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Schools, lawmakers have drama thing down pat

Citizen Staff Writer

Editor’s note: Citizen staffer Judy Carlock reviews the week’s news, with attitude.

When school officials look at what to cut, they might consider drama. Teachers and children do fine already.

At a Tucson Unified School District board meeting Tuesday, a third-grader announced, “It would be the end of the world” if her school lost its music program.

Schools ought to teach music. And art. And, yes, drama. But educators have been crying wolf so long that when schools really are being ripped from limb to limb, it’s tempting to look away.

Thousands of notices of potential layoffs have gone out statewide. Republicans in the Arizona Legislature tossed out staggering budget cut figures, then tried to postpone warning teachers of possible layoffs till June 15. Federal cash could slow the bleeding.

But April is the cruelest month, and unions wanted to keep it that way. The better to warn teachers, they said. And have kids around to stage sit-ins.

A lot of those teachers won’t really get laid off. But, hey, timing is everything.

NEVERTHELESS: I’m on the teachers’ side. Not just because I want to be one. Some legislators – not all – seem more determined to crow “I told you so” than to help the state come to grips with a staggering shortfall.

They seem to think Arizona still depends on cattle, cotton and copper. Now, even construction’s a bust. So higher education matters, even if the ivory tower turns you off.

University presidents played the same chord for colleges that K-12 did for the wee ones, seeking to sock students with a midyear “economic recovery” charge, ranging from $422 to $1,280 depending on the university. It would be $1,100 at UA. Regents don’t really want to do this. They want the Legislature to honor its constitutional mandate to keep college affordable. I hope it finds a way.

A CAPITAL IDEA: Have a death penalty or not. Don’t try to pretend you’re not killing someone.

Arizona is considering changing some procedures about the way it executes people. Kentucky’s statute was upheld, but Arizona may be vulnerable to constitutional challenge because it feeds a lethal three-drug cocktail into a tube in the groin rather than the arm. Also, a “dummy” line keeps anyone on the team safe from the certainty he or she killed someone.

It boggles my mind that an additional needle stick could be interpreted as cruel and unusual punishment. And I don’t even like the death penalty.

You want to kill them without hurting them, give them heroin.

DOGGIN’ IT: Dog whisperer Cesar Millan says the whole Obama clan will have to be “pack leaders” to keep first pup Bo in line. Where will he sleep? “Not in my bed,” the president said. That’s telling him.

On an inaugural walk, though, the Portuguese water dog made it pretty clear who was in charge.

PIRATES: Navy snipers took out three bandits Sunday in rescuing American ship captain Richard Phillips from a lifeboat off the coast of Somalia.

“Untrained teenagers with heavy weapons. Everybody in the room knows the consequences of that,” U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.

Our military would know.

This isn’t over. Somalia’s full of people with nothing to lose.

GUNS TO MEXICO: This stoner dude I knew claimed those little plastic little strips embedded in currency allow satellite-aided spies to count the cash in your pocket. That will come in handy as we track the flow of U.S. drug money to Mexico.

Former Gov. Janet Napolitano, now Homeland Security secretary, said Wednesday that agents have seized $60 million in southbound U.S. currency since Oct. 1.

The flow of U.S. guns to Mexican cartels is another concern.

Am I fatalistic? If they don’t get them from us, they’ll get them from somebody else.

TEA AND TAXES: Rallies nationwide had thousands of folks venting grievances about tax-and-spend government.

Guys: That’s what governments are for.

In Tucson, 3,000 gathered downtown for a Tea Party protesting taxation with representation.

Good. Keep them honest. But remember: The bank bailout was Bush. Obama added stimulus. If it works, they’re geniuses.

If it doesn’t – oh, man. It’s gotta work.

I inherited a Depression-era mind-set and no survival skills. Well, one: I grow great vegetables.

If I had to can them, I’d die.

Contact Judy Carlock at 573-4608 or jcarlock@tucsoncitizen.com. To read more on these articles, click on this column at www.tucsoncitizen.com.

TUSD knows drama

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