Arizona Walks the Immigration Tightrope

Sarah Palin famously said, “I can see Russia from my house!”  Except she didn’t.  That line was uttered by Tina Fey on “Saturday Night Live.”  The impersonation is more memorable than anything Palin uttered (the consequence of satire’s target being a human cartoon).  But those of us in Southern Arizona who live within an hour of the Mexican border can relate to the statement.  While we can’t see Mexico from our houses, we can see the monsoon clouds build in the summer and, when we first see them, they are over Mexico.  We can’t see Mexico, but we have a pretty good idea when it’s raining in Sonora. 

Proximity to our southern neighbor has made Arizona ground-zero in immigration policy.  Senate Bill 1070, derided by some as the “Papers, Please!” bill, led to demonstrations and condemnation and was largely invalidated by the Courts.  The streets of Tucson and Phoenix were jammed with anti-SB 1070 protesters and, while the bill easily passed the Legislature, it was never popular with most Arizonans.  The Arizona – Mexico border has historically been porous, with nationals of Mexico and the U. S. routinely crossing and returning. 


My Cup Runneth Over with Idiocy

The Cup is empty and that emptiness serves as cautionary tale for Donald Trump supporters and the country, a coal mine canary wheezing one final warning:  following the President courts disaster.

Christopher Smith and Jay Warren were two of the three owners of “Cup It Up American Grill,” a fairly successful food and drink establishment in the shadow of the University of Arizona in mid-town Tucson.  For those unfamiliar with Arizona politics, Tucson is a blue island in the political Red Sea of Arizona that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.  The mid-town neighborhood housing the University is the bluest of the blue.  But Chris and Jay are Trumpkins and decided to let the world – and their bright blue market area – know just how they felt about things in what the Arizona Daily Star referred to as “a lengthy, politically charged Facebook post.”  Then, all hell broke loose.



The Frequent Flyer has flown the coop and the restless news cycle has already moved on like a tumbleweed in June.  But, let us pause to commemorate the bum’s rush visited upon former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Thomas Edmunds Price, by breathing in a healthy waft of schadenfreude.  There is a heady aroma from the tailspin of a self-righteous twit spiraling into the granite face of accountability like a bee on a windshield.  If the universe abides justice, there will be more to follow, since the current administration is populated with self-righteous twits.  So many to choose from, where to start?  (“Mr. Sessions and Mr. Mulvaney, table for two!”)


Blood and the Bolero

“I don’t know what will become of this piece. Our brave critics will no doubt charge me with imitating Ravel’s Bolero. Too bad – this is how I hear war.”
                      — Dmitri Shostakovich

Ida Rubenstein strode onto the Paris Opera stage on November 22, 1928, and stepped onto a table.  The set resembled a rustic Spanish tavern and several couples danced below a brass lamp hanging from the ceiling.  They encouraged a female dancer to join them.  A snare drum softly tapped out a modest rat, rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat and Ida Rubenstein began to dance.  “Ida portrayed a voluptuous dancer whose suggestive dance atop a table in a rustic Spanish tavern incites the men to dance with her until they lose further control of their ‘senses,’ and end up in a violent brawl,” wrote J. M. Lacey for Season Ticket in 2010.  The dance “caused a sensation,” he said.  “When the piece ended, Ida’s provocative dance and Ravel’s dynamic music caused a near-riot between the audience and the performers.”  “Ida narrowly escaped injury,” he added.