The Range

Bill Buckmaster's Heavenly Body

Look up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's 20084 Buckmaster!

Bill Buckmaster, anchor and managing editor of KUAT-TV's Arizona Illustrated, learned on the set last week that UA astronomer David Levy, a regular guest on the PBS affiliate's nightly newscast, has named one of his asteroids after him.

20084 Buckmaster, discovered by Levy and Carolyn Shoemaker 10 years ago, is in orbit somewhere between Mars and Jupiter, according to UA News Services.

Levy, a sharp-eyed sort who has discovered 21 comets, credited wife Wendee with the idea of honoring Buckmaster.

"We did it because of Bill's style of doing the news," Levy told UANS. "It is a thoughtful analysis of what's happening in Southern Arizona and the world."

A delighted Buckmaster had no immediate plans to establish a mining base on his new world. He expressed one simple wish: "I pray it doesn't hit Earth."

Irreconcilable Differences

Knowing they didn't have anywhere near the necessary number of votes, Republicans nonetheless attempted to embarrass the Kerry/Edwards ticket and Democrats in general by pushing for a vote on a constitutional amendment that would limit marriage to a union between one man and one woman.

Arizona's senators split on the vote, with Jon Kyl supporting the amendment and blaming the whole mess on those liberal Massachusetts judges.

"To the extent that the traditional definition of marriage should be reconsidered at all--despite the wisdom and tradition of virtually all of human history--that process should take place within the realm of legislatures or citizens working directly through the ballot or initiative process," Kyl said. "Judges, egged on by activist lawyers, have no business inventing imaginary provisions in state constitutions, denouncing traditional marriage as a 'stain' that must be washed away, or scoffing at the 'mantra of tradition,' all of which was part of the recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court."

Meanwhile, John McCain was one of six Republicans who voted against moving forward with the amendment, saying it was a matter best left for individual states to resolve.

"The actions by jurists in one court in one state do not represent the death knell to marriage," McCain said. "We will have to wait a little longer to see if Armageddon has arrived."

Checking Out

Know your way around the Dewey Decimal System? Then dust off your résumé! Susan H. Hildreth, who had been tapped to become the new Tucson-Pima Public Library director, decided to stay in California after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger counter-offered with the job of running the Golden State's library system.

"Although I looked forward to being part of the Tucson community, I felt I could not decline this critical appointment," said Hildreth.

Potential librarians, take note: Job security could be a problem. Several council members, including Republicans Fred Ronstadt and Kathleen Dunbar, are seeking to get out of the library biz altogether, hoping to turn the keys over to Pima County. City Manager James Keene's recommendation to cut library spending was rejected by the council this year, but city officials continue to negotiate with their county counterparts.

In other Schwarzenegger news, Arnold called Democratic California lawmakers "girlie-men" during a speech at a mall food court over the weekend, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Democratic lawmakers complained the comment was homophobic and sexist. Whine on, girlie-men!

Arnold's comment came on the heels of an episode in which California Education Secretary Richard Riordan told a 6-year-old girl that her name, Isis, meant "stupid dirty girl" during a classroom visit. Riordan said he was only teasing the young Isis, according to CNN.

The comment drew a sharp rebuke from Democratic state Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, who told the San Jose Mercury News that Isis was "a little African-American girl. Would he (Riordan) have done that to a white girl?" Upon learning Isis was white, Dymally withdrew his demand for Riordan's resignation.

Angry Inch of Justice

A traveling production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Hotel Congress last weekend was interrupted by police after James Asimenios, who was playing the lead role of Hedwig, had a minor altercation with a front-row heckler. Following the 20-minute interruption, Hedwig was back onstage, brandishing a citation as part of the show, according to TW production whipping boy Hugh Dougherty, who witnessed the episode.

In an unrelated celebrity/crowd confrontation, Tucsonan Linda Ronstadt outraged listeners at a Vegas casino after dedicating her performance of "Desperado" to filmmaker Michael Moore for his work on Fahrenheit 9/11.

Reuters reported that Ronstadt was booted from Aladdin casino after her dedication transformed audience members into a mad mob that "spilled drinks, tore down posters and demanded their money back," according the news agency.

Ronstadt was 86'ed from the Aladdin and "won't be welcomed back," according to a statement released by the casino.