Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2022 at 2:33 PM

Republicans Advance Bill Banning Descriptions of Sex, Homosexuality in Arizona Schools
Photo by Kennedy Library | Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Republicans on Tuesday backed a bill that would ban books like “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “1984” and “The Great Gatsby” from Arizona schools because they contain frank descriptions of sex and sexuality, and that critics say would effectively make it illegal to teach about homosexuality.

The legislation bans schools from teaching or directing students to study any material that is “sexually explicit,” which the bill defines as “masturbation, homosexuality, sexual intercourse or physical contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks or if such person is female, breast.”

An amendment was added to the bill by Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, that allowed for classical literature, early American literature and literature needed for college credit to still be allowed — but only with parental consent. 

“We didn’t want it to get overly burdensome and exempt literature that is important,” Udall said, adding that they still wanted to give parents the ability to “opt out” of the literature with sexually explicit material. 

Although Udall repeatedly described her amendment as a way for parents to opt their children out of “explicit” schoolwork, it actually requires parents to opt their children into the work — meaning it would be illegal to teach to all students by default.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Posted By on Fri, Jan 14, 2022 at 8:28 AM

Republican Wants All AZ Cell Phones and Tablets To Have an Anti-Porn Filter
Free image via Pixabay

A Republican lawmaker wants to bar the sale of any computer, smartphone or tablet in Arizona if it doesn’t include a filter that would block children from accessing “harmful content,” and would hold them criminally liable if they fail to do so.

The legislation from Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, also would allow parents to sue anyone who helps their child bypass the internet filter. 

The measure appears to be the brainchild of an anti-LGBT and anti-porn activist known for his wild stunts. 

House Bill 2115 shares almost identical language to the “Save Our Children Act” created by Chris Sevier, a man who has drafted model anti-pornography legislation around the country, including in Arizona. 

Most notably in 2019, Rep. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, put forward a bill by Sevier that would have charged Arizona residents $20 to access pornographic material and used the money to fund construction of a border wall along the state’s southern border with Mexico. Griffin later said she would no longer pursue the bill after it drew national attention. 

Udall’s bill is similar in how it seeks to limit computer access to “material that is harmful to minors” on any device that can access mobile networks, wired networks or the internet, according to the bill. 

The bill also gives parents the right to sue the manufacturer if their child accesses “harmful material,” and anyone who removes a filter would face a class 6 felony and a $50,000 fine. Companies that don’t comply also can face criminal liability under the bill’s language. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Posted By on Wed, Aug 25, 2021 at 1:00 AM

Monday, August 16, 2021

Posted By on Mon, Aug 16, 2021 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge Guest opinion: Congress must act to make contraceptives more accessible
monkeybusinessimages, Bigstock

Accessing contraceptives is a health necessity for many women. Contraceptives help prevent unwanted pregnancy while reducing the risk of diseases including endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers. However, finding and obtaining the right contraceptive method often places an undue financial burden on women, particularly low-income women.

One of the many achievements for patients in the Affordable Care Act was defining contraceptive as an essential health benefit that could be covered at no cost under the bill. This has led to a dramatic decrease in costs for most contraceptives and a dramatic increase in contraceptive use.

Unfortunately, while the Affordable Care Act mandates coverage across the full range of contraceptive methods, it does not mandate coverage across the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive products, and, despite the intent of the bill, contains loopholes that allow insurance companies to deny coverage of certain products to women who need them and shift costs onto patients.

Why does this matter? Not every contraceptive product is right for every woman. Different products have different side effects interactions with other medications and conditions that impact women to varying extents, and some products that are effective for one woman may not work at all for another.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2021 at 1:00 AM

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Posted By on Thu, Apr 8, 2021 at 11:30 AM

PHOENIX – State lawmakers are one step closer to passing a bill that would require parents to give written permission for children to discuss sex and gender identity in the classroom and ban any formal sex education – including AIDS instruction – before the fifth grade.

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, calls Senate Bill 1456 “a parents’ rights bill.”

“Parents should not have to worry about what schools are teaching their children about human sexuality,” she said in an email. “Too often parents learn after the fact that explicit or controversial materials were presented without their knowledge or consent.”

However, opponents call the measure a dangerous move backward.

“It’s going to impact the ability of teachers to talk about a wide range of issues that impact all students,” said Sen. Martín Quezada, D-Phoenix. Bills like this, he added, “do more harm than they do good to our kids.”

SB 1456 has moved through the Legislature along party lines – finding staunch Republican support and fierce criticism from Democrats. The bill passed the Senate 16-14, and a House committee gave its approval on March 24. The measure now goes to the full House, where Republicans hold a 31-29 majority, for consideration.

Arizona schools are not legally required to teach sex education; school districts usually make those decisions, and parents can opt out of the instruction for their children.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2021 at 7:16 AM

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2021 at 12:54 PM

click to enlarge Love Is Blind When It Comes to Scams So Watch Out For These Con Jobs
If you can't trust the FBI for dating advice, who can you trust?

It's a sad fact of life: Many scammers prey on lonely people, so the FBI's Phoenix division has issued a bulletin warning about "romance scams" ahead of this Valentine's Day on Sunday, Feb. 14.

Also called "confidence fraud," these scams involve a criminal adopting a fake identity to gain someone's trust, then using their phony relationship to steal from the victim. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, 560 Arizonans reported collected losses of more than $12 million in connection with confidence fraud/romance scams in 2020.

These scam artists are present on almost every dating and social media site, and often begin interactions attempting to earn trust, but often never actually meet in person. According to the FBI, these scam artists often say they are in the building or construction industry and are engaged in projects outside the U.S. That makes it easier to avoid meeting in person—and more plausible when they ask for money for a medical emergency or unexpected legal fee.

The following tips may be helpful to consider if you develop a romantic relationship with someone you meet online:

  • • Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere.
  • • Never provide your financial information, loan money, nor allow your bank accounts to be used for transfers of funds.
  • • Never send money to anyone you don’t personally know.
  • • If you are traveling to a foreign country to meet someone, check the State Department’s Travel Advisories beforehand (, provide your itinerary to family and friends, and do not travel alone if possible.
  • • Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or Facebook to go “offline.”
  • • Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.
  • • Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse why they can’t.
  • • If you haven’t met the person after a few months - for any reason - it's wise to be suspicious.
  • • If you plan to meet someone in person you have met online, meet in a public place and let someone know where you will be and what time you should return home.

For more information on romance scams, visit here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 1:30 PM

click to enlarge Dating From Home: How to Find or Keep Love Alive in the Time of Coronavirus
Photo courtesy of Mireya Treviño
Mireya Treviño and Joe Rodriguez officially became a couple in December, before she learned she’d been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
PHOENIX – Whether speed-dating on Zoom or making plans for a virtual movie night, couples are getting creative in making and maintaining romantic connections during these times of social distancing.

Even those already in long-distance relationships and accustomed to communicating virtually are finding the forced quarantines and physical separation challenging.

Mireya Treviño, a senior at the University of Texas in Austin, met her boyfriend when he visited from San Antonio for a Halloween party. Despite the distance – the cities are a 90-minute drive apart – the two started talking and officially began a relationship in December.

Treviño, who is studying public health, wasn’t too worried about COVID-19 at first. Then she learned she’d been exposed, leaving her boyfriend to console her from afar.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2020 at 9:29 AM

click to enlarge Laughing Stock: On genders, sex, switches and surprises
Steve Rogers Photography
Find out who you are to others and to yourself, onstage and off, with workshops by Shannon Stott at the Cactus Flower Comedy Festival.
Cactus Flower blooms Feb. 27-30

Created and performed entirely by funny female, binary and gender-nonconforming humans, the four-day Cactus Flower Comedy Festival will spark loads of laughs in anyone who is not looking for a lot of dick jokes.

The event, which takes place at Tucson Improv Movement's TIM Comedy Theatre, offers storytelling, stand-up, improv and sketch shows to watch, and workshops to exercise your own sense of humor and improve listening and communications skills. All shows are $5 or $7. An all-festival pass is $30, and workshops are $40 each. Reservations are via

Workshop leader Shannon Stott says she has seen improv change lives on and off the stage. She has performed and taught improv for 20 years and now regularly highlights that crossover.

The most important thing, she says, is “to listen to yourself and answer yourself honestly. Your body tells you so much information, and because of society's eyes (a.k.a. the audience) we often don't listen. The consequences can be painful.

That self-awareness makes all the difference in relationships. "Understanding what your relationship is to anyone will inform your scene," Stott says. "Much of the feedback I get sounds like ‘I didn't know I was doing that’. When you are unaware, choices are often made for you, on stage and off.”

Regarding festivals focused on women and non-gender-conforming performers, Stott says, “We must have safe places to practice being strong, outspoken, leading, being loud, silly, emotional and ourselves. Once you experience being heard and seen, you can recognize and internalize it so you can seek it out, on and off stage.”

The CFCF kicks off at 7:30 pm. Thursday, Feb. 27, with F*sT! (Female Storytellers) sharing their best of 2019. It’s likely to be the Fest’s first sell-out. The 9 p.m. show opens with improv duo Allreddy, featuring standup comedian Allana Erickson. Omega creates a long-form Harold, then Baby Fish Mouth Omega performs original sketches.

The 7:30 show Friday, Feb. 28, opens with duo team, I Was Promised Magic. Gretchen Wirges and Ally Tanzillo follow as Ex-Boyfriend. Then comes Phoenix’s RatQween, spontaneously formed at a recent Phoenix festival for female/non-binary/gender non-conforming people.

At 9 p.m., TIM’s premier team, Soapbox, create scenes inspired by true anecdotes from the lives of community leader and former mayoral candidate Randy Dorman and the Fest’s two nationally recognized workshop leaders, Stott and Jill Bernard. A founding member of Minneapolis’ HUGE Theatre, Bernard has been a principal in that city’s ComedySportz franchise since 1993. She has taught improv all over the US, Europe and South America.

Following the Soapbox, at 10:30 p.m., Nicole Riesgo hosts Beginners and Veterans, a standup showcase featuring Rebecca Tingley, creator of the Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby comedy panel, and her frequent co-host, Cami Anderson. Also performing is Steena Salido, co-creator of Tucson's popular standup show Cunts Being Cunts Talking about Cunts and the all-Spanish-Language standup and improv show, Carcajadas, that features TIM’s Como Se Dice team. The rest of the bill comprises comedians who completed TIM’s standup class led by Mo Urban, founder or co-founder of five comedy series in Tucson. Graduates are multiple Moth award-winning storyteller Molly McCloy, TIM Company improviser Holly Hilton, and high-energy newcomer Brandi Dierinzo.

On Saturday at 6, TIM indie teams Three-Headed Monster, #PurseWine and Rough Around the Curves lead up to Unscrewed Theater’s From the Top musical improv team. At 7:30, Urban hosts an especially diverse CFCF Stand Up Comedy Showcase, featuring Jackie Kibler, Andrea Carmichael, Andrea Salazar, Savannah Hernandez and Bethany Evans.

The 7:30 p.m. show features Como Se Dice, TIM’s premier all-female team The Riveters and Jill Bernard performing her one-woman show, Drum Machine. It’s described as a “sweepingly epic, unscripted musical featuring multiple characters.” It’s been featured in more than 40 improv festivals.

Stott and Bernard each lead two workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

The Switch switches to Skybar

Fans of The Switch, where comedians riff off-the-cuff on suggestions texted in by the audience, must remember to head to Skybar at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27. The event has moved following a long run on Mondays at The Hut. The lineup for the debut includes Phoencians Anwar Newton and Erick Biez.

Standups sing, now

Both Tucson’s improv companies have musical teams, and there’s the child of Musical Mayhem known as One Rehearsal Short. Young, brash, awkward and twisted genius Jeremy Segal now has created Show Tune ShowCase, in which seven favorite Tucson Comedians sing show tunes in their sets. We hold our breath for voices we didn’t know existed, but Mo Urban’s always knocks us out in her rock duo. Others in this debut include Joe Tullar, Steena Salido, Tim Maggard, Eli W.T., Jesus Otamendi and Chris Quinn. It’s $5 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 29 at The Screening Room.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Rebecca Tingley’s no-holds-barred panel of comedy experts returns to Club Congress at 8 p.m., Tuesday March 3. The show pokes fun at taboos, silliness, awkward moments and other somewhat less than graphic aspects of the act, (because, after all, we all know the actual mechanics). Panelists and guests include Cami Anderson, Paul Fox and Charles Ludwig.

Even More Laughs!

Friday, Feb. 28, standup with Andrew Rivers (see last week’s Laughing Stock), 8 p.m., The O ($15, $30 VIP, via; $30, door); Patrick Deguire featuring Zach Pugh, 8 and 10:30 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50); and Last Friday - Last Laughs featuring Roxy Merrari, Ali Musa, Phoenix comic Noni Shaney, Battle at the Roast Room winner Allana Erickson, Michael Barnett, Stephanie Lyonga, Jeremy Segal and Eden Nault. Family-friendly improv with Not Burnt Out Just Unscrewed (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m.($5 kids and $8 adults),and Free Form Friday Fight Night 9 p.m., Unscrewed Theater (free).

Saturday, Feb. 29, Standup with Patrick Deguire featuring Zack Pugh, 7 and 9:30 p.m., Laff’s Comedy Caffe ($12.50, $17.50). Family-friendly improv with (NBOJU) at 7:30 p.m., Unscrewed Theater ($5 and $8)

Free Open Mics

Sunday, March 1, 6:30 p.m., The O, and 8 p.m., Chuckleheads in Bisbee.
Monday, March 2, 6:45 p.m., The Surly Wench; 9 p.m., Kava Bar.
Tuesday, March 3, 6:45 p.m., Neighborhood Comedy. The Music Box Lounge.
Wednesday, March 4, 7 p.m., The Screening Room; 8:30 p.m., The Rock.
Thursday, March 5, 8 p.m., Laffs Comedy Caffe and 8:30 p.m., Rockabilly Grill.

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