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March 04, 2014

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Just look at AZ legislature. Mostly, old, angry white guys seeing the future slip away....

Mike, they are Prophet's (lookin for) Prey.

Arizona - alas - is addicted to low taxes, socioeconomic segregation, a drive-everywhere built environment, and its own dubious blessings: sunshine, heat, and entirely too much water for its own good.

This is a resort culture catering to people's felt needs for comfort and cultural reassurance (the "culture" being a debased nostalgia for the 1950s). The economy reflects the culture's values of low dynamism and a skepticism about urbanity and cosmopolitanism. At this point in Arizona's developmental arc, the state can only do what it's always done. It's literally set in concrete. You don't bulldoze this. You find your niche and cower before the logic of metastatic sprawl.

The value system that fulminates against Mexicans but thinks gays shouldn't be discriminated against in their shopping (other rights remain to given or denied according to the mood of the hive mind) suggests the civic spirit can be described as consumerism having evolved into an existential quest. Leave me alone and keep the gas cheap. We ask very little of one another otherwise. Now, mow your lawn and don't let your dog crap on mine.

I wish it were different but there are not enough decades left in my life to worry about counterfactuals. Arizona is not the worst place to weather an uncertain future. Indeed, its future is no longer in its own hands. It won't make any difference what Arizona decides to do about climate change, or education, or immigration. Those issues won't even be seriously dealt with on a national level. As James Lovelock tells us, don't worry. It's too late anyway. http://thetruthiswhere.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/james-lovelock-enjoy-life-while-you-can-in-20-years-global-warming-will-hit-the-fan/

I found a 2008 article that states that only 42% of AZ residents were born in AZ. That means that the people outside of AZ who ridicule Arizonans are really ridiculing their friends and cousins who moved here from their very own self-righteous states.

What, nothing on the crisis in the Ukraine? Please forgive the following hijack, rendered necessary by what I see as erroneous analysis by the mainstream news outlets (especially television news, including the three major cable-news networks).

This isn't about the Crimea per se: this is about economics and the regime change necessary to insure Russian economic interests. The Ukranian president and his governing coalition was deposed by a popular uprising whose members were determined to push Ukraine away from Russia and toward the European Union. Many hundreds of billions of dollars in Russian energy revenues are at stake if the protesters' movement has its way and existing energy arrangements are restructured.

Europe currently gets a quarter of its natural gas from Russia (with Ukraine getting half it's supply from Russia). Europe has no shale gas production at present. Ukraine has the third largest shale gas reserves in Europe, but it could be far better: the Lublin basin could be home to shale reserves 10 to 15 times larger than the Barnett Shale, the largest shale deposits in the United States. There is plenty of water necessary for shale gas and oil production and the areas to be exploited require little or no population displacement. The problem has been lack of money and expertise for domestic investment by the government of Ukraine, and bureaucratic restrictions on development and exports which make investment by foreign capital unattractive on a large scale. If the new, protestor-driven government of the Ukraine changes this, the result could be to undercut Russia's oil and gas income by vast amounts, not only by means of Ukrainian development and pro-Western energy-trade agreements which would directly undercut Russian markets, but also because the increase in supply would tend to lower the value of the gas and oil which continued to be sold by Russia.

The Crimea is to be used as a forward staging area for the purpose of an invasion to replace the new government with the old, pro-Russian factions. Russia will have permission from the legal (if deposed) president of the Ukraine: he will cite his executive authority in asking for assistance from a friendly nation in putting down an illegal domestic uprising, and tamping down anarchy that (he will say) threatens ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Don't forget that days before the incursion into the Crimea, pro-Russian gunmen seized the Crimean parliament building, taking quasi-political control. This was planned in advance. Citing a 1997 agreement with the Ukraine which allows Russian to put up to 25,000 troops in the Crimea, and citing the executive authority of the legal (if deposed) president of the Ukraine, as well as the puppet government in Crimea, Russia has moved nearly that many troops in. Back on February 26th, well before the incursion into Crimea began, the Russian government began redeploying large numbers of military troops to the Eastern border of Ukraine under the camouflage of "training exercises". Again, this was planned ahead of time. There now stand more than 100,000 armored troops ready on the border.

The Russian "pause" is so that the Russians can put their ducks all in a row. The Crimea is not secured as a forward staging area long as there are 10 Ukrainian military bases there, where armed soldiers acting in concern on orders from Kiev could severely disrupt Russian operations in the rest of the Ukraine. There is a referendum scheduled for this month in which largely ethnic Russian Crimea will decide whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. If this passes (as is likely) the threat from Ukrainian military in the Crimea will be nullified.

Russia will also be watching for provocations, and if none are forthcoming, some will be manufactured. Russia has many agents of influence in Ukraine: the commander of Ukrainian naval forces himself declared allegiance to Russia and was arrested for treason. Many officers in the Ukrainian military were trained in Russia and have strong connections there. Pro-Russian civilian protest organizations are available to riot; others exist in right-wing Ukrainian nationalist organizations, who can use their positions to offer sound-bites threatening Russians in Ukraine. It will not take much.

Russia will deny, temporize, and conceal its true intent. When everything is in readiness, the tanks will rumble in, preceded by special forces paratroopers to secure key sites behind the lines. Kiev will be taken quickly, the new (pro-Russian) government in readiness will take over, arrests of former leaders and key protest organizers will be made. Russia will stress the temporary, requested nature of its presence in "restoring order and legality" at the request of the legally elected (if deposed) Ukrainian president.

Russia's European trading and financial partners in Europe (e.g., Britain, Germany) will not support biting, systematic international sanctions : aside from shooting themselves in the foot, Russia supplies a quarter of their natural gas at present. Replacing that with LNG shipped overseas from the U.S. would be expensive and disruptive. Volatility in the stock markets is just that, ups and downs, not a crash; and note that the stock markets did not stop Russia when it invaded Georgia.

These events have exactly nothing to to with Obama's foreign policy stance. Bush was president when Georgia was invaded. One does not invade a country just because a new U.S. president was elected six years ago. If Eisenhower sat by while the Soviets crushed the Hungarian uprising, Obama will not (and should not) start a hot war over Ukraine.

good post Emil. Putins goal has always been to restore the Soviet Empire or Mother Russia.

What caught my eye in a recent article was the use of the following description, I am paraphrasing.
"The oligarchs in Russia didn't want the oligarchs in the Ukraine to cozy up to the oligarchs in Europe and the west, so the Russian oligarchs started making it uncomfortable for the Ukrainian oligarchs in order to have them lean towards the Russian oligarchs.

So the oligarchs of the world are playing chess and we get to see the poor pawns getting shot and burned in the street.

To paraphrase a saying from our youth," What if the oligarchs threw a war and none of the pawns showed up?".

Profound REB

Meanwhile back in mean AZ
Sixty percent of Latinos eligible to vote in Arizona did not do so in 2012. The report found that 989,000 eligible Latino voters either registered to vote and didn't get to the polls, or didn't register at all.
ww.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/04/latino-vote-arizona_n_4899490.html?utm_hp_ref=politics
U thar Phoenix sunfan?

"Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out

They leave the West behind."

-- Lenin-McCartney

More, perhaps, on Ukraine later in the week, although I have been putting up links daily on The Front Page.

Cal's comment is on the money - if Latinos voted in numbers commensurate with their population, let's see:

1)No Sheriff Joe
2)No 1070
3)Goddard is governor

"Brewer wagging her finger in the face of the president of the United States with her mouth open in a hectoring pose..."

Classic... it harkens back to the civil rights era in the South with George Wallace physically blocking racial integration at Alabama's main public university. A memory to last for Alabama and Wallace.

Brewer's disrespectful stance to the first African American president memorializes this era's extreme intolerance of Arizona.

Welcome to the bigot of the era club Arizona! You earned it and deserve your reputation.

@ Solaeri. I really enjoy your comments. It’s plane to see they are composed off line and that a lot of thought goes into them. Found your Emil call-out interesting. Given the essay about the Ukraine, it clearly hasn’t much of an effect.

I’m not going to go stealth-mode on you. I am a Tea Party guy, white, recently retired and a Southerner too boot. When it comes to problems, I am mostly in agreement with you. Hardly ever agree on causes or solutions.

Re: “Arizona - alas - is addicted to low taxes, socioeconomic segregation, a drive-everywhere built environment….” That would describe most of the country, at least the part of it built since 1950. I have yet to find even one neighborhood in Phoenix that I would care to live in. Even Orlando, Florida (a city that has had history remarkably similar to Phoenix) has at least two neighborhoods that I think I could easily live in. Economic segregation seems to be trend everywhere. NYC may be the most segregated city in the country. You’d find the same thing in London, Paris or Tokyo. For all I know it may be thing that’s been going on for as long as there have been cities.

Re: “…entirely too much water for its own good.” Rouge might want to argue with you on this on. The issue would not be on how much water is available, but how it is used. For better or worse, neither Phoenix nor Orlando are ever going to return to their agricultural roots. The skill set and infrastructure left the building 30 years ago. But the idea of a lot more trees would seem feasible. I was at our Botanical Gardens last week to check out the recently restored green house. Inside was a gigantic ficus tree; Growing in a pot. I think the combination of the large pot and tree would give a good degree of shade and peacefulness to urban streets. The advantage of the pot scheme is that it would use a lot less water than a tree grown in the ground.

Re: “This is a resort culture…” You’ll find the same thing in peninsular Florida with the same lamentable results. You certainly won’t find this in Atlanta or Birmingham. Sometimes having nothing tourist worthy can be a good thing.

Re: “skepticism about urbanity…” I myself was quite averse to living in the City of Birmingham until recent times. Have I changed? No - the city has. I have never been to Phoenix. But if there is wide-spread cynicism regarding the City (not metro) then maybe there are some very fundamental problems that need to be addressed. People form their judgments on what they see with their own eyes, read in the paper or see on the news. As an aside, I think of a certain degree of skepticism to be a good thing.

I’m afraid I’m going Emil on you, so I’ll quit now. Keep up the good work.

First time caller...er responder, very long time reader.
I am a native of Phoenix, and have seen it change significantly in my meager 45 years here. What used to be a somewhat friendly atmosphere, similar to Southern California in behavior has changed. We used to have such great hospitality here.

When I registered to vote, you had to choose a party here. If you didnt, all you could do is vote in November, no primaries or anything like that. Luckily that has changed, but I have yet to remove the republican off my card. I am too lazy too I guess. My problem is that I can't align to the republicans, the democrats, independent, or whatever the moniker is. None fit.

I don't think legalizing pot is a good thing. I don't think legislating based on religion (1062 etc) is a good thing either. I would love someone that is fiscally conservative, but understand that we have to cultivate businesses and jobs to grow our economy somehow. I can't support some democrat programs (my employer based insurance tripled in price, and when switching jobs went up to over $900 a month. I used to teach at district minimum salary, now I am a professional writer at $3 an hour more - I am struggling to make ends meet)

The reality is not an alignment with some political group, it is more of a money issue. A have and have not situation. Those with money are in the drivers seat. No matter what elected office you hold, you are dependent on outside donations to hold it. This creates a massive bias in legislative ideals, and opens the door for PAC's to bend those ideals.

I am constantly amazed at the landscape here. It used to be argued that there was a strip mall on every corner, now we also have a church to go with it. Open up a mapping program, like Google Earth, and take a look at Phoenix, or anything in Arizona for that matter. Look for industrial parks, manufacturing plants, 100,000 square foot buildings, effectively the signs of an economy that is supporting a greater part of the citizens. It is difficult to find these areas, and buildings. Let's face it, until manufacturing makes a resurgence of sorts, we are a building/construction economy here, we need to embrace it by making sure that there are jobs, businesses, zones and the like that can support our people.

Based on ancient information on City-data.com here is what we produce here: Items and goods produced: aircraft and aircraft parts, electronic equipment, steel castings and fabrications, flour, boxes, agricultural chemicals, aluminum products, radios, mobile homes, air conditioning machinery, creamery products, beer, liquor, saddles and leather goods, apparel, native American and Mexican novelties

Not exactly a great list. I am sure an economy based on novelties, liquor, creamery products, saddles, boxes and radios holds great promise. When Walmart is your 2nd largest employer, and the state government is the first, not exactly a strong footing to build from.
I hope my frustration is somewhat apparent. I dropped out of education, which I felt was such a good thing to help students prepare for the future, because I was about to go bankrupt and couldn't afford to live on $35k. Some districts are prevented from raising teachers salaries. Arizona is not moving in a great direction, and trying to simplify the direction by labeling it conservative or liberal, or democrat or republican is way to naive.

Wkg,
Birmingham is one of my favorite cities in the country. Good people there and many good friends there.
On a cosmopolitan scale of 1 to 10, I would put Birmingham at 7 or 8 and phoenix at 2.

Which is why you have all the smart folks squacking on this blog.
They want so badly to put lipstick on this pig and take it out to the ball. But, in the end...............well, you know. It's still a pig.

WKG,

I've never been to Alabama but it is one of the few states where one will find plenty of Taltons.

The thing that strikes me about Birmingham from afar is how post-Civil Rights Movement the demographics of the city have flipped. From 68 percent white in the early 1960s to 73 percent black in 2010, with affluent whites moving to adjacent counties. This has happened elsewhere in the South, such as Columbia, S.C. Charlotte is an exception.

Birmingham made a critical mistake in its racial hatred in the 1960s. Most people don't realize it was on a par with Atlanta before this. But Atlanta's money-before-hate attitude, along with expanding its airport, made it the first city of the South.

As for Phoenix, there are many delightful neighborhoods close to downtown. Look at Central and McDowell on a map, and they radiate out in nearly every direction: Willo, Alvarado, Roosevelt and F.Q. Storey. These are real neighborhoods with beautiful old houses and, until the idiots put in desert landscaping, still a glorious oasis.

These are near light rail (WBIYB) and close to such cultural assets as the main library, Phoenix Art Museum and Heard Museum. Most of the mile along Central from McDowell to Thomas is fully built in, showing what could be.

The neighborhoods north of Camelback and on either side of Central (North Central) are also enchanting, with flood irrigation. Arcadia, although it has been degraded with teardowns for McMansions, is another beautiful district in the city.

I'll add that Typepad is slow today. So copy and save your comments before posting, just to be safe.

wkg in bham, thank you for your nice comment. Okay, a little pushback from me.

Emil's Ukraine post was, as is usually the case, brilliant. There's always a danger for people who can type coherent thoughts in thinking their opinions are worthwhile for that reason. Obviously, our vanity betrays a deeper insecurity. My answer to this problem is to state "I don't know". American's are wise to let experts argue among themselves. We don't have to be informed about everything, nor can we be. Emil has an encyclopedic mind, and can syncretize lots of information before alighting on conclusions that are to my eyes usually correct. I don't tend to think our opinions on these subjects are usually necessary, however. Unlike Emil, most of us do not have informed opinions about Ukraine, climate science or macroeconomics. Humility is our friend. This is why I wonder about the American right's reflexive habit of demonizing Obama regardless of the event. This is more than a little puzzling. This is Manichaeanism verging on madness.

My plea to Emil to be more forthcoming in his biography was just a wish that he would tell us who he was at the same time he told us what reality was. I like to know examples from the thinker's life and experience. I respect Emil's intellect and commitment to the truth. But I want to know the whole person, not just the dazzling mind.

I don't write out my comments offline before posting them here. Why would anyone do that? You have a space to compose your thoughts, which is all anyone needs. I wish I was more patient and proofread my comments better. ADHD and all that. I'm the laziest person I know.

Any person who posts comments here thinks that their opinions are worthwhile, or otherwise get something out of the process; otherwise, why post? Does the prolific Soleri disagree? Is it really a sign of unprepossessing vanity to have, or at least to express, strong opinions? Please don't bother answering these questions as they are rhetorical: such controversies are both preposterous and boring. If you're done discussing personalities and demanding personal revelations about matters that are none of your business, perhaps I can return to the issues...

I think AZREB's quote about Ukraine expresses the right idea but doesn't go far enough.

Ukrainian nationalists on both the political left and right -- the core of the movement which recently overthrew their pro-Russian president -- would love to see an energy independent Ukraine instead of being a country dependent upon a cantankerous Russian government, which uses Gazprom like thumbscrews to keep the Ukrainians in line. Better still would be to actually compete with Russia as a regional supplier of natural gas. Finally, the Ukrainians are in a deep financial hole, so everyone, nationalist or not, can see why developing big new sources of revenue would be great.

So, why haven't they invited Western capitalists in to develop Ukrainian shale gas and oil on a major scale and on terms they can accept? Because the Ukrainian government has been firmly pro-Russian, and such development is not in the Russian national interest. Large cash infusions into the personal bank accounts of key pro-Russian Ukrainian leaders have played a part; so have Russian gas subsidies, which softened the attitude of the Ukrainian public.

Now, a Ukrainian nationalist-based uprising overthrows the pro-Russian president, and wants to tie the country's economy to the European Union, out of Russia's sphere of influence.

Russia, meanwhile, derives a large portion of its revenues and foreign-capital from sales of its gas and oil to Europe and others in the region. For a huge new competitor to pop up right next door -- one which also controls the pipelines through which 90 percent of Russian gas flows to Europe -- and take away a large chunk of Russia's market share, also driving down prices with a large increase in supply...this would spell economic disaster for the already tenuous Russian economy.

If Russia waits until the new government in Ukraine solidifies and signs new trade treaties and makes new investment and development arrangements, it would be too late: Russian military incursion at that point would be seen as nothing but a naked power grab. Acting now, under the excuse of restoring order and the legitimate leadership of Ukraine, by invitation of the legally elected (if deposed) president, is the best chance Russia has of securing a return to the status quo.

P.S. I've seen puzzled comments in the Western financial press expressing frustrated puzzlement over Ukraine's bureaucratic and "communist-era" policies on the matter of developing its shale gas. It amazes me that businessmen could be so naive.

Joe, you are absolutely correct, Real Estate rules the state. To quote you “we are a building/construction economy here,” but let’s think carefully about how we embrace it. I have little time to elaborate right now, Rogue has written on the subject often. It is about how we grow.

Call again.

Emil, I am not impressed with my own opinions, they are like assholes, most every one has one. I just feel really good when I say something and then hit the send button. It's like a orgasmic mental missile launch.

Emil: " If you're done discussing personalities and demanding personal revelations about matters that are none of your business, perhaps I can return to the issues..."

My Opinion, post any issue U want Emil.
I will read it. However on occasion your posts make U the issue. Most everyone that post here sounds like fallible and emotional humans as on a few occasions so do U. But on a number of occasions UR posts seemed generated from the bowels of Hal and David's basement 0f 1 and 0.

Maybe I am jealous of your ability to not sound fallible and emotional.

I look forward to how Wall Street got Putin under control.

Heard two news stories during my commute this morning: AZDOT is asking for comments on a passenger rail line between Tucson and Phoenix, and the business community wants a highway (Interstate 11!) between Phoenix and Las Vegas. I wonder which one will get built?

Aerospace, electronics, steel fabrication -- most places would kill to have those at the top of list.

Welcome new posters! Great posts!

Keep on truckin' Emil.

Jon, do you think that business leaders will get involved before the next election rather than only being reactionary after they've allowed the kooks to get elected?

The "business leaders" as such only intervened in this because a serious loss of tourist dollars was coming, especially because of the Super Bowl potentially being moved.

Otherwise, Arizona is merely one more market to the national moguls who exerted probably the decisive pressure. Many either sympathize with the goals or, or actively contribute, to ALEC, American Crossroads and other right-wing organizations and Super PACs.

One of the state's problems is that it lacks major corporate headquarters run by CEOs who can knock heads and write checks. It is especially problematic for the city. So we're left with the local-yokel real estate bunch. They panicked over losing the Super Bowl, too. But ideologically, they're mostly in synch with the Kookocracy.

ADOT in Arizona is controlled by guess who. They will build any highway or anything they can throw concrete and asphalt at. Watch them get the Freeway from 10 in the west valley across the Indian reservation (and Sal's stuff) to 10 south of Phoenix.

I find it interesting that these folks build the roads but fight against traffic law enforcement. DPS has been reduced to a Traffic Flow (keep them moving) and accident investigation unit. I am surprised they have not eliminated the requirement to have a drivers license. Like you can carry concealed without a permit most anywhere. After all these things are "RIGHTS" not privileges????

The tribe is not lost anymore, they found a place in the SW Wilderness?

My discussion with Emil (whom I want to treat with the utmost respect since he's so vital to this blog) is about personality, and necessarily so. We think with our whole being - our emotions, instincts, and - quite literally - gut. We're also social animals who understand ourselves only through relationships and place in a social hierarchy. I wish we were so rational that we could discuss "issues" as if they were nothing personal. But that's a daydream.

When Talton first came to The Arizona Republic, an oasis of dissent finally appeared in a wasteland of boosterism and dullness. Arizona had other bright lights in its media like Jana Bommersbach and Deborah Laake, but time and circumstance snatched them away. New Times had been our refuge but became increasingly erratic under Michael Lacey's premature descent into crankiness. The nadir was reached when Tom Fitzpatrick was abducted from the Republic seemingly for no other reason than to write press releases for the political gadfly Sam Steiger.

So, Talton arrived like a laser beam in a very dark room. Most of us here remember that first sense of glasnost as something indescribably heady. We also feared that it wouldn't last. And, of course, it didn't. This blog is our refuge now. We're the survivors with no other place to call home.

But who are we? Most of us, I suspect, are just who we say we are - people who detect bullshit in the deadening consensus reality of Phoenix. Some of our thinking is seriously reasoned but most of us just felt something was very wrong about the city and its leadership. I came here because Talton was the only local voice addressing what I considered the madness of metastatic sprawl. Your story may be different. I think for Emil, it might have something to do with finding a voice sympathetic to his own need to dissent. You don't have to be IF Stone to understand the vitality of any culture is its freedom of thought. It's an aspect of Phoenix's lack of genuine vibrancy that most of its citizens simply don't know or care enough about Phoenix's history to understand the context of its current problems.

We bring our own concerns and backgrounds here but this blog does discriminate. Don't come here for sports' chat. Don't blame everything on the Mexicans. Don't bullshit us as one former participant did by suggesting Phoenix was one of the world's great cities. But most of all, do be real. Tell us why you care. This blog's beating heart depends on yours.

The last thing I want to do is bring unwanted attention to someone's need for privacy. But this is not the real issue. We need to know in your writing why you care. Simply harrumphing it away doesn't change the need for our emotional connection to your thoughts. We care not because we're foolish but because that's what our tribe of naked apes does. For all our technological wizardry, we're not Vulcans yet.

Lastly (whew!, he explained) this conversation will have voices that occasionally get too loud and insistent. That's me. There's a lot of latitude here, so fast typists do have an edge. My apologies to those of you I've offended in our conversation. You don't have to wonder what I'd be like in a bar after a few too many. I don't want to limit this conversation to my own concerns, but I see how my own passions can have a chilling effect. If you want to divert the talk to Ukraine, well, it's your comment section too. And don't worry that if you tell me I'm an asshole I'll sulk and go home. Because I will. But that's another aspect of our true nature, social animals who think with their guts. I hope you know me well enough to know I'll come back.

I'll add to this excellent thread that our national and international (yes) readers have faced Arizona overload lately. Phoenix and Arizona is where this blog stands out.

But I promise to shift to Ukraine late today when I finish my Sunday Seattle Times column. And I will refer readers back to Emil's comments. To be fair, I have yet to read them because I want to offer something original and not accidentally steal from him.

Bravo Soleri,
keep comin back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So awesome! I just came up with an idea for a spy novel that I will start, and never finish writing, just like all the others. There is this political right wing sleeper cell, that gets activated by numerical codes and springs into action. 1070, 1062, what next? What code brings about the apocalypse?

All absurdity aside, some of the comments should remind that in dissection and evaluation of words, thoughts and the like that there is an agenda at hand. Soleri attempts to remind us that, for the most part, we have the same agenda. I wonder though, with an agenda, where is the action?

Is voting enough action? (False god forbid) Is talking to others about the reality of what the vote is for or who it is about, enough action? History repeats itself, and for a while, we were damn good at protesting, and trying to get our voices heard. Is that enough action?

I can type words like hope, change, action, revolution, chaos or any number of things, but perhaps for lazy Americans, none of them are a reality. Remember, government of the people, by the people, for the people actually meant something. It never stated which people, which by design should be recognized as actually stating that we are one people, and we have to act for the greater good of every single one of us.

Cal, you may be right about that. Of course, SB1476 could be another attempt to recruit more people to save a years worth of food and arm yourself to the teeth to stave off the apocalypse for a few days....or until someone with more guns come along. This article describes the bill http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2014/02/17/arizona-lawmakers-prepare-for-the-apocalypse/

Senator Farnsworth has a playhouse full of food in his back yard. Good to know I guess....

I think their foil hats are a little too tight this year...or they see that future which will not be pretty for them...

Glad to see soleri back to his more characteristically urbane self. Whatever bug was biting him, it wasn't an objection to writing that exceeds thumbnail length, expresses strong opinions, and criticizes things for being wrong. After all, he reads Rogue Columnist, and his own personal comments regularly share these characteristics. Apparently, it wasn't an objection to the targets of my criticism, or to the content of my remarks, either, since he hasn't addressed these substantively; and after all, he describes himself as having limited knowledge of and no definite opinions on, events in the Ukraine.

Mr. Talton values his presence here; understandably, he also takes a dim view of flame-wars amongst participants. I intend to respect that. I myself admire soleri's technical writing skills and consider that he raises the level of discourse in this regard, even when the views expressed diverge from my own (excepting, of course, splenetic personal remarks).

There is seldom scope for a "clash of wills" in any case, since we tend to operate on different planes: I am primarily concerned with facts and analysis; whereas soleri concerns himself more often with intangibles, artfully crafting flights of poetic eloquence to frame impressionistic and elusive brushwork. His decorative touch enlivens the otherwise spartan barracks of commentary here, and is much needed.

This is not to suggest that soleri lacks dynamism: if Petro is the Lunacharsky of our group, soleri is the Trotsky: always ready with fine words on tap to rally the masses on behalf of the (Democratic) Party and explain to the cadres the need for a unified, undeviating political line which our opponents cannot exploit. In reference to our beloved Commander-in-Chief, President Obama, the POTUS, I move that as his chief spokesperson here, soleri be designated the WENUS (Working to Ensure Nader's Upset Stomach). Meow. OK, catfight over.

Soleri on your ventures to Mexico do U visit with Frida?

And may we call you Professor,Emil?

well done folks, good blog.

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