Sunday, February 27, 2011

WATCH: More On Former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe, Indiana Sen. and Ms. Bayh and the Christchurch Earthquake

A few days, we posted the article from the Arizona Daily Star recounting former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe's first-hand account of the devastating Christchurch earthquake.  After doing a bit more digging, we found an extensive essay by Mr. Kolbe, and a news report with footage and interviewing Sen. Evan and Susan Bayh.  (She points out that she was in a shopping area and not - as Kolbe initially thought - in her hotel room, but the story of being pushed out of the shop as it was collapsing and a woman nearby being killed is compelling.

Rep. Kolbe's account is here, and the Indiana TV report is below:


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Friday, February 25, 2011

Former Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh Have Lunch Interrupted By Christchurch Earthquake; Susan Bayh Nearly Killed

Here is a scary tale bringing the disastrous Christchurch earthquake closer to home.  Former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Tucson) was in New Zealand's second-largest city this week and was at a trade lunch when the temblor hit.  He, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh and the rest of their group escaped unharmed, but Bayh's wife, Susan, was evacuating from the nearby hotel when a wall fell and killed a woman in front of her. 

Also interesting to learn that the longtime Arizona Congressman now partly owns a bed and breakfast elsewhere in the south Pacific nation.


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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Arizona Legislative Session Has Tucsonans Thinking Breaking Away... Again

The idea of southern Arizona splitting off from (specifically) the Phoenix area and forming its own state is an idea that has bubbled just under the surface of the Sonoran desert soil for years and years.  (At least as long as I remember.)  But, the lopsided makeup of the state legislature (along with the statewide offices) has produced a number of bills and initiatives that have (potential) Baja Arizonans forming a multi-partisan committee that claims to be determined to make it a reality.

Rhonda Bodfield and Andrea Kelly have the complete details in the Arizona Daily StarThe Start Our State page already has 603 "likers" on Facebook.  And, the discussion about how to place a measure on the 2012 ballot and the possible financial impacts has begun - in the committee and on Facebook.


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RECOVERY UPDATE: Wounded Giffords' Community Outreach Coordinator Back On Job

It was nice to see this post on Politico this morning.  Pamela Simon, community outreach coordinator for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8), who was shot twice on January 8 (including once in chest), is now back on the job.

Another wonderful recovery step after the attempted assassination and mass shooting that took place at a northwest Tucson shopping center.


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Only Arizona and Texas Share Title Of Having Most Conservative Member of House AND Senate

The National Journal today started releasing its analysis of how members of Congress voted in 2010.  Their initial focus is on how Arizona Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has moved from the middle of the ideological pack to be tied for the most conservative member of the Senate.  Not earth-shattering news, as his tack to the right in advance of his primary challenge from former Rep. Hayworth received lots of attention.

The National Journal - which analyzed about 1/3 of the Senate's roll call votes - found that this is McCain's most conservative ranking in his long history (only the conservative landslide year of 1994 was close - hmmm).

NJ also lists the ten most conservative members of the House of Representatives.  Arizona's Trent Franks (R-CD2) is tied for first in that house, giving Arizona the only 1-1 punch - other than Texas (Sen. Cornyn, Reps. Neugebauer and Johnson).

These rankings also confirm what Congressional Quarterly found last month, and the Washington Post has found on an on-going basis.  When the National Journal releases the rest of its rankings, it will probably also show that Arizona also was home to three of the biggest Democratic rebels. (Two of whom - Harry Mitchell and Ann Kirkpatrick - were defeated in November and one - Gabrielle Giffords - recovering from a would-be assassin's bullet.


(h/t to James King at Phoenix New Times)


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

FOLLOWING THE MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: No Rubber Chickens On This Circuit: Arizona Congressional Delegations Trips Since Election; Cuba, Reagan Library Highlights

(This will be the first in an ongoing series of reports publicizing trips and gifts given to Arizona's Representatives and Senators in Washington.)

After his easy re-election in November, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) took off for Cuba.  Flake - now running for the U.S. Senate - spent five November days on the island nation on the tab of the Lexington Institute.  While the food there was rather cheap, lodging for Flake and his wife ran to more than $300/day.

The next long trip taken by a member of the delegation was when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) spent five days (with her husband and two daughters) in Charleston, SC over New Year's.  The well-known Renaissance Weekend brings together political leaders and other movers and shakers for a series of panel discussions.  The tab came to $2,740.00 and was picked up by the group.

Three Republican House members from Arizona attended a retreat in late January in Simi Valley, hosted (and paid for) by the conservative Heritage Foundation.  Rep. David Schweikert's (R-CD5) tab was the largest, at $2,521.80, while Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD2) only spent $1,536.10. Flake was in the middle with $2,042.60.  Schweikert and Flake brought their spouses.

That same weekend, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) attended a similar ideological retreat, but it was apparently much more austere.  Grijalva and two staffers spent two days in Chantilly, Virginia, paid for by the Progressive Ideas Network and Progressive Congress Action Fund.  The tab for transportation, meals and lodging only came to $535.69/person.





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Arizona Sen. John McComish On Why He Opposes Birthright Citizenship Bills and Their Possible Outcome; Arizona Has "Greater Issues To Deal With"

A couple of weeks ago, the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee held a lengthy hearing on two bills that would address the issue of the 14th Amendment (to the U.S. Constitution) and birthright citizenship.  Eventually, sponsor Sen. Ron Gould (R-LD3) pulled the bills from the committee once he realized that at least two of the Republicans were going to vote them down.  He brought them over to the more friendly Appropriations Committee, where they were approved yesterday, pushing them toward the Floor.

The question of what happened in the Judiciary Committee is still relevant, as it may give some insight into the future of these bills.  Arizona's Politics sat down and spoke with Sen. John McComish (R-LD20) last week about his role in the proceedings.  McComish is one of the five GOP Senators on the 8-person committee; Sen. Adam Driggs (R-LD11) - an immigration attorney - had made it clear through his questioning of the proponents' witness that he was disinclined to vote for the bills.

At some point in the long hearing, Gould asked McComish where he stood.  “I never hid what my conclusion was," said McComish. "The sponsor asked me towards the end of discussion, and I told him. At that point, he decided to hold the bill(s).”

When asked why he decided to oppose the bills, McComish rattled off a few factors: 

“There are multiple reasons. It is the settled constitutional law of the land. Adjudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court…. I have read the debate on the floor (of the U.S. Congress) in the 1860’s, and it is very clear that the intention was any newborn I the U.S. is a citizen....  ‘Under the jurisdiction’ means just that… subject to our laws.”
McComish noted that he looked up the Latin, while another Senator looked it up in a 19th century dictionary, both looking for the intent that those who passed the 14th Amendment might have meant. 

McComish realizes that even though it has been settled constitutional law for a long time, birthright citizenship may not be the best policy for the United States in this day and age. Nevertheless, “if it is time, let somebody else do it. Arizona has had its time in the drum; we don’t need to be in the lead on this. We have greater issues to deal with, such as the economy and the deficit.”

Finally, McComish predicted that the bills would be moved forward by the Appropriations Committee.  But, as far as the eventual outcome, he predicts that “it will be very close. There is one scenario where it could be 15-15.”



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UPDATE: Arizona's Official Firearm Bill Moves Forward This Morning; "You've Got To Be Kidding Me";

I was up and watching, but my computer was down and sleeping.  I did not have the heart (or energy) to wake it.  But, I did observe as the missed opportunity to plug part of the hole in the state budget moved forward.

The Senate Appropriations Committee took up Sen. Gould's Colt-as-official-state-firearm bill at about 12:15 this morning.  They had been meeting since about 3:00p.m. yesterday, so the shots fired at each other over this late night (early morning) bill were held to a minimum.  An out of order Senator Sinema interjected a few "you've got to be kidding me's" before the bill was passed on a 9-4 party line vote.

I had suggested yesterday that one of the legislators could still call up Colt Manufacturing Co. and try to get them to pay in some fashion for the publicity that they have received and could receive from this bill.  Interestingly, the only non-legislator/non-staff person to speak on the bill at that late hour was a lobbyist for Colt Manufacturing.  He made no offers of remuneration on his client's behalf.  Hmmm.


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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Could Naming An Official State Firearm (Colt Single Action Army Revolver) Be Answer To Arizona's Budget Woes?

Could Naming An Official State Firearm (Colt Single Action Army Revolver) Be Answer To Arizona's Budget Woes?  Well, why not?  I promise, the first thought when I saw the headline on the Arizona Daily Star's website ("Bill would make Colt Arizona's official firearm") was that this was a clever way to take a shot at reducing Arizona's budget hole.  It just had to be one of those pesky public-private sponsorship-type deals to bring in some needed revenue.  (Sure, the caliber of the deal would not be likely to put the deficit to rest, but think of the marketing.  Think of the ads on Bloomberg TV.  Think of....)

Alas, it is not to be.  The Howard Fischer story shows that Sen. Ron Gould has no intention of using this potentially-great new revenue source.  Instead, he is apparently simply trying to make a (half-cocked) statement about his love of guns, the NRA and the 2nd Amendment. 



It is a simple bill that Gould, Russell Pearce and others - he really should have given it to Sens. (Steve) Smith & (Don) Shooter to be the primary sponsors - have put forward: "The Colt Single Action Army Revolver is the official state firearm." 

That is it.  But, what an opportunity wasted.  It is only being heard in committee today; perhaps, someone can still call Colt Manufacturing Co. - which is still serving up these as collector's items - and ask them to pony up to the Governor's yet-to-be-established budget security fund.




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Arizona No Longer "Solid Democratic" State, As It Was In 2008; Who Knew?

As Pink would say, who knew?  Politico reported earlier Monday that Arizona is among a dozen states that "shifted from solidly or leaning Democratic to competitive."  Just in the past two years.

These words leapt off the monitor and slapped me in the face!  Did Politico - or, Gallup, upon which the story is based - stumble upon an alternative political universe where red is blue and blue is red.  Of course, it is a mistake.

Apparently, even though Gallup did not use those still-confusing-after-48-years two-letter state abbreviations, Politico confused Arizona for Arkansas.  In fact, according to the venerable Gallup organization, Arizona was "competitive" in 2008 and remained so in 2010.

To be clear, Gallup is not using actual party registration numbers or actual election results; what their numbers and labels are reflecting is how many people who they interviewed in the state during an entire year either identify themselves as being Democrat or Republican or suggest that they lean more towards one party or the other.  Gallup interviewed more than 350,000 adults across the U.S. last year to come up with these numbers - not likely voters or even possible voters; many may not even be registered. 7,660 of those interviews were of Arizonans.

Arizona was defined as "competitive" in 2008 and again last year.   That means that the difference between the two parties' affiliations is less than 5%.  In Arizona last year, 40.0% identified/leaned Democratic, 44.1% Republican.

Interestingly, the Gallup story focuses on how Democrats lost affiliation across the country in the past two years.  However, Arizona's Democratic drop was the third-lowest in the nation.  Only 2.8%.  Nevertheless, Arizona Republicans picked up two congressional seats and swept the statewide offices.







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Friday, February 18, 2011

Former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano Latest To Take Self Out of Senate Campaign

Arizona's Politics has been somewhat remiss in chronicling all those taking themselves out of the campaign to replace Sen. Jon Kyl in 2012.  Former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano just removed herself this morning, according to a statement.

This New Times post does a good job of listing the others who recently have done likewise.


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

FACT CHECK: Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle Misleads On Arizona Border Security

Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) released a statement today using a new GAO (Government Accountability Office) report on border security to slam DHS (Department of Homeland Security) Secretary - and former Arizona Governor - Janet Napolitano.  However, by intentionally using a much lower, overall calculation of operational control over the U.S./Mexico border and then applying it to the more secure Arizona portion of the border, Rep. Quayle apparently decided to mislead his constituents.

Quayle's statement touts the Tuesday report from the "non-partisan" (politicians often use that term when the GAO states something that they like) GAO titled "BORDER SECURITY: Preliminary Observations On Border Control Measures For the Southwest Border".  Quayle noted that the report
"...found that only 44 percent of the Southern side of the U.S./Mexican border is under 'operational control.  The report contradicts recent statements made by Homeland Security Secretary and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano that the border is more secure.
“The GAO’s report confirms what Arizonans already knew to be true: the U.S./Mexican border is far from secure. Even the most artful political spin cannot change that fact. Arizonans aren’t interested in the pie-charts and statistics coming out of Washington, they want our borders secure and the violence to cease. Just this week, two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were shot outside of Mexico City. And on the U.S. side of the border, Arizona ranchers have to deal with the constant threat of violence from drug and human smugglers. Securing our borders shouldn’t be a partisan issue on Capitol Hill. I look forward to working with both parties to find effective solutions to the problem, but we cannot keep waiting and hoping the problem will just disappear. ”
Yes, the report does state (on page 7) that the "Border Patrol reported achieving varying levels of operational control of 873 (44 percent) of the nearly 2,000 southwest border miles at the end of fiscal year 2010.  The number of reported miles under operational control increased an average of 126 miles per year from fiscal years 2005 through 2010."

So, not only is the Border Patrol continuing to put more of the U.S./Mexico border under "operational control" - as opposed to Quayle's "waiting and hoping" comment - but the 44% number is for the entire southwest border with Mexico.  A quick and easy check of the next paragraph and the accompanying figure (Figure 3) shows that the Yuma sector is 100% under operational control, and that the Tucson sector is at 70%.  That means that the Arizona/Mexico border is actually at about 80% "operational control" (and the rest is "monitored").

None of the facts in Rep. Quayle's are incorrect (although some of his rhetoric appears to be misleading).  However, juxtaposition matters.  In this case, he has only cited the 44% figure, purposely ignored the 100% and 70% figures for the Arizona sectors, yet repeatedly referred to Arizona, Arizonans, Arizona ranchers.  The conclusion can only be that the statement misleads his constituents into believing that more than half of Arizona's border is out of control.

(Warning: Fact-checking/journalism wonk discussion ahead:) You may be wondering why "juxtaposition matters,"  and whether it is legitimate to diss a politician - or others - for saying/writing things that are correct yet still create a false impression.  Especially when he or she (or they) have omitted relevant facts.  I have often wondered that, too.  This is what I found and why I decided to downgrade Rep. Quayle's full statement.

The two highest-profile fact-checking organizations have both repeatedly recognized the way in which juxtaposition of true comments or images can still earn the speaker/writer/etc low fact-checking marks.  Two recent examples which I found yesterday: (1) Factcheck.org dinged the Crossroads organization for juxtaposing a candidate's comment that the healthcare reform bill would reduce deficits with the announcer's intonation that "instead, we got... record deficits".  As Factcheck points out, the deficits were not caused by the healthcare reform law; (2) Politifact.com hammered Sen. Harry Reid for implying in December that Arizona Sen. John McCain did not support repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" because of the economy.  Reid omitted the context that McCain was talking about relative priorities; and (3) PolitiFact rated as "barely true" a Congressional candidate who lauded former President Reagan's tax cuts for creating exponential growth while omitting the fact that Reagan later had to approve substantial tax increases.

Also relevant is how our justice system is handling such situations.  Courts in several states have recognized a cause of action known as "defamation by implication".  In fact, it is set forth in one of the key legal texts (by Prosser and Keeton) on tort laws: Defamation by implication occurs where "the defendant juxtaposes a series of facts so as to imply a defamatory connection between them, or creates a defamatory implication by omitting facts."  (A classic case is from the 1970's in Tennessee, where a news report noted that a woman shot her husband and another woman when she found them together in the second woman's living room;" the report neglected to mention that there were others in the room at the time, thereby putting the lie to the implication that they were in the living room having "an adulterous affair".)

Rep. Quayle's statement deserves a clarification, and Arizona's Politics has asked for one.  Until then, Quayle deserves his grade of "D" (which also stands for "deceptive").



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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WATCH: Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl On Fox News Yesterday Re: Budget, More

I only caught about a minute of this last night, and have not yet watched it this a.m.  But, here is not-quite-retiring Sen. Jon Kyl on Fox News last night (with Greta Van Susteren).  The interview lasts about 7 1/4 minutes and, in it, Kyl uses the analogy of the day for the Administration budget proposal: it "kicks the can down the road."  (Rep. Jeff Flake, in his Monday announcement of his candidacy for Kyl's Senate seat, also noted that there is no more road left.)



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Arizona Rep. Trent Franks Discussed Senate Campaign With Sheriff Arpaio Yesterday

Yesterday, Arizona's Politics reported that Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD2) had called Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio earlier in the day to discuss the Republican primary race to replace Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ).  That was relayed to us by Arpaio's campaign manager Chad Willems - who is also responsible for the insta-poll which has received a lot of attention.  We asked Franks' office for confirmation.

We received the 4th-term Congressman's response last evening from Press Secretary Ben Carnes.  On the day after his colleague, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) made his candidacy official, Franks reiterated that he is "weighing all of his options" and is still "seriously considering" the race, and confirmed that he discussed the prospects of either or both Franks and Arpaio entering the race.  However, he assumed his call to Arpaio was private, "and, consequently, has no further comment."  The full statement is after the jump.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feeling Each Other Out; Arizona Rep. Trent Franks and Sheriff Joe Arpaio Talk Opening Senate Seat; Arpaio Would Be Impacted By "Huge Groundswell"

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has given at least a couple of interviews today (and one over the weekend to Channel 10 flirting with the possibility that he may run for the seat opening up (in January 2013) when Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) retires.  Arizona's Politics has learned that at least one other possible contender - already in Congress - thinks there might be something to it;  Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD2) called the Sheriff earlier today to ask if he was planning to run.

According to Chad Willems, Arpaio's campaign manager (for whatever he may or may not run for next year), Franks called.  He likely received the same "maybe" that Arpaio is giving to the media, because Willems indicates that Arpaio does not yet know if it would be the right thing for him to do.

Willems tells Arizona's Politics that Arpaio has a large fundraising operation, already has approximately $3 million in his re-election campaign account that could legally be transferred to a run for federal office, and has familiarity with Washington from his previous jobs there (with the DEA).  The decision will be a personal one, says Willems.

Willems gave props to the "impressive" response to the DefendSheriffJoe (independent) fundraising-to-urge-Joe-to-run; it raised nearly $20,000 (from 500+ people) in five days, which will go to more polling and fundraising.  However, Willems says it will be "interesting to see if there's a huge groundswell... that would certainly impact Arpaio's decision."

Franks' phone call to Arpaio may just be an expression of friendly interest.  Or, it may be the best indication yet that a second member of Arizona's current Congressional delegation may be ready to try to step up to the more exclusive chamber.  Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) has already announced his candidacy.

By the way, the polls released today by the Summit Consulting Group that show Arpaio leading Flake and others among likely Republican primary election voters has a margin of error of 3%.  That is according to Summit President, Chad Willems.  (Yes, the same Chad Willems.)


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BREAKING: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Back In National Reality TV Limelight

If you missed any or all of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's previous entrants in the popular reality TV genre, you now have a new chance.  Entertainment Weekly has just broken the news that the popular A&E cable network has greenlit a third season  of the reality show focusing on actor Steven Seagal's exploits as a MCSO Posse member.

The show was shut down last year after Seagal was accused of sex traficking.  Those claims were dropped, and now A&E is ready to bring back the popular Steven Seagal Lawman show.  Of course, Maricopa County residents are already familiar in an up-close-and-personal way with Seagal's lawman efforts, as he has been part of Arpaio's posses in the past.

The EW article/press release features the following interesting quote from Arpaio:  "Mr. Seagal has been on this horse before, so to speak, and will be an asset to this fine organization.  We look forward to working with him. We’re a little unusual here, which should make things pretty interesting.”

Not sure who the "we" that the Sheriff is referring to as being unusual.  Certainly, it is up for interpretation.





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Group Raises Nearly $20,000 Over Weekend To Urge Arpaio To Run For Senate; Combined With Survey Results, Pressure Mounts

Last week, Arizona's Politics reported on the e-mail effort to raise a $25,000 "money bomb"/love note by the end of Valentine's Day to urge Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ).  DefendSheriffJoe.com - a 527 non-profit organization - got close to their goal and raised $19,349 in five short days.

Chairman Vernon Parker notes that it is "truly impressive" that more than 500 people made an average $37.64 contribution to put their money where their mouths are.  "That’s what a grassroots movement looks like," said Parker.

Their voices may be getting heard.  On Sunday, Arpaio - who has often flirted with running for other offices - told a Phoenix television station (Channel 10, Fox) that he would not rule it out and that he would "sure rock the boat on Capitol Hill" if he was elected and that it would be "exciting".

A Republican-leaning political group (Summit Consulting Group) also released a quickie survey of "likely Republican primary election voters" showing Arpaio as the top pick for the 2012 Republican primary for the Senate seat.  Arpaio drew 21.3% to Rep. Jeff Flake's (R-CD6, who announced yesterday) 16.8% and former Rep. J.D. Hayworth's 16.6%.  No word yet on the margin of error of the survey.

According to the organization, the $20,000 DefendSheriffJoe "money bomb" will likely be used to do more polling to convince Arpaio to run, and to then raise more money for an ad campaign.




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Monday, February 14, 2011

Pres. Obama's Budget Proposal Draws Fire From Arizona Right, Left

Two of Arizona's Congressional delegation have forwarded reaction's to President Obama's budget proposal.  Both criticize.  One from the left, one from the right.  In order of appearance:

--Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) came at it hard:
“The people of my district are hurting. For years they have had to live within their means, work with smaller and smaller budgets and try to make more with less. The government should work no differently. The days of writing blank checks should be over. The U.S. taxpayer has no more to give- they can barely make it on their own and the last thing Washington should do is fund a government spending spree at the expense of our small businesses and families. We’re broke.


“My Republican colleagues and I have been making headway. We have worked together to make meaningful cuts and we will continue to listen to the American people and say enough is enough to the big spending ways of the past. Right now we have to make tough decisions, but the reality is we can no longer continue to spend our way further and further into debt.


“I am disappointed in the President’s budget. It calls for $3.8 trillion in spending this year alone, it raises taxes on hardworking families, small businesses and job creators by $1.6 trillion and it will leave our nation with a $1.6 trillion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year. We cannot afford this budget and I hope that the President will listen to the people and begin to make significant reforms so that we can get our nation on a path toward fiscal responsibility and economic certainty.”
--Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7), a co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, hit it from the other side:
“The president’s proposed budget makes significant cuts to several important federal efforts. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) would see funding drop from $5.1 billion to $2.5 billion, which has rightly prompted concerns about why families struggling to keep warm in winter are being asked to shoulder more financial burden than Wall Street executives. Cutting dirty energy subsidies has to be a priority. Are we going to continue paying oil and gas companies to charge poor families more for winter heating than they can afford?


The president’s commitment to funding education is admirably highlighted in this proposal. However, other valuable programs such as community development block grants are being gutted. Nickel and diming our way to economic recovery, especially on the backs of working Americans who did nothing to cause our economic problems, is not the right way to go. Rather than slashing LIHEAP and community grants, which didn’t cause this recession and generate more in economic activity than they cost, we have to look at the kinds of structural decisions that we’ve put off for too long. Reining in our military expenditures cannot wait forever. Setting appropriate tax levels for the top two percent of earners, who got a break in last year’s tax package when Republicans filibustered a Democratic middle class tax cut bill, has to happen if we’re serious about fiscal responsibility.

We need to take a hard look not just at this year’s numbers or next year’s numbers, but at our entire approach to budgeting. Ending federal payouts to oil, coal and timber companies who only use them to line executives’ pockets is an excellent way to start. We need to look at common sense ways to raise revenue for the public good and save money over the long term, not just cut assistance for low income families until there’s nothing left.”
Of course, the end result will be within the extremes and will look far different than it does today.  There will be twists and turns along the road.  But, today is the day for all parties to truly begin staking out their positions.  Hopefully, with the full knowledge that compromises need to be made.









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WATCH, READ: Speech Therapist: Slow down, Gabby; Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Picks George Bush Out Of A Presidential Lineup; Watch, Read Husband Capt. Kelly's Comments

NBC's Brian Williams has an exclusive interview with Capt. Mark Kelly, the husband of wounded Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) today.  In it, Kelly gives greater detail than ever before about the "lightning fast trajectory" - according to her neurosurgeon - that Giffords' recovery is following.

He indicates that they are having conversations (stringing together short sentences), that her physical appearance and recovery is 100%, and that she's in "a great mood" and "works really, really hard" at the rehab.

Kelly indicates that her speech therapist is now trying to get her to "slow down".  As an example, he notes that there were three cards with pictures of Presidents Bush, Obama and Washington; without knowing whether the therapist was going to ask which one is wearing a powdered wig, Giffords picked up the Bush card and identified him by name.

Giffords was shot at point blank range through the forehead in an attempted assassination attempt on January 8.  The shooter then fired at the rest of the people present for the constituent event, killing six and wounding twelve. 




The partial transcript after the jump was provided by NBC News, and does have several inaccuracies.

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE UP: "Run, Jeff, Run!"; Rep. Flake Running For U.S. Senate

http://www.jeffflake.com/  (That's three "f's" in a row!)




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OFFICIAL: Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake's Announcing Candidacy For U.S. Senate

Hard to complain that Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) kept us waiting too long.  After all, it was only this past Thursday that Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) announced that he will not seek re-election in 2012, and Friday is not the best day to make news.  Yet, KPHO (Phoenix Channel 5, CBS) alone began reporting this morning that he made an announcement yesterday.

Flake's office informed us moments ago that the announcement is good as of 8:00a.m. Arizona time and will be available shortly.  We will post it when we get it. 


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Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake Set To Launch Run For U.S. Senate Seat Being Vacated By Kyl; But, No Official Announcement Yet

(Later: Flake's Congressional office confirmed that there was a press conference at 8:00a.m. Arizona time. When this post was made, there was no confirmation - except for the somewhat-ambiguous KPHO story -available on the internet of the announcement.)

KPHO (Phoenix Channel 5) is reporting that Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake has already made an announcement that he is running for the U.S. Senate seat of Jon Kyl.  However, according to Flake's Washington office moments ago, they are still "working on it".

No doubt, it will come shortly.  It just does not seem to yet be available.


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Friday, February 11, 2011

WATCH: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Interviewed On Fox News, Pleads For Funds To Pay The Attorneys

Before Egypt's President stepped down (or, stepped down again) this morning, and before one of the Fox News reporters referred to the past couple of weeks as being a "Mexican standoff", Fox News hosted Arizona Governor Jan Brewer for an interview.

The Governor ran down the basis for the counterclaim filed in the S.B. 1070 case yesterday, and then noted that Arizona taxpayers are not paying for the legal action because of the Border Security Fund that she (and the Legislature) set up last year to accept private (unlimited) donations.  She also noted that the fund has already spent $1.2 million dollars - presumably in legal fees.

This re-raises a question we mentioned yesterday during the news conference: now that the Arizona Attorney General and his office are actively involved in this case, will monies from the Governor's fund be used to reimburse the AG's office for their time spent.  Or, is the $1.5 million (according to the website) or $3.5 million (according to Brewer yesterday) raised at the KeepAZSafe site only going to be used to pay legal fees for the private, outside counsel?


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Quick Roundup Of Some Of More Interesting Speculations About Arizona's 2012 U.S. Senate Race

Arizona's Politics tried to bring some straightforward coverage of the Jon Kyl retirement announcement and the reactions it engendered.  And, if you have not yet seen our posts about Kyl's net worth declining while in the Senate, and about the fundraising effort designed to urge Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to run for the seat... well, please click on and read those before reading the articles linked below!

Most of the articles and columns speculating about who will run to be the 11th (according to comments made by Kyl yesterday) U.S. Senator from Arizona were pretty standard fare.  However, some did add to the big picture.  Arizona Republic D.C. reporter Dan Nowicki apparently spoke with Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) last week and confirmed that he is interested.  Real Clear Politics added that they found Arizona sources who said that former Arizona Governor (current Homeland Security Secy.) Janet Napolitano "has already begun calling out to activists in the state to gauge support."

This Talking Points Memo report cites an anonymous Arizona Democratic source as trying to forestall other Democrats from getting into the race until the recovering Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) makes a decision as to whether she is willing/able to run for the seat.  Yes, her recovery seems to be proceeding miraculously, but this surprised the heck out of me.  The Washington Times advanced the Giffords angle last night by getting well-known Arizona pollster Bruce Merrill to state (on the record) that she would be a "shoo-in" if she is able to and decides to run.

Oh, I almost forgot:  I did try to find my own mini-scoop in the speculation sweepstakes.  At about noon, I came across this brief tweet from former Rep. Harry Mitchell: "Things are going to get interesting."  I could not resist replying thusly: "@HarryEMitchell Fmr staffers Tweeted they'd like YOU to run; any other comment than "things are going to get interesting"? Are you running?"  Mitchell has not tweeted since.



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READ: Arizona's Counterclaim Against U.S. In S.B. 1070 Lawsuit

As announced earlier on Thursday by Gov. Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne, Arizona has (finally) filed an Answer to the legal action filed last year by the United States in the matter of Arizona's S.B. 1070 anti-illegal immigrant law.  Arizona also took the opportunity to file a counterclaim against the Obama Administration.

The Governor and AG first released a 6-page summary of the counterclaim, and later released the entire, filed Answer and Counterclaim.  The former presents (relatively) simple to understand synopses of the five counts in the Counterclaim.  Some are unsurprising, such as "Failure to Achieve and Maintain Operational Control of the... Border" (Count One), "Failure to Enforce/Follow Immigration Laws" (Count Three), and seeking reimbursement (Count Four). 

However, there are also a couple of eye-opening claims: failing to protect Arizona as required under the Constitution - requiring a redefinition of the constitutional term "invasion" (Count Two) and that the U.S. is violating the 10th Amendment by letting illegal immigrants in and then saying that Arizona cannot do anything about them once they are here (Count Five).

As is often the case in complex cases, both of the eye-openers require some creative legal gymnastics.  For example, the full counterclaim acknowledges that the court needs to redefine "Invasion" to include non-sovereign, non-military entrances by persons acting individually. (pp. 44-45)  The clause is found in Article IV, Section 4 of the United States Constitution. ("The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.")

The 10th Amendment claim requires the trier to acknowledge that the federal government does have the constitutional responsibility to control immigration - including detaining and deporting those who make it past the border.  But - the legal reasoning seems to state - once illegal immigrants are here, Arizona must be permitted to facilitate the detaining and deporting and it is then unconstitutional for the federal government to preempt Arizona's actions against illegal immigrants.  (pp. 51-54)

From a legal-wonky perspective, some of the affirmative defenses asserted by Arizona to the original complaint seem rather... unique.  The frequently-cited affirmative defense of "self defense" is usually thought of in the context of an individual taking otherwise-illegal action to protect him or herself;  yet, Arizona is claiming that S.B. 1070 is a self-defense right "under the Constitution".  An entire chapter could be written on that perspective.  (p. 14)

Another unique affirmative defense is that the original lawsuit should name executive branch departments (DOJ, DHS, State) as the real parties in interest; first, it is not a typical "affirmative defense" and second, it is part of an interesting motif in the Answer and Counterclaim trying to split the plaintiff (the U.S. Government) into the Obama Administration, the executive agencies and Congress.  This appears partly designed to make an argument that the necessary laws are in place but are not being executed - never mind that Congress also controls the purse strings and that there is always a matter of prosecutorial discretion - and partly, politically, to single out the White House as the true villain.  This is borne out in another interesting affirmative defense - often used in business disputes among individuals or businesses - that claims that the federal government has "unclean hands".

The bottom line seems to be that this pretty standard legal pleading and tactic - counterclaiming - probably got a lot more public attention than it normally would, but for the Governor and AG's well-publicized news conference.  While parts are creative, other parts are exactly the types of complaints that are practically required to be brought up as a counterclaim if you feel that you have your own gripes with the plaintiff.  And, we have repeatedly been told that the reason behind S.B. 1070 and other state measures is precisely because Arizona has gripes against the federal government.  An argument could be made that IF these had not been raised as a (compulsory) counterclaim, that Arizona would not be permitted to later file this as a separate action against the U.S. government.

(note, in case any reader has a way of getting the counterclaim amended, paragraph 180 inadvertently uses "Counterclaimants" instead of "Counterdefendants".  An easy-to-make-yet-hard-to-catch common mistake that nonetheless can jar the reader off the track that you were trying to take him or her on.





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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wasting No Time - Draft Arpaio For Senate Effort Starts Day Kyl Announces Retirement

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio running to replace Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)?  That is what the freelancing "Defend Sheriff Joe" organization is proposing.  The 527 tax-exempt organization, run by former Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker, e-mailed their list this afternoon, asking for people to contribute $25,000 before Monday as a "money bomb" that will convince the Sheriff to run.  The full text of the e-mail is below the jump.

The Defend Sheriff Joe organization collected nearly $100,000 last year, and spent only $18,000;  reaching their goal would bring their balance back up to the six-figure mark.  $15,000 of the money was spent on political consultant Nathan Sproul's Lincoln Strategy Group.

The text of the "Draft Sheriff Joe Today" e-mail follows.

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert's Reaction To Sen. Jon Kyl Retirement Announcement

Schweikert:  “Senator Jon Kyl's record of service to our state is something all Arizonans should be proud of. His tireless advocacy on behalf of our state for over twenty years has made Arizona a better place. One example of this leadership was his work to ensure that Arizona's water rights were protected for years to come.


“I also think it is worth recognizing Senator Kyl's conservative leadership over the course of his career. He has a long and distinguished record as a conservative leader that won't soon be forgotten.

“I will also always be grateful for the help Senator Kyl and his team gave to us as we set up our new office in this Congress. He has been a good friend and mentor and will be missed.”




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Arizona Rep. David Schweikert Teams Up With Sens. Enzi and Barrasso To Push Single Subject Lawmaking. (In CONGRESS???)

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5) is getting some national attention for introducing a single-sentence resolution into the House, calling for single-subject legislation.  Politico notes that the trio wants to "end the practice of weighing down bills with irrelevant add-ons by confining every bill to a single issue."

Schweikert introduced H.Res. 70 in late January, with no cosponsors and no attention.  (Heck, he did not even send out a news release.)  Perhaps now that the two Senators have introduced their version, the House leadership will take more notice.  He told Politico, "“Every bill voted on in the U.S. Congress should be considered on its own merit in an open and transparent way before the American people.”

Here is the entire text of Schweikert's resolution:

Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to prohibit the consideration of any bill or joint resolution carrying more than one subject.


Resolved, That rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives is amended by adding at the end the following new clause:

`Restrictions on bills and joint resolutions

`11. It shall not be in order to consider any bill or joint resolution carrying more than one subject.'.






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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's Announcement of State Lawsuit Against Federal Governement

Today, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced that the state is filing a counterclaim against the U.S. government for "their failure to secure the border and enforce our laws".   (Sure, the pronouns make it appear that the federal government should be enforcing Arizona's laws.)  Attorney General Tom Horne indicates that the basis for the claims is that the U.S. has failed in its constitutional requirement to "protect Arizona from invasion."

The counterclaim (i.e. basically, a lawsuit against a party who has already sued you) is being filed in the federal case(s) that have challenged last year's anti-illegal immigration SB1070 law.

Brewer indicates that the costs of the counterclaim will be paid out of her "Keep AZ Safe Fund".  Whether that will include reimbursing the Attorney General's Office for their expenses remains to be seen. 


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Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle's Reaction To Sen. Jon Kyl Retirement Announcement; "It's Never Been About Him"

Quayle:  “The state of Arizona and the United States Senate sustained a huge loss today with the news that Senator Kyl will be leaving Congress at the end of this term. During Senator Kyl’s illustrious career, one thing has always held true: it’s never been about him. For Senator Kyl, it has always been about what’s best for Arizona and for the country. Serving in Congress is a tremendous responsibility, and Senator Kyl carries it out with vigor and distinction. Whether it was his authorship of the landmark Crime Victims Rights Act, his efforts to keep our borders secure or his support for pro-growth economic policies, Senator Kyl never wavers from his principles. His is an example we should all strive to emulate during these challenging times. I look forward to working with Senator Kyl during the remainder of his term. ”






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16-Year (So Far) Senate Career Has Not Been (Financially) Rewarding For Arizona Senator Jon Kyl...Yet

Occasionally, a snarky comment from the Arizona Republic's large community of commenters prompts a story idea.  So it was this morning when someone said that it would be "interesting" to see how Arizona Senator Jon Kyl's net worth has changed since he's been in Congress.  In the 16 years that he has been in the Senate, the answer is:  NOT MUCH!

Arizona's Politics did not go back to check his financial disclosure statements filed during his four terms in the House of Representatives.  However, his possible net worth - Congressional disclosure statements give wide ranges - has increased less than 1.1% per year.  Of course, Sen. Kyl will begin drawing a considerable government pension in 2013, and could earn sizable fees as a speaker and/or lobbyist.  But, his disclosure statements indicate that he did not enrich himself (and his wife) while serving in Congress.

Arizona's Politics calculated the average between his minimum net worth and his maximum net worth for his 1995 disclosure statement, using the same methodology that the Center for Responsive Politics used for his 2009 statement.  (2010 is not yet due.)  In 1995, Kyl's net worth was somewhere between $243,000 and $820,000 (plus some $12,000 in stock that was exactly valued), for an average of $544,000.  (That ranks him as the 82nd richest member of the Senate; Arizona's other senator, John McCain, for example, is the 16th richest with an average of nearly $16 million.)

In 2009, CRP calculated his range at between $519,090 and $746,082, with an average of $632,586.  Using those two averages, my simplistic calculations show that the Kyls' net worth increased approximately 16.2% over 15 years, which would annualize to less than 1.1%.  That miserably failed to keep up with the stock market or the rate of inflation.  Safe to say that the Kyls did not enrich themselves while in the Senate.  In fact, given what he could have earned if he had kept his partnership in a large Phoenix law firm, his political career was a large financial loss.

Of course, many people believe that Congress has passed laws to unfairly enrich themselves at taxpayers' expense once they leave office.  Not true.  However, our back-of-the-envelope calculations on Kyl's pension does indicate that he will draw approximately $122,360 per year from the federal retirement system.  This figure will apparently be reduced by his social security benefits (yes, he paid social security taxes), and is based upon his current salary of $174,800 (an increase in congressional salaries in the next two years will increase his pension benefit).

Kyl seemed to indicate this morning that he had little interest in lobbying, and that the only elected office he might be interested in would be Vice President.  However, there is little doubt that he could "earn" any amount that he and his wife would want to after leaving the Senate.

But, if you wondered if Jon Kyl profited from serving Arizona in the U.S. Senate, you can certainly put those wonders to rest.




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Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar's Reaction To Kyl's Retirement Announcement

“Today is a sad day for Arizona- Senator Kyl is an extraordinary statesman and his leadership in Congress will be missed. I look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months on policy that is important for the people of Arizona and the nation. Senator Kyl is a stalwart proponent of a smaller government and commonsense reforms. I, and Arizona, will miss him but I know that we are blessed to have been represented for all these years by someone with his strong character, integrity and reasoned voice.”


-Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-01)




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READ: Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake Reacts Immediately To Kyl Retirement; "Huge Void"

Within minutes of Arizona Senator Jon Kyl announcing his retirement, leaving an open seat in 2012, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) released his reaction.  Flake is expected by many to be ready to seek the now-opening seat.

Flake did not announce his candidacy, but did say that Kyl's decision leaves a "huge void" to be filled, and that the junior Senator has been "a lodestar" and a personal "mentor for many years.

The full release is below the jump.

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl Won't Seek 4th Term In 2012, States That It Is NOTHING Other Than Opportunity To Move On

At a Phoenix news conference this morning, Republican Senate Minority Whip and 3-term Arizona Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) announced that he will not seek re-election in 2012, stating emphatically that it is NOT the coarsening of political discourse, that it is NOT because he might lose, etc.;  he states that it is ONLY because of "the opportunity to do something else."

Kyl has served as Arizona's junior Senator since 1995, and is presently the second highest-ranking Republican in that chamber.  Last year, he was named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 leaders in the world with most influence.

He discussed his decision with also-retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Kyl sees the possibility of a sort of caucus of retiring Senators (5 have announced so far) that might be able to get things moving on issues such as entitlement reform, in a way that politically-active Senators might not be able to do.

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WATCH: This Might Be Arizona Senator Jon Kyl's Final Campaign Ad, Attacking Giffords/Obama/Pelosi

With Arizona Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) apparently ready to step off the political stage when his 3rd term in the U.S. Senate runs out in January 2013, this apparently-illegal campaign commercial made with Sen. John McCain and aired this past October may be his last appearance in a TV ad. 

In it, he attacks Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) for voting for the "failed stimulus package and Obamacare", and smiles as McCain declares her as "out of step with Arizona."  The ad was not timely/properly reported to the Federal Election Commission by the McCain campaign, and is the subject of a complaint before the FEC.

Here is the transcript of the McCain-Kyl ad.





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BREAKING: Arizona Senator Jon Kyl To Announce He Will NOT Run Again In 2012

According to Politico.com and former Arizona GOP Executive Director Kurt Davis, Arizona's junior Senator, Jon Kyl, will announce this morning that he will not run for another 6-year term, surprising many political observers.  Kyl, who is the 2nd highest ranking Republican in the Senate (Minority Whip), will not run for a 4th term.

Last year, Time Magazine named Kyl as one of the 25 most influential leaders in the world.  Prior to his stint in the Senate, Kyl represented part of central Arizona in the House of Representatives for 8 years. 


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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rep. Schweikert Votes With, Against House Republican Leadership In Past 24 Hours (Patriot Act extensions, UN funding)

As Washington and Congress-watchers are buzzing today about the House Republicans' apparent divisions on the Patriot Act extensions and the U.N. funding measure, only one Arizona Congressman has voted against party lines.  Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5) joined some so-called Tea Party Republicans and voted against the extensions of three provisions of the Patriot Act last night, but voted with all but three of the GOP caucus to try to yank back $180 million in funds for the United Nations.  Both measures failed to get the necessary 2/3 support.

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Rep. Giffords Can Talk Again! Asks For Toast, Family's Thunder Stolen

Her doctor did not want to steal the family's thunder, but confirmations are now coming from Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' (D-CD8) office that the recovering Congresswoman did ask for toast with breakfast on Monday.

Politico story: http://politi.co/g9sZ2y
CBS News confirmed that Giffords can speak, less than one month after the attempted assassination attempt:  http://bit.ly/h8LOIc

An amazing woman, an amazing recovery.  Continuing.



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Friday, February 4, 2011

Capt. Kelly Drilled On Decision To Fly, And Wife's (Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) Condition

The NASA press conference with Capt. Mark Kelly talking about his - and NASA's - decision to continue to be the commander of the Space Shuttle mission scheduled for April bounced around between several locations where reporters were gathered.  All of them had the same questions, in one form or another.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) condition?  "She's improving.  Rather quickly."  That, and acknowledging that he and Giffords "ha(d) a discussion" about his decision were as far as he wanted to go in giving information about what she is and is not able to do.

Why are you going?  He also expressed - several times - his confidence in the decision that he has made.  He followed advice and tried out both options (commanding, not commanding) last week, and the decision is the correct one.

So, just as drilling for space shuttle flights involves lots of repetitions and preparing for slightly different scenarios, Kelly was asked the questions in so many different iterations;  yet, he was able to stick to his pre-chosen plans on what to divulge and what not to divulge.


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READ: HHS Secretary Sebelius, Arizona Governor Brewer Exchange Broad Letters; Brewer Asks For One-on-One Meeting

US HHS (Health and Human Services) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent out a "Dear Governor" letter yesterday that addressed Medicaid programs, with some attention given to Arizona's request for a waiver to be permitted to scale back Arizona's AHCCCS program without losing federal funds.  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer responded with a same-day retort indicating that all Sebelius' cost-cutting ideas have already been implemented and asking for a meeting with Sebelius to convince her to grant the waiver.

The texts of both letters are set forth after the jump.  Sebelius offered up meetings and on-site visits from her "senior leadership":
Starting immediately, the senior leadership from across the Department will be available to meet individually with your staff about plans that you may already have in mind. My team stands ready to come to your State to discuss your priorities and how we can help achieve them.


In the meantime, recent conversations suggest a lack of clarity about what flexibility currently exists in Medicaid. Some of you have asked whether I can “waive” the maintenance of effort requirements for people who a State has covered under Medicaid’s “optional” eligibility categories and waivers. I note that the Affordable Care Act gives a State the flexibility to reduce eligibility for non-disabled, non-pregnant adults with incomes above 133 percent of the Federal poverty line ($14,500 for an individual) if the State has a budget deficit, although prior to June 30, this would mean the loss of the enhanced FMAP under the Recovery Act. I continue to review what authority, if any, I have to waive the maintenance of effort under current law.
I am not aware of any states other than Arizona passing a law to request the waiver. (Arizona requested it informally in December, before giving it extra oomph with the special session/law.) 

Brewer was ready with a response, noting that Arizona has been unsuccessful in setting up a meeting with HHS to discuss the matter:

I believe strongly that you do (have authority to waive).  Congress explicitly placed the maintenance of effort requirement in an area of federal statute that you have the authority to waive.  Given that, it appears that granting temporary relief from one of the more onerous fiscal requirements of the health care act is more a matter of political will than legal authority
Brewer's letter also provides two examples of seemingly-common sense moves that HHS has already rejected - reimbursing for taxis to bring patients to doctor visits and imposing no-show fees on patients who set appointments and do not show up.

Texts of the letters follow:

Rep. Giffords Progressing Well Enough For Capt. Kelly To Command Final Shuttle Mission

Capt. Mark Kelly will be commanding the final space shuttle mission, it was announced this morning.  This is the third straight day that he has given firm - if not without detail - indications that his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8), continues to improve after last month's assassination attempt and subsequent shooting spree in Tucson.

"I am looking forward to rejoining my STS-134 crew members and finishing our training for the mission," Kelly said. "We have been preparing for more than 18 months, and we will be ready to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station and complete the other objectives of the flight. I appreciate the confidence that my NASA management has in me and the rest of my space shuttle crew."

The news release from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) made it official, and Capt. Kelly will appear at a news conference at 1:00p.m. (Arizona Time) to discuss his - and NASA's - decision.  The news conference should be available live on NASA's website.

Kelly's Space Shuttle mission is targeted to begin on April 19, and last 14 days.  He will rejoin the team this coming Monday.




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Thursday, February 3, 2011

WATCH: Capt. Kelly's Profession of Faith At Today's National Prayer Breakfast

 We did get more detail (than yesterday) from Capt. Mark Kelly about his wife - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) - and her steady improvement since the attempted assassination/successful murder spree last month.  Kelly flew to Washington, D.C. to give the closing prayer at this morning's National Prayer Breakfast.

"What allowed me to be here today, I think, is Gabby's condition.  It continues to improve.  Every day she gets a little bit better. The neurosurgeons and neurologists tell me that that's a great sign. The slope of that curve is very important."


I have not yet watched all of the 7 1/2 minutes, but what I have watched is very worthwhile.






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WATCH: What Would YOU Do? ABC Airing Undercover Segment From Tucson On Racial Profiling; Preview/Teaser


Tomorrow night, ABC News is airing an undercover segment of "What Would You Do?" that was taped in a Tucson restaurant and focuses on racial profiling in the wake of Arizona's international attention resulting from last year's passage of SB1070.

The one-hour Primetime will air at 8:00p.m. on KNXV (Channel 15) in Phoenix and KGUN (Channel 9) in Tucson.

ABC has put up a news story detailing what happened when host John Quinones went undercover and also hired an actor to portray a White security guard who starts asking people for ID.  Non-Hispanic patrons confront the security guard/actor.

The video that ABC apparently has up on its site does not seem to be working properly, so the teaser below is taken from the Newsbusters' website that has already proclaimed the report as an example of liberal media stretching the boundaries of journalism.  The organization puts up the transcript from this morning's tease on Good Morning, America. 

(Interestingly, GMA host George Stephanoupoulos' Tweet on the subject links to the Newsbusters article and not ABC's own.)





I cannot help but wonder what the results of their undercover operation would have been if they (a) had tried it in Phoenix, and (b) if they had tried it at a restaurant that does not serve great Mexican food.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

BREAKING: Arizona Senators McCain, Kyl Vote To Repeal Healthcare Reform Law; GOP Falls Short 47-51

The U.S. Senate just failed to repeal the healthcare reform law passed last year.  Both of Arizona's Senators, John McCain (R) and Jon Kyl (R) voted with the other Republicans to repeal; however, the vote was 47-51 and 60 "aye" votes were needed to move the repeal forward.




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Apparently, Bristol Not Only Palin Working Media In Arizona


(Cross-posted from www.MediaInAZ.blogspot.com)


Not sure if Bristol Palin is going to work drivetime radio in Phoenix. But, this Tweet from KOLD (Channel 13) in Tucson leads me to wonder if her mother, Sarah, is already working for Arizona media.

@KOLD_news13
KOLD News 13

AZ lawmakers grabble with transplant coverage cut http://bit.ly/fP2mjd

"Grabble"?!? Turns out that Merriam-Webster and other dictionaries actually do list such a word. However, the definition does not quite fit the story:

1: to search with the hand : grope
2: to lie or fall prone : sprawl
Turns out that Channel 13 probably did not come up with "grabble" on their own. Given that other outlets utilizing the AP story also are using it. Perhaps one of our AP Phoenix bureau friends wrote the headline.

I suppose that the word the Tweeter and/or headline writer is groping for is "grapple". But, hey, as Ms. Palin has shown, combo words can be much more entertaining.





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UPDATE: Rep. Giffords' Husband To Speak Tomorrow At National Prayer Breakfast

After my last post, I went to my e-mail to ask Rep. Giffords' office about whether there would be any updates on the Congresswoman's progress, and found that Capt. Kelly will be speaking tomorrow morning at the National Prayer Breakfast.  It will be broadcast on C-Span, starting at 5:30a.m. (Arizona Time).  Kelly will deliver the closing prayer, so we might not get many details on Giffords' progress;  however, I will hope that a reporter (or five) will be able to speak with him before or after.

The news release from Giffords' office is after the jump.

Rep. Giffords' Husband Says Tuesday Was "Huge Day" For Her, With "Lots of Progress"

Mark Kelly, space shuttle commander and husband of the recovering Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8), tweeted last night for the first time in several days:

"Today was a huge day for GG. Lots of progress!"
GREAT NEWS!  However, very curious to know why it was huge and what kind of progress.  However, as others have noted, there have been no new briefings.  Hopefully, we'll learn soon.


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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Only Three of Arizona's Congressional Delegation Co-Sponsoring "No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act"

This anti-abortion measure, which is getting widespread attention because it seems to force private insurance plans to not fund abortions and because it adds a "forcible" qualifier to an exception for pregnancies that are the result of rape, introduced into the House two weeks ago by New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith has attracted 173 co-sponsors, but only three of Arizona's eight Representatives have signed on.

None of the Arizona Democrats co-sponsored H.R. 3, and only three of the five Arizona Republicans did.  Reps. Jeff Flake (R-CD6), Trent Franks (R-CD2) and Paul Gosar (R-CD1) are all listed as co-sponsoring the legislation.  Republican Reps. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) and David Schweikert (R-CD5) apparently decided to pass.

Here is the text of the 2-page bill.


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