Tarheeltalker

Meet the Sheriff

The tragic events that took place in Tucson, AZ about two weeks ago have garnered much attention and have generated   a lot of commentary and analysis. Sadly, the event draws our attention, sometimes for good reason and sometimes not. There are an almost innumerable  number of ways to discuss the event and I have pondered just how to do that. I have noticed that at least one media source focused on just one aspect of the tragedy(Sports Illustrated) and I shall attempt to do so as well.

Having said that, it is still exciting to see the great progress made by Rep. Giffords who headed to rehab today. Our prayers go with her as well as for all those adversely affected by the shooting

But the aspect that I want to  focus on is a person who has been quite visible and quite outspoken since the event took place. That is Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. Like most people outside of Arizona and probably law enforcement circles I had never heard of the sheriff until a  few days ago. But now methinks I have heard far too much.

But, first a little background. Sheriff Dupnik was first appointed to his post in 1980, then elected and re-elected six more times. He is a native Texan, aged 75. Although I heard him say that he graduated from the university( presumably Arizona) with a degree in psychology, he actually got his degree from Keeler Institute in Chicago which is probably a fine institution even though he failed to mention it by name.

Until being silenced by the local district attorney’s office a couple of days ago, he has been the “face” of the investigation or maybe the voice would be more accurate term.I haven’y been fortunate to hear or read all of his  statements but some of which I am aware have been real humdingers. Before  elaborating, this makes one wonder about his media experience. It would seem that in a county as large as Pima, there would have been a number of somewhat high-profile cases, requiring his interaction with the media. Admittedly, there were probably none this high-profile. But with someone who has been described as fond of the limelight, how he could he say some of the things he has said.

This statement came on January 8, the day of the shooting when he opined that Arizona was the “mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” Bet the chamber of commerce and tourism people cant wait to use that one. Or, a comment that the Bush-era tax cute and their recent extension (which Obama favored) was some  kind of motivation for violence. In the same interview with  Sari Horowitz on a Washington Post blog he maintained that rush had published his office’s email address, nearly crashing the system. Only problem, Rush didn’t do it. Of course, he had had already blamed Rush by name, before it was learned that the shooter was an apolitical guy.

There are calls for his recall(no pun intended) but I think there are misguided. The voters of Pima County have voted for him 7 times, they surely should get their money’s worth. Makes one wonder how that happened, huh?

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January 22, 2011 Posted by | Culture, Media | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roiling On

And on it goes, rolling, rolling, rolling to borrow from the Rawhide theme song of years gone by. What is it ? For our purposes, it is the continuing controversy or fight or debate ( although there seems to be precious little  in the way of real debate)  or any such word of your choosing about immigration of the illegal variety and the state of Arizona.

There have been untold thousands of words written and opinions expressed. There have been boycotts , threatened boycotts, angry demonstrations, considerable name calling and now federal intervention in the form of  a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department. And now we have a ruling by federal judge  Susan Bolton halting the implementation of significant parts of the law. A big deal, yep! A  comment by Yale immigration law  professor Peter Schuck  to the  New York Times  called her decision  a ” rush to judgment. ” Wonder why? Without knowing  any better I would have guessed that perhaps there was some pressure exerted from somewhere to get  a quick stay from what was perceived as  a favorable source. But I doubt I would have thought that was  the case since federal judges should be somewhat immune to such pressures, right?  Judge Bolton, nominated by Bill Clinton, but recommended by Senator Jon Kyl. has served on the  U S District Court for the District of Arizona since 2000. Bet she never expected to be smack dab in the middle of such controversy. Sorry for the digression. One more statement from Professor Shuck. His opinion is that her quick decision reflects  pressure from the feds ( Justice Department or higher?)  to get this done quickly.

So, where do we stand now and what happens next? Governor Brewer is condidering an appeal and pondering some revisions to the law. Whether the boycotts continue or not or how successful they have been I don’t know. I don’t have the answer to this but I wonder if an individual state has been boycotted before? Thankfully, Commissioner Bud Selig  has had the good sense not to move the 2011 All-Star game.

But  my real question is what are people protesting against or boycotting? Do they know or have many/most just been  agitated or encouraged to yell and scream angry things in front of cameras and photographers without a clear of understanding of what or why? And not for one minute do I buy the opinion that Arizona’s actions go against the truths expressed so eloquently  on the Statue Of  Liberty or violate the great American tradition of immigration.

I have two acquaintances, one whose father immigrated from Italy, legally, making him 1st generation American and another who immigrated from Mexico legally and  earned citizenship. I applaud them and many like them. Those who are illegally and remain here illegally, with no thought towards becoming citizens are not  the historical norm of immigration.

One closing thought which may be a repeat from another post. Find out how the country of Mexico deals with illegal immigrants. ( This is not an issue that will go away nor is it one easily solved. I fervently hope that ther can be a solution, not only for Arizona but for the country as well.)

August 1, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is there any truth in there anywhere?

Jon Kyl is the junior Senator from the state of Arizona and is now serving his third term. Recently he and President Obama had an Oval Office meeting  on immigration, legal and otherwise. It appears that there are different perspectives on the substance of that  sit down.

Senator Kyl  was asked an immigration related question at an event last Friday in Tempe. The question basically asked if Obama was in fact going to challenge the controversial Arizona law. Senator Kyl said this:

                           “…… the problem is, he said ( he being the President) if we secure the border, then you all won’t  have any reason to support  comprehensive immigration reform. In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They don’t want to  secure the border unless and until  it combined with  comprehensive immigration reform.”

That was Sen Kyl’s statement. The White House wasted little time in responding.  Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton plainly said that Kyl lied about what was said at the meeting. Going  still further on Monday, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told ABC’S Jake Tapper that Obama  didn’t say that and Kyl knows it.

So, there you have it, two quite different points of view. The thing I find a bit interesting is that neither White House official actually stated what  Obama did say. They only said what he didn’t say. Confused yet, so am  I. Guess one  must speculate  on what was actually said, huh? Perhaps this tidbit can be  a  guide. Yesterday, I posted about Secretary Clinton’s assertion that a lawsuit was definitely going to be filed against the Arizona law. She said that and then was backed  in what she said. Today we learn from Justice that no decision has been made. To paraphrase Casey Stengel from his time managing the woeful Mets teams  of the early 1960’s, can’t anybody here play this game?

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Here Comes the Suit

The lawsuit that is. And word of it comes from a somewhat unlikely source. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said  just over a  week ago  that the Administration would be suing  the state of Arizona. Her phrase was that the  Justice Department “will be bringing a lawsuit against the act.”

Her comment  has finally been confirmed by an unnamed U. S. official speaking on condition of anonymity. An Administration official commenting on the evil Arizona law does not want his/her name used. You would think it would be an honor to be against this travesty of a law. I’m surprised that Obama spokespersons were not standing in line to confirm this announcement.

It is amusing to me that word first came from someone other than Attorney General Eric Holder or even Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano, the previous governor of Arizona. But especially puzzling that Holder was not involved since he is over the Justice Department. Perhaps he is finally getting around to reading the law.

Got a feeling that Governor Brewer is not all that upset with the announcement of a forthcoming lawsuit. The suit would perhaps be the opportunity for a long needed discussion on immigration reform which is after all under the purview of the federal government. But since this  administration has failed to act on said issue as did the Bush administration, Arizona has made the issue  a priority. Obama  had made such reform a major campaign promise which has obviously not been the case until now.

An article that I read just yesterday made that very claim, using the phrase “highest prioities” when referring to the  overhauling  of  immigration law. Yeah, right.

Oh, one last tidbit. Governor Brewer has met with the President just  about 2 weeks ago, in a session labeled as cordial. Wonder what that means in Washington words. There  was no yelling and screaming and the meeting closed with a don’t call us, we’ll call you?  Brewer actually did invite the President to come to Arizona and see what the situation is like on the front lines of immigration reform. Answer, no commitment for a visit at this time.

June 20, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paging General Zachary Taylor

General Zachary Taylor in uniform.

Image via Wikipedia

I will admit to being somewhat confused. Just a  day or so ago, President Obama  dispatched 1,200 of America’s finest to the U S – Mexican border. Just a guesss, but they  are probably not there for vacation. Several members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat have been urging the President to send troops. Do you think it has something to do with  illegal immigration and the increasing violence on the border ? If I am a Border Patrol officer, I am thrilled about this. But we must temper our enthusiasm by wondering what the rules of engagement are. But still, I am glad to see this action.

But just a few days ago, Obama was side by side with his  bff, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and agreeing with his denunciation of the Arizona immigration law. By the way, Calderon’ s remarks were wildly cheered by Democrats. Now this is the President Calderon who presides over what could charitably be called a rather corrupt government, who has trouble taking care of its own internal security. But Calderon seems to have no difficulty taking potshots at one of our states. Just a reminder, do not forget that Mexico has extraordinarily tough laws against illegal immigration. Just sayinglse you forget.

For a bit of historical perspective, President Polk sent troops to the U S Mexican border way back in  1846  under the command of General Zachary Taylor. Of course, the Mexican War ensued shortly thereafter. Not that we are expecting  nor do we have any wish for such a thing today. But make no mistake, there is some heavy duty stuff going on the border and sending the troops , albeit belatedly, was a good move.

Meanwhile, demonstrations occur  outside a  baseball stadium in Chicago trying to get spring training  in Arizona cancelled. Thank goodness, Commissioner Bud Selig has refused to consider moving the 2011 All Star game from Arizona.  Don’t you wish that  the protestors would take a little closer look at the overall picture.

Can’t resist  an NCIS allusion. Last night was the season finale  and in a turn of events that I expected, Abby’s Mexican government friend did turn out to have connections to the drug cartel. Just did not  expect them to be family connections. Once again, art and life intersect.

May 26, 2010 Posted by | History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Apologetic Administration

Guess I could have said apologetic regime  but maybe  I’ll save that one for another day. The latest  apology should really not be a surprise. Obama himself has done a ” masterful” job at apologizing  all over the world to all sorts of folks for all sorts of things.

For the most recent administration example we can thank  Assistant  Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and  Labor ( what a mouthful of a job title that is)  Michael Posner. For what did he apologize and to whom?  The what is of course, the evil Arizona law which no one  in the Obama Administration has apparently read, even Homeland Secretary Napolitano. But she still would not have signed the law. Try and figure that one out. For the who of the apology, why that noted paragon of human rights, China.

Bill O’Reilly had a couple of great comment about Posner’s apology on his show last night. I really enjoyed his comment that China would probably like to have Posner replace Hilary as Secretary of State. The other comment was  much more troubling and more reality based. He posed the  question as to how China handles  its illegal immigrants. Hint, it isn’t  with a law like Arizona’s nor is it necessarily via deportation.

Arizona Senators McCain and Kyl  took issue with posner’s mea culpa for the United States and  demanded an apology. Isn’t that great, demanding an apology for an apology. Shucks, they may get one. That is one thing the Obama Admnistration is quite good at doing.

While we are on the  subject, wonder what other countries are due an apology? Let us see. Maybe  to Great Britain for winning the Revolutionary War, Germany for WWI & WWII, Russia for buying Alaska ( Obama might like that one) France for the Louisiana Purchase- not paying enough the list goes on and on and on and on.

May 18, 2010 Posted by | International politics, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trashing Arizona

And so it continues. The pros and the cons, the demonstrations ( including uncomprehending children) the boycotts, the threats, the cancelled contracts ( an illegal act in itself) and on it goes.

There has been so much written and said about Arizona’s new law that it is nearly impossible to get a decent perspective on all of it. For now, just a few observations and comments will have to do. But, for  a  change, I’ll offer what I hope will be  the outcome of all the sound and fury. And that is meaningful immigration reform, which is  a purview of the federal government, not Arizona or the growing number of states that are considering similar legislation. The President promised immigration reform his first year in office. It did not happen. I hope for the country as a whole and for border states such as Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California in particular that it occurs. Reform does not mean amnesty or wholesale deportation of 10-12 million people. It means a path to citizenship; tax-paying  American citizenship or some in between legal status. The poem by Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty ” give me your tired, your poor,” etc was not aimed at people who come illegally with no intentions of changing that status.

Just a few observations about things I have read. Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, no matter what one  thinks of her or the law, is not a Nazi. Accusation and signs proclaiming such are stupid, uninformed, or incendiary. Take your pick. The cities of  Los Angeles and Austin, Tx have voted to cancel legal contracts  with the state of  Arizona. Are these actions  not illegal in and of themselves? Lawsuit anyone?  The city of Los Angeles obtains much of its electricity from Arizona. What if Arizona wanted to cancel those contracts? Why, of course not. That  would be petulant  and childish and worse. Just like the Los Angeles city councilman, Ed Reyes, who said a few days ago, “As an American, I cannot go to Arizona without a passport.” The only thing I can is I sincerely hope he doesn’t believe that or he would never make on Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?

Finally, for a piece de resistance. we have Attorney General Eric Holder being questioned by Texas Congressman Ted Poe. The AG was asked if he had read the Arizona law which he has publicly criticized. After attempting to evade the question and being reminded by Poe that it’s only 10 pages long, Mr Holder had to attempt that he had not read the law. Not to worry though. He will get around to it soon.

May 16, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Do We Still Have a Vice-president ?

I was beginning to worry just  a bit since I had not heard anything from  the 47th occupant of that lofty office in a while. But as if on cue, up pops two examples of  the Biden factor. One can be characterized as political while the other is a bit harder to define. It isn’t really thuggish behavior but overly boorish and sort of amusing.

First, the political. As is possibly the case with many leading Democrats, the 2010 elections are on Biden’s mind. At this point, he is not as confident a she would like to be. His comments are from a fundraiser held on  September  21 in Greenville, De for Arizona Rep Gabrielle Giffords. A fundraiser held in Delaware for a member of Congress from Arizona. Gotta love politics. Anyway, Biden made reference to House seats currently held by Democrats but in traditional Republican districts. He said that  a loss of 35 of such seats wold doom the president’s agenda. Or in his words, “be the end of the road for what Barack and I  are trying to do.” He went on to say that the retention of those seats would bring in a real era of bipartisanship. It would  then embolden  Republicans to move away from party dictates and vote their convictions, i.e., the Administration’s way. Sorry, Mr Vice-president, you lost me there. (Biden’s comments were reported by ABC  White House reporter Karen Travers.) Depending on who is counting and what time period is used, average mid-term House losses  are around 25 seats.

Biden plays golf. Newsworthy, not unless he plays with Tiger Woods, you  might say. Well, he didn’t, but it still is and amusing as well. it happened in Las Vegas, how appropriate is that. The members only club in question is The Golf Club at South Shore and it took place a week ago today.

It seems the Mr Biden was in town for  a fund-raiser for Rep Dana Titus, D, Nv and wanted to get in a round on the links. The call  came in early Sunday morning from a Biden staffer and the PGA pro running the pro shop declined, citing the  club’s membership policy. Gotta wonder if he still has a job? Not to be deterred, another call came in and  theses words ensued,”you know the vice president would really like to play.” (Know what I mean?) Apparently the connection worked and the club reversed its decision, said membership director Mark Barrett. Biden and his people arrived about 11:00 am, played 17 holes and left. He does know that around consists of 18 holes, right?

Afterwards, Barrett could laugh about it saying it gave the club a boost of needed publicity during  a time when it could really use it. Suppose that Biden left one those economic stimulus at work signs? His score, who knows. Doesn’t what happen in Vegas stay in Vegas?

November 22, 2009 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gone But Not Quite Forgotten

In reflecting on the media coverage  Senator Kennedy’s death received, I  was  reminded about the premature death of a young musician some 12 years ago. Let me add this. To a degree, I understand the difference in the two from a quantity standpoint. One was an extremely well known United States senator who lived his life in the public eye. The other was a relatively obscure singer/songwriter of  whom the majority of Americans  knew very little. This individual was Rich Mullins and it so happened that died tragically on my birthday in 1997 in an automobile accident.

I remember seeing a small newspaper article the next day announcing his death and  thinking how few would notice or realize the extent of the loss. In some ways to me, his loss has been mitigated by the prolific nature of his songwriting. Not being really  qualified to evaluate anyone’s singing ability, I still thought that his greater gift lay in his words  rather than his singing.

He wrote over 100 songs and was  said to have written a page  of  prose every day. Some of the songs like “Sing Your Praise to the Lord” are a bit more traditional while others seem to be telling the story of a gifted , spiritual man, but a man who did not claim to have all the   answers. There   are words like this when speaking of his relationship to God. ” The climb can be so steep I may falter in my step, but never beyond your reach.” Simple but profoundly moving. I have many times found myself singing along(although I cannot really sing)  with tears in my eyes. He was a great  supporterof Compassion International and  worked with the Navajo Indian Nation in Window Rock, AZ where his spent his last two years. He was a     guy who co-wrote songs with someone identified only as Beaker. Quirky seems too plain a description of such a man.

He was not the norm even in the world of  Christian music. My wife has in recent days began to introduce his music to  our  two young grandchildren. Although he never had children or was married, I believe it is something to which he might have  smiled in aproval.

I can think of no better close than the title of  one of his albums- “A Liturgy, A Legacy and  a  Ragamuffin Band.”

September 4, 2009 Posted by | Christian living, Music | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goodbye Americans

Yesterday, the country lost a great man, a worthy recipient of  the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a radio legend for 57 years ,an Okie transplanted to Chicago. At the age of 90, Paul Harvey passed away in Arizona, his family at his side. It was just over nine months ago that his wife of  68 years, who was his  faithful collaborator and producer; passed away. Fittingly, both were in the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

I well remember hearing him as a child and his voice and style were a constant to me over the years. I cannot write about him but from afar but he always seemed to be a gentleman’s gentleman. I will always remember, ” a potpourri of the news, guesstimate, trendency and some much more. I would be remiss if  I did not mention the well chosen, ” Ahh” that so well punctuated  a news story. To be certain, if he endorsed a product, one could count on it as one could count on him.

He will be missed. Godspeed and Shalom.

A Real American Icon

A Real American Icon

March 1, 2009 Posted by | Media | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment