Thursday, December 31, 2015

Casa Video Top 10

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2015 at 10:36 AM

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Let's be real: You're not going to want to do much on Jan. 1. You should plan to spend the morning curled up on the couch with some water, dedicating the first sober hours of the year to relaxing and taking care of yourself.

Maybe you should plan ahead and pick up a movie? It's time for our final Casa Video Top 10 of the year:


Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Ted 2

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tucson Museum of Art Receives Oscar Berninghaus Painting as Gift

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 3:41 PM

Oscar E. Berninghaus, Haying Time in Taos (Alfalfa Time/Mountains in Taos),ca. 1917-1930, oil on board. - Gift of Linda D. Taplick and James W. Miller. - COURTESY OF TUCSON MUSEUM OF ART
  • Courtesy of Tucson Museum of Art
  • Oscar E. Berninghaus, Haying Time in Taos (Alfalfa Time/Mountains in Taos),ca. 1917-1930, oil on board. Gift of Linda D. Taplick and James W. Miller.

The Tucson Museum of Art is adding another piece of Southwestern art history to their collection in the way of a gift from two out-of-state donors.

The oil painting "Haying Time in Taos" is from artist Oscar E. Berninghaus, who is most known for his work as one of the "Taos Six." Berninghaus founded the Taos Society of Artists in 1915 and became one of the most prominent and defining voices in Southwestern painting, establishing Taos as an internationally-recognized art colony, along with those he worked with. 

The painting, which measures 24 5/16 x 29 7/8 in., made its way to Tucson after Linda D. Taplick and James W. Miller of Madison, Wis. gifted the work to the museum. Christine Brindza, Glasser Curator of Art of the American West, said in a release from the museum that this painting is exemplary of his work, which is known for its ability to showcase the region's landscapes and his penchant for capturing the simplicity and beauty of everyday life. 

“'Alfalfa Time/ Mountains in Taos' captures an everyday, peaceful moment,” Brindza said. “Berninghaus conveys the fresh alfalfa harvest piled high on a horse-drawn wagon, using the purple-hued Sangre de Cristo Mountains as an expansive backdrop.”

Berninghaus' "Haying Time in Taos" will be on view in the museum's John K. Goodman Pavilion of Western Art some time next year, though the official date is yet to be announced. For more information on this and other works on view, visit the museum's website.

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Tucson Should Be Like Miami and Install Portable Bathrooms Outdoors for City's Homeless Population

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 1:30 PM

MIAMI DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
  • Miami Downtown Development Authority

It wasn't too long ago that the City of Tucson shut down Veinte de Agosto park over public health concerns from the Pima County Health Department.

The park for years has been occupied on-and-off by many of Tucson's homeless residents who congregate downtown. There aren't any bathrooms outdoors, so naturally the area eventually flooded with human waste. (That, as well as allegations of drug sales and other offenses, resulted in the city to close the park.)

Although the issue of outdoor bathrooms is constantly brought up in discussions about homelessness, not much has been done to make portable restrooms available to people who don't have a roof over their head. Until that's done, they will continue to have no option but urinate and defecate on the streets and parks. What would you do?

Miami recently installed portable bathrooms for its homeless population to use free of charge, and incidents with "open defecation" have decreased by 57 percent in six months, according to The Huffington Post

The Pit Stop program, which cost the city $500,000 has made a lot of residents happy. But Miami homeless rights advocacy group Miami-Dade Homeless Trust told the HuffPost that this is a temporary fix to the issue, and that could create excuses to keep people on the streets, particularly those who are chronically homeless, rather than focusing on housing. 
“If I’m making it easier for them to be on the streets, then I’m making it more difficult for my outreach staff to coax chronic homeless people off of the streets,” Ron Book, chair of the Homeless Trust, told The Huffington Post in May. “It makes an excuse for them to stay on the streets. I’m not into excuses.”
The portable restrooms are available downtown from 2 p.m. to around 9 p.m., the HuffPost says. The program was influenced by concerns from local business owners—a very similar situation to what we have in Tucson between the homeless  and the downtown merchants. 

At the latest meeting the City of Tucson hosted to talk homelessness (these have been happening on a semi-monthly basis thanks to Councilman Richard Fimbres since October, and it brings together Pima County, business representatives, homeless outreach workers, and houseless people to discuss solutions), Deputy Tucson City Manager Martha Durkin said installing "state-of-the-art bathrooms" would cost the city roughly between $60.000 to $140,000.

It would be a good investment, and options to make it more affordable for the city should be explored. 

There would be no more health woes over human waste, and it's a step closer to restoring respect and dignity for our fellow community members.

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Prove Me Wrong, Gov. Ducey. Please, Prove Me Wrong.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 11:35 AM

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Here's what pisses me off about the whole Prop. 123 thing.

On the plus side, Arizona's public schools stand to receive over $300 million a year which has been denied them for years if Prop. 123 passes and the state is allowed to dip further into the state land trust funds than is currently allowed. If it doesn't pass, we climb back on that old merry-go-round where the court orders the legislature to pay what it owes the schools and the Republican majority folds its arms and says, "You can't make me." Which is true, the courts can't literally force the state to pay up the money it owes, and it's unlikely the courts will even tighten the screws much because they know how likely it is an angry governor and legislature will bring vengeance down on their heads. If Prop. 123 fails, the stalemate will continue for years with mounting court costs on all sides and not a penny of that money the state owes going to the schools.

On the minus side, that state land trust money which will be tapped if Prop. 123 passes is already designated for children's educations, so basically, the children will be paid from their own inheritance, not from new money. That means less money in the fund for education in the future. But even though I don't like that scenario much, I'm willing to live with it, because the schools are really, really hurting for funds—need I say again that we're 48th, 49th or 50th in per student spending?—and I can't deny this current crop of students the benefit of even a small financial boost. And remember, the $300 million-plus is only a small boost in funding. Need I say again it won't lift us even one place on the per student funding list?

On the even more minus side, the pro-Prop 123 group has already raised nearly half a million dollars for its campaign and has set its sights on raising as much as three or four million total. Where do you raise that kind of money? From deep pockets, of course, the wealthiest individuals and corporations in the state. According to the Capitol Times, that includes:
•$150,000 from Greater Phoenix Leadership chaired by Sharon Harper, president and CEO of Plaza Companies
•$75,000 from the Salt River Project
•$25,000 each from Developer Edward Robson and his company, Robson Communities Inc.
•$44,500 from Sunstate Equipment President Michael Watts and his wife, Cindy
•$25,000 from the Southern Arizona Leadership Council
•$10,000 from the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Authority
Now, I'm sure all these people will tell you, with heads tilted to one side and a hint of tears glistening in their eyes, how much they support public education. And probably there's some truth in the claim, for some of them anyway. But, really? All these people are willing to spend all that money because of how much they love other people's children? Uh, uh. When lots of rich people pitch lots of money into political fights, it tends to be because they stand to benefit personally. And the way these rich folks stand to benefit is from the tax breaks Gov. Ducey has promised them. So what could be better? Give other people' kids the money up front that was being saved for their futures and free up the state budget surplus for those tax breaks, which will be worth a whole lot more than these folks are ponying up to help pass Prop. 123.

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Cinema Clips: Daddy’s Home

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 10:20 AM


The second pairing of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg isn’t as funny as their first offering, The Other Guys, but it’s still funny enough to warrant a look.

Ferrell is in bumbling mode as Brad, stepfather to a couple of kids who hate him and the husband of Sarah (Linda Cardellini). Just when the kids are starting to only hate him a little, Sarah’s ex husband Dusty (Wahlberg) comes back into the picture in a boorish bid to win back his ex’s love, reclaim his children and get Brad out of the house. This provides a setup that sees Ferrell’s Brad subjected to all forms of humiliation and injury, including a calamitous trek through his house on a motorcycle and a rendezvous with electrical wires after getting some impressive air off a half-pipe.

Ferrell and Wahlberg are funny together, and the movie does a decent job of making them both likeable idiots. Thomas Haden Church steals scenes as Brad’s obnoxious boss at the Smooth Jazz radio station, as does Hannibal Buress as a handyman who winds up crashing on Brad’s couch.

The film is nasty, but it’s neutered a bit by it’s PG-13 rating. It’s clear this is being marketed at families, but that’s a mistake right there. I’m sure there’s a nastier cut of this movie, and if I have a complaint it’s that the movie doesn’t go all the way with its sinister message.

It pulls some punches, keeping it from being the dark comedy it deserves to be, and making it more of a feel good film with some sinister undertones. Still, I laughed enough, and the film is recommended to fans of Ferrell and Wahlberg. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Obama Administration Gears Up for Mass Deportation of Central American Families (Great Way to Say 'Happy New Year')

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 4:30 PM

Many of Guatemala's indigenous children are forced to drop out of school and begin to work to help provide for their families with an "income" that sometimes averages way less than $1 a day. They are pressured into informal economies like selling crafts and candy bars to wealthier locals and tourists. Here, a boy rests in the small town of Panajachel, Solola, in the highlands of Guatemala. - MARIA INÉS TARACENA
  • Maria Inés Taracena
  • Many of Guatemala's indigenous children are forced to drop out of school and begin to work to help provide for their families with an "income" that sometimes averages way less than $1 a day. They are pressured into informal economies like selling crafts and candy bars to wealthier locals and tourists. Here, a boy rests in the small town of Panajachel, Solola, in the highlands of Guatemala.

As soon as early January, Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be carrying out a series of raids to deport hundreds of Central American families who hoped to get asylum in the U.S., but whose applications were denied by immigration courts.

As we get ready to begin a new year, this sends a disturbing and very sad message that, clearly, next year won't be more compassionate than the previous one.

According to The Washington Post, which was the first publication to report DHS' upcoming plans, this is the first "large-scale" effort against the mass migration of mostly women, children and youth from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that was labeled a humanitarian crisis in 2014. In the past year, "More than 100,000 families with both adults and children have made the journey across the southwest border since last year, though this migration has largely been overshadowed by a related surge of unaccompanied minors," the Post writes. 
The ICE operation would target only adults and children who have already been ordered removed from the United States by an immigration judge, according to officials familiar with the undertaking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because planning is ongoing and the operation has not been given final approval by DHS. The adults and children would be detained wherever they can be found and immediately deported. The number targeted is expected to be in the hundreds and possibly greater.

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Take Advantage of Two Tax Credits for Charitable Organizations

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 3:08 PM

COURTESY OF PHOTOSPIN
  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
Yesterday I wrote about the tax credit donations you can give to public schools. Here are two more tax credits, each for $200—$400 for a couple. You can take all three credits and get it all back—100 percent of it—so long as you owe at least as much in state income taxes as you give. These two contributions have to be completed by this Thursday, Dec. 31. Most organizations let you pay by credit card online, so you can take care of business in a few minutes, in the time it takes to enter your information. (If you're wondering, you don't have to itemize your deductions to use the tax credits.)

One of the tax credit donations can be made to what used to be called charitable organizations that help the working poor, but now it seems they're simply being called charitable organizations. The other is for foster care charitable organizations. How do you know which organizations qualify? The Arizona Department of Revenue lists them in a List of Qualifying Charitable Organizations and a List of Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organizations. You can give $200—$400 for a couple—to each category. Some organizations fit both categories—they're highlighted in blue on the Charitable Organizations list — and if you want, you can use both tax credits for one of those organizations. 

Repeat: Both of these have Dec. 31 deadlines. That's this Thursday! If your state income tax comes to $600 or more—$1200 for a couple—you can give the maximum amount to all three, the public school and the two charitable organization tax credits. Otherwise, you have to do some picking and choosing.

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Janos Wilder's Carriage House to Offer Cooking Classes, Dim Sum Brunches and More

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2015 at 9:26 AM

A architectural rendering of Wilder's new Carriage House space. - COURTESY OF THE CARRIAGE HOUSE
  • Courtesy of The Carriage House
  • A architectural rendering of Wilder's new Carriage House space.

The James Beard award winning chef and owner of Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails, Janos Wilder, is cooking up something a little different for his newest venture. Rather than opening another restaurant space, Wilder is focusing his efforts on a multi-purpose event space that will host everything from Sunday dim sum brunches to wedding parties to concerts to cooking classes and more.

The Carriage House, located at 146 E. Broadway Blvd. just east of his Downtown restaurant, is a 4,000-square-foot space—1,000 square-feet of which are kitchen space—offering a 150-to-200-person capacity event space, depending on if the event is fully seated. Although private events, such as weddings, corporate parties and fundraisers, are certainly part of Wilder's vision for The Carriage House, it's only a fraction of the concept's intended purpose.

"It has a lot of different pieces," Wilder says. "It was too fun not to do. We've been looking for almost five years to do it."

Special "community building" events, including a Day of the Dead dinner, concerts featuring local and international talent, a New Year's Eve dinner and Sunday dim sum brunches, are planned for the space as well, though Wilder says a start date for the brunches is still to be announced. The catering kitchen will be run by executive chef Devon Sanner, who has worked with Janos for the last decade.

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Staff Pick

Carnival of Illusion: Magic, Mystery & Oooh La La!

This top-rated illusion show is "Revitalizing Magic" by blending an international travel theme with all the charms… More

@ Scottish Rite Grand Parlour Saturdays. Continues through April 14 160 South Scott Ave

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