Tag: arizona

Winning the War on Guns


Gun owners are winning the war on guns. There is no Federal Assault Weapons Ban in place anymore and there is no reasonable chance one will return anytime soon. Concealed carry (in some form or another) is, in theory, the law of the land in all 50 states. Things are calming down on the legislative front and some of my friends in the gun industry talk about how they look forward to the market getting back to “normal” after the panic-buying of guns and ammo during the Obama administration.

But what is normal? “Normal” certainly wasn’t the time before the Assault Weapons Ban, when “Gun Culture 2.0” was just an idea and “shall issue” concealed carry was the exception, not the rule. For over 20 years, the gun owners of America have either been dealing with the effects of an Assault Weapons Ban, feeling an urgent need to buy guns in fear of another ban being enacted in the near future, and their ability to carry a gun for self-defense was outright banned in a large number of states. Today’s environment for gun owners isn’t “normal,” it’s unlike anything we’ve seen since the Sullivan Act was first passed.


Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome the news that North Korea and South Korea are talking and that North Korea will participate in the Winter Olympics next month in South Korea, making it far less likely Kim Jong-Un will look to cause mischief during the games. They also shake their heads as former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio launches a bid for U.S. Senate in Arizona, since Arpaio is now 85 years old and lost badly in his most recent campaign. And they roll their eyes as liberals cannot stop drooling over the (unlikely) prospect of an Oprah Winfrey presidential bid, with Van Jones even calling her the most beloved carbon-based life form on earth.


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Flake Goes, But Not Quietly


Yesterday, Jeff Flake announced on the floor of the US Senate that he would not be seeking reelection next year. Taking a lot of heat for his opposition to the President, Flake was staring down the barrel of a primary challenge and was far behind in the polls.

That’s not all Flake said during his speech, however. Saying that it was “a matter of duty and conscience,” he criticized both the President and the the wider tone of politics in the country.


Announcing My Candidacy to Be US Senator from Arizona


Thank you. Thank you and thank you, please be seated. Thank you. [Points at random person in crowd, feigning recognition] Yes, thank you. Please. You can sit down. [Fake laugh.] Seriously. Come on. Thank you. OK … enough. Sit down!

I thank Kid Rock for that very generous introduction and for all the support that you and your stripper escorts have given me. You know that America is greatly indebted to Mr. Rock for his years of courageous and visionary … rap/rock/country stuff. You brew beer too, right? Cool.


Conservatives Shouldn’t Look Up to Joe Arpaio


Joe Arpaio was my sheriff for 23 years. His predecessors were ineffective and mildly corrupt, so Maricopa County voters embraced the tough-talking, no-nonsense lawman. And he started out pretty well. Sure, there was the shticky pink underwear, tent city, and constant media stunts, but it finally seemed like a dedicated sheriff was at the helm.

But power tends to corrupt. Arpaio started focusing more on media appearances than law enforcement. Scandals started popping up. The headline-grabbing antics got more bizarre. And a man who seemed to many like a conservative stalwart devolved into anything but. I wrote about the ex-sheriff for Monday’s USA Today. Here’s a preview:


The Cavalry Isn’t Coming from DC – States Need to Save Themselves


Obama brought us Obamacare, the Stimulus, and doubled the debt to $20 trillion. George W. Bush brought us the Wall Street bailout and interminable middle-eastern wars. Congress, alternately run by Democrats and Republicans over the past 16 years, approved all of these messes. And seeing how everyone in DC — politicians, press, lobbyists, and probably Uber drivers — have spent the past five months in an endless slap fight, we shouldn’t expect the Beltway to produce much of consequence for the foreseeable future.

How do we enact conservative change in this environment? The best option is to build a doorless wall around DC; Washingtonians of every stripe can give each other swirlies while the rest of America gets about fixing the nation. But since that effort might be frowned upon, let’s just ignore the lot of them the best we can and focus closer to home.


Why Are Private Prisons “Immoral?”


The Phoenix suburb of Mesa is Arizona’s third largest city, the spring training home to the Chicago Cubs, and, most famously, home to yours truly. Unlike most cities, our leadership is always looking for costs to cut, rather than expensive new programs to create. But their latest budget-minded initiative is angering the local powers that be.

For decades, Mesa has sent its misdemeanor offenders to Maricopa County jails, but that comes with a steep price tag. Over the past 10 years, the county has increased its daily housing prices by nearly 40 percent and its booking cost by more than 60 percent. So now the city is negotiating a deal with private contractor CoreCivic to house the inmates in a neighboring county. The move could save up to $2 million a year. Sounds like a win/win to me, but the county sheriff is seeing red ink:


Intersection Accident Nightmare in Arizona


In criminal cases, it is not uncommon for courts to order restitution along with the criminal sentencing. My Arizona bar newsletter contained a story about a lawyer who got the statutory law changed so he could represent his daughter in seeking criminal restitution for the death of his son-in-law. The case began with a 7 AM traffic accident at an intersection. The decedent, Jeffrey Roof, turned left across several lanes of traffic. The accused, Jeffrey Meyn, sped up to get through the intersection on, he claims, a yellow light. Meyn t-boned Roof’s automobile. There were no drugs or alcohol involved. Meyn stayed at the scene and was released by the officers who told him that he was not at fault.

The police continued to investigate. Meyn cooperated with the investigation even testifying before a grand jury. Meyn’s lawyer notified the prosecutor in writing that if he were going to be charged, Meyn would voluntarily turn himself in. Instead, the police used Meyn’s six-year-old son to lie to Meyn to get Meyn outside where the police swarmed him with weapons drawn, ordered him to his knees and handcuffed him, all apparently in front of the six year old.


State Board of Education Ignores Pols, Parents; Rubber Stamps Common Core


After a raucous 2014 election year for Arizona’s office for Superintendent of Public Instruction, only 16,034 votes separated the outcome of the 2014 election results between Diane Douglas and David Garcia. One would like to suggest Douglas’ opposition to the top-down, federal, one-sized-fits-all standards helped ensure she was the victor. This was a coup for the parents who despised the unconstitutional federal outreach in their children’s classrooms – later only to learn the fox was in the hen house all along.

A quick history lesson on Common Core in Arizona. In 2010, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted Common Core standards for all public schools throughout Arizona. As these standards were being implemented, parents and practitioners alike started to have difficulty learning and teaching them.


Uber Shrugged: Company Flees California for Red State to Test New Tech

Gov. Doug Ducey welcomes Uber’s self-driving fleet to Arizona, Dec. 22, 2016. (Photo source.)

Silicon Valley is known as the home of tech innovation, so it’s no surprise Uber chose San Francisco as the test site for their ride-sharing app in 2011. But now that Uber’s successful, the once Golden State wants to tangle their future research in red tape.

Uber began testing a fleet of 16 self-driving Volvo SUVs in San Francisco on December 14. A week later, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked all 16 registrations, insisting that a special permit was required and that Uber must publicly report statistics from their R&D program. Not wanting to invest millions in research to benefit their competitors, the company sought a state that celebrates entrepreneurship.


School Choice Program Saved up to $3.4 Billion for Taxpayers


shutterstock_520970764By choosing Betsy DeVos as his nominee for the Department of Education, Donald Trump has proven his seriousness about increasing school choice and ending the Beltway’s micromanagement of local education. But whether the subject is charter schools, vouchers, distance learning, or education savings accounts, the teachers’ unions have cried foul. Their interest isn’t students, parents, or even individual teachers, but rather preserving their cut of the $670 billion K-12 market.

One set of programs that flies somewhat under the radar are tax-credit scholarship programs. Available in 15 states, they let individuals and corporations donate to scholarship granting organizations in return for tax credits. The organizations then use the donations to give scholarships to students to offset tuition payments at a private school of their families’ choice. A win-win, right? Well, union bosses don’t think so.


My Afternoon with Donald Trump

Prescott Valley Event Center just before the event began.

Donald Trump held a rally in Prescott Valley, AZ, this week. I figured that this more rural setting would feature less conflict than his many appearances in downtown Phoenix, allowing me to actually chat with some of Trump’s fans. I’ve been #NeverTrump since he descended the golden elevator last June, yet remain intrigued about his primary victory and the passion of his supporters.

Granted, I soured early on the Trump Train due to the death threats, racism, and anti-Semitism of his anonymous online army, but I realize the alt-right crew is a tiny fraction of the millions who plan to vote him. But this late in the game, would he even draw a big crowd?


Arizona AG 7, Freedom from Religion Foundation 0


Packer-PopeThe head of an Arizona agency visited France a few months ago, and offered to take employees’ “special intentions” on his visit to the Catholic holy site of Lourdes. Department of Economic Security Director Tim Jeffries’ email noted that he is a member of the Order of Malta, which is focused on “global works for the poor and the sick” and asked employees to reply with their intentions if they were comfortable doing so.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (headquarted in Madison, WI, because of course they are) was deeply offended by the director’s kind offer and declared it a violation of the First Amendment (PDF).


Inmates Assault Terror Suspect in Arizona Jail

Mahin Kahn
Mahin Khan, of Tucson, Ariz., who apparently didn’t know his photo was being taken. (Image: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

An 18-year-old Tucson resident named Mahin Khan was arrested earlier this month for allegedly planning terror attacks on government buildings in Arizona.

After being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, he was booked into Maricopa County jail and tossed into general population. Bad idea — for Mr. Khan, that is.


Summertime in Arizona: “No Identificado,” Unknown

no indeficato
Sister Judy Bourg picks up rocks to help support a grave marker, while Margo McKinsey holds it upright. (Photo: Arizona Daily Star)

Summer has come to the Sonoran Desert. On June 2, we hit the 102° mark in my community located about 30 miles north of Tucson. The following day the temperature was 107°. Saturday, the high hit 108°. As has been said, it’s a dry heat; 107° feels like 105°.

The rising thermometer is not the only sign of summer. Scorpions become more active in the summer heat. I was getting ready to shave yesterday morning and just as I put my hand on the faucet to start running some water I saw a scorpion crawling out of the overflow opening in the sink. I went to the den to find a magazine that I didn’t want to keep and then back to the bathroom to dispatch the two-inch-long pest. Two whacks and then a little clean-up. I then put painters tape over all the sink overflow openings in the house.