Friday, November 30, 2007

Giuliani and Tasers ...

The Giuliani Connection to the TASER Abuse Explosion
There's so much to thank Rudy Giuliani for. Dead firemen and Tasers may just top the list.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More destruction of the ideals that made this country strong ...

Public Libraries For Profit by Akito Yoshikane
At some future time, as access to the Internet grows, and assuming that the Internet does not end up in the absolute control of the corporate mafia, perhaps, turning libraries into profit centers for the greedy will not matter.

Physical activity greater influence on mobility in old age than weight ...

'Use it or lose it' --Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, UK, have concluded a study that proves a direct link between levels of physical activity in middle age and physical ability later in life – regardless of body weight.
[...] Physical activity of about 30 minutes three or more times a week resulted in fewer than 13 per cent of people developing some sort of physical disability, while this rate increased to 24 per cent where subjects were less active.

Dr. Lang commented: “There are three truly interesting results from this research. The first is that our findings were similar from the US and the UK, which suggests that they are universal. The second is that exercise in middle age does not just benefit people in terms of weight loss – it also helps them to remain physically healthy and active later in life. The third is that, in terms of results from activity, weight does not seem to be an issue.” ...

Bob Feinman, an American with a conscience ...

Tucsonan wants to help migrant who saved boy
by Sheryl Kornman and The Associated Press
Tucson businessman Bob Feinman says he doesn't want to look like "some ugly foreigner trying to make a headline," but he does want to offer a hand to Manuel Jesus Cordova Soberanes.

The Magdalena de Kino, Son., man quit his two-day walk from his hometown across the Arizona-Mexico border to help a 9-year-old Arizona boy orphaned by his mother's death in a van accident.

Christopher Buztheitner was wandering in the desert in shorts the evening before Thanksgiving when Cordova, 26, a bricklayer, spotted him. . . .
Some of the comments to the above Tucson Citizen article demonstrate how too many of Arizona's 'red-minded' think about an individual who just demonstrated the kind of character we should consider inviting into this country instead of continuing the current catch-22 environment that entices them in on one hand and works to deport them in the most humiliating manner on the other.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Down, down, down ...

Cynical NCLB causes crisis in TUSD

In 2002, Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, dubbed "No Child Left Behind" by President Bush.

Sold as public school reform, with phony standards, false accountability and an unfilled promise of millions more federal dollars, NCLB creates a moral dilemma for leaders of school districts across the nation.

Do they enforce this amoral law dutifully - even if it sets statistically unattainable benchmarks that ultimately will embarrass and perhaps destroy the public schools?

Or will they take a stand out of higher principles?

Unfortunately, leaders of Tucson Unified School District, like their counterparts across the country, have embraced the NCLB agenda.

Districts' compliance with NCLB diverts funds intended for teacher compensation, creates unnecessary budgetary pressures and promotes bureaucracy rather than educational excellence.

What gets lost in all the rhetoric is that all public schools will be deemed "failing" by 2014, no matter what they do to comply with NCLB.

As the list of "failing" schools grows, and as media attention legitimizes NCLB standards and student test scores in the eyes of the taxpayers, public opinion will more and more turn against the public schools.

Why do TUSD and other districts play a game they cannot possibly win? Because it is easier to conform to an amoral law than to challenge it.

Bush sold NCLB as a deterrent to "the soft bigotry of low expectations."

Is opposition to NCLB also opposition to high standards and equality? Is NCLB protecting children from teachers with low expectations?

By intervening with uniform standards to protect students, NCLB proponents claim they will bring accountability to public schools.

This cynical policy has serious flaws. It assumes that all children learn at the same rate, and it sets standards that are naturally exclusive.

When "Adequate Yearly Progress" is among the 144 standards, some students will not pass.

If a 100 percent passing rate is the benchmark for a school to avoid "failing," one must conclude that the NCLB agenda is not to improve public schools but to embarrass them.

For years, professional educators have realized that standards do not ensure quality schools.

Good education is relative; it is based upon the child's individual needs.

Because local teachers and their professional organization, the Tucson Education Association (TEA), are resistant to NCLB, they become an easy target when students do not meet the standards.

In TUSD's case, over the past year, the diversion of dollars from Proposition 301, passed in 2000 primarily for teacher pay; the taking of the governor's money intended for teacher compensation; and the blaming of the budget crisis on a recent 3 percent raise for teachers all have roots in the hidden cost of NCLB compliance.

NCLB compliance also has led large districts such as TUSD to adopt one-size-fits-all remedial programs that actually push out high-performing students.

At many schools, remedial classes have replaced advanced courses, and bureaucrats enforce districtwide curriculum regimentation.
As a result, parents take their higher-performing students out of TUSD. They do not want their kids subjected to the remedial program.

And if TUSD achieves unitary status, the number of high-performing students leaving will likely increase as more options become available to parents.

The integrity of any individual or institution is the ability to do the right thing even when it is most difficult to do.

School district leadership consists of good people who, by dutifully enforcing an unjust law, are hurting the schools.

Public criticism of NCLB, especially at a time when it is up for reauthorization in Congress, is necessary to maintain professional and institutional integrity.

It is time for TUSD leadership to join with TEA in publicizing NCLB's damaging impact.

Paul Karlowicz is a history and political science teacher at University High School. He was president of the Tucson Education Association from 2003-2005.

Who writes these headings ...

Bilingual woman to become CEO of Hispanic Chamber
It's not just the heading. Sheryl Kornman, who I will assume is female, wrote the article which included this sentence:
She becomes a rare female commodity as a chamber president.
Commodity? Maricela Solis de Kester's name isn't mentioned until the second paragraph. After all she's just a woman and women are objects who have gender and language skills. It's not like she's the subject of the article or anything!

Bilingual? So original to have a bilingual person heading a 'Hispanic' Chamber in the US, isn't it? So it must be Kester's gender that zoomed into the writer's lizard brain. Yes, it's not just men who fail to use their higher reasoning capabilities at times. Can you imagine anyone writing the heading 'Bilingual man to become CEO of Hispanic Chamber?' Sounds idiotic, yes?

At the time of this post there was one comment to the article posted by someone who identifies himself as 'fernando s. (mando1).' Fernado's cryptic comment is 'who cares!!!'

And so goes the US and the world ...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tucson Police flag cars for thieves ...

Can this possibly make sense?
... while you're in stores shopping, Tucson Police are patrolling parking lots, randomly checking cars for security.

Then they're leaving pass or fail report cards on vehicle windshields.

Patrolling sounds like police works. But the rest? Don't the police have real work to do? Something other than flagging potential vehicles for thieves? Could we possibly have too many police officers and they're looking for more things to do?

Ah, that makes sense ...

They're in trouble. They often don't do a very good job. The laws they follow are contradictory and perverse. They are overworked, under-trained, under-funded, under-supported, under or wrongly staffed.

What to do? Why cut their funding, of course.
Child Protective Services faces legislative changes, may see its funding cut by Josh Brodesky

"Some of the legislative changes under consideration would make CPS case records more open, allow CPS workers to file missing persons reports, give them greater access to criminal history records and open state employee records to the public in the same way as municipal and county employee records.

"But with the state roughly a billion dollars in the red, there is also the prospect that the beleaguered agency will take a funding hit, even as it tries to meet public expectations for improvement."
Cutting funding when the opposite may be needed is how the red-mind works. But then there are a lot of the red-minded in the Arizona legislature.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Bush/GOP mafia hits us again ...

The next credit scandal --The real outrage of the credit crunch has been in the way major banks disclosed potential losses. Now, there are billions more in undisclosed risk. byPeter Eavis
That the integrity, and respect around the world, of US finacial institutions was the result of government oversight, the same oversight the Republicans have gutted and eliminated (with the complicity of too many Democrats) is of no importance to those who have been able to get their money and get out. Will the rest, the victims realize who made them such suckers? Will the suckers go even further and consider their own part on putting and keeping the GOP mafia in power?

So where does enforcement end and extortion begin?

Software enforcer hits small business --Protecting license terms lucrative; critics say some slack is warranted by Brian Bergstein

A good idea ...

Making Tucson more habitable for birds ...

... would also make it more people friendly. My yard is 'packed' with birds in the summer. I have water for them and trees and shrubs, all in a small area using little water (much less anyway than some of my neighbors who have grass). Some of the birds, like my cardinal, stay all year, but many others just visit for a time, either to raise a family or on their way cross country. I occasionally spot a hawk and appear to have an owl in residence at night. I've also seen quail looking for a home though with dogs in this yard and cats all around the quail do not settle down here.

Then there's the lizards. Cute little geckos, little lizards and then bigger lizards whose cold, fixed stare makes one wonder what's going on in their mind and thankful they are no larger.

The side benefit of this bird friendly enclave is that its a few degrees cooler in summer than the surrounding area.
Group wants emphasis on better bird habitat by Tom Beal

Some people think Tucson is for the birds, or should be.
The Audubon Society wants Tucson to be dotted with multi-storied vegetation and striped with riparian ribbons of green so that its members can get their feather fix without venturing too far — and so that we all can experience a greater variety of early-morning chirps.
This whole xeriscape thing has gone too far, say the bird lovers. Birds can't nest or rest or hide from their predators in decomposed granite. The sameness of our vegetation is producing a boring bird mix.
Making our world greener and more comfortable costs no more than producing these sculptured heat sinks of cement and granite.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More sign of the times? ...

So much for tryptophanic turkey instilled sense of trust:
Black Friday indeed: Crowds of shoppers pour into Tucson stores --Scuffles result in police being called out four times

Overnight Thursday into Friday, police received three calls about separate fights at the Best Buy store at 575 E. Wetmore Road, which opened at 5 a.m. Friday with early-bird deals. In each case, the clamor had stopped by the time officers arrived, said Officer Dallas Wilson, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

But scuffles weren't limited to electronics stores. Police responded to another fight call at a Toys "R" Us store, 4525 N. Oracle Road, but again said the problem subsided before officers arrived.

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

The Pima County Supervisors expected 'the cashiers' to exercise their grey matter but the Pima County Dept of Evironmental Quality said no ... Bronson said she didn't believe those gray areas would be that hard to negotiate.

"It's not a one-size-fits-all world," Bronson said. "That's why we have gray matter. You can apply common sense."

So, while marriage and kids are still popular enough that the allegedly decadent gay community clamors for the right to have a normal bourgeois family (and ironically are being fought every step of the way by those who claim to be concerned about family's demise!), we hear nothing from the culture warriors about this particular kind of moral depravity:
One of the state's largest health insurers set goals and paid bonuses based in part on how many individual policyholders were dropped and how much money was saved.
To Republicans making money and acquiring power is the only morality. Nothing else matters. All else is hype.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tax and spend, a concept whose time has come ...

I concure, taxing wealth and spending on society is way past due:
Tax and Spend? Hell, Yeah! by Susan J. Douglas

Why turkey ...

What do you think of this?
While scientists say that the tryptophan in turkey is probably not the source of holiday fatigue, a possible new role for tryptophan has recently been uncovered. It appears to affect our sense of trust.
Here's bit of what Wikipedia has about tryptophan:
Tryptophan as a component of dietary protein is particularly plentiful in chocolate, oats, bananas,mangoes, dried dates, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, red meat, eggs, fish, poultry, sesame, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, and peanuts. It is also found in turkey at a level typical of poultry in general.
One widely-held urban myth is that heavy consumption of turkey meat (as for example in a Thanksgiving feast) results in drowsiness, which has been attributed to high levels of tryptophan contained in turkey.[42][43][44] While turkey does contain high levels of tryptophan, the amount is comparable to that contained in most other meats. Furthermore postprandial Thanksgiving sedation may have more to do with what is consumed along with the turkey, and in particular carbohydrates, rather than the turkey itself.
... in particular, the common American post-Thanksgiving dinner drowsiness, may be the result of a heavy meal rich in carbohydrates, which, via an indirect mechanism, increases the production of sleep-promoting serotonin and melatonin in the brain.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just like our ever widening vehicle clotted freeways ...

Has anyone else started to think that we should be questioning the operation of the non-profit sector as well as the corporate sector of our society?
... Like transportation planners who add more lanes to already clogged highways, we add more space to our food banks in the futile hope of relieving the congestion.

We know hunger's cause -- poverty. We know its solution -- end poverty. Let this Thanksgiving remind us of that task.

[When Handouts Keep Coming, the Food Line Never Ends by Mark Winne via The Sideshow]

Oh, and don't forget the law enforcement sector and the judicial sector and the public sector and especially the media sector that pretends to be the news sector. Where to start ... the list never ends ...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

No one's happy but the Department of Homeland (in)Security ... "The precedent is basically set that if there's a use that is incompatible with a refuge, then we'll just hand over our land to the Department of Homeland Security," Clark said. "I don't think that's any better precedent than waiving laws."
[Near-done border fence stirs critics, defenders --Land swap: best deal possible or bad precedent? by Brady McCombs, Arizona Daily Star] ... but then, nothing matters anymore than using threats and fear to scam the entire country.
The Beltway obsession with Social Security is a classic case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. People have picked up a few facts about demography, and think they understand the long run budget problem. They don’t. ... and neither does Obama, sorry to say.
The Bush/Cheney Legacy ... With the confirmation hearings for Michael Mukasey as Attorney General, one cannot but fear that we are descending into the hell that was the destination of those human societies that did not give sufficient weight to moral and ethical standards and the rule of law. Rather we have squandered morality and ethics in expedient actions that returned less than nothing: no security, no safety and no honor. That is the legacy of Bush and Cheney.

By the way: no one knows where al-Libi is today. He has been "disappeared" by Bush. Perhaps because his very testimony is such an indictment of Bush and his embrace of the Torture Regime.

I wonder if Chris Matthews realizes that every time he or one of his fellow gasbags blithely reveal their sexist lizard brains like this, another little feminist gets her (or his) wings.

When you're to old to sit on granny's knee ...

Dell enlists celebrities to help consumers ply money from relatives, friends for gifts

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Arizona, the best ...

... at detecting baby-killers (in our own back yard, not in Iraq).
Arizona ranks best in nation at detecting infant homicides by Thomas Hargrove and John Hall
What disturbs me about this article, besides the fact that some parents can and do kill their own child, is the self congratulatory nature of article about Arizona being just soooo gooood at identifying infant homicides but not one thought about what could be done to reduce the number of such homicides in the first place.

Society needs to provide training and help in raising the next generations. With the demise of the extended family (still around in some cultures) there is little for stressed and ignorant parents to fall back on. There's little or no relief at all for those without sufficient funds. The same steps that would reduce these homicides should be the same steps that would reduce child abuse in general.

Detection after the fact is not the only answer.

The really sad part of this is that we appear to be headed toward a society where more and more stress will be applied and fewer options made available.

Solving the puzzle is commendable but not if you helped set up the scenario in the first place.

Anyone really surprised? ...

And still our 'Democrats' in Congress do worse than nothing ...
... the Colombian families accuse Chiquita not just of paying "protection money" to terrorist organizations, but actually using the money, in essence, to have the terrorist organizations help Chiquita seize banana plantations from small growers.
Part of the Republican Bush/GOP mafia? Terrorize all you want. Otherwise beware as we are back to a world where the masses must keeps their eyes lowered and averted lest they be chosen to prove the mafia's power or just destroyed on a whim for fun and games.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

We like him because he's Mormon ...

... but you should like him because he's qualified because he's Mormon (so say we Mormons).

That's the way I read this article: Arizona’s LDS population supports Romney campaign by Sonu Munshi, November 16th, 2007

More of the Red Mind ...

This red-minded guy is talking about Representative Raul Grijalva:
Now, this congress critter involves himself in every little Mexican cause that comes down the pike, whether it's a legitimate issue or not. Illegals are his favorite--as long as they play the downtrodden victim card. He's involved himself in the Catalina protests. When he campaigns, he forgets he has white constituents in his district and panders solely to the illegals. He is truly the Mexican version of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. If it involves illegals, you can rest assured he's there to fan the flames--whether it's a legitimate issue or not, whether he has all the facts or not. He's there, facts be damned.
Certainly a sizable portion of Grijalva's constituency are of Mexican descent (because Republicans engineered this district so it would be so). As of the 2000 census 50.6% of Grijalva's district (Arizona Congressional District 7) describe themselves as Hispanic.

However what the red-minded don't appear to understand, or deliberately ignore, is that
  1. only US citizens can vote for him, and
  2. US citizens of Mexican descent do not all agree on the solutions to US immigration problems (same as those of us who are not of Mexican descent).

Santa Claus came to town this week ...

It's not even Thanksgiving yet!
Santa Claus came to town this week, arriving at both Tucson Mall and Park Place with the hope of drawing kids, and presumably their shopping parents, to their stores.

Retailers nationwide have jump-started the season early this year out of fear that rising gas prices, depreciating home values and other economic woes will cut shoppers' spending later.
Why this should "cut shoppers' spending later" but not now escapes me?

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

Richard Leakey's response to Bishop 'i am not descended from an ape' Adoyo ... "Science is at the very foundation of our ability to deal with the new century, so if we bring it down to the idea that science may be un-Christian -- well, how stupid can you get?" he said of the bishop's comments.
... actually, ignorant humans can get pretty darn stupid.

Giggle ...

Women with small waists and big hips also have big IQs, a new U.S. study has found.

The conventions for locating the genes that encode proteins are pretty well established. The lingering problem for genomics biologists is locating genes whose parts are interrupted repeatedly, as well as locating genes that do not code for proteins.
Our nation is sick, and current "immigration crisis" is not the cause of this national illness, but just another symptom of it.
Oh, goodie ... "the results imply that current robot technology is surprisingly close to achieving [sustained] autonomous bonding and socialization with human toddlers."
Medicare "premiums have jumped 93 percent since 2001, when premiums were just $50 per month." ... Medicare is no longer the bargain public health program it is supposed to be, and most of the cost increases and new regulations that have weakened the program happened since the Bush administration took office in 2001.
To constantly deride her on the basis of gender is ridiculous. She's the front runner and there's plenty to criticize her for. (Her support for the Peru free trade agreement, for one.)That these guys are obsessing on the gender stuff is very, very revealing.
al-Libi is an important case to discuss, because as Stephen Grey reported in that Frontline piece, the "evidence" that was extracted from al-Libi under torture was not used to save the lives of thousands of people, but rather was responsible for causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

al-Libi is famous because his confessions were used by the Bush administration to make the connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. And the reason that the al-Libi story is so controversial is because it is so apparent that the only reason he came up with such bad information was because he was being tortured and was trying (desperately) to come up with things that his interrogators wanted to hear.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What's wrong with science reporting ...

This article is, to me, an example of what's wrong with 'science reporting.'
Birds may not have clawed their way up the evolutionary tree

What a cute title. Birds 'clawing' up a tree. The rest of the article is mainly quotes interspersed with a few non-quoted sentences to show the science writer has a place in the process.

Deconstructing the brain ...

Research shows the brain's processing speed is significantly faster than real time --Scientists at The University of Arizona have added another piece of the puzzle of how the brain processes memory.
Thought speed?
“The more practical point, I think, is that this methodology, the ability to measure how fast the brain is processing at the level of changing the state of the brain from one 10- millisecond epoch to the next, how fast the internal state is sweeping through its memories or its allowable patterns is, I think, a model for thought speed,” McNaughton said.

Just the toss of a coin ...

Random silencing of genes may explain family differences: study --A process which leads to some human genes being randomly "silenced" is more common than thought and could explain why siblings react differently to illnesses ...
"It adds another layer of diversity beyond genetic diversity," explained Andrew Chess, an associate professor of medicine, and a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

He noted that with random inactivation, even identical twins are not identical.
I do not mean to sound sarcastic here, but who thought identical twins really were completely identical? Our unaided senses do provide much useful information, you know.

I luv science but I remember when scientists were telling us that dogs don't think and all canine actions were preprogramed. Well I had eyes and a brain and science has caught up with them. But I do wish that scientists would write their own 'copy.' Most journalists do not do science justice. Most journalists don't do journalism justice either, come to think of it.

Sign of the times ...

If I weren't so much a part of this world I would probably think 'human kind' was an outlandish, and possibly sick, joke!
Women get 'virginity fix' NHS operations in Muslim-driven trend by JAMES CHAPMAN
Fixing virginity has a past. Such thing as chicken blood have been used to prove virginity on, I assume, countless wedding nights. Physicians used to consider whether to even perform exams that might involve 'breaking' the hymen. I remember girlish gossip about hymen repair required for 'girl' athletes of the 50's. In fact I remember girls being advised not to run and jump too much as they might ... well you know.

But times have changed for most of us, thank whatever gods that be.

The devils, though, are still in evidence. Such as this woman, who thinks those 'others' should get just what they deserve ... like maybe death!
As a British Muslim I find 'virginity repairs' on the NHS dangerous, demeaning ... and utterly indefensible by SAIRA KHAN
I'm all for this operation if it is needed to save someone's life, either literally or figuratively. But the fact that we still live in a world where a woman's body is required to testify to her sexual acceptability is gross, obscene, abhorrent, loathsome.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

For long term brain health ...

Pinning down the evidence:
Eating fish, omega-3 oils, fruits and veggies lowers risk of memory problems
A diet rich in fish, omega-3 oils, fruits and vegetables may lower your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, whereas consuming omega-6 rich oils could increase chances of developing memory problems, according to a study published in the November 13, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Killing us softly ...

... for our own good of course

Stopping Cars with Radiation --A beam of microwave energy could stop vehicles in their tracks by Brittany Sauser

"I have no doubt that if you set up a microprocessor and get a high-powered, well-focused beam of energy on [a car], you can disrupt its operation," says Peter Fisher, a professor of physics and the division head in particle and nuclear experimental physics at MIT. But to be able to deploy such a system safely will take some work, he says.

Imagine if a police officer is in a high-speed chase near a shopping mall and turns on one of these systems to stop the perpetrator: a lot of elevators have microprocessor controls, so if the officer is pointing the device in the direction of the mall, he or she could end up trapping 12 people in an elevator, says Fisher. Many other electronic systems, such as an automated teller machine or a security system, could also be disrupted.

Furthermore, Fisher cautions that, while the system may seem like an easier and more efficient solution than spike strips, it could still cause a huge accident if a car is disabled and a driver loses steering control. The system could pose a safety concern as well: radiation can burn human skin, and microwaves have long been suspected of being a cancer-causing agent.

AARP of the split mind and forked tongue?

AARP of 2 minds on private plans

(Note: I have an AARP sponsored Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan because it was the best I could find which does not mean I like or approve of the way Part D is structured. But I have to hand it to AARP -- their plan is the most straight forward and complete.)

And the beat goes on ...

The fall out of the Catalina High School calling the police in who then invited the immigration authorities in continues. (For my previous post with links to articles and posts on this subject go here.)

Az Daily Star reports that "law enforcement access to students ... will be up for discussion at the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board meeting tonight."
Last Monday, about 100 students marched from Catalina Magnet High School, 3645 E. Pima St., to the federal building Downtown and eventually to Tucson Police Department headquarters. They demanded an end to the policy that allowed Border Patrol officials on their campus, which led to the deportation of a family of four.
Pfeuffer and administrators met with police officials and agreed to a policy that afternoon that says police will not summon immigration authorities to schools but instead will follow up somewhere else.
The newspaper also has an online poll asking "Should Tucson Police help enforce immigration law?" At the time I am writing this the unscientific results show 78% want Tucson Police officers to enforce federal immigration laws and 21% do not.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Two Comments ...

Doesn't it seem strange that those who wish to enforce the most stringent laws on illegal entrants into the US are usually the the same people who see no problem with the continual breaking of the law by Bush, Cheney and the rest of the gang?

These two comments are from the Arizona Republic (Phoenix):

Policies are A-OK in America - not

What has happened to my country? Southern Lebanon is littered with cluster bombs made in America and rained on the population by Israelis, and that's OK with us? The nominee for attorney general refuses to say that waterboarding is torture, which is illegal, and that's OK with us? Our government arrests suspects, transports them to other countries, suspends their civil rights, and that's OK with us? Brazil fuels its cars with sugar cane while we watch oil climb to $100 a barrel, and that's OK with us? When do the real Americans tell our leaders these things are not OK with us?
Joanie Flatt, Public relations community advocate

Logic is no longer straddling border

It is now reported that under a new program, Operation Streamline, officials may actually start prosecuting all adults caught illegally crossing the Arizona-Mexico border. Imagine that: actual consequences for actual crimes. Remember, under federal law, a first illegal border crossing is a misdemeanor, but any subsequent crossing can be charged as a felony. Too bad the program was not in effect before Rogelio Gutierrez and Erik Martinez wrought their respective crimes upon Phoenix police officers. But as they say, those who fail to learn from the mistakes of the past are bound to repeat them in the future. Sad.
Ian A. Macpherson, Tax attorney

Another RED mind ...

The Red minded and chauvinistic Dwight Leister at 'American Chauvinist' appears to think that most of our taxes are paying for illegal immigrants and wants that stopped.
TAXPAYER REVOLT:NO MORE PROPERTY TAX INCREASES TO PAY FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS IN OUR SCHOOLS,HOSPITALS OR USING SOCIAL SERVICES FORCING THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER OUT OF THERE HOMES! (Note: I've not seen all the details listed about the deported family reported in the news as yet so some of what Leister writes may be his assumptions and not facts.)
Leister is just ecstatic that a Tucson school outed, with the help of a police officer, a family that had been living illegally in this country for some time (and undoubtedly paying all kinds of taxes and fees in the process). The family was deported. But Leister, who does not want a cent of his taxes to go to services that might by chance be used to help an illegal immigrant, does want his taxes used to incarcerate the family rather than deporting them.

Info and opinions about deported student and his family:

Family deported after boy's arrest at school --Immigrant rights concerns raised; police say action was appropriate by Brady McCombs, 11.06.2007

Opinion by Ernesto Portillo Jr. : Deportation stirs backlash --100 march in protest of Border Patrol going on Catalina High campus: Students were right to march, and we can expect to see more like it Opinion by Ernesto Portillo Jr., 11.07.2007
Letters to the Editor at the Arizona Daily Star (note: most letters were against the family)
Deportation is not justified
The suspension of the Catalina High student was justified; however, the student and his family's deportation was not. The Tucson Police Department works for Tucson, not Nogales, not Phoenix and not the Border Patrol.
Suggesting that Tucson police should start identifying possible illegal immigrants for deportation is ridiculous. Enforcing immigration law is a distraction to the police goal of keeping its jurisdiction safe and productive. It also downplays the huge job the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement perform.
The Tucson police should continue to enforce our local and state laws and leave immigration to the proper federal agencies.
Casey Stone
College student, Tucson
Integral Options Cafe
Southern Arizona is a hotspot for illegal immigration. Perhaps more than anywhere else, the battle over illegal aliens has been in the news nearly constantly for years.

Today, the Arizona Daily Star covered a story about a family that was deported last Thursday after their teen son was discovered to have a small amount of marijuana at school. The family had been in Tucson for six years, had a house, and had two kids in the school system.
Border Reporter on same

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Plague Suspected In Death Of Man In Arizona ...

A wildlife biologist apparently died of the plague after performing an autopsy on a mountain lion in the Grand Canyon National Park area.
"The recent appearance of plague activity in two northern counties has us concerned that we may see plague in other areas as well."

Animal cases of plague in Arizona in 2007 include prairie dog colony die-offs in two separate neighbourhoods in Flagstaff in Coconino County, and a pet cat in Prescott in Yavapai County.

Arizona state health officials warned campers, hunters, hikers and others who live at 4,500 feet or higher or are visiting the area, to take the following precautions to avoid being exposed to the plague:
For more information call the Grand Canyon National Park Incident Information Center at (928) 638-7922 or (928) 638-7688.

The RED mind ...

Arizona Republican Representative Jeff Flake voted off the reservation and 'Seeing Red AZ' is concerned Flake's vote would help legitimatize 'life styles' that will invade Arizona's schools and churches -and 'other' places.
The U.S. House has passed HR3685, or “ENDA,” a bill that ostensibly prohibits discrimination against homosexuals. In reality, it puts in place another plank to legitimize that lifestyle. “Legitimizing” ultimately makes it more difficult to keep it out of schools, churches, and other places where one might want to make reasonable exceptions.
A call for invasion and democracy should come next from the RED sector of the State of Arizona ...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Yesterdays's QUOTES ...

In the right direction? ... The agency does not have data on companies pulling call-center services back from overseas but is aware of the trend anecdotally, said Laura Shaw, a spokeswoman for TREO. ... now lets get some manufacturing back. The same cheaply designed and produced product from every retailer is not what I call progress.

Ya don't say ... “The acceptance of sexist humor leads men to believe that sexist behavior falls within the bounds of social acceptability.”
Chuck Schumer, just another Rubberstamp Democrat ... Yes, isn't it appealing for the United States Senate to say unambiguously that that torture is wrong. Wow, what a concept. But apparently not appealing enough for Chuck Schumer.... so Mukasey told Chuckie Cheesie that he, Mukasey, would follow the law. Told Chuckie privately? But would NOT say the same publicly to the nation? So Chuckie is what? Stupid? So gullible he never learns even after 7 long and painful years? Or he is just plain complicit with the illegal goings-on of Bush's corrupt administration.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Driving while brown ...

Hispanic motorists were the most likely to be searched, arrested, cited and to receive multiple citations and the least likely to get off with warnings.
But hey, don't get too upset ... there could be, uh, 'other' factors ... the authorities don't need no stinking laws to hamper them, they just 'know' who's guilty and what everyone else is thinking! Only those laws that facilitate the authorities control of the public apply.
PHOENIX -- A study of traffic stops conducted by Arizona Department of Public Safety officers found evidence of possible racial profiling by officers, although researchers cautioned that other factors may be responsible for high rates of stops and searches of minority drivers.

The University of Cincinnati report mirrors findings by a Northern Arizona University researchers three years ago. The new study shows Highway Patrol officers were more than twice as likely to search vehicles driven by Hispanics and blacks than white drivers during 2006. Minorities also were far more likely to be arrested or to receive multiple traffic citations.

Hispanic motorists were the most likely to be searched, arrested, cited and to receive multiple citations and the least likely to get off with warnings.

The 223-page report was done to satisfy terms of a 2006 settlement of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and criminal defendants that accused officers of targeting minority motorists along interstate highways near Flagstaff.
Here's how I interpret these findings. I've owned at least one vehicle that had recurring tail light problems (that is the turn signals and/or the tail light would just stop working). In all, I was stopped maybe 5 or 6 times over a period of several years. I would get the warning, get the tail light fixed (again) and after some period of time (months or a year) the light would go out again. Sometimes I caught it myself. The way I read these finding is that if I were dark in color and/or non European looking I would stand a very good chance of being arrested and/or having my car searched because of that damned tail light. To me that's harassment, plain and simple. Certainly I need to get the light fixed but to use such an excuse to stop, search, interrogate and arrest people is not the sign of a free country. In addition it leads to corruption. It becomes just too easy to pretend there is a stoppable problem with any vehicle. Lying has just become too easy for our police. Everyone expects them to do it. They never appear to be held accountable when they are caught lying. So much for integrity. So much for justice. So much for a respect for the law. So much for freedom.

Vehicle CO2 Emissions ...

Arizona will join California in suing the EPA for its intransigence: Ariz., joining Calif. suit, seeks to limit vehicle CO2 emissions --Governor could impose standards on cars sold here by Howard Fischer
In fact, it was the failure of the EPA to even respond to California's request for a waiver that led to the decision Thursday by Gov. Arnold Schwar- zenegger to sue. Goddard said it makes sense for Arizona to join in that effort.
"It's important to point out this isn't just a California problem," he said.
"The EPA's failure to act on California's waiver request affects Arizona motorists," Goddard continued. "And it affects the air quality in our state as well because we've adopted the same standards that California seeks to adopt."

Right on ...

A good Fitz cartoon.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

How the US supports the troops ...

1 In 4 Homeless Americans Are Veterans

Don't believe your lying eyes?

Sexy walk could be misleading message: --A woman who walks with a seductive sway of her hips is unlikely to be ovulating, a finding that sheds light on the complex sexual signals that women give to men, New Scientist reports.

A team at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, dressed female volunteers in suits which had light reflectors placed on the joints and limbs and filmed them walking in order to analyse their gait, the British weekly says. ...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Believe me, our elected Democrats do NOT believe in Freedom of speech or thought ...

The bill calls for heightened scrutiny of people who believe, or might come to believe, in a violent ideology.

Examining the Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act by Lindsey Beyerstein -- The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act passed the House of Representatives on Oct. 23 by a vote of 404-6. The wide margin is indicative of a growing concern among U.S. authorities about the potential for so-called “homegrown terrorism” in the United States.
So called Democrats like Giffords and Grijalva voted for surveillance of people based on what they may come to believe. I suppose they will start to black list connections to the Internet next, based on what someone thinks you think or may come to think some day, perhaps, maybe.

And can you believe this: "Rep. Harman is careful to emphasize the language in the bill that states that the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts “shall not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents.”" 'Our' Reps have learned nothing, absolutely NOTHING, in the past seven years. Idiots! Because they refuse do their job and ensure the structure and controls are in place to actually guarantee our constitutional rights they add meaningless words to their laws repeating what should already be manifest. We have rights. These right are already guaranteed in our Constitution. Our elected officials are ignoring and undermining these rights on a daily basis.

And then there's this:
The broad wording of the bill leaves open many questions. If homegrown terrorism is defined to include “intimidation” of the United States government or any segment of its population—could the Commission or the Center of Excellence task itself with investigating groups advocating boycotts, general strikes, or other forms of non-violent “intimidation”?
Could telling my Rep I will never vote for him again 'til Hell freezes over be considered intimidation? One person's negotiation will turn out to be another person's intimidation. Just one more excuse to arrest someone. They won't care if the arrest is overturned. Government officials will like the harassment value. And it's Democrats who created this monstrosity!

These representatives who hardly take our phone calls, who are likely to arrest us if we show anything other than a subservient attitude in their offices and send gibberish in reply to correspondence are in fact very afraid of us, wouldn't you say?

Here's the Border Reporter's take on the subject: FERTILIZER INDEED

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sadly ...

The World Is Not Enough for Humans --Humanity's environmental impact has reached an unprecedented scope, and it's getting worse by David Biello
Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that we humans are not not capable of solving our really critical problems through reason, knowledge, organization and intelligence.

So Senator Reid ...

Today's Must Read

So now that the country has undergone its collective tutorial on the torture technique waterboarding (see here, here, and here if you missed class), Congress is ready to begin voting on the nomination of Michael Mukasey for attorney general.

So Senator Reid once again takes out his RUBBER STAMP for a Bush nominee. By being a non-leading 'leader of the Senate' Reid is ensuring that Mukasey will be approved. Reid helps Bush appoint another pro-torture Attorney General, albeit one not as stupid as the previous one.

I just don't think these people understand that as the driver of a bank robber's getaway vehicle is taking part in the crime the failure of our Senators and Representatives to fight this administration when it is doing wrong (which is most, if not all, of the time) makes them complicit in the crimes being committed in our names. They are also responsible and should be placed in the dock along with Bush and his gang of criminals.

I thought the problem might be generational but then I look at the younger elected Democrats, like Representative Giffords from Arizona and even Senator Obama and I see the same tendencies to the mere spouting of platitudes; making spurious justifications and excessive excuses.

I realize that the Republicans are worse, but Democrats just ain't no prize either ...

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

McCain is a bloodthirsty right wing warmonger. But he's not an outright sadist. That is the range of what passes for morality among the GOP candidates.

And by the way, he's losing because of it.

... No one seems to notice that, as with everything else in Iraq, the Iraqis are going to do what they want, when they want. When al-Sadr lays down his arms, there will be relative peace. When he takes them up, Americans will die in dozens.

Regardless, the fortunes of Iraq will turn on Iraqi decisions made in Baghdad and Najaf, not in Washington, D.C. and the halls of Congress. As this situation shows, peace in Iraq lies in the hands of Iraqis. It cannot—and will not—be forced by Americans at the point of a gun.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Arizona High Country Campground ...

The pictures to the left are from the Arizona High Country Campground which is nice and un-parkinglot-like (which is my main complaint about RV joints). The park is under construction and at this stage looks like it has been well designed.

I tried to suggest that I had some photos that would look good on their web page but did not raise any interest.

I was not able to connect with Verizon broadband at this place. I was in the National Forest somewhere off road 504 (I think) when I posted that message (higher in altitude and closer to Phoenix).

On posting from the wilderness ...

I've come back to 'civilization,' if one seriously thinks that groups of Homo sapiens who can be so easily led into monster-hood by the mentally impaired and the outright insane approach anything like civilization which by definition is comprised of advancement, progress, enlightenment, culture, refinement, and sophistication. What the US is going through at present must be more akin to anti- or reverse-civilization.

Really, the above paragraph was not where this post was headed when I took up that metaphorical pen. Having a partiality to technology, mostly in the form of computers and cameras (two areas that have beautifully merged in the recent years) I was amazed once again at the changes that have taken place in these field since the 60's which is when my working life began.

Each little mile post, such as posting from a campground, sends my thoughts back to my first Mac and that I had sitting on my desk (or table as really was the case) more power, memory and capabilities than some of computers that I programmed and/or operated by reading in stacks (and I do me stacks) of punched computer cards.

I often resist this trip down memory lane to the time of 1401's, IBM 7072's, 350's, 360's, Univacs, RadioShacks, Macs and Mac Plus' and even more names and numbers than I can recall as
  • I don't wish to be thought of as 'living in the past,' and
  • a state of ongoing amazement at the rate and extent of technological changes in this field must be politically incorrect, or something.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ha, it's working, sort of ...

The post is being written from somewhere in a National Forest, with real pine trees and such, between Show Low and Phoenix.