The Range


BAD PEPPERS: Watch out when you're eating that next taco combo plate! The Food and Drug Administration says that they've discovered a match for the bacteria involved with the nation's recent salmonella outbreak on a tainted jalapeño in Texas, according to The Associated Press. While the revelation doesn't exonerate the tomatoes on which the outbreak was initially blamed, FDA food-safety boss David Acheson says the "genetic match is a very important break in the case." The public is warned to avoid fresh jalapeños.


YES, WE'RE GONNA HAVE A WINGDING: The Range skips the Legislative District 27 debate in favor of a trip to the Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater at the Casino del Sol to see Steely Dan, who bring a spectacular horn section and two soul sistahs with hypnotic voices onstage as they perform a long list of their old favorites on a breezy summer evening. "New Frontier" makes us long for a six-pack, a cute girl and a bomb shelter; "Aja" takes us all the way back to high school; and "Hey Nineteen" brings a bit of a tear to our eye when Donald Fagen sings: "She thinks I'm crazy, but I'm just growing old."


SHUT DOWN: Senate President Tim Bee shoots down the idea of empowering a special panel to investigate whether Sen. Jack Harper broke Senate rules when he halted a filibuster against a gay-marriage referendum at the end of the legislative session in June. Harper shut off the microphone of Democrat Paula Aboud, who was speaking out against the proposal, and then called on Sen. Thayer Verschoor, who asked for an end to the debate and a vote on the proposal, which passed by one vote. Harper, who is the subject of an ethics investigation, initially told the press that he had accidentally shut off Aboud's mic.


BIG LOVE: Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard tells the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about the challenges of investigating crime within the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the Arizona/Utah border. Goddard tells lawmakers that his office's investigation "is not about religion, culture or lifestyle. Rather, it is about protecting women and children from domestic abuse and sexual violence; combating fraud and public corruption; enforcing civil-rights laws; upholding peace-officer standards; and ensuring that the rule of law is applied equally and comprehensively throughout our land." Goddard says that additional federal resources would help with the ongoing investigation.

LAST CALL: It's the end of an era as the Tucson Sidewinders host the very last Thirsty Thursday at Tucson Electric Park. A Range investigation reveals long and slow-moving beer lines for the 9,000-plus fans said to be in attendance, which is a much better turnout than previous buck-beer nights. The Sidewinders have three more homestands before the end of the season and a move to Reno, Nev.


AGUA OFFENSE: No More Deaths volunteer Dan Millis, 29, appears in federal court to fight charges that he was littering by leaving plastic jugs filled with water along desert trails near Sasabe in February. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents cited Millis, even though he was picking up litter as he was leaving behind the bottles.

"I didn't pay the ticket because I'm not guilty," Millis says in a press release. "Littering is a crime; humanitarian aid is not."

Millis faces up to six months in jail and $5,000 in fines.


FINALLY, A STATE LEGISLATURE MORE EMBARRASSING THAN OURS: The Associated Press brings us the news that the New Jersey Legislature is installing anti-porn devices on all state computers after child porn is discovered on a state lawmaker's hard drive.


READ HIS LIPS: Arizona Sen. John McCain said he might consider a payroll-tax increase as part of a Social Security reform plan during an appearance on ABC's This Week. McCain, who had previously pledged to oppose any tax increase, said that "everything is on the table" when it comes to shoring up the nation's retirement program. He also said he wanted to allow younger Americans to divert some of their Social Security payments into private accounts.


Our favorite Martian space probe continued to struggle to deliver a sample of icy soil to the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer.

UA scientists who are leading the Phoenix Mars Lander mission say that the clumpy Martian soil continues to stick to the robotic arm that is digging it up for delivery to the TEGA, which is designed to heat the soil and analyze the resulting gases. Not enough soil has fallen from the arm into the oven to begin the experiment.

"It has really been a science experiment just learning how to interact with the icy soil on Mars--how it reacts with the scoop, its stickiness, whether it's better to have it in the shade or the sunlight," said principal investigator Peter Smith of the UA's Lunar and Planetary Lab.

Smith's team hopes to deliver a soil sample to the oven that includes ice so that they can determine whether organic compounds have been frozen in the ice, which would help determine if life had existed on the planet in the past.

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