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Tuesday’s Top 10 news digs

Every morning I read the Arizona Daily Star, the Arizona Republic and the USA Today. Here’s the top 10 stories I’m digging:

1. Brewer: Fix deficit by raising sales tax – Arizona Daily Star   The Republican governor, who had increasingly come under criticism from her own party for offering few specific ideas to fix the budget deficit, proposes temporarily raising the state sales tax a penny, using federal stimulus money and mortgaging state assets.

What a disaster. Clearly, the state can’t climb out of this hole without a tax increase, but increasing the tax that got us into this mess – the sales tax – is the absolutely wrong way to do it. It’s a regressive tax subject to the vagaries of the economy. Moreover, it won’t raise enough money to get the job done. They need to raise the state income tax, especially on top earners, and put to voters a series of government reforms that include  repealing the two-thirds vote requirement for the Legislature to pass tax increases and  the prohibition on legislative changes to voter-passed programs.

2. Poll: Most oppose closing Gitmo – USA Today  By more than 2-1, those surveyed say Guantanamo shouldn’t be closed. By more than 3-1, they oppose moving some of the accused terrorists housed there to prisons in their own states.

So what are we supposed to do, keep these guys forever? We can’t try them because we tortured most of them or our evidence against them came from secret means that can’t be revealed in court. We can’t let some of them go because they remain unrepentant jihadists bent on killing Americans. And we can’t keep them locked up forever without offending 800 years of common law that began with the signing of Magna Carta at Runnymede. I say take ‘em back to Afghanistan and let ‘em go. If they take up arms against us again, kill them or capture them and try them properly this time.

3. What gets people to ride transit? Subsidies – Arizona Republic  A majority of passengers are paying less than full fare out of their own pockets – and often nothing at all. They rely instead on a subsidy from their private or government employers or on a public program such as discounts for the elderly and indigent.

What a boondoggle. The government pays people to ride the government’s train.

4. Bloody Sunday leaves 6 dead in rash of slayings – Arizona Republic  Sunday’s carnage began around midnight when investigators said a woman shot her husband in the couple’s bedroom before turning the gun on herself.

It’s a shame what a crime capital Phoenix is becoming. I grew up there and I’ve always liked Phoenix (except for ASU). But after having simultaneous mass murderers terrorizing the city, the home invasions and kidnappings of the smuggling cartels, the cop killings and the rising murder rate, I’m glad I live here.

5. Border crossers get pass on first day of new passport rule – Arizona Republic  Border agents used Day One as an exercise in education, not detainment. At the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, for instance, people were waved through even if they did not have the proper ID. They were handed a flier that explained the new rules.

How many chances are they going to give people? They’ve already delayed this thing a couple of times and now when they say they’re really going to enforce it, they don’t enforce it.

6. City North case goes to high court – Arizona Republic  At issue is a clause in the Arizona Constitution that bans outright gifts from government bodies to private individuals or companies. Courts until now have ruled that economic-development agreements are acceptable if the city gets direct benefits in return.

This case has huge implications here, especially in Oro Valley and Marana.

7. Fitzgeralds’s awkward catch throws a scare into practice – Arizona Republic   Fitzgerald, one of the NFL’s best receivers, walked gingerly away, head athletic trainer Tom Reed at his side, and then returned to action later in practice. You could have powered a generator with the sighs of relief.

I’ve never liked the Cardinals but I could be converted because I really like Fitzgerald as much for his off-the-field demeanor as for his play on it (I’ve been burned by that before,though, Kobe Bryant coming to mind). But typical Cardinals, this one player could make or break their season.Teams win championships, players win fat contracts.

8. Pixar found its lucky charm – USA Today  Not only did he (John Ratzenberger) become part of history as a voice in the first animated feature created entirely by computer, but the job also turned into an enduring relationship whose main requirement is to step into a recording booth now and then and pretend to be a school of snarky fish in Finding Nemo or a friendly Mack truck in Cars.

He’ll always be Cliff Clavin to me, but his turn as the slotted pig in “Toy Story” were classic. Pixar rocks.

9. Homer inflation pumps debate – USA Today   There have been nine games in which at least five home runs were hit. In three other games, teams have combined to hit seven or more. All told, the new stadium is on pace for 306 home runs, which would surpass the record 303 hit in 1999 at Coors Field in Denver. Last year, 160 home runs were hit at the old stadium.

Teams playing in home run havens don’t win championships because they can’t sign or resign great pitchers. Say goodbye to the dynasty.

1o. U.S. military using Twitter to counter Taliban’s Web posts – Arizona Daily Star  U.S. and Afghan forces killed four militants in Wardak province, the U.S. military tweeted on Monday. That’s right. The military tweeted the news, sending it worldwide on Twitter, the social networking site, hours before making the formal announcement to the media.

There’s something unmasculine about the military tweeting the enemy.

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