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Happy Birthday Tucson

      The Old Pueblo turns 237 years old tomorrow. In 1775 the Spanish Army moved their Presidio north from Tubac to Tucson for the protection of the citizenry from Apaches. The August 20 date comes from the official report of Hugo O'Oconnor, the Spanish officer who laid out the site for the fort.

I, Hugo Oconnor, knight of the order of Calatrava, colonel of infantry in His Majesty's armies and Commandant Inspector of the frontier posts of New Spain, Certify: that having conducted the exploration prescribed in Article Three of the New Royal Regulation of Presidios issued by His Majesty on the Tenth of September of 1772 for the moving of the Company of San Ignacio de Tubac in the Province of Sonora, I selected and marked out in the presence of Father Francisco Garces and Lieutenant Juan de Carmona a place known as San Augustin de Tucson as the new site of the Presidio. It is situated at a distance of eighteen leagues from Tubac, fulfills the requirements of water, pasture, and wood, and effectively closes the Apache Frontier. The designation of the new presidio becomes official with the signatures of myself, Father Francisco Garces, and Lieutenant Juan Carmona, at this Mission of San Xavier del Bac, on this Twentieth Day of August of the Year 1775.
     Of course, it's Eurocentric as Hell to use this date, since there had already been an Indian village at the foot of A Mountain for ages, but the Tohono O'Odham neglected to note the actual date of that settlement's founding. The Tucson Presidio Trust maintains a small museum downtown in the north-east corner of the original fort.

                                                   ▼ more below ...  ▼

The Celebration

      The custom in Catholic countries was, and probably still is, to celebrate a person's Saint's Day rather than their actual birthday. El Dia de San Augustín, Tucson's Saint's Day, falls on August 28 and was celebrated with a big fiesta in the Old Days. Here are the entries in George Hand's diary from 1875:

Aug. 27 Fine day. The Feast of San Augustín opened splendid. Jerry and I went up, drank, ate, and walked around till one in the morning. Gambling was rather light, but chuso, as usual, had a big crowd. [ Chuso was a Mexican form of roulette.]

Aug. 28 Got tight before breakfast and kept so all day. The mail came in - received a letter from Dave Davis. Went with Jerry, Bob, and Ferg to see the sights on the plaza. Had supper, drank beer, and saw everything. Had a good time. Ferg and I came home at 12 o'clock.

     This year, some will be celebrating Dia de San Augustín, some won't. Tuesday, Aug. 28 is Primary Day in Arizona.

David and Goliath

      The CD-2 primary, Heinz vs. Barber, is the one most of us will be watching. Barber has a huge lead in the all-important cash primary ☛  http://azstarnet.com/... The two candidates will only face each other in one "debate." That "candidate forum" has already taken place and will be broadcast tomorrow night, Monday Aug. 20, at 6:30 P.M. on a special edition of KUAT's Arizona Illustrated. I assume it will be simulcast on KUAZ 89.1 FM. The Star has the transcript and printed the part of it dealing with guns, high-capacity magazines and lunatics HERE.

Clip or Magazine ?

      If you read that last link, you'll see that in the first sentence the reporter uses the phrase "high capacity ammunition containers."  The reason for that bit of verbal gymnastics is that the reporter knows that there is a difference between a clip and a magazine but is unsure which to use. Gun rights advocates will mock you mercilessly if you use the incorrect term so, as a community service, I will now clear up any confusion.
    This is a Mauser C-96, an early semi-automatic pistol. It has an integral box magazine, that's it right in front of the trigger guard. The magazine is where the bullets go, it is part of the gun. That thing sticking up with the bullets in it is a stripper clip. The clip makes it easier, and faster, to load bullets into the magazine. Here's a little snippet from Sergei Eisenstein's classic film October which illustrates the process of loading a rifle magazine using a stripper clip. Note that after the magazine is loaded, the clip is discarded.

         

      The confusion arises because, since the beginning of the 20th century, semi-automatic pistols have used detachable magazines. Here's a picture of an obsolete American military pistol with one of its magazines and a cutaway showing how the magazine fits in the grip. The magazine remains in the gun until it is removed.










     Now, this is a Glock with an extended magazine. See how the magazine extends below the butt of the gun ? This is how lunatics can get off 30 shots without reloading, this is what the argument is about. Extended magazines used to be illegal under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in '04. I don't see why they shouldn't be banned again. I also favor a 2-week waiting period between the time a person orders a gun and when they can take delivery. The purpose of the waiting period would be to allow an in-depth background check of the kind that might have stopped Jared Loughner. Neither of these positions is considered reasonable by the NRA. It's not about taking anybody's rights away, it's about public safety. It's about my right to move about the country without being gunned down by some lunatic. Screw the NRA.

That's Effed-Up

      So, there was this article, Calling Costs, in last Sunday's Star. CenturyLink, formerly Qwest, formerly something else, wants to raise their rates for land-line telephone service.
The reason ?

     CenturyLink says it needs the pricing flexibility to compete on a level playing field with competitors.
     Got that ? They want to compete by raising their rates. Now, I'm no economist, but it seems to me that if you want more customers, you might think about lowering your rates.
Isn't that what competition means ? Apparently not.
     Fenn, CenturyLink regional vice-president for public policy, said the settlement will help the company reach parity with competitors, reduce unneeded regulatory burdens, and allow the company to be more responsive to consumer demand.
      In its regulatory filings, CenturyLink says it's been hammered by competition ...
     Since they are a natural monopoly, the phone company is regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission. The ACC is an elected body that is supposed to keep corporations from sucking the blood out of Arizonans. What did these guys do ? They approved the rate increase. From Wednesday's Star: CenturyLink gets approval to raise rates.
    The commission approved the agreement 4-1, with Democrat Sandra Kennedy dissenting. Paul Newman, the five-member panel's other Democrat and the only commissioner from Southern Arizona, voted for the plan despite some reservations.
     "It should be a win-win for the consumer (and the company). ... That's yet to be seen, but I hope it will be," Newman said.
     It "should" be a win-win, he "hopes" it will be ? What a butt-hole. I guess this shows the importance of every race on the ballot, including Corporation Commission. Unfortunately, I think I might already have voted for Newman when I sent my ballot in. I'll be keeping an eye on him, though.

End the Drug War

      Javier Sicilia's Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity stopped in Tucson Thursday on its way to New York and then DC. Sicilia is a poet from Cuernavaca whose son was killed in the Drug War. He's been leading these caravans since 2011. First from Cuernavaca to Mexico City, then one from Mexico City to Ciudad Juarez, and now this one across the US. He would like to see the US stop giving money to the Mexican Army under the Merida Initiative and to do something about US demand for drugs. The Mexican Army, under lame-duck President Felipe Calderón, has been waging war against its own people. This should certainly not be aided. On the demand issue, it's tempting to just say legalize recreational drugs. That would take a lot of the profit out of trafficking. I'm not sure though. Pot ? Hell yes, legalize it yesterday. But that's only half of the problem. The big money is in the harder drugs; heroin, cocaine and meth. Cocaine and heroin maybe. With better treatment for addiction they might be legalized. But I'm not quite ready to legalize meth. It's just too destructive.

Items of Local Interest

In case you missed them.

U of A, U of A, U of A -  Hooray for the UofA, it was their HiRise camera that caught that spectacular picture of the Curiosity Mars rover floating to the surface under its parachute.

That Chick-fil-A Guy -  The guy who made a video of himself hassling a girl at the Chick-fil-A drive-through was a Tucsonan. He got fired from his job and then made a video apology.

End of an Era - Longtime Tucson establishment Jack's Original Barbeque on 22nd served its last meal yesterday. Jack's was the original, the first BBQ joint in town and the one that inspired me to learn BBQing. Jack's prices were just too high. I can turn out a rack of ribs, beans, slaw and a homemade sauce for less than $20. Try that Jack.

Homecoming - Gabby Giffords is back in town. She and her hubby have bought a house in the El Encanto neighborhood. That's just about a mile and a million and a half dollars from where I live. I wonder if I'll run into her at Fry's.

That's All for Now

      Thanks for reading, don't forget to tip, your turn now. Talk to me.

Originally posted to Azazello on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 04:12 PM PDT.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks and Community Spotlight.

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