The Fourth of July is here, and we're celebrating our independence in the usual ways--but mostly without fireworks this year.

Most localities dispensed with the annual fireworks displays because of concerns over fire safety heightened by the Rodeo-Chediski fire that has burned nearly half a million acres, destroyed hundreds of structures and forced tens of thousands from their homes in Arizona.

So we decided to include the fireworks inside our midsummer issue. You want noise? You want color? You want oohs and aahs? Then check out Danehy on the Pledge of Allegiance. Downing on Martha Stewart. Hightower on the link between money and legislation giving prescription drug benefits to seniors.

David Eppele tells us what we have to do to make it rain. Chris Limberis shows what balances the budget over at the county. Our cartoonists do their usual good job of skewering politicians and skewing life.

On the Arts pages, James Reel and Pamela Portwood tell what's popping in the theater and gallery worlds, while Connie Tuttle writes about a little-known African-American Heritage Museum in Tucson.

Jeff Hinkle reviews Jimmy Breslin's book on the plight of the Mexican immigrant in America. DiGiovanna cherishes another movie. And there are no cheap tricks in Music, except for Cheap Trick itself, playing locally on the Fourth.

So sit back and look up. We'll light the night sky.

More by Michael Parnell

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