Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Distilled Insanity

Not sure how many have heard of the Westboro "Baptist" Church headed by the lunatic Fred Phelps, who for reasons quite unclear has decided that homosexuality is the demon behind all evil on the planet. Forget about greed, envy, pride, sloth, gluttony, or anything else. The root of all evil is a sexual encounter with another of the same gender. That's the reason we're in Iraq. That's why gangs guard turf and drug wars shed blood on our streets. Homosexuality is the root of all evil, the cause of global warming, the health care crisis, poverty, hunger, genocide, racism, the plight of women in developing countries, domestic violence, drug addiction and alcoholism, extortion and organized crime, corruption, traffic congestion, and bad television programs. That's why our national debt is pushing $10T. Were it not for men touching other men and women touching other women, there would be no war, no famine, no crime.

Turkey, Iraq and Iran would peacefully concede territory to create Kurdistan, and Spain and France would grant the Basque people the turf for their own sovereign nation. God would love us and solve all our problems. Vladimir Putin and Russia would ignore hundreds of years of history and culture and embrace democracy and separation of powers, and the United States would not put a vegetable in the White House.

Can anyone shed light on this madness? Biology is biology. 4% of men and 2% of women are born with a sexual attraction to the same gender. They did not choose it any more than heterosexuals choose. Did you choose? What pathology causes an individual to develop an obsessive, compulsive, life consuming hatred towards a particular group? I can grasp the primitive mind experiencing initial fear of another race upon the first encounter, a simple fear of the unknown. Their skin color is different. What does that mean? Well, find out.

I acknowledge that if a silver craft lands in my backyard and gray creatures with big black eyes approach, I'll be nervous, but in the absence of data, I won't shoot first. If they are evil conquerers out to kill us all, and I am first, I'm toast.

What is it with Phelps living a life utterly consumed by hatred? He has organized his entire being around the hatred of homosexuality. Why? I will assume the reader has heard of the outrageous protests. Well, the family of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, a soldier killed in Iraq whose funeral was disrupted by these nuts decided to contact attorneys and sue these quacks. They won.

Somehow I don't think God hates. Fine with me, however, if the Almighty can kick serious ass when a serious ass-kicking is entirely appropriate.

Econometrics


The dear reader has my word that the above is no kidding for real homework submitted by your humble blogger for his econometrics class. In case you can't read it, the text inside the bubble reads, "Then a miracle occurs." Not to make light of torture, water boarding, or the physical experience of drowning, anyone wishing to have the cerebral experience of drowning can join me in this insane class taken only by twisted, masochistic semi-psychopaths.

Granted, the mind mutilating material inflicts mental anguish below that of Statistical Mechanics, but the latter warns potential victims with 500 level prerequisites in both Mathematics and Physics. No one takes Statistical Mechanics, a field essentially started by four people. Three of them committed suicide. The curious can safely peruse this summary from Stanford University.

As the reader can see, my miracle cost five points. The Chinese woman sitting next to me did not need a miracle. She got 50/50, as did the very dark skinned genius from India that sits in the back.

I am never taking another mathematics class.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Ron Paul Revolution

Tucson, Arizona. One GOP candidate (and only one) has tapped into the growing omniverse, Ron Paul, a borderline libertarian (ran as one in 1988) who cannot stand the war in Iraq, advocates ending the payroll tax , the war on drugs, withdrawing from the United Nations, and abolishing most federal agencies. In other words, he's a libertarian.

While an undergraduate I was an Atlas Shrugged toting libertarian myself. Daniel Scarpinato has an article on Paul's "revolution" on the University of Arizona campus. The press is noting that Paul does very well in straw polls and rather well in fund raising, but poorly in the national polls. In an exquisite remark that captures it, twenty-year-old omnivore Rebecca Townsend observes, "Those national polls call people with land lines. I don't know anyone with a land line."

Directly from Daniel's piece:

Yishi Garrard, an 18-year-old UA student discovered Paul while fumbling around on YouTube over the summer.

"He understands the proper role of government," said Garrard, who like most Paul supporters talks about his candidate's consistent voting record. Garrard and others have connected through the Internet. Sites such as Facebook and Meetup have brought these true believers together. As the Republican debates have illustrated, Paul's strong online following is paying off. He consistently wins text-message and Internet polls asking who won the debate.

The online sophistication of his young followers has helped him pull in more donations than any other second-tier candidate — raising $118,079 in Arizona and more than $8 million nationally. Almost all that money has come through individual contributions.


THIS IS THE BEGINNING. Ron Paul is the top presidential candidate Internet search term as measured by Hitwise, Alexa, and Technorati; he has several times more YouTube subscribers than any other presidential candidate.

Of course Paul will not win the nomination in 2008, but the developments point to what this blog has been saying repeatedly. The omnivores are waking up politically, and they cannot stand Bush or Cheney. They despise social intolerance and while some are sympathetic to pro-life positions, none, and I mean NONE, buy the homophobia nonsense. In ten years, gay bashing will occur as race bashing does today. They are shifting the evangelical conversation as already written.

Got a problem with homosexuality? Just die already. You're obsolete.

Astute politicians will pay attention to Ron Paul and the forces he unleashes. His Achilles heal, like that of all libertarians, is the protection of the environment and getting him to say what he means about being against the war on drugs. What is he suggesting we do, legalize them? Should we release all of those currently in prison on drug charges? That's how you take out a libertarian.

Local Pima County GOP Chair, Judi White, is clueless, "They're not about the Republican party...they are young and they are enthusiastic. But they haven't been around before, and I think when Ron Paul is gone, you won't see them anymore."

Hey, Judi, you're right about one thing. They are not about YOUR Republican party. When Ron Paul is gone, they are still here, and you will see them. You will see them voting against your candidates.

This blog is independent. It currently occurs as strongly left due to outrage towards the most incompetent, malignant, and evil White House in the history of the country and the GOP 2000-2006 Congress that partnered with it. Karl Rove and Dick Cheney butchered the Constitution to turn the GOP into a "glorify Bush" apparatus. They have pilfered the nation for the ultra rich and charged into a ridiculous crusade for big oil with the blood of our children.

Bush is now bitching that Congress isn't getting anything done. His tantrums are as amusing as they are pathetic.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bruce Ash on the GOP

Tucson, Arizona. Over at Sonoran Alliance (link at blogroll), blogger DSW solicited SA visitors for solutions to the challenges currently facing the GOP. The thread provided the material one would expect until GOP National Committeeman Bruce Ash submitted his remarks, which I found compelling enough to post here.

DSW has asked for ideas and solutions to help the GOP win in 2008 but just as important help lead America over the next 20-25 years. As I speak to GOP groups all over the state I have been discussing a three point plan to accomplish these same goals. I emphasize "problem solving over politics." To simplify the concept let me suggest 3 colors to identify the principles:

GREEN
BROWN
GREY

First concept is GREEN. When I woke up a few moments ago oil was selling for $93 p/barrel. Our party’s leaders must immediately resolve to develop a plan ( much like The Manhattan Project or The Space Programs ) to perfect a new means of vehicle propulsion that does not require carbon fuels. This private industry based effort will be costly but the rewards will far outweigh the investment and help make the USA create an all new industry that rivals the information age we currently lead. Any plan must also include how we deal with the next several years as we develop the new technology and what we do to use our own petro resources for non propulsion needs( packaging,products,etc). This plan would also include a strong reliance on nuclear energy for electric needs. Our national security is at risk every day we delay this project.

The second concept is BROWN. Instead of continuing down the current path of alienating current Latinos who too often mistrust the GOP why not appeal as we did in 2004 to Latino voters who viewed the GOP as the party of opportunity, the party of values,the party of security. We had a bad message in 2006 and we largely lost the positive impact of this voting block and even today we do little to regain the edge which is had through marketing in the Latino community( internet,radio,TV,events). We also ought to be recruiting more traditional Latino candidates to run in Arizona. I have met some fabulous candidate and others giving thought to doing so in 2008. With our legislative strategy we have the perfect vehicle to recruit new elected officials from this community. GOP values are American values. We are for a heck of a lot more than just being against illegal immigration. While we continue to focus on border security why don’t we emphasize same to many Latino voters who feel the same way and would support our efforts.

GREY is the most difficult because it is the most contentious (based upon my observations).

First, the next President must propose radical reforms in Social Security. If we are successful this will help preserve Social Security benefits for generations who today believe it will never be available to them despite paying more and more into it. Reform of Social Security has to include restraints of Congress for "borrowing from it." This obviously leads me to say that the GOP leadership MUST reform itself in the future and be more responsible to the folks who elected them. CUT SPENDING. REDUCE THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT. Remember when we stood for all of those concepts?

Second, We must also be prepared to tackle Medicare. Not gut it but make it better. Consumer driven. Less red tape with more medical people making medical decisions not bureaucrats. Eliminate the lawyers. More compassionate and less complicated. This is the real program we must deal with because believe it or not Social Security is the easy program to fix in comparison. Take the high ground from the democrats on this . Why should they feel as though they own the issue? We ought to work harder to earn the title as the party of competence.

The second part of the GREY plank is education. Are you as tired as I am about making excuses for the education here in Arizona? Education must continue to be more based on competition & parent participation. Develop new models that will better prepare children to compete for jobs in the 21st century. This means more tech, construction, aircraft, health care, administrative, etc. training as well as the more traditional academics. Our goal must be to graduate more kids from high schools and if that means doing some radical new ideas then so be it. I am for innovation and giving teachers a greater role in teaching. Remove the multi-layers of administration and Federal red tape and allow them to teach our kids.

Friends, time and space doesn’t allow me to expand on all of my thoughts here. I thank DSW and others who are concerned as I am about these issues. As National Committeeman I understand that whatever I say can be construed to be party policy. I do not claim such in this posting but I won’t hide that I would like these ideas to find their way into our state and national party.

It is time to put solutions before politics. It is time to stand up for what is right for Arizona/America as the GOP has always done in our country’s rich history. There are plenty of things to fix within our party and our country. The clock is ticking and the thought of losing the White House or further erosions in the Congress is unthinkable with all what is at risk in today’s America. Are my ideas the answer? Maybe. . .it is time, though, for all of the GOP to begin thinking about our future and do something positive about it. As I continue to cover the state as National Committeeman I want to listen to the pulse of what’s happening around Arizona. Working together Arizona will remain a solid RED STATE.


Bruce Ash
GOP National Committeeman

Now, regarding GREEN, I completely agree with the guy, but as I noted at SA, certain folks making about half a trillion bucks a year with the status quo might have a reaction to his plan. These quintogazillionaires practically own Washington. The reader is invited to research the oil industry's aggressive tactics regarding the development of any other energy source.

For the record, I endorse nuclear power as an important and viable component of our energy policy. The greener types will not agree, but my math points to benefits that cannot be ignored when intelligent and objective analysis addresses the technology.

Regarding BROWN, I am dumbfounded. Without question, the GOP finds itself brutally split regarding the Latino population. Defeating DREAM will haunt them. Astute Democrats take notes.

GREY represents a component of the larger conversation of fiscal responsibility in our government. Ash most correctly observes the impending train wrecks of retiring boomers, social security, Medicare. Of course, Lord Cheney would pistol whip Ash six ways to Sunday noting that "deficits don't matter" but far more so for messing with big oil's revenue streams.

His inclusion of education in addressing our issues most impressed me. YES!! Our country's leadership and stature on the planet rest squarely on the education of our population. We are falling behind.

Smart, well-meaning Republicans exist. I eagerly await their ouster of hate-infested polarizing xenophobes, homophobes, and religious fanatics, and corporate whores feeding our children's future to foreign corporations and the richest 1/10 of 1% of our population.

Imagine the concept of a vote being a struggle between two good choices. Far too often, the ballot box has become an exercise in guessing who will cause the least damage.

Monday Morning Scores

NEW ENGLAND----- 52
Washington-------------------- 7

The seven points in the 4th quarter was a gift.

Boston-----4
Colorado--3

The four game sweep cements my earlier assertion that Cleveland would have gone all the way, which is what should have happened. I am still in denial regarding Cleveland's demise.

Estimated cerebral horsepower of Presidential Candidates:

Hillary Clinton-- 164
Barack Obama--- 151
Joe Biden-------- 150
John McCain------ 148 (year 2000) update-- 105 (2007)
Rudy Giuliani---- 142
John Edwards---- 142
Ron Paul--------- 140
Bill Richardson-- 133
Mike Huckabee---- 100
Fred Thompson---- 90
Duncan Hunter---- 34
Mitt Romney------- 14

Cash on hand of party national committees:

Democrats - $28 million
Republicans - $1.6 million
Libertarians - $34.18

Arizona State Party Fund raising results:

AZ Democratic Party: $1.4 million
AZ Republican Party: $440,000

Arizona Voter Registration since July:

Independents: 21,000
Democrats: 12,000
Republicans: 3,000

Percent strongly approving of President Eggplant: 15%
Percent strongly disapproving of President Eggplant: 50%
Percent supporting the passage of S-Chip: 81%
Percent wanting the US to leave Iraq: 74%

Percent change in evangelical Christians identifying abortion and sexual preference as important national issues: -83%

Percent change in evangelical Christians identifying poverty, peace, and social justice as important national issues: + 77%

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Spiral Out

I am posting this particular video a little ahead of schedule in light of recent events. I would prefer the text aimed a little higher, but good enough, and the song contains a great deal more than the text mentions. A great deal more.

Maynard's out there, and regardless of what one thinks of the song (the song itself is the original content, not the images or the text), I can promise it points to real stuff, and it's not what they cover in church. The content on the Fibonacci Sequence also has the golden mean material. Some might find the Meru Foundation link to the right interesting.



An Unprecedented Election

The 2008 Election presents unexplored and new terrain for all participants and observers as factors and forces we are only beginning to understand wield their influence on voter sentiment, turnout, and behavior.

FACTOR ONE: Generation Next. Web 2.0 geeks familiar with the stratification of technophilia know that omnivore no longer refers to a vegetarian, but to Generation Next, a multi-digitally enabled Facebook networked cell phone camera text messaging iPod equipped population that cannot remember a world without a personal computer.

Now, they vote. Until recently, even at voting age, they were too into themselves and each other to care about politics. I trust my reader can guess what might have changed that. Hint: body bags, torture, lies, corruption. Hint 2: global warming. They inherit the frog we’re boiling. Among this crowd, word gets around in nanoseconds. While not news junkies tapping into CNN every hour, they are more aware than earlier youth.

Immediate considerations: Web advertising, YouTube, Campaign Web sites and donation functionality and strategies. Deeper considerations: Omnivores embrace diversity, care little about the border thing, even less about homosexuality, and really don’t get why children shouldn’t have health insurance. Some are quite religious, but even the most religious of them have a problem with intolerance, and speaking of that.

FACTOR TWO: Fracturing Faith. The NY Times has an outstanding David Kirkpatrick article on the fragmentation of the evangelical movement and US Christendom in general, and the fissures run deep and powerful. Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and others are experiencing their own versions of soul searching and rifts from the pro GOP status quo, as increasing portions of the congregation start flexing their foreheads about all this damnation and rallying cry around two "demons" destroying society, homosexuality and abortion.

Some of these Christians read the Bible, and a few pay attention to the words of Jesus Christ. He says remarkably little about homosexuality or abortion but has quite a bit to say about the poor, peace, forgiveness, and this notion of judging and condemning others.

The Times article quotes Paul Hill, a young pastor who left his church to form his own, the Wheatland Mission in ultra-conservative Wichita. "Times have changed. I think people will hear the Gospel better when it is expressed not just verbally but holistically, through acts of hospitality and by bringing people together. In the evangelical church in general there is kind of a push back against the Republican party and a feeling of being used by the Republican political machine," he continued. "There are going to be a lot of evangelicals willing to vote for a Democrat because there are 40 million people without health insurance and a Democrat is going to do something about that."

Rick Warren, an evangelical minister and author of the highly influential The Purpose Driven Life, states, "If more Christians worked to alleviate needs in their local communities, the church would become known more for the love it shows than for what it is against."

One of the most influential leaders in US Christendom, Bill Hybels, whose Willow Creek Association includes over 12,000 churches, speaks of a renewed attention to Jesus’ teachings about social justice, "We are interested in more than your two or three issues. We are interested in the poor, in racial reconciliation, in global poverty and AIDS, in the plight of women in the developing world."

FACTOR THREE: The Iraq War. It’s a quagmire founded on a lie for the oil industry. Greenspan said what everyone knows, acknowledging the fat, greasy elephant in the room and the bloody mess greedy and arrogant warmongers inflicted on the country. The casualties mount and the GOP, in what could be an act of political Hara-kiri, continues to provide Bush the votes to prevent the override of vetoes or legislation to stop his adamant and inflexible position to "stay the course" despite increasing evidence that events are slipping out of control into dynamics not intended by Lord Cheney.

Lord Cheney and Big Oil’s blood for oil scheme has shifted onto precarious terrain where instead of the scrum delicious deals where Hunt, ExxonMobile, and others get to march into Iraq and turn that crank, the more traditional arrangements, like those in place with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and OPEC nations will occur, where the sovereign nations, not US corporations, run the show. Over 75% of the country sees the body bags and doesn’t give a flying F about Cheney’s finance project. Polls show outrageous disapproval of Congress, and amazingly shortsighted GOP mouthpieces think it’s a reflection on Democratic incumbents, and it is, sort of. Google your poll of choice to disaggregate the disapproval by party, and disapproval with the GOP towers over that of the Democrats. They are frustrated that the Democrats cannot get the votes to get us out. They froth at the mouth towards the die hard GOP goons letting Bush remain his obstinate self.

Cheney is now throwing his member around about Iran. Can you imagine? I don’t think I have ever seen a White House so utterly unconcerned about its political party or the people it is supposed to represent.

FACTOR FOUR: The Economy. We face a growing rich poor gap that is crucifying the middle class and a bona fide health insurance crisis the GOP cannot see if it’s placed in front of their noses. The Bush Cheney tax cuts and economic policies screw 99% of the country to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars to multi-millionaires, marginalizing increasing portions of the population to meager or sub-meager economic conditions. The veto of the S-Chip legislation and (predictably) version two passed this week flaunts a loud “Screw Yourselves!” to over 80% of the country and popular GOP members of Congress. 80%!!! The GOP votes that sustain the veto draw political blood. If evangelical Christians are shifting to the left, what do you think is happening with the rest of the country?

Remember, every time the GOP candidates howl about tax cuts and keeping taxes low, they are talking about those who make over $300,000 per year. If you make less than $100,000, you get nothing. Astute Democrats will POUND this issue in 2008, and we have this thing called a national debt, and should I mention social security and the demise of pensions in the face of retiring boomers?

FACTOR FIVE: The Environment. Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth won him a Nobel Prize. The proliferation of evidence supporting global warming as well as the Bush administration’s blatant efforts to suppress, distort, edit, modify and LIE about scientific research clearly supporting the impending disaster have created resentment and green sentiments about sustainability that continue to escalate in strength, depth and volume.

Web 2.0 technology and voting omnivores, deep fissures in the religious right, the horrible war and the corruption, arrogance, and incompetence it spotlights, and profound concerns about the failure to address both the economy and the environment point to a razor blade laden path for almost every Republican defending or seeking a seat in 2008.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Day in the Life

Tucson, Arizona. A friend of mine will die this weekend for medical reasons not worth describing. Perhaps he takes the red step tomorrow, maybe Sunday. He will not wait until Monday. AR still has all of his mental faculties, and although weak, he can walk and use his hands for simple tasks. He asked WP and me to spend some time with him a day this week, driving him to certain places including the desert. Of course we agreed.

We drove AR up north towards Oracle. WP knew the area well, so we ended up well off the road, so AR could walk around in the desert. For the entire drive, barely a word was spoken. No one had anything to say. We stopped the truck far into the desert after miles of dirt road. The desert was very quiet. AR walked slowly, watching his feet land on the ground and listening to the sound of it crunching with each step. I could tell he was listening to that sound.

AR walked up to a Saguaro and stared at it for several minutes, looking at its arms, needles, color, circling it. He reached out and pressed his hand against the needles, not hard enough to hurt himself. He looked up at the sky, then to the Saguaro, then down to a prickly pear. He asked us to help him sit. We cleared a patch of dirt, and AR sat down with the prickly pear. He pressed his finger into the petal to bend it slightly and felt its texture. He scratched it slightly and smelled the cactus. We spent almost two hours in the desert and barely spoke.

We brought food with us, and WP and I wanted to do everything for AR and serve him. AR wasn’t having any of this. He wanted to open everything himself. He really liked opening everything, especially cans. He popped open our soda cans for us, paying incredibly close attention to every detail.

AR wanted to see some flowers. Weak, he slept in the car as we returned to Tucson. WP and I did not feel like speaking. We took him to Tohono Chul Park. AR awoke, and we walked around the park. He interacted with all of the plants, but also looked at the other people, observing them engaged in their conversations. He looked at the people in the restaurant, every table. Some were happy, some not. One couple appeared to be fighting. He smiled at all of it.

AR wanted coffee. I forget the name of the shop. It’s on Oracle north of Ina, the west side. He ordered a medium coffee with two extra shots. He must have smelled that cup for ten minutes. I can’t describe it, but never have I been in a situation where talking seemed so completely ridiculous. With the exception of the trivial, "Let's sit here," our faces handled whatever communication needed to take place. Watching him sniff the coffee just killed me. I welled up something awful and almost broke, and I knew if I did, I’d be a blithering mess for at least ten minutes. AR smiled and handed me a napkin, which all but did me in. I pressed the napkin hard into my eyes and took several deep breaths over and over until it passed.

We took him to a bookstore. AR walked all over the store, fascinated with the children in the kids section, smiling at them. He sat and watched them, completely entertained as the little kids ran around, read books, interacted with their parents. AR then spent 20 minutes with Eliade’s The Sacred and the Profane.

We took him home to a waiting wife. At the door I have never heard such simple words weigh so much when he thanked us for taking him around. He then turned to us and added, "Let’s have this be it."

The following day he spent with his wife. I learned that he apologized to her for dying first, wanting to be there to support her on her last day.

Godspeed, AR.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

DREAM Dies

Tucson, Arizona. The Senate killed the DREAM Act yesterday, obtaining only 52 of the 60 votes necessary to move forward, providing another example of fear distorting reality that a bill opens up floodgates or represents a major symbolic milestone. We see a similar dynamic with the efforts of the conservatives to ban partial birth abortions, an admittedly by everyone appalling procedure. If one explores reality, one finds that such abortions, for all practical purposes, don't happen. The tiny handful that occur are the result of medical circumstances turning terrible through no one's desire.

For those unaware, DREAM addresses something that is very real, applying to children who grew up in the United States with parents that are not citizens. The children did not commit a crime. They are part of our community. They grew up in Tucson, or San Diego, or El Paso, or Chicago. What they don't have that other kids have are legal parents. That's not their fault. Can someone explain to me what these kids are supposed to do?

DREAM is an extremely modest bill, far more modest than what had bi-partisan support and the backing of Bush, Kyl, McCain, and many others this summer. DREAM is more modest than STRIVE, which I consider a good bill. Simplifying, DREAM provides this young population an opportunity to become US Citizens by earning it one of two ways: 1) military service, or 2) completing a two year degree.

Arizona's Kyl voted Nay (why?) and McCain did not vote.

Opponents of the bill that howl about the floodgates spewing forth a gazillion have no grasp of the reality of the street. Military service takes time, and in the current climate I cannot imagine how someone who would join our military and complete the commitment through honorable discharge does not deserve citizenship. That's insane. The other route, a two year degree, requires them to graduate from high school, obtain the funds for college, enroll, and then successfully complete a degree. The reality of this path exists only for the bright and resourceful individuals within the population.

I'm a dissertation shy of a Phd in Higher Education and know a little about the topic, and this country's policies unconscionably waste the precious talent of bright minds by allowing them to fall by the wayside, undeveloped and unused. We squander intellectually ripe and eager to learn talent, ability that if utilized could provide impossible to predict value for our nation.

DREAM would have systemically channeled and selected ability and human capital towards productive participation and contribution to our country. We need fresh ideas and new ways of thinking for this century.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An Interesting Statistic

Tucson, Arizona. Daniel Scarpinato has a piece today discussing fundraising results for the presidential candidates. Arizona raised about $1.2 M for presidential candidates in 3Q07. McCain got the most at $327,000, but unfortunately for McCain, his coffers pale in comparison, and he won’t win the nomination anyway. More telling is who ranked second in the state for campaign donations, someone who will win the nomination, Hillary Clinton, who got $281,000, who raised more than anyone except McCain in Arizona. According to Scarpinato, $225,000 of her contributions came from the Tucson area.

Nationally, Clinton dominates the field financially, and the woman understands campaign infrastructure from the bottom to the top as well as any politician. Enough of the presidential race and let’s talk about Arizona.


Let’s look at a something other than money: Voter registration. AZ Central has an article discussing the subject, and since July 35,462 individuals have registered to vote. They can sign up as Democrat, Republican, or Other.


Other: -------20,755
Democrat:-- 11,681
Republican: 3,026

The article notes the four-to-one Democratic advantage, but what leaps off the page to your humble blogger is not the ratio of Democrats to Republicans, but the Republican portion of the total, 3,026 out of 35,462. For the last three months, for every 12 people that registered to vote, 7 selected Other, 4 selected Democrat, and 1 selected Republican.

The dramatic rise in Independents should give both parties cause for reflection. The Arizona GOP has a numbing statistic to consider:

One out of twelve.

Corrupt to the Core

Everyone knows about the firings of eight federal attorneys that led to the resignation of Cheney's judicial bitch, the emasculated pathetic excuse of an Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, a truly spineless GW Bush groupie who, if all of the truth comes out, will end up in prison.

The eight attorneys form the tip of an iceberg that plunges deep into the water. Some of the truth has started to come out regarding the complete usurpation of the justice department to become a political operative at the hands of Darth Rove and Lord Cheney. They did much, much more than fire eight attorneys.

Cheney and Rove, commanding puppet Gonzales, directly ordered justice department officials to ignore GOP transgressions and INVENT transgressions against justice officials deemed "Democratic," prosecuting individuals in manners unprecedented and if uncovered by the light of day, completely illegal.

I want to keep this post short. The reader can read the piece in today's New York Times about the testimony of Richard Thornburgh. Lord Cheney and Harriet Miers, of course, have declared "executive privilege" about the sordid affair. I can't predict how much will come out, but if we dig to the bottom, we will learn much about Lord Cheney and Darth Rove and their abhorrent lack of regard for every principle on which this country was founded.

To summarize, the justice department conducted "political profiling" and then aggressively sought to prosecute identified targets. Innocence or guilt had nothing to do with anything.

THE QUESTION is not whether we will learn the whole truth. We will learn a large enough representative sample to extrapolate the rest. The big question, and the very nature of the future of this country depends on it, is whether we will learn from this travesty and implement mechanisms to insure our constitution is never raped like this again.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Driven

The OPEC wake up call of the 70s caused the United States to look at the fuel economy of its vehicles, and Congress told Detroit to get its act together. Detroit responded, and the miles per gallon performance of our vehicles spiraled from a pathetic 13 mpg in 1975 to 22 mpg in 1987. In 1988, we elected an oil man into the White House. Clinton inherited a four trillion dollar debt and got to work on leaving the country a surplus. He did other things as well, but fuel economy was not his mission. In 1997, instead of further improvements, we actually dropped to 20 mpg. Another oil man entered the White House in 2000, and now, 2007, we remain at 20 mpg.

In other words, 20 years ago our vehicles in aggregate operated at 22 mpg. Today, 20 mpg. For the depth and detail, the EPA Report.

In the words of our maggot-in-chief, "We need an energy policy that encourages consumption."

UNCONSCIONABLE.

I'm not a car fanatic, but I can't help paying a little attention. Instead of the fuel economy race, Detroit (and unfortunately, Japan and Europe, too) are in a horsepower race. Why? Correctly or not, they believe horsepower, not fuel economy, sells. I fear they are correct, which reinforces my argument that the free market left to its own devices, unlike the libertarians and many conservatives believe, does NOT produce optimal outcomes.

GM is introducing a new Corvette featuring 600+ hp, 14 mpg, and a six figure sticker price. It can reach 100 mph in a few seconds. Wow, we sure need a bunch of these on the road. Nissan considers it necessary to raise the horsepower of its Z from 285 to 330. Why?

Your humble blogger mounts a coffee powered bicycle to slog his over-sized arse across town every morning and afternoon. The car is a Mazda 3 with a 2.0 L that gets 30+ mpg. I'm not requesting approval or kudos but only saying that such decisions occur as common sense.

Our cars, like our clothes, transcend functionality into symbolism. They become statements intended to communicate. I appreciate a nice looking dress, but does a dress have to cost $2000? At least a dress doesn't hurt people. Sadly, vehicles do communicate. I am not the communist eager to homogenize everyone to the same Model T, but the arguments for an optimal, efficient, and standardized vehicle of maximal utility would generate savings amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars.

The survival of this species is truly in question. Consider the specification of standards which must be met. Any entrepreneur or producer is free to meet such standards in any way they choose.

I'm not coming from Pluto. We've already done it, and big time, with information technology, or you couldn't read this blog. Want to see an entire universe of technology converge onto universal standards allowing countless devices to conform to guidelines allowing worldwide linkage? We're there.

Why can't we do this with vehicles? All oil filters fit this. All tires fit that. Everything adheres to universal standards that aid the common good.

Imagine.

An Orwellian nightmare? Sure? That's how we built the Internet. Is the Internet an Orwellian nightmare? Do you feel enslaved by adhering to the TCP/IP protocol?

Instead, we'll just trust the market, and a bunch of testosterone challenged overweight balding egos will buy stupid cars they don't need to pump crap in the air and think they look more attractive to the women who wince at the sight of them.

Of course, this phenomenon has no life elsewhere. House square footage has completely stabilized at reasonable numbers.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Critical Developments

In a news flash of vital importance, I inform my dear readers of recent profoundly significant developments:

1. Word is out that Dumbledore is gay. That some conservatives are upset by the revelation tickles me silly. Senator Larry Craig sent a birdogram to Hogwarts informing Dumbledore that the news makes it necessary to end their relationship. Craig insists that his time spent at Hogwarts was strictly limited to discussions on the practical application of witchcraft.

2. My football team rules. Don't even. My other team, due to roots of youth, Cincinnati, also won today. Cincinnati is better than their record. TR should be pleased with his team today, even though they aren't as good as Cincinnati.

3. The University of Arizona's football team's so bad they lost to my daughter's football team. When Stanford wins Palo Alto has to raid Milpitas for more alcohol, but only the students over 21 drink. At 19, my daughter has never had a drop.

4. Speaking of alcohol, the bit about astronauts drinking is stupid journalism. If I were about to pilot the controlled explosion of a bomb that really would rather just blow all at once all the way into space, I'd be sober and razor sharp. If I were a passenger about to ride a controlled explosion that wants to go all at once, I would consider smuggling a liter bota bag of Laphroaig inside my suit. Now that I think about it, even if I were the pilot, I would smuggle a bota bag of Laphroaig inside my suit, but I wouldn't have any until well established in orbit.

I am still amazed that the Russians took Cognac into space instead of vodka. There's something wrong with the fact that Cognac made it into space before Scotch, but I'd have to drink a lot to figure out what it is.

5. A graduate of my alma mater, Stephen Colbert, is running for president. When asked about his choice for Vice-President, he said he was considering Larry Craig, now that Larry isn't going to Hogwarts anymore, or himself, noting that the "Colbert-Colbert" ticket would be tough to beat.

6. A study sampling 7,473 adults (3,694 men and 3,779 women) has determined that sex is most enjoyable on Sunday mornings "when everyone else is in church." Couples who have Sunday AM sex once or more each month (followed by a good breakfast) were 47% more likely to report overall satisfaction with their romantic relationship and "life in general."

7. The GOP candidates for president have a debate tonight. The candidates will be asked to name their favorite novel. Romney, who has flip-flopped on a variety of issues including abortion, will flip flop on his favorite novel, which used to be Battlefield Earth. When campaign staff learned that his new favorite novel was going to be Nabokov's Lolita they pulled him aside. His favorite novel is now Mark Twain's classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Campaign staff has not disclosed Romney's favorite film, but a staffer who would not be identified has said that the film version of Battlefield Earth has been rejected.

Given Romney's self declaration as a lifelong hunter of "rodents and other varmints" the campaign has removed Leave it to Beaver as a possible favorite TV show. Captain & Tennille's Muskrat Love was scratched from the initial list of possible favorite songs.

President Clinton and Congresswoman Giffords

Tucson, Arizona. Equity has many meanings depending on context. As the middle name of this blog, its semantics imply a sense of fairness, a level playing field where life can live. Equity is NOT equality. We are not born equal. My intellect far exceeds that of our president. I’m not bragging. The average aardvark has an intellect exceeding that of our president. The blog first explores equity at The Class with No Cake. At that post I referred to Robert Reich, and his wisdom persists.

Prior to 1980, growth in worker productivity translated to growth in compensation. At that time, a CEO typically made about 45 times the average wage of his workers. Since 1980, our government started serving corporations, not citizens. As worker productivity climbed, CEO’s and top executives kept all of the gains for themselves. Executive compensation spiraled while the median wage for the average worker stagnated. CEO's now make almost 500 times what their workers average. The rich got obscenely rich, and they bought the Republican Party (shameless corporate whores) and maybe (God help us) the Democratic Party as well. Time will tell.

Our economy is bifurcating into good jobs and terrible jobs with no middle ground. The abundance of lousy positions can’t be filled (attracting whom to Russell Pearce’s chagrin?) while the high paying jobs are increasingly rare and difficult to obtain. We have unemployed people with doctorates and master’s degrees while every restaurant, retail store, car wash, and janitorial service has slave wage positions they cannot fill. Over one in four adults struggle to live in terrible positions with no health insurance, no pension, no sick leave, no flexibility, no opportunity for training or advancement. I encourage interested readers to consider The Mobility Agenda’s 24 page report with deeper material.

The Republican Party has abandoned 99% of the population to transfer wealth from taxpaying citizens to the robber barons of war (Halliburton, Blackwater), oil (ExxonMobil, Hunt, Shell), pharmaceuticals (Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline), insurance (Pacificare, Cigna, Kaiser), and agriculture (ADM, Tyson, Hormel).

The next President of the United States has figured this out, and she has built a strong base with roots penetrating deep into reality. Against this reality, the rhetoric on her negatives and divisiveness will shatter like brittle, overused props on a parched western movie set. Who is Hillary dividing? Those who know the descent from Dillards to Target to Walmart to used goods Thrift shops and the food bank?

I once had the privilege of helping families walk the other direction. A beaming father introduced me to his son, and shared that the son was wearing clothes bought new (not used) for the first time because of my math class. I cried that night. I promise the reader that I am real blood, bone, balls, success, failure, and that "life is messy." You bet I’ve cried, and tears have a taste. Sweet tears, bitter tears, profoundly moved tears, sad tears, and those hot razor blade scalding tears that carve acidic red streaks down cheeks under swollen, bloodshot eyes.

My bike ride to school each day takes me through the Tucson no Republican understands. A mile to my south lies more of the same. Take a walk a few blocks north of Columbus and 22nd. While thinking about the economic holocaust the country has become, I got a flyer from Congresswoman Giffords yesterday. My Sunday post was to be about Hillary. Surf the news sites and it's there. Let’s talk about Giffords flyer, which hits the nail on the head.

In 2001 and 2003 our country gave away hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts to those making over $330,000 a year. It’s time we had a tax policy that helps middle class families, small businesses, and our men and women in combat. Smart tax policy also looks to the future by encouraging investment in renewable energy.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

The graph speaks directly to my rage and comes straight from her flyer. Bills she has created, introduced, sponsored, or supports include:

HR 2592 The Safe and Effective Drug Development Act (Her first bill signed into law)
HR 743 Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (In Committee)
HR 3388 College Affordability Tax Relief Act (In Committee)
HR 3648 Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act (Passed 386-27)
HR 3808 Combat Troops Tax Relief Act (In Committee – she introduced)
HR 976 Small Business Tax Relief Act (Passed 360 - 45)
HR 3807 Renewable Energy Assistance Act (In Committee – she introduced)

Some other bills are also mentioned.

What Hillary Clinton and Gabrielle Giffords understand that George Bush couldn’t see to save his life is that people stop caring about much else when they can’t pay their bills. King George has never paid a bill in his life. I don’t know if the man could enter a store and know how to buy something.

In 2008, Cheney's bitches (incumbent Republicans) defending their seats face tough elections. The instant they talk about helping the middle class, fiscal responsibility, intelligent foreign policy, health care, the war, education, the environment, global warming, they look like hypocritical idiots. The smart will resign. Bush’s rating is in the toilet, and the horrible rating of Congress reflects disgust with its inability to stop the war.

2008, like 1992, will revolve around the economy, except 2008 will have the added kick of a quagmire created with malicious deception and a boomer population starting to retire with the realization that their pensions will be stolen by the companies they served and their social security hangs by a thread corporate whores wouldn’t think twice about cutting.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Beforemath

Probably nothing.
Jeb Bush, during his 1994 campaign for governor, when asked what he would do for blacks.

I applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing the value of diversity on our nation’s campuses.
George W. Bush praising the Supreme Court affirmative action decision that contradicted his administration’s position on the issue. 6/24/03

One amendment today said we could not sell guns to anybody under drug treatment. So does that mean that if you go into a black community, you cannot sell guns to any black person?
Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY) Congressional Record, April 2003

Why is this man in the White House? The American people did not vote for him. He’s in the White House because God put him there.
General William G. Boykin, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, October 2003

Well, you know what I knew – that my god was bigger than his.
General William G. Boykin, discussing fighting Muslims in Somalia, October 2003

God told me to strike al Queda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you can help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.
George W. Bush speaking to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, July 2003

The cost of the war will be small. We can afford the war, and we will put it behind us.
Treasury Secretary John W. Snow before Congress, March 2003

The fact of the matter is that this [increased American casualties] is a sign of the success of our operation, not its failure.
Republican strategist Ralph Reed, 10/28/03

Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.
Governor George W. Bush, 4/9/99, on Clinton’s military action in Kosovo

I’m the commander, see. I don’t need to explain.
President George W. Bush, November 19, 2002

President Clinton is leading our country down the path of "mission creep" that will suck our military into a quagmire that resembles Vietnam – a situation that America has vowed never to repeat..
Rep. Terry Everett (R-AL), on Kosovo, 4/28/99

The first rule of diplomacy is not to make the situation worse. Yet, the administration’s lack of foresight and planning for the refugee crisis has compounded the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in the Balkans. . . the military campaign has also suffered from deficiencies in political mismanagement and planning. The military deserves better political leadership than this.
Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) , on Kosovo, 4/7/99

You know if there was any piece of legislation I would pass it would be to blow up the colleges of education. I know that’s not politically correct…
Reid Lyon, Chief, Child Development and Behavior Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, adviser to George W. Bush on child health and education welfare. 11/09/02

We will abolish the Department of Education and federal meddling in our schools...We support eliminating the Departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and Energy, and the elimination, defunding ... of The National Endowment for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Legal Services Corporation.
Republican Party Platform adopted 8/12/96, p.22

We condemn the [Clinton] administration’s policy of confrontation first.
Republican Party Platform, 2000

[Environmentalists] are a socialist group of individuals…they are not Americans, never have been Americans, and never will be Americans.
Rep. Don Young (R-AK), member of the House Committee on Resources, 8/19/96

Republicans consider private property rights the cornerstone of environmental progress.
Republican Party Platform, 8/12/96, p.28

A species goes out of existence every 20 seconds. Surely a species must come into existence every 20 seconds.
Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) 7/7/96

The best way to get the news is from objective sources. The most objective sources I have are people on my staff.
George W. Bush, 9/22/03

In the early days of the war, the plan was criticized by some retired military officers embedded in TV studios. But with every day and every advance by our coalition forces, the wisdom of our plan becomes more apparent.
Vice-President Dick Cheney taking a swipe at General Wesley Clark, 4/25/03

I would eliminate the payroll tax and institute a national sales tax to cover Medicare and Social Security. The sales tax would slide depending on need...
Bill O’Reilly, The No Spin Zone p.175, 2001

Tim Russert: Do we have evidence that he’s [Saddam Hussein] harboring terrorists?
Dick Cheney: There is. In the past there have been some activities related to terrorism by Saddam Hussein.
Tim Russert: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to these operations?
Dick Cheney: No.
9/16/01

Emotional appeal about working families trying to get by on minimum wage are hard to resist. Fortunately, such families do not exist.
Tom Delay, (R-TX) 4/23/96

When I see someone who’s making $300,000 to $750,000 a year, that’s middle class.
Rep. Fred Heineman (R-NC) 10/25/96

I don't understand how poor people think.
George W. Bush 8/26/03

Tim Russert: Is $87 Billion the end of it? Will the American people be asked for any more money?
Dick Cheney: I can’t say that. It’s all that we think we need for the foreseeable future for this year.
9/14/03

George understands what a great president must understand. The first three words of America’s most sacred document are "We the People," not "Us vs. Them."
Governor Tom Ridge, 8/3/00

We must find new issues that polarize in our favor.
Anthony Fabrizio, Republican Strategist, 2/26/97

Americans should not sit idly by as our individual rights are surrendered. We should enlist the American people to rein in an out-of-control Court.
Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) 3/6/97

Some members of the federal judiciary threaten the safety, the values, and the freedom of law-abiding citizens. They make up laws and invent new rights as they go along, arrogating to themselves powers King George III never dared to exercise.
Republican Party Platform 8/12/96 p. 13

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bee To Complete 2008 Presidency

Tucson, Arizona. Over two months ago, I posted Bee Will Complete Term as if the matter were concluded. As time passed, I drifted from this position and became convinced that he had to resign in January to stand a chance against Gabrielle Giffords for Arizona's Eighth Congressional District, thinking that it would be almost impossible to remain president of the AZ senate AND run for Congress at the same time. Isn't "Resign to Run" meant to eliminate this sort of thing?

Uh, no. Funny how clear it seems with hindsight. My lunch conversation confirmed what I expected, and I am now able to shed some light.

Tim Bee is NOT violating any state or federal election laws. The spirit of Arizona's resign to run is to prevent the double dip of crafting two possibilities at the same time. Termed out officials must leave their offices. Specifically for this reason, the law excludes the the final year of a final term. Officials who are termed out cannot retain their seats and are therefore permitted to pursue the next one. The decision whether to resign remains with the individual.

"Final year" means January 1, 2008. Until then, Bee cannot announce but he can explore and solicit donations without limit. Running for federal office, he must comply with federal law and submit reports to the FEC. He is. Regarding donations, I split with fellow bloggers Sirocco and Roger (pals can disagree) that pre-announcement fund raising has the weight of post announcement activity. I am with Thinkright, Framer, and Tony when they project an influx of funds. Bee will have money.

Tim Bee will complete his senate term. He completes no matter what. He completes if it runs into August, consequences good or bad for his 2008 campaign.

Now it starts to get interesting. A well anticipated assault will be that he commits an unscrupulous act by remaining senate president while running for Congress. The legal matter has been settled, but some may try to angle he violates the intent. He'll address this quickly and probably effectively. Last I checked, Hillary was still a senator.

At the top level, the framing portrays a man so committed to the state of Arizona that he will burn the candle at both ends, not double dipping, but double duty in a noble sacrifice of self for others, working ridiculous hours to do justice to both his office and his campaign, unwilling to abandon his post and force Janet to deal with wingnuts like Pullen, Weiers, Johnson, or Pearce. The "moderate" hero, a beacon of commitment to those that elected him, will not resign even if it makes the campaign more challenging. Expect language along the lines of "Resigning would be easier and safer, but I will not abandon my post. I am not that kind of person. Yes, it will be harder to win, but so be it. I will find what it takes to honor all commitments."

To understand one must disaggregate finer than red vs. blue and recognize that while a repeat of the 2006 fiasco has been eliminated, a GOP split still exists (and not just locally). Randy Pullen would LOVE for Bee to resign. Randy Pullen is one of the reasons why he won't.

If he crafts the message just right, the boat can float and inspire. He faces an extraordinary tightrope against a sharp opponent who has been discussing health care, Iraq, immigration, education, and many other federal issues every day. The foul climate wipes out the normal GOP advantage in CD 8. The race reeks of destiny for both candidates.

I may for many reasons turn out to be wrong, but October 2007 odds strongly point to a race between an honorable and deeply committed Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords facing an honorable and deeply committed AZ Senate President seeking her seat because he authentically believes he can do a superior job. Who best serves the district is for the voters to decide. Anyone talking about this race like it's a done deal for either of them has no clue.

In This Twilight

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Campaign Karate

Tucson, Arizona. The announcements this week of fund raising results has stimulated conversation regarding elections throughout the country. Republican supporters of Tim Bee believe he can unseat incumbent Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona Congressional District 8. Others think she will trounce him handily.

One of the latter, Roger at the prior story’s thread expresses a gloomy outlook for Bee’s prospects and considers the $135,000 Bee raised last quarter to be too low. Another astute blogger, Sirocco agrees that the numbers are disappointing. They might be right, but I don’t think so. I want to see what happens when Bee becomes a for real candidate. Tick tock. Sonoran Alliance posted criticism of Bee that I reject outright, an assertion that Bee has committed the "worst handling" of Arizona’s resign to run law, incurring "extensive negative press."

Oh? I can think of one inconsequential Arizona Daily Star piece, like anyone except us bloggers is paying any attention anyway. The other press I've seen is rather benign. Resign to run prevents Bee’s official announcement until the “final year final term” clause kicks in on January 1, 2008. Until that date, he cannot announce without resigning. In his last year and termed out, Tim Bee does not have to resign to run per the law.

However, I’ll assert that if he wishes to stand a chance of prevailing against Giffords, he needs to resign in January. The CD 8 election and the presidency of the senate are not two horses to be ridden at the same time. Juggling both may have little impact on his presidency, but it will hurt his campaign. Technicality or no, he flaunts the intent of resign to run and exposes himself to criticism of the kind Sonoran Alliance suggests, but in 2008, it will happen with teeth.

Without question, he announces in January. Delay inflicts cost with no gain. If he’s smart, his announcement will include both a candidacy AND a resignation. If it doesn’t, we will witness a diluted effort falter against an effort that is anything but diluted. He will lack the focus necessary to hone the edge required. Fundraising and campaign infrastructure will be part of what he does, not ALL that he does, and the inevitable debates, reminding us of a prior candidate, will be above his pay grade.

The Karate Kid features a scene where the master says, “Do karate, ok. Not do karate, ok. Do karate so-so, squash just like grape.”

Monday, October 15, 2007

CD8 Race Fundraising Results

Tucson, Arizona. Whether one agrees with Thinkright's politics, one has to acknowledge that the man appears to be his word. He has asserted that Tim Bee, running or not, submitted financial reports as required by law. Tomorrow's Tucson Citizen has an article presenting the results of last quarter's fund raising results. Yes, our busy Bee, while not raising sums equal to the Congresswoman (to be expected), brought in a chunk of change last quarter, $134,620. She raised $257,779 during the same three month period. Giffords has over $1.1 M tucked away.

Arizona Senate President Tim Bee has raised $135 grand to think about running for Congress. The president of the National Rifle Association co-chairs the committee helping him decide. He has decided.

Tim Bee is running against Gabrielle Giffords for Congress in Arizona's eighth congressional district. He is complying with federal campaign laws. The state also has laws, but the dust is settling. I'm embarrassed I didn't see it sooner. He cannot announce until January 1, which is exactly what he will do.

He can wait until January. Anyone that wants to give him grief for waiting until January can pound salt. I knew he had a legal solution. Now I know what it is. He raises money as an explorer until January. Then he throttles completely forward and releases the brakes.

She has a seven figure sum, but Bees know how to both fly and sting. Not to discount the very hard work and noble efforts of the past, I assert this is the first "real" race for both candidates. Difficult or not, for both the prior races were spring training.

Spring training is over. The 2008 election for the AZ CD 8 seat in Congress is the culmination of a generation of Southern Arizona politics.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Giffords Minute on S-CHIP Veto


Tucson, Arizona. Somehow I missed this until now. Better late than never. I've already said enough about the ridiculous veto, while I am not entirely pleased with the bill.

I would prefer the bill passed, but the selective taxation (tobacco) policy has flaws we must address. Consumption based taxation is inherently regressive and targeting specific products places burden on certain populations.

The benefits of the bill, financed more equitably, are a slam dunk. S-CHIP is a good program addressing a horrible problem. What is wrong with this country? We're the richest country in the world yet our health care system fails our own children. Every civilized country except the United States has health care for its population.

In this country, we spend $30 BILLION per year marketing prescription drugs.

Does the reader get this? What the pharmaceutical industry spends in ONE year on advertising is what the S-CHIP would cost over FIVE years. After dropping $500 B + to war profiteers, insuring kids is too expensive.

Flags, Fiascos, Fools ahd Hope

Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum has restored both US and Mexican flags over its facility and will now devote resources to improve security protecting innocent animals from malcontents regarding immigration reform.

I got a GOP flyer yesterday featuring Tucson Mayor Walkup with Republican city council candidates. It asserts the democratic city council has failed the city, noting the garbage fee. So the garbage fee is the fault of the democrats (no) and the garbage fee is a problem (no). Today's AZ Daily Star endorses the Mayor (his only opponent is a green party candidate) and the Democrats.

One does not require Tedski's network to know the Mayor and Democrats Rodney Glassman and Regina Romero will win, and Proposition 200 will fail.

Speaking of the obvious, stating what anyone paying attention can't help seeing, General Ricardo Sanchez has come out and declared the Iraq war a nightmare having no end in sight. What was his first clue? Former President Jimmy Carter, also stating what anyone paying attention can't help seeing, has declared that Dick Cheney is a disaster for this country.

Satan's wife, Lynne Cheney, observed, "Dogs don't bark at a parked car."

Yes, Lynne, one can anticipate hostile remarks when malignant evil devours the future of humanity for the short term gain of the super rich. Count me in as a barking dog. Washington considers Lord Cheney "Darth Vader" and Bush a mindless puppet because it's true. Your husband has succeeded and continues to succeed with his principle mission. Thanks to his efforts, we no longer have a constitution. The imperial presidency gets to do whatever it wants while an impotent Congress can complain but essentially do nothing, and the country now has the greatest rich poor gap since the 1920s. Eighty years of support for a middle class and the notion of prosperity for many have been wiped out.

Utterly unconcerned with the future, your husband has played the short term game masterfully. Clearly, the impending price tag and its brutal consequences are not his concern.

Meanwhile, as Turkish soldiers killed in the most deadly attack by Kurdish separatists in more than a decade are buried across Turkey amid emotional media coverage, and Turkey seriously considers invading Iraq to pursue Kurdish separatists, what does the House of Foreign Affairs Committee do?

As the above takes place, Iraqi officials are beginning to recognize the inevitable split of the country into three separate pieces each organized for the maximum profit of US oil corporations. The Iraqis themselves are introducing language supporting the partition. The conversation will grow, and the debate will have heated arguments on both sides.

I mentioned hope above. In a breathe of fresh air that points to the notion that perhaps in some way, some unforeseen sequence of sanity emerges, the Iraqi refugees, living one meal at a time, one day without violence at a time, have shed their divisional hatreds. Amongst the refugees, creating a sight that rips tears from the face and stirs the heart, we find Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds struggling side by side to survive, aiding each other and forgiving all differences for the sake of living to see tomorrow.

Imagine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Talking Turkey

When Turkey entered the war in WWI, its government didn't like the Armenians. As has occurred over and over again throughout history, during the chaos of war, the government organized wholesale slaughter, and the Armenian Genocide resulted in the murder of over a million people.

Why am I talking about this? Well, believe it or not, Congress is considering chiming in with its two cents regarding what occurred ninety years ago. Now, I am not clear why Turkey has the slightest interest in what a bunch of generally overpaid and undereducated egos think about what happened. I would speculate that most in Congress don't even know where Armenians live.

Turkey does care, and the resolution is bad, plain bad. Congressional action about a newspaper ad sure moved us forward in addressing important issues. Now they're considering a vote about Turkey during WWI, officially proclaiming the slaughter as genocide. Of course it was genocide. So what? What did we do to the natives of "this country"? Thanksgiving dinner? Why aren't we voting on Stalin? Mao? The Spanish Inquisition? The massacre at Mountain Meadows? The Salem witch trials? Can Congress pass a resolution declaring OJ Simpson a jack ass?

The Bush Administration and everyone breathing who has been a Secretary of State is fighting against the infantile move far more typical of self-righteous Republicans. Here, the Democrats are being idiots, and I am quite disappointed. What does the condemnation accomplish? If you're going to throw a stone, have a good reason. We don't. Who can possibly believe the passage of the thing will impact genocide in the future? It won't. Word is that Turkish officials are planning to retaliate. They might even put an ad in the New York Times.

THURSDAY UPDATE: Turkey has recalled its ambassador to discuss the situation. Terrific. I am past disgusted. Half the house signed on as co-sponsors. With respect to Arizona, we have the following:

Signed on: Grijalva, Pastor, Mitchell, Renzi.

Shame on them. Those showing a little more intellect on the subject that did not join the condemnation crowd are Flake, Franks, Giffords, and Shadegg. We have real problems to address instead of this petty, infantile nonsense.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Bee is Buzzing


Tucson, Arizona. Yesterday the Arizona Daily Star published a short, carefully written letter by AZ Senator Tim Bee(R), who has formed an exploratory committee to consider running against Congresswoman Giffords for Congressional District 8. He was responding to the Star's earlier opinion piece expressing the view that he should announce if he is going to run.

Well, ThinkRight has posted a press release that Sandra Froman, the President of the National Rifle Association, has joined Jim Click to co-chair Bee's exploratory committee. Froman has written about getting the gun vote.


No doubt the President of the NRA finds Bee's decision on running interesting enough to co-chair the committee helping him decide.

I don't have any particular objection to his fulfilling his duties as Senate President if he thinks he can do that while "campaigning for a campaign" but not "campaigning."

What I find troubling is the fund raising question. His letter does not refer to his Web site or his mySpace page. The Web site has credit card functionality that solicits money (a single donor can give $2300) just like a full blown campaign, adhering exactly to the rules and procedures of a campaign. My blogger budget can't answer the question, but I can ask it.

If the committee can raise money like a campaign (minus certain groups), does it have to disclose the results like a campaign?

Purity Pathology

Tucson, Arizona. For those that have an interest, on Friday evening the Arizona Baptist Children's Services group called the New Life Pregnancy Center is hosting a prom style "ball" for daddies and daughters to attend as a couple, dressed to the nines in formal clothing, and dance. The father and daughter exchange vows in a ceremony where he gives her a silver ring to wear. His vow: be a responsible daddy. Her vow: remain a virgin until she is married. She vows to be "true to her daddy."

The Arizona Daily Star ran an article on the event, noting a 24 year old virgin who will attend, stating, "I want to be a role model for the other girls."

I have a nineteen year old daughter. If she told me she wanted to marry a guy before having any sexual experience with him, I'd ask her if she were out of her mind. While it is possible, women are far less likely than men to be lousy lovers. Qualitative analysis studies have shown that men are over four times as likely to be inept in the sack as women. Make no mistake. A woman can also be horrible. I know a woman that, while physically attractive, exudes emasculating energy so powerful almost no one can be with her. A rapist with a gun tried to take her, and at the risk of getting shot she ripped into the guy verbally, remarking after he dropped his drawers, "No wonder you have to resort to rape, you pathetic. . ."

This blog does NOT advocate ridiculing the genitalia of a man holding a gun in your face, but it worked. Unprepared to shoot her and unable to rise to the occasion, he fled and she got dressed. Consider the situation highly atypical as this woman could bitch the chrome off a Harley Davidson.

Returning to abstinence, I've linked to studies showing that kids in abstinence programs have as much sex as those not in such programs, but they are LESS likely to use birth control because they are less prepared. Less birth control = more pregnancies. More pregancies = the scarlet "A," but that's not the subject of this post.

I am not advocating irresponsibility. In fact, I advocate the opposite, but as a society, we could not be more ridiculous. Our corporations bent on wrestling every possible dollar from teenage spenders pump them full of sexually suggestive content. Think Hollywood films (they know what draws a crowd), beer commercials (the boys don't drink until 21 of course), and the music industry and its videos? We expect them to spend their money as provocative ads suggest but not absorb any of the content? What a charade.

The marketing professionals understand biology. The abstinence crowd is not known for its command of science. They say things like "The devil put fossils into rocks to fool the faithful into believing evolution" and God put "star light in transit" so we could see the stars even though they're too far away for the light to have reached us yet, and the glaciers never happened. Let's not kid ourselves. If velociraptors were in the Garden of Eden, the Bible would be complete before the second chapter of Genesis.

Our children are far better served by teaching them how to make responsible choices and providing them the means to act on them. I accept and believe the notion that sexual activity prior to puberty is a grotesque violation that inflicts damage. I completely reject the notion that responsible sexual activity after biology has run its course (around 16-18) is violating anything. They're just doing what nature wants them to do. We should empower them to proceed in a way that is safe (in every way) and responsible.

Abstinence until marriage and biology had little conflict when people got married at seventeen. Waiting until thirty or later has become common. The abstinence until marriage conversation is obsolete, and pressuring these young girls with events like this ball and telling them they are "ruined" and "devoured" if they have sex before wedding someone is repugnant and unhealthy.

Apparently the 24 year old role model likes to wear a T-shirt reading, "Virgins are hot."

Think about that.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Power in Congress


Tucson, Arizona. A Web site called Congress.org maintains a scoring system for ranking the level of influence of each member of Congress according to various measures including seniority, committees, legislation, and perhaps other factors. Clearly, belonging to the majority party makes a difference. The majority leaders sit at the top of their chambers, and those in the majority party dominate the rankings.

In the US Senate, Democrats scored an average 24.0 while Republicans got an average of 15.5. In the house, Democrats scored an average 20.1 and Republicans averaged 10.2.


For our Senators we have the following (score followed by rank)

McCain(R)----26.75-----18
Kyl(R)----------23.1------31

For the House we have:

Ed Pastor(D)-------------20.34----102
Raul Grijalva(D)---------16.02----180
Gabrielle Giffords(D)---12.50-----252
Rick Renzi(R)------------11.78----274
Harry Mitchell(D)--------11.00----302
John Shadegg(R)---------9.28----335
Franks(R)------------------8.03----382
Flake(R)-------------------6.09----418

To eliminate the influence of minority/majority, let's just rank inside each party.

Among the GOP only, McCain ranks 3rd and Kyl is 6th, indicating what we already know, which is that both carry weight in their party.

Among the 201 Republicans in the house:

Renzi------61
Shadegg----103
Franks-----146
Flake------176

Among the 235 Democrats:

Pastor-----102
Grijalva---180
Giffords---201
Mitchell---221

The separation into parties does not eliminate the majority / minority impact on rankings. In the minority party, Renzi's 11.78 puts him at the 30th percentile in his party, while Giffords higher 12.5 only places her at 85th percentile. Such results do not surprise. It seems reasonable that the majority party, gaining power, becomes a far more competitive environment where all members, now chairing committees or gaining stature in committees, agendas, etc., measure higher, so the intra-party rank grows far more steep. Pastor's staying at 102 and Grijalva's staying at 180 implies Democratic domination of the top 200 slots, which is accurate. Only a dozen or so Republicans make the top 200, an indication of a problematic algorithm that does not take into account the reality of the system.

Regarding another ranking, the Blognetnews Arizona ranking of most influential political blogs in Arizona seems to be stabilizing. Your humble blogger's place appears to be settling in around tenth. I don't know what Politico Mafioso is doing (link to right), but I suspect he's figured something out. Sure, it was fun to be ranked first a few weeks ago, but I knew it was nonsense and said so. Stacy hasn't posted anything in almost two months, and I don't understand why they aren't getting RRR and Blog for AZ.

As I've said, it would be interesting to see something rigorous about the influence of the blogosphere. Clearly, its importance in politics is growing, but I have not seen anything substantive, especially about anything local.


SOMETHING ELSE