Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nogales Cloth Amateurs Indicted

Nogales Mayor Octavio Garcia-Von Borstel was arrested Tuesday on charges he took bribes to protect contracts or obtain business contracts with the city. He is also accused of money laundering, conflict of interest, illegally conducting an enterprise and fraud.

They also indicted and arrested his father, Octavio Garcia Suarez, on charges that include fraud, theft and money laundering.

"Both the mayor and his father will be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law." Attorney General Terry Goddard said.


Tucson’s Cloth know how it’s done. You don’t take the bribe outright. You form a consulting business and charge fees for influence. Granted, the Tucson charade is getting a little surreal. Now it appears proponents of the downtown hotel want it to be built so long as someone else is accountable. Rio Nuevo wants the city to build it. The city wants Rio Nuevo to build it.

Rio Nuevo board member Alan Willenbrock noted that the HVS financial projections for the project were beyond ridiculous - calculations based upon assumptions prior to the great recession as well as Arizona’s tourist magnet SB 1070, which led to the cancellation of well over $100M in booked conventions in Phoenix alone. He was thanked for sharing and then dismissed from the board.

The Tucson Progressive blog has some good content on the hotel.

Like the Rosemont mine, the stupid thing will happen, even though other local hotels (Starr Pass, Westin La Poloma) teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. Despite all the rhetoric, assurances, and guarantees, Garfield Traub will slither into nooks and crannies to create millions in cost overruns bumbling Bob will dismiss as “costs of business.” Dismal occupancy rates will force nauseating public subsidies, but unlike Nogales, no one will be indicted. The Cloth will prosper. TREO will declare the $300M construction costs as capital investment it created, spinning the huge expenditure as, in fact, not an expense but revenue, a return on investment!

Which it is, if you’re Garfield Traub.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Clothmeisters Leaving? We'll See

According to yesterday's Rob O'Dell piece Clothmeister Greg Shelko, who guzzled over half a million dollars in salary and benefits to (no kidding) spend $250 million dollars on Rio Nuevo and build essentially nothing at all, is going to truly relinquish his very sweet gig.

Well, we'll see. Shelko was removed as director of Rio Nuevo when the state felt it had to crash the party. Not to worry, the Cloth take care of their own, and the city immediately rehired him at $100 an hour to continue doling out the TIF kitty to the Cloth aficionados.

Perhaps Greg will join Larry/Dan consulting and charge developers monthly fees for consideration in lucrative deals. After all, think about all that looming RTA construction. Behind every transportation project is a cash register sounding "Ka Ching!" for the don.

O'Dell also has a semi-related piece suggesting that forces are at work regarding another Clothmeister, TCC Director Rich Singer. Like Shelko, Singer makes an outrageous salary to do nothing at all (the ability to be paid vast sums to do nothing is the most distinguishing feature of Clothmeisters).

I never got the cloth memo and have always had to produce results to keep a paycheck. The students in that classroom think I should be good at helping them learn and get quite upset almost instantly if I am not effective at the front of the room. The exams they must take have to be designed and then graded fairly.

In the other job, those who use the information I produce get downright cranky if I am not timely, or worse, if I am wrong. I don't get to pull a Rush Limbaugh and claim a judge is a taxidermist with three bear heads mounted in his courtroom.

At first glance, a do nothing gig at a TREO or a DTP sounds sweet. Sit around, surf the web, read magazines, clap at a cloth lunch, dinner at Sally's, clap at a chamber breakfast, smile and nod at a planning session, feel important at a board meeting, talk about gay bohemians, visit a call center, play golf, snarf food at an SALC party, .....

I would go insane.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

GOP's Eager Tea Nominees

The Tea Party has caused considerable consternation for the Republican Party this election cycle by defeating establishment candidates generally considered more competitive in the general election this November.

"Not true," alleges Arizona tea nominee Biff Kayhole,"I am every bit as competitive as the slimy RINO I trounced with straight talk focused on the FACTS of the issues." Kayhole made national headlines by declaring that Barack Obama is the worst president in US history. When asked why this is the case, he replied, "Any communist Muslim born in Kenya has to be the worst president in history."

Kayhole is shown above at the Grand Canyon with models posing as family members in what also became the last photo taken of his dog.

Sarah Palin endorsed "Mama Grizzly" Nevada candidate Scrug Sneethin backs not only the elimination of the Department of Education, but the elimination of education itself, both public and private, "Education is why people become communists." When asked how society would obtain medical professionals to treat people who get injured or become sick, Sneethin replied, "That's God's work."

"Education is the problem," Sneethin asserts,"and Sarah Palin gets it, too. What we need is common sense, not the fancy words and high falutin talkity talk in their ibony towers."

Sneethin's cousin, Grog Snukkers, a tea nominee from eastern Kentucky, stands for the elimination of the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and all local police and fire departments, noting that "everything was fine 10,000 years ago when we took care of our own and didn't need none of that shit."

Snukkers also wants to ban air travel and Facebook.

Construction mogul Juss Shilly also shocked the Arizona GOP establishment by defeating their "sure thing" candidate for Congress. Shilly has it out for Social Security and Medicare, suggesting that they provide disincentives for people to be responsible, "Because of social security, people don't save, and because of Medicare, they don't care if they get sick. Think about it. They got no Medicare in Pakistan, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, or Bangladesh. Their people don't get all fat and disgusting. They don't mess with cancer, and they don't get Alzheimer's at all, man."

The youngest tea candidate to dislodge an established GOP incumbent is Delaware gun enthusiast Kristy "Killer" O'Twiddle, also a Palin endorsed "Mama Grizzly." A single issue candidate, O'Twiddle wants to eliminate all firearm restrictions, including the prohibition of automatic weapons and banning guns for the mentally ill, children, or convicted felons. She also supports making it illegal to keep firearms from public places such as elementary/middle schools, high schools, university campuses, sporting events, courtrooms, or government buildings.

(O'Twiddle with her son and her Ruger P89) Other than her calling for the distribution of guns to prison inmates "for self-protection," her most controversial position calls for the elimination of the Transportation Security Administration and all airport screening activity.

Instead, she proposes that all airline passengers be issued fully loaded Ruger P89 9mm pistols, "If everyone is packing, nothing will happen, and the P89 is as solid and reliable as you can get. Feeds all ammo great, and perfect for combat. Most people don't know that the P89 is what the U.S. military really wanted before communist Obama intervened. The P89 is top quality. My only real complaint is the alloy grip does get slick."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

De-Americanizing America

(Pastor Terry Jones - Before) Long time readers of this place know that I have been calling attention to GOP hate-mongering long before the tea party even existed. I said that they were taking a horrible chance. For reasons I won't get into Dancing with a Snake (1/29/09) got deleted, but these are still up. The events of last week show how close the Republicans are willing to take us to the abyss. We still might fall in.

Toxic Talk (3/01/09)
Toxic Distraction (The "T-shirt Post") (4/15/09)
Darkness (7/21/09)

The shameless Republican behavior regarding the de-Americanization of President Obama is bad enough. You know the list, from the assertion that he not a US citizen to the mindless claim that he is not a Christian (conveniently forgetting their earlier outrage towards his very Christian minister, Jeremiah Wright) to alleging he is a socialist, communist, facist, dictator... all easily shown false with solid evidence. Those involved aren't to be deterred by facts.

Far worse, the hysteria the Republicans generate does not stop with Obama. As said before, and by many including myself, they are taking a grotesquely irresponsible risk. With excruciating irony, we have hypocrites professing to love America engaging in the very behavior the country was created to prevent, religious intolerance and religious persecution.

(Pastor Terry Jones - After) Anyone care to explain how the burning of Torahs, Qurans, or Bibles is anything but religious persecution? You know how close we just came, and it still might happen, but not under the direction of Pastor Terry Jones. Did you notice the shift in his body language, facial expression, and speaking? He has now said he will NEVER burn a Quran, no matter what happens in New York, and his church has torn down the signs about the event.

I'm guessing he realized his current path had a less than optimal early retirement program.

Newt Gingrich's comparison of a New York Islamic community center to placing a Nazi sign next to a Holocaust museum is past unconscionable. If we want to blame an entire religion for the actions of some who cite it for their own agenda, the apt comparison would be a crucifix next to a Holocaust museum, Newt. People think Obama is a demon?

Nicholas Kristof's excellent Is this America? in today's Times closes with:

“We know what it is like when people have attacked us physically, have attacked us verbally, and others have remained silent,” said Rabbi David Saperstein. “It cannot happen here in America in 2010.”

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick put it this way: “This is not America. America was not built on hate.”

“Shame on you,” the Rev. Richard Cizik, a leading evangelical Christian, said to those castigating Islam. “You bring dishonor to the name of Jesus Christ. You directly disobey his commandment to love your neighbor.”

If the Islamic community center is not built or is moved, Osama Bin Laden can raise a toast of victory. He will have succeeded in damaging the United States far more than he could have ever anticipated. He must love watching the Republican Party cater to the hatred/intolerance for which he stands. It is heart breaking enough to realize how many in America will toss the foundation of the country in the trash and march to the sickening tune played by pipers Palin and Beck. Watching Republican leaders cheer the insanity is mortifying.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Tell No One

The French film Tell No One (Guillaume Canet, 2006) offers a compelling trip down the mystery rabbit hole as a widower Dr. Beck receives an email from his wife.

Problem: His wife was murdered eight years ago by a serial killer.

Then two bodies are discovered in the vicinity of the area where his wife was killed. They find a safety deposit box key with the bodies. Whose key? His wife's. Now they think that he, not the serial killer, killed his wife and the two just found.

Then he gets more emails from his dead wife using an email address only she would know. Then one of his associates is killed, making him a suspect in four murders.

So it begins. This is the kind of film utterly ruined by advance knowledge of the mystery. Like many excellent European films superior to the dollar chasing Hollywood machine, films such as La Femme Nikita, The Vanishing, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this film is going to be REMADE American style.

See the European original, and skip the pathetic American remake.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Losing It

The Bush Administration drove the nation into a ditch. Instead of rallying behind the next administration to recover from the worst economic catastrophe since the great depression, we not only say the black guy caused it, but then thwart his efforts to resolve the problem. Bush spent half his presidency on vacation, and we said nothing. Now we're bitching about a weekend.

The redecoration of the oval office? What?

Arizona is about to elect an unelected governor who can't even hold a coherent conversation, won't speak to reporters, and only after weeks of mounting pressure reluctantly admits she outright lied about beheaded bodies in the desert. It is the weeks of standing by the lie, not the lie itself, that is so telling about the nature of this character.

The GOP nominee for Senate in Nevada wants to eliminate the IRS, the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, Social Security, and unemployment insurance. The GOP nominee for Senate in Kentucky thinks restaurants should be able to refuse to serve spics, jigaboos, queers, red heads, teenagers with too much acne, Ukrainians, or people with false teeth.

Then, of course, we have Glenn Beck at the Lincoln Memorial talking about God and civil rights while the freedom of religion nation screams that certain kinds of churches should no longer be built, at least not anywhere close or important.

The GOP's most popular figure is a weakly educated know nothing that proudly proclaims her ignorance as "common sense" and denounces the aware and informed as elitists.

How long does this have to last? How ridiculous does it have to get before the critical mass wakes up?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

We all know that the current political discourse is toxic and painful. Many blogs and blog readers have checked out because conditions have deteriorated to where many are echo chambers or "choir blogs" that impart no useful information whatsoever.

If you're up for it, below are two blasts from the future, from the set of the gifted, laser minded individuals distinguishing realities decades ahead of us. These two cerebral videos are long by blog standards (10-11 minutes), but deep truth is not captured in a soundbite.

For perspective, one session of my algebra class runs 80 minutes.

I won't live long enough to dip more than a toe into the pool of these realities. At least I got to read about the pool, and more importantly, receive the affirmation that there are others out there who get it. We are getting there, but the progress is so slow, and so painful.

Bring the brain if you click below. Republicans, never mind already.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Mr. Five Months

The 100% true story from a real small business owner in Tucson:

In May a few years ago, I decided to start cold calling local high-tech companies. I'd created a list of about 100 of them, and saved it as an Excel spreadsheet.

Around this time I met a guy from TREO, and he said that his outfit was interested in helping local businesses, especially small businesses like mine.

I'd heard that pickup line before, and I was a bit skeptical. But I went downtown to TREO and met with him. Nice office they had there. For the number of employees filling the space, it seemed rather big.

Anyway, I told the man about my list. He said that he'd been in Tucson for a long time and had all sorts of contacts at local companies. So, he asked me to e-mail him my list, and he'd give me names of people to call. Sounded good to me. Having a specific name to contact turns a cold call into a warm call.

I e-mailed the list to him. And, since I figured that it would take him a week or two to get a list of names together, I went ahead and cold-called the list. Whenever he got the names to me, I'd just make a new set of calls to my list.

May turned into June, June turned into July, July into August, and no word from this guy. It didn't really matter, as I was off on a cold-calling tear, and there were plenty of numbers to call.

Mr. Five Months finally got back to me in October with the news that TREO policy forbade him from furnishing me with any names. My response was along the lines of "You mean that it took five months to get back to me and tell me that? You need to work on your responsiveness."

He e-mailed back with some mealy-mouthed rhetoric, and I deleted it many moons ago. It was so lame that it wasn't worth keeping.

Shortly after this exchange, I was at a meeting, and a TREO board member was speaking. During the question and answer time, I shared my story from start to finish. Her response: TREO needs more money.

The story points to more than one might initially think, and for every story that gets told, there are hundreds that are not.