AZ IRC chair Colleen Mathis facing possible ouster

October 31, 2011

Our sources indicate that Gov. Jan Brewer will call a special session tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to address gerrymandering by the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC).

Chairwoman Colleen Mathis could face removal if Republicans can muster a 2/3 vote in the Arizona senate.

This post provides additional background, including Gov. Brewer’s statement alleging gross misconduct, which can be read here, her letter to the commissioners and the pointed letter to commission Chair Mathis.


Tourists cower in Cabo mall during midday gunfight

October 31, 2011

“Jaw-dropping” amount of narcotics seized as Mexican violence invades AZ

This past weekend hundreds of locals and tourists ran for cover, spending over two hours hiding amid a gun battle in a Cabo San Lucas shopping mall in the popular Mexican resort town. Security forces traded gunfire with armed men in the parking lot and searched stores for suspects.

Shoppers and employees were ordered to stay inside during the battle and the subsequent search of the mall. Armed soldiers provided security for the shoppers and employees when they were finally allowed to leave the shopping center.

This video depicts the chaotic reality.

Although the U.S. tries to soft-pedal travel warnings, as seen here with this weather related travel advisory, the U.S. Department of State is duty-bound to ensure the safety of American citizens. Criminal organizations, a staggering increase in murders of Americans and narcotics-related violence are addressed in this carefully worded travel warning regarding “the security situation.”

Today Reuters reports that a series of raids conducted by local, state, and federal officials in Arizona seized thousands of pounds of narcotics and resulted in the arrest of at least 70 suspected drug smugglers with ties to a billion dollar violent drug cartel in Mexico. The amount of narcotics being smuggled into the United States was termed “jaw-dropping.”

AZ “Occupiers” dangerous radicals, not merely fools

October 30, 2011

The extremists who showed up at Occupy Phoenix were provided with fliers detailing implicit instructions on “When Should You Shoot a  Cop.” This was on a table along with other information for protesters.

The anti-government, anti-law enforcement flier resulted in this counter-terrorism alert issued to all Arizona law enforcement agencies. It’s difficult to imagine that American youth who live better than their counterparts anywhere in the world, would advocate murder of law enforcement personnel, governmental overthrow and support a Marxist revolution.

We encourage you to take the time to read these linked documents and educate yourself to the truth of this irrational, radical and anarchistic movement. You can’t counter the unknown.

Information is power. Seize it.

Jerry Lewis: The content of his character

October 29, 2011

Sonoran News’ Becky Fenger writes a very readable weekly column known as Fenger Pointing. That title is especially apt this week, since “The rest of the story” her most recent report, points a finger directly at Jerry Lewis — running for the District 18 senate seat held by Sen. Russell Pearce. 

Unless they are living under a rock, Arizonans are all too aware of Lewis, the candidate recruited to mount a recall challenge to Arizona’s Senate President Pearce. Lewis was promoted as a squeaky clean LDS Bishop and superintendent of Sequoia Schools — a publicly-funded charter school chain. Fenger’s finger points directly at his less than squeaky dealings.

Earlier this month, we exposed some other less than savory actions of the man who carries the same moniker as an over-the-hill, once zany comic. “Jerry Lewis fingered in Backpackgate” bared the exceptional arrogance exhibited by this man who would, given his background, be expected to be a straight arrow. Espresso Pundit blog did an in-depth report on Lewis’ circuitous path regarding a yearly major charity drive aimed at securing corporate and private donations for the homeless schoolchildren Lewis’ Children First Academy serves. That report is included in the link above. 

Make no mistake. This recall, scheduled in advance of a regularly planned election, is primarily intended to send a message to anyone who has the temerity to craft legislation curtailing illegal immigration. Pearce is the architect of the nationally copied Arizona law known as SB 1070.  This is not the first time Republican Pearce has been challenged by the open borders crowd. In 2008, Jeff Flake recruited his own immigration lawyer brother-in-law, Kevin Gibbons, to challenge Pearce. It was a fool’s errand.

In what amounted to political suicide for Gibbons, Pearce trounced him by a wide margin — as Pearce won 5,717 votes to Gibbons 2,587 in the GOP primary. Since the upcoming election is a recall and not a primary, it is not limited to Republican voters, making it far less certain.

If you live in legislative District 18, be sure to vote. If you know others who reside there, get them energized to vote for Senate President Russell Pearce. Early balloting is already underway. This race will have far reaching consequences. Election Day is November 8.

Get your JD Hayworth here!

October 28, 2011

It’s no wonder Arizona is filled with diehard JD Hayworth fans.  The former congressman turned radio talk show host is a treat to listen to. 

Tomorrow — Saturday, October 29 — he will be plying his wit and wisdom on 890 AM WLS Chicago from 10:00 to 11:00 Phoenix time. (Noon to 1:00 pm, Central).

Click here to listen live.

Media Matters but brains don’t

October 28, 2011

It’s a given. Satire is based upon wit. And the best humor works because there is at least a scintilla of truth underlying it. Both of these essential qualities are woefully lacking in this vicious attack on the right, Arizona conservatives and even Bishop Thomas Olmsted by New Times editor Michael Lacey. In a vain effort to draw a parallel between SB 1070, illegal immigration and anti-Semitism, he spins this sorry attempt at satire.  It was disgusting when it first appeared in April 2010.  It doesn’t get any better with age.

Now, in a priceless display of irony leftwing Media Matters has been taken in by the equally leftist Lacey and his given-away-for-free New Times. Venting his distaste for Tea Party groups in general and conservatives in particular, Matt Gertz pathetically struggles to link them to Neo-Nazis.

Obviously the minions of George Soros have not honed skills of discernment or abstract reasoning. Like scribes of old, they must be paid by the word. It’s clear their forte is not in the realm of historical accuracy. Factual evidence is obviously not high on their list, but rolling in the swill of blatant lies should trouble even liberals. Yet even more troubling is either the inability or the unwillingness of these self important pseudo-intellectuals to distinguish sick, humorless ‘satire’ from actual events.

In 2005, when he became majority owner of the Village Voice which now fronts the freebie New Times, Lacey was described as “potty-mouthed” by the New York Magazine. He’s only gotten worse since then. Now his mouth (the Phoenix New Times) is more sewer-like.

And Media Matters? It’s too inane to matter at all.

NEA’s plan to indoctrinate child activists thwarted

October 28, 2011

Grandiose words get a workout these days. Even the most discerning ears become inured to the overuse of “awesome” and “amazing.” Nevertheless, their equally tired adjective partner “outrageous” works to describe this headshaker:  

The National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union, offered a $5,000 Learning and Leadership Grant to two Wisconsin teachers who intended to use the funds to “help first and second grade students” become “activists.”

The description of the grant for teachers Andrea Burmesch and Tara Krueger of Muskego Elementary, a public K – 4 school read:  Ms. Burmesch and a team of colleagues will develop a critical literacy inquiry based unit of study to help their first and second grade students understand the role that power plays in their lives. The teachers will learn how visual literacy and technology, particularly website and podcast development, can be used by students to create activist messages that make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others. The students will create their messages around issues important to their lives.

Then Mark Belling, the afternoon drive time host on News/Talk 1130 WISN-AM inMilwaukee took up the issue, questioning the use of grant funds to turn seven-and-eight-year-olds into activists for the NEA.

Muskego-Norway Superintendent Joe Schroeder responded to an inquiry from Belling, and noted “upon inspection, I found a description of the grant that, while rooted in the development of critical thinkers and positive community members, was described with some very concerning language,” the Muskego Patch reports.

Schroeder said he had specific concerns over “helping first and second grade students ‘understand the role that power plays in their lives’ in effort to ‘create activist messages’ is language that, especially under the umbrella of a national union’s grant foundation, can understandably raise concern.”

This is that “national union” — the NEA:

Here is a sampling of “activists“:

Gardasil: Boys become new target of lucrative drug

October 27, 2011

Parental choice or federal intervention?

Gardasil, the controversial vaccine said to treat sexually transmitted Human Papilloma virus (HPV), is now being recommended for 11 and 12-year-old boys. The drug is touted as protecting against anal and throat cancers, not a major problem with young boys. Originally it was said to prevent cervical cancer and was being sold as a panacea for girls.

Seeing Red AZ wrote about this problematic drug in July 2008.  It first gained national prominence when Texas Gov. Rick Perry mandated its use after Merck Pharmaceuticals PAC gave hefty donations to his campaign. Perry denied the donations influenced his decision to issue the executive order — bypassing the Texas legislature — from which parents could not opt in, but had to submit a written form to the State Health Department in Austin opting out of having their young daughters receive this fast-tracked, unproven vaccine, on the market less than a year.  Perry’s chief-of-staff landed a lucrative lobbying position with the drug company. 

Now, the latest recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is likely to broaden the use of the HPV vaccine, since most private insurers pay for vaccines once the committee recommends them. The HPV vaccine is unusually expensive. The three recommended doses cost pediatricians more than $300 and patients are often charged hundreds more.

But this is no bargain. Vaccinating the nation’s 11- and 12-year-old boys will cost almost $140 million annually, with the one-time “catch-up” among males 13 to 21 costing hundreds of millions more. Taxpayers, via federal subsidies, pay for about half of all vaccinations.

Not only are the CDC committee’s recommendations routinely used by private insurers to determine which vaccines to pay for, but the Obama administration’s Fed-Med legislation of 2010 requires insurers participating in health exchanges to offer vaccines recommended by the committee. The Wall Street Journal wrote in 2007 that widespread use of the drug would guarantee the drug maker billions of dollars in annual revenue.

Vaccination rates in girls have remained relatively low, as parents balked when reports were released about the lack of substantive testing on the drug, coupled with the motivating profitability factors for the drug manufacturer. So boys are the next best option for Merck & Co.

This excellent editorial on Gardasil appeared n the Journal of the American Medical Association, declaring that “serious questions regarding the overall effectiveness of the vaccine” needed to be answered and that more long-term studies were called for. The article concludes with this cogent observation: “When weighing evidence about risks and benefits, it is also appropriate to ask who takes the risk, and who gets the benefit. Patients and the public logically expect that only medical and scientific evidence is put on the balance. If other matters weigh in, such as profit for a company or financial or professional gains for physicians or groups of physicians, the balance is easily skewed. The balance will also tilt if the adverse events are not calculated correctly.”

Gov. Brewer challenges IRC; stands up for Arizonans

October 26, 2011

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is demanding answers from the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) regarding alleged improprieties, taking the first step in the process to forcibly remove one or more of the commissioners. The commission chairman is Colleen Mathis. Commissioners are Scott Freeman, Jose Herrera, Linda McNulty and Richard Stertz. Their bios can be read in the link.

Brewer’s letter to the commissioners can be read here. She writes that she is giving notice to the members of the commission regarding allegations that they have committed substantial neglect of duty and gross misconduct in office during their service.

Gov. Brewer’s statement alleging the gross misconduct can be read here.

The governor wrote this pointed letter specifically to IRC Chair Colleen Mathis, telling her the citizens of Arizona deserve better and expect the IRC to follow the straightforward constitutional requirements prioritizing geographically compact and contiguous districts and respecting communities of interest. Otherwise, Gov. Brewer writes, the public will not have confidence in the integrity of the redistricting process.

Good job, Governor Brewer!

And for the rest of us —  try figuring out these maps.

Phx taxpayers on hook for city pension hikes

October 26, 2011

$100 million more for indefensible costs

It’s a rare occurrence that this site links directly to an article in the daily newspaper.  Today we make an exception as we link to a well researched and fact-filled report by Craig Harris regarding the unsustainably costly pensions and benefits received by employees of the City of Phoenix.

Harris writes: Phoenix residents for a second straight year will pay more than $100 million in fiscal 2012-13 to maintain the city’s ailing employee-pension system, while a task force considers whether current city employees should shoulder more of the cost.

Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark said Tuesday that the city’s financial contribution to the Phoenix Employee Retirement Plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 will increase to $110 million, roughly $3.6 million more than the current fiscal year.

Since 2000-01, when the city paid $22.3 million to fund the pension plan, annual taxpayer-funded city contributions have increased by 377 percent, city records show. Eleven years ago, the city’s contribution to the pension plan on behalf of each employee amounted to roughly 6 percent of the employee’s income. City workers, meanwhile, contributed 5 percent of their pay.

Today, employees still set aside 5 percent of their pay for their pensions, as required by city charter. But Phoenix’s contribution to the plan on behalf of each employee now equates to roughly 18 percent of each employee’s pay, and that figure will rise to slightly more than 20 percent next fiscal year, Naimark said.

The complete report can be read here.

A pension reform panel meets today at 3:00 pm to discuss proposed pension changes for current Phoenix employees. The meeting will take place in the Phoenix City Council Chambers,200 W. Jefferson Street.

Yesterday hundreds of union supporters of Democrat mayoral candidate Greg Stanton packed the council chamber to urge council members to keep the 2 percent tax on food.  Liberal Stanton resigned his council position to run for mayor but said he would have voted in support of the tax.

Republican mayoral candidate Wes Gullett has pledged fiscal accountability and to rescind the outrageous tax.

With Stanton on the council, the City of Phoenix paid $14.3 million to 6,989 employees in unconscionable “retention bonuses.” That’s $2 million more than the food tax would bring in. The fiscally conservative Americans for Prosperity has named Stanton Hero of Big Government and Champion of Big Government.