GOP Audit Director barred from recount — after he confirmed the data says “Trump Lost”

The Republican overseeing the controversial GOP-backed election audit in Arizona has reportedly been banned from entering the building where the recount process is ongoing, after he shared some data with experts that showed the results match the officially certified numbers in Maricopa County.

The Arizona Republic…newspaper reported that Ken Bennett had shared some of the audit data with outside experts showing that the ballot recount was tracking “very closely” with Maricopa County’s certified results…(which is – TRUMP LOST!)…

Although Trump and many of his Republican allies continue to claim that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election, they have not provided evidence to substantiate this extraordinary allegation. On the contrary, dozens of election challenge lawsuits have failed in state and federal courts. Even judges appointed by Trump and other Republicans have rejected the often bizarre claims.

The truth shall set you free. Bubba!

Meet a Teen Who Commutes to School Every Day — in a Driverless Car

Kyla Jackson and her mom, Samantha Jackson…and a WAYMO autonomous ride

❝ For the past year, Kyla Jackson has been one of the only teenagers in the world who gets a ride to high school from a robot.

When she’s ready to start her day, Kyla summons a self-driving car using the Waymo app on her phone. Five minutes later a Chrysler Pacifica run by the autonomous vehicle arm of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., stops at her home in Chandler, Arizona. She slides open the door, fastens her seat belt, and hits a blue button above her head to set the car in motion. It’s a minivan covered in goofy-looking sensors, but it’s the coolest ride at her school.

RTFA. Interesting – and very cool.

Woman sues Border Coppers for invasive cavity search finding no drugs and no reason for the search

A new lawsuit filed by an American woman alleges that she was subjected to an unconstitutional search by border agents and then an extensive cavity search by a male doctor acting on their orders.

The civil complaint, which was filed last week in federal court in Tucson and seeks unspecified damages, targets the government, Customs and Border Protection, the CBP agent, and the doctor who searched her, among others.

The court filing describes 18-year-old Ashley Cervantes’ harrowing experience over the course of seven hours in October 2014. She had just returned from Nogales, Sonora (Mexico) back into Nogales, Arizona—she had come back from eating breakfast at one of her favorite spots.

According to the complaint, after presenting her identity documents, an unidentified CBP agent accused Cervantes of possessing illegal drugs, which she denied. She was ordered to proceed to a detention room, where she was handcuffed to a chair. There, she was sniffed by a dog (in violation of CBP policy) and was taken to another room where she was ordered to squat so that female officers could visually inspect her.

Unsatisfied that they had not found the drugs, the agents escalated their search. CBP Agent Shameka Leggett then filled out an Immigration Health Services’ form, known as a Treatment Authorization Request, describing Cervantes as being “diagnosed” as an apparent “potential internal carrier of foreign substance.” The agent recommended that she be X-rayed at a hospital.

Cervantes was then transported in custody from the border to Holy Cross Hospital…

The Holy Cross records from Ashley’s time at the facility include a number of factual inaccuracies, including inaccurately setting out that Ashley was accompanied by her mother and arrived in a private vehicle. In reality, Ashley was transported in a CBP vehicle. Her handcuffs were not removed until she changed into a hospital gown for the alleged purpose of undergoing an X-Ray.

Ashley was never X-rayed, despite that being the only “course of treatment” authorized by the TAR.

The complaint goes on to describe how Dr. Martinez “forcefully and digitally probed her vagina and anus.”

Ashley had never before been to a gynecologist and, for the remainder of her life, will always remember that her first pelvic and rectal exams were under the most inhumane circumstances imaginable to a U.S. citizen at a hospital on U.S. soil.

Scumbags working for scumbag coppers ain’t any different. They deserve the same penalties. They require the same oversight. They should be challenged by the professional bodies overseeing their professions.

Solar Impulse leaving Phoenix tomorrow morning for Tulsa, Oklahoma

Si2 Hawaii
Click to enlarge

Si2 spent a little over a week in Phoenix Goodyear Airport until the mission engineers found a clear weather window to allow the pilots to continue their flights across the United States. After considerable weather and flight path investigations, our engineers have found a slightly unexpected destination: Tulsa International Airport. Bertrand Piccard will takeoff from Phoenix, Arizona on May 12th at 10:00AM UTC, 12:00PM CET, 3:00AM MST and is expected to land 18 hours and 20 minutes later in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

That’s 4AM MDT takeoff for folks in the Rockies. Bertrand Piccard at the helm. Their engineers say they have a clear window of just under 18 hours for a flight that should take just over 18 hours. Phew.

Straight into Tornado Alley.

Trans-border sewer line In Nogales, AZ, clogged with marijuana in transit

Click to enlargeKGUN9-TV

An international sewer line in Nogales has been cleared of packages of drugs that caused a backup of waste. On Wednesday evening, authorities said the investigation was ongoing and no arrests had been made.

Authorities found about 50 to 60 pounds of marijuana in the sewer line. The bundles of drugs caused waste to spill into a home where an illegal underground tunnel was found leading to the pipe.

“There was raw sewage coming out of every nook and cranny of that house,” said Nogales City Manager Shane Dille.

Dille said authorities believe the house was being used to receive drugs coming through the sewer from Mexico. He said service was not interrupted at any other properties in the area, with the exception of one business.

Dille said the owner of the house lives out of state and has been contacted, but it’s unknown at this time if someone was renting the house…

He said the city hoped to have the sewer line repaired by Wednesday evening.

First time I worried about a plumber getting stoned while using a Roto-Rooter.

Why visit your boyfriend in the slammer when you can chat online?

Arizona mother Cathy Seymour’s 16-year-old son was arrested in August 2013 for allegedly shooting a detention officer to death and was charged with first-degree murder as an adult and held in a jail.

Now she uses her laptop and a video link to spring him from maximum security detention in the 4th Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix, take him on a virtual tour of some of his favorite places and visit with family and friends.

“If there’s Wi-Fi and you have a laptop, you don’t have to stay in your home,” she says of the recently installed pay-per-view system that links a video terminal in the jail to her laptop at a cost of $5 for 20 minutes.

“His favorite spot is McDonald’s, so we went to McDonald’s … I’ll show him, like, the street … He gets to see other people … He gets to see my mom and dad and church,” said Seymour, who spoke to Al Jazeera America on the condition that her son not be named.

She is among thousands of family members nationwide using pay-per-view video chats to connect with loved ones who are incarcerated. The technology is gaining traction in jail systems across the U.S. in a push by the for-profit prison industry to monetize inmate contact.

At the end of 2014, 388 U.S. jails — about 1 in 8 — offered pay-per-view video visits, and the service was also available in 123 prisons, according to a study by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative (PPI).

Since the report was published in January, the PPI has become aware of at least 25 additional jails that have implemented the technology. Once video visitation systems are in place, most jails eliminate in-person family visits, securing a captive market for private firms. Seven companies dominate the market, and for 20 minutes, they charge from $5 in Maricopa County, Arizona, to $29.95 in Racine County, Wisconsin…

For Seymour, the pay-per-view video visits help her maintain a relationship with her teenage son, with whom she shares as many as four video chats a day. “He’s in an ugly place now … I don’t agree with the sheriff on much, but there is benefit to it,” she said of the system…

The boom in for-profit video visitation is also transforming the way lawyers work with their clients. Some criminal defense attorneys, like Marci Kratter in Phoenix, find much to like.

Before the system went live in November, Kratter had to drive to a jail, park, sign in and go to a visitation area to wait for her client in what she described as an “at least a two-hour ordeal.” Now with video visitation, “it’s 20 minutes. You do it from your desk … As far as rapport building goes and trust, when you can check in with [your clients] every week, they know you’re thinking about them.”

RTFA. Many variations on the theme – as you would expect. A predictable number of jailers are more interested in vacuuming every last greenback from the wallets of relatives, friends, lawyers. Some are more interested in security. You ain’t smuggling in smack or a cell phone over an internet connection.

There is a lawsuit started by defense attorneys in Travis County against Securus, the sheriff’s office and other county officials. It charges that video visits were used to illegally record attorneys’ confidential calls with their clients…using the info gained against clients and other prisoners. I’d be shocked, shocked I tell you – if something like that actually happened.

Y’all know how deeply we trust law enforcement in America. Right?

Gabby Giffords leaves Congress this week

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will step down from Congress this week to continue her recovery from a gunshot wound inflicted a year ago this month.

“I have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for Arizona, I will step down this week,” the congresswoman said in a video message released today to her constituents.

Giffords, a third-generation Arizonan who served five years in the state Legislature before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2006, will not seek re-election this fall. But Giffords vowed that her career in public service has not come to an end.

I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country,” she said…

“A lot has happened over the past year,” she said. “We cannot change that. But I know on the issues we fought for, we can change things for the better. Jobs, border security, veterans. We can do so much more by working together.”

Giffords will submit her letter of resignation later this week to House Speaker John Boehner and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. The governor will set the date for special primary and general elections to determine who will serve the remainder of Giffords’ term.

Before she leaves office, Giffords will finish her Congress On Your Corner event that was interrupted by a gunman on Jan. 8, 2011. In a private gathering in Tucson, Giffords will meet with some of the people who were at that event.

Brave woman, brave person. Legitimate politician. A rare breed in our Congress.

Rare sightings – Ocelots and Jaguars in Arizona

The Serengeti is associated with safaris. The Maasai Mara, too. But southern Arizona?

A series of recent sightings of rare wild cats in the southern part of the state has prompted considerable excitement among wildlife experts and camera-toting naturalists alike. Twice this year, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has announced sightings in the southeast of endangered ocelots, small spotted cats with jaguarlike markings.

A third ocelot sighting reported on Friday by a homeowner who snapped some blurry photos of an odd-looking cat was probably a serval, an African cat popular in the pet trade, state officials said Saturday. The animal had long ears, long legs and appeared to have only solid spots instead of the solid spots and haloed spots on an ocelot.

On Nov. 19, it was a rare jaguar that was seen in the same part of the state — the first confirmed appearance of that elusive and endangered cat in Arizona since 2009. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the only one found in the wild in the Western Hemisphere.

Donnie Fenn, a professional guide based in Benson, Ariz., who specializes in mountain lion hunts — which are fairly common in Arizona — was taking his 10-year-old daughter out on her first lion hunt that morning when his pack of eight hounds took off in a frenzy. Before he knew it, he said, the dogs had a creature cornered in a tree, which he saw from afar with a telephoto lens was not the mountain lion he was looking for but instead an endangered jaguar…

“What’s so appealing to the general public is that jaguars are so exotic,” said Mark Hart, a spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “They are jungle cats from Central and South America, and the fact that they might be in our state really gets people’s attention. It’s a romantic notion.”

Mr. Fenn, whose Chasin’ Tail Guide Service offers five-day mountain lion hunts for $3,500, said his Web site has been barraged with hits since the jaguar sighting. And his daughter Alyson, initially disappointed that she did not get her first mountain lion kill that day, now realizes that seeing a jaguar was memorable, too.

“It was quite an experience, even if she didn’t get to kill anything,” Mr. Fenn said.

Yup. Every 10-year-old should have a chance to kill some creature or other. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a critical portion of nature’s balanced food chain, a predator like a mountain lion – some folks think hunting is all about killing whatever is legal to kill this week.

And next week? Well, someone in Arizona is as likely as not to kill themselves a jaguar.