22 January 2011

AZGOP State Committee Update

As mentioned in my last post, today is the Arizona Republican Party state committee meeting where new state party officers are being elected. In the effort to follow the "action" today without my ability to be there, I am using a new medium: Twitter. In following the live updates, I have learned that the following have been elected thus far (with giant thanks to Twitter user @azcapitoltimes for information):

Treasurer: Tim Lee

Secretary: Linda White

Chairman: Tom Morrissey

Resolution #1 also passed, authorizing the state to make the Arizona Republican Party primary closed. More info on this later.

Also going on today is the Arizona Democratic Party state caucus, where they too are electing officers for their state party. Currently, as I write this, voting for the new AZDem Chairman is underway between Rodney Glassman and Andrei Chernei.

AZGOP live Twitter updates: http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23azgop

AZDEM live Twitter updates: http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23azdem

UPDATE 4:27pm: Andrei Cherny was just elected Chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party, and Harriet Young was elected AZDEM 1st Vice Chair.

21 January 2011

January LD-19 Meeting

Last night was a fun night for me. I went to the AZ LD-19 Republican Party meeting, at which all the candidates for the statewide AZGOP offices were speaking. For those of you unfamiliar with the state party, or who aren't Republicans, this Saturday is the AZGOP convention where elections will be held for the new Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, at-large members, etc. The former Chairman, Randy Pullen, decided not to seek re-election after losing his bid to be a state committman a couple months ago, and in the last few weeks, the list of candidates has whittled down for one reason or another to just three: Tom Morrisey, Marty Hermanson, and Ron Carmichael. But I get ahead of myself.

Because of the importance of this meeting and the desire to get as many people in as possible to hear the candidates, the LD-19 meeting was actually a combination LDs 18, 19, 21, and 22 meeting, and about 200 people or so (rough estimate) showed up. And because of a scheduling conflict, the meeting had to be held outdoors in the ampitheatre area of the Mesa Community College Red Mountain campus. They had plenty of chairs set up clustered around a few big propane heaters, which helped, but by the end of the meeting I was indeed cold.

I started out by talking to a few people that I recognized from other places/meetings, such as former CD-6 candidate Jeff Smith (whom I endorsed through this blog in August last year - and who surprisingly remembered my name), LD19 1st Vice Chairman Alan Soelberg, LD19 Chairman Wayne Gardner, and several precinct committeemen and non-pc's like myself.

At 7pm, Chairman Gardner started the meeting with an introduction of all the public officials there, and while I will inevitably miss someone in my recollections, some of the familiar faces included AZ Speaker of the House Kirk Adams, Rep. Justin Olson (whose job I interviewed for at the Arizona Tax Research Association), Sen. Rich Crandall, and the Chairmen of LD7 and 21. Sorry if I missed you and you were there - correct me in my comments below!

Because of the time constraints of having so many politicians and candidates who wanted to speak at this meeting, each person was very strictly timed. Each public official was given exactly one minute to speak, and almost all of them stuck to those limits. Our legislative officials in LD19 spoke with their one minute speeches on the bills that were proposed or passed through the House yesterday and how those would positively impact the state. Others talked about the need to continue to commit to conservatism and repeal "Obamacare," and others discussed other issues. Sadly with the volume of speakers, I won't go into as much detail about everyone as I usually do in this blog.

After our elected officials, candidates for the state party were given chances to speak, followed by a Q&A session after each office's group of candidates. First, the six candidates for the CD-6 at-large seats (basically representatives from the congressional district to the state party) got one minute to speak about their candidacy. It's incredible how much information a person can fit into one minute if they really try! Personally, I was most struck by a man named Paul Brierley for the CD-6 At-Large seat, whose list of credentials is impressive (current LD21 chairman, former Graham County Chairman, 15-year precinct committeeman, several endorsements from well-respected Republican leaders) and who was one of the more eloquent and practiced speakers up there. After the meeting he and I also had a few minutes to talk about my question for the Chairman candidates (you'll hear about that shortly), and he seems like the kind of person who would be an exceptional representative for this district.

After At-large candidates, the Secretary and Treaurer candidates each also got one minute to speak - there were two people for each position - and they discussed their experience within the party and with bookkeeping. Among the notables was Pat Oldroyd for Secretary, the immediate past chairwoman of LD19, who also received an award in the form of an elephant statuette for her hard work and service to LD19 last night. Needless to say, she would seem to have quite a few locked-up votes from this district for her election.

Finally, the three Chairman candidates each received four minutes to speak. Mr. Morrissey spoke on the need of the party to fundraise more effectively and to better manage the AZGOP's "brand" for 2012. Mr. Carmichael spoke on his credentials and endorsements and how his experience makes him the best candidate for the job. Mr Hermanson was represented by one of his campaign staff because he was at another event somewhere else in the valley, but that aide talked about Hermanson's credentials and personality, and how his work with the party in other aspects made him qualified to be Chairman.

As an aside, I found it interesting how very vastly different the three mens' personalities were. Marty Hermanson's aide was fairly young and energetic, and he most certainly had public speaking experience as a motivational speaker somewhere because during the Q&A I swear he prefaced every answer with "That's a great question, thank you for asking it" or some variation. Ron Carmichael, a man shorter in stature than the others, had a certain fire about him that could have seemed standoffish if you didn't speak to him personally. He seems to be the one in it for an ideological reason to advance conservative values in the state, which I find satisfying. Tom Morrissey, running as a write-in candidate for the position, is a bit like my uncle - cracking jokes with every turn, a little "nerdy," and quick to jump on a topic. His slogan, "I have a plan," was backed up by his telling us what his plans were, but I can't see him running the party efficiently.

After the three men spoke, there was time for a brief Q&A session. I was the second person to ask a question, and the first to request an answer from all three candidates. My question was, in paraphrasing, "since the conservative and Republican youth groups (Young Republicans, College Republicans) have been traditionally ignored by the AZGOP in years past, how do you plan to support such groups as Chairman?"

While both Mr. Morrissey and Mr. Hermanson's aides talked about the need of the party to be more inclusive of young people and how important it was to get the next generation of youths involved, only Ron Carmichael actually gave me a promise: if elected, he intends to put members of the Young Republicans and the College Republicans, etc, on his Executive Board as ad hoc members. In this way, the youth groups would be both represented at the state party level and would be able to share our ideas and better interface with the AZGOP. That alone would be a fantastic first step for youth groups in the state, and I appreciated very much how frank Mr. Carmichael was in answering that question.

After the conclusion of the meeting, I had several people, including a few elected officials and candidates, come up and thank me for asking that question (and ask my opinion on whose answer I liked best!). That was unexpected, but gratifying to know that my question on behalf of the next generation of Republicans was well-received. I talked at length with people like Chairman Gardner and Mr. Brierley for almost an hour under the space heaters about my involvement in LD19 and some of my ideas about improving interface with young people.

At the end of the day, I'd say it was a successful night all around. Sadly, because I am not a state committeeman, I do not get to cast votes for the AZGOP officials this Saturday. However, I can still make a couple endorsements from this small blog and hope they help others with their decisions: I support and endorse Ron Carmichael for AZGOP Chairman, Pat Oldroyd for AZGOP Secretary, and Paul Brierley for CD-6 At-Large Representative. Good luck!

20 January 2011


So I'm reading the news online today, and all of a sudden I stumble upon an article claiming that there is the possibility that by 2012 (really, any day now) the state Betelgeuse (pronounced Beetlejuice) could go supernova. According to a Dr. Brad Carter from Queensland, Australia, this could be kind of interesting for multiple reasons.

First, Betelgeuse (in the constellation of Orion) is one of the brightest stars in the sky, and it's explosion could cause us to see dual suns in the sky for a period of up to a couple weeks. Theoretically, this might also produce a no-nighttime effect during that time.

Second, when a massive star dies, it can either collapse and turn into a relatively harmless brown star or explode. If it explodes, such a large star might create a neutron star with enormous density and a strong gravitational pull, or it might create a black hole. Considering Betelgeuse is only 1300 light-years away from Earth, this could be interesting.

I'm no expert on astronomy, but it's an interesting article nonetheless. Check it out at http://www.news.com.au/technology/sci-tech/tatooines-twin-suns-coming-to-a-planet-near-you-just-as-soon-as-betelgeuse-explodes/story-fn5fsgyc-1225991009247

17 January 2011

Happy Civil Rights Day!

Happy Civil Rights Day, everyone!

My new classes really also get going today with "week 1" of readings and discussion board assignments. I just finished putting up a post last night on libraries' intgration of government services in emergency situations. You really don't think about how the public library interfaces with so many government services. Libraries have tax forms and help, banks of computers for people who need them to file government claims, and in 2006 were used as a referral point for people to file for Medicare Part B. In Florida, after hurricanes, libraries hand out food and water, serve as emergency meeting points and town halls, and their computers allow people to let their families in other areas know that they're all right. Interesting stuff.


Today I got up to go out and watch my sister perform at the Mesa Civil Rights Parade with her junior high band. The parade is an annual thing, goes about 2 1/2 blocks in the downtown area, and lasts roughly 20-30 minutes. Nothing special, but it was fun to get out and do something different. Plus, I got free breakfast and lunch outta the deal...!

Later this afternoon, I took an hour-long hike by the Salt River. It was about 75 degrees out and sunny, and absolutely perfect for a hike. The trail was nothing fancy - more like a tunnel through the trees to a sandy area about a quarter-mile from parking - but it was nice to get out and enjoy the weather.

Also, all my assignments except my issues paper (on "The Effect of Electronic Record-keeping on US Government Documents) have been graded. I need a 42% on that paper to get an A in the class. Needless to say, I anticipate acing the course. 4.0 GPA still intact... through one class, anyway!

Before I forget, I also bought my ticket to the first ever Spring Training game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies at the brand-spankin'-new Salt River Fields in south Scottsdale! I splurged and bought a nice seat directly behind home plate, nine rows back of the concourse (about 29 rows from the field). Cost me more than I usually spend on a ticket, but I think this one will be special enough to be worth it!

Countdown to Spring Training: 27 days to pitchers and catchers reporting (39 days to the first Cactus League game)!

Can y'all tell I'm EXCITED for baseball season to start again?!?! I've been wasting away splitting my time between football, basketball, and hockey for 3 months!

11 January 2011

I'm Busy

That's a good thing!

I've neglected my blog a considerable amount over the last month because I've had so much to do, but I finally have some time to catch up right now.

First, of course, I just got back on Sunday from Tucson and U of A where I was completing IRLS 504, my first class on the way to get my Master's degree in Library Science. It was a really intense week. So much so that I didn't get past "day one" on my online blogging adventure to blog from Tucson. We were in class lectures on everything from archives to website development, from HTML to ethics, and from metadata to searching techniques and tips for up to 14 hours per day, including multiple hours of study and help time. It was exhausting, but well worth all the effort. I now know what courses to focus on for my degree. I know I don't want to be a public librarian, but I think I would like special librarianship or archives.

I have to write up a paper by Saturday on "Paper versus Electronic Recordkeeping in Government Archives" and a reflection on how the IRLS504 class went. I might post the reflection here if it turns out well.

Obviously, of course, I was also in Tucson for the Saturday morning shooting of Rep. Giffords, and the massacre of 6 people at a Safeway grocery store down there. It was odd to be in the area. You always hear of it happening somewhere else, but being four miles away from the scene just feels weird. I first learned about it when I got out of my final exam, walked with a couple friends to Gentle Ben's restaurant for a victory lunch, and saw it on a TV over the bar there. All I saw of the headline was "Congresswoman Shot" and then eventually realized it was Gabrielle Giffords from right around the corner. All through lunch I was getting updates from friends and Twitter on the situation. It was surreal when the news stations began saying Giffords was dead, but as time passed they retracted that statement.

That night, I watched the news with fervor, not really because there was more information, but because it was history in the making. The next morning, before driving back home, I went to the University of Arizona Medical Center and spent half an hour paying my respects to the six fatalities and fourteen other victims. The lone street surrounding the hospital was flanked on both sides with every major and minor news outlets' trucks - FOX, ABC, CBS, 3TV - and I was even approached by someone who said she was from Japanese news media for my "reaction" to the event. Cameras were everywhere, and, somewhat disrespectfully, cameramen were sticking their equipment in every face there to capture photos. One woman with a little dog garnered multiple photos as she adjusted rosaries around the photographs of Giffords and Judge Roll. After that, I visited the Safeway site... morbid curiousity, I suppose... where the scene was taped off. I watched the cops for a bit while having a cup of coffee across the street (breakfast), and eventually left and drove home.

It will be interesting to see what comes out in the Loughner trial later on this year. Thankfully, the latest news I heard said that Rep. Giffords is projected to make a solid recovery, is breathing on her own, and may regain much of her former ability. Thank God for that news!

To less tragic news: I am typing this post on my brand new laptop! I finally went out and bought one today with my extra student loan money so I can use it for college. It's a HP Pavilion DM4 with a 620MB hard drive, 4GB of RAM memory, a 14" screen, fingerprint reader built-in, 4G-capable WiFi, and HDMI capability. It was on sale, so I got it for the right price, and I am so far really happy with the purchase!

Not sure what else I want to say right now, so I'll sign off for the night, but I hope to be back to a more regular posting schedule soon. Classes start Thursday, so there's that which might screw my plans up, but I'll give it a try!

08 January 2011

My Statement on Giffords' Shooting

I know this is a very quick post, and I will absolutely have more later, but this is my initial thought on today's shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a constituent event in Tucson, Arizona this morning (where I am right now):

It is abhorrent to think that in this day and age people still believe that violent political outbursts are in any way morally justifiable. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' shooting today, not to mention the shooting of Judge Roll, Giffords' aides, and innocent bystanders, is a national tragedy. I am praying for the woundeds' safe recovery, and for the families of the dead.

02 January 2011

Blogging from Tucson - SIRLS Day 1

Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know I've slacked a little bit, but I hope my readers will forgive me. I've been really busy with my first class for my Master's degree. From 12/20 to 1/1/11, I had over 650 pages of readings to do, five assignments to set up, and getting ready for my weeklong stay in Tucson for the face-to-face part of the class. That's where I am blogging from tonight: my hotel room in Tucson, AZ, while I watch/listen to the Seahawks-Rams football game.

I arrived here last night, and class started this morning at 8:30am. And quite literally, I haven't stopped working until about 7:00pm. We had lecture from 8:30am-3:45pm solid (with two semi-breaks and an hour for lunch), then worked in groups until 5:00pm. I've learned an overview of "what is a library" and associated topics, and I've learned basic HTML coding for one of my assignments (to create a very basic webpage from HTML code). And by the way, I have decided now that HTML coding is really not that much fun, if fairly straightforward. Overall, the class is pretty well-structured, but there are parts that just aren't well-explained. This HTML thing, for example. I can copy what the instructor does just fine, but I want to know what "bgcolor" is or what "a href" means. I'm hoping the remainder of the class won't be so generalized.

My hotel room is nice... it's a studio room about as big as my dorm room in Taylor Hall at NAU. It has a small bathroom, a double bed, a table and chair, and a kitchenette with a microwave, fridge, sink, and stovetop. For a weekly rate of $27.99 per night, I kind of expected a dump, but the room is very clean (VERY clean!) and well-maintained. No bugs, no dust, and everything works (including the heater, appliances, and bathroom stuff). I'd totally stay here again! It's like my own little apartment. Even the bed is relatively comfortable. It's a very firm mattress, but it works.

Tomorrow morning I have to go buy a CatCard school ID and a parking pass for the week, since the offices were closed for New Year's weekend. Good logistics right there (note: sarcasm). That will require me to be at the parking office at 8am and quickly get to class on the other side of campus by 8:30. Then during my lunch break I have to go buy a "CatCard." Why during lunch hour? Bad planning. C'est la vie, I suppose.

Anyway, I'm going to relax and watch the rest of the third quarter of this football game. I'm not invested in it, but I am watching much more football this season than ever before. All my friends like football, so I feel I should know something about it. Same with hockey.I watched the 2011 Winter Classic last night between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins (whom I have decided are "my team" because I like their mascot) lost 3-1, but the game was pretty exciting.

Good night, web people... more tomorrow.