The Skinny


We're right in the middle of Banned Books Week in America, so be sure to break out a copy of The Kite Runner, Beloved or (if you're not all that motivated) Captain Underpants, which were all on the Top 10 list of books that were challenged in 2012 by the micro-brains who fear the power of the written word.

Or you could pick up a copy of Christina Garcia's Dreaming in Cuban, which was recently the target of Tea Party ire in Sierra Vista.

The National Book Award finalist, published in 1992, has a minor sex scene that outraged at least one Buena parent, who raised enough of a stink to get the book pulled from the high school's curriculum.

We're not going to reproduce the offensive passage (although curious readers can find it on our online site, The Range). But we will confess that when The Skinny was toiling away with studies at Rincon High School, we read stuff that was much racier than the supposedly offensive paragraphs, which are frankly pretty tame stuff.

But the reference to doing the nasty attracted an outraged screed in the online Daily Caller headlined "Fifty Shades of the Common Core: How Much Porn Is Too Much for High Schoolers?"

We're glad those Daily Caller puritans are on the case, although we did have to mightily resist clicking the links on same webpage as the condemnation of the filth our children are being exposed to. Among the options were links to "5 More Sex Etiquette Dos," "Your Love Life After Kids," "14 Embarrassing Sex Questions," a helpful quiz about "How Crazy Are You in Bed" and the Caller's own slideshows of "17 Hot NFL Cheerleaders" and "9 Celebs in Bikinis." And those are just the words. The pictures—well, we may never be the same.

Let's hope no high-school student ever stumbles across the Daily Caller's site. Or the Internet in general, because it's just a swamp of filth.

Dreaming in Cuban, BTW, was on the list of reading material that's part of the Common Core standards that were developed by the National Governors Association. But the Obama administration supports the program, which has left certain folks on the right hyperventilating about a plot to undermine our schools with Kenyan values or whatever.

The controversy has reached such an absurd height that last week, Gov. Jan Brewer announced the state would not be implementing Common Core standards, even though the Arizona Legislature approved those standards in 2010.

Instead, the state would be implementing Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards. What precisely are those standards? Well, it turns out they are the same standards as the Common Core standards, but with a different name. Evidently, no one in state government is allowed to say Common Core anymore.

We suspect a certain George Orwell might have something to say about that double-plus-ungood silliness—y'know, as long as you can still get your hands on a copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four.


With all this talk in D.C. about war with Syria, defunding Obamacare, cutting food stamps and shutting down the government, the comprehensive immigration-reform package that passed the Senate with so much ballyhoo over the summer has been pushed to the back burner—or maybe even into the freezer.

So Southern Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva, hoping to get some attention back on immigration reform, introduced a new comprehensive immigration-reform measure last week.

"The House discussion on immigration reform hasn't been an honest debate about good policy, it's been a one-sided refusal to take the issue seriously," Grijalva said in a press release announcing the legislation. "There are millions of American families waiting every day for better laws that will keep them together, provide their children with a better future, and help our economy. The conversation they need Washington to have has been hijacked by a small group that has shown no interest in their welfare."

Grijalva's legislation—dubbed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity, which breaks down into the clever acronym CIR ASAP—includes funding for at least 5,000 new Customs and Border Patrol officers, doesn't require more fencing, increases spending on the ports of entry to improve trade and provides an 11-year path to citizenship for people now in the country illegally, among other provisions.

But there's little reason to get into the details because Grijalva's measure—whatever its symbolic value—isn't likely to go very far in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

There doesn't seem to much likelihood that any immigration-reform measure is going to go very far in the House. Last week, two more GOP members of the bipartisan group in the House that was working on immigration reform quit, meaning that the group is now down to one Republican and four Democrats.

The two Republicans who quit, Texas congressmen John Carter and Sam Johnson, blamed President Barack Obama.

"The problem is politics," they said in a joint statement. "Instead of doing what's right for America, President Obama time and again has unilaterally disregarded the U.S. Constitution, the letter of the law and bypassed the Congress—the body most representative of the people—in order to advance his political agenda."

By that argument, there's no reason for lawmakers to do anything in Washington except collect their fat paychecks and bleat about Obamacare. Oh, wait—that actually explains why this is shaping up as the least productive—and least popular—sessions of Congress in history.


State Rep. Chad Campbell announced last week via Facebook that he would not be seeking the governor's office next year.

Campbell, a Democrat who has hit his term limit representing Phoenix in the Arizona Legislature, cited polling that showed he would have been competitive if he had entered the race, but said there were other considerations that will keep him out of it.

"This decision was not made lightly," Campbell wrote. "I need to focus on my family and other new business opportunities that will allow me to improve communities not only in Arizona, but also across the nation."

Whatever the factors in Campbell's exit, it makes life easier for Democrat Fred DuVal, who has been building a campaign team and announcing endorsements all year long. DuVal, who worked in the Babbitt gubernatorial administration in the 1980s, the Clinton White House in the 1990s and on the Arizona Board of Regents in the last decade, isn't likely to face a serious contender in next year's primary.

On the other side of the aisle, former Tempe mayor Hugh Hallman announced that he was dropping out of the governor's race to focus on running for what will almost certainly be the open seat of state treasurer.

As The Skinny noted a few weeks ago, current Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey is the most visible GOP contender and has a well-greased political machine already humming away.

But Ducey's operation didn't stop Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett from announcing last week that he is running for governor next year. Bennett appears to be going the Clean Elections route, which means he'll likely get buried under the amount of money that Ducey will spend on the GOP primary.

Other Republican hopefuls for governor include former general counsel Christine Jones, state Sen. Al Melvin, and disgraced and disbarred former Maricopa County attorney Andrew Thomas. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has been contemplating a run but has yet to say he's in the race.

Find early and late-breaking Skinny at The Range, our daily dispatch at

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