Secrets of the Foreign Devils

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The 2015 Miura International Marathon was unpleasant (due 5C temperatures, cold rain and lack of fitness), but at least I got a comic out of it ...


Black Like Me

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Japan-based writer Baye McNeil recently waged a successful one-man campaign against the (re)appearance of blackface on Japanese television, raising enough hell to persuade Fuji Television to remove the offending segment from its "Music Fair" broadcast.

You've got a long way to go, though, Japan.

In February, conservative former politician Ayako Sono wrote in a newspaper column that although rapidly aging Japan badly needs to import workers, people of different races should live separately. Sono wrote, "Ever since I learned of the situation in South Africa 20 to 30 years ago, I have come to think that living in residential areas divided into whites, Asians and blacks is better."


School's Out Forever!

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Republican leaders and Gov. Doug Ducey agreed to a $9.1 billion budget that would make severe cuts to Arizona's education spending. 

The state is poised to cut $255 million from its K-12 schools budget over the coming two years, and plans to stop funding community colleges in Pima, Pinal, and Maricopa Counties. Universities will be hit by a $104 million cut in fiscal year 2016. 

Ducey said, “We’ve got a budget deal. We’re excited about where we are.”


The New (G.O.P.) Math

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Republican leaders and Gov. Doug Ducey agreed to a $9.1 billion budget that would make severe cuts to Arizona's Medicaid spending, triggering even larger cuts from federal programs that offer matching funds. The state is poised to cut $127 million from its budget over the coming two years, which would mean the loss of another $508 million in funds from the federal government for AHCCCS.


SB 1435

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Another comic for TucsonSentinel.com.

SB 1435, introduced by Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, would require that only meetings where action, such as debating or voting, begins to take place be held in public. She said it’s difficult for members of elected bodies, especially those with three and five members, to talk without the threat of breaking the open meetings law.

“I felt that this would really make for better government because – let’s put it this way, before you have to take legal action, work has to be done and it has to be done by the staff,” Allen said.

Arizona’s open meeting law requires that discussions, deliberations, considerations or consultations involving the majority of members of an elected body be held in public meetings.

David Cuillier, freedom of information chair for the Society of Professional Journalists and director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism, said the bill would “completely gut” Arizona’s open meeting law.

“You can’t have a democracy where the citizens are flying blind,” he said. “This is all about being able to hold our government accountable … We need to know how the sausage is being made.”

Independence Day

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The first voter registration report of 2015 showed that the number of independents in Arizona has increased by 43,085 since this time last yearNon-party affiliated voters make up the largest group of Arizona’s 3.24 million registered voters, about 36 percent, at 1.16 million. Republicans account for 1.11 million voters, followed by more than 933,000 Democrats and 26,000 Libertarians.

Originally published at TucsonSentinel.com.
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