Friday, December 29, 2017

Clementine Needs a Home

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 3:00 PM


Hi there. I’m Clementine!

I am a 7 year young girl looking for my fur-ever family! I am a sweet but shy cat. My dream home would have a scratching post and a comfy bed for me to nap in. Great news, my adoption fee is only $50!

In the past I have done well with some dogs but prefer to be your only cat. Come fall in love with me at HSSA Main Campus at 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd. you can also give an adoptions counselor a call for more information at 520-327-6088, ext. 173.

Lots of Love,
Clementine (849092)

Mexican American Studies: What's Next?

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 11:00 AM

  • Courtesy of Bigstock
It was September 2011, months before the Tucson Unified school board buckled under the weight of unrelenting political and financial pressure and voted to dismantle Mexican American Studies. Then-Attorney General Tom Horne, the man who started the anti-MAS crusade when he was Superintendent of Public Instruction, was part of a panel discussion on the TUSD program sponsored by the Arizona Mainstream Project. A press release for the event described what it called MAS's "real objectives."
"[T]hese include the overthrow of our government, ethnic resentment, and the redefining of 'la familia.' The TUSD Mexican-American Ethnic Studies program is widely seen as a 'militant' model to be spread throughout the country."
Horne was asked what TUSD could do to comply with then-Education Superintendent John Huppenthal's demands that the program comply with state law. He replied that the district's only option was "to terminate the program."
Horne said the program must be “destroyed,” invoking Cato’s obsessive call for warfare as a punch line, “Carthage must be destroyed.”
Horne is an educated man, so he would have understood the implications of his Carthage analogy. Ancient Carthage, on the North African coast, posed an existential threat to Rome during the Punic Wars — think Hannibal and his elephants crossing the Alps in 218 BC. Rome eventually triumphed over the darker-skinned invaders, destroying Carthage completely and selling its remaining population into slavery. The comparison of Carthage invading from the south being driven back and destroyed by a lighter skinned civilization, to white Arizona fighting off the invasion of its education system by Mexican American radicals is too obvious, and too racist, to be coincidental.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Wallace Tashima declared that the law, § 15-112, designed to destroy TUSD's Mexican American Studies, cannot be enforced, because it
"was enacted and enforced, not for a legitimate educational purpose, but for (i) an invidious discriminatory racial purpose, and (ii) a politically partisan purpose – to shut down the TUSD MAS Program – in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution."
It's a fitting irony that the tactics used by Tom Horne and John Huppenthal against MAS were repudiated in a court of law while both men have seen their reputations tarnished — one could even say, destroyed — because of a string of personal and professional improprieties compounded by their publicly exposed racism.

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The Weekly List: 21 Things To Do in Tucson This Week

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 8:43 AM

Your Weekly guide to keeping busy in the Old Pueblo.


NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. It’ll be a battle of the Aggies at Arizona Stadium on Dec. 29, as New Mexico State and Utah State meet for the third-annual Arizona Bowl. The headline of the event has to be New Mexico State (6-6) making its first postseason appearance in 57 years—defeating, you guessed it, Utah State 20-13 in the Sun Bowl. Utah State also enters Friday’s game at 6-6, with an offense that ranks in the Top 50 in points per game (31.0), while New Mexico State boasts a pass-heavy offense led by Peoria native Tyler Rogers at quarterback, who’s thrown for 3,825 yards and 26 touchdowns this season. The Aggies will meet at 3:30 p.m. at Arizona Stadium, with CBS Sports Network showing the action live on TV.

UA Downtown Block Party. If you find yourself getting blue between all of the Christmas celebration hubbub and the New Year’s Eve madness, be grateful you live in a town that’s added a whole other holiday right in the middle. Head over to Armory Park to enjoy live music from 80’s and Gentlemen, stuff your face and—most importantly—scream “Bear Down” at everyone you see in the true spirit of Tucson. Not to mention there will be carnival rides, a beer garden and something called human foosball, which is apparently not just soccer. 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 28. Armory Park, 221 S. Sixth Ave. Free.

Yoga and Meditation

108 Sun Salutations. Alright, here we go. It’s the first day of a new year and your chance to kick off your resolution feeling strong, confident and committed. And you know what? Even if you just force yourself to go to this one yoga event this one time, you’ll probably end up feeling real good, and you’ll earn a glass of champagne with dinner. (You’re sure to have some leftover from the night before.) So enjoy a brief meditation followed by 108 sun salutations. (108 is a sacred number in Hinduism and yoga, not just an arbitrarily high number chosen to get you fully exhausted). 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 1 Om Yoga, 5961 N. Oracle Road. $7 nonmembers ($5 cash).

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Laughing Stock: Gong Show at The Loft

Posted By on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Mike Sterner and Bridgitte Thum host First Friday Shorts.
  • Mike Sterner and Bridgitte Thum host First Friday Shorts.

“Before I worked here, I was trying to work on movies as an editor,” says J.J. Giddings of The Loft Cinema. “So much work goes into making a film, even a not so good film, that you deserve a chance to see it on the big screen.” Gittings is marketing director for Tucson’s nationally acclaimed art house cinema, and producer of the theater's monthly gong show for new works, Friday Night Shorts.

First Friday Shorts offers any local filmmaker-manqué a chance to show a work up to 15 minutes long on the 50-foot screen in the Loft’s newly renovated main theatre. If the audience loves it, a film can run until it ends. But things end badly if the audience hates it; at the three-minute mark, they’re invited to try to get the emcee to gong the film and shut it down.

Either way, the audience feedback is an education the auteurs could never buy. “It's a platform for filmmakers where they can go and just get real feedback from live bodies in front of the screen,” says comedian and KXCI DJ Brigitte Thum, who co-hosts the show with her husband, comedian Mike Sterner, a former writer for Bill Maher’s Politically Correct.

There is no telling what an audience will see. Filmmakers begin delivering their work to the Loft on Friday morning, and the first 15 in the door are shown. Recent entries have been documentaries, music videos and animated films. “There's always going to be something really goofy,” Thum says. Giddings adds, “Comedy usually goes over well, because it's just a simple idea to get across. Drama is a lot harder to communicate.”

Sterner and Thum keep the mood light and fun, trading spontaneous quips with fimmakers and each other. Thum covers the theater with her wireless mic, interviewing filmmakers about their work. “It kind of gives humanity to it,” she says, “like, this is a film made by a person. their blood, sweat and tears. This is the filmmaker you are gonging.”

Sterner offers low-key, practical tips, like, “You might want to get a tri-pod.”

First Friday Shorts takes place at 9 p.m., on Jan. 5, and the first Friday of every month. Admission is $6; $5 for Loft members; $1 more for online reservations. There is no fee for entering a film. Each month the audience picks a winner to receive a $200 check. All the year’s winners are screened in May to compete for a $1000 prize.

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Suspect in Jail Murder Case Undermedicated at Time of Murder

Posted By on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 4:29 PM

Branden Roth, 24, was found beaten and strangled to death in his Pima County jail cell earlier this year. Recently-filed court documents show the murder suspect, King Yates, was undermedicated at the time, for a previously diagnosed psychotic disorder. - COURTESY BRANDEN ROTH'S FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Courtesy Branden Roth's Facebook page
  • Branden Roth, 24, was found beaten and strangled to death in his Pima County jail cell earlier this year. Recently-filed court documents show the murder suspect, King Yates, was undermedicated at the time, for a previously diagnosed psychotic disorder.

A Pima County jail inmate who allegedly killed his cellmate was undermedicated at the time of his cell mate’s death.

Branden Roth was found beaten and strangled to death, locked in a cell with King Yates, who was unharmed, on the morning of April 19.

Yates was awaiting trial for the murder of his wife Cassandra Yates. Roth had recently plead guilty to trafficking in stolen property for stealing a diagnostic tool from BrakeMax, which he pawned for a few hundred dollars.

In December 2015, Yates was found incompetent to stand trial on felony drug charges and was court ordered to take medication to restore him to competency. He was evaluated by Dr. Michael Christiansen, who diagnosed him with “Bipolar I Disorder vs Schizoaffective Disorder with Narcissistic personality traits,” according to court records.

The courts ordered Yates take a daily 700 mg of Seroquel to control psychosis. Christiansen said the medication was “ESSENTIAL in sustaining competency to stand trial. “Essential” was in all caps.

At the time of Roth’s murder, the jail was only giving Yates 225 mg of Seroquel. The jail’s medical records don’t give a reason for the lower dosage, according to court records. The day after Roth’s death, jail staff increased Yates’ medication to 400 mg.

An independent contractor, overseen by the county's behavioral health department, is responsible for deciding inmates’ medication dosages, according to the county's Public Communications Manager, Mark B. Evans

Since this new information came to light, prosecutors have withdrawn their intention to seek the death penalty.

Yates has a history of behavioral health issues. Court documents show that when he allegedly shot his wife, he told a friend, only minutes after the murder, that Cassandra had been trying to kill him. Yates’ public defender in that case told the courts she does not believe he was medicated at the time of the murder.

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Give Money to a Public School, Get It All Back

Posted By on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 2:17 PM

  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
It's time to give money to a public school — $200 for an individual, $400 for a couple — and get 100 percent of it back at tax time. It won't cost you a penny. It's a tax credit, meaning you deduct it from the total you owe the state. If, for example, you do your taxes and find you owe the state $950, subtract your tax credit from that amount, and that's how much you'll pay. If you gave $400, you'll only pay $550. See? No cost to you.

So, who can you give the money to? Any district or charter school. You can even divvy your credit up among a number of schools.

What is the money used for? Schools can only use it for extracurricular or character education programs, not for classroom-based education. I don't much like that restriction, but that's the way the law was written. Still, lots of important education and recreation happens in schools outside the classroom—sports, music, art, science, field trips, clubs. Especially in schools with lots of children from low income families, the donations can be the difference between the kids participating or being left out.

How do you give? Most school districts have a link on their website's home page which has all the information you need. You can pay online with a credit card or download a form and mail in a check.

How do you choose the school or schools to give your money to? The answer is probably easy for people whose children are in school. For everyone else, my suggestion is, give it to school with lots of low income students. If parents and community members pay little or no state taxes because they don't make much money, they can't take advantage of the credit, which means their schools don't get a whole lot of this extra money, while schools in more affluent areas get many times more.

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Sam Needs a Home

Posted By on Fri, Dec 22, 2017 at 2:00 PM


Hi, I’m Sam!

I am a 4 year old boy searching for the purr-fect family! I am a sweet boy that loves attention. I enjoy being held, pet, and brushed! I am FIV positive which means I will need to be an indoor only cat. You can learn more about FIV online.

Come meet me at HSSA Main Campus at 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd., or give an adoptions counselor a call at 520-327-6088, ext. 173 for more information.

Lots of Love,
Sam (847242)

T.H.R.E.A T. Watch, a Year Later

Posted By on Fri, Dec 22, 2017 at 11:31 AM

Thirteen months ago, November 15, 2016, I wrote my first post after Trump was elected president. I was stunned. Horrified. Terrified contemplating the future of our country in a Trump regime. In that post, I wrote that I knew awful things would happen with any Republican president in office who had a Republican Congress and a conservative-majority Supreme Court supporting him. Millions of Americans, probably hundreds of millions, would be hurt when conservative priorities were turned into law and executive actions. But as bad as that might be, it wasn't what I most feared. Eventually the damage could be mitigated or reversed when Democrats regained some of their lost power. My worst fears had to do with a slide toward Trump-led authoritarianism which would change the very nature of our constitutional democracy. The effects could be irreversible.

I titled the post THREAT Watch, short for Trump Human Rights Erosion And Termination Watch.

But hell, I was upset over the election results. Maybe I was being irrational, a sore loser overreacting to Trump's unexpected win and exaggerating the damage he could do.

I wish I could say my predictions were an overreaction. Looking back at the post from a year's distance, I see no reason to change a word. The Trump administration started out badly. It got worse. Right now, we stand at the most dangerous crossroads of his short presidency.

Here's what I wrote about the changes I thought were inevitable once Republicans dominated all three branches of the federal government.
All kinds of terrible things are going to happen with Trump in the White House, a Republican majority in both houses of Congress and a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Taxes and business regulations will favor the rich even more than they do now. Entitlement programs for the poor will be cut dramatically. Comprehensive women's health care which includes abortion will be nonexistent in many parts of the country. Obamacare, Medicare and Social Security will be savaged.
Everything on my list has either happened or is in the works. Trump and his cabinet have gutted every economic and environmental regulation they've been able to get their hands on and ignored the rest. The tax cut is a big, wet, sloppy kiss on the mouth of every one-percenter in the country. And the trillion-plus deficit created by the tax cuts will accomplish the Republican goal of starving the budget beast, giving them the excuse they need to say we simply can't afford all that entitlement spending for welfare, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

The gutting and cutting will only get worse when the legislature returns in January. And yet, disasters written into legislation and regulation aren't written in stone. Like the destruction brought by hurricanes, floods and fire, much of the damage can be repaired through time and effort.

More dire is the possibility the Trump presidency will damage the fabric of our society, which is not easily restored. I wrote about that next.

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