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August 16, 2012

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Now thats funny Jon!

But it's also a tragedy play that you carved out here.

What makes you think Fernanda Santos can become a prodigious force in Arizona carving out great stories in this desert taken over by God struck fools that dont care as they are destined to lift off this planet for a better place.

The Truth is they blew up Don Bolles, they forced Al Sitter into retirement and they ran you out of town.

So Fernanda Santos is from where? And she is Kook proof?

And about god and population I looked up those big words and answered morecleanair and petro on the previous blog.

For me the only seriousness I can work up nowdays is how absurd we go about this business of being human.

And how in the universe could I be happy with a god that created this mess. I'll stick with the dogs they seem to have it figured out.

From your militant agnostic
Cabrone cal

Fernanda is safer from the Kookacracy. The New York Times cannot be intimidated by fools 3,000 miles away. Now if she will take up the cause to write some great stories it would make a great career.

I think she should look further into Brewer's ties to the Prison/Law Enforcement Industrial Complex. Including the law making processes from the municipal level all the way up to the state level.


Most of the issues are linked to this...

Upton Sinclair
"If is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

Investigate from this perspective. There are reasons for the status quo in AZ.

Investigate "who benefits". Name names.

Got something for you on the previous thread too, cal.

Frack away, Fernanda! And, get some background by reading Thomas Sheridan's, "Arizona: A History". Know your subject from the ground up.

AH phxsunfan forever positive.
Private prisons and private schools r worthy of diligent investigation. But Brewer is just a pawn piece in a huge chess game of mormon. org. Pearce is gone not because of justice but because he had become an embarrassing liability. Heed well the words of Sinclair and Betty Quinn.
from my cell phone on the road of fear and loathing.

Maybe watching Last Call At The Oasis by Erin Brockvich will help

(cross-posting this from the previous post)

PS: Jon nails it when he suggests that the NY reporter dig into the LDS' influence over AZ. As I recall, they're only about 6% of the population, but their influence seems much larger and sometimes even omnipresent. My ancestors were big deal Mormons and my last name is highly recognizable by some LDS who ask "are you one of us?" (I give them the same answer I give the far right Geezer-Kooks)

"Hell no!" -morecleanair

Sorry for putting words in your mouth, but I'm just assuming? ;-)

morecleanair left u a chapo note on last blog

Great insights into Phoenix Jon, and reading your columns gives me a perspective on Phoenix that I certainly don't get from the AZ Repuke or the Phoenix New Times, which used to be a pretty good political counterbalance to the AZR but has turned into a cheesy entertainment rag with a few good political hits now and then.

For those who have never been to the Phoenix Ranch Market and love Mexico and it's foods, this place is a real treat. A huge sprawling indoor space the size of a football field, it's full of the vegetables, fruits, foods, meats and fish of Mexico, and the smells and the overwhelming visual feeling of being in Mexico are almost overwhelming!

Mexico has yet to read Silent Spring

It is has always been so sad to me that the East Coast media still consider anything west of the Hudson River the Wild West and somehow "out there." I hope Fernanda does take some of your recommendations; I have been disappointed so far. I am sure her editors are telling her to do some of these lighter stories because they don't know any better and have never bothered to try to learn. I am glad that she is looking to live in one the historic districts, and not in the burbs. That at least shows some smarts on her part.
Oh, and as for your comment about Richard Meier. Jon Kamman's excellent series on the courthouse construction woes some years back documented that Meier was, indeed, enamored of the misters and that is why the atrium of the courthouse ended up the hotbox/coldbox that it is. Meier, on a walk through Arizona Center, became fascinated with the mister idea. The rest is history.

Then there are the Apple retail store designers who conjured up another hot box in Scottsdale Quarter. West-facing clerestory windows make it almost impossible to cool from May-October . . or whenever the endless summer abates.

The Mormon influence is certainly the root cause of the ultra-right white law enforcement industrial complex. Middle Westerners, with their narrow minds and big bellies, were a perfect fit to creating a land of political fanaticism and mindless law enforcement.

Arizona should be treated as a corrupt, dysfunctional political entity like the worst of Africa, Asia or Latin America. It should be fascinating read for the civilized parts of the US.

I wonder what she screwed up to be exiled to this inferno? An upper-crust Brazilian kicked out of Manhattan to slum in the Wild West (which pales in comparison to the horrors of Brazilian slums, ranchers, loggers, and miners).

I would argue she's in a great place to win a Pulitzer if she unearths and documents the iron triangle here involving fraud, insider dealing and environmental consequences, as well as all the political corruption, extremism and human suffering.

"Frack away, Fernanda! And, get some background by reading Thomas Sheridan's, 'Arizona: A History'. Know your subject from the ground up."

No need to do that, Terese. She could just read the Rogue primer and then start sifting through the archives to this site.

Maybe this will help.

https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/139326282c9196bb

https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/13929d81ab9a770b

See more on Frontera list and follow the news from University of New Mexico Professor Molly Molloy.

Jon did you mean Gold Triangle of Zion?

And I repeat myself, My sources claim the LDS can deliver 20 percent of the vote in Arizona on any given day.

U can do the math, I failed that class as well as logic.3

I meant 30 percent not 20!

Tell U what Phxsunfan U and I could be come CI's for Fernanda.

Rogue, if John Doughtery (or you) couldn't win a Pulitzer here, I don't think she can, especially considering her output so far.

Ha! I wouldn't know where to begin Cal...not my area of expertise. Plus I probably give people the benefit of the doubt too often. I'm assuming that wouldn't workout well for investigative purposes.

You gotta go undercover , dude.
A macho straight conservative mexican mormon

So many things wrong with that sentence Cal.

Did any of you read Rob Robb's article today? "Illegal or not, sweeps by Arpaio are wrong." I'm a little surprised.

Actually Robbs opinion is not new to him.
Republics gearing up to endorse Penzone.
But first they got to get by Arpaios relatives and the LDS on the Editorial staff.
Dont know if you noticed but another letter to the editor trying to oust that ex LDS cartoonist, Benson.

eclecticdog, try The Good Book by David Plotz

Benson was LDS? AZ needs more cartoonists who can skewer the Kookocracy!

New York Times?

Arizona?

Sorry folks, I don't see the connection.

Only in Seattle or maybe Silicon valley.
Arizona could use this.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/14/bill-gates-wants-to-reinv_n_1776230.html?ncid=webmail12

Good point Reb
The question is why would the Times pay to have someone in place in AZ? And so far the Times coverage by their in place reporters is right up there with Pat Boone songs.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"(Arizona) desperately needs all the real enterprise journalism it can get, however much it discomfits the local-yokels. Let's help out the Old Gray Lady."

Today the Arizona Republic ran a front-page lead story announcing that the number of Arizona road deaths had increased in 2011 to 825 traffic victims, up from 759 in 2010.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reports that in 2009 the number of Arizonans killed in firearms-related incidents was 843.

http://www.azdhs.gov/plan/report/im/im/im09/7/pdf/7-14.pdf

So, there are actually more firearms deaths in Arizona from guns than cars, even though you see cars everywhere, every day, but hardly ever see a gun.

The DHS table breaks down the gun death stats by intent and race/ethnicity. They also show the rate per 100,000 of the population group considered (both general and specific).

The stats show that about 71 percent of gun-related deaths were suicides. Nearly all the rest were homicides. There were only seven gun deaths classified as accidental, and only seven classified as "legal intervention" (i.e., actions by law enforcement authorities). (Note that the term "homicide" here only refers to death resulting from the intentional use of deadly force, regardless of legal justification.)

Gun related non-fatal injury statistics from the same source would be quite useful.

The question is, aside from hunting and target shooting, what are guns primarily used for?

The fatality statistics suggest they're used mostly for suicide; secondarily as the weapon of choice for homicides (more than two-thirds of Arizona homicides are gun-related); and seldom for home or personal protection, since homicides are a minority of Arizona gun deaths, and the vast majority of homicides are unlawful.

Grabbing a gun when you hear a noise in the night doesn't count as use, in this context; brandishing one might but is difficult to document when unused, and gun-nut propaganda is replete with unverified anecdotes exaggerating the number of times that a would-be rapist or robber is scared away by a homedweller, driver or pedestrian brandishing a gun.

Note that I'm not a handgun control advocate, except that mandatory training and annual qualifying would be a sane addition to Arizona's gun-carry laws. I would, however, like to see a bit of realism introduced into the gun-nut dominated firearms debates that surface whenever Kooks in the state legislature introduce their brilliant Wild West bills.

The fact that gun-related deaths outnumber traffic related deaths will probably never be a front-page lead story in the Arizona Republic.

Incidentally, most gun-related deaths were suicides by non-Hispanic Whites, who also accounted for the majority of gun deaths of all classifications. Among Blacks and Hispanics, the reverse was true: homicide was the prevalent type of gun death in nearly two-thirds of cases (64% and 58% respectively).

More related DHS tables here:

http://www.azdhs.gov/plan/report/im/im/im09/7/index.htm

If you find non-fatal injury stats on guns (and traffic, for that matter) for Arizona, please post the links here.

Here's a subtopic for Item 5 of your list, "Power and Money":

What percentage of Arizona state legislators are either business owners or retired business owners? How does this influence legislation such as the $1 billion dollars in tax cuts (in two recently passed bills?

Out of online time. More tomorrow.

"Dig deeper on solar power. We can read all the sun boosterism elsewhere. Why won't city or state mandate solar panels on houses and what are the consequences?"

http://ratecrimes.blogspot.com

And so far the Times coverage by their in place reporters is right up there with Pat Boone songs.
OK, that killed me.
...So, there are actually more firearms deaths in Arizona from guns than cars
I did not realize this, Emil. Posting this comment on my Facebook page (mostly AZ eyes in my "friends" list, and not a few of them need to absorb this information.)

I'd punch up the research on how the Brown Cloud and Bad Ozone is affecting public health. The American Lung Association already estimates that one in six Valley residents are affected by it. That's almost 700,000 people! My 9 year old (asthmatic) grand daughter has had FOUR bouts of pneumonia in the past two years. Three required hospitalization. To me, this is big stuff worthy of a lot more exposure. Shaun McKinnon (Republic's environmental writer) can't carry the ball alone and the Real Estate folks don't want to talk about it.

Gosh, I thought we weren't allowed to talk about how the Mormons control politics in AZ. I thought it was discrimination to talk about how members of a particular church often use their political position to try to pass laws that make everyone else live according to their religious rules.

I came across a great article in Bloomberg Businessweek titled "Latter-day Lucre: How the Mormon Church Makes Its Billions". It's not Arizona-specific, but it's a great starting point and must-read material for anyone interested in the dynamic between business and the church, and thus between the church and politics: money and business interests drive politics, and that's true at a state and local level as well as nationally.

Turns out that the Mormon Church has a corporate soul, er, sole.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-07-10/how-the-mormons-make-money

Excerpts:

To Latter-day Saints, opening megamalls, operating a billion-dollar media and insurance conglomerate, and running a Polynesian theme park are all part of doing God’s work. Says Quinn: “In the Mormon [leadership’s] worldview, it’s as spiritual to give alms to the poor, as the old phrase goes in the Biblical sense, as it is to make a million dollars.”

. . .

“There are religious groups that own radio stations, but they don’t also own cattle ranches. There are religious groups that own retreats, but they don’t also own insurance companies,” says Ryan Cragun, a sociology professor at the University of Tampa and co-author of the recently published book Could I Vote for a Mormon for President? “Given their array of corporate interests, it would probably make more sense to refer to them as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Holdings Inc.”

. . .

Mormons make up only 1.4 percent of the U.S. population, but the church’s holdings are vast...recent investigation by Reuters in collaboration with sociology professor Cragun estimates that the LDS Church is likely worth $40 billion today and collects up to $8 billion in tithing each year.

. . .

The Mormon Church is owned and run by what is called the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This entity is a “corporation sole,” which is an obscure legal body owned entirely by one person. In the case of the Mormon Church, that person is Monson, the prophet.

. . .

These days Mormons use their businesses in part to spread church values. “I think the reason to have businesses is to communicate and try and have influence, whether it’s through a book, or through a blog, or a website, or a TV station, or radio stations, a newspaper, whatever it is...”

. . .

Until the 1990s, wards—the Mormon equivalent of parishes—kept some donated member money locally to distribute for aid and activities as they saw fit. Today all money is wired directly to Salt Lake City. McMullin insists that not one penny of tithing goes to the church’s for-profit endeavors, but it’s impossible for church members to know for sure. Although the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants says “all things shall be done by common consent in the church,” members are not provided with any financial accounting. Daymon M. Smith, a Mormon anthropologist, points out that tithing slips read, “Though reasonable efforts will be made globally to use donations as designated, all donations become the Church’s property and will be used at the Church’s sole discretion to further the church’s overall mission.”

. . .

A study co-written by Cragun and recently published in Free Inquiry estimates that the Mormon Church donates only about 0.7 percent of its annual income to charity; the United Methodist Church gives about 29 percent.

. . .

Micah Nickolaisen, a 29-year-old photographer and devout Mormon, says City Creek catalyzed his growing concern about the church’s corporate empire. He worries that the church gives too little money to humanitarian causes, even though its leaders like to boast about Mormon welfare programs. “They spent more money on a mall in three years than they did in 25 on humanitarian aid,” says Nickolaisen. These Mormons spoke on the record despite fear of repercussions from family, friends, and church authorities.

. . .

Another topic: the local newspaper of record's war on public pensions and public unions (the last bastion of Democratic political strength). Here's a reply to the Republic's latest jeremiad:

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2012/08/09/20120809robb0810-public-pension-funds-ticking-time-bomb.html#

"Any long-term predictions about investment are a guessing game."

While ANY predictions about investment returns are uncertain, financial planners know that long-term return from investments are the least speculative. The stock market has up years and down years, but the long term average return is about 10 percent.

Pension funds have a particular advantage here: not only are they long-term, by definition, they're also revolving funds; unlike a personal retirement savings account, which exists until a single saver retires and is then cashed out, public pension funds are NEVER cashed out: each year a fraction of workers retires and each year new workers begin paying into the fund. There is no point at which the mass of workers collects and cashes out.

"For years, pension funds have existed in a fantasy-land, assuming an 8 percent annual return...Ducey asked plan administrators to recalculate at a projected 5 percent rate of return."

Eight percent isn't "fantasy", it's based on historical, long-term averages, and is in fact a little conservative.

It will be interesting to see if advocates of medical savings accounts (such as Republican supporters of Romney/Ryan) writing for the Arizona Republic deem 8 to 10 percent returns "fantasy" and insist on a 5 percent return figure half of the historical long-term average. Of course, with a personal medical savings account, the full amount of savings might need to be withdrawn at a particular point in time (not necessarily long-term), which makes them problematic vis a vis market fluctuations such as crashes; but this isn't a vulnerability for public pension funds.

"They have earned nothing close to 8 percent for years..."

However, 2010 was the recent low point for the Dow Jones Industrial Index: it dipped below 10,000 several times that year and never broke 11,600. It currently stands at 13,275, an increase in value from the July 6, 2010 low of 9,686 of more than 37 percent.

A pension fund invested in this index would have seen a 37 percent increase in value over that period. Would that increase or decrease the funding gap? How much of the funding gap of 2010 was an artifact of the stock market crash?

Not only do the Arizona Republic editorialists ignore recent comments by Tim Hill, President of Professional Firefighters of Arizona: "Speaking of investment earnings, Robb fails to mention that the PSPRS market return for 2011 was 17.5 percent, indicating that the shortfalls caused by the recession are shrinking", they also ignore their own business writer Russ Wiles, who recently wrote: "The Pew Charitable Trusts recently issued a report raising warnings about the viability of state pension plans, including the Arizona State Retirement System. The study recommended funding levels of at least 80 percent and warned that public pensions overall are facing a $1.38 trillion shortfall, using fiscal-2010 data. The Pew study gave Arizona an unfavorable rating for the pension plan... A Wilshire report that included fresher 2011 results painted a less-ominous picture, with a smaller aggregate shortfall of $691 million and pensions on average funded at a 77 percent level."

What a difference a year can make! And that doesn't include 2012. When will the Arizona Republic write an editorial announcing that: (a) the sky isn't actually falling on Arizona's pension plans; (b) stock markets can go down as well as up, and when they do, major investors like public pension plans lose or gain funding accordingly; (c) pension plan investments are in it for the long haul, so these kinds of (comparatively) short-term fluctuations shouldn't be seized upon by conservative ideologues seeking camouflage for their union-busting politics.

I think we have found a replacement for Fernanda Santos!!!!!!

LDS secret sex agents for keeping it straight.
NOM

Russ Wiles? Puhleeze!
Some day the Republic may find a bona fide business columnist with the cojones to write about what's important . . . like the delusional Real Estate Industrial Complex.

Secretive seems to be a recurring theme with the Mormon Church. It is also a recurring behavior pattern with Willard Romney. Not a very encouraging trait for the leader of an open Democracy.

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