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Archive for the ‘Society & Politics’ Category

The cool thing about citizen journalism is you get to talk to really neat people.
I talked to Randy Parraz, who led the Pearce recall effort, back in June. His voice was a little raspy after talking to thousands of voters, and the day after turning in the petitions he sounded a little tired, but took time to talk to me bright and early and explain how this turnaround came about.

So this was a big day for Arizona?

read more at Tucson Politics and Government

I didn’t even know there is a strong effort out to recall Russell Pearce, the Arizona State Senator who has perhaps done the most harm to Arizona and to Tucson.

** Update – There were actually TWO efforts to recall pearce, and the first one posted, Arizonans for Better Government, is now focused on finding a decent Mormon Republican to replace him.

The second effort, Citizens for a Better Arizona, is about to reach its signature quota, see – Arizonans for Better Govt is asking people to donate to the Citizens group since they need the money to complete their recall effort.

The deadline is May 31, help energize this campaign!

Citizens for a Better Government also has a facebook page

The Arizonans for Better Government took a smart tactic of having some Mormon leaders run fireside chats to educate Mormon voters about the position of the LDS church, which is actually pretty humane and not at all in line with Pearce’s brand of vitriol.

Some background info:

Quite a bit, according to Jonathan Rothschild, the Democratic candidate apparent. Rothschild, currently a $295/hr attorney, intends to drop out of his law practice and dedicate his 12-hour workdays to ‘doing whatever it takes’ to make Tucson thrive.

We (myself and two of my daughters) interviewed Rothschild from broad strokes to brass tacks. He’s articulate, well-researched, and can think on his feet. My kids also thought he was genuinely decent, and they are pretty tough on fakes.

read the full interview here: What can a Mayor do for Tucson?

Walking through Military Plaza park this afternoon, a small rally was in progress and I had a chance to talk to one of the volunteers for the campaign to Recall Jan Brewer. It seems the campaign was started by a Republican! And when the volunteer was making her calls asking for support, she mentioned this fact. The woman on the other end started laughing – “I’m a republican too, and I can’t stand that woman. I’m going to tell all my republican friends!”

Perhaps there is some hope for the Moderate Middle after all. Moderates of Arizona, unite!

Originally published at

TUSD board member Judy Burns came out strongly last night in opposition to closing any more schools for a year, and instead spending the time to redraw boundaries and work with parents and communities. Adelita Grijalva supported Burns and Hicks voted to at least vote on it; but Stegeman and Cuevas argued that if closure needs to be considered it should be done sooner rather than later. read more

Did Wikileaks trigger events in Tunisia? Not to devalue the efforts of the Tunisian opposition, street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi’s sacrifice or in any way minimize the real problems with the government; just the opposite. But it could be that Wikileaks publishing a ‘truth that everyone knows’, was just the consciousness-raising event that needed to happen to get to critical mass.

I think that Vaclav Havel wrote about this, that publishing something that everyone knows, does change things. It makes it so everyone knows that everyone knows.

There is even a mathematical proof that such an event can trigger a chain reaction. Its a silly old sexist problem, but this is how I was taught it: on an island, there is a tribe where everyone is married, everyone cheats, and no one has ever been is caught; but if anyone is caught the wife will be tied to the Hoorah tree in the middle of the island for the night. One day, the visiting minister, who was the only unmarried person on the island, announces “there is cheating going on” and leaves. Now, since everyone is cheating, everyone already knew this. Yet on an island of N couples, you can prove by induction that N days after the minister leaves every cheater will be caught. (ok, ok, just the could change the story to make it fairer if you like).

Start with the case of two couples, and only one cheating. The man who is not cheating thinks, “well, its not me, so it must be my wife with him”, and right away calls her out. Now if this does not happen that night, the next day both men think – “hm, if he wasn’t cheating, he would have known I was. So he must be cheating too.” So in the case of both couples cheating, both are caught on the second day, and so on.

How much of our behaviour is determined by what we think everyone else is thinking?

Back to reality – here’s hoping we get real democracy in Egypt and across the middle east!

“Citizenship isn’t just the possession of rights and responsibilities; it’s a state of mind.” –Jess Zimbabwe, speaking at the 2010 Open Cities conference.

It’s your city. Have at it.

The Open Cities movement wants citizens to be more engaged with their city government, planning and development. Open information and modern technology promises to make city services more efficient and responsive, while giving city dwellers new avenues to provide feedback and guidance to decision makers. As a grassroots movement no single organization is ‘in charge’, but Code for America has put together some bright folks to tackle urban issues. Andrew Greenhill, chief of staff for mayor Walkup, is on the board of Code for America and had been wanting to do some projects here in Tucson, to open up city data and make it more accessible.
read more…how to fix a pothole!

Aung San Suu Kyi was interviewed on a contraband camera

Partial transcript – read below to find what Aung San is asking us to do (transcribed from the video):

[Question about her willingness to talk to a brutal and oppressive regime]

“You have to talk to people if you want ..peaceful change”

“We want to review the position of sanctions, we want to see what the political ..effect is…”

Are you saying sanctions are on the table?

“It depends what the outcome of the dialog is”

“Freedom and democracy are goals which you never give up”

even when her husband was dying of cancer, and the regime refused her a visa
seeing her…she only saw her son now after ten years…

“Tt was lovely to see my son, and I was grateful to see that he was alive and well…many of my colleagues are no longer alive

[mentions Obama calling her his hero]

“I do appreciate his words, but I do have to say if I were the blushing kind I would blush at being called a hero”

What do you want from America?

“We want the people of america to be aware of what is going on in Burma now. Just writing to their members of congress, and they then they must call for an inclusive political process in Burma”

Have you any doubts about nonviolence?

“No not at all, because violent methods may bring about change quicker, but they leave such wounds…”

“I have seen great changes. The people are much more open, much braver shall we say. The number of cell phones…not because of any policies, but because of the IT revolution here and all over Europe”

“I guess there are worse names than a lady…I think I’d like them to see me as a worker”

How do you want to be remembered?

“I want them to remember me as someone who has performed what she should have performed, who has done her duty. And I think there is nothing more satisfactory than the knowledge that you have done your duty.”

Originally published at

I’m doing some work (a very little work) with the AloNovo project, which is basically a site to help consumers find socially responsible companies to shop with. Here’s my first post on taking responsibility as an accidental shareholder in these beasts: We the Corporations

Just finished the old Jack Finney Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (had to read it because of the title, I have a theory about corporations being subject to real-life bodysnatching ;-) . Good read, convincing characters, plot ok – and I love the moral : yeah its hopeless but that’s exactly when you need to fight hardest against the bastards. They just might give up if you hit ‘em hard enough.