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All Deals Are Off

Pants are afire at the Capitol! After luring Republicans to give her virtually everything she wanted in the $8.2 billion budget--all-day kindergarten expansion, more child care and CPS funding, a Phoenix med school--Gov. Janet Napolitano turned around and vetoed the one and only thing they'd asked for: A $5 million-a-year program that would allow corporations to deduct contributions to private and religious schools from their state tax bill.

Napolitano's spin: The GOP had agreed to "sunset" the program in five years, which would have meant that it would expire unless lawmakers extended it. Without that fine print, ending the program would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, because it would be considered a tax increase. Because the GOP bill only mentioned a review of the program in five years, Napolitano said they'd broken the deal.

The Republican leadership's response: Napolitano is a big liar! They say she agreed to their plan and then double-crossed them after legislative Democrats and the education lobby flipped over the Voucher LiteTM program.

Whichever side is right--and we suspect both sides had a degree of chicanery up the ol' sleeve--Napolitano may have done serious damage to her rep among Republicans. Conservatives are gleefully chortling "I told you so," while moderates feel used, betrayed and, yes, a bit ashamed of themselves for trusting her.

Senate President Ken Bennett and House Speaker Jim Weiers were both spittin' steamed soundbites at a press conference last Friday.

Bennett's blunt "She has acted dishonorably, and this veto proves that she cannot be trusted" was matched by Weiers' "There is only one way to put this: The governor lied to me. The governor's legacy can only be termed, 'Promises made, promises broken.'"

Napolitano says tuition tax credits, along with a plan for English-language learners, can be worked out in a special session, but Republicans sound like they're out for blood--kinda like Mad Max Beyond Capitol Dome: "Break a deal, face the wheel!" Wonder where we'll be when the spinning stops.


War Stories The family of Army Ranger Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan after he gave up his Phoenix Cardinals career to enlist in the wake of Sept. 11, said the U.S. Army had lied to them and to the country when they propagandized up a heroic tale of Tillman being killed by the enemy in Afghanistan.

Mary Tillman, Pat's mom, told The Washington Post that she was distressed by the way the Pentagon had spun the account of Tillman's death. The original Pentagon fiction had Tillman killed while charging into enemy fire and shouting orders. Tillman was actually killed by friendly fire while positioning during a firefight.

Said Mary: "Pat had high ideals about the country; that's why he did what he did. The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting."


Out of This World

This just in from Cassini mission control: The Range's official space probe has delivered astonishing new images of Saturn moons Mimas and Enceladus, as well as the best-ever look at Saturn's rings.

Not to be outdone, a team led by UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory scientist Martin Tomasko has released a mosaic view of the rugged surface of Titan, the moon of Saturn where the Huygens probe landed in January. Portions of the surface seem to be cut into channels that flow into a river delta, perhaps cut by rivers of liquid methane. Pretty cool, huh?

See the out-of-this-world photos, short films and tons of technostuff at NASA's Web site.


Fox Trot

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva was joined his fellow members of the U.S. Hispanic Congressional Caucus to bust on Mexican President Vicente Fox for his recent comments regarding race in the United States.

In an apparent bid to find common ground with America's white-separatist movement, Fox declared that illegal entrants from Mexico "are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States."

The letter calls on Fox to apologize and says that "the problem is not that your statements were misinterpreted, but that they were rightly perceived and unintentionally imply a class system based on race that we simply reject."


Sizzle F'r Shizzle

Hot enough for ya?! In a little taste of what's to come, temperatures climbed to a record 109 degrees last Sunday. Abandon hope all ye who enter here!

More tidbits from recent days:

· Our high property crime rate cost us points in another one of those magazine rankings. Betcha that jaywalker crackdown will turn those ratings around!

· Got nasty cough fits that leave you gasping for air? You may have come down with that whooping cough bug that's going around. Better get on down to the clinic. Health officials remind all citizens to make sure their children have been properly immunized.

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