Kyrsten Sinema wins Arizona Senate. Now Dems have 47 seats to GOP's 51.

Kyrsten Sinema, the apparent winner in Arizona's Senate race, is the first Democrat to win that vote for decades. Read the rest

Arizona kills vaccine education program to placate the ignorant

A small coalition of folks who think vaccines are evil have managed to eliminate Arizona's vaccination education program. The parents were afraid their children may be forced learn that vaccines are a good thing.

Via AZ Central:

The state of Arizona has canceled a vaccine education program after receiving complaints from parents who don't immunize their school-age children.

The pilot online course, modeled after programs in Oregon and Michigan, was created in response to the rising number of Arizona schoolchildren skipping school-required immunizations against diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough because of their parents' beliefs.

But some parents, who were worried the optional course was going to become mandatory, complained to the Governor's Regulatory Review Council, which reviews regulations to ensure they are necessary and do not adversely affect the public. The six-member council is appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey, with an ex-officio general counsel.

Members of the council questioned the state health department about the course after receiving the public feedback about it, emails show. The state responded by canceling it.

The complaints that ended the pilot program came from about 120 individuals and families, including 20 parents who said that they don't vaccinate their children, records show.

Read the rest

David Garcia thinks he can become governor of Arizona by campaigning for progressive policies instead of against Republicans

Despite being home to millions of sensible people, including a large bloc of potentially progressive Latinx voters, Arizona keeps elevating billionaire-friendly (and billionaire backed) white supremacist authoritarians to high office. Read the rest

Where to find me at Phoenix Comics Fest this week

I'm heading to Phoenix Comics Fest tomorrow (going straight to the airport from my daughter's elementary school graduation) (!), and I've got a busy schedule so I thought I'd produce a comprehensive list of the places you can find me in Phoenix: Read the rest

Arizona is about to get its first statewide teachers' strike

The contagion is spreading: Arizona is the latest red state where teachers -- backed by immense public sympathy -- are staging first-of-its-kind state walkout, protesting against the very idea of neoliberal austerity, recognizing that with the GOP running their state and their nation, that the problem is Republicanism, not some local phenomenon. Read the rest

Trump radicalized teachers, now Republicans are saying they won't vote for the party anymore

The teachers' rebellion is a global phenomenon, and though it's been brewing for a long time, the public was a lot more skeptical of teachers' demands when they were striking in Democratic strongholds under a Democratic president. Read the rest

Mom rouses sleeping son on Easter morning by tazing him: "Get up! It's Jesus' day!"

Phoenix-area mom Sharron Dobbins felt like her her teenaged son wasn't getting up quickly enough on Easter Sunday, so she tazed him in the leg while shouting "Get up! It's Jesus' day!" Read the rest

Teachers on four continents stage mass strikes

In the USA, there are tens of thousands of teachers in open rebellion, in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, and things are heating up in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa and Colorado. Read the rest

Treasure-hunting diver finds a phone and returns it to its owner

Arizona-based scuba diver Dallas, the guy behind the YouTube channel Man + River, has a fun hobby. He dives with his buddies at local creeks, rivers, and lakes looking for lost treasures, recording these underwater scavenger hunts on his GoPro. He's found all kinds of things, including sunglasses, pocket knives, coins, jewelry, cameras, lots of phones, and even a gun.

In this video from late last year, watch as Dallas unearths an iPhone 6 buried eight inches deep using an underwater metal detector and a metal sand scoop.

The phone was found dry inside an inexpensive waterproof case, so Dallas brought it home and started charging it.

Long story shorter: The phone works, he contacts its owner and returns it to him. Watch!

(Likecool) Read the rest

Arizona may end draconian feminine hygiene rationing for prisoners

Right now, if prisoners use up their 12 allotted pads for the month, they have to work 27 hours to afford a $4 box of tampons. Read the rest

A $3.50 hot dog won a James Beard Award

Daniel Contreras, the owner of El Guero Canelo restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, recently learned that his $3.50 Sonoran hot dog took one of the James Beard Foundation's five 2018 America’s Classics awards this year.

The Sonora, Mexico native confessed to Tucson Weekly that he was unfamiliar with the James Beard Foundation (JBF) and its award prior to winning:

"First of all, like I told everybody else, I didn't even know who they were... I said, 'Well, I don't know who you are.' We miscommunicated because of my English, or I didn't understand exactly what they wanted from us. This is incredible what we have been honored."

The JBF writes that the "honor is given to regional establishments, often family-owned, that are cherished for their quality food, local character, and lasting appeal" and describe the winning dog as such:

The Sonoran hot dog evinces the flow of culinary and cultural influences from the U.S. to Mexico and back. Decades ago, elaborately dressed hot dogs began to appear as novelty imports on the streets of Hermosillo, the Sonoran capital. Today, Tucson is the American epicenter, and Daniel Contreras is the leading hotdoguero. A Sonoran native, Contreras was 33 in 1993 when he opened El Guero Canelo. The original stand is now a destination restaurant, outfitted with picnic tables and serviced by a walk-up order window. Fans converge for bacon-wrapped franks, stuffed into stubby bollilos, smothered with beans, onions, mustard, jalapeño sauce, and a squiggle of mayonnaise. Contreras operates three branches in Tucson, one in Phoenix, and a bakery to supply the split-top buns.

Read the rest

Inmate, denied health care in an Arizona private prison, chews his own fingers off

An unnamed, paralyzed prisoner in one of Corizon Correctional Healthcare's for-profit prisons in Arizona chewed part of his left hand off because Corizon refused to give him the correct medication for his pain. Read the rest

A stunning timelapse of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch flying over Arizona

Last Friday night, my Facebook feed blew up with images of "UFOs." It took a beat before my concerned SoCal friends got the news that the big illuminated streak they saw across the sky was actually Elon Musk's latest rocket launch on its way to space, and not something nefarious.

Shortly after, my brother Andrew texted me in excitement from Arizona, saying that he and his family had caught the rocket launch from Scottsdale. I was surprised to hear that it was visible in Arizona, as I had already learned it was launched from Vandenberg in California.

Then today I came across this gorgeous timelapse video shot by photographer Jesse Watson and I can see what all the fuss was about.

Watson writes:

This particular launch was close to my hometown in Yuma, Arizona, roughly 400 miles away but perfectly viewable for people in Arizona. I’ve one previous rocket launch years ago from White Sands Missile range in the morning time at sunrise and knew with the correct lighting from sunset that this launch had the opportunity to pop in a dramatic fashion.

I scouted four locations that had foregrounds to add depth to the imagery and was uniquely inspiring to my hometown. Location choices were between a favorite local hiking mountain, the Imperial Sand Dunes, or a small hill that resides in the historic downtown area overlooking the city. I ended up choosing the location that overlooked the city, partially because it was the easiest to access with all of my time-lapse gear.

Read the rest

Congressman Trent Franks [R-AZ] resigns amidst accusations that he pressured his female staff to bear his children as surrogate mothers

The "inappropriate behavior" that caused Rep Trent Franks [R-AZ] to resign from Congress wasn't fondling or hugging or pressuring his staffers for sex: it was pressuring his female staffers allow him Franks and his wife to use their uteruses to gestate their children. Read the rest

See you tonight, Scottsdale, AZ! (then San Diego, Portland, Seattle...) (!)

Thanks to everyone who came out to last night's Walkaway tour-stop at Houston's Brazos Books; I'm just arriving at the airport to fly to Phoenix for tonight's event at Scottsdale's Poisoned Pen Books with Brian David Johnson. Read the rest

Mystery hole in Arizona quickly sealed up

A couple days ago, a woman and her son on a walk near their home in Tonopah, Arizona found a very strange and deep concrete-lined hole. A representative from the American Pump and Well Service Repair said it doesn't appear to be a well. Local news 3TV dropped a camera into the hole, and at the bottom, around 30-feet down, the saw "mostly trash, a box and a bucket." The Bureau of Land Management has since filled in the hole. From 3TV:

A BLM spokesperson says the land was owned by the Federal Aviation Administration back in the 1950s. The property was later turned over to the BLM...

The BLM says the FAA still has access to the land as part of a 'right of way' grant, but says the hole has nothing to do with their operations. BLM says it had permission to cover it.

Read the rest

Arizona House of Reps kills bill that would let cops take your home if you planned a protest that turned violent

SB 1142 is a bill introduced last week in the Arizona Senate that would allow the cops to charge participants in demonstrations with racketeering -- and confiscate their assets, including their homes -- if they attended a protest that turned violent, even if they did nothing violent and were not involved in planning any violence. Read the rest

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