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September 02, 2014

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Regarding rail:

Wouldn't it be grand if the city used eminent domain to acquire the old train station if need be? I've asked repeatedly why we can't work out a relatively inexpensive track-sharing arrangement with UP/BNSF, a la New Mexico's commuter rail line, and I have yet to get an answer. We need leadership on this matter, and we need it now. Choo choo, time to make some noise and get this deal in the works. If we wait for ADOT/MAG, the deal will only get more expensive and delayed, which is the antithesis of what could be.

Sperling was freakishly frightened of his impending mortality, from what I've read. Ah, well, no luggage racks on hearses, as they say, and only sycophants to attend his funeral.

Sperling was also a supporter of marijuana law reform.

---

Ukraine's elected government was struggling to keep the IMF and its Western-style austerity requirements out when it was overthrown by Western-supported factions both within the country and without (e.g., CIA.) Russia and China are working together economically to de-link from the dollar, and Putin is the guy you turn to when the IMF comes a-knockin'.

Ukraine’s Unelected Government Imposes IMF Austerity - Ian Welsh, March 28

The Russia China Axis continues to form - Ian Welsh, May 23

Petro,I can't address his motives for reforming the nation's drug laws, maybe they were pure as the driven snow, but the Feds do deny Pell Grants to people with felony drug convictions, so...

People with felony drug convictions can't get food stamps either.

The former Seattle Police Chief was on The Colbert Report and called for an end to the Drug War. He is also (now, with apologies) against violent police responses to peaceful demonstrations.

The IMF and World Bank will soon cease to be useful USA puppets.

Thanks Jon for bringing up one of my favorite pet peeves: “Higher Education”. One can bang away at the University of Phoenix; and deservedly too – get a degree without ever getting out of you PJ’s. Locally (B’ham that is) you could add Brown-Mackey and Virginia College to the mix. Any “college” that advertises on late-night TV must be immediately suspect. These institutions are worthy of all the scorn we can heap upon them – and pity for the rubes that fall for the scam.

My real problem is with public and not-for-profit private colleges/”universities”. We’ve some doozies here in Alabama: U of West Alabama (formerly Livingston State), U of North Alabama. U of South Alabama, Troy State, U of Montevallo (public), Jacksonville State, Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Samford (private), etc. These colleges/universities are jokes.

Not knowing much about the school, I find it hard to believe that 50,000+ students flock to ASU for the academic excellence. Would seem to be a clone of the UCF in Orlando at 50,000+, little more than a diploma mill.

It makes me want to cry when I see Clyde and Thelma really sacrifice to send young Bubba off to get a dose of “higher education”.

While the Democratic Party has focused on the presidency , the Republican Party has focused on every other office from dog catcher of Doglick, Arkansas to the speaker of the US House of Representatives, you have to ask yourself, "who had the better plan".

Since we're in dog mode, the governor race in AZ is going to be a dog fight. Who will win, the republican pit bulls or the democratic sissies?

The Cathy "satan" Sherrod connection could hand you demos a victory. Do you have the guts to play that card? We'll see.

Ruben
U cannot win a card game when the other guy owns the cards. And they also have loaded dice.

Back from las cruses

A quote from Charles Bowden:
"The Center for Biological Diversity has saved more ground than Jesus. I often don't agree with them, but their record is better than mine. When I'm dead, and when everybody reading this is dead, the only thing that matters is ground," he said in a 2009 interview with the Tucson Weekly.

http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/local/report/083114_bowden/border-chronicler-charles-bowden-dead-69/

"Not knowing much about the school, I find it hard to believe that 50,000+ students flock to ASU for the academic excellence." -wkg in bham

There is a dichotomy at work within ASU and it is largely the fault of the state. ASU enrolls tens of thousands of students, most of them from Arizona. There are 4 major campuses and a few smaller locations throughout the state. One telling fact is that only 54% of students admitted end up finishing a degree. Many students fail to meet requirements of their degree programs.

I chose ASU over Washington, Michigan, etc. because of W.P. Carey's undergraduate programs and the prestige of associated schools. So I am writing this from a biased prospective, of course.

However, it must be stated that the school is dealt a bad hand due to state requirements. The legislature mandates entry for every eligible Arizona high school graduate. Admittance is granted into "general University curricula". This is why, I believe, ASU created "Interdisciplinary Degrees". Many of the students not meeting additional requirements for ASU's individual schools/programs are usually placed in one of these degree programs. I met many friends my first two years at ASU who were admitted to W.P. Carey, Cronkite, Mayo Premed, etc. who were later "reassigned" to an Inter-D course of study after their major GPA dropped below 3.0.

ASU, and to a lesser extend, UofA and NAU have been given the additional task of reteaching too many AZ high school graduates from the ground up. It's a daunting task that the school has embraced under current leadership. I do believe the school would benefit if one or two campuses were used to create new public universities. That is highly unlikely due to the state of politics in Arizona. Given the circumstances, university leadership keep a tight grip on all of its resources.

Welcome back phxSUNfan?

PS phxSUNfan, did I not C U at the Democratic primary party at the Press Room, building?

from the above Front Pages.
who reads Mein Kampf?
answer
http://www.openculture.com/2014/08/george-orwell-reviews-mein-kampf-1940.html

Side bar: A giant tree fell and made a huge noise in my life:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/books/charles-bowden-lyrical-writer-dies-at-69.html?_r=0

@phxSUNfan: don’t mean to dump on ASU. I’m sure it’s quite possible to get a really good education there – it just takes some effort by the student. Must identify professors and classes where real college work will be thought. Sometimes means approaching the prof and asking “what would you be teaching and what would I be reading if this were a real college course? What kind of papers would I be writing?” Most professors are delighted to have a real student show up and will go the extra mile to help you. Could be a problem with adjuncts who just don’t have the time.

You point out a really big problem I have with many “universities”. They admit thousands of unqualified students and dump them into remedial courses for a year – at full tuition of course.

Want a real education: travel a lot, work a variety of menial jobs around the world and spend spare time reading. U will be much smarter than the academia's of the world.
The street has the best PHD's.

Welcome back phxSUNSfan. You've been missed. Now if we could lure back Soleri, PhxPlanner and others...

Welcome back pSf.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"While I was away riots came to suburbia, the militants we created with our invasion of Iraq are on the march and Russia is nibbling away at Ukraine. More to come."

A couple of interesting points.

First, ISIS has been trying to hold on to Iraq's largest oil refinery for some time now, with opposing sides taking and retaking control of it. Apparently in retreat ISIS sabotaged it and it will take a year to repair; also, "The Iraqi federal pipeline connecting Kirkuk with the Turkish port city of Ceyhan, would be unable to transport oil for years to come after being sabotaged".

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/business/2014/09/04/Iraq-s-Baiji-Refinery-repairs-to-take-at-least-a-year.html

Does the act of sabotage signal that ISIS is no longer interested in capturing the refinery?

Second, the Sotloff "beheading" video seems to have the same fake m.o. as the Foley video. I found some desciptive comments from online websites which sum it up succinctly:

"This video is such a poor hoax it’s ridiculous. He has a military grade tactical knife and saws it at the throat with ZERO BLOOD. It would take one swipe and he’d already be to the bone, and after several swipes before they conveniently fade to black, there’s nothing on the neck, shirt, or hands of the assassin………He’s entirely too calm, as well. He speaks in terms of knowing he’s destined to die, so why read off the cue cards like they want him to if he knows there’s no chance of surviving. The whole video stinks of hoax to high hell. Stupid americans eat this shit up, though. We’re fucked."

"People you are just crazy! Believing in this propaganda bull. Have you watched the video? that terrorist guy seesaws his neck 7 or 8 times before video fades out and yet there’s no blood gushing from his throat. And where’s the “best” part of the video? Why would these terrorist bastards take out the most brutal part from it?"

433 miles from here in a little town they call Juarez, they cut off the head, the right arm, the left arm, the right leg and the left leg of hundred's and hundreds of men and women. A handful of people write about it. Two handfuls of people read about it.

On the other side of the world, "they fake cut the head off one person". The entire western world ramps up to take action.

No wonder Mr. Bowden took up bird watching.

"You point out a really big problem I have with many “universities”. They admit thousands of unqualified students and dump them into remedial courses for a year – at full tuition of course." - wkg in bham

I would agree with an exception: Arizona's public universities do not admit students to line their pockets. This is completely different when comparing for-profit universities. Public universities are required (via State law) to admit these students. To be clear, ASU's interdisciplinary courses aren't remedial courses. It is true that they don't carry the burden of traditional programs (completing high level math courses, e.g. calculus). Yet even these programs at ASU are nationally ranked. This means that student enrolled in an interdisciplinary degree program are still held to high standards which contribute to the low graduation rate across the board. ASU's interdisciplinary program is ranked among the top 5 in the nation.

Class sizes at ASU are generally small, especially in upper division courses so access to professors is simple. ASU professors, including researchers, are required to teach a minimum number of courses and are required to keep office hours for students. This has not adversely affected the quality of research at all. ASU is one of the nation's top producers of Fulbright Scholars (quantity and when evaluated on a per capita basis). Research output remains among the top 25 in the nation. ASU's incubators rank among the top 20 in the world and undergraduates contribute at a high rate.

Good to be back. I've been traveling for work for quite a while and I have a quick reprieve the next few weeks. I've still been taking my weekly dose of Rogue Columnist.

Cal, that was not me you saw. Unfortunately I was not able to make it. I was not in town on the 26th.

PSF. My mistake it was Ruben Gallego. I had a good time. The food wagon was OK, the speeches were Ra Ra and they didn't toss me out because I was a republican.

Ruben,and Emil, the ISIS is doing everything it can to draw the neo cons into convincing the US to go back to war. Same old plan that Osama Bin laden had.

Halliburton stocks are down.

PS if you are interested in making a Charles C Bowden Memorial
I recommend the one that will be held in Las Cruses around 092814.
I will let you know. I am at coper1658@gmail.com

@PSF: “This means that student enrolled in an interdisciplinary degree program are still held to high standards which contribute to the low graduation rate across the board.” Good for ASU. At a lot of places retention is everything and courses are dumbed down until everyone passes.

Re: “ASU professors, including researchers, are required to teach a minimum number of courses and are required to keep office hours for students.” Excellent. At a lot of research universities, the professorship views teaching – especially undergraduate – as onerous. The really top dogs might do a seminar here or there.

Re: ” I would agree with an exception: Arizona's public universities do not admit students to line their pockets.” Some of them in Alabama do. I’ve read of this happening in other places too. Additionally they’re more than happy for you to hang around for years without completing a degree – as long as you can write a tuition check you’re welcome to stay.

On AZ Central today:
The housing market's moderate slowing is proof another housing bubble isn't about to pop anytime soon in the Phoenix area, said Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at W.P. Carey.

"Usually when demand is weak for an extended period, supply starts to grow, as it did in the second half of 2005 and throughout 2006 and 2007, heralding the collapse of the housing bubble," he said. "However, this summer, supply is slowly weakening.

"It appears that the lack of enthusiasm among buyers has spread to sellers, instead of causing them to panic. Many sellers clearly have the patience to wait for better times and are unwilling to drop prices to dispose of their homes."

This has to be in the vein of "there's got to be a pony somewhere in all this horses hit"
Is it any wonder that ASU is so popular with the power structure in the Valley.Pass the pom poms.

cal, you are a Republican in voter registration only. The GOP would toss you out but they are not sure if you're packing heat.

I'm starting to like the Dallas Cowboys now that all the bible-thumpers are foaming at the mouth over a very big scary openly gay guy playing football (as opposed to all the ones that were and are in the closet).

I attended ASU 30+ years ago and got a sheepskin in History there so I have mixed feelings. My daughter attended as well and I feel pretty raped and mugged over the ever-increasing tuition hikes, and the pettiness of what classes will transfer from a community college and preresiquites. And then there was the English professor that flunked her when her every assignment and test grades were As and Bs -- why? a female teacher's aide was jealous that a male teacher's aide liked her and lied to the professor that she was surfing the web during class so he gave her an F with no appeal. Then there was the physics professor they treated like shit because he opposed nuclear energy and got on Pinnacle West's bad side. So overall, I'm saying ASU is on a long downhill slide.

God this upsets me. My aunt, uncle, daughter and I all went to Reed College. On the plus side, Barbara Ehrenreich is also a Reed graduate.

phxSUNSfan, click on my name which links to my website describing my university system restructuring plan that provides greater accessibility, affordability, and accountability to a public university education for many more Arizonans while breaking-up the ASU monopoly within Greater Phoenix.

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