Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain's McClueless

Eggplant/Cheney will skip the GOP Convention over bad weather Dobson’s Jesus freak morons prayed would strike the Democratic Convention. The media whipped hysteria about last week was just that: hysteria. The talking heads would have one anticipate virtual riots as militant PUMA (Party United My Ass!) Hillary-bots overthrew the party. They moaned this and that all week, missing the reality occurring in front of them. Naturally they twist within acceptable guidelines in an effort to boost ratings.

Now we have the reaction to McCain’s selection of a beauty pageant runner up for Vice-President of the country, a woman who served as Mayor of a town about the size of the average urban high school and then Governor of a state with the population less than one half of greater Phoenix. Tucson has more people than the state of Alaska. Can you imagine Bob Walkup as President? Tucson’s clothmeisters would have brain aneurysms prioritizing the plunder lists. We could put Kennedy in charge of the transportation budget, install Hecker as Attorney General (my keyboard just popped a key), and Snell over the Department of Education.

Equally farcical is the attempt of the GOP and the TV heads to inject sophistication into an Occam’s Razor one-liner - the selection of right wing zealot Sarah Palin as the GOP nominee for VP. The move is neither Karl Rove’s "brilliant" nor whoever’s "gamble" nor any of the content proliferating since Friday. It’s simpler. Sparing the reader the background I jump to the assertion that some military men of McCain’s generation continue to live in a world where women are not truly human beings. These guys have wives and daughters, and women are not to be abused or murdered (just like the family pet), but they are NOT equals, i.e., the same species.

To McCain, it makes perfect sense that the 18 million (an inflated number under real analysis of those votes) who supported Hillary would simply switch to “another female” when denied the one they wanted. As already partially evidenced (more coming) by the recent booing and groaning when Palin dared to suggest she compares to Clinton, we will see soon enough that HRC’s supporters supported HER and HER STAND on the issues, not her genitals. Anyone who thinks Palin can even begin to stand in HRC shoes is an idiot.

Noted ad nauseam is the blow choosing Palin delivers to the one viable (though flawed) assertion the McCain campaign forwarded in its criticism of Obama, experience. At 73 with repeated cancer diagnoses McCain selects Palin and then wants to debate a ticket’s experience credentials? The entire country looked to the McCain VP choice as particularly relevant because the person has a better than average chance of succeeding him. The Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and other GOP staple folk look at this woman and scratch their heads. They can’t vote for the ticket.

Occam’s Razor. It IS that simple. Female plumbing and staunch conservative positions may grab some of the conservative base McCain is seeking (not all - misogynists tend to settle in this crowd). He may get the Dobsons and Robertsons in November, but he has insulted, offended, and totally lost the HRC voters that were a long shot for him in the first place. Now he looks even more pathetic and clueless with his beauty pageant trophy by his side. The hard core will cheer and voice support (what choice do they have?) but make no mistake. Choosing Palin was a deeply embarrassing step backward into the fifties world of "Leave it to Beaver."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Cloth Carnage Continues

Tucson, Arizona. In today's Citizen Teya Vitu has an article noting that Donovan Durband and Bill O'Malley, two of the few embedded in the Clothiverse that actually produced results, have had enough of the incompetence and corruption and chosen to depart for other pastures. I don't know O'Malley, but I did meet Donovan at some Cloth events back in the day. He and I went to Austin, Texas in that ludicrous exercise of touring a great downtown that's possible when community leaders serve the community instead of themselves.

Remember we are talking about the Cloth, so attributes like intelligence, productivity, integrity, and a genuine desire to contribute to the community are profound liabilities and cause for alarm. Durband was the Executive Director of the functional Tucson Downtown Alliance. His alarms probably sounded when the Cloth injected pure fabric into his group, hoisting an overpaid suit named Glenn Lyons from Canada (who'd he know?) and adding Hecker, Shelko, Snell, and other flab to the board, creating a bloated, dysfunctional suit stuffer (Downtown Tucson Partnership) with no commensurate increase in funding, so to pay the suit they had to toss real workers. I don't know if either were forced to leave, saw what's coming, or just couldn't stand the retching anymore. I remember at the San Manuel smelter (huge company) when all of the accounting people started resigning in droves. I remained in denial until the plane literally exploded on the ground. Whoops. I did not make that mistake with SAIAT.

Speaking of departures, not too long ago someone told me that BJ Smith, a former City of Tucson economic development worker who served on SAIAT's board, had left TREO. BJ resigned from SAIAT's board right about the time TREO stole its funding. Working at TREO today must be awful, and I don't envy remaining workers Gerri (former city) or Tiffany (former county) as they work amongst empty cubicles and unused furniture bought with the blood of destroyed non-profits. Both should update their resumes and find work with human beings, a likely objective of Durband, O'Malley, and the other decent people leaving the Clothiverse.

Good luck.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Future is Calling

The United States experienced history tonight when the highly educated African American Michelle Obama stood before a crowd of thousands and a television audience of millions and spoke on behalf of her husband's candidacy for President. In an authentic speech delivered directly over the plate with moving clarity and simplicity, she cut through the nonsense of Rove's villainy and showed, not described, the face of hope.

I consider watching her speech a privilege and won't ever forget it. Less than fifty years have passed since a woman refused to give up her seat on a bus. Just over 20 years have passed since Morris Dees won the famous lawsuit that set a precedent against KKK violence and led to other litigation against white supremacist groups. Tonight showed both how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. Of course Obama is not perfect, but he is the best candidate for president to run in many years. The GOP and the current White House have inflicted far more damage than can be repaired in four years or eight or eighteen. But we can start.

A wave of change is trying to happen. The future is calling. If we are too stupid, blind and easily manipulated by GOP smears to recognize this opportunity, we deserve the result. Our children do not. The future is calling. For the sake of the nation, everyone should answer the call. The blue tsunami remains in play.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Leal Desires Deeper Cloth Cut

(Kennedy's 10,000 sq. ft. mansion near Swan and Glenn) Tucson, Arizona. Arizona Star reporter Rob O'Dell persisted today with another piece noting that Tucson City Council Member Steve Leal (fully aware of TREO's theft of other non-profit agency funding) is calling for an investigation into the Downtown Development Corporation and Doug Kennedy's posh gig as its chief. O'Dell's earlier piece mentioned how wads of parking lot cash (over $15,000 per month) were hand delivered to Kennedy's house each month. If that conjures up the image of some old guy in a small rental at 8th and 8th, think again. Our non-compensated (er, just started a couple years ago) beacon of civic sacrifice and concern for others enjoys a 10,000+ square foot mansion on 2.4 acres complete with tennis courts, golf green, huge swimming pool, the whole bit. Life is swell for the Lords of the Cloth.

What is not in the press are the emails scurrying about with the increasing recognition that, as Observer commented in the prior story here, the incestuous Cloth boards give rise to huge conflicts of interest all over the place. Lord Hecker had the gall to suggest that his "time" actually constituted a "donation" to the various organizations. He either is on the board, was on the board, has been nominated to be on the board, or was under consideration for nomination to the board, or served on the Nominating Committee of the board, or was retained as a consultant to the Nominating Committee for evaluation of potential nominees, or was on the Membership Steering Council of the Nominating Committee considering potential nominees to the Board Executive Committee. One of the ways to distinguish the Cloth is to ask if Hecker is involved. Who is on the DDC board? Who is on the IDA board? Who is on the DTP board? Who is on the Rio Nuevo board? Who gets paid what by whom?

The DDC was given $5 million dollars. Where are the full details of where the money went? From O'Dell's article:

In 1985 and 1986, the DDC and the IDA became partners in two Downtown parking lots, including a prominent lot at North Church Avenue and West Council Street, across the street from El Charro Cafe.

Developers have expressed interest in the lot over the years, but no projects have moved forward.

Sometime after that agreement was signed, the IDA advanced more than $907,000 to the DDC, which never has been paid back, although exactly where the money went is unclear. Kennedy said it went to pay off the El Charro parking lot.

Who got $907,000?

Welcome to cash cow Lot 175. Who owns it? OK, now, who REALLY owns it? Hecker called the investigations "unnecessary and unproductive." Doug Kennedy did respond in writing to the IDA request for information, stating: One of your chief concerns appears to be the "commingling" of the funds of the Torreon Partnership and the Block 175 Partnership.

This just gets better and better. Kennedy cannot resist bitching in the letter: Finally, we would like to know the basis on which you feel you are entitled to receive the DDC’s confidential corporate financial and business records.

As Observer said, follow the boards and follow the money. Money and Boards. Boards and Money.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lot 175 Take Two

Tucson, Arizona. I stand corrected that Tucson Newspapers would never permit any articles about Lot 175 and the parking lot shenanigans to fatten the wallets of corrupt self-serving goons. My first post about Lot 175 on July 2 questioned the Downtown Development Corporation and its way of operating without paying anyone.

Well, this morning's Arizona Daily Star features a Rob O'Dell article all about the Downtown Development Corporation and an investigation into parking lot funds.

Directly from the article,

Additionally, the money from the lots is delivered to Kennedy's house, where Kennedy runs the DDC's business.

Kennedy said the lots bring in a bit more than $200,000 annually, about $45,000 of which goes to his salary, which Kennedy said he began paying himself two years ago.

Wait a minute. I thought the DDC didn't have any paid employees. Kennedy is paid $45,000 per year to do what? Sit at his house and wait for the money to arrive?

Speaking of Cloth meisters paid money to do positively nothing or worse, harm those who do help others, word on the street is that at least one or two city council members are growing a little irritated with distilled cloth extraordinaire, the swine stuffing Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc., a multi-million dollar scam run by Swine Snell himself, a demonstrated liar and thief who likes to destroy any local non-profit agency so he can steal its funding for TREO. Apparently last week it came out that Snell snarfed all remaining city funds for the Microbusiness Advancement Center, a whopping $15 grand (Snell snarfed $45 grand of MAC's funding last year). MAC helps small businesses in Tucson.

Fortunately, MAC can absorb the loss, as did Goodwill Industries when Snell snarfed $30,000 in funds allotted to support its workforce training program. Sadly, SAIAT, the non-profit training institute serving local businesses, could not recover from Snell's theft of its funding, 55% of it in 2007 ($132,500) and ALL OF IT the following year. Arrogant filth to the core, Snell thought nothing of declaring in writing that SAIAT's board approved the cut (outright lie - SAIAT letter) and that the institute's performance would improve (it went bankrupt and closed). Snell even boasted that the stolen funds stuffed into TREO's bank account constituted "improved financial performance" of his organization in its 2007 annual report.

Time will tell if Kennedy can continue to pay himself $45,000 a year to cash checks from two parking lots, but O'Dell's piece is an excellent piece of work likely to raise some eyebrows. Combined with his work on Rio Nuevo, I'm starting to think the press is letting him grow some teeth. Listening to cloth speak is always cause for a good groan or laugh.

"I don't worry about the IDA's concerns, because there's nothing to hide; it's all public information," Kennedy said.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Resource Nationalism - The Axis of Oil

Some may recall in 2006 when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional group linking China, Russia, and Central Asia. He most intentionally got a bunch of Americans excited by suggesting a debate about whether the holocaust occurred. Ahmadinejad attends these summits regularly to contribute to the growing backlash against the Bush – Cheney exacerbated global bullying rhetoric. Bush’s foreign policy "axis of evil" blunder threw fuel on simmering tempers. If one listened, one could hear the world retch when Bush (and later McCain) remarked that the 21st Century does not tolerate one sovereign nation invading another. Oh, God.

Through incompetence, arrogance, stupidity, myopia, greed, or a combination of all, the United States in the past eight years has made far more enemies than friends, lost more respect than it earned, and squandered the global hegemony at its feet when W. Eggplant in Chief entered the White House. Only the GlennBeckian kooks buy the "Islamo-fascism" talk until recently forwarded by the administration and already dead. The more relevant expression that will remain pertinent and grow in significance is Resource Nationalism, and it’s not pretty for the US, Western Europe, or democracy. Who wants to live in a democracy if it elects self-important morons that cater to the ultra-rich and screw the general population? Who wants to live in a democracy if it means no health care, no social services, rampant corruption, economic oppression, the highest incarceration rate in the world, and insurmountable national debt?

Among other developments, the Summer Olympics and the recent Pew study that found China’s population more satisfied with its government than Americans have led to growing conversation regarding the popular autocracy or autocratic capitalism. Three thousand years ago the Greek philosophers criticized democracy as lowering government to the lowest common denominator of blithering, uneducated idiots. In the year 2000, the United States made good on the concern, and we now witness The Great American Yard Sale most recently highlighted by the sale of Anheuser-Busch. Why is so much of America for sale? Rather than ask let alone answer, the Bush loving bubbas have vowed to boycott Budweiser.