Former Iran-Trained Badr Corps Members Arrested in Arizona, Accused of Hiding Past

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Wikipedia
Badr Brigade flag
Three foreign nationals arrested in Arizona last week are accused of hiding their past membership in an Iran-trained Iraqi militia.

A 10-count federal indictment filed on February 18 states that Hadi Assi Mubarak and his two sons, Haidar Hadi Assi Mubarak and Ali Hadi Mubarak, (a.k.a. Jihad Hadi Mubarak), failed to mention their former membership in the Badr Corps on immigration forms.

The three men and a fourth suspect , Wahida Juma Odah, were taken into custody "without incident" on Thursday, according to the FBI.

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Would a Texting Ban Make Arizona's Roads Safer?

Categories: News

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Paul Oka/Flickr

For nine years running, state senators Steve Farley and Andy Biggs have been duking it out over a ban on texting while driving.

Farley, who's authored a proposal annually since 2007, insists that Arizona needs a law to pressure people to quit texting behind the wheel -- a habit that's comparable to driving drunk. While 84 percent of drivers agree it's perilous, according to a recent report from the AAA Foundation for Safety, about three in 10 people still do it.

"We need to strengthen the cop in all of our heads," the Democrat from Tucson says. "People won't stop until they know they're in danger of getting busted."

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50 Reasons Phoenix Is the Best City in the United States

Categories: List This

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In our opinion, Phoenix is the best city in America.

Check out 50 reasons:

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Arizona Lawmakers Back to Abortion Politics in 2015

Categories: I'm Only a Bill

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Matthew Hendley
Despite Arizona having some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, abortion is still on the minds of lawmakers.

The Arizona Senate on Thursday passed a bill, Senate Bill 1318, to prevent health insurance coverage of abortion if the coverage was purchased through the Affordable Care Act.

Jodi Liggett, the public policy director of Planned Parenthood Arizona, says in a statement, "Instead of focusing on balancing the budget, fixing our ailing child safety system, or preventing unintended pregnancies and thus reducing the need for abortion, extremist legislators are again continuing a campaign to limit women's access to health care."

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Jeff Flake's Son, Daughter-in-Law Going After Arpaio, County for $8 Million

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My, how the canine crazies will howl.

Actually, they're howling already, because on Thursday, Austin and Logan Flake, the son and daughter-in-law of U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, submitted a notice of claim to Maricopa County and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, demanding $8 million for their wrongful indictment in last year's Green Acre dog-boarding tragedy.

More than 20 dogs died from heatstroke after an air conditioning unit, which had been cooling the 9-by12-foot room the dogs were in, went on the fritz in the incident at the Gilbert facility.

Though initially described by one sheriff's deputy as a "horrible, tragic accident," the case quickly turned into a witch hunt, with the media and the public stirred up by Arpaio and seeking the hides of the owners of the home-based business, MaLeisa and Todd Hughes, and of the Flakes, who had been minding Green Acre while the Hugheses were away.

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ASU Study Challenges Teen Gang Stereotypes

Categories: News

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Chris Yarzab/Flickr

Everything you've heard about teen gangs is wrong.

That's the basic conclusion of a new study from Arizona State University.

"You think gang and you think 'boys in the hood', urban, minority boys living in bad neighborhoods," said Gary Sweeten, an associate professor of criminology and co-author of the report, which was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health this week. "But that's actually not where most of these gang members are coming from."

While poor minorities are more likely to join gangs, the majority of gang members are non-Hispanic whites who don't come from impoverished homes, Sweeten found. Nearly 30 percent are girls.

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Mark Brnovich Says "No" to Arizona Dreamers, Launches Appeal of License Ruling

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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich
Mark Brnovich wants to put the brakes on driver's licenses for Arizona's Dreamers.

The newly elected Arizona attorney general launched an appeal today to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, hoping to overturn an order last month that forces compliance with President Obama's executive action on immigration.

The move comes after this week's ruling by a federal judge in Texas that puts a temporary halt to Obama's plans to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

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Top 10 Famous Arizona Executions

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Wikipedia
Gallows in Tombstone, Arizona
Arizona has carried out some of the most high-profile, newsworthy or just plain messed-up executions in the country.

With the combination of Wild West, big-city Southwest, a conservative penchant for capital punishment and a dash of incompetence, Arizona's death-penalty history is more interesting than most.

Take our quick trip to the end:

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Maricopa County Mugshots of the Week: Signature Looks

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At the end of the week, we bring you a roundup of visitors to the desert's own Fourth Avenue Jail. To be considered for our Maricopa County mugshots of the week, get arrested, strike a pose, and we'll take care of the rest.

This week, we've got some real signature looks, from fashion and tattoos, to some guy who has his entire face colored blue. Enjoy.

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New Videos Released of ASU Professor Ersula Ore's Arrest

Categories: ASU

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Arizona State University
Three new videos of the arrest of Ersula Ore have surfaced, showing different perspectives of the infamous take-down and allowing viewers to hear the concern of witnesses.

Arizona State University released the videos following a public-records request by New Times. Last week, ASU Officer Stewart Ferrin resigned, allowing the university to release records it previously had deemed legally protected.

In the first video, witness John Sinodis captures the arrest in full detail:

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Arizona Prison-Reform Settlement Approved by Judge

Categories: News

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Matthew Hendley
Big-time reforms are in store for Arizona prisons after a federal judge approved a settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 34,000 prisoners in the state.

The lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Prison Law Office over the conditions at Arizona's prisons was set to go to trial last year, but this settlement prevented the trial, as the state has agreed to a variety of health care and prison-condition reforms.

At the time the settlement was reached in October, David Fathi, the director of the ACLU's National Prison Project, told New Times, "It's one of the largest, if not the largest settlement in a prison-conditions case in recent years."

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Effort Under Way by Arizona Lawmakers to Ban Common Core

Categories: I'm Only a Bill

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Jorge Royan
An effort is under way by Arizona lawmakers to ban the state's implementation of the controversial Common Core curriculum in schools.

Arizona's House Education Committee voted Wednesday to approve such a ban, and, of course, such a ban was the cornerstone of the campaign run by newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas.

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When It Comes to Identification, Prisoners Are Held in Higher Esteem Than Migrants

Categories: Cover Story

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Eduardo Pym
Esther Escalante has the chaste presence of a church lady, which, in fact, she is. Her husband is pastor at Phoenix Tabernacle in South Phoenix.

The Tabernacle is a Pentecostal church that mixes hellfire with live music (including an accordian played in a way that would have terrified Lawrence Welk). The congregants carry Bibles and tambourines, and when the minister sings, "I'll Fly Away," 600 voices join in jubilee. The Sunday preaching goes on from 9 until 11:15 a.m., at which point the minister begins a laying-on of hands to literally drive out demons possessing dozens of members of the church.

One recent Sunday, the preacher asked God's help in returning Hector's stolen car.

The churchgoers, as well as Esther and her husband, are mostly migrants.

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Arizona's Speeders Could Get Much Cheaper Tickets

Categories: I'm Only a Bill

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inkiboo
Arizona lawmakers are currently considering a proposal that would significantly lower the price of a speeding ticket for some speeders.

The proposal, House Bill 2662, would expand the use of one of Arizona's odder laws, which is the ban on the "waste of finite resources," which comes with a ticket that costs about $15.

Of course, there's a catch -- this can only be used when the driver is going between 1 and 10 miles per hour above the speed limit.

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Alleged Child Molester Chris Simcox Representing Self at March 2 Trial

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Chris Simcox, former minuteman leader and alleged child molester, is looking to test that old saw about how any defendant who acts as his own attorney "has a fool for a client."

According to a February 12 filing in Maricopa County Superior Court, Simcox wants to fire his public defenders and play Perry Mason during his scheduled March 2 trial before Judge Jose Padilla in Phoenix.

Simcox's request to the court states that "after conferring with his assigned attorneys in this matter," the man whose detractors have labeled "the Little Prince" is invoking "his right to represent himself for all further proceedings, including the jury trial set in this matter."

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Diane Douglas Doesn't Prevent "Fired" Employees From Returning to Work

Categories: News

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Matthew Hendley
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas isn't immediately escalating the feud she caused by attempting to fire two employees of the Arizona Board of Education last week.

Douglas' move was overturned by Governor Doug Ducey last week, as Ducey said legal counsel advised him Douglas didn't have the power to fire those employees. Douglas fired back at Ducey, her fellow Republican, and reporters waited outside the Board of Education offices yesterday morning to see if the two "fired" employees had any problems going back to work.

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Arizona's Pro-Immigrant Forces Confident Obama Will Win on Immigration Order

Categories: News

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White House/Pete Souza
A federal judge in Texas may have temporarily blocked President Obama's executive order that shields more people from deportation, but local pro-immigration forces are unfazed.

Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego joined state lawmakers and immigrant-rights groups at the Arizona Capitol today to tell people who are eligible for Obama's deferred-action program not to be discouraged by the ruling, because they don't expect it to be blocked for long.

"Justice has been delayed, but victory is certain," Democratic Senator Martin Quezada said.

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White Supremacists Target ASU Professor and His Family Over "Whiteness" Course

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An Arizona State University professor and his family are being targeted by white supremacists and neo-Nazis over a controversial class he's teaching called U.S. Race Theory and the Problem of Whiteness.

Lee Bebout, an associate professor of English at ASU, has faced fierce criticism after Fox News anchor Elizabeth Hasselbeck picked up on a recent report on the class from ASU student Lauren Clark, a correspondent for the right-wing website CampusReform.org.

Conservatives have lambasted Bebout for engaging in what they see as a kind of pointy-headed reverse racism, and for daring to suggest that the concept of "whiteness" -- as defined by a history of slavery, genocide, and Jim Crow -- may still play a role in American society.

The ASU course also has garnered the ire of white supremacists, who have inundated both the Tempe campus and the neighborhood where Bebout lives with handouts featuring his photo, labeling him "anti-white."

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Officer Stewart Ferrin Resigns; ASU Reversed Findings of Second Incident

Categories: ASU

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ASU Officer Stewart Ferrin resigned on Monday in the latest fallout over his May 20 arrest of Professor Ersula Ore.
Arizona State University Police Officer Stewart Ferrin resigned on Monday, about nine months after video of his violent arrest of a black professor went viral.

Although ASU officials had said previously that Ferrin's arrest of Ersula Ore on May 20 was proper, they flip-flopped when the public weighed in following the dash-cam video's release.

In January, in another apparent nod to public pressure, ASU reversed an earlier finding that Ferrin had violated no policies during a May 15 encounter between the officer and a graduate student, records obtained by New Times show.

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Arizona Health Director Will Humble Quits

Categories: News

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Arizona Department of Public Services
Arizona Director of Health Services Will Humble speaks at the Arizona Adverse Childhood Experiences Consortium Presentation in March 2014.

Arizona's top health official will step down March 3 after 23 years with the state.

Will Humble submitted his resignation to Governor Doug Ducey on Friday.

"This has been an awesome job," he wrote Monday on the Arizona Department of Health Services Director's Blog. However, he continued, "Careers have a life cycle. Figuring out when it's time to turn the page and move on to something else is a hard thing to do. That time has come for me."

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