Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Remembering 9-Year-Old Brisenia Flores: Murdered in 2009 by Anti-Immigration Activists in Arivaca, Ignored by the Media

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Brisenia Flores would be 16 this year—my youngest brother's age. Except seven years ago on May 30, as she slept with her puppy on the living room couch in her family's mobile home in Arivaca—about 60 miles south of Tucson—armed robbers broke in, and shot and killed Brisenia and her father, Raul, 29.

The home invasion was led by Shawna Forde, a former member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and founding member of the group Minutemen American Defense. Reports say she'd patrol the Arizona-México borderlands carrying weapons and protested against crime along the border, as well as the presence of undocumented immigrants in the country. Forde was reportedly kicked out of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps because she was "unstable." (Describing both groups as white supremacists is not far fetched.)

Forde and her two accomplices claimed to be law enforcement, which is how they were able to enter the Flores' home.

The day of the murder, as a CNN article from 2011 describes, Brisenia, Raul and mom Gina Gonzales went shopping for new shoes for Brisenia. She had just finished third grade and needed them for summer camp. 
She fell asleep watching television as her parents slept in their bedroom. A few hours later, she opened her eyes to the sight of her father, lying on the opposite couch. He had been shot in the chest and was choking on his own blood. Her mother was bleeding on the floor, a gunshot wound to her leg. The little girl was startled and cried out to intruders in her home, “Why did you shoot my mom?”
Brisenia's mom, Gina, cried and described the events in court back in 2011. She made it out alive seven years ago yesterday, after being shot in the leg. She called 911 and got a hold of her husband's gun.

"[Brisenia] was really scared. Her voice was shacking," Gina said in court, according to CNN. "I can hear her say, 'Please don't shoot me.'"

Forde and two accomplices, Jason Bush—at the time the national director of operations for the Minutemen American Defense—and Albert Gaxiola planned to raid the home to steal drugs, weapons and money to fund their anti-immigration group, according to CNN. Reportedly, they thought Raul was a drug dealer. No drugs were found.

On Feb. 22, 2011, a jury found Forde guilty of first-degree murder and gave her the death penalty.

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Smokin' Showdown Returns to Hotel Congress with Nine Pitmasters Competing for Best BBQ Title

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Let's see who's going to smoke the competition. - ANDREW BROWN
  • Andrew Brown
  • Let's see who's going to smoke the competition.

There’s nothing quite like BBQing in the summer, but this Saturday, June 4 is no backyard hangout. This Saturday is serious. Hotel Congress' Smokin’ Showdown will pit nine local pitmasters against each other to vie for the title of Tucson’s top barbecue.

Now in its second year, the event will feature Chillin ‘n’ Grillin, The Cup Café, Brother John’s, Brushfire BBQ, Red Desert BBQ, Acacia and more, adding two more competing slots than the inaugural event. Proceeds will go to benefit Steele Children’s Research Center.

Smokin' Showdown kicks off at 6 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. Tickets are available for $35 in advance or $40 the day of the event, which includes two ounces of barbecue from each vendor, two sides and one draft pint from Catalina Brewing Co. Guests are also invited to vote for their favorite 'cue in the People's Choice awards for the event.

You can snatch your spot at the Smokin' Showdown and find more information on the event by visiting the Hotel Congress website

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Beth Needs a Home

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Hi, I'm Beth!

I'm a sweet mama, hoping that someone will open their heart and home to me. I'm very sweet to people when I warm up to them and respond well to treats!

I'm only 2 years old so I would love a family who can give me a lot of exercise and play time! Mama dogs tend to spend a longer time in the shelter, but I'm hoping that if you share my post, I can be adopted this week!

Contact Humane Society of Southern Arizona at 327-6088 to check on my availability and exact location!

Lots of love,
Beth (82260)

Federal Judge Debates How to Punish Joe Arpaio for Contempt of Court in Racial Profiling Case

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 11:40 AM

#ArrestArpaio protest outside the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix. - COURTESY OF PUENTE HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT
  • Courtesy of Puente Human Rights Movement
  • #ArrestArpaio protest outside the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix.

A federal judge is debating consequences for Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio and three top deputies in a racial profiling case where they were recently found in contempt of court.

Simultaneously, the immigrant rights group Puente Human Rights Movement and allies protested outside the federal courthouse in Phoenix where the hearing was taking place, calling for criminal charges against Arpaio and his deputies. The group has also called for Arpaio's arrest.

U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow was also supposed to hear arguments by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona about how to compensate the hundreds of Latino drivers the court found to have been unlawfully stopped and detained by Maricopa Sheriff's Office deputies, according to a Reuters article on The Huffington Post

The ACLU of Arizona filed a memorandum with the court on Friday, suggesting Snow to issue a referral to the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate Arpaio and Maricopa Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan for criminal contempt and other possible violations of federal law, such as perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the court-appointed monitor, among other recommendations.

On May 13, Snow found Arpaio and three of his top deputies guilty of civil contempt, saying they ignored court orders. "The Court finds that the Defendants have engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, dishonesty, and bad faith with respect to the Plaintiff class and the protection of its rights," the judge wrote, according to the ACLU of Arizona. "They have demonstrated a persistent disregard for the orders of the Court, as well as intention to violate and manipulate the laws and policies regulating their conduct."

The ACLU sued the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in 2007, and after three weeks of trial it was found that the sheriff's office violated constitutional rights engaging in unlawful traffic stops and racially profiling Latinos, the ACLU says. On October 2, 2013, Snow issued an order mandating "necessary changes by Arpaio and his agency to prevent continued misconduct and safeguard the community from future violations of their constitutional rights," according to the ACLU.

Arpaio and his top deputies continuously ignored the court's orders, which triggered recent contempt of court hearings.   

The Reuters article on the Huffington Post says this case has cost Maricopa County taxpayers roughly $41 million, with another $13 million budgeted for the next fiscal year, according to officials.

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Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: Day 12

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 10:30 AM

  • Courtesy of Photospin




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Cinema Clips: The Do-Over

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 9:30 AM

The second film in the Adam Sandler Netflix era after the horrible The Ridiculous 6 is still pretty bad moviemaking, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Director Steven Brill made two of the better Sandler vehicles in Little Nicky and Mr. Deeds, and their third pairing has its moments. That’s thanks in large part to the pairing of Sandler and an effective David Spade, who is cast against type as Charlie, a nebbish nerd looking for new start on life.

Sandler plays Max, who shows up at their high school reunion, takes pity on Charlie, and fakes both of their deaths so that they can smoke joints and drink for the rest of their lives. The plot isn’t that simple, and the two wind up being pursued by a killer that is a fairly funny homage to Die Hard.

The film is put together better than most of the later Sandler comedies, and it packs quite a few good laughs. Unfortunately, it also veers into overkill way too many times, and the gross-stuff feels discordant and just wrong.

Still, I liked the characters, and the film classes up a bit at the halfway mark when Paula Patton enters the picture. She has a fight with Kathryn Hahn that is one of the better smack downs you will see in a movie this summer.

The movie doesn’t work as a whole, but it does show that Sandler and Spade are a good screen duo when in the hands of a semi-capable director (Also, it has Natasha Leggero in it, and that’s always a good thing).

Had everybody just held the phone on a few of the extreme sight gags, and perhaps edited a solid fifteen minutes off the movie, I might’ve been able to recommend the film. As it stands, it’s a near miss. Hey, a near miss for Sandler these days is a major triumph!

(Available for streaming on Netflix as part of Sandler’s straight-to-Netflix movie series). 

What Trump University Promised, and What It Delivered

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 8:30 AM

  • Courtesy of democracynow.org
So much to unpack about Trump University. Never a university. No longer in existence, like so many other Trump ventures. Huge promises from Trump to people desperate for good news, but the most reliable result was people spending $35,000 to $60,000 with little or nothing to show for it. Lawsuit by scammed "students," which Trump says is groundless. Release of Trump U documents ordered by the judge, who Trump vilifies in a 12 minute tirade.

Bottom line: Trump is a showman, a pitch man, a carnival barker, a con man. Whether he's selling Trump steaks, Trump wine, Trump University or President Trump, the product may change, but the pitch remains the same, as do the insults hurled at anyone who dares to stand in his way.

Let's start with the most recent development. A judge ordered that documents about Trump University pertaining to the lawsuit should be unsealed. (Monday morning, the judge made them public.) Last Friday during a rally in San Diego, Trump devoted 12 substance-free minutes of his 58 minute address to how awful the judge is.
“I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd of several thousand booed. “He is not doing the right thing.”
Not much there. Here's a tad more information.
“We’re in front of a very hostile judge,” Mr. Trump said. “The judge was appointed by Barack Obama, federal judge. Frankly, he should recuse himself because he’s given us ruling after ruling after ruling, negative, negative, negative.”
So. The judge should recuse himself because he was appointed by Obama and he's ruled against Trump. What's more, the judge, according to Trump, is "Mexican." In fact, Curiel was born in Indiana.

"Trump University" was never a university. It was one of those get-rich-quick cons that begin with free promotional seminars about how to make millions in real estate designed to convince people to buy increasingly more expensive coursework. The first three day seminar costs $1,495. The "Gold Elite" programs cost $35,000.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

We Can't Let Those People Do That. It's Just Wrong!

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2016 at 1:30 PM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
Keeping all those colored people as slaves simply makes sense. They're not equipped to deal with the responsibility of being free citizens. And then letting them vote on top of giving them their freedom? God no! It's Just Wrong.

Women are fine in their place, but it's the men folks who should be making important decisions. Give women the vote? God no! It's Just Wrong.

They have their schools, we have our schools, and it's working just fine. Integrate the schools? God no! It'll cause chaos. Everyone will suffer. It's Just Wrong.

Interracial marriage? Gay rights? Gay marriage? God no! Wrong, wrong, wrong. It'll destroy the fabric of society.

And so it goes. Now the issue is transgender people using the bathroom of their choice. Somehow we managed to survive all those other changes which granted rights where rights were previously denied—and we've become a better society for it—but this time, apparently, this change is a bridge too far. It's. Just. Wrong.

Arizona has joined with 10 other states to oppose the Obama administration's recent guidance on the way schools should treat their transgender students. It's Attorney General Mark Brnovich's ball game, but Superintendent of Public Instruction has picked up a bat and stepped to the plate as well.

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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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