Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Group Targets Tucson Chamber

A group calling itself Tucson First is targeting the Tucson Chamber of Commerce as the enabler of the local corruption, incompetence, cronyism, nepotism, influence peddling, and outright fraud that infests the economic development activities of Tucson and Pima County.

Frustration with local economic development is nothing new, and Tucson’s woes predate most of the current players. When looking at the whole mess after getting myself entangled, I coined the term "cloth" based on the ridiculous language and mountains of bullshit one hears in this conversation. People talk about "leveraging regional attributes," "weaving the community fabric," "the creative class" and other meaningless tripe instead of the common sense development efforts like, imagine this, recruiting businesses to the area.

One can appreciate the anger of the local business community, for the overpaid Cloth, the greedy collection of suits who are supposed to be enhancing business opportunity and growth for all, is entirely self-serving. DTP dismissed a competent director so it could hire the wife of a friend. TREO stole funding for a Goodwill program that trained handicapped youth for entry level jobs. Raytheon had to build a $1M+ training center because TREO stole the funding for an existing training center that served Raytheon and 100+ other businesses. TREO stole funding from MAC, a small non-profit that helped small start-up companies. Instead of serving the community, helping existing businesses expand and attracting new ones, the Cloth takes from the community to stuff its own coffers. TREO has over $1M stashed away. Is that money helping your business?

Research going back to 1991 produced this Detailed History of economic development in Tucson. Remember the yellow streak? Remember the hours of meetings to create a good slogan, resulting in "Tucson, a great place"? The first page at the link covers 1990-2000. Subsequent chapters go into more detail from 2000 through 2007.

It's not clear to me that the Chamber is the source of the problem. Still, a highly effective Chamber would of necessity go up against the blood sucking Cloth if it were serious about economic development. Tucson First has their work cut out for them. The Cloth not only seek to destroy all who work against them. They also work to destroy any entity that actually succeeds in promoting substantive economic development. Those who don’t produce results are always threatened by those who do.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Americans Blending Spiritual Ideas

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently published a survey regarding religious practice in America that found trends showing increasing diversity and the blending of views and practices regarding spiritual life. The results of the survey match what common sense would speculate. Over time Americans are increasingly open to a diverse mix of Christianity, Eastern concepts of re-incarnation and the spiritual value of yoga and meditation, New Age ideas, and the world of occult views regarding ghosts, Astrology, Tarot cards, and communicating with the dead.

Many Americans Mix Multiple Faiths Full Report PDF

In the survey 24% of the public overall and 22% of Christians say they believe in reincarnation, and similar numbers (25% of the public overall, 23% of Christians) believe in astrology and acknowledge yoga as a spiritually worthwhile endeavor. More interesting is the trend the study found regarding mystical or enlightening experiences. Almost half (48%) of respondents said they have had a "moment of sudden religious insight or awakening," a substantial increase that reinforces the upward trend indicated by prior surveys, now more than twice the frequencies reported in the 60s and 70s. The experiences tend to occur with those NOT affiliated with a particular religion.

Skipping the discussion of entropy, these findings should surprise no one. The Internet, the explosion of cable television with international reach and 24/7 news feeds, and increasing world wide travel will continue to fuel the blending and mixing of the world's peoples, ideas, perspectives, religions, and languages. Naturally, this drives the xenophobes and Neanderthals crazy. Sure enough, after seeing a Washington Times piece discussing the survey, the righty blog Seeing Red had to bitch, steadfastly clinging to the mistaken yet hyperventilated notion that the USA was founded as a Judeo/Christian nation, citing the Declaration of Independence (?).


Jews did emigrate to early America starting virtually at once to escape European anti-Semitism, and they did play a role in the Revolutionary War, but we are talking very small numbers. Try to find references to Christ, Christianity, Jews or Judaism or the Torah in the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, or the Constitution. Go for it. Religion is mentioned, of course, with that minor bit about separating church and state, and there's the no religious test clause in Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution.

The intent of the founding fathers could not be more clear, but let's not allow reality to interfere with our point of view. What always amazes me are remarks like this one in their post, "We’ll put our faith in traditional religious practices over "Eastern or New Age ideas, reincarnation, yoga as a spiritual practice..."

Eastern ideas and yoga are not traditional? They haven't heard of ... India? China?

On an unrelated note, Houston just elected openly lesbian and widely acknowledged gay rights activist Annise Parker as Mayor. I wonder if she would have won if voters knew she was a Zoroastrian priest in a previous incarnation.