Senator, You Are No Five Syllable Henry.

I was going to write a snarky piece which said that Senator John McCain’s takedown of Ted Cruz, while effective, was nowhere nearly as awesome as what his predecessor, Senator Henry Fountain Ashurst, did to Huey Long in 1935, but my brother beat me to it in the Tucson Sentinel.

Ashurst, a Shakespeare-quoting cowboy turned lawyer, was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives in 1897 where he became Speaker at the age of 23, the youngest legislative leader in Arizona’s history. There, the Coconino County Democrat was credited with the legislation that created the normal school that eventually became Northern Arizona University.

Upon statehood, Ashurst was one of Arizona’s two new United States Senators. While never known as a particularly effective legislator, his unparalleled skill as an orator made him well loved in the halls of Congress and the ideal man to put the self-aggrandizing Senator from Louisiana in his place.

As I said, go check out Ted’s piece in the Sentinel.

In Defeat, Antenori Gives Up And Becomes A Hippie

As reported earlier this week in Blog for Arizona, an effort co-chaired by Frank Antenori to force Arizona’s Medicare expansion on the ballot seems to be short of signatures and will not be moving forward. This is the latest in a series of defeats for the former State Senator and would seem to seal his status as The Most Overrated Political Figure in Baja Arizona.

As we would expect from his past behavior, Citizen Antenori has not taken this most recent reverse very well. He seems to have drifted into a self-reflective funk, the kind that makes one question his entire life and beliefs. It has driven him to take a radical step. According to recently filed campaign finance documents, Antenori is now a resident of the City of Tucson.

Yes, you read that right. The World’s Angriest Man has joined a community which he has broadly derided as full of “hippies” and welfare cheats. He must have suffered a great trauma to have drifted to the camp of his most hated enemies.

To Antenori, I say that ours is a very tolerant community, and that we as Tucsonans welcome you to the Old Pueblo. Feel free to join our yoga classes and drum circles any time. Make sure that you say hello next time that you see me at the co-op.

In Other News, Ioan Gruffudd Will Play Cesar Chavez in an Upcoming Biopic

I have complained about this topic before.

Back in 1967, an episode of Star Trek featured as its villain, a genetically engineered superman named Kahn. The creative team took the unusual step of imagining this character as a Sikh rather than the usual stereotypical Aryan Übermensch. Then, in what was in its time a strangely courageous move, cast an ethnic actor, the late Ricardo Montalbán in the part. Fifteen years later, Montalbán reprised his role in the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. His iconic performance as the superhuman and strangely sympathetic mastermind assurred that the character would be remembered as one of the greatest movie villains of all time.

Decades later, in the supposedly post-racial era of an African-American President, Kahn makes a re-appearance, this time played by Benedict Cumberbatch, an English actor so WASPish that his very name drips with Rugby School and cricket bats. It is as if, after all this time, there are still too many in Hollywood who cannot accept the idea of a genetically superior man being played by anything other than a white actor of Northern European extraction. Even if this is the not the case, it still begs the question of whether or not we have really made any progress after all these years.

ADI Swipes Story and Still Gets It Wrong

To quote Truman Capote: “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

There is talk among the happy bunch over at Blog for Arizona that some response has to be made to a recent post at the Arizona Daily Independent regarding the discussion that happened last week after my post making a case for why my friend, Representative Chad Campbell, should not run for Governor.

There is no reason to provide a link to ADI. If you want to find the story, you are free to look for it yourself. I will also resist the temptation to point out all the things that are wrong with their article, except to say that the anonymous scribbler responsible for it outright misrepresents the exchange as some kind of effort by The Man to keep a brother down. He also misspells my name as well as Fred DuVal’s. Otherwise, it has the flaws of a typical ADI story: lousy grammar, poor sourcing, and just plain terrible writing.

The truly lazy part of their story is that it is clear that the writer made no effort to go to the original original blog posts, despite the fact that this is free of charge and it only would have taken a few minutes to do so. The story is obviously based on a single source: The Yellow Sheet Report, a regular gossip sheet which is available from The Arizona Capitol Times only to subscribers willing to pay a premium, or to those of us who still have a lot of friends who are lobbyists or capitol staffers. The story is essentially a re-working of someone else’s work, not original reporting. Some folks might call this plagiarism.

In example, this is what was written in ADI:

Campbell told a Yellow Sheet reporter that DuVal’s supporters have been trying to talk him out of the race for more than a year, and some have suggested that he run for secretary of state or another office instead. Campbell told the Yellow Sheet, “I’m the only potential candidate right now that has won a primary. I’ve won three primaries, in fact. And, in fact, I’m the only [one] who’s ever won an election, at this point, who’s thinking about running for the seat.”

This from The Yellow Sheet:

“With all due respect to Mr. Prezelski, a blog post doesn’t really mean that much to me,” Campbell told our reporter this morning. He said DuVal’s supporters have been trying to talk him out of the race for more than a year, and some have suggested that he run for secretary of state or another office instead. But he said he’s not running for office simply to run for something, and believes he would be the best candidate for governor. He added he’s not afraid of a primary and doesn’t think a contested one would be a bad thing for Dems. “I’m the only potential candidate right now that has won a primary. I’ve won three primaries, in fact. And, in fact, I’m the only [one] who’s ever won an election, at this point, who’s thinking about running for the seat,” Campbell said.

Here are the guidelines for what constitutes “plagiarism” from plagiarism.org, an accepted go-to website on the topic for classroom teachers and others (note: these quotes constitute “Fair Use” per the website’s own guidelines):

  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own
  • to use (another’s production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterward.

They go on to give some examples:

  • turning in someone else’s work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on “fair use” rules)

Perhaps what ADI did does not rise to plagiarism in the legal sense, but it would certainly be rejected by most publications or even most high school teachers. The worst part is that they cribbed the story, and still made so many errors, the sort of mistakes one makes when they really do not care about what they are writing. It was sloppy and incompetent.

It would be easy to simply dismiss the ADI as so clumsy as to be irrelevant, but there are ostensibly responsible people in this town that take it quite seriously. The recent, completely fabricated, Tinkle-gate scandal story involving Councilman Kozachik made its first appearance in ADI before it was repeated on Jon LoGuidice’s radio show and elsewhere shows that the ADI has, unfortunately, been able to insert itself into the public debate. It is pretty clear that the lazy, craven and anonymous trolls behind this site do not deserve even the marginal credibility that they get.

(Note: The folks over at The Yellow Sheet have understandably been very protective of their material in the past. This blogger believes that the use of the attributed quote falls well within accepted fair use guidelines.)

Worth Checking Out

I can’t get to everything, folks. Here are some other things from the intertron worth checking out:

Salon published a great piece on the too-often forgotten Shirley Chisolm, who was the first black woman to run for president. This, as the article points out, makes Chisolm a trailblazer for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But more than that, she was a symbol for what the Democratic Party might have been:

Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman in Congress, and George Wallace, the most notorious segregationist politician of the 20th century, worked together to raise wages for domestic servants, probably the most abused and unregulated sector of the workforce… Was that an unrepeatable one-off event based on a bizarre personal connection, or an example of a cross-racial, North-South, class-based political coalition that might have been?

– You know the frequently discredited claims that Obama and whatever Democrat is available has cut Medicare benefits by 700 some odd billion dolalrs? According to Blog for Arizona, the latest candidate to sell this is Jonathan Paton, who got slapped down on this one by the Arizona Daily Sun. This won’t matter to the next guy that tries to use it.

The ridiculous decision by a Coconino County Superior Court judge to give a slap on the wrist to an off duty DPS officer who sexually assaulted a woman, followed by a lecture given to the victim that amounted to telling her that she asked for it by being in a bar infuriated the living hell out of me. I didn’t write about it, because I knew Donna over at Democratic Diva would do it with the proper helping of outrage.

By the way…who would appoint someone with such a retrograde, puritanical, boys-will-be-boys view of the world?

Backpeddling

The funniest part of Gabrielle Saucedo Mercer’s response to the kerfuffle over her racist comments in an interview she did for a far right website is her assertion that the video was doctored by Raúl Grijalva’s campaign. It’s funny because the video that’s circulating is the one that was posted by the publication that interviewed her.

Along those lines is Ally Miller, who also was interviewed by the Western Free Press. In the video, Miller proclaims her pride at being a Tea Party member. You’d think that that isn’t nearly as inflammatory as GSM’s statement, but according to David Safier over at Blog for Arizona, she’s going back on that one:

Ally Miller went on the Bill Buckmaster Show August 30 and said it was “name calling” and “juvenile behavior” to call her a Tea Party member. She even said people who refer to her membership in the Tea Party are “willing to fabricate just horrible stories and lies about me.”

Remember, she’s the one that termed association with the Tea Party a “horrible story,” not me.

She’s dialing back on, nay running away from, her affiliation with the local Tea Party, whose enthusiasm won her a primary, because she suddenly found out that in a tough general election, she might need to get the votes of people who don’t think the circumstances of Barack Obama’s birth were part of a scheme worthy of a Richard Condon novel.

Geez, if Teismo won’t fly on the Northwest side anymore…

What, No Henry Fountain Ashurst?

I think Steve Muratore over at Arizona Eagletarian may have outgeeked me, if only for a day. His review of the new book, Politics, Labor and the War on Big Business: The Path of Reform in Arizona 1890 – 1920, invokes Nathan Oakes Murphy, Buckey O’Neill and George W. P. Hunt.

Dude, you are dangerously infringing on my territory there.

Anyhow, check out his review, and pick up the book.