Former President Bill Clinton warns that the Republicans are going to try to use voter-ID scare tactics and political skullduggery in future elections. He sees these moves as, at the very least, the first step in a slippery slope toward curtailing voter turnout among minorities and lower-income Americans (who generally tend to vote Democratic).
The 24th Amendment of the Constitution outlawed the poll tax (Arizona, Wyoming and Oklahoma were the only states outside the Deep South not to ratify that amendment), and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (backed by a couple of Supreme Court decisions) got the literacy test banned.
However, with the clowns we've got sitting on the high court now (Clarence Thomas can't tell the difference between zero and 700,000), who knows? Maybe they'll bring the literacy test back.
Just in case, with the local elections a few weeks away, here's a practice Tucson literacy test. Don't look at the answers. Don't! Eyes straight ahead!
1. In what decade did Tucson's population grow by 368 percent, from 45,000 to more than 200,000?
2. The zero-point for Tucson (the place where street addresses are separated east-west and north-south) is Stone Avenue and Congress Street. What intersection is closest to the geographic center of the city of Tucson? A) Speedway Boulevard and Campbell Avenue; B) Golf Links and Craycroft roads; C) Grant and Country Club roads.
3. The average daytime temperature in Tucson for the entire year is: A) less than 80 degrees; B) between 80 and 85 degrees; C) between 85 and 90 degrees; D) higher than 90 degrees.
4. Who was the long-time principal of the all-black Dunbar School who has a Tucson Unified School District middle school named for him?
5. Which came first: The first-ever performance by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, or the start of the Great Depression?
6. What future United States president worked as a ranch hand at the J-6 Ranch southeast of Tucson (near Benson)?
7. What Tucson-born actress earned two Golden Globe nominations for her work on a 1960s television series?
8. True or false: Tucson-born Linda Ronstadt's Canciones de Mi Padre is the biggest-selling non-English-language album in United States history.
9. In descending order (largest to smallest), rank these minority groups as a percentage of Tucson's population: A) Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans; B) Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Americans; C) African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans.
10. What famous Tucson neighborhood is named for a man who helped instigate the infamous Camp Grant Massacre of innocent Indian women and children?
11. The average daytime low temperature in Tucson for the entire year is: A) between 50 and 55 degrees; B) between 55 and 60 degrees; C) between 60 and 65 degrees.
12. What are there more of in Tucson: charter high schools, or McDonald's restaurants?
13. Republican bigwig Bruce Ash claims that Tucson has had "40 straight years of uninterrupted Democrat(ic) rule on the Tucson City Council." Is that true?
1. The 1950s.
2. B. My civil-engineer daughter and I argued over this a bit, based on the amoeba-like shape of Tucson. But if you use the basic method, making an "X" by drawing one line from the northwestern-most spot in Tucson to the southeastern-most, and then another in the other direction, those lines cross inside Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. It's because Tucson annexed a lot of land south and east of town in a futile attempt to stop the juggernaut that is Vail.
3. B. 82.5 degrees, to be exact.
4. Morgan Maxwell.
5. Both happened in 1929—the symphony in January, the crash in October.
6. John F. Kennedy (and his brother Joe) worked at the J-6 Ranch, owned by Cornell grad John Speiden.
7. Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie).
8. True. Canciones de Mi Padre is indeed the biggest-selling non-English-language album of all time in the United States, and that includes all that stuff by Tom Waits.
9. C. What's amazing is that the percentage of Native Americans (2.8 percent) is barely ahead of Asian Americans (2.7 percent).
10. Sam Hughes. He was a merchant who prospered from the animosity between whites and Indians and fanned the flames thereof.
11. A. 54.8 degrees.
12. At the moment, charter schools hold a slight edge, but given the shaky nature of the charter-school system (not to mention the popularity of cheeseburgers), that could change from day to day.
13. No. Thirty-nine years ago, there were four Republicans and two Democrats on the council. That alone makes the statement false. There was also an extended period in the late-1970s where it was three Republicans and three Democrats, plus a Republican mayor.