Thursday, May 31, 2007

More on Mitt

I fear for the future of this planet. This guy is a candidate for president. The following is mostly based on an article in Time Magazine.

Someone asked Mitt Romney to name his favorite book. He replied Battlefield Earth.

Forget for a moment that Battlefield Earth was written by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology. Forget for a moment that a presidential candidate is citing an inane science fiction piece as his top choice in world literature. I’m not saying literary taste is a prerequisite for the job, but this book is CRAP!!

I can understand a conservative Christian developing an appreciation for the works of CS Lewis and his Christian themed novels, such as the Space Trilogy or the Narnia Chronicles. Like them or not, they have literary merit. His Mere Christianity is also a respectable piece.

I will criticize no one’s orthography, but Battlefield Earth is garbage. If the dear reader does not believe me, spare yourself the book and rent the movie, produced by John Travolta, who after trying for ten years finally had enough clout to produce the cerebral sewage. The film is considered one of the worst movies ever made, described by one of the IMDB comments as "mind-bendingly stupid."

Then, after remarking he had been a hunter all his life and called on it since he’d never had a license, Mitt downgraded his blood lust to rodenator status: I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then. More than two times.

That his wife gave some money to Planned Parenthood many years ago is no big deal. More disturbing is the complete lack of hesitation in dismissing her views: Her positions are not terribly relevant to my campaign.

Speaking at a commencement at Regents University, Romney declared that in France marriages came in seven year terms. The guy has a thing about France, actually voicing a desire for the Romney campaign slogan to be, "First, not France" until campaign staff pointed out that it was stupidest f***ing campaign slogan in the history of American politics. The seven year marriage term is complete fiction, of course, written in (you guessed it) a science fiction novel penned by Mormon author Orson Scott Card.

So if we elect this guy, we are transitioning from a president who cannot read fiction to one who reads fiction, and not just fiction, but BAD FICTION, and then confuses it with reality.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Medved, Israel, Holocaust, Terrorism

Chose to go to Christ Church last night and listen to Michael Medved present four common lies about Israel and the Middle East. 1) That the issue between Israel and the Palestinians has anything to do with the current war on terror. 2) That the issue between Israel and the Palestinians has anything to do with land. 3) That Palestinians once had an organized state of which they were robbed and have the right to re-establish. 4) that Israel was created out of the Holocaust.

The first three I consider pedestrian, and the dear reader is most invited to verify the facts. One piece of trivia worth noting is that Yassar Arafat was NOT a Palestinian. He was Egyptian.

The fourth lie, regarding the relationship between WWII, the Holocaust, and the creation of the state of Israel, did educate your humble blogger. I was not aware that long before WWII movements and sentiments existed to create a Jewish state in the area of what was once Judea, where the famous war that began in 68 A.D. and resulted in the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. took place. In the United States, a work proposing such an act was published in the 1840’s. Talk resurfaced about the idea in the 1890’s.

A significant Jewish population was already in the region (shocker there), and it was rapidly expanding PRIOR to WWII. For reasons having nothing to do with Europe, Jews were starting to congeal in the area, arriving from the surrounding Middle Eastern countries. When the state was formed in 1948, this migration accelerated to produce the rapid expansion of the population of the state. It had NOTHING to do with Holocaust survivors. In 1950, 95+ percent of Israel’s population consisted of people from the Middle East, not Europe.

Bottom line: This notion that after WWII the victorious allies transported a group of European Jews into the land of Israel to create a state and "displace" Palestinians from "their own land" just isn’t accurate.

Regarding Terrorism, those familiar with this blog may recall my very well read and perhaps problematically intelligent mathematician friend, who found Something Else "utterly incomprehensible" due to "orthographical transgressions beyond the pale of written discourse," has said the following, "If you read one and only one book about terrorism and what is happening in the Middle East, you should read Gilles Kepel’s Jihad, The Trail of Political Islam. Now, I kid my reader not, praise from Thalia is precious indeed. For every book praised, half a dozen to a dozen carcasses of thoroughly eviscerated casualties lie on the floor.

I can promise that Jihad’s orthography will be befitting that of a high school graduate.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What's It Going to Be, Senator Bee?

Tucson, Arizona. Well, a recent post at Stacy's refers to an article at Congressional Quarterly adding fuel to the fire that it will indeed be Tim Bee facing Congresswoman Giffords in her bid for re-election in 2008. Now, I haven't heard, not that he hasn't spoken, on Senator's Bee's positions on Iraq, or health care, though I have heard he understands the value of education (imagine). Given the current firestorm over comprehensive immigration reform, I wonder if anyone can shed light on Senator's Bee's thoughts concerning the recent sparks flying between the Randy's and their bastions and our elected officials in Washington trying to get something done that significantly improves upon the status quo.

Has he spoken or written anything on the subject?

Does Senator Bee favor a path to legal status for the 12+ million already here, or are we to fire up those busses and airplanes? Have the Randy's made any remarks regarding the president of the state senate?

What say ye, Senator Bee?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

NRCC, Web 2.0, and Character

Tucson, Arizona. . Anyone paying the slightest attention has heard of the robo call campaigns the NRCC is starting, with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords early on the list. The NRCC, accurately smelling a difficult 2008 environment, has also produced a website, The Real Democrat Story, that specifically targets 21 freshman democrats across the country. Each freshman gets a page solely dedicated to explaining why s/he is the worst creature ever elected to Congress. Some still have generic templates authored by Ken Spain, who as far as I know is primary manager of the effort. The pages will spin every vote, every statement, and some such as the one addressing our Congresswoman, already have video posted.

Now Spain was formerly Press Secretary to Reps. John Shadegg (R-AZ) and Mike Conaway (R-TX) and became Chief of Staff for Conway. He was Press Secretary for Bush-Cheney 2004 in New Mexico. Early March 2007 he became Press Secretary for the NRCC under Communications Director Jessica Boulanger.

Now, Jessica Boulanger was a former staffer for Tom Delay and under the name Jessica Incitto was Press Secretary for Roy Blunt, and she is the wife of Todd Boulanger, who was a deputy for Jack Abramoff.

Now Spain is no stranger to Web 2.0. Here is a November 2005 interview with him regarding blogging when he was Chief of Staff for Conway.

More recent Spain remarks worth considering are those spoken here about the effort to defeat freshman John Hall in New York’s District 19.

Without question, freshman democrats are going to face a nationwide and coordinated effort to wrestle back their seats into red hands, and the NRCC seems to have chosen someone from a fine cast of characters to manage the effort.

The fundamental question remains, even for 2008. How much do the real people in real neighborhoods pay attention to robo calls and websites? How many people will visit these sites, and of those that do, how many will actually vote differently as a result?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Medved, Cheeseburger Democracy, and Online Confessions

I rarely post about other blogs directly, but I want to second Framer's announcement that Michael Medved will be speaking in Tucson next Tuesday (link has details). I might go. This guy is no idiot, and the subject "The Four Big Lies about Israel and the Middle East Conflict" is interesting.

Well, the results of the Memorial Day picnic cheeseburger and chips poll are in. For the GOP, Giuliani won the "Who would you most like to have a cheeseburger and chips with on Memorial Day?" Among the blue candidates, Barack Obama got the nod over Hillary. Given the functionality of the current system, I am not sure this method would elect inferior candidates.

A cheeseburger democracy would never elect Dick Cheney. I think a cheeseburger with David Nolan would be very interesting as would one with Frank Antoneri. You couldn't pay me to eat a meal with Karen Johnson. Her pistol would make me nervous.

Of course, cheeseburger elections pose the danger that our next President would be an American Idol contestant, a desperate housewife or even more terrifying, Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck.

Well, the Flamingo Road Church has taken up the notion of confessing one's sins at a website. It allows anonymous submission and everyone else can see everyone's confessions(?). The Vatican has not submitted a press release regarding on line confession functionality. Apparently there is disagreement regarding implementation issues and God's thoughts on the matter.

Some suggest the supreme being's omniscience and omnipotence imply the Lord can "go with the flow" regarding any particular implementation, whether it is one central website for the entire Catholic population of the planet, with user names and passwords supplied to clergy who log in daily to read and respond to submitted confessions. Others favor decentralizing the functionality to regions or even individual churchs to implement websites per their own selected protocol.

The blog approach, which allows all posters to read each others submissions, is almost universally rejected. Submissions will have to be private to the targeted clergy. The largest concern, of course, is security. Secret recordings at confession booths are rare. All emails would be able to be stored. Someone hacking or in some other way accessing hundreds of thousands of confessions would shake confidence in the system. Also, emails can be forwarded with serious implications.

A spokesman for the church who refused to be identified said, "This will not happen quickly."

Intense prayer has directed energy towards the feasibility that the Supreme Being as well as Christ each have His own Divine Website and Holy Email Address allowing believers direct access to the higher powers. This idea has drawn sharp criticism from most church officials, mostly out of the concern that they have no idea how either deity would respond to the messages submitted.

Webmasters and computer science experts also expressed concerns that the deities may create content beyond the means of current technology, but theologians reached wide agreement that both God and Christ would respect the limitations of existing technology.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Addressing Sirocco and Liza Only

XACT Assembly language to C transformation

A company called Applied Conversion Technologies trademarked the name for a tool that transforms assembly language to C, which is part of "X4MR based Automated Code Transformation" (XACT). They do not specify the Assembly language since they have mostly demo's for x86 to C, ULTRIX to C, and a well developed system for CDC469 to C. The CDC469 is/was in Phalanx(Gattling) Naval guns. Their Assembly to C system is designed to handle a simple assembler front-end plug in and internally operate on de-compiling simple C, recognizing larger patterns such as loops, conditional blocks, argument setup, arithmetic and logical expression de-compiling, data table organization. The major setup for a new language is mapping instructions and pseudo-ops to simple C and installing the MACRO syntax/semantics, if any.

This italicized language above is ten years old. Applied Conversion Technologies no longer exists as far as I can tell. Have you heard of Bob Sheff?

My understanding is that folks still write in C if they have to turn extremely tight corners with the least space possible (missile, fighter jet, micro-controllers), since it was created in the days when memory and disk space cost a fortune. I found C remarkably elegant, unbelievably tight and efficient, especially under the craftsmanship of one who knew how to structure the blocks "just right."

The insane GOTO of FORTRAN bought the farm with C and good riddance. C led to C++, and C++ led to Java. Now Java and OOP your humble blogger has spent some time considering. I taught that stuff for Sun in a past life. Yes, you can stop worrying about pointers, but you have to start worrying about threads, and do you have any words on the distinction between Java and C Sharp? Java is for real. Is C Sharp?

The JVM is food for thought.

What is the current status of C and decompiler activity? Is it obsolete? Know anything about XACT and X4MR decompiling into C? What do/did you do in software? Willing to share any info? I would be most grateful.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Well, thanks to commenter Liza I read a fascinating Tom Dispatch article this morning in more detail, and what a fascinating read. The article also links to a page distinguishing the truly terrifying notion of Energo-Fascism.

Click on that link and you can read further details about the scenario currently unfolding on this planet. The scenario includes:

The transformation of the U.S. military into a global oil protection service whose primary mission is to defend America's overseas sources of oil and natural gas, while patrolling the world's major pipelines and supply routes.

The transformation of Russia into an energy superpower with control over Eurasia's largest supplies of oil and natural gas and the resolve to convert these assets into ever increasing political influence over neighboring states.

A ruthless scramble among the great powers for the remaining oil, natural gas, and uranium reserves of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia, accompanied by recurring military interventions, the constant installation and replacement of client regimes, systemic corruption and repression, and the continued impoverishment of the great majority of those who have the misfortune to inhabit such energy-rich regions.

Increased state intrusion into, and surveillance of, public and private life as reliance on nuclear power grows, bringing with it an increased threat of sabotage, accident, and the diversion of fissionable materials into the hands of illicit nuclear proliferators.

Terrific. Regarding surveillance, yes, big brother is watching. I have noticed that every time I post details about the firings of the attorneys, I get a Department of Justice hit at this blog. Stacy has also remarked about being visited by certain government machines from time to time.

A speculation: If we put anywhere close the amount of effort into developing smart alternatives, efficiency, and sustainable methods, we could probably avoid the whole fiasco and maybe even stop cooking the planet.

Oh, wait. I forgot the sole purpose of the totality of human existence was to stuff Dick Cheney's wallet.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Yes, Yes, Yes

President Jimmy Carter speaking at the University of California, Irvine campus in Irvine, Calif., May 3, 2007. In a newspaper interview Mr. Carter rated the Bush administration "the worst in history" for its "overt reversal of America's basic values."

Sometimes people slip and speak what they really think. I love it when this happens. Of course, some of us almost always speak what we really think. That's why we're not elected officials and don't remain in politically sensitive positions for extended periods of time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cars, Alcohol, and Women

A study has been released with the finding that mixing cars, alcohol, and women is dangerous.

They needed to conduct a study to figure that out?

Actually, your humble blogger has learned that mixing even two of the above, let alone all three, can involve considerable risk.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Race to the Hospital

I have already posted on some of James Comey's testimony regarding the firings of the eight attorneys, and this week it got thicker. We learned of a drama exposing the true colors of the administration running this country. It began on March 10, 2004, when a very sick John Ashcroft lay drugged and disoriented after gall bladder surgery at the George Washington University Hospital.

Now with Ashcroft in this condition, Comey is the "acting" Attorney General on his behalf.

On this dark night, Alberto Gonzales and Bush Chief of Staff Andrew Card tried to bypass Comey by secretly rushing to the hospital to get Ashcroft's approval for the NSA eavesdropping program. Well, it turns out that Ashcroft, Robert Mueller (head of FBI) and senior Justice Department aides objected to the legality of the program to where many, including both Ashcroft and Mueller, were threatening to resign over the issue.

Seriously, we had Comey and White House officials racing to this hospital to visit an ill Ashcroft whose wife had forbidden any visitation due to his heavily sedated state. Well, Comey won the race, charging up the stairs, and beat Gonzales and Card by a few minutes, able to warn Ashcroft of the impending visitation. Further, Mueller ordered the FBI agents not to evict Comey if Gonzales or Card tried to have him dismissed. In front of Comey, Ashcroft mustered the strength to declare with conviction to both Card and Gonzales that the eavesdropping program should not continue.

Furious, Gonzales and Card left, calling Comey insisting he come to the White House. This is the night of March 10, 2004. Comey said he would only attend if accompanied by solicitor general Theodore Olsen. This occurred at a dinner, and Olsen, Gonzales, Card, and Comey gnashed teeth. Cheney and his gang wanted the eavesdropping to continue, and would not take no for answer. Card expressed concerns about massive resignations.

Now we move to March 11, the next morning, and our shining W president himself grabbed face time with both Comey and Mueller (separately), "Find a way to make the eavesdropping work so all these people don't resign." (my wording)

So they did.

Comey left the Justice Department in August 2006. I'm sure it was to spend more time with his family.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I See Your Machine - Now Who Are You?

This post is addressed to a single individual in Tucson, Arizona: Firefox 2.0 on a Mac. I won't list the ip address. Of course I am watching and of course this possibility was anticipated.

Care to identify yourself? My gmail address is posted at my profile and my SAIAT email is also online. You know how to reach me without posting a comment in front of everyone. Care to communicate? I won't bite.

This, for the rest of you, is not about Tucson Tom spending a couple hours perusing a post here or there. I am talking about much, much more.

Who are you? Care to talk?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Historical Marker - The Google Search

The anticipated Google search occurred today at 2:37 PM, right on schedule. The second one hit a few hours later. It begins.

The press release hit the Star on this page. They kept it nice, short, and accurate.

The Legislature That's Packing

Defying my until now concept of reality, Arizona Senate President Tim Bee has endorsed the practice of our state lawmakers carrying firearms into the building. His chief of staff, Victor Riches, is quoted, "a state law prohibiting individuals from having firearms in public buildings is 'optional.'"


I no doubt stretch my credibility, so please verify that I kid you not. I am not surprised the issue was raised due to Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, who easily passes muster as double secret probation certified stupid.

I will skip the disconcerting rabbit hole called "optional state law" and instead jump to the visual of the Arizona House of Representatives engaged in heated debate each holstered up with a 9 mm Glock. The linked article above goes on to discuss the safety of the House and Senate buildings, noting that most of the guards are unarmed.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Resignation Press Release Submitted

Tucson, Arizona. Well, what I thought would happen tomorrow has happened today. We have officially sent the press release to the local papers that your humble blogger has indeed tendered his resignation effective at the end of this fiscal year, June 30, 2007.

I was a participant in the Regional Town Hall, and I think The Star's opinion piece is quite good. Those familiar with this blog know that something is going on, or rather, something else.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Word Smith Hell - Day Three

Tucson, Arizona. I am unfortunately unable to provide a full report on today's Town Hall because I could not stay for all of it. I made it to about 11:30.

We started in our groups at 7 AM sharp, most folks arriving earlier to read the draft 46 page document assembled from the 40+ hours aggregate discussion of the five groups over the previous two days. We burned through 85 minutes going over the document in our groups before everyone converged into the big room, all five groups together, to align on the document. This started at 8:40 AM. At 10:10 AM, we were still on page 8. At 10:15 AM, Steve Lynn addressed us all, "If we keep going like this, we will be here until Tuesday."

(Steve Lynn) Then we continued at the same pace, arriving at page 12 by 10:45.

The document is 46 pages long.

At 10:55 AM, your humble blogger could restrain himself no more and stood to address the group, "I have done the math, and if we take no breaks, skip lunch and skip dinner, we will finish this document at 9:00 to 9:30 PM tonight."

This was duly noted, and we kept going. When I left around 11:30 or so, the room had progressed to page 16 or so, but you could tell folks were running out of patience. Hopefully someone stayed and can let us know, but I would speculate they started to discard "picking nits" and managed to finish before too late in the afternoon. Then again, perhaps they are still going.

Lest this appear critical, the reader does not understand. Imagine the commitment and the concern involved when people painstakingly struggle together to produce what is best for the community. Some names I did not know, so I am missing certain people, but a few that stood out as willing to stand up and take the heat were Duff Hearon for his group, Ann Day, Francie Merryman, Mike Proctor, and I am missing several. I believe that city elected officials intentionally stayed away from the microphones except for a rare remark here or there.

Obviously this document will be published for all and rather soon.

Well, your humble blogger's commitment to the eradication of buffel grass in our desert did not make it into the Tucson Regional Town Hall Official Report. My reference to George Kozmetsky's Austin version of the Research Triangle Park in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for which he coined the term "Technopolis" apparently resonated with some folks. I left before they could decide whether this word would stay or go.

Perhaps some of my input regarding the training of adult workers will survive. No doubt there will be critics of this event, but I can promise the reader this: the folks involved worked and worked hard. Very sharp people were involved.

The draft version titled "Realizing the Possibilities" has been supplied to the media, and Teya Vitu's remarks are here. I don't present details of the report because all of these are coming soon. Ernesto Portillo echoes earlier criticisms about the selection of the attendees in his opinion today. Not sure what I think about this.

I consider it a privilege to have been able to interact with the Hedgehog group, a very sharp set of folks highly committed to our community. I don't know who is running against Regina Romero for the Ward 1 seat, but she is serious about making a difference. The list of this group is at a prior post, and they taught me a great deal. It was the "fire hose training" those in my trade know all too well.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Agony, Culture, and Hope - Day Two

Tucson, Arizona. Well, for your humble blogger, today's Town Hall was brutal. I learned that, in fact, EVERYONE had extraordinary passion and more than a mouthful to say about the following question:

How do we increase the number of skilled workers for high wage jobs? What are the obstacles for providing such skills to the current labor pool; and, how can such obstacles be overcome? What role or responsibilities should businesses, governments and educational institutions have in creating and maintaining this type of workforce? How can cooperation and collaboration between these entities be designed and fostered to create and maintain such a workforce?

Well, this tugs at my heart, and I'd been waiting to talk about this since the beginning of the event. However, since everyone had a ton to say, we went around the room. This was positively excruciating and very intense. I am not going to post all that was said, except to remark that it was authentic, intelligent, and unpleasant. Reality in these areas is not cheerful, and this room was far too intelligent to pretend otherwise.

Clarence spoke, "I don't know why people aren't more angry."

The room responded. Yes, we were angry. Usually the room was so cold (particularly in one area) that some people were given blankets. I kid you not, the room temperature soared from about 65 to over 80 during the 90 minute discussion. We all had heat, and I probably had the most. I blasted.

After lunch, the moderator remarked, "I have been asked to manage people's passions."

We discussed in great detail literacy, health care, and education. The literacy issue is frustrating. The health care issue is at best depressing and at worst downright terrifying. Discussing the skills of the local workforce and the ability to earn a good wage in this town? That was a real picker upper.

"We live in a world of increasing despair and loss of hope." Ken Abrahams

This guy just oozed intellect, so I had to ask, "How many degrees do you have?"


The first was in psychology and the second in landscape architecture. The third was graduate work in urban planning or regional planning or something like that. We are talking about a guy who learned all about people, then all about plants, and then how to plan projects involving both.

The experience was rich, painful, rewarding, frustrating, humbling, yet in a certain respect uplifting. The sensation is something like facing the impossible but doing so with a terrific team of people. There is also a very humbling aspect to these last two days.

While wrestling with all of these issues, it was observed, "The Operative Word would be Culture."

Yes, indeed.

(Romero) In a remarkable experience for yours truly, at the very end of the day the subject of blogs came up. Jacqueline Jackson stared right at me. Regina Romero, also very sharp and running for Ward 1 to replace Jose Ibarra, remarked that "some people at this event are blogging about it."

I inquired, and was told that if this event were googled, the blogs about it would show up. I googled the event. We are not talking about skinny branches anymore.

Elvis has left the tree.

Of course we discussed solutions, possibilities, opportunities, and so on, but the aggregate cerebral horsepower of the room could not escape the unavoidable conclusion that the quickest way to produce the most hope and progress as quickly as possible would be to educate the Arizona House of Representatives to a level of literacy that provided an opening for understanding something.

Monday, May 07, 2007

"A Meeting is not a Result" - Day One

Tucson, Arizona. Your humble blogger participated in the Hedgehog group chaired by Warren Prostrollo and recorded by Madeleine Wanslee, who were terrific. These Hedgehog folks are bright and highly informed.

(Nina Trasoff - City Council Member Ward 6)

The Hedgehog Group: Ken Abrahams, Jessica Andrews, Clarence Boykins, Ken "KC" Carter, Mark Clark, Marty Cortez, Jim DeGrood, Michael Duran, Katie Dusenberry, Nicole Gavin, Rodney Glassman, Mary Gruensfelder-Cox, Ellen Hargis, Jacqueline Jackson, Bob Johnson, Marty Laurel, Mike Lupien, David Martinez, Ron Marx, Francie Merryman, Marty Moreno, Laura Penny, Marion Pickens, David Pittman, Curt Reimann, Mike Reuwsaat, Regina Romero, Carl Russell, Nina Trasoff, Ray Woosley.

In the AM we discussed: 1) Best attributes of our community, 2) Arts, Culture, and Recreation, and 3) Downtown.

I didn't say a word this morning.

(Clarence Boykins with Janet) Then for lunch we were treated to a speech from our genius Governor. Of course Janet was fabulous as always, telling the crowd, "A meeting is not a result."

She advised, "Use the Town Hall to begin to create activity leading to solid results."

When asked what were the two greatest issues facing Arizona, the Governor replied, "Education and Growth."

She mentioned the tobacco taxes and acknowledged her opposition to tobacco yet the need for funds from the tax on cigarettes, leading to her slogan, "Buy lots of cigarettes and then throw them out."

We all laughed.

Our Governor actually acknowledged our Republican led State Senate and several local Arizona Senators. She didn't speak as highly of the State House. She fully endorses Giffords desire to have Arizona become the "Persian Gulf of Solar Energy."

In the PM we discussed the environment, water, and transportation. Here I had some things to say, highlighting the threat of non-native vegetation, making damn sure the group got it about buffel grass, and they did. If the final report out includes a line on buffel grass, your humble blogger has made a difference for the community.

(Reuwsaat) I also threw in my two cents about the absurdity of trying to make the desert look like Ohio. Nina Trasoff did point out the progressive water rates but the group agreed this gradation was not aggressive enough to incentivize actual changes in behavior. We all noted that Maricopa is far worse at trying to pretend it is not in the desert. The water conversation was extremely informative. Mike Reuwsaat REALLY knows water, and Ken Abrahams REALLY knows a lot, period. This was the most intelligent conversation I have ever experienced regarding water. Did you know that for every gallon of water delivered to a user, we use two gallons because the system itself leaks that badly?

(Pickens) Marion Pickens and Katie Dusenberry, both probably close to 75 years old, were able to offer extraordinary insight talking to the history of the community. Katie could talk about the sewer system in the sixties.

I cannot speak for the other groups, but this group was very sharp, and the conversation yielded some frank and insightful discussion. I am sure Liza will not be surprised that the group was less than flattering about the Arizona Daily Star and its reporting. The press showed up from time to time. Teya Vitu made an appearance as did another reporter, and a cameraman came in at one point. Teya's 5/4/2007 article about the participants being rather elite is accurate. It will be interesting to see what they print.

(Frances Merryman) I also experienced the most intelligent conversation I've ever had regarding land development and all of the issues associated with land development. Now, keep in mind, I don't know much about land development. I know a lot more now. One interesting remark noted that Pima County's efforts to manage growth has resulted in explosive growth just on the other side of county borders beyond the controls Pima implemented.

Tomorrow we get to your humble blogger's turf, where I am the expert. I look forward to facing the reaction of this very bright group of people when I speak my mind about my area. Tomorrow might have been explosive, but the meeting held today in my absence diffused the drama, for now.

(Buffel grass is literally consuming and destroying our desert. It's growth is exponential.) On a complete aside, Chris Edwards has taken the ludicrous Tucson Appliance commercial to yet another level, now appearing in a Batman Suit with stoves and refrigerators. If my career truly implodes and I start BuffelBeGone, Inc., I still think I can out do him with my red, purple striped suit, purple helmet with red squares for each 100 acres of baffled buffel, flying over buffel fields with my patented BuffelMatic.

Oh, not that anyone cares, but barring some unusual development, anonymity ends this weekend. I will update the profile to reflect my real name. My resignation will be announced in a press release Friday or early next week at the latest.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

"Just the Beginning"

Tucson, Arizona. These were the most apt on many levels closing words of Dr. Peter Likins this evening at the Tucson Regional Town Hall Dinner. Everyone came as far as I could tell. At the pre-dinner schmooze I ran into Congresswoman Giffords and could not resist asking her if she, indeed, had a Vespa in her living room. She acknowledged that yes this was indeed the case for her place on 4th (Tucson), "I have lots of bikes."

I did not inquire as to why the living room was the storage location of choice, nor did I ask her how Daniel Scarpinato had acquired said information. We spoke briefly about my particular situation, and then she told me something I simply could not believe.

She said she reads this blog every night.

No way. I don't believe it. Yes, this place gets its share of DC hits including the or whatever, but I just don't believe it. Well, at any rate, it is cool that she at least says she reads this blog every night. I am not going to say this person is lying, but it's hard to believe.

Now, I am not saying she said she reads only this blog. I was left with impression that there is a list that she makes a point to read regularly . I am flattered.

Not even my parents read this blog every night, and it's a miracle if I can get the daughter to look at the thing once a month. The first time the daughter checked it out, she remarked, "It looked long, and I was tired."

Later she remarked, "Ha Ha. Pretty silly, and very you."

Why do I mention this? Well, uh, in almost exactly two months "Something Else" is here. If Gabrielle Giffords reads this blog, she will read "Something Else."

This is more than a little disconcerting. Giffords is a main character in the document.

Tim Bee attended the schmoozing up until the actual dinner but then had to leave. Certain folks with a certain perception scanned his demeanor. This guy is sharp and clearly rising. Janet is term limited, no? Forget CD 8, Tim. If 2006 was any indication of the GOP gubernatorial field, hello? Who do the democrats have?

They ran the event like professionals, with Peter Likins ringing the bell at 6:05 with excellent opening remarks acknowledging, "We don't really know what is going to happen."

Unlike most events of this sort, we did not have to endure the acknowledgment of every dignitary in the room. Likins later noted this as intentional because "there are too many of them." Thankfully, no presentation of colors.

We ate dinner, and I sat next to Nancy Ledeboer, who runs the County library system. We had an excellent chat about the libraries in Pima County and the impact of the internet and computers on libraries and the various databases the library has purchased for the use of anyone with a card and got into an interesting discussion on the distinction between the public library system and the university libraries.

Anyways, after eating, four people spoke MC'd by Likins. First up was Congresswoman Giffords, who kept her remarks brief and noted that a Town Hall was a saga, a journey, encouraging us to participate and engage. She noted that Arizona is now the fastest growing state in the nation and that this presents challenges regarding water, education, transportation, and the environment. She ended with, "Listen. Learn. Engage. Think big and be bold. Think outside the box."

Likins was impressive, and I cannot do him justice, but I recall elegant remarks something like, "We seek the balance between saying and listening and learning."

Jennifer Burns, R-District 25, spoke next, and she acknowledged Tim Bee's presence earlier and said some stuff about the budget probably meant to repair recent tizzies before she laid into Maricopa, and Jennifer laid into Maricopa. She acknowledged that their growth rate far exceeded the rest of the state including Southern Arizona, and that Maricopa now has the votes to approve legislation regardless of what the entire rest of the state thinks. She did not hold back, "This is the State of Arizona, not the State of Maricopa."

Now Jennifer is a republican, but she acknowledged Governor Nepolitano as managing the state as whole with the big picture perspective.

Next was Steve Lynn, high ranking TEP executive, always and every time a phenomenal speaker, and he spoke phenomenally, cutting close to your humble blogger's heart with statistics about the pathetic wages in this town and that Tucson ranks 227 out of 361 cites for per capita income. He ended with alliteration, which if you read this blog at all, you know I enjoy profusely, calling the group a "credible cadre of catalysts."

The 162 or so folks are split into five groups: 1) Cholla, 2) Hedgehog, 3) Ocotillo, 4) Saguaro, and 5) Yucca.

Split into these groups and facilitated, we will discuss the issues I have already posted.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Town Halls, Vespas, and More Resignations

Tucson, Arizona. Well, as noted the Tucson Regional Town Hall begins tomorrow night, and it should be a good event. For folks that don’t know, the following items will be discussed by the people you see at the prior post over the next few days.

1. Arts, Culture, and Recreation
2. Downtown
3. Land Use Planning
4. Water
5. Transportation
6. Workforce Development
7. Healthcare
8. Research, Innovation, and Economic Impact
9. Education and Literacy

Well, according to Daniel Scarpinato, our Congresswoman has a 1963 Vespa GS with a sidecar parked in her living room. Is he really referring to the place in DC? Didn’t they say that place was really small? Pretty weird. She had a Vespa shipped to DC? Also, with these high SES folks, you have to ask "Which living room?" The one in DC? The one on 4th? The condo at Rocky Point? The beach house in Connecticut? The cabin in Telluride? I am making these up, of course, and have no clue.

Daniel also notes that there was a little bit of a GOP ruckus regarding Stephen Moore making less than Bee supporting remarks at an event where Bee supporting remarks were expected. Word is that Bee left the room less than enthusiastic about this turn of events and had some words with Jim Weiers. Well, given current tides, I think Bee should stay where he is and not attempt to force our Congresswoman to ship her Vespa back to Tucson.

Well, JD Crouch is throwing in the towel, using the "family" thing. (Why do they bother?)

Some other resignations in the last year or so include Harriet Miers, Jim Towey, Kyle Sampson, Randall Tobias, Robert Joseph and the list keeps going, and I am sure I am missing some notable ones. I wish it included Alberto Gonzales.

I would certainly hope, since I am included in the set of folks tendering resignations these days, that the reader understands sometimes the good guy has to go.

Details of my resignation are forthcoming, and I will not use the family thing. I fly straight and I shoot straight. Also, given that I live alone, the folks are in Ohio, and the daughter is at Stanford, the family thing wouldn't float well anyway.

Did it ever?

Well, this Joe Klein piece pretty much captures my sentiments. Quoting directly: I've tried to be respectful of the man and the office, but the three defining sins of the Bush Administration - arrogance, incompetence, cynicism - are congenital: they're part of his personality.

Yes? Or is he a puppet for forces that have these features? In either case, the forces of anger, resentment, outrage, and fear continue to escalate and are now bridging party lines, international lines, religious lines, all lines. I don’t know what will be left of this country or this planet by the time this Bush / Cheney disaster leaves office.

Now those two resignations would have people partying in the streets.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Firings and a Resignation

Well, it has not received the press I think it deserved, but former deputy attorney general James B. Comey has testified this week that he regarded the eight US attorneys dismissed by the Bush Administration as some of the most competent prosecutors in the country. In particular, he stated that John McKay of Seattle, Daniel Bogden of Nevada, and our own Paul Charlton of Arizona were outstanding professionals who could not possibly have been fired on grounds of performance. About Charlton he stated, "One of the best."

He praised the others as well.

This is exactly what it looks like it is, and it is disgusting.

Directly from the 5/3/2007 NY Times article: Mr. Comey testified a day after Justice Department officials said the agency had opened an internal inquiry into whether Monica M. Goodling, a former senior aide to Mr. Gonzales, had sought to screen applicants for jobs as career prosecutors to determine their political loyalty to the Bush administration.

In a letter on Thursday to the department, Ms. Goodling’s lawyer, John M. Dowd, said she would refuse to cooperate with the internal investigation, citing her constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination. The letter was written to the department’s inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility, which are jointly conducting the inquiry.

Ms. Goodling had previously refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee, which has voted to grant her immunity from prosecution to obtain her testimony about her role in the dismissals.

Well, Sirocco, you may not have to be as patient as I had planned. My resignation was announced this week to a very select and appropriate few. Surprising me, they chose to let this hit a major hub of the network at about 1 PM this afternoon. I had speculated a more secretive and slower release of information, but apparently (and I don't care) they are choosing sooner as opposed to later in terms of letting folks know. Yesterday, two people knew. Tonight, the number has grown to at least 30.

The Tucson Town Hall starts Sunday evening.

I had anticipated the press release at end of month. Now I am thinking end of next week. No delusions of importance here, but this is more than a fruit picker choosing to move on to Circle K.

Anonymous, please keep your mouth shut.