:21 PM

Attention all Pokémon Go players: Head over to the Tohono Chul Park to get access to 13 poké stops and a gym. 

The park is now offering players half off admission, all you have to do is show them the app on your phone, provide your handle and you can get access to the deal. 

Asking only that players stay hydrated, safe and aware of their surroundings—especially with cacti and wildlife along the trails—the park only wants to help players catch them all responsibly. 

Normal admission prices are as follows:
Member: Free
Student with ID: $5
Adults: $10
Children 5-12: $3
Children under 5: Free
Active Military: $5

Head over to Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte, to catch this deal, which is being offered though Aug. 31. 

If you've got some time for Pokémon Go hunting this weekend, the deal gets sweeter: This Friday, July 29 from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, July 30 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. the park is hosting it's annual Monsoon Madness Plant Sale. Admission fees are waived during this time, so go enjoy the desert and pick up some plants while you're hunting for a Charizard.

For more information on specific times visit or call 742-6455. 

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Suppport Tucson Students' by Donating School Supplies

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Backpacks, markers, glue sticks, oh my! Help the kids of Tucson start the school year off right, prepared with supplies by donating school essentials to the La Escuelita South Tucson back to school supply drive.

  • WikiMedia

Bring school supplies to help students, donate anything from pencils to paper, you can even bring a backpack full of school supplies if you're feeling generous. 

The UA Museum of Art and the UA Norton School of Family and Consumer Science are supporting the drive by acting as drop off sites for the donations. 

You have until Tuesday, Aug. 2 to drop off donations at the UA Museum of Art (1031 N. Olive Rd) or the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences (650 N. Park Ave.)  

Have items that need to be picked up? Email 

Don't worry if you find more school supplies after that date: The Tucson Desert Art Museum's supply drive starts the next day and continues through Sept. 30. 

The Tucson Desert Art Museum is even offering a discounted admission to anyone who donates supplies.  

More information about the La Escuelita drive and the Tucson Desert Art Museum drive is available online.

  • Flickr/StevenDePolo

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Tucson Sentinel Unearths Treasure Trove of Ally Miller's Emails That Demonstrate She's a Big Fat Liar

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 1:38 PM

Ally Miller investigating potholes in Marana - COURTESY ARIZONA DAILY INDEPENDENT
  • Courtesy Arizona Daily Independent
  • Ally Miller investigating potholes in Marana
Dylan Smith at the Tucson Sentinel has got his hands on a whole bunch of the emails that Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller keeps insisting do not exist—and he presents a damning case of an elected official driven by paranoia and a weird rage. The central takeaways:

The hundreds of documents provided, along with those previously released by former staff, show that:

Miller has continued her longstanding practice of routinely using personal emails, Facebook and text messages to direct her staff.

Miller has directed her employees to avoid using county email accounts or computers to carry out many of their duties.

Miller scripts her radio appearances, working with a host to plot out precise language for questions and answers.

Miller's staffers have reviewed drafts of purportedly "independent" blog posts prior to their being published.

Miller worked with the Goldwater Institute to prompt a lawsuit over the county's World View deal, despite publicly denying doing so.
It's easy to see why Miller did not want to turn over the emails, as they reveal Miller to be a lying looney-toon who thinks Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has planted bugs in her walls. (Also, she evidently doesn't like me very much, probably because I was warning voters about her bullshit back when she was running for office in 2012 and continued writing stories like this about her.)

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TUSD Enrollment, 2000 to 2016

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 11:45 AM

A year ago I created a chart showing TUSD's total enrollment from 2000 to 2015, using figures from the page on TUSD's website, School Enrollment by Gender & Ethnicity on Any Day. I've expanded the chart to include 2016 figures.

Like last year, I used the enrollment numbers from the 175th day, which seem to have fewer random ups and downs than other school days I looked at. On this year's chart, I expanded the width of the bars for the last six years so they could be seen more easily.

Here's the new chart.

The chart shows a decline in enrollment from 2000 to 2016 from 61,280 to 47,661, a loss of 13,619 students. But it also shows the rate of loss of students changed over the years. From 2000 to the 2006-7 school year, the district lost an average of 350 students a year. Starting in 2007 and continuing through the 2011-12 school year, the average losses more than quadrupled, to 1,600 a year. After that, the rate slowed, then increased, then slowed again. TUSD lost 417 students during the most recent school year, which is significantly lower than any loss in the previous eight years.

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Cinema Clips: Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 10:30 AM

While it’s been over twenty years since the great Frank Zappa left the planet, there’s been surprisingly little in the media about his life and times.

Director Thorsten Schutte finds a nice way of getting Frank back in the public eye, through a solid documentary featuring Zappa interviews, concert footage and appearances. Like The Beatles Anthology before it, Eat That Question tells the artist’s story by using his own words.

I’m a big fan, so I’ve seen some of the footage Schutte utilizes, like Zappa playing bicycle with Steve Allen and Frank’s final interview before dying from cancer. Thankfully, Schutte (with help from the Zappa Family Trust) has unearthed a lot of rare footage, footage even the most ardent fan might not be familiar with.

This isn’t a concert film, but it does have some great concert moments, enough so that fans of his music will be satisfied. The fact that Zappa was a brilliant philosopher and extremely wise man was sometimes lost in the controversy he could cause with his lyrics, especially in the late seventies.

Schutte’s film gives us plenty of Zappa talking, and he’s simply one of the most engaging speakers who ever walked the planet. It’s also quite the kick to see this gathering of interviews and interviewees, some of whom Frank didn’t exactly hit it off with. If he didn’t like the interviewer, he still made the session interesting. I found myself missing the man very much when the movie was over. 

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

American Babylon: A Conversation with Green Party Candidate Jill Stein

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 3:04 PM

Talking with Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein at the Bernie Or Bust The DNC rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for Democratic Party Convention—American Babylon asks the candidate, "Is your new campaign slogan 'Bernie or Bust?"

Sharing helps, sharing is love, share, or don't, as long as you share...with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and even Donald J. Trump.

Get Ready for Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 10:00 AM

  • Bryan Sanders
A few thoughts going into Tuesday at the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia:

  • There is a big difference in the geographic layout of the two conventions. In Cleveland, everything was right downtown. The convention itself was less than a mile walk from Public Square, where most protest and democratic activity was located over the four days. In Philadelphia, the main protest activity is going on downtown near Penn Station and City Hall, with the actual convention itself going on nearly five miles up Broad Street inside the relative sterility of Wells Fargo Arena. There are protesters at the arena, but they are separated from all convention activity by a well-constructed metal wall and a distance of a few football fields. There is no realistic opportunity to voice grievances, which is kinda the whole point of protesting and exercising one's democratic/free speech rights.

  • Protests will continue. A few animating issues are present everywhere you look: "The system is rigged" and #NOTPP and #DWS and "Lock Her Up." Anti-Trans Pacific Partnership sentiment runs rampant, the image of the letters TPP slashed out in a circle is ever present. Whatever the reality of TPP, the issue is proving to be the wedge with which Trump is attempting to peel off Bernie supporters. For those who are incredulous that Bernie supporters would or could ever become Trump voters, you really should come down and talk to people in Philly right now. I met three dudes outside Wells Fargo Arena who would blow your mind with their "We support Bernie but we want to build the wall" talk. The point being that these protesters and eventual voters are deeply motivated to get involved by specific issues, not specific candidates. Which is to say that many of Bernie's most ardent supporters have abandoned Bernie for suggesting they should throw themselves behind Hillary's campaign. It is complicated

  • "Lock Her Up" sentiment every bit as strong here in Philadelphia as it was in Cleveland. Many sport t-shirts and signs with some turn on the phrase. When pressed, a variety of offenses are named, none of them criminal according to the FBI Director James Comey and others. The question of those in power playing by different rules lingers over all of this. The day started out as a slow-motion debacle, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz booed and humiliated at her own delegation's meeting, then stepping down but immediately accepting some kind of functionary role in the Clinton campaign. The protesters were animated by all of this, to be sure, and were not interested in anything anyone pro-Hillary had to say. I witnessed numerous arguments along the line of "The system is corrupt and she's a big part of it. The emails prove they were actively trying to bring down Bernie from the get go" and the response: "Hillary's a flawed human being like all of us. So what? Do you want Trump?" 

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Staff Pick

Monsoon Madness

Tohono Chul hosts local growers and nationally-renowned plant experts with their specially-selected inventory. Buy the weird and… More

@ Tohono Chul Park July 29-30, 3-7 p.m. and July 30, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. 7366 N. Paseo del Norte.

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Popular Content

  1. Tucson Sentinel Unearths Treasure Trove of Ally Miller's Emails That Demonstrate She's a Big Fat Liar (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. TUSD Enrollment, 2000 to 2016 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Wednesday at the DNC (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Pokémon Go in the Gardens (Plus a Plant Sale!) (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Bill (and Hillary) Clinton's For-Profit College Problem (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

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