Voter Suppression in Arizona?

Really? The Arizona GOP files suit in court tomorrow to stop the continued counting of early ballots dropped off at polling places on Election Day.

I don’t trust their motivation. Is any unconstitutional or corrupt  practice now acceptable in our present political climate?

On Election Day I worked as an ID Clerk at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church. Many people had to vote provisional ballots.

Why? In the official register if a name had an E next to it, that individual requested an early ballot to vote by mail.  Yes, many of these voters toss the early ballot, lose it, or their dog ate it, and they don’t understand that you can’t vote in person on Election Day if you asked for an early ballot.

I was surprised by the number of voters who said they didn’t ask for an early ballot or that they asked for one and never received it, thus the need for them to vote provisionally.

It seemed that a good portion of the above individuals were first-time young voters or those with Hispanic names.

A conspiracy theory? I’m not a fan. I like evidence.

Every voter who stopped at our desk — around 250 — for an ID check was polite, and grateful to vote whatever way they could. I’m guessing that at least 150 provisional ballots and early ballots were amassed at our polling station alone.

Something felt wrong. I mentioned the seemingly high number of provisional ballots to my co-workers, who agreed there was something wrong with data entry at the Recorder’s Office or at the Elections Department.

By the end of the day, we started telling voters to call the Recorder’s Office after the election to question their voting status.

I fear voter suppression in Arizona. (Click here to read NBC News link.)

At the very least, there’s too much confusion on Election Day.

How do early ballot voters know their votes have been counted? I’ve gone online to the Recorder’s Office website at least five times since mailing my ballot the day after I received it in early October.

My ballot is in batch E2 on Oct. 19, ready to be counted. Was it counted? I don’t know.

I do know, — according to today’s front-page article in the Arizona Daily Star (Nov. 8) –Sinema is ahead by around 8,000 votes in Maricopa County and by 37,000 votes out of 302,000 cast in Pima County.

McSally leads the AZ U.S. Senate vote by less than one percent of the votes already counted.

There are around 600,000 provisional and early ballots that have yet to be counted.

Maricopa and Pima Counties are the two with the most uncounted ballots.

So, why is the GOP going to court tomorrow?

 

 

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Posted in Bopping Around Tucson, Fight wimpiness, Politics, The Rest of the World | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Saturday morning in our hood; Tuesday morning at the polls

Strolling to Reid Park for the Firefighters Chili Cook-off Saturday morning, you wouldn’t know that demagoguery is at play across the land.

Sampling tiny cups of chili I wonder which of the all-male chefs might agree with my progressive politics. My favorite was Space Force chili, concocted with bacon and brisket, melded sweetly and spicily with a smoky flavor. All of the concocters were nice, polite.

How could any of them be right-wing white nationalists?

We walk home along the Treat Walkway. A woman with a swinging dark ponytail approaches us, asking, “Want to buy some liquor? I’ve got everything here in my bag.”

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“We don’t drink,” I sort of lie.

“Well you should,” she retorts. I’ve got rum, tequila, and gin.” She shows us three bottles, not taking no for an answer. Following the midterms, I’ll start drinking more? I hope not.

We head to our favorite Little Free Library, checking for throwaway mysteries. It’s such a nice neighborhood. Three residents just finished offering a recycling workshop. One man thanks us for checking out their little library.

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Poetry mailbox on the Treat Walkway. Take one. Leave one. Community sharing!

Our next destination is Barrio Bread. Do I smell the yummy baking aroma as we turn the corner? There’s always a line to pick up bread — whatever traditional baker Don Guerra’s artisan loaves are that day,  including apricot-cranberry, olive focaccia, or multi-seed (my favorite). Happy customers leave with bags clutched close, like a football or a baby.

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Everyone smiles, as they leave, regardless of where they line up in Arizona’s voting array, one-third each Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. Senate races in Arizona and Nevada are crucial wins if Dems are to flip the U.S. Senate.

Today is Monday. I’ll get up at 4:30 a.m. tomorrow, take a quick shower, pack the car with my knitting, reading, pot-luck fruit salad for poll-working fifteen hours at St. Mark’s Church. I’ll be the ID Clerk, greeting voters of all parties, checking their registrations.

Today I bite my nails. I’m agitated.

Tomorrow I’ll be guessing by how much Democratic voters outweigh Republicans. At the August primary it was 3-to-1. Let’s hope our precinct goes wild for democracy.

This morning on the radio I heard Trump rail at one of his out-of-control campaign rallies,  something akin to: “If the Democrats win your children won’t have a country anymore!”

Projection? Let’s stop him. Tomorrow.  Vote Democratic! Vote for women, minorities, and young candidates who speak truth to power!

Posted in Bopping Around Tucson, Fight wimpiness, For Love of History, Out West, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I am leaving, I am leaving but the fighter still remains…”

So sang Joan Baez last night at the Tucson leg of her one-year farewell tour.

We need dynamic social justice fighters. And Joan Baez? Who has been more of a stellar role model spanning her fifty-year career?

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Joan Baez with Craig Sumberg, executive director of the Fox Tucson Theatre

“It’s been a splendid evening,” she said, waving to the audience following nearly two hours of gorgeous singing, which showed the dynamic range of her one-and-only voice, matched to exquisite guitar strumming.

If it was splendid for her, I deemed it the most perfect concert ever. Lightning struck as I understood each  articulated word.

Wow. I couldn’t remember the last time I didn’t ask, “What, what did she say?”

Which makes me think: not only about garbled words, the illegitimacy of facts referred to as “fake media,” and the parade of lies streaming from our president’s mouth.

Tomorrow he’s headed to Pittsburgh, scene of the horrifying massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Oct. 27. Some Jewish leaders say he’s not welcome unless he denounces his fellow white nationalists. That won’t happen.

Instead, he’ll read a lovely speech from a teleprompter, attempting to sound like a compassionate human being. Within minutes he’ll hop back onto his tweeting hobby horse.

Consider this: Trump has tweeted that the “caravan” of poor Latin American refugees are planning “an invasion of our country,” similar to the Pittsburgh murderer who accused Jews of “bringing in invaders who were killing his people.”

Last night, Joan Baez sang “The President Sang Amazing Grace,” Barrack Obama’s response to Charleston’s horrific massacre in a place of worship.

Can anyone imagine our current president expending such compassion or caring about anyone other than himself?

I’ll bet many Pittsburgh Jewish community members would prefer listening to the soothing, magnificent voice of Joan Baez tomorrow.

Not the fake empathy of a fake president.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fight wimpiness, For Love of History, Journalism/Writing, Politics, The Rest of the World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s now or never…

IMG_1550The seventies are different from the sixties. Stiffer, slower movements in my body and brain. Words fly by avoiding recognition. Synapses disregard memories.

Seventy-two years old? How did I get here? My grown-up kids would say I never acted my age.

I cling to other people’s surprise when they discover how old I am.

If someone tells me “You don’t look it!” my day brightens.

Yet, being fifteen pounds overweight bewilders me.

“Oh, if only I could lose ten pounds,” I used to say. Not anymore. I’m healthy. I don’t overeat.  If I eat a cookie I gain a pound. My stomach sticks out despite three weekly Pilates classes. Estrogen, long gone.

So I’ve made a few decisions.

Decision One: I’m not going to Weight Watchers or going on a diet. I’m not avoiding a chocolate chip cookie following dinner at Rocco’s. Hell, we walk home. Shouldn’t that count for something?

Decision Two: I’m front-loading travel during the next few years. Isn’t it clear that I won’t want to take twenty-hour flights around the world when my legs stiffen up more?

Decision Three: I’ll travel to Southern France, Tuscany, San Miguel Allende, and Mount Desert Island, Maine, in 2019 — in addition to Minneapolis and Chapel Hill. Perhaps I’ll drive home from Thanksgiving with Dan, stopping in hip Greenville and at the new Legacy Museum in Montgomery, seeing artsy Marfa, meandering to Big Bend National Park.

Realization: I was a kid in my sixties scurrying over rocks in Sabino Canyon or on Mt. Desert Island. My body didn’t harbor aches and pains. Like clockwork they arrived at age seventy: arthritis in my right thumb, precipitating my first physical therapy sessions; the need to stretch my feet before getting out of bed so I wouldn’t hobble to the bathroom; three cancer scares (breast, leg, jaw), which luckily all turned out benign. PHEW.

It’s a good sign that I find learning thrilling. Watching my two book group friends jazzing it up last night at Hacienda del Sol reminded me how I’m itching to dance more.

I’m not done. Contentment drops by often. No rushing around, less stress about work and kids, no guilt consuming two pieces of dark chocolate every morning.

Posted in Baby Boomers, kinky eardrums, Neuroscience needs me | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Truth Rejected: What Susan Collins omits

Sen. Susan Collins is a right-wing Republican tool, not a moderate. Her Oct. 5 Senate speech, which explained her “Yes” vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, reveals truth rejected rather than reasoned support of the nominee’s judicial judgement. 

I’ve lived in Tucson for 16 years, although I still consider myself a Mainer. Senator Susan Collins spoke at Mt. Desert Island High School in the 1990s, when I taught social studies there. She was nice enough. Smart enough, or authentic enough? I didn’t think so.

I liked former Senator Olympia Snowe better. She visited our island high school, too.

Following her retirement from the Senate in 2013, Snowe spoke at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law in Tucson.

We chatted a bit after her talk. Snowe recalled a conversation she and I had at a small cocktail party in Maine, when I  commended her for her civilized treatment of then President Bill Clinton, who was acquitted at his Senate impeachment trial.

“The public has no idea of how far the right-wing fanatics wanted to go,” Snowe told me at that long-ago party. “It was obscene.”

Susan Collins condoned her support of Kavanaugh in our most recent over-the-top politicized debacle.

Read the Oct. 5 Collins speech to her Senate colleagues. Crafted by staff members to explain decision-making based on previous Supreme Court cases, did it serve as her attempt to convince us that Judge Kavanaugh wouldn’t upend legal precedent to reverse Roe v. Wade, or other decided established law?

“The confirmation process has become so dysfunctional that it looks more like a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign than a solemn occasion,” said Collins, voicing her concern about the politicization of the high court during the last 30 years.

She’s usually “concerned,” then votes the opposite of the issues she’s concerned about.

Susan Collins neglected to mention the most egregious issues politicizing the Supreme Court in my lifetime: the controversial Bush v. Gore decision that handed the presidency to George W. Bush – by a 5-4 vote along party lines – following the 2000 election in which former Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote by a half-million votes, and the total disregard by Republicans of Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama, with 10 months remaining in the least scandal-ridden presidency in our history.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to consider Garland’s nomination, the complete opposite of his rush to judgement to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.

Susan Collins neglected the Merrick Garland travesty. In her speech, Collins only pointed out that Garland and Kavanaugh agreed on many cases while sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals together.

Susan Collins neglected to mention that the American Bar Association expressed concerns during Kavanaugh’s 2006 confirmation hearing for the DC circuit court, his first appointment to the judiciary.

At that hearing, Senator Ted Kennedy referred to Kavanaugh as “a political operative,” who worked closely with Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s political fixer. Senator Patrick Leahy couldn’t get a straight answer from Kavanaugh, demanding that he “stop playing games.”

Collins did mention President Bill Clinton’s nomination of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993, confirmed by a Senate vote of 96-3, while Clinton was embroiled in the Whitewater investigation.

Collins neglected to mention that Donald Trump is currently under investigation to determine if foreign influence secured his presidency.

Remember when Collins became the 51st Republican to vote for the January tax bill?McConnell promised that her measure to lower the cost of “Obamacare” premiums would someday become law. She was duped then. She’s been duped now.

I agree with Senator Collins that we should never abandon our long-held adage of “innocent till proven guilty.” Perhaps that is why there should have been a thorough FBI investigation, which included more witnesses in the Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Judge Kavanaugh.

Collins neglected to blame the Clintons for Kavanaugh’s disruptive confirmation process. Instead she blamed “special interest groups,” without naming names.

Despite Kavanaugh’s outrageously partisan declaration that his confirmation process represented “revenge for the Clintons,” Collins somehow imagines that he “will work to lesson the divisions in the Supreme Court so that we have fewer 5-4 decisions.”

Wasn’t his temperament that sounded like a political operative, not a judge on the highest court in the land, enough to disqualify him?

Susan Collins “stands for nothing,” which Mainers won’t forget during her upcoming 2020 reelection campaign. They have already raised nearly $2 million to support her Democratic opponent, whoever that may be.

Who knows? Perhaps in 2020 she will apologize in a memoir written from Presque Isle, Maine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fight wimpiness, For Love of History, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Susan Collins, hurry next door for a chat with Patrick Leahy…

Vermont’s two longtime senators, in my view, are the best of the lot. Patrick Leahy exudes integrity. Bernie Sanders is, well, Bernie, a man of the people, a true believer, a good socialist.

It was 1974 when I taught American Politics at Hartford High School in White River Jct., Vermont, when Patrick Leahy first ran for the U.S. Senate.

My students and I counted the Senate ballots on election night. We guessed early on that Leahy had won, the first Democratic senator ever elected from Vermont, now the longest-serving U.S. senator.

Leahy is not a grandstander. He’s a true Vermonter. His word is sacrosanct.

All those years prior to the rise of Rudi Giuliani with his make-believe lawyer shenanigans, when contracts were often sealed by a handshake in New England towns,  Leahy learned integrity.

If he says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath, you can take it to the bank.

Susan Collins is mixed up. Staying in the Senate may be sacrosanct to her, but at what cost?

Mainers are tired of her concern, her reservations. Oh she voted against tearing down the Affordable Care Act, only when it became the safe maneuver within her party.

Sen. Collins: We’ve got the picture. You’re wobbling on the fence prior to the Kavanaugh vote.

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Susan Collins, you’re about to land on your ass. Save yourself. Rush next door to your Vermont neighbor’s office. Now.

 

 

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Go Vote…like your life depends on it!

Sitting at the Red Garter bar alone on a Friday night, a perky young blond woman sips on her watered-down drink.

I’m considering aloud which beer to order.

Would I like the light, citrusy Barrio Brewery beer on tap?

“Oh, that’s a good one,” she chimes in, which leads to more chatting.

“I don’t vote,” she tells me. “My husband knows all about that government stuff. I don’t.”

“It’s not a big deal,” I assure her. “You’re a nurse. You’ve got a brain.”

On education, she’s clearly frustrated by the size of her six-year-old son’s first-grade classroom. “Thirty-two kids in first grade is too much,” she repeats at least three times.

“See, you know how to vote. Who’s going to do something for education, for your son? Arizona ranks last in per-pupil spending behind Mississippi and Alabama,” I say.

“Really?” She seems distressed for her dishonored home state.

“Garcia, the Democratic candidate, is a former teacher,” I tell her.  “This governor hasn’t done a thing for education. In fact, he mysteriously disappears funds allotted for it.”

“Oh, he was a teacher,” she says, encouragingly.

Perhaps she’ll end up voting for the first time, a professional woman in her thirties. Imagining that her husband is on the other side, that she’s afraid to speak up in opposition, I feel sorry for her.

So this is what we’re up against: nonvoters. But The Pew Research Center reports that primary voting is up, especially for Democrats.

Here’s what we can do: chat more about the importance of the 2018 midterm elections – at bars, schools, dentist offices, or waiting in line  to check out at Trader Joe’s.

Will it be more effective than anonymously knocking on strangers’ doors, which I’ve done in the past? I don’t know. It’s worth a try. Let’s go surfing for a Giant Blue Tsunami on Nov. 6!   0901go vote

Posted in Bopping Around Tucson, Politics, The inconvenient truth about education | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments