Spring Ikebana Festival at Yume Japanese Gardens

“Once again Yume Japanese Gardens will be throwing open the doors of Yume Japanese Gardens for a week to the talented adepts of five different schools of Ikebana practice. The result: elegant floral displays throughout our grounds, museum, and art gallery that capture the harmony, discipline, and refinement of traditional Japanese flower arranging.

Our Spring Ikebana Floral Festival has always been among our most-appreciated events. Enjoy 50 signature compositions highlighting the wide breadth of styles in one of Japan’s most cherished art forms. Entry to the festival and all Gardens precincts is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 15, members get in free. February 20th to 28th, 2018.”

www.yumegardens.org

Governor Ducey Re-Election in Deep Trouble

By Michael Bryan

New statewide polling from Lake Research Partners indicates possible trouble for Doug Ducey’s bid for re-election. I don’t have access to the raw polling data (though I would love to look…), so I can’t speak too much about the poll’s methodology, but some of the results have frankly surprised me. I do know that it seems to be appropriately weighted, included cell phones, and has a sample size of 600 respondents. Not bad.

Bottom line: Ducey is topping out a 40% against a generic Democratic opponent with a whopping 28% undecided, i.e. persuadable. 53% rate Ducey’s performance as merely fair or poor: and he only scores 49% good or excellent among GOP voters! His job performance in almost every other subject is also underwater, even traditional GOP strong subjects such as “keeping spending down” (I guess that is no longer a GOP value, actually, given national trends…):

Ducey will definitely face a real fight this season. That is likely the reason the Republican Governor’s Association is spending early and exclusively in Arizona (subscription link) to shore up a weakened Ducey.

So, bottom line: start investing in your favored Democratic candidate for Governor because the race is on, and Ducey is still crushing it comparatively in fund-raising. Check out our Democratic candidates Steve Farley, Kelly Fryer, and David Garcia.

You can read the full report here: PublicMemo.DuceyAccountability.firev1.0208181

Special Counsel flips Rick Gates, will testify against Paul Manafort

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is rolling up witnesses to get them to flip and to testify against other witnesses, to get them to flip and to testify against other witnesses, working his way up the ladder to the top in classic prosecutorial fashion.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Special Counsel has got Rick Gates to flip to testify against Paul Manafort, to bring pressure to bear on Manafort to get him to flip against higher-ups. Former Trump aide Richard Gates to plead guilty; agrees to testify against Manafort, sources say:

A former top aide to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days — and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul Manafort, the lawyer-lobbyist who once managed the campaign.

The change of heart by Trump’s former deputy campaign manager Richard Gates, who had pleaded not guilty after being indicted in October on charges similar to Manafort’s, was described in interviews by people familiar with the case.

“Rick Gates is going to change his plea to guilty,” said a person with direct knowledge of the new developments, adding that the revised plea will be presented in federal court in Washington “within the next few days.”

That individual and others who discussed the matter spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a judge’s gag order restricting comments about the case to the news media or public.

Gates’ defense lawyer, Thomas C. Green, did not respond to messages left by phone and email. Peter Carr, a spokesman for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, declined on Saturday to comment.

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Time For the Two Americas to Divorce?

Divorce in most states, including Arizona, is based on a finding of irreconcilable differences. Ordinarily, the issue is not contested. The spouse who files divorce claims the differences are irreconcilable, and the responding spouse agrees.

Typically, it follows years of bickering, culminating in the inability to agree on just about anything. Quite often, one or both spouses find other potential partners more attractive.

Viewed through that lens, isn’t it high time for the American left and the American right to divorce? Continue reading

#MeToo Movement revisits Clarence Thomas: a case for impeachment

The #MeToo movement has begun to hold powerful men who have abused women accountable for their actions. Many of these men have engaged in such behavior for decades, as the Harvey Weinstein case illustrates.

This has led Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of The New York Times and the co-author of Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, a 1994 book about his controversial confirmation hearing, to revisit the issue in the current cover story of New York Magazine. Do You Believe Her Now?: With new evidence that Clarence Thomas lied to get onto the Supreme Court, it’s time to talk seriously about impeachment:

On the same fall night in 2016 that the infamous Access Hollywood tape featuring Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault was made public by the Washington Post and dominated the news, an Alaska attorney, Moira Smith, wrote on Facebook about her own experiences as a victim of sexual misconduct in 1999.

“At the age of 24, I found out I’d be attending a dinner at my boss’s house with Justice Clarence Thomas,” she began her post, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court justice who was famously accused of sexually harassing Anita Hill, a woman who had worked for him at two federal agencies, including the EEOC, the federal sexual-harassment watchdog.

“I was so incredibly excited to meet him, rough confirmation hearings notwithstanding,” Smith continued. “He was charming in many ways — giant, booming laugh, charismatic, approachable. But to my complete shock, he groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should ‘sit right next to him.’ When I feebly explained I’d been assigned to the other table, he groped again … ‘Are you sure?’ I said I was and proceeded to keep my distance.” Smith had been silent for 17 years but, infuriated by the “Grab ’em by the pussy” utterings of a presidential candidate, could keep quiet no more.

Tipped to the post by a Maryland legal source who knew Smith, Marcia Coyle, a highly regarded and scrupulously nonideological Supreme Court reporter for The National Law Journal, wrote a detailed story about Smith’s allegation of butt-squeezing, which included corroboration from Smith’s roommates at the time of the dinner and from her former husband. Coyle’s story, which Thomas denied, was published October 27, 2016. If you missed it, that’s because this news was immediately buried by a much bigger story — the James Comey letter reopening the Hillary Clinton email probe.

Smith, who has since resumed her life as a lawyer and isn’t doing any further interviews about Thomas, was on the early edge of #MeToo. Too early, perhaps: In the crescendo of recent sexual-harassment revelations, Thomas’s name has been surprisingly muted.

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Ruben Gallego (AZ-CD07) Calls a Psychopath a Psychopath

By Michael Bryan

I appreciate a plain-spoken politician. Congressman Ruben Gallego couldn’t be more plain-spoken when it comes to President Cheeto.

Yesterday, Gallego tweeted:

That tweet was in response to Trump’s tweet claiming that there was a causal connection between the RussiaGate investigation and the FBI’s failure to forestall the latest Florida school shooting.

I say, “Thank You!” to Congressman Gallego for telling the simple truth in public: Trump is sick in the head.

If you appreciate such honesty let Congressman Gallego know in the language that Congresscritters best appreciate: cold hard cash. Add a penny to your donation so that he will know that you are giving him a penny for his honest thoughts.