Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Mildly Naughty Post

Okay. Let's just admit right up front that publishing the Facebook rant of a Clothmeister's wife is not exactly the high road. That said, we're talking about Clothmeisters, people who make so much for so little. As already reported, Metropolitan Pima Alliance Director Michael Guymon will be leaving MPA to become a TREO VP on November 15. Further, Guymon was one of those most fervently leading the Garfield Traub downtown Tucson hotel bandwagon. Needless to say, certain parties were most displeased when the long anticipated "Ka-Ching!" of rich proportions evaporated into the desert sky.

With the $200M+ bonanza now DOA, it seems Michael's wife could not restrain herself from a short outburst at her Facebook page. Sympathetic friends attempted to console her. Before you get all bent up, note that hubby was well paid to try, but will have to forego the rewards if he had delivered the goods. She's crying about the beach house that will have to wait.

Jean McKnight Guymon:
It's official. Every one on the Tucson City Council will NOT receive my vote for re-election. I may send each and every one of the rotten bunch a rotting pumpkin. I may not-so-delicately place the rotting pumpkins on each of their numb-skulls.....'nuff said......I could go on and on and on and on.....
Tuesday 9:49pm

Lisa Brunner:
YIKES! Based on last nites conversation - I guess things did not go so well!!
Tuesday 10:04pm

Margie Preble-Creedon:
Sounds like you need to run for City Council!
Wednesday at 6:57am

Staci Richard:
Aren't their "numb skulls" actually rotting pumpkins! Run for City Council, Jean, and we'll support you : )
Wednesday 9:26am

Kristen Jarnagin:
Seriously..I know what you're referring to and it's a shame that so many crazy people are running Tucson! I try not to drink the water when I go down there in fear that I might be converted.
Wednesday 1:54pm

Staci Richard:
What happened last night? I saw craziness too when I worked for GTEC.
Wednesday 2:22pm

Not to worry, Jean, hubby will be well taken care of in his new TREO gig.

Staci - Different acronym. Same Cloth.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reality Bitch Slaps Cloth

In the greatest single defeat for the Cloth since the word's new semantics was distinguished, the Tucson City Council unanimously cemented the demise of a $200M+ publicly funded downtown hotel boondoggle. In a major vindication of ousted Rio Nuevo board member Allan Willenbrock, truth spoke to Cloth and overcame the slimy connections and well lined pockets of Clothmeisters paid to insure that Garfield Traub would rake in millions at city taxpayer expense.

The losing Clothmeisters include Lord Hecker, master schmoozing attorney and principle in Larry/Dan Consulting, MPA Director and soon to be another do nothing TREO VP goon, Michael Guymon, former councilman Fred Ronstadt, Brent Davis, and Rick Kaneen. One could argue whether they lost, for the cool thing about being a paid lobbyist is that you get to keep all that cash even if you deliver the essence of NADA. This is not the first time Larry/Dan consulting swung and missed, but it is perhaps the highest profile instance where the Lord promised and failed to deliver.

As noted over at Tucson Choices, this has to be a blow to Cheerleader Bob. Perhaps he should head over to Pima College for some customized training in urban development. Word is that PCC can put together programs specifically tailored to meet any training need.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shootout at the Cloth Corral

Those interested in seeing the Cloth in real time live action should attend the Tucson city council's public hearing tonight where some believe a final up down vote will take place regarding the construction of a new $260M downtown hotel. The Star is calling for additional conversation before a decision is made, to which some groan in agony, "Yeah, let's talk about this for another three years."

General Contractor Turner/Sundt will certainly turn out a motivated mob of hotel supporters whipped up by promises of high paying jobs. Those against the hotel, seeing it as a boondoggle with horrendous financial consequences, will certainly have some means of expression.

Clothmeisters will be on hand to deliver the goodies for salivating builder Garfield Traub, who has lined the pockets of many to score the prize. Possible hotel champions include Michael Guymon of Metropolitan Pima Alliance, Brent Davis, Rick Kaneen, and former councilman Fred Ronstadt, who is rumored to be considering a run for Mayor. Perhaps even Lord Hecker himself will attend to give nods of approval or scowls depending on who is speaking. Of course, none of these characters take money from any contractors, and none of them get a juicy check of gratitude if this project gets built.

By the way, effective Nov. 15, Michael Guymon is leaving the MPA to become Vice-President for Regional Development for Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO). And people think I'm making this stuff up.

I'm getting conflicting predictions on what will occur this evening. I've always said with a tone of resignation that of course the stupid thing will be built, the same resignation I feel about the Rosemont Mine. It will happen, and the public will yet again fork out massive subsidies so a small number of people can make a fortune. With the hotel, it will be continuing support to keep it solvent. With the mine, it will be water and the extensive clean up costs after the few have had their fun.

That said, regarding the hotel some sharp people are telling me different. If they are right, the hotel dies tonight. The Star's Pueblo Politics plans to live blog the event.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Anonymity is for Low Profiles

Back in 2006, when Jeff Latas and Patty Weiss were slugging it out with Giffords and the GOP tried to hoist Steve Huffman over locally popular Randy Graf, the local blogosphere became so hysterical that Art Jacobson and others disabled anonymous comments. That said, if one knew how to navigate, the blogs were lightning fast and far ahead of traditional media, which had to conduct investigations, interviews, fact checks, and obtain approval...and unlike some bloggers, reporters are never anonymous.

Blogs have been known to bash the press. Espresso Pundit's Greg Patterson has had it out for the Arizona Republic for years (I smell envy), and lately Blog for Arizona's David Safier has been bashing the AZ Daily Star. The press is more reluctant to write articles about bloggers, and virtually never mentions anonymous bloggers. In April 2008, ADS reporter Daniel Scarpinato interviewed various bloggers and published, "Blogosphere becoming a potent force in politics". The piece featured Espresso Pundit, Daniel's News, Tedski's RRR, this place, Trent's Arizona Eighth, and Michael Bryan's Blog for Arizona. None of us were anonymous, and the article used our real names.

I wrote about Daniel's piece at the time and considered it pretty good. Even then, we were discussing the way blogs can say anything while reporters are held to a higher standard by people paid to do so.

In addition to the ADS critic Safier, Blog for Arizona features the highly prolific AZBlueMeanie (28 posts in the last five days). In general when discussing national issues, I consider AZBlueMeanie a terrific blogger who posts some outstanding content. Like Safier, he also bashes the press from time to time. On March 24 he published The bloom is off the Bodfield which ripped Star reporter Rhonda Bodfield and referred to the departed Scarpinato as a "talentless hack."

It was noticed.

Like AZBlueMeanie, I use a handle. So did Samuel Clemens. It's legal. That said, I am not anonymous. A third grader can find my real name, occupation, employer, home address, and a photo of me in my office at my computer where I work. In 30 seconds.

I was surprised to learn that AZBlueMeanie was posting with such intensity and frequency as a truly anonymous blogger. He is flying too high if he wishes to remain unknown. You know what's coming. One could speculate that the dial on ADS reporter Josh Brodesky's pressure cooker has been rising for awhile. The recent brouhaha regarding Jan Brewer's health popped the valve, and Brodesky got the green light for a piece that hit Safier on his posts about the governor's health.

He also published AZBlueMeanie's real name.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Antenori Irks Cloth

Arizona Rep. Frank Antenori got some of the Cloth aficionados all irritated and persnickety this week by having a "Rio Nuevo" bus tour for supporters and other interested individuals. On Wednesday, approximately 50 people paid a suggested price of $60 - $100 each for the tour, the funds going to the Antenori for Arizona campaign. The tour was guided by former RN Board Member Allan Willenbrock, who was ousted from the board when he noted that the financial projections for the downtown hotel were complete fiction and entirely inconsistent with established data for comparable scenarios.

The tour featured:

Dirt lots west of Interstate 10
Trolley Routes
The Scott Ave. Orange Griffin
The Site of Free MOCA rent
Low Income Housing Projects
Taxpayer supported Train Depot Plaza
City owned hotel site
The new entrances at the TCC
Rainbow bridges, $46m underpasses

After the tour, the group met at Lot 175 in front of El Charro. Lot 175 funnels $10-15K per month in uncounted cash to a well connected clothmeister. Then they entered El Charro for margaritas and munchies and a discussion of what could have been and where the $200 million actually went.

Word is that Frank chose not to expose the group to the $100K+ in office furniture sitting dormant in TREO's vast array of empty cubicles. He was afraid some of the tourists might get lost in the expansive office space rented by TREO at taxpayer expense.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fitz Nails It

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

AZ CD-8: Resume Snippets and the Non Debate

EDUCATION:

Gabrielle Giffords:
Scripps College, B.A. Sociology and Latin American History
Fulbright Scholar, Chihuahua, Mexico
Cornell University, Master of Regional Planning
Fellow, Harvard University JFK School of Government


Jesse Kelly:
Montana State University: Dropped out after one year

EMPLOYMENT:
Gabrielle Giffords:
First job post education: Associate, Regional Economic Development, Price Waterhouse, New York City.
Second job post education: Replaced her father as CEO of the family business.
First elected office: Arizona House.
Second elected office: Arizona Senate.
Current job: US Congress.

Jesse Kelly:
First job post education: US Marines.
Second job post education: Project Manager for his father in the family business.
First elected office: N/A
Current job: Project Manager for his father in the family business.

The reader already knows where they stand on the issues.

Both were born into wealth and privilege. What did they do with the opportunity placed in their hands?

To the discerning, the answer to this question was powerfully illustrated at Monday night's debate, where a grotesque display of hatred and a committed response to hatred played out in what could hardly be called a debate. No, I wasn't there, but I've received enough emails to get a terrific angle that ties very well with Jenn's post at Blog for Arizona.

Both candidates are right when they say the voters face a clear choice in this election, and this post assumes the reader is familiar with what happened Monday night.

Unlike the fabulous 2006 exchange at the Temple Emanu-El, or the 2008 exchange at the University of Arizona, what happened Monday night in 2010 was not a debate. Of course the Congresswoman had to participate, and her remaining civil and rational in a sea of raging hysteria required more than most know. To the aware in the audience, the event sharply illustrated the distinction between the educated and the ignorant, the worldly and the small minded, the seasoned and the raw, but most sadly, the well meaning and the self-righteous. I am glad I wasn't there.

Put another way, the non debate could not have offered a starker contrast between 1) someone with a genuine interest in government, someone who has exerted extraordinary effort to learn what it takes to pursue the best governance possible, and 2) someone who doesn't even understand what government is.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Cloth Purge at DTP

Cloth Aficionado Glenn Lyons resigned from the Downtown Tucson Partnership last April. For those who may not remember, Lyons was the Clothmeister put in charge of the organization to forward the Cloth agenda. Part of this effort included dismissing the organization's most valuable employee, Donovan Durband, so the agency could hire Cara Rene, wife of C.T. Revere, who was chief of staff to City Councilmember Nina Trasoff.

Word is that Lyon's replacement, Michael Keith, lacks his predecessor's enthusiasm for dismissing results in favor of stuffing the coffers of clothophiles.

Michael Keith has been in office five months. Guess who is leaving the Downtown Tucson Partnership next week? From her resignation letter released today:

I want to let you know that I am leaving the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

The decision is not an easy one, but is spurred by the desire to embrace new opportunities.


Last I heard, TREO isn't hiring.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Star Reporter Recognized

The Arizona Newspaper Association has named Arizona Daily Star's Rob O'Dell as Journalist of the Year for 2010. Regular readers of this blog have known for at least a year that O'Dell is one of the few reporters that truly understands the distinction “Cloth,” most obviously from his stellar analysis and reporting of the cloth infested Rio Nuevo fiasco.

O'Dell is one of the reporters that actually investigates these things called facts and tries to provide insightful reporting that increases public awareness of what's going on, items like a quarter million to a consultant for a glossy pamphlet or a downtown hotel based on laughingly inaccurate financial forecasts. So far, he has spared the likes of TREO and its ongoing boondoggle from scrutiny.

Cloth groupie David Hatfield was not recognized for his sloppy kiss coverage of Tucson's economic development champions.

Way to go, Rob. Keep up the good work.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Let Me In

With few exceptions, a Hollywood remake of a foreign film results in a five fold budget mutilation of artistic expression to produce the cinematic equivalent of Walmart. At worst, we get travesties like The Vanishing (1993), but more often than not we simply get louder explosions, fancier special effects, more expensive sets, and performances by actors going through the motions for the money.

Almost always, remakes are about the money, so we put Bridget Fonda and Gabriel Byrne together for La Femme Nikita (1997). We put Al Pacino in Insomnia (2002) and Sarah Michelle Gellar in The Grudge (2005), Jessica Alba and Alessandro Nivola into The Eye (2007), and so on.

They’re after the money, and by and large, they suck.

Note that I said with few exceptions, because Director Matt Reeves has successfully created a remake, Let Me In (2010), that actually rivals the original film, the extraordinary Swedish work by Tomas Afredson, Let the Right One In (2008), based on the 2004 novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I posted Blood in the Snow immediately after seeing the original.

(The Hug Shot - Above in the original film and below in the remake) Let Me In is good cinema that effectively captures what worked in the original film, in some cases enhances it, and cuts what detracts. Both films effectively create a somber, unsettling edge that comes from character ages so low (12) that innocence and young affection accentuate the violence and sexual tension. I don't think I have ever heard the line, "Do you like me?" pack such weight.

Both films move at a slow pace (incurring the wrath of many film critics), but they do so for the same reason understood by few film critics, which is that done right, slow cuts deeper. That said, without question the remake shifts in the American direction, most noticeably in the intensity of the vampire's violence. With sound design at volume reinforced by more graphic imagery, what this little girl is and can do requires far less imagination.

Let Me In is a remake of Let the Right One In, and without question it regards its source with great admiration and respect, seeking to match and improve upon the original's intent. Many shots and scenes are almost carbon copies down to the last detail. For cinema aficionados, watching both films and noting the contrasts is entirely worthwhile, in particular the swimming pool climax scenes in each.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Cigar Man Hits Limelight

Thanks to photographer Mark Pain’s fluke photograph at the Ryder Cup 2010 in South Wales, the Internet has gone viral with searches for the identity of the “Cigar Man” with Groucho Marx, Rastafarian features (some say he’s Jonny Quest’s Hadji) standing in the photo in an outfit believed to represent Spanish golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez. The photo shows the ball flying right towards the photographer, who was indeed hit in the next instant. Woods was furious as it was his poor strike of the ball, not Pain’s position, that caused the photographer to be hit.

The bad shot for Tiger produced a great shot by Pain, and bloggers are now photoshopping the image onto album covers and numerous other famous photographs of sporting events. Some say the “Cigar Man” picture is one of the best sports pictures ever taken. No word yet on the identity of the mysterious spectator.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Cyber Violence Escalating

Almost three years ago I posted Cyber Violence Is Real when the world learned that Lori Drew, using a fabricated MySpace account, posed as a 16 year old boy and wrote Megan Meier, "The world would be a better place without you."

Meier responded with a message reading "You’re the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over" and hung herself. She was 13.

In the three years since Meier's suicide it has gotten far worse. Everyone now knows about the recent suicide of 17 year old Tyler Clementi. Without his knowledge, a roommate used a web cam to record some dorm room intimacy highlighted with Twitter commentary.

CNN on Cyber Bullying

The plot thickens dramatically with Facebook, which introduces a great deal of complexity. Someone who is NOT your FB friend but knows someone who is can rather easily (often just by asking) use their FB access to see everything you have shared. I know a case where this happened, and rather personal content regarding an evening's activities taken from FB got published on a widely read blog ("enhanced" photos included) and sent out as an email blast to everyone working at a particular company. No one was fired, but certain people were mortified, and one of those in one of the photos resigned in humiliation.

Also, those who think FB friends don't care who they friend, or who they like, or what comments they post at whose pages, are naive. Your FB friends watch who you friend, and in some cases they care, in particular established, feasible, or even "in your dreams" romantic interests. If you have a partner or are dating someone even if still casually, know damned well they click on the link of anyone you friend. If the wife is an FB friend, and you friend six attractive sweeties over three days, expect a chat. I know a college student who was berated and abused by an FB friend who saw that he friended someone apparently on the former's "If you are my friend then don't you dare friend" list. Laughing? This is no joke.

A man killed his girlfriend when her FB activity led him to believe she was seeking someone else. Another man killed his ex-wife after she taunted him on FB for not paying child support. Another man killed his wife (they were separated) when she changed her marital status to single. In a similar incident, Tracey Grinhaff posted to her FB friends that she was going to leave her husband. Her husband Gary saw the post, killed her, and then shot himself. They had two children, aged 14 and four.

What is generally considered the first Twitter murder occurred last January.

Cyber Violence can occur even when no one is intending any harm. I was bloodied up pretty badly when two FB friends cheerfully posted about going to a beginning of the school year party that evening. I was a member of the group having the party! No one told me about it. I was NOT invited. WTF?!

Remember FB 101. These two KNEW I would see what they posted. They were consciously telling me about a party when I had been excluded. Not being invited hurt enough, but it just killed me that these two, people I liked, could be so cruel or at best, so unbelievably inconsiderate. I had a HORRIBLE weekend trying to make sense of it. I later learned that all thought my name was included in allstaff@domainaddr and believed I was invited and could attend if I wished. This would render what they had posted harmless. Of course, learning all of this and finding the clerical error on Monday didn't help me Friday night. Little imagination is necessary to extrapolate this scenario. Change the characters, the event, the venue, and add some guns and alcohol.

Another component of cyber violence to be noted involves the production of malicious content the very viewing of which inflicts damage. I am talking about the content deliberately designed to injure the viewer.

Those over the age of forty will remember the notion of the "snuff film," i.e. real footage of a person being killed. Decades ago, the concept seemed like a big deal and the 1978 film, Faces of Death, which showed people being killed by animals, plane crashes, executions, as well as gruesome killing of animals, shocked audiences and was banned in many countries. The 1999 film 8mm involves a pornographic snuff film and regards it as a very significant event.

In just ten years we have moved to where real footage almost as intense is being shown on national news. CNN, ABC News, etc. now show footage of American soldiers shredding Iraqis. Yes, that's different from a snuff film, but it gets murky. One could argue that the whole world watching Neda die in raw cell phone video helped the cause that had her in the street.

That said, there is definitely a line, and on the other side I hurt myself watching the unedited video of what preceded the photo to the right. Done with a small knife, Eugene Armstrong's beheading took three minutes. Okay, I was an idiot, but the key distinction is that YOU DON'T KNOW, not really, what is on the other side of that click. I was trembling, dizzy, nauseas, shaken, and messed in the head for days, no exaggeration. I was INJURED.

I don't think the raw video I saw is available anymore (good), but real footage of beheadings is easy to find with a simple search. Got kids?

I suspect all of this will get worse before it gets better. I wish I could say it surprises me that there are websites devoted to such material. Click at own risk over to JustSickShit.com, but consider yourself warned. I didn't click on anything over there, including the footage from Bolivia of dogs strung up on wires and tortured to death.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Real Tragedy

Josh Brodesky has a rather elegant Rio Nuevo piece in the Sunday Star that provides a telling perspective on the nature of the Cloth and the way it usurps the public good for its own gratification.

Brodesky interviews former Mayor George Miller. I encourage folks to read the article as well as the comments it provoked. No need for me to repeat, but the following is worth emphasizing:

The wasted money is outrageous. The project is an embarrassment. But the real tragedy of Rio Nuevo is that our leaders didn't just fail us - they ignored us. They traded in our trust for fancy renderings and consultant bills, and even now they don't seem to get it.

Rarely do so few words say so much. Parts of his language translate directly to the language used here.

His words: They ignored us.
Those here: They serve themselves.

His words: fancy renderings and consultant bills
Those here: glossy pamphlets and consulting fees

His words: Even now they don't seem to get it.
Those here: They serve themselves.

Congratulations to Josh for an excellent piece of work, and thanks to former Mayor George Miller for making the piece possible. We can't go back in time and recover what has been squandered, but we can get clearer and clearer about what's in the way of actual progress.

Friday, October 01, 2010

A Nation in Decline - Potpourri

This week is the American Library Association's Banned Book Week, and all of the books in the photo have faced efforts to have them banned from libraries. Know anyone who believes books should be banned from libraries?

During the 2008 election, there was noise that Sarah Palin banned quite a list of books from the Wasilla library. In truth, she only inquired about banning books and backed off when the librarian went ballistic. From an article at the time:

"She asked the library how she could go about banning books," ..."The librarian was aghast." ... news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire the librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

The Texas Board of Education has banned social studies books they allege are biased towards Islam and against Christianity. How did they conclude that this bias exists? They counted the words on each subject. The Islam word count was slightly higher. The material itself was not considered. The move was symbolic, as none of the books involved were still being used anyway.

Returning to Sarah, no doubt the inquiry was only academic. The Tea Party is about individual freedom and liberty. Banning or burning books would be completely anathema to its followers. Never mind the bit about Nickel and Dimed (Local Press).

Meanwhile: Fifth of USA thinks Obama is a cactus

In California, we see the Koch brothers fighting legislation to reduce the state's dependence on oil. From big oil to big pharma to big HMO to big finance, we see the fat cats scrambling to keep the system rigged so 2% of the country owns 80% of it. When we pass legislation banning outrageous bank fees, they invent others. We started screwing the middle class with Reagan in the 80's. Clinton provided some relief, but then Bush quadrupled the size of the screw.

America's hegemony is slipping as we fail to address real problems. While China, whose leadership has a lot of scientists and engineers, moves forward, the US is crippled by blathering about gays, abortion, evolution, guns, and textbook word counts. While our country faces a struggling economy and crushing unemployment, Republicans in Congress devote resources to an effort to execute homosexuals in Africa. Here, they filibuster any effort to address anything.

The brilliant mathematician John Nash rigorously refuted the Adam Smith notion that individuals pursuing self-interest optimize the utility of all.

No, they don't.

From Kaletsky's terrific Times piece: The Asian nations’ interest in American politics stems not just from America’s standing as the sole global superpower, but also from a growing belief among Asian leaders that the era of United States hegemony will soon be over, and that the polarization of its politics symbolizes America’s inability to adapt to the changing nature of global capitalism after the financial crisis.

The frogs must figure out how to get the scorpions to realize the greed fest cannot be sustained.


SOMETHING ELSE