The Range

The Wild Life

The once-quiet Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge has become one of the nation's new badlands, with drug smugglers, illegal migrants and the federal cops who stand against them combining to put the harsh, 86,000-acre refuge on the Defenders of Wildlife's list of Top 10 endangered wildlife refuges.

The Defenders report said that the effort to interdict the invaders "is creating wide paths of destruction in one of the most biologically diverse deserts in the world." Particularly at risk are the last 30 or so Sonoran pronghorn antelope that make their home on the refuge.

The solution, according to Defenders of Wildlife? Build a big honkin' "barrier" of some kind to keep those loco Mexicans out. Bueno suerte, amigos!

The report on the Top 10 endangered refuges was somehow overshadowed by a report from the Bush administration's chief weapons inspector, Charles A. Duelfer, who delivered a report showing he'd come up with pretty much nothing after scouring Iraq for any traces of weapons of mass destruction. Duelfer concluded that Saddam Hussein had abandoned his chemical and nuclear weapons program shortly after the first Gulf War and dumped the biological weapons program in 1995 in the hopes of getting United Nations sanctions lifted. So we guess those two trailers found in the desert weren't germ warfare labs after all, no matter what Vice President Dick Cheney says. Is that guy a big fat liar, or what?

The Bush Administration has only a few weeks left to blame the bad WMD intelligence on Democrat John Kerry's flip-flopping.

Speaking of Kerry, national polls continued to show the presidential race tightening as the debate battles continued. An Arizona Republic poll showed that Bush still held a 10-point lead over Kerry in the state following the first debate. The Republic survey of 602 registered voters had Bush leading 48 percent to 38 percent; a previous Republic poll after the Republican National Convention had Bush leading by 16 points. Obviously, Bush needs to get Zell Miller back out in front of this campaign!

Back here in Tucson, filmmaker Michael Moore made a sold-out appearance at UA's McKale Center earlier this week to help stir up slacker turnout on Election Day. Following Moore's appearance, Arizona Republican Party chairman Bob Fannin released as statement that Moore's "paranoid rantings have become the illegitimate foundation for John Kerry's foreign policy." Please, Bob, tell us: If Michael is a paranoid ranter, what does that make the college Republicans' counterpoint, conservative crackpot Ann Coulter?

Bunch of Boobs

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to put an end to the left-leanin' nonsense from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by breaking it into three different courts. An Associated Press report predicts that the measure will fail in the Senate.

Among interesting recent rulings from the Ninth Circuit, according to various press reports:

  • It's unconstitutional for school kids to recite the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance;
  • Male prisoners have the right to mail their sperm to the women who love them and want to bear their children;
  • An Arizona law giving cities the authority to regulate erotic dance was unconstitutionally vague, allowing local journalists to continue an in-depth investigation of local lap dancing practices.
Speaking of lap-dancing, The Range passed by the ruins of the Empress Theater, the long-running porn purveyor which was demolished to make room for another goddamn drugstore. Fear not, midtown residents--the Bunny Ranch, a non-alcoholic environment featuring all-nude girls way into the wee hours--remains in business just down the street.

Jet Set

Weary of the roar of freedom above, and wary of louder noise on the horizon, a cranky group of citizens packed a city of Tucson Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to complain about plans to double flights at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

"The proposed city zoning changes would allow noise and safety levels making thousands of homes virtually unlivable, without compensation," according to a statement from Tucsonans for Quality of Life. "Property uses and values would plummet, as home and car insurance rates would likely increase. Citizens will have to comply with building codes way above and beyond normal codes. Thousands of properties would be in an area legally labeled unlivable in terms of noise, and the risk of crashes into neighborhoods would be dramatically increased."

Man--how come they hate America so much?

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