Former friends & foes unsurprised by Sinema’s defection from Democrats
Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced Friday morning that she was leaving the Democratic Party, a move that was not surprising to political observers and longtime former allies and foes of the senior senator who are now looking ahead to 2024.

Departure: Sinema leaves Democrats, the sky is blue, Arizona is hot
News flash: U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema pulls an attention-seeking move to make herself so much more super-important. Or not. And my hot take: Eyeroll. Of course she did.

Pima County finishes recount of ballots in Arizona AG, schools chief races
Pima County officials have completed their recount in the election for Arizona attorney general and superintendent of public instruction, sending the results of the review of nearly 400,000 ballots to the Secretary of State's Office on Friday.

Claytoonz: Sinema's lone howl
Just as Democrats got that one-seat cushion from Raphael Warnock’s victory over Herschel Walker Tuesday night, Arizona's Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has to do this.

Brittney Griner’s release raises questions about lingering impact of Russian penal colony imprisonment
As many celebrated the news of Brittney Griner’s release Thursday, others addressed the conditions of Russian penal colonies, raising questions about the lingering impact that could have on the WNBA star.

Claytoonz: Griner back in the game
I’m extremely happy that Brittney Griner is coming home after spending the past eight months in a Russian prison for bringing vape cartridges containing less than a gram of cannabis oil into the fascist country. Vladimir Putin made Griner his political prisoner.

Arizona voters split tickets, citing protecting elections & preventing another January 6 insurrection
Protecting elections and a backlash to the failed January 6 insurrection drove Republican and independent voters to split their tickets, giving Democrats in top races the support they needed to pull off unexpected victories, according to new polling data.

Advocates urge Sinema, Tillis to move Dream Act forward
A bipartisan proposal at the federal level is a last minute push to create a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers before the start of the new Congressional session, as some immigrants who entered the country as children face an uncertain future as litigation over its legality continues.

How financial barriers stifle formerly incarcerated people
Each year, the more than 600,000 people released from state and federal prisons nationwide face a range of financial barriers that together can have devastating consequences for individuals coming back into the community, and their families.

‘C’ you later: Cannabis sales soar, but don’t threaten Arizona’s 5 C’s yet
Sales of marijuana in Arizona soared to $1.6 billion in 2021, just one year after recreational pot was legalized in the state, making Arizona second only to California for retail sales that year.

How Christmas became an American holiday tradition, with a Santa Claus, gifts & a tree
While Europeans participated in religious ceremonies to celebrate the birth of Jesus for centuries, Christmas trees and gift-giving on Dec. 24 in Germany did not spread to other European Christian cultures until the end of the 18th century and came to North America in the 1830s.

Masks urged as pre-holiday ‘tripledemic’ of flu, COVID & RSV races through U.S.
As the holidays near and health care facilities grapple with a "tripledemic" of viral respiratory infections, people are being urged to consider donning masks and calling out sick. Nearly 10% of weekly deaths as of Dec. 1 were attributed to pneumonia, flu or COVID-19. And that was with Thanksgiving barely in the rear view.

For Black families in Phoenix, child welfare investigations a constant threat
From 2015 to 2019, the last full year of federal child welfare statistics available before the pandemic, DCS investigated the family lives of 1 of every 3 Black children in Maricopa County, creating a system so omnipresent among Black families that it has created a communitywide dread.

Too big of a job: Why Maricopa County’s ballot printers failed on Election Day
As Maricopa County investigates what exactly caused machines to reject thousands of voters’ ballots on Election Day, an analysis of technical evidence found that local officials may have pushed the county’s ballot printers past their limits.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has left Democratic Party, registers as an independent
Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona’s senior U.S. senator, has left the Democratic Party and re-registered as an independent - a move that has immediate political implications for Democrats, who this week won a 51-seat majority in the Senate.

Pima County greenlights land lease for $1.2 billion battery cell factory
The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve a lease with American Battery Factory, which plans to spend $1.2 billion to start making battery cells in Tucson and says the company plans to bring in 1,000 jobs with average salaries of $65,000.

Christy: In or out? County attorney, city of Tucson must help anti-crime efforts in dealing with homeless
"While homelessness itself is not a crime, those living on the streets are causing much of the vandalism, theft, drug dealing and use, public indecency, physical attacks, and other illicit and illegal behaviors." — Supervisor Steve Christy

So many Black & Hispanic kids suspended for missing school, it could violate civil rights law
Arizona students are suspended for not showing up to class - because they arrive late, leave campus midday or fail to make it at all - and the data shows, Black, Latino and Native American students are frequently overrepresented among those blocked from class for missing class.

Overrepresentation of Black, Hispanic students among those suspended for missing school could violate civil rights law
Arizona students are suspended for not showing up to class - because they arrive late, leave campus midday or fail to make it at all - and the data shows, Black, Latino and Native American students are frequently overrepresented among those blocked from class for missing class.

Marriage equality bill heads to Biden’s desk following bipartisan U.S. House vote
The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved a marriage equality bill Thursday that would ensure same-sex and interracial couples continue holding many of the rights they have now, should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the cases that established those constitutional protections.

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