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November 22, 2010


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Jon Talton v. The Pod People: http://dogobarrygraham.blogspot.com/2010/11/jon-talton-v-pod-people.html

Palin can absolutely beat Obama in 2012. How pathetic is that? I'd call him an empty suit, but that would be unfair to empty suits. As a left-winger, I mourn the fact that Obbama has destroyed the credibility of liberalism for a generation, without actually trying it.

When Karl Rove observes that Ms. Palin lacks the "gravitas" to be President, this may qualify as an understatement of staggering proportions! What escapes me is how she's crafted her "brand" without substance. Are we now that easily duped by a pretty face and the voice from the bowling alley?

What we see in the obscene triumphalism of the GOP are several failures. One is the future itself. There is no reactionary road that takes you to a place worth getting to. Another is the devastation of the liberal faith. The incremental reform buttressing rational politics failed because it submissively compromised in advance of capitulating to corporate interests. Obama is its poster child. And the worst failure is our simple ability to discern and tell the truth. We have flinched in the face of immense moral and ethical questions in the arena of public life. Why? Because our discourse is worse than stupid. It's craven and delusional. How else do you explain the punditry of David Brooks or Peggy Noonan? The leading lights of our political conversation are frauds catering to the decadent tastes of their own class. Whether we elect Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney president matters less than the grotesque failure of nerve that has preceded our inevitable defeat. We anesthetized ourselves for the sake of some dull pleasure, the result of which shall be unavoidable and prolonged pain.

Exceptionalism and empire will be dragged to its end by reality. Will it end gracefully? Palin&Co appeal to the yearning for the once "greatest nation in history" by perpetuating the myth of exceptionalism. In her own way she's politically adept and intelligent (Yes I said it). Who wouldn't want an ego boost from a politician talking about "heartland" and all that?

A scholar who fought the delusions of exceptionalism died on Saturday. RIP Chalmers Johnson.

For better and worse, the US of A will still be a special place but as the posters of an American company say: "Always remember that you are unique. Just like everybody else."

"Are we now that easily duped by a pretty face and the voice from the bowling alley?" - Jim Hamblin

You should hear that voice when it's screaming.

The GOP is reaping what it has sowed.

Besides the racism (white people are inherently evil), I find it hard to support projects that cannot break even (Amtrak). Let the market decide which projects can pay for themselves.

I don't think you have a right to question the decisions made by people on where to live, acting as if there was a right or wrong. People went where they felt a better neighborhood existed. There was no conspiracy involved here.

High speed rail is shown to be inefficient when compared to flying. Check amtrak vs southwest prices.

This article is terribly written and blaming Republicans for everything from suburbanization to the death of rail, while also calling north korea reasonalbe, just makes it that much worse.

America is reasonable. We elected a black american as president and he is being forced to forge a moderate path. This blog is the ranting of an extreme liberal, and as our news culture today has shown us, extremeism is the problem that pragmatism must continue to solve.

Republicans want nuclear war with korea? Military-industrial conspiracy? This article is so bad, so delusional, I'm surprised it's not the onion.

Anthony, calling North Korea "reasonable" is an example of the literary device called "irony".

Do we have the "right to question decisions made by people"? Yes, it's called the "free speech". See: US Constitution, First Amendment.

Have airlines benefitted from subsidies? Big Oil? Agribusiness? Real-estate interests dependent of government road-building? Yes. So, why is AMTRAK somehow expected to exemplify pure free-market principles? I suspect for the same reasons Republicans can run up huge deficits and not pay a political cost for it.

"White people inherently evil"? This is self-pity posing as sarcasm. It's the same kind of nonsense that animates Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin. It's why you're a Republican. Because having just about every other advantage in life is somehow ruined by the idea that blacks have a kind of karmic hold on our moral conscience. I would half agree that it's a problematic trade-off but not for Republicans who have successfully demogoguged it for over 40 years now.

"Republicans and suburbanization" are conjoined twins. It's not complete congruence but it's more than partial. Cities tend to be "blue" and outer-ring suburbs tend to be "red", probably for reasons that explicate the very idea of the "social compact". The "I've got mine" attitude that runs through current conservative "thinking" suggests that suburbanites consider themselves Rugged Individualists who want to get government out of their lives (except for the bedrooms). City dwellers understand the concept of interdependence because the visual evidence is pretty much everywhere.

The other guy's passion is always a bit of a problem. I don't make a really good effort to understand right-wingers because I have so little respect for their ability to write truthful sentences. Your passion, however, speaks for itself. If we speak past one another, it's not because you can't make an truthful argument. It's because your media has relieved you of that burden with convenient talking points, almost to the point where your own abilities have atrophied. I enjoy good arguments where the other person is smart enough to know passion by itself doesn't persuade. Talton is a good writer and an excellent polemicist but more importantly, he's well-informed about what really matters. He knows other writers, intellectuals, academics, and wonks. By contrast, you're well-informed about what matters to corporate interests. The difference is night and day. I don't wish to presume here, but I suspect you'd consider Glenn Beck an intellectual.

Those who would denigrate Jon Talton's viewpoints probably haven't followed his writing for any length of time. He's been prescient about many of the events that have shaped Phoenix and environs. He's been prescient about the shortcomings of the Obama administration. He's a long way from being a sclerotic squishy liberal. That's just my opinion, but I've been reading Jon T since I had hair!

"Let THE MARKET decide which projects can pay for themselves." - Anthony Costantino [emphasis mine]

What, exactly, is this thing you call, "the market"?

If you wish to get a glimpse of the artifice and stark reality of "the market" in Arizona, please visit my blog. I contend that your market is a false god.

"People went where they felt a better neighborhood existed." - Anthony Costantino

It is more easily argued that people *left* places they themselves could not improve, nor even maintain. These failures therby being propagated into ever broader regions by incompetents who operate by 'feel' rather than by intellect, wisdom, persistence, vision, collaboration, tolerance and any other number of personal and civic virtues.

The frontier attracted and perpetuated a mentality that eats landscapes, then turns on itself when the land is bare.

Riding the lonesome (suburban) range is easy. It takes *real* courage to build a healthy community.

Jon writes:

"Greg Vogel of the Real Estate Industrial Complex was talking about "the Valley" growing from 4 million to 8 million people over the next 35 years."

Yeah that's a belly laugh...
Never mind the Great Recession...
Never mind the hollowed out middle class...
Consider instead Lake Mead is leaning towards empty...

Here is a cut and paste from a recent Az Daily Star piece:

"In January, CAP officials said that it's unlikely that urban users will face shortages until the mid-2020s at the earliest. But now, they and Bureau of Reclamation officials say in the worst-case drought scenario, municipal shortages could come as soon as six or seven years, if authorities take no steps to obtain more or use less water and the dry weather continues. More probable scenarios show a 20 to 25 percent chance of the lake dropping low enough to cause municipal shortages by 2019 or 2020 at the earliest, according to Bureau of Reclamation forecasts."

No doubt Vogel and friends deny those numbers. No doubt they probably even find fault with the attendant satellite pictures of Lake Mead then and now....

But I am wholly with Jon:

The real estate boom isn't coming back. Ever. People like Vogel are dead dumb drunk on a non-sustainable model that made them rich without making them wise (Federally funded CAP water). And they will continue to make asses of themselves because human inertia demands it of them. They are, what's the word? Oh yeah: Coprolites. Frozen solid and unable to change...

And what's true for Vogel's ethos (non-sustainable foolishness) is pretty much true for the country as a whole...

Consider as my QED this scenario:

As I write, the nation giddily prepares to spend billions over the next few days on cheap plastic Chinese crap. Tons and tons of worthless toys and junk that will find its way into land fills before next year's hotter than ever summer begins to bake the SW dryer than ever. Thank God our AZ leadership doesn't believe in Global warming science!

Crazy man.

What can one say but:
Happy Black Friday to all you market ghouls!
Shop until you drop!
(And I mean that quite literally.)


Koreyel, Phoenix uses less than 30% of CAP water for consumption. Greater than 70% of water for metro Phoenix is from in-state sources where capacity is too low to (has been on several occasions) contain all the water in the reservoirs and lakes that supply us most of the water.

The cities and states most at risk from Lake Mead's diminishing acreage are Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nevada and California.

On population growth, metro Phoenix growing to 8 million people by 2035 is unrealistic and a huge joke. If anyone took Vogel's comments as serious scientific hypothesis then they are likely to also consider global warming as folly. I believe that most people view global warming as a real issue.

Prior to 2008 even the most boisterous estimates topped 6.5 to 7 million people as the population the Phoenix area would grow to by 2020/2030. Despite the recession, Phoenix has grown to over 1.6 million people according to Census figures and metro Phoenix has now taken over the spot of 11th largest metro area in terms of population with over 4.5 million. Barriers will need to be overcome to continue growth in an urban/green/healthful pattern such as high density housing with little to no parking in the Central City, more street car service in place of high capacity bus routes...



Because of the downturn in suburban real estate markets, I believe that most of the population growth has occurred in traditional downtowns (especially Phoenix) which are leading to more urbanized cores. Riding the light rail and experiencing the growth in ridership is a key indicator in my experience. The influx of tenants in rental properties in downtown/Central Corridor is also indication of the trend towards urban lifestyles.

However, suburbanization and exodus from the city centers is an American crisis for most cities (like Detroit which has fallen further in population). Even in liberal Seattle, growth is happening more rapidly in the ever expanding suburban edges. Snoqualmie is the "fastest growing city" in Washington State (though it is still a small community).

I also wanted to add that the moniker of "Valley of the Sun" isn't a serious issue; not like Jon protrays it to be. True that Chicago is a prominent name for the metro area (Chicagoland), but that is a unique situation given that not many suburbs in Chicago boast substantive appeal or prowess on the national or international level as is the case for suburban cities in other metros (Redmond, WA (Microsoft); Renton/Everette, WA (Boeing); Hollywood, Long Beach, etc etc.

If what Jon writes is true about the Valley of the Sun then the same weight to "The Southland" for L.A. and "The Sound" for Seattle would be an issue...

At least the Phoenix business journal is the "Phoenix Business Journal" whereas the Seattle business journal is actually the "Puget Sound Business Journal." Does this indicate trouble for "Seattle" as THE city of the region...

The more I read the discussion of Mr. Vogel's delusional growth forecast, the more I'm remembering the legendary Oregon governor Tom McCall, who pioneered the visionary growth ring concept way back in the 70's. He was a centrist Republican and a strategic thinker. Do they make 'em like that any more? Grant Woods comes as close as anyone I guess.

Jim, it's poignant to consider Oregon's centrist Republican tradition. There were also senators like Wayne Morse (later a Democrat), Bob Packwood, and Mark Hatfield. Neighboring Idaho had William Borah, who for his time was definitely left-wing. It's also poignant to think of liberal Democrats elected in places like Wyoming (Gale McGee), Oklahoma (Fred Harris), Idaho (Frank Church), Texas (Ralph Yarborough, LBJ), J William Fulbright (Arkansas), and the Gores (Tennessee). If you want to consider what is happening to this country, think first of the Culture War and the Republican's cynical use of wedge issues. We used to have giants in the US Senate. Now we have featherweights like James Inhofe, Mike Crapo, and Jim DeMint. Even a curmudgeon like Alan Simpson couldn't get elected from Wyoming today. The hard-right seizure of the heartland is virtually complete.

One more thing: "koreyel" was spouting some fallacious "don't worry" numbers on water. I'm surprised that nobody challenged him (or her) because:
a) We have subordinated rights to the Colorado River flows which were over-allocated from the beginning by the Army Corps of Engineers bogus flow numbers.
b)The tribes now have legal rights to just under 50% of these flows, based on a settlement Sen. Jon Kyl brokered a couple of years ago.

And on and on . . this poster has been deluded. No way in hell we can support anything remotely close to 8.5 million people in this megaloplex!

My post above is the opposite of "don't worry." Read it again. The quote I inserted is not a positive spin. Unless you think in terms of years and not decades.

As an addendum:

After I wrote the above I was reading all the political blowback regarding Kyl's recent earmark. No doubt you've heard the gnashing of teabag dentures over that. But way more interesting was the fact that the earmark was a payoff the Apaches for a water crime. Check out these two paragraphs from the Arizona Daily Star:

"The $200 million in Kyl's measure would be used to construct and maintain a drinking-water project on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, including a dam, reservoir, treatment plant and delivery pipelines.
The water system is settlement compensation for numerous abuses by the federal government, which included clearing trees and other vegetation from thousands of acres of tribal lands in order to increase runoff into the Salt River, a source of water for Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa and other communities. The tribe also would waive a half-dozen other claims against the government."

Say what???

The government razed vegetation from thousands of Apache acres so the "invisible hand" of Phoenix et al. could flush their golf club toilets? Ain't that sweet. And ain't the "free market" just grand!

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