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December 22, 2010


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Christianity is a nice idea, particularly for those who go to church in order to feel superior to the poor, minorities, and the "others". The core precept of Jesus - humility - is incompatible with being a "winner". That's why no "real" Christian/American sheds a tear for those unlucky enough to be without health insurance and in dire need of health care.

Our unprotested descent into social Darwinism shines a light on our real religion, which is Randian cruelty. Every lurch into the lower depths of socio-economic well-being serves to confirm this wisdom. We shall not be shamed out of Christianized Republicanism. We are not only winners, we don't waste time mourning for losers.

Tipsy from this bracing new spiritual tonic, Bishop Olmsted of the Phoenix diocese removed any official Catholic linkage to St Joseph's Hospital for its sin of trying to save a pregnant mother's life. Fetuses escape the Christianist condemnation that afflicts every other unworthy human demographic. That is, until birth.

Merry Christmas, indeed.

Yes, Merry Christmas AZ. I am embarrassed by this state "Kookacracy" as you call it. In fact, I can't even figure out what people Gov Brewer and Russell Pearce, with their obedient minions, are trying to serve.

Obviously, it is not the poor, unemployed or under employed that they care about, so just who is it ?

So, if we assume that the state leaders ACTUALLY put together a smaller budget, just what will that budget do for our state? It is clear that being 49th or 50th in education is OK with them, that waiting for the return of the influx of people is OK (as long as they don't come across the border), and that having no real vision or leadership is OK.

So, sit back, relax, have a drink, and feel encouraged by the direction AZ is going in 2011 and beyond.

'A Vintage View' said, "I am embarrassed by this state "Kookacracy" as you call it."

You can be proud that it is an Arizona Senator who is responsible for "Sarah Palin's Alaska".

Don't complain about what you wished for. The Kookacracy is at the apogee of that swirling arc before it all goes down the drain! Merry Xmas RC!

Regardless of the state of things, Merry Christmas to you Jon!

Merry Christmas...
Santa has a cut-and-paste gift for you:

--Oliver asks for more gruel--

Oliver Twist and his companions suffered the tortures of slow starvation for three months: at last they got so voracious and wild with hunger, that one boy, who was tall for his age, and hadn't been used to that sort of thing (for his father had kept a small cook-shop), hinted darkly to his companions, that unless he had another basin of gruel per diem, he was afraid he might some night happen to eat the boy who slept next him, who happened to be a weakly youth of tender age. He had a wild, hungry eye; and they implicitly believed him. A council was held; lots were cast who should walk up to the master after supper that evening, and ask for more; and it fell to Oliver Twist.

The evening arrived; the boys took their places. The master, in his cook's uniform, stationed himself at the copper; his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind him; the gruel was served out; and a long grace was said over the short commons. The gruel disappeared; the boys whispered each other, and winked at Oliver; while his next neighbours nudged him. Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity:

'Please, sir, I want some more.'

The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupified astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralysed with wonder; the boys with fear.

'What!' said the master at length, in a faint voice.

'Please, sir,' replied Oliver, 'I want some more.'

The master aimed a blow at Oliver's head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arm; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.

The board were sitting in solemn conclave, when Mr. Bumble rushed into the room in great excitement, and addressing the gentleman in the high chair, said,

'Mr. Limbkins, I beg your pardon, sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!'

There was a general start. Horror was depicted on every countenance.

'For MORE!' said Mr. Limbkins. 'Compose yourself, Bumble, and answer me distinctly. Do I understand that he asked for more, after he had eaten the supper allotted by the dietary?'

'He did, sir,' replied Bumble.

'That boy will be hung,' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 'I know that boy will be hung.'

Nobody controverted the prophetic gentleman's opinion. An animated discussion took place. Oliver was ordered into instant confinement; and a bill was next morning pasted on the outside of the gate, offering a reward of five pounds to anybody who would take Oliver Twist off the hands of the parish. In other words, five pounds and Oliver Twist were offered to any man or woman who wanted an apprentice to any trade, business, or calling.


The real estate market will eventually uptrend as all cyclical activities do. The severity of the destruction from the 2007 financial crisis has been far greater than the S&L meltdown twenty years ago.

The grouping of residential mortgages into securities and sale of those securities to investors unrelated to the underlying mortgage transaction allowed the real estate growth machine to speed along after the S&L crisis. It encouraged the expansion of credit and eventually the reckless extension of mortgages to highly credit risky home purchasers.

The ability of financial institutions to package mortgages going forward will be severely limited. When the real estate market eventually turns it will be a tepid uptrend at best. The real estate industry in Arizona, the only industry in town, awaits a train with little fuel. Good luck with that.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"The story behind the soaring costs associated with the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the telling name for the state's begrudged Medicaid program, is sobering. One in five Arizonans are in AHCCS, a sign not of freeloaders but of a state with a vast population of working poor and low-wage employers that refuse to provide adequate benefits."

This is exactly the sort of insight that I miss (and don't get in the columns of the Arizona Republic).

In fact, one in five Arizonans is below the poverty line. The rate among children (i.e., those under 18) is nearly one out of three (31.3 percent). Before the Great Recession Arizona was 14th worst in the nation, but now only Mississippi has a worse poverty rate among the states.


Time to increase state revenues by bringing state taxes into line with national averages among states? Nope. It's cut, cut, cut...

This despite the fact that there are plenty of revenue options. A slight change in state income taxes would bring in a billion a year: increasing the bottom from 2.59% bracket to 3.39%, and at the top from 4.54% bracket to 5.95%, with similar increases in the middle. That doesn't sound so bad.


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