Where the Illegal Immigrants and Antelope PlayNever mind those pesky environmental restrictions! Department of Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff invoked a provision of the 2005 REAL ID Act that allows the government to ignore the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws to build a 37-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border on the Barry M. Goldwater Range.
Congressman Raul Grijalva blasted the decision in a prepared release, saying it would "likely be the last nail in the coffin of the imperiled Sonoran pronghorn ... . Trampling on the laws that protect our environment and building walls between ourselves and Mexico are no solution to this crisis."
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was more subdued about the decision in an interview on Monday, Jan. 15, saying that she was "doubtful" that the fence on the Goldwater range would be built.
Speaking of being doubtful that border walls will be built: Members of the Arizona congressional delegation appear increasingly skeptical that the 700 miles of border fencing approved--without funding--last year will ever actually be constructed, according to The Associated Press.
Giffords reiterated her opposition to the 700-mile fence earlier this week, saying that "high-tech security is the best and only way."
In other news from the all-new, all-different Congress: The House voted to increase the national minimum wage by $2.10 over the next 26 months.
"This pay raise is overdue," Giffords press-released. "Over the past 10 years, the minimum wage was stuck at $5.15 an hour, while members of Congress benefited from nearly $32,000 in pay increases. That is unacceptable."
Grijalva responded to the minimum-wage vote with a press release that left us wondering if he has finally gone all the way around the bend.
The Rev. Grijalva preached: "Today we have a measure of justice for the American worker, but let us also look forward to the day, as told in the Bible, when justice will roll like the waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."
Dognapped!After a Humane Society worker left a van running in a PetSmart parking lot while packing up after an adoption effort at the eastside store last Friday, Jan. 12, a thief busted open the driver's side window, climbed in and drove off with three dogs that were up for adoption.
Two of the dogs, Bailey and Butterscotch (who together make up a Buttery Nipple), turned up later that weekend, but a third, Jacob, remained missing at press time.
The Humane Society is offering a $2,000 reward for the safe return of Jacob.
Please Be SeatedThe Arizona men's basketball team defeated Oregon State, 83-72, Thursday, Jan. 11, but fell to Oregon on Sunday, Jan. 14, after Duck Aaron Brooks took the ball away from Mustafa Shakur with about a half-minute remaining in the game and sank the winning shot with two seconds left. Final score: Oregon 79, Arizona 77. Bummer!
In a side note: The morning daily brought us the news last week that Avinash Murthy, an 19-year-old enthusiastic fan of Arizona men's basketball, was hauled out of McKale Center in handcuffs for refusing to put his ass in his seat during the Oregon State game--which pretty much sums up the far-too-sedate McKale crowd.