The Range

Briefly Noted

The Range has learned something new from reading Our leaders in Washington often remember they meant to say something on the floor of the Senate or the House, so they go back later and stick their comments in the official Congressional Record. It's a handy way of getting that snappy comeback down for future historians.

But Sen. Jon Kyl recently teamed up with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to push that tradition to a new height. The two Republicans added a back-and-forth dialogue--complete with a phony interruption from a third GOP senator--on a debate regarding the detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay. And then they submitted that revised script to the Supreme Court as evidence that Congress addressed that very issue when they passed the Detainee Treatment Act, which would have affected pending cases brought by Guantanamo detainees--such as Salim Ahmed Hamdan, the one-time driver for Osama bin Laden who had challenged whether the Bush administration's military tribunals were legal. Hamdan, as SCOTUS watchers will recall, won his case a couple of weeks ago, with the Supreme Court ruling that the tribunals are illegal under military law.

As Emily Bazelon of noted: "... (T)he justices outed two of the law's sponsors, Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., for trying to manipulate the Congressional Record and the court itself. The justices weren't fooled. And they wanted the senators to know it."

Democrat Jim Pederson's campaign wasted little time in bringing the media's attention to the curious brief in several press releases.

"Kyl owes the Court, the U.S. Senate and the people of Arizona an apology for this fraud," Pederson spokesman Mark Bergman stated. "Arizona voters must be asking themselves, if Kyl is willing to be dishonest with the highest court in the land, what lengths will he go to to misrepresent the truth in a political campaign?"

Meet the New Boss

The citizens of Mexico may have elected Felipe Calderon of the National Action Party--if the election wasn't tainted by fraud, as alleged by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, who lost by roughly 240,000 votes of the 41 million cast. Lopez Obrador says irregularities occurred at 50,000 polling places, which makes Mexico sound a little like Florida and/or Ohio to us. ¿Cómo se dice "butterfly ballots" en Español?

An estimated 100,000 supporters of Lopez Obrador took to the streets to protest the election results, with more rallies expected this week. Lopez Obrador wants a hand recount of all 41 million ballots.

What Happens in Vegas...

The Arizona Republic informed readers that the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Paul Charlton, backed away from prosecuting suspects set up by Operation Lively Green, the notorious FBI sting that netted 71 soldiers, cops and prison guards on drug-smuggling charges, after he learned about a Las Vegas orgy involving informants, targets and an out-cold hooker.

Republic reporter Dennis Wagner uncovered a letter from Charlton to a top FBI official that expressed concern about a 2002 party in a suite at the MGM Grand where "five prostitutes were hired to participate in an orgy with the men. The letter says one of the prostitutes fell unconscious because of drug or alcohol consumption and was draped naked over a chair. It says she may have been sodomized by informers and suspects, who also posed for pictures with the woman."

Wonder if that incident had anything to do with the decision by the Justice Department's Office of Public Integrity to reach plea agreements with the defendants rather than take them to trial?

Water Pressure

The Tucson City Council last week agreed to hike water rates by 4.6 percent, with Ward 1 Councilman José Ibarra casting the lone dissenting vote. While the amount will vary household by household, the average increase is expected to be $1 a month.

And They're Off!

Giddy up! The Rillito Regional Park Advisory Committee has recommended that county officials move horse racing from its historic home at Rillito Park to Marana, which is planning some sort of Western heritage park thingamabob. If the deal can be worked out, the move would be expected to happen in 2010.

Once the horse track is relocated, the county could demolish the aging grandstand and put in more soccer fields, while the city could build a community center with separate bond funds.

We're No. 1!

The Tucson Sidewinders, Triple-A affiliates of the Arizona Diamondbacks, wrapped up the first half of the season with 9-7 win over the Las Vegas 51s. The Sidewinders, who were trailing 7-3 in the eighth inning, won the game on a walk-off grand slam by Chris Young. As the second half the season begins this week, the 'Winders, with a 56-33 record, are 12 games ahead of second-place Las Vegas.
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