Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Republican Party Vs. Latinos, GOP Debate Edition

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Ahead of tonight's GOP presidential debate, Hispanic Republicans are warning White House hopefuls to tone down the rhetoric regarding immigration. NBC News reports:
A coalition of Latino conservative activists warned the Republican presidential field on Tuesday to ditch Donald Trump's rhetoric on immigration, or they risk losing the election.

"Heed our warning: don't expect us to come to your side during the general election," said Rosario Marín, who served as Treasurer under former President George W. Bush. "If you are not with us now, we won't be with you then. If you insult us now, we will be deaf to you then. If you take us for granted now, we will not recognize you then."

Marín was flanked by nearly two dozen other activists, small business owners and elected officials who met earlier that day in Boulder as part of an event organized by the American Principles Project's Latino Partnership to discuss the upcoming election. The group said they weren't endorsing any candidate, but were unified in their opposition to one: Trump.

Although others in the group named Trump, Marín refused to say his name and instead decried the "nonstop vitriolic insults" from "a wannabe politician." 
Meanwhile, National Review confirms that Congressman Paul Ryan has promised that once he is speaker of the House, he will block any immigration reform package that does not have support of a majority of House Republicans, ensuring that comprehensive immigration reform is going nowhere in Congress:

Paul Ryan has signed off on a letter promising restless members of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) that he won’t bring immigration-reform legislation to the House floor while President Obama remains in office. The letter, obtained exclusively by National Review, formalizes pledges that Ryan made last week in a closed-door meeting with select members of the HFC who were skeptical of his promise to maintain an “open” and “inclusive” relationship with the caucus. Specifically, it extracts Ryan’s word that he will not bring up comprehensive immigration reform “so long as Barack Obama is president” and, as speaker, Ryan will not allow any immigration bill to reach the floor for a vote unless a “majority” of GOP members support it.

Let's All Take a Moment to Remember the Time C-3PO Drummed for Linda Rondstadt

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 2:15 PM

Alright, maybe that headline was a tad misleading, but you should check out this vintage Marvel comics magazine cover courtesy of io9 that depicts Tucson's patron saint of twang in an actual supergroup with C-3PO on drums, Captain American on bass and Dr. Strange on guitar. The February 1978 issue of Pizzazz also promises a "scintillatin'" poster of Dr. J that I'd really like to see.

Wonder what this combo would sound like... - THATWEISSGUY/TWITTER
  • ThatWeissGuy/Twitter
  • Wonder what this combo would sound like...

Pretty cool, right?

Linda Rondstadt also played in Tucson with another supergroup—The Rolling Stones—that same year. Coincidence? I think so. But still, you should listen to this:

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Grijalva: There Must Be an Independent Investigation into Doctors Without Borders Afghan Hospital Bombing

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 1:45 PM

U.S. airstrikes blew up part of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2015. - COURTESY OF DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS
  • Courtesy of Doctors Without Borders
  • U.S. airstrikes blew up part of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2015.

Congressman Raúl Grijalva, and a group of his U.S. House Democratic colleagues, are asking President Obama to green light an independent investigation into the bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. 

In the letter, the group says they are "deeply disturbed" by the events, and that, under international law, hospitals in so-called conflict zones are protected places. "An independent investigation will help ensure future military engagements keep humanitarian heroes, like the MSF staff, safe," the letter says. They suggest collaborating with the United Nations in the investigation. 

In the beginning of October, U.S. airstrikes blew up part of the hospital, killing 12 staffers, 10 patients, and injuring nearly 40 others. 

From a CNN article:
As the United States said it was investigating what struck the hospital during the night, the charity expressed shock and demanded answers, stressing that all combatants had been told long ago where the hospital was.

"(The bombing) constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law," Doctors Without Borders, known internationally as Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF, said.

The bombardments continued even after U.S. and Afghan military officials were notified the hospital was being attacked, the charity said.

The circumstances weren't immediately clear, but the U.S. military was conducting an airstrike in Kunduz at the time the hospital was hit, U.S. Army Col. Brian Tibus said.

The military is investigating whether a U.S. AC-130 gunship — which was in the area firing on Taliban positions to defend U.S. special operations troops there — is responsible, a U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity.

The White House released a statement from President Barack Obama offering condolences to the charity from the American people.

"The Department of Defense has launched a full investigation, and we will await the results of that inquiry before making a definitive judgment as to the circumstances of this tragedy," the President said. "I ... expect a full accounting of the facts and circumstances."
“The American people and the international community deserve nothing less than full accountability and a thorough investigation into this tragedy,” Grijalva says in a statement to the media. “We must get to the full and unbiased truth about how our most lethal weapons of war were ever trained at a civilian target. Twenty-two people died as a result, and we cannot allow a similar tragedy to happen ever again.”

Read the whole letter:
We write to request a full and independent investigation to determine what led to the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan. We appreciate your willingness to reach out directly to MSF to apologize and your call for a Pentagon investigation. We believe a civilian-led independent investigation is also necessary to ensure an impartial assessment and confidence in the findings of the investigation.

We are deeply disturbed by the news that U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan destroyed the MSF trauma hospital in Kunduz, killing 12 humanitarian aid workers and 10 of their patients lying in their beds, including three children. The repeated airstrikes on the hospital also injured 37 civilians, including 19 MSF staff members.

Cooperating with a thorough investigation conducted by the United Nations or other independent body would send an important message to the world that the United States is unequivocally committed to the transparency and accountability required to ensure such a catastrophic event does not happen again.

Under international law, hospitals in conflict zones are protected spaces. An independent investigation will help ensure future military engagements keep humanitarian heroes, like the MSF staff, safe.

Your leadership and statements by our top military officials communicates the sentiment of many who are saddened by this tragedy: deep regret and a desire to ensure it never happens again. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the United States prioritizes protection of civilians in its conduct of military operations around the world.

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City Election: Early Ballots Heavily Favor Democrats

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 1:00 PM

  • Ward 1 Councilwoman Regina Romero face Republican Bill Hunt in next week's election.
A quick note on next week's city election: Things look good for three Democrats—Regina Romero, Shirley Scott and Paul Cunningham—who are seeking reelection against the GOP team of Bill Hunt, Margaret Burkholder and Kelly Lawton.

As of yesterday morning, more than 17,500 Democrats had turned in their ballots, compared to about 9,700 Republicans and roughly 7,900 independents. So unless there is off-the-charts crossover voting or the Republicans are capturing virtually all of the independents, it would seem that the Democrats have a solid lead at this point.

That's not to say that things couldn't shift dramatically, but at this point, the Democrats are proving more capable about locking in early votes.

More about the City Council races here and here.

Meanwhile, in the county bond election: More than 306,000 early ballots were sent out by Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez earlier this month. As of this morning, 98,605 had been returned and processed for tabulation, according to Rodriguez's office.

Jes Baker Brought Body Love to the Today Show (Again)

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Local badass Jes Baker (you'll know her from her blog, those Abercrombie & Fitch photos, or as the founder of the Body Love Conference) is getting some national love for her new book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. 

We'll be printing an excerpt soon to help you decide if you want to buy her book (you do), but until then we'll let the Today Show fill you in.

Baker, who appeared on the Today Show for the first time a few years ago, will be back in Tucson next Friday (Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.) doing a reading from her book at Antigone

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Criminalizing Student Behavior, South Carolina Edition

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 11:00 AM


Many of you have already watched the videos of a South Carolina high school resource officer knocking a female student out of her chair and dragging her across the classroom. From what we know, the student was texting on her cell phone and refused to stop when the teacher told her to, then refused the teacher's order to leave the room. The vice principal was called in, and the resource officer either came with him or followed soon after. The girl didn't move from her desk or appear to be a physical threat to anyone when she was slammed to the ground. She was arrested, along with another student who stood up and loudly protested the officer's actions from across the room.

Unless there was some kind of physical threat we don't know about, the officer's actions were totally unacceptable. Most people agree, including the mayor as well as representatives of the school district and the police force. But one part of the story hasn't been addressed adequately, and it demands more attention. The officer was called into the room to act as a "bouncer," probably by the vice principal, and he and the teacher stood by and watched as the officer assaulted the girl.

Blame the officer, absolutely. Fire him, absolutely. Then take a very close look at the teacher, the vice principal and the disciplinary culture of the school. The moment captured on tape and the arrests that followed are classic examples of the criminalization of our schools. A relatively minor disciplinary offense—a student disobeying an order from her teacher—escalated into a violent confrontation with a police officer and an encounter with the criminal justice system. Two students were unnecessarily thrown into the school-to-prison pipeline. And while the officer was wildly out of line, I put the primary blame on the vice principal and possibly (though not necessarily) the teacher. It was their school. They had a responsibility to protect their students from harm whenever possible, and they failed to do so.

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Listen Up: Fort Lowell Records' Newest Release from Band & the Beat

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 9:33 AM

The latest release from Fort Lowell Records, the vinyl-focused label founded in Tucson in 2010, is out this week and it’s a new project from a couple of familiar faces.

Band & The Beat is a synth-pop duo of singer Tracy Shedd and her husband James Tritten, who lived in Tucson for seven years before moving to North Carolina in 2013.

Shedd’s 2008 Cigarettes & Smoke Machines and it’s follow up, 2013’s Arizona were recorded in Tucson at WaveLab Studio and Fort Lowell Records, which sprang from Tritten’s love of vinyl records, put out singles from local bands such as Young Mothers, Dead Western Plains, Andrew Collberg and Howe Gelb.

The label’s first full-length album was the tribute record Luz de Vida: A Compilation to Benefit the Victims of the Tucson Tragedy. LPs from Saint Maybe, La Cerca and Naïm Amor would follow, with the label committed to Tucson bands even after Tritten and Shedd relocated to Raleigh.

It was in Tucson that Shedd and Tritten began moving from a full band arrangement to playing as a duo, first using an iPhone drum machine with electric guitars and then performing as a stripped-down acoustic duo. The new project came about as Shedd and Tritten were just jamming at home.

“We were just having fun down in our basement, messing around with some stuff, just trying to create some different sounds with her electric piano,” Tritten says. “On a Saturday afternoon, we’d been messing with it all day long and we just weren’t happy with the sound, so at 8 at night I got frustrated and went on Craigslist and typed in the word ‘synthesizer.’ I knew the sound I was trying to get out was basically a synthesized sound and by 10 that night we bought an analog synthesizer. We stayed up playing music literally all through the night.”

The two-song digital 45 from Band & The Beat is a shift away from both the electric-guitar indie rock and the acoustic Arizona, with analog drum machine and Tritten and Shedd both trading in guitars for synthesizers.

“We didn’t want to make a Tracy Shedd record that was all of a sudden a synth-pop record, so we decided to give the project it’s own name,” Tritten says. “Tracy has played piano her whole life, but she’s been learning how to program synthesizers and make the sounds she wants. I understood a little about how to program them, but I never personally played keyboards before.”

And though the “21 / Buoy” single, the 16th release from Fort Lowell Records, is limited to digital at this point, Tritten wants to return to the label’s origins and press a 7-inch record as well.

“We would love to put it on vinyl. I’m hoping to at some point,” he says. “But we were so excited about this project and we both liked it so much that we didn’t want to wait. It’s very easy for us with Fort Lowell to put it out as fast as possible.”

In the meantime, Tritten says, look for more digital 45s from Band & The Beat. You can buy the newest release by visiting the label's Bandcamp page.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Meet Tucson Ward I Republican Candidate Bill Hunt

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 4:01 PM

Bill Hunt
  • Bill Hunt
Bill Hunt was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. He went to college at the University of Portland in Oregon, earning degrees in mathematics.

After school, he joined the military and became a fighter pilot in the Air Force flying F-4 Phantoms, F-5’s, and F-16s. His favorite was the Phantom in which he has logged over 2500 hours of flight time.

The F-4 was a Vietnam era fighter, so I asked Hunt if he was in that conflict. He said that he trained for duty in Vietnam, but it had wound down by the time he was ready, so his first assignment was in Alaska, from 1974 to 1976, where he and his fellow pilots protected the pipeline and ran off the Soviet pilots when they poked around near the border. Good times for a twenty four year old guy, according to Hunt. Toward the end of his stint in the Air force, Hunt was assigned to Langley where he managed a software development project.

After serving in the military, he flew freight for the now defunct Airborne Express company. He did not stay there long - too boring. He figured that software development was where he should be, so he applied to a number of companies and was hired by Raytheon where he has worked for the past twenty one years.

He continues to fly today, but now as one of the Flying Samaritans. He is president of the local chapter. The Flying Samaritans is a group of private pilots who fly healthcare providers to a clinic in northern Baja California, Mexico. They fly down once a month on a Friday and return on Sunday.

Hunt admits to never being down and out, he attributes much of that to luck. His father was a mechanical engineer who worked for Dupont for thirty years, and he had the advantages of growing up in a middle class home. He adds that that does not preclude his having compassion for the poor. He believes in helping the poor, but that handing out money is not really helping. The best thing to do for the poor, he believes, is to bring more business to Tucson. More business means more jobs, and jobs are the key to long term prosperity.

Continue reading »

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Staff Pick

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples breathes extraordinary life into Harper’s compositions on the record, delivering roof-raising performances with both a… More

@ Fox Tucson Theatre Sun., Jan. 19, 7:30-9:30 p.m. 17 W. Congress St.

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