Giffords’s Debut Speech

As I wrote earlier, Gabrielle Giffords made her first remarks on the House floor last Friday. She made them during Special Orders on the topic of immigration:

(Ms. GIFFORDS asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)
Ms. GIFFORDS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak for the very first time in this distinguished Chamber representing the Eighth District of Arizona.
Mr. Speaker, we have made some major accomplishments this week, but one area that particularly pertains to my district and to the State of Arizona has not been addressed, and that is the crisis in illegal immigration.
For too long, Congress and Washington have failed to act. We must secure the border now. My district and the State of Arizona have paid a heavy price for this burden. We know it in our schools, our hospitals and our law enforcement agencies.
We must move this year with a sense of urgency to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package that is tough, effective, and practical. We need to increase border security using modern-era technology, radar, drones, electronic surveillance. There must be more Border Patrol agents and more support for those Border Patrol agents.
We also need tough employer sanctions for those employers who are knowingly hiring people illegally, and a guest worker program, so that people can come in and work legally, safely, and return back to their home countries.
Working to pass such measures will be my priority in this 110th Congress, and I look forward to working with Members on both sides of the aisle on this important issue.

As I noted before, the Arizona Democratic Party posted Harry Mitchell’s coming out on YouTube. This one still hasn’t been posted. Come on guys, where is the love for us Bajados?


A quick visit to Randy Camacho’s website and you may notice some changes to his endorsement list.

One thing is that both Raúl Grijalva and Ed Pastor have disappeared from the list. Both had been touted early on as endorsers of Camacho, especially when it looked like the field would be open. Both of them have been at contentious “principals” meetings with the Governor where they voiced their dissatisfaction with some of the proposed staffing decisions of current chair David Waid. Some of these conflicts have been resolved, and that may be why the names have vanished from Camacho’s list.

At the top of Camacho’s list is now the Progressive Democrats of America. Last week, the Maricopa County chapter and “several other progressive organizations” voted to endorse Camacho’s candidacy. The press release doesn’t detail who the other organizations were, and there is no sign on the Sonora Progressives website that they have taken a stand in the race. Even though many of the Sonora Progressives are campaigning for Camacho, their leaders were careful to say that the group had not endorsed, at least as of last week.

I recieved an e-mail from a Camacho supporter about a rumor that Camacho was anti-gay. I had never heard such a thing but they wanted me to know that Camacho had come out against the “Protect Marriage Arizona” amendment and was even quoted in opposition in the Republic. Maybe they thought this was a rumor that would start soon? This campaign has been so low wattage that I really, really doubt it. This person thought that the rumor may have started because his brother Richard (a teacher, like his brother) had a debate on gay marriage in his class room and some of the comments around that incident might be connected to Randy.

As I said, I haven’t heard anyone say such a thing about Randy Camacho. All I hear about him from people is that he’s a tolerant and progressive individual. I have a real hard time believing a rumor like that.

Ma, I Made the Paper…Again!

Yesterday’s Tucson Citizen carried an Anne Denogean column about Sen. Jack Harper’s bill to mandate that candidates for legislature must submit to a drug test upon filing. The column was inspired by my post last week about the bill, and it even quotes my witty and brilliant prose on the subject.

When I make the big time, I will remember all of you, I promise.

I checked out the comments; opinion seemed to be divided on the bill. A couple of them fall back on the conservative cannard that all liberals are drug users. I don’t know where that comes from. When I was growing up, the only people that could afford cocaine were Republicans.


Interesting bit in Roll Call yesterday. Should John McCain win the presidency, or even if he resigns his seat upon nomination, Governor Janet Napolitano would appoint a successor. Unlike in some states, any appointee has to be of the same party as the person they are replacing. This means that Napolitano would have to find a Republican to replace McCain.

The article, which you can’t read without a subscription, names some Republicans friendly to Napolitano who she might choose:

If she chose an appointee from among her Republican supporters as some insiders speculate, it’s possible this individual could be drafted from her cabinet, if not the group of well-known Republicans who endorsed her 2006 re-election bid.

Among them are former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods (R) and Jack Jewett (R), a Tucson businessman and longtime member of the state Board of Regents. Current elected officials who backed Napolitano last year include Flagstaff Mayor Joe Donaldson (R) and Phoenix City Councilman Tom Simplot (R).

If Napolitano turned to her cabinet to replace McCain, she’d have 13 choices, including Bill Bell, director of the state administration department; Susan Gerard, director of the state Health Services Department; Don Butler, director of the state Agriculture Department; Pat Chorpenning, director of the state Veterans’ Services Department; and Gale Garriott, director of the state Revenue Department.

The supposition has always been that Napolitano herself wanted to run for Senate in 2010. To make this happen, she would have to appoint someone who would be willing to step aside in 2010, something appointees have done in other states.

Here is the funny part of the article (besides the soon-to-be-unemployed-under-a-Pullen-chairmanship Garrick Taylor using it as another reason to paint Napolitano as an out of touch extremist. That’s why she won, I guess): the close of the article names possible other candidates should Napolitano not make a go of it:

If she doesn’t run, Democratic Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Raúl Grijalva, and state Attorney General Terry Goddard (D) could be candidates.

My God, Gabby just got there! Give the gal a break. For some reason, Ed Pastor isn’t mentioned. With all due respect to Giffords and Grijalva, the direction of politics and demographics here doesn’t bode too well for a candidate from Tucson, but nice to see our folks mentioned. Actually, all three of these pols are Tucson born.

My Last Entry on the State Chair Races? Naw.

Saturday I, and I’m assuming other members of the State Committee, recieved my first communication from David Waid. It was a letter detailing his accomplishments as chair including an impressive fundraising effort (four times as much as the Republican Party) and an increase in vote by mail applications by 30%.

I was suprised to get a call last night from a Waid supporter, they are not taking this race lightly.

I haven’t heard much from Randy Camacho supporters since the Pima County convention. Perhaps they believe that they have enough votes from out of groups like the Sonora Progressives (who have not officially endorsed, but many of their members are Camacho fans), but a little reaching out beyond this base will probably be necessary.

There is dissatisfaction out there from long time party activists, even those that don’t identify with leftish part of the party, with Waid and some of his staffing decisions, these folks don’t seem to be ready to jump yet. I don’t think they will without a bit more convincing from Camacho supporters.

On the other side: the Republicans are partying like it’s 1999.

Anyone remember the 1999 Democratic State Chair’s race? Incumbent Mark Fleischer created all sorts of difficulties for some party pooh bahs, so they united in opposition to him. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t agree on a cadidate, and sent letters endorsing all three of Fleischer’s opponents. This bizarre strategy didn’t work for the Whigs in 1836, and it just served to make many activists think Fleischer’s opponents didn’t have their act together. Fleischer won on the first ballot, and fired the executive director who was popular with many of his opponents. Then the cardinals shut off the fundraising spigot.

Nothing quite so strange has gone on with the Republicans yet (we still have a couple of days though), but there has been one parallel: some big time fund raisers have said that if there is a Randy Pullen victory, they will no longer donate to the Republican party. The same threat was made in ’99 in case of a Fleischer win, but I don’t recall it making the papers. As it did on our side in ’99, this sort of strong arming will no doubt turn off some activists.

A lot of talk out on these internets about whether Pullen or Lisa James is the more “pure” Republican. The assumption of many people is that Pullen’s association with the anti-immigrant movement and his friendliness with some conservative activists means he is more conservative. I’d been hearing from some grumblers that Pullen only recently adopted these positions to move up in Republican politics, but I hadn’t actually seen any evidence of this.

Well, over at Politico Mafioso, they have revealed that Pullen’s wife was a donor to WISH List. WISH list stands for “Women in the Senate and House,” and it is a paler, less effective Republican version of EMILY’s list. WISH list, like EMILY’s list, gives to pro-choice women Republican candidates. You’d think with all those wealthy pro-choice Republicans and so few candidates to give to that they’d do better, natch. James’s supporters are trying to get this one out now hoping it will make some of Pullen’s social conservative base jump to their side.

Polling shows that most Arizonans are pro-choice, heaven forbid the Republicans elect a chairman that knows someone that might have at one time another been pro-choice.

One Year Before

This is an excerpt of a speech that Dr. Martin Luther King gave on April 4th, 1967. You can find the full text of the speech here, along with audio.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath —
America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

Mitchell Now As Cool As “Numa Numa” Guy

Rep. Harry Mitchell gave his first speech on the house floor the other day, and it is now posted to YouTube.

Our other newly elected representative also made her debut speech this week, but it hasn’t been posted anywhere that I can find.

The Arizona Democratic Party posted this video (it is the only one posted on their “channel”). I spoke to a staffer to one congressman this week who told me that they are checking to see if house rules will allow them to post videos on their own section on sites such as YouTube. This hasn’t stopped both the presidential campaigns of John Edwards, Wesley Clark and Christopher Dodd from opening up their own channels and posting videos. (Edwards here, Clark here, Dodd here)

Southern Lousiana Congressman Delivers Fouetté to Lieberman

I got some grief from one of my readers after a shot I took at Joe Lieberman. The poster complained that I and other posters were not recognizing the breadth of the Democratic coalition, and seemed to imply that anarchists like me were about to take the whole party down.

Well, this was silly for a couple of reasons: for one thing, it wasn’t that long ago that I was being eviscerated on here for supporting the supposedly more conservative candidate our local congressional primary. The other reason is that I have made it clear on a couple of occasions that my troubles with Lieberman are more stylistic than policy based (although his continuing support of the war when even Sam Brownback wants to throw in the towel is mystifying, at best), and I have worked to get many moderate and conservative Democrats elected and written positive things about them here.

As I said, my problems with Lieberman have more to do with his style and methods. He seems so anxious now to show himself as a “bipartisan maverick” that he has subsummed issues that once made him at least tolerable to Democrats of all stripes.

For example: many Democrats were anxious to have congressional hearings into the administration’s and FEMA’s handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Lieberman, as chairman of the Homeland Security committee, would call and head up those hearings. No dice, said the senator to Newsweek.

There are so many good reasons for a Democrat, or anyone else for that matter, to give a darn about what happened and look into the failures of the federal government after Katrina. But no, our man is more concerned about his friendship with the President. By the way, he did promise to hold hearings and subpoena documents before the election.

Now, it would be easy to condemn what I’m saying as some carping lefty who is complaining again about the poor, put upon Joe Lieberman. Another person taking issue with the lack of the hearings is Charlie Melancon, who is quoted on Talking Points Memo being diplomatic but displeased with Lieberman’s decision. Wanna know how much of a McGovernik Melancon is? Melancon is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. I did a check of Thomas and the first bill of his that came up was a sense of congress resolution advocating the public display of the Ten Commandments.

Talking Points Memo has been contacting Gulf Coast Democrats, who are largely Blue Dogs, for their reactions. I imagine that we’ll find that these relatively conservative members are unhappy with Lieberman as well.

The No Beckham Zone

I’ve had a couple of people ask me, “Hey, you’re a soccer fan, why haven’t you said anything about David Beckham on your blog?”

Well, the fact is, I have. I have two posts on Beckham playing for the Galaxy (a team I dislike that will now be even more fun to root against) over on my other blog. I try to keep this blog to politics and occasionally religion. Over at the Polish-Mexican page, I can talk about soccer, music, roller derby and what ever else I want to complain about.