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Greetings From Mexicotown

State Rep. Russell Pearce shared his solution to the problem of illegal immigration last week during an interview on Morning Edition on Maricopa County station KJZZ: "We know what we need to do. In 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower put together a task force called 'Operation Wetback.' He removed, in less than a year, 1.3 million illegal aliens. They must be deported."

Pearce later clarified his statement to say that Operation Wetback had an offensive name, and he was embarrassed that he had tossed it about. Just kidding! He simply told The Associated Press: "In the '50s, it was common. In the '60s, it was common. You don't use it today because people have tried to make it offensive. Things change, and you know what? Who cares? Whatever they want to be called, I'm OK with that."

Pearce went one step further with Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini, saying his critics "are the same sissies that backed away from Proposition 200."

In other border news: The U.S. Senate voted 80-19 to approve building a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. No word on the cost, but lawmakers are starting with $1.2 billion. And you thought downtown's rainbow arch was going to be expensive!

Finally: Perennial presidential candidate and McLaughlin Group regular Pat Buchanan mentioned our fair burg during a recent visit to The Daily Show to promote his new book, State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America.

Buchanan told host Jon Stewart that during his 1996 campaign, "I went to Tucson, Ariz., and they put me in a parade that went right through Mexicotown. And during that parade, as I've said, I've never seen so much Mexican food in my life. And it was in the air, and it was coming toward me."


It Came From Outer Space

The HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has begun sending astonishing photos from the surface of Mars to the team at the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. The spacecraft, which has been in orbit around Mars since March, recently dipped down to an altitude between 115 and 196 miles above the planet to get the sharpest photos ever of the Martian surface.

UA Professor Alfred McEwen, principal investigator for this camera, gushed about the quality of the first images.

"We are elated at the sharpness of the image, revealing such fine detail in the landscape," McEwen told the UA News Service.

Check out this way cool stuff yourself online. Follow the adventures of the UA team at their very own blog.

In distantly related news, the sharp, witty Veronica Mars returned for a third season at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 3, on the new CW Network. We only mention it because, as Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon noted, it's the "Best. Show. Ever." We'd really like it to stay on the air, so give it a try, willya?

And while we're talking about outer space and TV, we'd just like to mention that we're all shaky with anticipation about the season premiere of Battlestar Galactica this Friday on the Sci-Fi Channel. We can't wait to find out what life is like under Cylon occupation on New Caprica--and what's going on between Baltar and Six these days.


Dog Days

The UA football team lost another one, falling to the Washington Huskies, who scored three touchdowns during the second quarter. Final score: Huskies 21, Wildcats 10. The UA is now 2-3 on the season and winless in Pac-10 play. This week, the team travels to UCLA.

Could it be that UA's renaissance will have to wait another year?


Shortfall!

Uh-oh--looks like those financial projections during the last budget cycle might have been a little too rosy. The latest financial report shows that in the first two months of the fiscal year, the state is $5.8 million below forecast. The good news: Income and sales taxes are still showing healthy growth from this time last year. The bad news: The growth is not as strong as last year. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee staff said that only time will tell if the slowdown is a momentary blip or a long-term trend.

More by Jim Nintzel

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