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The Senate Stretch

Six more years! U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl visited Tucson earlier this week to announce his plans to seek a third term, telling supporters at the Pima Air and Space Museum that he wanted "to continue to put my experience to work for Arizona, and I am now in a position, along with my colleague and friend, John McCain, to do even more for our state and country." What a name dropper!

Kyl will face Jim Pederson, the former state Democratic Party chair who has deep enough pockets for a legitimate challenge to the incumbent Republican. Pederson, who has poured millions into supporting pet causes like a redistricting initiative and electing Gov. Janet Napolitano, wants to reassure Arizonans that he won't be paying for the race all on his own. In a bulletin earlier this week, Pederson boasted that he had raised more than $720,000 between July and September, with 78 percent coming from Arizonans and nothing coming from his own wallet.

"I am thrilled and humbled by the huge outpouring of grassroots support that we have received in the first two weeks of our campaign," said Pederson in a press release. "This early showing demonstrates the widespread desire for change among Arizonans who are ready for leadership in Washington that stands up for the middle class instead of special interests."

Kyl had more than $3.6 million in his campaign account as of the end of June, according to his last FEC filing.

In a separate release last week, Pederson took a shot at Kyl for voting against legislation to provide $360 million to buy armored Humvees and other vehicles for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This measure to arm our troops received bipartisan support from a majority of senators including such thoughtful Republican leaders as Armed Services Committee Chair John Warner and Foreign Relations Committee Chair Richard Lugar," Pederson said. "But Sen. Kyl stood on the other side. Sen. Kyl has voted over and over to wastefully spend billions on behalf of special interests, but refuses to spend what it takes to provide for our armed forces and national defense."


Speaking of War...

Anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan swung through Arizona last week, urging Gov. Janet Napolitano to call home Arizona National Guard troops. Napolitano declined, but not before state Sen. Jack Harper, who is kinda like the Forrest Gump of the Arizona Legislature, announced he would see her impeached if she did such a thing. But then, keeping track of all of Harper's wacky comments requires a spreadsheet and at least two administrative assistants.

In other war news, Sen. John McCain--who told the New York Daily News that he's seriously considering a 2008 White House run--pushed through a provision on a Pentagon spending bill that forbids the use of torture by U.S. troops. President George W. Bush finds that notion so unreasonable that he threatened to veto the bill--which he has yet to do with any other legislation that has passed his desk.

Don't worry, George--the House will take care of getting rid of that pesky restriction.

Meanwhile, insurgent attacks continued in Iraq with a steady stream of car bombings in the run-up to the vote on the new Constitution. By the way, we hear those Iraqi troops we're training aren't exactly Delta Force material.

And did you catch the recent General Accounting Office report that the Pentagon has been just making up figures regarding war costs? The report notes that "neither DOD nor Congress can reliably know how much the war is costing." But as the Rolling Stones are singing: One thing is certain / Life is good at Halliburton.


Pigskinned

The UA football team put up a valiant struggle against the University of Southern California before collapsing in the second half and losing by a final score of 42-21. The Wildcats, who are now 1-4 on the season, face the Stanford Cardinal at home at 4 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 15. Plenty of seats remain available!

More importantly, the UA men's basketball team has its first practice of the season at 9 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 14. Get the best seats by showing up at 7 p.m. for the UA volleyball team's game against California. The practice is free, but the volleyball tickets range from $4 to $6.


Bargain Books

The Skinny stopped by Reader's Oasis, the scrappy independent bookshop that will be called home by God on Saturday, Oct. 22. Everything must go, so the staff is offering a 40 percent discount on all remaining merchandise. While browsing, we noticed there's a whole bunch of good stuff left, including a copy of Our Dumb Century by the staff of The Onion. We picked up the May and August issues of The Believer and have plans on going back for more this weekend. You should, too!

More by Jim Nintzel

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