About That

Bloggers are, to some extent, a higher class of the trolls we so despise. We want to provoke a reaction. We’d like to be regarded as a thorn in the side of those in power.

This is why the biggest disappointment of the current John Huppenthal controversy is that I seem to have only caught his attention once. I had a state senator who posted anonymously on here for years, and the son of a now-disgraced former state treasurer used to come on here too. Still, the biggest blogging controversy in this state, and I have only a tangential relationship to it.


Three of Huppenthal’s internet aliases have been printed in numerous places. I went through the comments and didn’t find any from Thucky or Thucydides. I found a grand total of one from Falcon9.

Back in 2010, I did a short report about the post-election Arizona State Democratic Party Meeting. The report included Felecia Rotellini’s promise to keep being a watchdog on just-elected Attorney General Tom Horne. This prompted several very long comments from a fella named Jochas defending Horne’s record as Superintendent of Public Instruction. What the guy is saying these days, I’m not sure.

Anyhow, this prompted a comment from Falcon9 that seemed to be somewhat skeptical of Horne’s record:

Arizona’s graduation rate for 2002/2003, the year Horne was elected, was 75.9.

Arizona’s most recent graduation rate, as mentioned above, was 70.7%.

If you are going to make conclusions about Horne’s tenure using this data set, the best that can be said is that he held things steady, no statistically significant change.

However, we need the most recent data, for school year 2010, to make any conclusion.

Yep. That’s it. Not exactly provocative, but interesting that he was less than a cheerleader for Horne.

Three Sonorans published a list of comments made by Huppenthal under the name Falcon9. That one included several IP addresses. Those didn’t lead to anything new from Huppenthal, but I did find a guy at one of those IP addresses calling himself Doug. Doug seems to be a Republican, but he also had good words for Ted Kennedy. I doubt that Doug is Huppenthal, but if it was him, that post alone would probably lead to impeachment proceedings.

By the way, after talking to a few legislators, it seems that Huppenthal wasn’t exactly chummy with his fellow solons back when he was in the lege. This is probably the bigger reason for the lack of the usual wagon circling by the Phoenix civic establishment than the racism and general unhinged nature of his commentary.

Obviously, I didn’t catch the guy’s attention. That means I missed out on gems like this one posted in response to a bit on employer sanctions over at Espresso Pundit:

We have a whole lot fewer caucasians working now that the hispanics have left. But, crime is much lower. No money and no one is stealing it.


What Was Weak Last Week

First off, any of you guys and gals realize that next week both Jan Brewer and Ken Bennett will be out of the state?

Normally I’d be giving a hearty “hip hip hooray” for la Cervecera being out of office, even if it’s temporarily. This time, however, the feeling is tempered by the fact that this means Tom Horne will be acting governor.

Anyhow, what little tidbits did I miss last week:

– Republican consultant Sam Stone and I are starting a new feature in the Tucson Sentinel, a little back and forth called the Sandbox.

That in it of itself isn’t weak, what’s weak is Matt Heinz campaign manager Evan Hutchison taking to the comment section to call the two of us “cowards.” This is apparently for acknowledging what everyone knows: Heinz is scheduled for a loss on Tuesday. Somehow, putting this on a website with our names on it is “cowardice.”

Hutchison also takes a shot at Stone for his exit from Martha McSally’s campaign. This means Hutchison did more research on Stone’s background than he did on Heinz’s before he tried to paint the guy as a progressive leader.

– Surprise surprise: there is more negative campaigning from Ken Cheuvront against Katie Hobbs. Cheuvront’s new tactic is a phone bank telling voters that Hobbs is supported by “special interests.” This is because the groups that have been paying for pro-Cheuvront mailers (The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Association of Realtors and the Home Builders of Central Arizona) aren’t special interests at all, right?

– Remember when I wrote about the silliness of Martin Sepulveda taking an Onion-style article about Linda Lopez seriously? To recap, the photo in the article isn’t Lopez, and the article refers to an Arizona newspaper that doesn’t exist. Well, one reporter who is usually pretty good (so I’ll leave his name out) got wind of it from angry posts at his site, and called a friend of mine to find why Lopez would say such things to reporters. There is no limit to Tea Party outrage over something totally made up.

Catching Up

All sorts of articles and links I have been meaning to comment on have come over the transom over the last few days. What better way to write a Friday morning post than to summarize…a précis, so to speak.

First off, Hispanic Politico had a piece yesterday proclaiming “Tea Party Republican Tom Horne set to retire?” Fun little story, I suppose, but don’t expect to happen any time soon. The story is based on a whackjob e-mail being circulated among tea party activists. The most interesting part of it is, despite the Horne’s crusade against ethnic studies, he’s got tea partiers that aren’t enamored with him.

Also this week, Ann Kirkpatrick’s campaign got a little bit of mileage from Jonathan Paton’s pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He said this in an address to the Navajo Nation Council, and the act includes a reauthorization of the Indain Health Service.

I’d say “oops,” but given how much of the rhetoric against the ACA isn’t actually based on what’s in it (they are still talking “death panels), I don’t think it really matters to him or a lot of these candidates how they would deal with the issues that would come up if the act disappeared.

By the way, Paton still hasn’t risen above “on the radar”, despite being the leading candidate for the Republican nomination in an area that has been represented by Republicans in all but four years of the last two decades.

And finally, color me totally unshocked that Russell Pearce was sending racist e-mails. Cue the responses that there is not a single, solitary person with a racist bone in their body that is in any way involved in the anti-immigration movement. Yeah, it’s Randy Parraz sowing racial division by being all Hispanic and trilling the Rs in his last name.

Yeah, How’d That Work Out?

My chief frustration with Mark Stegeman in this whole ethnic studies mess is his assumption that Tom Horne and John Huppenthal have any incentive to act like reasonable people who can be bargained with.

So, what we have now is this plan for a “multicultural cirriculum.” They’ve put a first rate guy in charge of developing it, but I figure it won’t fly. Heck, it’s got the word “multicultural” in it.

I mean, do we think any cirriculum that includes more Hispanic history than a viewing of Zorro movies will fly?

By the way, that would have to be Guy Williams’s Zorro. Antonio Banderas’s accent brings him dangerously close to chicanismo.

Anyhow, check out what David Safier has written over at Blog for Arizona on the subject. Precis: surprise, surprise, Horne and company don’t want anything but more conflict.

Sometimes, you can be the smartest guy in the room and have a pile of letters after your name and still be horribly naive.

Post Mortem

Monday, Speaker Andy Tobin announced that he isn’t going to run for congress. In his press release he talked about work that he’s left undone.

Yeah, that’s exactly what the rest of us were afraid of.

The budget got signed yesterday has already generated the threat of a lawsuit. It turns out that $50 million dollars were transfered from a fund that the legislature has no control over. The fund was from the settlement of a lawsuit against mortgage lenders, and legislators claim that the money wasn’t really helping struggling homeowners any way.

Of course, they haven’t explained how this fund transfer helps them either, but hey, who cares?

There is a threat of a lawsuit over this. There are two things that are no surprise here. One is that they were warned that there would be problems with this, but they did it anyway. Two is that Tom Horne, who administers the fund, says that he’ll let the lege take the money. Not only that, he’ll fight for their right to do it. He’s looking for another fight that will get him into the headlines. Remember that AG stands for “aspiring governor.”

More than the budget itself, which of course underfunds education, state parks and health care but included a tax cut that could cost the state $108 million per year, another last minute move reflects where their priorities really are. They legislature voted to move forward with yet another tantrum-inspired lawsuit against the Independent Redistricting Commission. The last lawsuit cost $10 million; their cut to KidsCare was $7 million.

Politicians in Trouble that Aren’t Named Daniel Patterson, Part 1

Tom Horne has an interesting defense to charges against him: Felecia Rotellini did it too!

Yeah, I know. Cue the allegation that this is politically motivated because Republican elected officials are the most oppressed group in this country. It’s Jim Crow all over again, I tell you.

Someone else may or may not have done it is an odd defense from someone that is the state’s top law enforcement official.

They have an interesting take on this over at Arizona’s Politics:

But, for Horne to pass the Rotellini allegations along to the media in such fashion without any indication that he has also submitted them to an investigatory agency reflects poorly and sounds like the worst kind of schoolyard defense as to why he and the other boys thought it was okay to throw mud in the girls’ faces during recess.

And in Other News…

Oh what fun, look at the Capitol Times:

Federal authorities are investigating Attorney General Tom Horne over allegations that he illegally collaborated with an independent expenditure committee that spent more than a half-million dollars on negative ads against his Democratic opponent in 2010, the Arizona Capitol Times has learned.

Apparently the whistle blower on this was Don Dybus, who oddly enough was one of the billboard lobbyists I complained about last week.

Oh, by the way: Nathan Sproul involved in something shady? I’m shocked.

And Their Tantrum Continues…

Ya know, I was all ready to write a scathing multi-hundred word bat-guano freak out about la Cervecera and her threats to de facto impeach members of the Independent Redistricting Committee for what the ages will refer to as The Horrible Crime Against Ben Quayle.

And yep, that should be capitalized.

Anyway, I was all ready to write something: a take down of her ridiculous arguments, a scolding of the press for acting as her megaphone, calling out of Republican congressmen who are putting pressure on the legislature to go along with this silliness and maybe even throw in a thing or two about Tom Horne and his latest jihad.

But naw.

Here’s the most important thing to remember: for all of the arguments about “the people” or “corruption” or whatever bovine scatology our state’s Republican leaders and their confederates come up with to make it sound like this is about principle, this whole thing is about no principle any higher than their own long standing privilege. And they are willing to drag our state’s constitution through the dirt to preserve it.

Do I need to say any more than that?

Sauce for the Goose Department

I’ve been wondering for a while when there would finally be some attention paid to Rick Stertz. There have been attacks on IRC chairman Colleen Mathis supposed connections to the Democratic Party that are, at best, tenuous. The press has been more than happy to buy into the partisan attacks on Mathis and the commission process, but have let allegations against Stertz go unaddressed (I’ve been writing about them since before he was appointed). Something else unaddressed: Stertz is a key source of information for Tom Horne’s ongoing jihad against his fellow commissioners Mathis and José Herrera.

With him pulling this sort of monkey wrenching, I wonder if Stertz is as disinterested in the IRC process continuing the way the voters intended as Terri Proud and Andy Tobin are.

Well, that probably ends today. The Arizona Democratic Party has sent a letter to the Attorney General, Pima County Attorney and Maricopa County Attorney, alleging that he:

[W]ithheld information regarding his political affiliations, employer and business disclosure from Mr. Stertz’s spouse and children, tax information, accusations of fraud, and judgments. A sworn statement was submitted to the Commission of Appellate Appointments where the facts where omitted.

Bill Montgomery and Horne will ignore it, and the Star will run an editorial blaming both sides for Stertz’s omissions.

Quick Take

Good to see that Tom Horne is suing to get our state out from under the Voting Rights Act. After all, any objective observer can see that Arizona’s political system is totally free of the stain of racism.