In early August, a friend of mine invited me to like the Facebook group entitled “Stand Against Barstool Sports Rape Culture.”
It didn’t take much digging to figure out why my friend Kat Stratford had created this group. Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy has quite Internet rap sheet when it comes to sexist behavior and raunchy, misogynist comments about women. With boobs, butts, beers, and blackout parties, Portnoy built the “bro culture” and Barstool Sports. What started as a Boston fantasy sports and gambling newsletter and blog has become a multimillion-dollar, multimedia sports, pop-culture and gaming conglomerate.
On July 27, 2021, Portnoy announced on Twitter that the University of Arizona had offered him a “unicorn deal” by choosing Barstool Sports as the new naming sponsor of the heretofore lackluster Arizona Bowl, which is played at Arizona Stadium on New Year’s Eve. They will not only get multi-year naming privileges and notoriety through the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, the deal with the University also gives Barstool exclusive broadcast rights to the game. Bye, bye, CBS TV.
Exactly one month later on August 27, 2021 the Arizona Department of Gaming announced 18 of the state’s sports betting licenses and their corporate sportsbook partners. Phoenix Raceway was awarded an online sports betting license, and Barstool Sports is their partner. This contract allows Barstool Sports to run bets on the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl during the game.
Continue reading Podcast: Arizona Bowl: Using Sex to Sell Football & Gaming (video)
If you followed my Legislative video updates during the 2021 session, you already know that it was a grueling session that lasted two months longer than the 100-day target for Legislative sessions in Arizona. Republicans generally prefer to push bills through the process as soon as possible before the people catch wind of what they are proposing and show up to protest.
Why did the Republicans drag out this session? Because they spent two months twisting members’ arms on the budget and making individual backroom deals to buy votes.
With their extreme hubris and entitlement on full display during the 2021 session, Republican Legislators acted as if their one vote margin was a mandate to impose authoritarian government and crushing austerity on future generations, while suppressing the vote, further reducing women’s rights, and secretly pumping up mandatory sentencing. (The failed mandatory sentencing laws that Republicans unconstitutionally stuffed into the budget were discussed in Episode 1 of this podcast.)
The result was that some of the most extreme bills proposed in my five years in the Arizona House were debated and passed — or inappropriately shoved into the budget. Stuffing multiple Republican Legislators’ failed pet bills into the budget just to buy their votes on the Flat Tax, the alternative tax for small business, and other fiscally irresponsible ideas is a dangerous trend. Instead of negotiating with the 29 Democrats in the House, the 31 Republicans did everything they could to pass laws to take away the financial benefit of Prop 208 Invest in Ed to public education and automatically eliminate more than one billion dollars a year in new tax revenue from future budgets.
Continue reading Podcast: Arizonans Fight Back Against #AZGOP with Six Referenda (video)
The United States is about 15 months out from the November 2022 election. At this juncture, there is a lot of drama going on in this country and in the state of Arizona. Social media is awash with lies, conspiracy theories, outrage memes, and anti-science rhetoric on multiple topics. Mainstream news outlets like the New York Times, National Public Radio, and AZ Central attempt to point out factual inaccuracies, but it is next to impossible to keep up with the volume, when the liars include the former president, his attorney and many elected officials. [Hear this commentary at the beginning of my podcast, linked below.]
There is a segment of the Republican Party that still refuses to accept the results of the November 2020 election. President Joe Biden’s win in Arizona and the involvement of many Arizona elected officials in the “Stop the Steal” movement and the January 6 insurrection put our state in the vortex of the manufactured 2020 election controversy. For months, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Senator Warren Petersen have drawn out the discredited audit of Maricopa County ballots by the Cyber Ninjas. The nation is watching as “fraudit” volunteers examine actual paper ballots to look for bamboo threads and watermarks and follow up on election conspiracy theories. Meanwhile millions of dollars is pouring in from outside sources to support these efforts and copycat efforts in other states to discredit fair elections that were audited multiple times. The Fann and Petersen fraudit is a dangerous game.
Continue reading Podcast: The State of Politics in Arizona (video)
Although Democrats make up 48% of the Arizona Legislature and represent more than 50% of the state’s population, Arizona Republicans crafted the next fiscal year’s ~$13 billion budget — complete with a fiscally dangerous Flat Tax and $2 billion in tax cuts for wealthy cronies — behind closed doors with a only a handful of their members.
It’s no wonder that it is June 24, 2021, and we have no budget. They have been twisting their members’ arms and cutting deals to stuff everyone’s failed legislation into the budget to buy votes. This is no way to run a government.
It makes me wonder how much money and what special interest groups are behind the Republican plans to destroy the state’s economy, the public school system, and our mail-in voting system — while cementing power for the powerful — all in one Legislative session.
The Republican budget completely ignores the needs of the people of Arizona and the desires of the voters. Voters said they wanted the rich to pay their fair share in taxes to support public education when they voted overwhelmingly for Prop 208 Invest in Ed in 2020. They also said overwhelmingly that they did not want expansion of empowerment scholarships (ESAs AKA private school vouchers) when they voted against Prop 305 in 2018.
Continue reading Roots of Arizona Libertarianism Can Be Found in 1950s Virginia (video)
Arizona House Democrats denied quorum on June 22, stalling the Republican budget and the Flat Tax for third time.
June 22 was day 163 of the Arizona Legislature. The Legislature’s target end date is 100 days. Republicans have been twisting (breaking?) arms for two months to pass their extreme ideological budget. Every version of their budget has made it worse because they are inserting failed bills into the budget to buy votes from the bill sponsors.
Every version of this budget and all of the amendments were negotiated amongst a small group of Republicans behind closed doors. If the Republicans want to pass this budget with only Republican votes, they are going to have to have all of their members in the House to make quorum. The inconvenient truth is that some of them are out of state.
You can read these bills on request to speak and make comments on the azleg website. We are adjourned until 10 AM on Thursday, June 25.
Continue reading #AZHouse Dems Deny Quorum, Stalling Budget Temporarily (video)
The Republican budget — with the financially irresponsible Flat Tax, several other tax giveaways and miscellaneous failed bills stuffed into it to buy votes — is on the agenda today, June 22, 2021.
Here we go again. This will be the third time that the House has debated versions of the largest tax overhaul in Arizona history. Is the third time the charm? Have the few Republican holdouts like Senators Paul Boyer and Kelly Townsend and Rep. David Cook now sold out to Governor Doug Ducey, ALEC and the Chamber of Commerce?￼ Have all the votes been bought to pass this expensive collection of bad ideas? Looks like it.
If you are on Twitter, you can see that Ducey is effusive about how amazing the Flat Tax will be for economic growth in Arizona and job creation. Don’t buy the lie. This tax giveaway plan is for Arizona’s 1%. They don’t want to pay the 3.5% Invest in Ed fee to support public education; Ducey and the Arizona Republican Party vowed to fix that inconvenient voter-initiated problem for the greedy. Approximately 30,000 Arizonans will benefit from the tax breaks and special interest pork in this budget.
Those 30,000 people will make bank on the Flat Tax. Governmental giveaways from the Republican Party will enable them to buy a new boat or an extra car every year thanks to their tax savings in this budget. The other 7.2 million Arizonans will be able to buy an extra car wash or a couple movie tickets per year with our tax break.
Continue reading #AZ Republicans Propose Irresponsible Flat Tax Budget for 3rd Time (video)