Monday, March 19, 2012

Barber to Run in Congressional District 2

Democrat Ron Barber has an uncontested shot at the nomination to be the Democrats’ candidate to fill out Gabrielle Giffords’ Congressional District 8 term. He is, for this election at least, unopposed. Hence, liberal-leaning independents have the opportunity to influence the election by voting in the Republican primary.
This strategy is not an unheard of was reported the other day that even Mitt Romney has done it. In states with closed primaries, where  independents can’t vote in the party primaries, you must temporarily change your registration to do this.
In Arizona an Independent may vote as he or she chooses. So if you want to help Barber in the general election you might choose  
the Republican you judge his weakest possible opponent. (Jim Kelly, Frank Antenori, Dave Sitton, or Martha McSally)
Independent voting is a two-edged sword of course. Republican- leaning Independents may vote for the Republican candidate they judge strongest against the Democrat in the general election.
Now that Barber has announced that he will run for the full Congressional term in the new District 2, as well as running to complete Giffords’ term, voting decisions for both Democrats and Republicans become more complicated.
Beginning with Barber, his decision to run again in November imposes on him  a series of contests in which he will not get anything like a free pass. 
The current run for the District 8 congressional seat will surely be more hotly contested by the Republicans, regardless of which Republican wins the primary. They will not wish to risk ceding the power of incumbency to the Democrats in the November election.
If he loses the District 8 race it is an open question whether he would choose to run for the district 2 seat against the new incumbent congressman who had just defeated him.
If Barber wins, he will most likely have a contested primary for the District 2 seat against a slate of Democrats who chose to honor both him and  Gabrielle by passing on the District 8 race.
The primary opposition could be serious. Three Arizona legislators have thrown their hats in the ring. Paula Aboud, Steve Farley and Matt Heinz have sound legislative backgrounds and solid name recognition.
Just in the wings is Stanford Law School graduate Nan Stockholm Walden who is widely believed to be favored by early Giffords supporters. 
Until Barber announced today this was the Democratic candidate slate.
Who knows what it will be tomorrow...but now the fun begins.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Teach The Bible in High-School? Maybe Not

The Data Port returned to find that the Arizona House has voted to allow high-schools to offer an elective course on “The Bible and Its Influence On Western Culture.”
On the face of it I have no great objection to this. The religious mythology of Christians and Jews has certainly informed the art, literature and law of the West. Every educated person should have some knowledge of it, just as they should have some knowledge of Greek mythology and Homer...the other great western religious mythology.
It is also important to understand the Bible as a book, since the Bible is not, in fact, a single book but a whole library of books, the parts of which had different authors and entered the canon at different times.
But there is a difference between teaching the Bible as a profoundly significant part of world literature, and teaching religion. Bringing
the skills of historical  criticism and analysis to a study of the Bible harms neither personal faith nor the work itself. Teaching it as a single great literal religious truth might actually discourage a real understanding of its spiritual message.
I favor the former approach but greatly fear the latter.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The 3.8% Solution...Debunking a Conservative Meme
Conservative bloggers are devoted to winkling out shocking ‘facts’ that discredit the President or his administration. Well, who can blame’s hell to lose an election and the Republicans seem hellbent on doing it again.
I have no objection to criticizing the President; done it myself, loads of times. Conservatives have the same privilege, but they are under a reasonable obligation to get their facts right.
An e-mail is being widely circulated that says something like the following: "Due to Obamacare, did you know that if you sell your house after 2012 you will pay a 3.8% sales tax on it?  That's $3,800 on a $100,000 home, etc.” 
If left at that you’d think that Mr. and Mrs. Working  Stiff were going to be taxed 3.8% on the sale of their modest subdivision home. I’d be shocked, too...except it isn’t true.
There will be some taxing going on, but it will not be a sales tax on all home sales. Like all tax legislation this is complex. Here’s how Rob Chrisman, writing at Mortgage News Daily explains it :

Congress did approve, however, and the president did sign, a bill authorizing a 3.8% tax on the capital gains (unearned income) on real estate transactions over the existing $500,000 exemption for married couples ($250,000 for singles). Couples have to make more than $250,000 in adjusted gross income for the tax to apply to them (singles more than $200,000). And it isn't very common these days to find married couples making more than $250,000 a year, who then also made more than $500,000 in profits on their house sale.
See also:

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

L'affaire Babeu

The Data Port returns to the fray after a long absence. Political blogging is made hard by a number of factors, not the least of which is that there are so many political bloggers... and the rascals are so quick.
By the time a thoughtful commentator has marshaled his wits to make the necessary trenchant comment four other folks in the blogosphere have already done so, and their views have been demolished by equally perceptive critiques by their opponents. 
Oh, well.
I recently shamelessly eavesdropped on a vigorous  conversation going on at an adjoining lunch table. It was about L’affaire Babeu, and the Sheriff’s recent outing by an alleged former lover. The speaker loudly affirmed that he would never pull the lever for that man again.
I found that very odd. He must have once approved of the Sheriff enough to vote for him. Liked his aggressive immigration policies; favored his pursuit of grants to improve equipment; found no fault with the management of his department, and so on.
It’s pretty hard to believe that while he was in the closet his deputies didn’t at least suspect,  but apparently Babeau was on efficient, workmanlike terms with his staff and the policing of Pinal County went forward to everyone’s satisfaction.
And he did all this while he was gay? How’d he do that?
The real loser in all this is my involuntary lunch companion, who has now rejected the man he once would have, I imagine, supported for Congress. Good Grief!    
Here’s a link to Babeau’s web site. <click>