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.

On a national scale, over the last few years, the NRA and other organizations have done an admirable job of defending our natural right to defend ourselves. In the wake of the horror at Sandy Hook, the forces of gun control made a full-court press to re-enact an “assault weapons ban” on a national level, and it failed spectacularly. A bill to validate a concealed carry licenses across state lines has passed in the House, and while its future in the Senate is a little iffy, we’ve started the process of having concealed carry licenses act just like marriage licenses and driver’s licenses do.

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.

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.

“We must stop pretending that the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal,” Flake said. “They are not normal. Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as telling it like it is when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified. And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else. It is dangerous to a democracy.” There was more, a lot more, like that. You can see his whole speech here.

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.

Anyhoo, with Senator Flake’s announcement that he will not seek re-election as US Senator from the great state of Arizona, many, many people have recommended that I throw my hat in the ring. So many people.

Richard Epstein explores the history of the president’s pardon power and examines whether former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was a worthy recipient of executive mercy.

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:

During one three-year period, his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office didn’t properly investigate more than 400 alleged sex crimes, many of them involving child molestation.

Member Post

 

This just in from the Associated Press: President Donald Trump spared his ally former Sheriff Joe Arpaio a possible jail sentence on Friday by pardoning his conviction, reversing what critics saw as a long-awaited comeuppance for a lawman who escaped accountability for headline-grabbing tactics during most of his 24 years as metropolitan Phoenix’s top law […]

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Member Post

 

The announcement of John McCain’s brain cancer has brought with it the mandatory statements of love and support across the political spectrum. On one level it can be seen as appropriate and necessary. On another, the hypocrisy level is astoundingly sickening. The world of politics and Senator McCain’s place in it is, as they say, […]

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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.

The United States wasn’t designed to be run by some far-off mandarins in an imperial capital. Most day-to-day responsibilities were handed to each state, and most state responsibilities were handed to counties, cities and towns.

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:

[Sheriff Paul] Penzone was quick to condemn Mesa’s move, claiming it could increase county expenses and have a negative impact on his organization. To persuade Mesa and other cities not to search for better options, he said he would try to reduce costs and increase efficiency. He claims to have closed Tent City for just this reason.

Member Post

 

From February 13th to the 18th, we were in the Phoenix area, for a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar. During that week, most days we met with fellow Ricochet Members. For some reason, I was not a picture-taking fool this trip. I have no photos of any of our meetups except the last one, and […]

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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.

The grand jury indicted Meyn on a manslaughter charge, which carries a sentence of seven to 15 years in prison. He took a plea bargain. He pleaded guilty to negligent homicide to avoid the possibility of a long prison sentence. The plea-bargain contained a provision stating that he could be held responsible for restitution to the victims in an amount not to exceed $1 million. Because of the plea-bargain, he served 13 months in prison.

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.

This classroom battle came to a head in 2013 inciting a Republican primary challenge to then-Superintendent John Huppenthal who was fully engaged in implementing these standards that had to be rebranded to “college and career ready” due to public outcry.

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.

The National Education Association claimed that each tax-credit scholarship “threatens funding for public schools and other public services.” Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers and bête noire of educational reformers, alleged “they drain cash away from public school districts, particularly those that serve disadvantaged kids who can least afford it.”

My Afternoon with Donald Trump

 
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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.

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).

It is unconstitutional to use DES staff and resources to promote your personal religious views. We request that you immediately cease promoting religion through DES email and do not involve DES employees in any future religious trips you take.

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°.