Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Flake: "Mr. President, I Rise Today To Say, 'Enough'"

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Sen. Jeff Flake: “When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ What are we going to say? Mr. President, I rise today to say, enough." - COURTESY OF FLAKE.SENATE.GOV
  • Courtesy of flake.senate.gov
  • Sen. Jeff Flake: “When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ What are we going to say? Mr. President, I rise today to say, enough."
Flake's bombshell announcement today that he would not seek reelection next year is rocking the state's political landscape.

Flake took time on the Senate floor today to explain his decision, saying that the coarseness of President Donald Trump drove his decision. Talking Points Memo summarizes:

“I have children and grandchildren to answer to. And so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit or silent,” Flake said in a speech that centered around the degradation of political civility in the age of Trump.

He criticized the “coarseness of our leadership” and the “regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals.”

“When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ What are we going to say? Mr. President, I rise today to say, enough,” Flake said. “We have fooled ourselves long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it. We know better than that. By now we all know better than that.”

“We must stop pretending that the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal. Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has been excused as ‘telling it like it is’ when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified,” Flake continued. “And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else. It is dangerous to a democracy.”
I suspect Flake would not have made this move if he hadn't seen polling numbers that showed his support collapsing among Republicans in Arizona. That problem been building for awhile, but his feuds with Trump have definitely accelerated his decline—and his decision to write a book hammering away at Trump surely didn't help things.

I don't agree with many of Flake's policies (other than his push to solve the nation's immigration problems with the Gang of Eight back in 2013), but I do believe he is a fundamentally decent guy who wants to reverse the rot within his party. But he's spitting into the wind. The GOP is moving in a sharply different direction where primary voters celebrate what Trump represents.

So what happens next? I'm guessing there's a rush among Republicans to jump for the open seat and Flake challenger Kelli Ward will now face a more crowded and difficult path to the GOP nomination. And not to be morbid, as we wish him the best with his battle against brain cancer, but there is also a possibility that John McCain won't be able to finish his term, which could put both of Arizona's U.S. Senate seats in play next year.

Alden Needs a Home

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 1:30 PM


Hi, I'm Alden!

I am a 2 year old male Queensland Heeler mix looking for my fur-ever home! I can be shy at first but will warm up to the right person quickly. Please bring any kids or dogs that live in your home to come meet me. I am at HSSA Main Campus at 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd., or give an adoptions counselor a call at 520-327-6088 x173 for more information.

Lots of Love,
Alden (847196)

Danny Brown Embraces The Dissonance At Lost Lake

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 12:00 PM

  • Jeff Gardner
Danny Brown is hip-hop’s punk phase: a complete rebellion from the genre’s norms and style. Not only was his gold chain replaced by a grungy The Police t-shirt, but Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” played for his arrival onstage. This isn’t to say he wasn’t rapping—he certainly was, with fantastic delivery and sometimes hilarious, sometimes shocking word play.

The most impressive aspect is Danny’s ability to rap consistently at all, considering the frantic and frenzied nature of many of his songs. From wild, blaring horns to broken, lonely electronics, most musicians wouldn’t even know when to start singing in the first place, let alone unleash line after line of chaotic poetry.

To truly understand a Danny Brown concert, look no further than his most recent album, Atrocity Exhibition. Right from the title (a Joy Division reference) you can expect depictions of horror, addiction, and madness. And these were all in his set. Though perhaps the most disconcerting aspect wasn’t the atrocities he sang about, but how much fun he had doing it. From call-and-response singing with the crowd, running amok on stage, and sticking his tongue out like a mocking demon, Danny was as much of an entertainer as he was an antagonist.

Here’s a man who will treat a downward spiral like a rollercoaster ride and laugh the whole way through.

“Funny how it happens
Who ever would imagine
The joke's on you
But Satan’s the one laughing”

— from Danny Brown’s “Ain’t It Funny”

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Noname Keep Things Light–Even When They Get Heavy–At Lost Lake

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 11:30 AM

  • Emily Dieckman
The drummer playing for rising star rapper Noname was wearing a shirt that said “Wonderful Noise,” and that served as a prophecy for the set he was about to be a part of. Fatimah Nyeema Warner, widely known by her stage name Noname, struck a balance between meaningful and fun at her Friday night performance at the Lost Lake Festival in Phoenix.

The 26-year-old rose to prominence after being featured on Chance the Rapper’s 2013 Acid Rap, and the July 2016 release of her debut album Telefone received wide acclaim. The album is so-titled because the songs are inspired by telephone conversations the Chicago native has had throughout her life. On Telefone, the conversational songs open-ended, vulnerable and thought provoking.

But, even in a setlist that featured songs like "Casket Pretty," which touches on themes of police brutality and the fear of learning about a loved one’s death, she spent most of her time onstage smiling. She joked about how sad her music was, introduced the audience to all of the band members on stage with her, and even slapped a beach ball back into the crowd when it bounced its way onto the stage.

At one point, she started rapping, “fuck bitches and get money,” and encouraging the audience to join her. Her shifting of the phrase to “love women and get money” was met with huge applause, and a further shift to “fuck niggas with no money” received even bigger cheers.

As the sun set over her performance, the lyrics to "Yesterday," which she’s described as being a blueprint for Telefone, left the audience glowing in the warmth of Phoenix’s golden hour and in the light of Noname’s words.

“When the sun is going down, when the dark is out to stay, I picture your smile like it was yesterday."

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Introducing '1989 Miles of People & Change,' A Border Exploration with American Babylon

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 10:00 AM


Think of the border with Mexico. What is the first image that comes to mind?

Whatever dreams and nightmares and visions you are seeing when you think of Mexico and our border with Mexico, they could use some context. Information about the border is spare, sparse, and often outlandish. Hyperbolic descriptions of criminal hordes lurking just across the Rio Grande are everywhere. The media uses the Mexican border to generate headlines and clicks and traffic: Violence and corruption and death are the standard images of any particular day.

Politicians use the Mexican border to justify all manner of intervention and spending. The current administration proposes to build a border fence or wall along the entire length of the Mexican border. The cost of this intervention is supposed by many to be in excess of $30 billion. The benefits of this construction, murky and ephemeral as they are, will clearly accrue most to those companies chosen to carry out the high dollar work.

The people this impacts the most will be those that live on the border. These very same people are nearly absent from the conversation about the proposed border fence or wall or whatever you want to call the thing.

Which brings us in a roundabout way to introducing a new American Babylon project which seeks to document the lives and stories of people who actually live on the border with Mexico: "1989 Miles of People & Change" is a journey where we are traveling along the entire length of the border. All 1989 beautiful, insane miles. From Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California. From Reynosa to Tijuana: the story of the border is not what the media and politicians have been talking about.

We set out on this journey one week ago. We've interviewed and spoken with a widely divergent subset of people who live and work along the border:

• Multi-generational landowners who are fighting government attempts to seize their land for use in construction of the border fence.

• Educator and activist Scott Nicol of the Sierra Club about the effect of the "levee wall" on southeastern Texas habitats.

• Civil rights lawyer Efren Olivares of the Texas Civil Rights Project about the eminent domain proceedings which are occurring in Texas and the incredibly heavy handed process the government is using to initiate these takings.

• Marianna Trevino-Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center in Hidalgo, Texas. Marianna has been fighting against Border Patrol usurpation of her organization's land without any legal recourse.

Follow along at facebook.com/AmericanBabylonNow, where we'll be posting a new video and more photos by American Babylon photographer Jimi Giannatti each day at our FB page and here at The Range. Our first video features fifth-generation resident of Los Ebanos, Texas Aleida Flores. She and her family successfully prevented the government from seizing their land nearly 10 years ago for a different version of the "wall"—now they are fighting all over again.

Prop. 204: Planting Preschools in Daycare Deserts

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 8:44 AM

  • Courtesy of Bigstock
The term “food desert” was created in the 1990s to describe areas where residents don’t have access to healthy, affordable food. With no adequate markets within a reasonable distance, people living in food deserts are more likely to live on fast food and what they can buy in local mini-marts, most of which is unhealthy and overpriced, rather than what you find at most supermarkets. The general health and wellbeing of people living in food deserts would be improved significantly if the residents had access to healthy food they can afford.

It’s time to coin a new term: daycare desert. It describes places where parents have little access to any kind of affordable daycare, let alone high quality early childhood education, for their children. Daycare deserts are deeper and wider in the U.S. than elsewhere in the industrialized world, and Arizona is one of the most parched states in the country. To improve the educational health and wellbeing of children and adults living in daycare deserts, we need to bring affordable, high quality early childhood education within easy access.

Proposition 204 gives us the opportunity to turn Tucson's daycare deserts into oases of quality early childhood education for upwards to 8,000 three and four year olds at the cost to the community of a one-half percent increase in sales tax. So far as I know, Prop 204 is the country's boldest effort to correct the daycare crisis in recent years, and if it passes — I'm being serious here, I don't consider this an overstatement — it could be a national game changer, pointing the way for other communities to improve the lives of their young children.

Most people agree it's a good idea to make early childhood education available to more children, but detractors say Prop 204 leaves too much room for things to go wrong, both in what is included and left out of the proposal. Me personally, I think Prop 204 is not just a good idea, it's a great idea, and I agree with Weekly Editor Jim Nintzel when he wrote, "I think the accountability concerns are misguided at best." The concerns are legitimate, but vastly overstated.

Further down, you'll find links to a few pieces which do an excellent job of presenting the information you need to know about the Prop 204 and the reasons you should, or shouldn't, vote for it, which means I don't have to do it here. Instead, I'm going to give you a decision-making recommendation.

Pull the balance scale you use to weigh serious decisions down from the shelf where you store it. On one side of the scale, place the value of giving three and four year old children the kind of educational start in life which will give them the best chance of being successful in school and throughout their lives. On the other side, put the possibilities that things might go wrong if the people in charge of creating and implementing the program don't do a good job. See which way the scales tip. That's how you should vote.

I'll tell you what I see on my balance scale. On one side, I see a little golden nugget of potential and unexplored possibilities for each of the thousands of three and four year olds who will get an early childhood education. On the other side, I see a handful of stones with words like "Worst case scenario," "This could go wrong," "That could go wrong," written on them. My scales tip heavily in favor of the children whose lives will be enriched by Prop 204. But that's just me. You have your own scale. Use it.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Weekly List: 22 Things To Do In Tucson This Week

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 8:43 AM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo


click image MAX PIXEL
  • Max Pixel
Star Wars Paint Party. You Pick Your Side! You may not be able to use the force to help you become a professional painter, but you can attend a fun event where your painting is sketched out for you ahead of time and you have something to work with. Specify “Vader” or “Yoda” when you buy your ticket, so you can choose whether you’ll get an instructor who breathes really heavily and rarely speaks or one with confusing syntax. No, but really, specify one or the other so they’ll know which one to sketch out on your canvas. 6:15. Friday, Oct. 20. HighWire Lounge, 14 S. Arizona Ave. $30.

Agua Caliente Park Astronomy Star Party. This event is simple, straightforward and starry. The Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association is setting up a cluster of telescopes in the Park Bus Lanes (at the north end of the park) to look up at and appreciate the sky. TAAA has been around for over 60 years, and the stars have been around for even longer than that. Celebrate and learn about both at this family-friendly event. Arrive early in case the park entrance gate closes one hour after the start time. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21. Agua Client Park, 12325 E. Roger Road. Free.

  • Wikimedia Commons
Meteor Mania! The Orionids are coming! The Orionids are coming! Produced by Halley’s comet, these visitors from the school of space rocks will be doing a flyby on Friday. It’s the middle of the night, so warm clothing (hats, gloves, layers) is a must. Feel free to bring sleeping bags, blankets or lawn chairs to hang out on as well. It’s big, bright, beautiful and the perfect event for space-loving kids (or for the conversion of a non-space-loving kid into a space-loving kid), especially ages 8 and up. 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. (though shuttles back to the parking lot will be available at 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. as well). Friday, Oct. 20. Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center by driving way west on Ajo Way and taking a left at AZ-386 South. (Park in the picnic area, a mile below the summit, and take a shuttle the rest of the way.) $49.95 online or $55 over the phone for adults. $46.95 or $52 by phone for ages 8-16. Tribal members free.

Do Good, Feel Good

Tucson Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The Desert Southwest Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is hosting the Tucson branch of this walk, which takes place in more than 600 communities across the country. Walk a one-mile or three-mile route at Reid Park and raise funds to support Alzheimer’s research, support and care. It’s free to register for the walk, which gives you all the more incentive to reach out to friends, family, coworkers and beyond to help support a worthwhile cause. 8 a.m. to noon. Saturday, Oct. 21. Reid Park, 900 S. Randolph Way. Free.

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Quick Bites: Halloween Specials, Fall Brawl And Therapy Dogs

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 8:43 AM

Salud 2017! Ruff week? What could make for a better evening than wine tasting, local restaurants, craft breweries and live music? Let us answer that for you: dogs! At this event hosted by Gabriel’s Angels, an Arizona-based organization that delivers pet therapy to abused and at-risk children. At this event to benefit the organization, attendees can triple up on wining, dining and canining therapy for a night that will have everyone wagging their tails with glee by the end. 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20. Plaza Colonia, 2870 E. Skyline Drive. $65 resale, $75 at the door.

Trunk or Treat! Cheers to 15 years of the Northwest YMCA’s festive and fun-filled event, which sounds like it might just be all treats and no tricks. Inflatable things! Candy! Costumes! Live entertainment! “Kid friendly” is an understatement; this is a kid’s paradise. Mj’s hotdogs, Bella’s Gelato Shoppe, Wilson’s Kettle Corn and The Blacktop Grill will be serving up eats to complement the inevitable bags full of treats. 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. Northwest YMCA, 7770 N. Shannon Road. $1 (ONE DOLLAR.)

Fall Brawl #1. The WWE Smackdown of Tucson’s culinary community continues with this heated competition over who can craft the best game-day appetizer. Will it be Johnny Gibson’s? The Drunken Chicken? Mulligan Sports Grill? Or Rincon Market itself? Everyone knows the appetizer is the most important part of a game-day spread, because it’s the point in the day where you’re most likely to be sober and still have some sort of discerning taste. So this is not to be taken lightly. Cast your vote carefully, because there can only be one! 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22. Rincon Market, 2513 E. Sixth St. $15.

Casino Del Sol Oktoberfest. It’s about to get German! And we’re not talking Weinerschnitzel. This 21+ Oktoberfest features Sam Adams and Paulaner beer, live music and German foods and desserts. Vendors will keep your belly full, live music will keep your heart full, and games and contests will keep your adrenaline reserves full. The event runs for 10 hours, and entry is free, so if you forget your lederhosen or your pint glass, there’s no worries about leaving and coming back (as long as you’re still okay to drive). Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21. AVA Amphitheater, 5644 W. Valencia Road. Free.

Uncle Bob’s Popcorn Halloween Promotion. Check out some of terrifically tasty treats at a small business that is just as lovable as it is local. If you’ve ever been to the Shanty on Fourth Ave, you’ve probably had Uncle Bob’s. But, in honor of Halloween, they’re mixing things up. The Monster Mash mix comes with bright green, orange and purple kernels, and the Day of the Dead popcorn is white, silver and black. A smaller bag is $399, and an impressively large one is $9.99. Through Oct. 31. Uncle Bob’s Popcorn, 1147 N. Columbus Ave.

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Staff Pick

UA Dance Premium Blend

In Premium Blend, UA Dance will perform the work of two masters, Martha Graham's Panorama and George… More

@ UA Stevie Eller Dance Theatre Nov. 14-17, 7:30-9 p.m., Nov. 17-18, 1:30-3 p.m. and Sun., Nov. 18, 6-7:30 p.m. 1737 E. University Blvd.

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