Saturday, March 31, 2007

Another shoot-up of a vehicle, this time just 20 miles south of Tucson ...

UPDATE 4/1/07 -- Here's an article with more info about the gun attack on a vehicle full of people driving from the border north towards Tucson:
Drug hijackers mistakenly open fire on 23 migrants, killing 2 by DAVID L. TEIBEL and CLAUDINE LoMONACO, Tucson Citizen
Again, a vehicle carrying people crossing the border illegally has been shot at and people have been killed.
Members of the group described bullets cutting into the rear of the pickup as the driver tried to flee, Kastigar said. After a brief chase, the driver stopped and the people inside ran into the desert.

When deputies arrived they found the two dead and at least one wounded person.

Arizona Republic: Gunmen ambush migrants, killing 2

What is feminism?

Sympathy and empathy are wonderful qualities but they will work as well in the harem as in the workplace if comiseration is all that women want.

Why Feminism Is Still Necessary

The above link describes the situation where a woman was attacked on the web with threats of death, rape and mutilation. Under this stress she backed out of a speaking engagement.

The gains in women's rights that started in the 60's and continued through the 80's are definitely under attack. Not that resistance to those rights ever really stopped, but attempts to turn back the clock on women's rights are on the rise.

The women of the new century are not going to keep these rights 'for free.' They will have to insist. And that can be dangerous. Almost as dangerous as being chattel.
In all societies, poverty, discrimination, ignorance and social unrest are common predictors of violence against women. Yet the most enduring enemies of a woman’s dignity and security are cultural forces aimed at preserving male dominance and female subjugation—often defended in the name of venerable tradition.

In industrialized societies like the US, where institutions formally frown on gender violence, behaviour belies official pronouncements: rap music insulting women as ‘whores’; a popular men's magazine that celebrates gang rape and depicts female bodies being fed into meat grinders; sexual harassment of women trying to integrate into the armed forces; and societal pressures that induce young women to starve themselves or use technology to create ‘ideal’ bodies, often destroying their health in the process.

In developing countries, violent practices against women are often recognized and defended as strands of the cultural weave. Wife-beating, for example, is considered part of the natural order in many countries—a masculine prerogative celebrated in songs, proverbs and wedding ceremonies.

Are today's women under the impression that women who fought for women's rights in the 1800's and 1900's were not in physical danger, did not receive threats and that death and rape were not part of those threats?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Big money in smuggling, drugs or people ...

First came the war on drugs and the militarization of our police forces. Now we have the war on undocumented immigrants. Step by step we are heading for a police state.

Authorities broke up what they call a 'human smuggling' ring involving travel agencies. Six Phoenix-area travel agencies were involved.
The agencies arranged for one-way travel to destination cities across the nation, in many cases through McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Goddard said the year-long investigation uncovered ticket sales worth about $2 million.
I am glad they caught these people but I would prefer that we would approach our border problems in a more rational manner. One that didn't make smuggling drugs and immigrants such profitable enterprises that they corrupt our society at all levels.
Arizona Republic: Major Ariz. human smuggling operation broken up by Jacques Billeaud, Associated Press

Is Bush's special friend getting tired of him ...

BBC News reports that Saudi King Abdullah refers to the "US presence in Iraq as an illegitimate occupation."

And what fiction is the US giving out today?
"The United States is in Iraq at the request of the Iraqis and under a United Nations mandate. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong," said National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

Saudi: US Iraq presence illegal

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Riding while brown ...

The Tucson Citizen has an article titled: Lawyers' advice to migrants: Stay out of cars by Claudine LoMonaco

How does this work? Do they question all the brown colored people in the car?

So the police stop me for a non-working turn signal (which used to happen frequently years ago in my Datsun, 'scuse me, Nissan) and any and all passengers who look like they might have had ancestors from down south get interrogated? But us sorta German/English looking sorts only just get a ticket instructing us to get our car fixed (again).

A ticket for operating an unsafe vehicle is the price of a well regulated society. But interrogation for those riding in a car that got a ticket because you might possibly have entered the country illegally is called a police state. If our society is going to question all passengers in order to identify possible illegal aliens then why not collect ID's on all the passengers and run them through to see if there are any other crimes these people might be involved in. Why don't we set up road blocks every 25 miles and check everyone. Why not have them searched and require that they take their shoes off to check for bombs.

Just think how 'safe' we could be ...

Scarpinato, Schwarminato ...

So Daniel Scarpinato of the Arizona Daily Star is denigrating southern Arizona Democratic legislators because the Republican majority ignores them.

Where have we heard this before. Perhaps Arizona will turn even bluer and then the Democrats can ignore the Republican legislators. But even though there is some payback when such swings take place Democrats never quite excel at revenge like the Republicans do.

Revenge, like injustice, lying and warmongering must be incorporated into those Conservative genes ... ya think?
Area lawmakers getting little done --Dems' bills almost routinely snubbed; GOP fares better by Daniel Scarpinato

Another nail in the coffin of this old and dear earth of ours?

Environmental bad news in Arizona:
The American Southwest has been warming for nearly 30 years, according to records that date to the late 19th century. And the region is in the midst of an eight-year drought. Both developments could be within the range of natural events.

But what has convinced many scientists that the current spate of higher temperatures is not just another swing in the weather has been the near collapse of the sky islands and other high, formerly green havens that poke above the desert.

Fire has always been a part of Western ecology, particularly when the land is parched. But since the late 1980s, the size and reach of the fires have far exceeded times of earlier droughts. And the culprit, according to several recent studies, is higher temperatures tearing at a fabric of life that dates to the last ice age.

A lot of people think climate change and the ecological repercussions are 50 years away," said Thomas W. Swetnam, director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "But it's happening now in the West. The data is telling us that we are in the middle of one of the first big indicators of climate change impacts in the continental United States."
___________________________________ Heat Invades Cool Heights Over Arizona Desert by Timothy Egan, The New York Times

"We are using nano quantities of the nanoparticles."

It's known that nanoparticles under certain --quite ordinary-- circumstances can move from the skin surface to layers underneath and into to the bloodstream. These particles may be 'cleared' from the body or they may lodge in various areas (lungs? brain?) and it is NOT known what the results of these particles hanging around the body will be.
Some studies have found that smaller particles are cleared faster than larger ones and so are safer, but others suggest that once inside the body, nanoparticles travel through the blood, lodge in the lungs and brain, and accumulate over time, with effects that are still poorly understood.
The entire country is an experiment for bioengineered food stuff. Evidently women will be main the subjects of the nanotech industry.
Technology Review: Nanocosmetics: Buyer Beware -Is that expensive jar of skin cream on my dresser safe to use? by Apoorva Mandavilli

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Will Justice or the Republicans prevail?

Republicans (GOP, Conservatives -take your pick) want the authorities to have a free hand to do whatever they want, including murder, as long as the individual being harmed is someone that they can label as evil or illegal.

Francisco Javier Domínguez-Rivera is dead. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett isn't talking. Shouldn't that be cause in itself to suspend him from his job until this issue is resolved?

So what are the attorneys that are supposed to uphold law and constitution going to do now?
A U.S. Border Patrol agent's account of what led him to shoot and kill an unarmed illegal entrant in January doesn't match witness testimony or forensic evidence, records released Monday by the Cochise County Attorney's Office show.
Arizona Daily Star: Records contradict agent's story on entrant's slaying by Brady McCombs

They hate him because he followed the law ...

Oh, those law and order Republicans (or is GOP, or is it Conservatives)... ?

They are so upset that one of their own, Texas U.S. attorney Johnny Sutton has the temerity to follow the law where ever it leads:
Johnny Sutton said, he was bound by an unwavering ethic: Do the right thing and follow the facts, even when they lead to "unhappy places" such as errant public servants.

Sutton's adherence to that credo has transformed him from a relatively low-profile federal prosecutor to a punching bag on conservative talk shows and Web sites, where he's been vilified for weeks for prosecuting two Border Patrol agents who now are imprisoned for shooting a Mexican drug courier.

Another prosecution, involving a Texas sheriff's deputy who fired at a vehicle loaded with illegal immigrants, has heightened the outcry. T.J. Bonner, the head of the national Border Patrol agents' union, calls Sutton "public enemy No. 1." Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, a former Harris County judge who remembers Sutton as an able young prosecutor, now accuses him of choosing "the wrong side" in the border war.

Democrats have been increasingly aware for sometime that Conservative (i.e. Republican, GOP) justice is aimed at attacking whomever they consider 'enemies' for made up (and real) scandals and crimes while giving their friends get-out-of-jail-free cards for anything and every thing, including murder.

Respected U.S. prosecutor faces a conservative backlash by Dave Montgomery, McClatchy Newspapers

Monday, March 26, 2007

Short term planning at the Post Office?

Is this a bad sign or a good idea?

USPS is creating a stamp that, once purchased, will still be usable as the cost of first class postage increases. If this were a private company I might assume they were seeking a large increase in stamp purchases and then they would go out of business or remake themselves after some undetermined period of time making the horded stamps worthless.

Off course the Republican run government works a lot like a corrupt Republican-run businesses. So who nows?
Arizona Republic: USPS unveils new forever first-class stamp, Associated Press

Heel, Bush, heel ...

Has a nice ring to it, no?

Dems Pull Bush' Chain

The Congressional Dems reached a deal.
No, it isn’t ideal, yet I feel
It’s all right—a first step.
Stop this war? Dems said, “Yep!”
As for reining in Bush, they said, “Heel!”
More like this at Mad Kane's Political Madness.

Creepy Katie

Katie Couric, another media hack.

Except for Keith Olbermann are there any news 'hosts' that do not interview Democrats using Republican attack points? Attack points aren't issues. They are intended to obscure the issues and the facts.

The Edwards basically answered that same question over and over again in this video clip on Crooks and Liars. They did very well. I don't know where they get the patience with these creeps.

Creepy Katie kept asking the same Republican attack points over and over while implying that they weren't 'her' questions but some unnamed 'they.' She can't even quote who's spouting this stuff.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The reason Bush doesn't want Gonzales under oath?

Because he's an outright liar, just like the President of these United States.
WASHINGTON Mar 24, 2007 (AP)— Last week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he was not involved in any discussions about the impending dismissals of U.S. attorneys.

On Friday night, however, the Justice Department revealed Gonzales' participation in a Nov. 27 meeting where such plans were discussed.
If he wasnt involved it would have meant he wasn't really running his department. Now we know he was running him department and that he's a liar. Of course, we already knew he was a liar. This is one more lie and a very important one for the integrity of US justice. It's clear that the concept of 'justice' finds no room in Gonzales' soul.
Link: Documents Show Gonzales Approved Firings by LARA JAKES JORDAN

More inanities from an Arizona legislator ...

Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services and The Arizona Daily star writes:
A state lawmaker and others active in border issues plan to ask voters to punish employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers and force police to question people they stop about whether they're here legally.
If the Arizona Legislature cannot pass reasonable laws why should a legislator turn such issues into a public initiative.

Making employers responsible for 'knowingly' taking actions that are illegal usually makes sense. The problem with it in this case is that, although some immigrant documentation is straightforward, some forms are not and a small business is in no position to do more that look at the many forms of immigrant ID that comes across their desk and do the best they can with it. It would be much more constructive, a form of governance that Republicans eschew, to hold all employers responsible for paying all their employees legally (as in reporting wages, withholding appropriate taxes, etc.). If employers, and their employees, knew there would be regular audits to ensure all employees wages were being properly reported with the appropriate withholding and valid Social Security numbers it would be much more difficult for illegal immigrants to hide. Making the employer an enforcer of immigration law is a disservice to everyone.

The suggestion that the police be required to ask 'people they stop' about their immigrant status is another idiot suggestion. Really what TV show did Rep. Russell Pearce (R-Mesa) pop out of?
Link: Employers, entrants targeted in 2 initiatives by Howard Fischer

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The stupidity of the press ...

The Arizona Republic (aka publishes an Associated Press article by Matt Apuzzo that states:
If he [that idiot Bush] claims executive privilege and the dispute ends up in court, the fight with Congress will be refereed by a judicial branch that recently has not been kind to the presidency in fights over subpoenas. Lawmakers, meanwhile, risk seeing a judge permanently curtail their power to summon presidential aides to Capitol Hill.
What this President, the Republicans and, apparently most of the press, want is for the Democrats to decide not to press for their [Congress'] right to investigate the Legislative Branch of the government. If the Democrats are so stupid as to back off from this challenge from Bush then they follow the same path they followed with the filibuster. They save the right for the Republicans and all but give up their ability to ever do anything at all. If the courts side with the administration then the next Democratic President will also be independent of Congress. I can't believe anyone wants that. But if this administration and the courts want it so, then quoting someone from StarTrek, I say "Make it so!"

Be aware ...

Or beware:
In 1998, I started purchasing used hard drives sold on eBay; approximately a third of these drives contain significant amounts of confidential information.

The Tucson Citizen has it backwards ...

This is like saying the police defied the suspect by issuing an arrest warrant:
House defies Bush, OKs subpoenas
A House panel defied President Bush on Wednesday and voted to authorize subpoenas for White House adviser Karl Rove and other administration officials in its inquiry into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
ADDED: The above article is not the only evidence of backwardness at the Tucson Citizen. All I found in the Citizen about Al Gore's appearance before Congress yesterday is an article copied from the Gannett News Service titled: Gore challenged to cut his utility bills.

More AttorneyGate ...

At the last minute they begrudgingly threw in one with real performance problems:
Today's Must Read

It's almost too perfect. The only U.S. attorney fired by the administration in December who undeniably had performance issues was begrudingly added to the list at the last minute -- and only then because of a federal judge's threat that he would go to Congress with complaints about the prosecutor's performance. [... continue reading]

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

When they're right, they're right ...

The Tucson Citizen opines:
But when it comes to relieving the shortage of beds for Arizona's ever-growing population of convicts, the state's latest foray into privatization so far has been more Enron than iPod.

Arizona Republic wiggles around about Renzi ...

Mike Madden and Dennis Wagner of the Arizona Republic wiggle around the issue of a political purge of some of the country's top prosecutors. Though they are political appointees, the duty of the US Attorneys is to the law and the Constitution, not to the whims of the President, the GOP or the Congress.
The Arizona Republic: Renzi inquiry at issue in ouster by Mike Madden and Dennis Wagner.

Arizona lost jobs ...

Bank of America, Washington Mutual, Ameriqest Mortgage and now Wells Fargo all cut jobs in Arizona due to the housing mess.

East Bay Business Times: Wells Fargo to cut 191 jobs in Arizona

Blast AARP's Novelli ...

Here's someone who feels more strongly than I about AARP's devious role in Medicare Part D in particular and health care in general.
ahgoldberg: AARP Blows Smoke on Health Care
... The "Terminator's" "bold initiativel" which AARP praises would cover "all of 20 per cent" of those not covered by any health insurance. "Wow!" "Damn," now that's "just the most pumped up leadership" any state can get. Now "isn't it?"

Maine, which has already adopted legislation which would provide health care of all its people by 2009, but is keeping private health insurance companies, gets no such raves, and actually doesn't get a mention by AARP. Yet obviously Maine has gone further than all the other states put together. A single payer plan would have been better, but having universal health care coverage of some kind even if it does rely too much on the private sector should have gotten an honorable mention by AARP.

But AARP, headed by Bill Novelli, a real phony, con artist for the right and far right, has been doing things the wrong way and supporting the neo con job/rip off market concept fraud all the way on this issue for some time. A good while back when W's administration was seeking to sneak through legislation on prescription drugs with regard to Medicare coverage, AARP jumped in to back this neo con job, rip off, and likely contributed mightily to its passage, thoroughly ripping off seniors. AARP is there when seniors really don't need them to help the neo con gang rip them off. Isn't that "just lovely?" ...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Is Rick Renzi safe now ...

According to an article posted March 19th in The Nation:
In September 2006, just weeks before pivotal Congressional midterm elections, Paul Charlton, US Attorney for Arizona, opened a preliminary investigation into Republican Representative Rick Renzi of the state's First Congressional District for an alleged pattern of corruption involving influence-peddling and land deals. Almost immediately, Charlton's name was added to a blacklist of federal prosecutors the White House wanted to force from their jobs. Charlton is someone "we should now consider pushing out," D. Kyle Sampson, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez's chief of staff, wrote to then White House Counsel Harriet Miers on September 16.
It appears that the Arizona Daily Star cannot be bothered with any corrupt politicians who happen to be Republican. When Arizona District US Attorney Paul Charlton was fired the Star, under the byline of Josh Brodesky, looked only at the possibility that his replacement may be Diane Humetewa who is Hopi. Of course, if she does succeed Charlton, her own integrity will be in question.

Arizona newspapers, as far as I can find and I'm not all that good at googling, have not reported any great expression of concern from either of Arizona's two Senators about the AttorneyGate in general nor about Charlton in particular. The newspapers themselves write fluff or print articles from the Associated Press like this one of March 14 that has a line following the article stating that Arizona Daily Star reporter Josh Brodesky contributed to the report. Notice that the only reference to the resulting 'get out of jail card' for Rick Renzi in the report is the following sentence:
Democrats have suggested Charlton was targeted by the administration for his work on a corruption investigation of Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz. But the timing is unclear.
Notice it's the Democrats, not the evidence. And notice how the Associated Press, the Arizona Daily Star and Josh Brodesky seem unable or unwilling to comment the timing of the events in their reports other than to say that the 'timing is unclear.' The timing isn't unclear. Timing alone is not proof but it is certainly a reason to look further. But these parties can't even present the timing in a straight forward manner.

On March 14 the Arizona Republic reports a little 'clouding' of the reasons behind the firing of Charlton. Mike Madden of the Republic Washington Bureau states that Charlton was not on the original list of those to be fired and that Bush's aides were very involved in these firings. The article mentions Rick Renzi, almost in a 'nothing to see here, move along' kind of way.

Also on the 14 of March, the Phoenix Business Journal reports on the governor's reaction to AttorneyGate:
Governor calls federal prosecutor purge 'appalling'
Billy House of the Arizona Republic's Washington Bureau reports on March 6 that AttorneyGate results in: Inquiries leave officials in limbo. Of course, we can assume, Rick Renzi already knows the status of the inquiry into his dealings as far as his buddies in the White House are concerned.

Who's the provocateur ...

Discussion and links about the ad video (in the previous post) and it's possible source in Giuliani's campaign:
The Hillary "1984" Net Ad by Steve Soto

Without comment ...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tucson Citizen's Robert Robb misrepresents another issue ...

Robert Robb at the Tucson Citizen equates 'depressed construction wages' with 'liberal' immigration policy.

Liberal policy would be concerned that all workers are able unionize should they choose to and negotiate for fair wages.

It is the business sector that benefits and encourages illegal immigrants.

Instead of raiding businesses for the non-documented our policies and laws should ensure that ALL employees are paid at least the minimum wage, that ALL employees can unionize, that ALL employees have rights and are protected from abuse by employers.

Construction is not the only area of depressed wages. The business community has made much progress in eliminating unions, which I assume Robert Robb knows. It is the business community that benefits from the current immigration mess. Not liberals nor 'liberal' policy.

Tucson Citizen: Migrants depressing construction wages by Robert Robb

Re-writing a Tucson Citizen Op-Ed ...

My modifications appear in italics and between brackets (e.g. []) and the strike-through symbol is used for deletions from the original editorial.

OUR OPINION: Four-year sink into quicksand has no easy fix
Tucson Citizen

Tuesday marks the fourth anniversary of our nation's invasion of Iraq, a war that most everyone now agrees was based on either flawed or misrepresented intelligence [lies, lies and more lies].

The price has been extremely high: more than 3,200 American military men and women killed, more than 24,000 U.S. military wounded, tens [hundreds] of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed and [more than ]$500 billion spent [and still rising].

Most Americans now oppose the war, polls show. But how the United States can extricate itself from this morass is the chief question - and the most complex and controversial one. [Give us a break here, we want to appear rational, unlike that embarrassment in the White House. But like all good Republicans we will follow ower leeeder over the cliff if we can pull the country, and specially Democrats, over with us.]

Many [Most] Democrats in Congress, along with many [most] Americans, oppose President Bush's push for a "surge" of troops. [Please note that we use the President's word-spin 'surge' instead of the term 'escalation,' which would be more accurate. Good Republicans R Us.]

Nonetheless, Bush last week announced that 4,700 support troops will join the 21,500 extra soldiers he ordered to Iraq in January. [Nonetheless, we needed a certain number of words in this article so 'nonetheless' seemed like good filler just here, at this point, appropriate like, you know.]

Even more forces probably will be needed to provide aviation support to the troop surge. An estimated 130,000 troops already are there. [Estimates, shestimates, you probably cannot believe any numbers put out by ower leeeder or his friends or even those who once were his friends.]

While Democrats continue to decry the surge, the infusion of troops is clearly a done deal. [Live with it Dems and stop paying attention to what the voters say. If you didn't pay any attention we Republicans would be just fine. What's wrong with you people anyway?]

Both sides need to stop blathering. The focus for Congress and Bush now must be to carefully craft a unified withdrawal strategy, making the Iraqi government increasingly responsible for the security of its own country. [Right, we need to get out but we are good Republicans and will not suggest that Bush has no intention of getting out and we will definitely not support the Congress utilizing its considerable power of the purse to put real pressure on the administration. No, best to be good followers and just accuse both sides of 'blathering.' Then we can hint that both sides stop acting like children and sit down in their sandbox and be friends.]

As the torch is passed back to Iraqi leaders, our military forces must be protected - with sufficient funding to meet all their needs - and returned home. [Iraq, it's all your fault now. Just forget that we destroyed your country to capture and kill one man who was no threat to us.]

Once home, those who have been wounded in any way must be afforded the best medical and psychological care possible. [We really believe this but we will not follow up and make sure this happens because it may embarrass some of our friends.]

We seriously doubt that the United States ever will be able to honestly declare "mission accomplished" in this troubled region. [If disorder, disarray and the transfer of funds from the tax payers to Bush cronies was the 'mission' then it's been accomplished with bells on.]

When this war was launched, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld clearly had no understanding of the complicated and ancient divisions that torment Iraq. [Even we wish these individuals were more intelligent and rational. Supporting a stupid man for president didn't turn out like we thought it would.]

Although the U.S. did succeed in ousting Saddam Hussein, chaos continues to shake Iraq at every turn. [All the king's horses, and all the king's men ... ]

Now the U.S. must work with top military strategists to ensure that a smooth withdrawal endangers neither our troops nor Iraqi civilians, leaders and infrastructure. [Yes, we know this is a meaningless paragraph. But words cover for our cluelessness.]

We must exit on our own terms, relinquishing control on our own timetable, rather than letting insurgents dictate our decisions. [There is so much wrong with this statement that I don't know where to begin. First, 'we' in the form of Bush, have been doing exactly what anti-US types like bin Laden wish. 'We' in the form of Bush has probably helped them succeed beyond their wildest dreams. Then there's the phrase 'relinquishing control.' Control? We have control? And then there's something about a timetable. We don't even have plans, mileposts and timetables are for weenies according to this administration. And there's the term 'insurgents.' A nice all encompassing, but mostly meaningless, term into which we can lump anyone of a number of factions that do no like 'us.']

But that cannot be done until Congress and the president stop fighting and start strategizing. [And since we know the president has no intention of stopping the war does the phrase a cold day in Hell ring a bell?]

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Homeless on rooftops in Tucson ...

Homeless living on rooftops Downtown by Josh Brodesky
In recent months, dozens of homeless people — no one yet has a handle on how many — have taken to the rooftops, taking them off the street, out of sight and perhaps a little more out of harm's way. But in the process, they're subjecting the aging rooftops to damage, and the owners to concerns about such things as liability, theft, vandalism and repair costs.
Police copter flyovers could clear roofs by Josh Brodesky
Despite Downtown's homeless population being one of the top obstacles to redevelopment, city officials have not formally met with social-service agencies or Tucson police to put together a comprehensive plan to address the issue.

Tucson's University Medical Center and drug money ...

The drug mafia (or Big Pharma, the pharmaceutical industry, whatever you wish to call them) buy the medical profession much the same way they buy elected and appointed government officials.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that:

A new policy has been drafted that would stop the free meals, gifts, trips and payments at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
The title of the article may be misleading. It implies that this change is a done deal. But within the article one gets the impression that UA doctors may fight an effort that requires that they give up their free lunch, literally. According to the article the revised policy will be presented to the UA medical faculty. Now we'll see if the University of Arizona chooses integrity over money. What's your guess?

A few stats that should raise your blood pressure:

Pharmaceutical companies spend up to $18 billion a year — more than $13,000 per doctor — persuading doctors to prescribe their drugs, with overwhelming emphasis on the newest and costliest. This pays for some 60 million visits a year by salespeople — known as "drug reps" — laden with all manner of food, gifts, sponsorships and other tokens.
They do it because it works. Study after study shows that while doctors deny any influence from all the wooing, it does significantly increase the likelihood that they'll prescribe the drugs being pushed, even if evidence shows they may not be the best or most cost-effective.
Arizona Daily Star: UMC to loosen drug reps' grip --New policy would ban doctors' perks that cost patients by Carla McClain

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tucson Citizen 'home invader' blurb is clear as mud ...

Is the sketchiness, disorganization and confusion of articles like this one the fault of the news transcribers paper or the police.

Seems there was another 'home invasion' in Tucson on Friday, this time at an apartment on West Limberlost.

The purpose of the 'invasion' is unstated. Robbery? Drugs?

The invasion was committed by four people -three men and a women- if one takes the following sentence:
Two of the suspects, a man and the woman, were arrested at St. Mary's while one man got away, Hopffer said.
and the report that one man was shot and in the hospital.

As an aside we learn that the University Medical Center has 'a higher level of care' than St. Mary's as that is the reason given by a St. Mary's spokesperson for the transfer. Not the kind of statement one expects a 'spokesperson' to say about their own facility.

What happened at the apartment where we may assume the invasion, and probably the shooting, took place is a mystery. The police caught up with the suspected 'perpetrators' of this deed, whatever it was, at St. Mary's Hospital. A chase and a 'lockdown' for approximately an hour and a half reportedly ensued. Could that be the reason St. Mary's wanted to get rid of this particular patient?

The Tucson Citizen: Home invader shot by tenant by Ryn Gargulinski and Sheryl Kornman

The John McCain that is ...

Whatever John McCain once was, he was not embarrassing. He was interesting, apparently intelligent, colorful. Well, now he is just embarrassing.

The following is from transcript of a conversation between McCain and some reporters on the latest version of his straight-talk express:

Mr. McCain: “I haven’t thought about it. Before I give you an answer, let me think about. Let me think about it a little bit because I never got a question about it before. I don’t know if I would use taxpayers’ money for it.”
The question? About US funding of contraception to prevent AIDS in Africa. This is a new subject to McCain? Or is it that he just doesn't have his brain completely adjusted to the hard right as yet?


The New York Times: McCain Stumbles on HIV Prevention by Adam Nagourney

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Bush Administration protects us by hiding 100 year old government documents ...

The Bush Administration is removing willy-nilly millions of pages of historical documents from public view. Some of the document being removed are over a hundred years old.

USA Today: 1M archived pages removed post-9/11 by Frank Bass and Randy Herschafthttp

What it took to raid a small Arizona drywall company for illegal immigrants ...

Mark Kimble at the Tucson Citizen presents some figures related to last weeks ICE invasion of a small Arizona business for hiring non-documented individuals.
  • 16 month investigation involving multiple organizations
  • 200 law enforcement officers serving 11 federal search warrants in 37 locations
  • 8 arrests of the companies managers and such
  • 10 illegal immigrants arrested
As I have said before, this is not the way to handle this problem. First we need reasonable and fair laws and policies. Draconian enforcement does not improve the situation.

What really amazes me is, given the deterioration of the US employment picture in general, people are still coming to this country illegally to get jobs. That says more about the areas they came from than about the U.S. We cannot solve this problem by ourselves nor by enforcement alone (unless we want to turn the US into one big police state; which I, for one, do not).
Tucson Citizen: Illegal immigrant roundup a fantasy by Mark Kimble

Employer arrests, but not at WALMART ...

Just too much trouble for embassy and immigration officials to help these people out ...

Really these people must take Bush as an example of how to behave as they appear impervious to the claims of humanity or compassion, not to mention competence.

Mexican wife seeks visa to see ill spouse

Bush's government gives death sentence to cancer patient ...

No surprise really. Bush's government chooses death for thousands and thousands of people world wide.

Why pick on sick people too? Don't they have a big enough pool of blood, already?

From DailyKos: Medical Marijuana, The Feds and the Banality of Evil by xxdr zombiexx

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Doctor joins Taser ...

After leaving the Surgeon Generals Office Arizona's own Dr. Richard Carmona joined Canyon Ranch (and miscellaneous boards of directors).

Now Carmona has joined the board of Taser.

Carmona certainly has an interesting background that includes working in the law enforcement arena.

I think, though, that joining the Taser board raises the question, or perhaps it just confirms the answer, of what kind of physician Carmona is.

Wikipedia: Richard Carmona
Arizona Daily Star: Carmon named to Taser's board
PR Newswire: Dr. Richard H. Carmona, 17th United States Surgeon General, Joins TASER International Board of Directors

Monday, March 12, 2007

Oh that chaotic brain of ours ...

Isn't it wonderful the imagery that 'science' writers have brought to science news:
The brain appears to process information more chaotically than has long been assumed.
Oh, my, should I be concerned?
"It was previously thought that neurotransmitters are only released at synapses," points out Dr. Dirk Dietrich at Bonn University. "But our findings indicate that this is not the case."
Imagine that, those neurotransmitters and synapses just aren't performing as we thought they aught.
If this hypothesis is correct, the accepted scientific understanding of the way neurons communicate, which has prevailed for over a hundred years, will have to be revised.
A hundred years?

Oh, well. If Bush and the Repugs have their way the next findings 'of huge significance' that may 'explode fundamental notions' could take a thousand years. Sometime after the Second Dark Age, should humanity survive that long.

Quotes from: Brain Works More Chaotically Than Previously Thought
NOTE: In case my irreverent representation above may lead some to think I am denigrating the content or construction of the article, that is not the case. The article is quite well written and easy to follow.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back ...

I can't believe it. Any Dem who thinks like this is as dangerous as the lock-step-increase-the-world's-violence Repugs:
Senior House Democrats, seeking to placate members of their party from Republican-leaning districts, are pushing a plan that would place restrictions on President Bush's ability to wage the war in Iraq but would allow him to waive them if he publicly justifies his position. [Democrats Alter Plan to Restrict Iraq War by Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post]
Give the child in the White House a legal way to ignore the Congress and the American voter. How considerate!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Questionable emergency-response plans for Pima County ...

Journalists (at the Arizona Daily Star) looking into the state of Pima County's emergency-response plans were met with obfuscation, delays, excuses and deceit.
"None of the five Local Emergency Planning Committee offices contacted in Arizona provided the complete plans. Some offices refused to give any information at all." [Plans not shared with public --County officials won't give info law says is yours by Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor and Corinne Purtill]
A related article shows the length to which our ever increasing secret-minded government will go to to keep information out of the hands of the public:
"Often, privacy laws are taken to the extreme. In 2002 the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., refused to release medical records about Ryma the giraffe, claiming that the disclosure of such information would violate the animal's right to privacy, as well as veterinarian-patient confidentiality." [Accessing records --Freedom of information, feted this week, increasingly restricted, Opinion by David Cuillier]

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Arizona & Daylight Saving ...

A piece of history I don't remember, from the Arizona Daily Star:

How ticked-off Arizona got rid of daylight saving

By Paul Davenport
The Associated Press

Employer arrests, but not at WALMART ...

Managers and employees of a Sierra Vista, Arizona company, Seven Sun Drywall, were arrested by ICE yesterday. They are reported to have "conspired with fraudulent-document makers to hire and protect dozens of illegal immigrants."

Some of the information in the Arizona Daily Star article implies that managers were warned in December of 2005, through an audit, about hiring illegal entrants.

If the information in this article is correct it appears that this company, like WalMart, knowingly allowed illegal entrants to work for them.

But managers of a small Arizona drywall company are arrested. The illegal entrants will most likely be incarcerated and fed poorly and humiliated until they are shipped out of the country.

This country has put itself in a bind has it not?

When authorities look the other way and allow an underground population of undocumented non-citizens then hysterics rant that 'these people' are using our tax money; that they are on the dole; and that, horror of horrors they actually might get medical care in an emergency.

On the other hand when the laws become so draconian that even 'these people' stay away as happened in Colorado, crops don't get picked and our society looks back to the good ol' days of chain gangs (a fine old southern tradition).

Our lawmakers have allowed non-action, prejudice, fear and stupidity to rule on the immigration front. The United States and a lot of unfortunate people are now paying the price.

Steve Camarota, "director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based organization that seeks to halt illegal immigration" is quoted as follows:
"The administration is trying to show it's serious about enforcement to get its amnesty or legalization," Camarota said.
The culture of acceptance for illegal workers won't change until the agency systematically goes after employers who are hiring illegal immigrants, whether it be five or 500, he said.
"The little fish are in the sea in which the big fish swim," Camarota said. "It's the general contempt for the rule of law, the widespread acceptance of illegal immigration at the small employers that allows the spectacular cases to happen."
Imagine that, a 'general contempt for the rule of law' in this country. No, no, say it ain't so. Not a contempt for the rule of law like outing an undercover FBI agent? Not a contempt for the rule of law like firing a prosecutor who was investigating a Republican, Arizona's own Rick Renzi?

Oh, I get it. The rule of law is for immigrants and small drywall firms and the majority of us.

But those laws don't apply to Bush or his brain. They don't apply to Cheney. They don't apply to WalMart. And though they do still apply on occasion to such as Libby and Renzi, there are ways, aren't there, to get around them if these hanger-ons make themselves useful enough. Fire a prosecutor here, a pardon there ...

The quotes in this article from: 7 held in crackdown by Brady McCombs, Arizona Daily Star.

For another perspective, than the administrations as voiced through the Star, read
It's time to call it what it is: a policy of mass deportation at Migra Matters.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Big Pharma preys on seniors ...

Reuters reports that prices for medications commonly used by the elderly have increased close to double the rate of inflation. Since in the US these drugs are overpriced to begin with what we are witnessing with these increases is an even more massive transfer of money directly into the bulging veins to Big Pharma.

"CHICAGO, March 6 (Reuters) - Prices for about 200 prescription drugs in the United States commonly used by seniors rose nearly twice the rate of inflation, a seniors group said on Tuesday, making a case for letting the government negotiate drug prices.

Insomnia pill Ambien, made by Sanofi-Aventis ..., topped the list of steepest price increases, with a 30 percent rise in price in 2006, the report by the seniors' lobby AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, said." (continue reading Brand name drug prices soar for US seniors -- AARP)

The article ends with Big Pharma implying that the US pays high prices because many other countries pay less (those being the countries with enough intelligence to negotiate group discounts --you know that standard business practice that we can't seem to get the hang of here in Bush's America). Oh, and there's that huge research and development investment Big Pharma pretends they pay. No mention of the amount of our money that they put into advertising and subverting the medical profession to hand out their newest concoction without thinking.

Nothing new here. Privatization is just the latest in Robber Baron schemes.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Arizona shame ...

These four Arizona Republican Congressional Representatives from Arizona voted against the Employee Free Choice Act:
  • Jeff Flake (06)
  • John Shadegg (03)
  • Rick Renzi (01)
  • Trent Franks (02)
Democrats Gabrielle Giffords (08), Raul Grijalva (07), Harry Mitchel (05) and Ed Pastor (04) all voter to ensure that Americans have the right to representation in the work place.

To thank or criticize your representative go here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Arizona's Republican Legislature

As usual Republican top priorities include cutting taxes for their friends. As sales taxes, property evaluations and fees go up. As services and roads deteriorate. You can count on the Repugs to look at the issue closest to their heart. Cutting taxes for their friends.
"State lawmakers are trying to figure out which tax cuts would give them the biggest bang for their buck." [No dearth of Arizona tax-cut proposals by Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Service]
Though I do agree, as
astounding as that may be, with one proposal. I just don't trust the Republicans to adjust corporate income tax to make up for such a change. Before Bush -and Repugs in general- had shown their true colors it would not have pained me to agree with a Republican, but since I do agree I will state that I do. I agree with Republican Representative from Glendale, Rick Murphy, that the tax on business equipment "... is a silly tax."

I also think property tax is a silly tax. I would like to see all taxes limited to taxes on earnings and income and any wealth or property that changes ownership. But that's me and there's not much hope of a logical restructuring of our tax system. And it is extremely dangerous to the general citizen to let Repugs make money decisions and legislate about taxes, health, welfare, warfare or anything at all as they have shown us over and over again these last five years.

In general the American populace is either too trusting or fast asleep as it took way too long for many to understand the underlying greed, perversion and all around baseness upon which the current Republican Party is built. They sully the name of Conservative --and anything else the[y] touch.

Monday, March 5, 2007

By no means should we distract ...

... our elected national representatives from their own private wealth accumulating agendas by making them think about their responsibilities to the nation. Oh no, shouldn't do that!
"At the federal level, impeachment talks are more distracting than productive," added Murray spokesman Alex Glass. [Stop impeach talk, legislators urged by Melissa Santos, via Hullabaloo]

Nice to see so called anti-war faux Democrats Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Jay Inslee doing Bush and Cheney's dirty work.

Washington Senator Patty Murray has been in Congress since 1992. Washington Representative Jay Inslee's has been in office since 1999 and also served between 1993-1995. Obviously we need elected officials more in touch with their state (and the country) and less beholden to the corrupt environment infesting our country.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

War on everyone ...

The war on illegal entrants, like the war on drugs, is increasing violence in and around Arizona.

By viewing all those who enter our country illegally as nefarious invaders to be severely and brutally dealt with instead of as mostly desperate people who should be treated humanely --like we ourselves would wish to be treated-- we have created a whole new underworld of violence and corruption. This is the same path that the US took in the handling of drug usage and drug addiction.

As enforcement on the border shifts the flood of drugs and people shifts from place to place. By concentrating on strong arm tactics and draconian punishments the US makes the transportation of drugs and people increasingly profitable for criminals and corrupt officials.

The Arizona Daily Star reports [Armed smugglers fighting it out --Traffickers using corridor to avert law enforcement by Brady McCombs]:
The drug runners, or burreros, or aren't alone on the trails, either. Armed ripoff teams, or bajadores, have become increasingly brazen in the past two years in their attempts to steal loads of drugs and people from smugglers.

"They rip off each other; they shoot at each other; the stakes are higher now," said Lt. Raul Rodriguez, commander of criminal investigations for the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office. "With more enforcement, surveillance, you are going to create a lot more activity."

Four murders and nine attempted homicides have occurred on the smuggling trails in the area in the past two years, including a recent surge of activity in the Aliso Springs area west of Tubac, Rodriguez said.

The above article reports on the violence around Tubac which is about 40 miles south of Tucson. In February a lethal attack on immigrants took place on the northwest side of Tucson itself [AZ Daily Star: 3 die in NW Side attack against illegal entrants by Dale Quinn].

When I travel on I10 between Tucson and KOFA National Wildlife Reserve I often pulloff at one particular exit where I can conveniently park the camper, have lunch and let the dogs walk around a bit. At that pulloff there is a dirt road that heads south and a sign at the beginning of the road that warns about possible dangers as that is, or was(?), one of the routes north from the border.

I'm not suggesting that we don't need to have legal procedures for entering the country and enforce them. But I am stating that the methods and contradictory policies we put in place, both official and unofficial, are not rational and do not provide for a safe, lawful and democratic environment.

That is they are not rational if a safe, lawful and democratic country is the goal.

If, however, the goal is an ever increasing investment in law enforment, ever increasing prison populations, ever increasing violence, ever increasing corruption then the plan is working very well. As with the war on drugs, the actions and policies in the US war on illegal entrants do not accomplish their purported objectives.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Representatives, NOT!

Poputonian at Hullabaloo writes about the distance between the representatives and those represented.

This is something I've been thinking about for sometime. 99.9% of our congresspeople and senators do not represent the people who elect them. And most of them don't even pretend to.

They are so convinced that money and the public's gullibility will get them elected and re-elected (and it does, just look at Lieberman) that they have no fear in ignoring, denigrating or even having their constituents arrested just for visiting their offices and trying to set up meetings with them or even handing them a petition or letter.

We pay them but they determine how much. We provide for their excellent health insurance and retirement, but the don't think we deserve the same. They work only a few hours a week (when Republicans are in control) but they think there should be no limit to how many hours we work. The list of what they take at our expense goes on and on.

What do they give in return? A great show at election time.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Another step toward a police state ...

This is really disturbing. A bill that is reported to be 'moving along' in the Arizona legislative process would
"make it a crime for people to stand on street corners and sidewalks while offering to work, or to remain on private property while looking for work."
Get that. Remain on private property while looking for work? What does that mean?

The legislation is another attempt to go after immigrants but with this law the police will have one more tool in their arsenal of laws to harass the homeless, the unemployed, the poor. Who knows who else will get clobbered by such a draconian measure.

I suppose the next step will be to put everyone in prison so they can be used as slave labor. My that would be even cheaper for business (but not the our once great country) than immigrant labor.

Link: Bill Targeting 'day laborers' moves along

Blog for Arizona has a post about the southern-style prison gang proposal in Colorado: Prisoner in the Pumpkin Patch

Because the Federal Government is Broken ...

State senators in Arizona voted in favor of a volunteer 'Homeland Security Force' that will not be part of the National Guard and will be available to handle those situation the National Guard is no longer able to handle like responding to

"... the governor's orders to any natural or human-caused disaster, when "necessary to protect lives or property," or to help along the border to spot people coming into the United States illegally."

According to the article "nearly two dozen other states have similar militias separate from Guard units."

Via the Arizona Daily Star: Senate votes to set up volunteer militia by Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

First Post on the new Arizona Eclectic

My previous blog was at
That blog will disappear toward the end of April as I do not plan to renew the site name.