Friday, February 27, 2015

Democrats Need to Man and Woman Up on Education and Taxes

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 6:00 PM

  • Courtesy of Shutterstock

It's worth sitting up and taking notice when a poll says almost two-thirds of Arizonans support a tax increase—especially when 50 percent of Republicans are on board.
Nearly two-thirds of Arizonans, including more than 50 percent of Republicans, would be willing to pay an additional $200 in state taxes annually to better fund K-12 education, according to a new poll.
Why are respondents willing to dig into their own pockets to support our children's educations?
Respondents overwhelmingly chose K-12 education as their top priority, and 50 percent said Arizona high school graduates are not as prepared as students in other states. Almost three-quarters of those polled said Arizona spends fewer tax dollars on K-12 education than other states, and almost 80 percent said the state doesn't spend enough.
Those are amazing numbers. Even if the poll is a bit skewed and overstates the pro-education sentiment by 10 percent, it's still an impressive show of support for education, a sign that Arizonans understand that we need to spend more money on schools.

So. Democrats. Have you ever seen numbers so strongly in your favor when it comes to education and taxation here in Arizona? I haven't. Now is the time to throw off your natural reticence—I'll refrain from calling it cowardice, though I'm tempted to—and Man Up! Woman Up! Stand Up! Say it loud. We need more funds to educate our children, and we can only get those funds if we increase taxes.

Everyone who's looked at the numbers knows it's impossible for Arizona to have a balanced budget while supporting education and other necessary services adequately if we don't put more cash in the state coffers. And really, as sensible as it would be to cut back on all those tax breaks legislators have lavished on businesses, and as sensible as it would be to bag the current round of business tax cuts, that won't bring in all the required revenue. We need to raise taxes.

As generous as the people who took the poll said they were willing to be, they really don't have to kick in an extra $200. Those who have benefited most over the past 40 years from our growing income inequality should be paying their fair share, meaning their state income tax rates need to go up. They can afford a significant tax hike, which will hurt their pride more than their pocketbooks, far more easily than the average taxpayer can afford $200. Our current dependence on sales tax puts too great a burden on bottom 50 percent of wage earners. The only fair thing to do is raise the tax rates at the top income levels.

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The Dish at Rum Runner to Close, Re-Open as Tasting Room

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 4:32 PM

  • Courtesy of the Rum Runner
Owner Tom Smith is the first to say that he's not the same 37-year-old he was when The Dish started dishing out plates of upscale fare in 1997. Now nearly 20 years later, Smith says its time to say goodbye to The Dish as we know it.

On March 14, The Dish will serve its last dinner service, although that isn't the end of the space. 

For the last six years, chef Michael Muthart took charge of the kitchen's operations, serving up options like Moroccan spiced grilled rack of lamb and steamed mussels with a saffron broth. However, Muthart has also been running a poultry and fowl ranch called Top Knot Farms in Benson. Now that his ranch is taking off, he's stepping out of the kitchen and into a role as a rancher. 

Although Smith and his partner Jennifer Elchuck interviewed other chefs, they ultimately decided to stop dinner service at The Dish.

"I wish I had a better answer than 'It's time,' but something told me it was time to start settling up," he says.

However, that's not the end of the story for the space. After a break for "retooling," The Dish will be transformed into a bar and tasting room area with small dishes like charcuterie boards. About once every three months, Smith plans on bringing Muthart back into the kitchen for special theme or wine dinners. The first one, he says, is slotted for May 17 and will likely feature Top Knot's chicken and eggs.

Smith says The Dish had one of its best months for sales to date in the current location and is happy to end on a high note.

"It's good to go out while you're still meaningful and vital," Smith says.

If you want to stay up to date on the changes coming to Rum Runner, you can sign up for the bottle shop and bar's newsletter.

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It's Not all About the Cowboys: Women Make Their Mark on Rodeo

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 4:00 PM

  • J.D. Fitzgerald/Tucson Local Media
  • Erin Parsons

Cowgirl Rachel Dice gives a barely perceptible nod. The gate swings open.

Dice and her horse Katie shoot forward, angling to the right where a barrel waits amid dry mounds of dirt. Rider and mare slow as they approach the barrel, leaning their bodies into the curve. Dice’s white shirt billows in the lashing wind.

Dice and Katie successfully clear the second and third barrel, placed in a triangle formation. As they head back toward the gate Rachel gives Katie’s chestnut muscles a spurt of kicks, urging the horse faster during the last stretch.

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Forever Our Friend: Nimoy Dead at 83

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 2:27 PM

Leonard Nimoy died today. Damn

Most widely known for his performance as half-human, half-Vulcan science officer Spock on the classic sci-fi TV show “Star Trek” and its many subsequent film and videogame incarnations, Nimoy was also a successful director, helming “Star Trek” pics “The Search for Spock” and “The Voyage Home,” as well as non-“Star Trek” fare; an accomplished stage actor; a published writer and poet; and a noted photographer. He also dabbled in singing and songwriting.

But despite his varied talents, Nimoy will forever be linked with the logical Mr. Spock. Spotted by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry when he appeared on Roddenberry’s NBC Marine Corps. skein “The Lieutenant,” Nimoy was offered the role of Spock and co-starred in the 1965 “Star Trek” pilot “The Cage.” NBC execs liked the concept but thought the pilot too cerebral, so they ordered a second pilot of the Desilu production with some script and cast changes (only Nimoy made it through both pilots). The series finally bowed on NBC in the fall of 1966. After three seasons, it was canceled in 1969 but would go on to be a hit in syndication, spawning films and other TV iterations and gaining a huge following of fans known as Trekkers or Trekkies.

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You're Going to Want to Follow us on Instagram

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Ten Fifty-Five's collaboration saison with Agustin Kitchen is now at Tap & Bottle.

A photo posted by Tucson Weekly (@tucsonweekly) on

So, when I was getting started this job, Mari had just taken over as editor. She and I sat down and talked about all of the things we want to do on the Internet and, man, I think you'll like what we're working on. But more on that another day.

Mari also mentioned a long lost Instagram account which the Weekly apparently started and abandoned years ago. We're using the account to let you know what's going on around town, give you a preview of the stories we're working on and (of course) show you when we are presented with something so delicious.

We're just getting started up again. I hope you'll join us over at @tucsonweekly.

National adjunct walkout day at the University of Arizona.

A photo posted by Tucson Weekly (@tucsonweekly) on

Bandito Blanco at 5 Points Market.

A photo posted by Tucson Weekly (@tucsonweekly) on

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Mamma Llama Empanadas Are Back, Partner with Tucson Tamale

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 11:34 AM

You can get Mamma Llama Empanadas take and bake or dine in at Tucson Tamale. - HEATHER HOCH
  • Heather Hoch
  • You can get Mamma Llama Empanadas take and bake or dine in at Tucson Tamale.

Phoenix might have their llama drama, but down here in Tucson we have Mamma Llama back again. About two years ago, Mamma Llama Empanadas closed the door to their brick-and-mortar operation off of Craycroft and Grant roads. Vicki Sims and Kris Masalsky, the duo behind Mamma Llama, recently decided to license their empanadas to Todd Martin at Tucson Tamale.

Although the phrase "license their empanadas" might seem like the crispy, flaky, golden brown love and attention is baked out of Mamma Llama, Masalsky says that her and Sims have actually been behind the scenes and in the kitchen, training the Tucson Tamale crew how to make their empanadas. 

"We trained the staff to carry on our tradition," she says. "We'll still be involved."

Vicki Sims and Kris Masalsky have partnered with Tucson Tamale. - HEATHER HOCH
  • Heather Hoch
  • Vicki Sims and Kris Masalsky have partnered with Tucson Tamale.

After 13 years of making Mamma Llama Empanadas, you might think it'd be tough to let go of the reins a little, but Masalsky and Sims both agree that partnering with Tucson Tamale made sense since they've always had a similar customer base and have always wanted to work with Martin. Mostly, the pair is just happy that their empanadas are back for Tucsonans to enjoy.

"If it's a good goal and a good dream, somehow it finds a way to come back," Masalsky says. "It wasn't just about the food for us. We wanted to make a good product, but it was really about building and maintaining relationships."
Hot empanadas are served with two sides. - HEATHER HOCH
  • Heather Hoch
  • Hot empanadas are served with two sides.

Tucson Tamale is offering packs of two frozen empanadas to take and bake or a hot empanada of the day plate ($6.79) which comes with two sides. The following four flavors are currently available:

Viva Argentina: beef, tomato, raisins, green chile, cinnamon and other spices ($4.49)
Peruvian Twist: artichokes, green chile, mayo, cheese ($4.99)
Peachy Keen: peaches, cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon ($3.99)
Buenos Dias: egg, Tucson Tamale's Sherry salsa, green chile, mozzarella ($3.99)

Masalsky says that though the crew launched those four empanada flavors initially, chances are that they will have more variety in the future. You can buy Mamma Llama Empanadas now at Tucson Tamale locations.

The ladies of Mamma Llama will also be handing out empanada samples at each of the three Tucson Tamale locations from 1:00pm - 3:00pm on March 1 at 7159 E. Tanque Verde Road, March 8 at 7286 N. Oracle Road, and March 22 at 2545 E. Broadway Blvd. Attendees at those events can also enjoy buy-one-get-one packages of empanadas.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Catch ChamberLab's Orchestral Performance of 'The General' Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Last year, Tucson favorite ChamberLab set a live orchestra to Buster Keaton's classic Civil War silent film "The General." This weekend, the show is getting a rare second run.

Chris Black, who got ChamberLab started, says this was the show everyone was devastated to have missed.

"We did it right on Easter weekend, or around then, so a lot of people were out of town. People didn't know how awesome it was going to be," Black said, adding that this is the show he's been asked to repeat above all the others.

"If you haven't seen Buster Keaton before, he's just incredible. I don't know how he does what he does. This no special effects, no anything, just pure deranged athleticism as he leaps around and takes all kinds of chances with his life," Black explains. "It's about 78 minutes and all but about 15 minutes of it is train chases—so it's action packed."

This time, ChamberLab will be filming the event for DVD and digital download. They're running an IndieGoGo, from which proceeds are being split up between production costs for the filming and paying the musicians. 

"It's just to make sure that we stay healthy and that we pay the musicians for the really ridiculous amount of rehearsal we'll be putting them through for the next week," Black said, noting that while his shows usually just split up the profits from ticket sales, that's just not enough for the amount of work people are putting into this. "Everyone is really amazing that they're giving us their time in the way that they have been I'm trying to get a little bit more into their pockets."

The show takes place this Saturday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m., at the Fox Theater, 17 W. Congress St. You can get tickets and preorder a DVD/digital copy of the screening through their IndieGoGo—which will remain open for a week after the event, just in case you feel like sending a little more money their way after the performance.

"It's an amazing accomplishment. I mean, when you're right in the middle of it with the music playing and the movie's going and you can't stop and say 'Oops, lets take that again,' and theres 11 people just going at it—it's a tremendous feeling," Black said. "I have never surfed, but I imagine kinda like surfing a gigantic wave. I'm not sure how else to describe it, but thats a pretty good feeling."

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Homeland Security Moving Closer To Shutdown

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 2:30 PM


The Department of Homeland Security is moving closer to a shutdown, meaning Southern Arizona Border Patrol agents and other DHS employees will be expected to work for vouchers or be furloughed. Talking Points Memo reports:

House Republican leaders are refusing to support legislation that funds the Department of Homeland Security without imposing immigration policy restrictions, a sign that the department is headed for a partial shutdown Friday night.

The legislation is all but guaranteed to pass the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have championed it in an agreement to bring up immigration bills separately. Even conservative firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has signaled he won't hold up the "clean" DHS bill ahead of the Friday midnight deadline to avert a shutdown.

But in the House, it's a very different story. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), facing a rebellion from his members, isn't ready to swallow the standalone DHS bill just yet, and is exploring options to continue fighting President Barack Obama's initiatives on immigration.

"We want to stop the president's immigration actions with regard to immigration," Boehner told reporters Thursday. "It's outrageous that Senate Democrats are using Homeland Security funding for blackmail to protect the actions of the president. ... We're waiting to see what the Senate can or can't do, and then we're going to make decisions about how to proceed."

Among members of Arizona's Southern Arizona congressional delegation, Democrats Raul Grijalva and Ann Kirkpatrick support a clean funding bill without amendments targeting the Obama administration's recent executive actions on immigration, while Republican Martha McSally has declined to say whether she supports a clean funding bill. McSally voted to attach the amendments to the bill, but wrote in the USA Today yesterday that the Homeland Security funding shouldn't be attached to the fight against the expanded program to shield up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. But she also declined to tell the Weekly if she would support a clean funding bill.

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Saturday Tour & Tasting

Visit Hamilton Distillers every Saturday at 2 pm and 4 pm for a tour of the distillery… More

@ Hamilton Distillery Saturdays, 2 p.m. and Saturdays, 4 p.m. 2106 Forbes Blvd #103

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