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May 05, 2011


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I'm afraid that it's your version of the Giffords story that is a fantasy, Jon. Did you take your meds today? And, BTW, G.G. hails from PIMA County, not Pinal.

Can't afford a copy editor, Terry. And to a Phoenician, it's all the same...(that's a joke, kinda).

Sadly, Rogue Columnist, you make a lot of sense. Being a nutjob simply pays off in the politico world: nasty rhetoric makes such great headlines, doesn't it?

I keep rooting for Giffords,though. She is one of the few good things that happened to the land of Brewers and Arpajos. Whether in politics or in some other field, I strongly believe she will have a happy and productive life.

I was talking a couple of day ago to a fourth-year medical student up from Tucson doing some training at the county hospital. He spoke, with seeming authority, about Giffords condition. He said the brain hemisphere that was severely damaged by the gunshot was her dominant one and that she's struggling to relearn how to speak. Her recuperation could take years before the other hemisphere rewires for the various tasks we take for granted. Short version: she's not running for anything anytime soon.

Given her current halo, you might wonder why she had such a tough time against a wack job like Jesse Kelly. She was such a natural at politics that her warmth and humanity must have counted for something with halfway normal Republicans. But the radicalization of the GOP is a fact that we can no longer dispute. It's now the High Church of Crazy.

Gun hysterics (and the chain e-mails that compose their Bible) see a sinister plot to unman them with political correctness, wealth redistribution, and reparations for blacks. You don't reason with them precisely because the right's emotional depth charges target their overactive ids. It's part Dolchstoss, part Howard Beale.

It's one thing to believe things that are simply wrong (an example: foreign aid eats up a large share of the federal budget). It's something else to believe things that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, and that the puzzle's meaning can only be understood by decent folks like themselves. It's why Donald Trump's conspiracy theories ignited such an extraordinary response on the right. It's also why the more boring GOP candidates (currently led by Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, and Mitt Romney) struggle to find the correct pitch for their dog whistles. If you're not coming from the dark place of resentment, fear, loathing, and rage, you're not a natural.

Looking back, you could see our flirtation with darkness during McCarthy. It was there, too, when the Klan had its renaissance in the 1920s, when anti-immigrant hysteria was at high tide. But this time seems different if only because an entire political party has been baptized by fire. I'm not sure if we're going to pass this test. I'd like to think we have some hidden reserves of patience and reason. But if we do, you'd probably see them by now. The darkness is still too heavy.

I met Gifford about a month before she was gunned down. She was passing out food and picking up other peoples garbage at a South West writers get together at the Singing Wind bookstore/ranch near Benson. In speaking to her she came across as kind, gentle, a good listener and whip smart. She advised she had won the election by capturing 15 percent of the Republican vote. My dad became a Member of the NRA after he started making a livable wage and left the (his words "Little Mans" party) Roosevelt Democratic party. He hunted all his life and could not hit a thing with his (long tom) gun. I am a retired cop and never saw a need to join the NRA or AARP as they didn’t offer me anything I needed. I keep my concealed weapon permit renewed even though I don’t have to in Arizona now that the legislature made it legal for many gangbangers and nut jobs to carry concealed without a permit. I do so as one is required to demonstrate a working knowledge of firearms and practice now and then. And yes I have it on, while riding my recumbent just in case I see a cross eyed cowboy or one of my ex Indian wives. As an old and ole time Republican I am not sad at Kyl leaving but I am worried about whatwill fill his position. Think Russell Pearce for US Senator and Pearce’s MCSO deputy son as Arpaio's replacement. Cal Boise was a good Sheriff and a good politician despite that he was a Democrat.

Soleri, did you mention Darth Vader?
eloquent masterful piece!
U sure you arent someone else, like a famous author. R U really that little kid I knew from Sunnyslope.

My 2011 New Year's resolution was to give up reading comments on Azcentral. I pray those commenters are not reflective of more than a handful of kooks. It's like the Royal Wedding of ignorance and hatred.

To answer your question Soleri, Giffords had a hard time with Arizona's Sharon Angle because A. that district has a GOP voter registration edge and B. 2010 was the Renaissance of crazy. When you consider that Grijalva barely won in a highly Democratic district, Giffords' win was miraculous.

Like you Jon, I wonder why arguments like Bachman's "they're coming for your guns" meme. To me, it looks like the left has pretty much abandoned gun regulations. There are a few bills here and there, but nothing like the debates post Brady. I know so many lefties who don't even have gun control on their radar any more.

No doubt that the extremists have been allowed to hold sway since Gov. Janet departed . . . but let's look at recent developments as a possible sign that the worm is turning.

Arpaio is on the ropes. Andy Thomas faces disbarment. Pearce has his favorite immigration bills deep sixed by his own Senate Republicans. Then he got hooked on his Fiesta Bowl freebies. Brewer vetoed many of the wingnut pieces of crap sent to her desk. Dr. John Kavanagh got spanked for over-reaching with the 9/11 memorial edits.

So doesn't this at least provide some indication that the inmates are not running the asylum?

Morecleanair, Given "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is one of my favorite movies, and my heroes were the inmates I find your remark hurtful. Some of the Arizona politics are in great need of Nurse Ratched and electric shock therapy.
But keep reporting these positive appearing breaks in the whacko fabric.

One of the worst things about the Phoenix metropolitan area is the sense of individual insecurity due to the number of mentally imbalanced individuals in possession of handguns. The fact that mentally imbalanced and untrained citizens are encouraged to own handguns by politicians is reflected in the number of police shootings and crimes related to the reckless handling of firearms.

The police are muted from informing the public about the increased danger they are subject to, and the crimes committed, as a result of the foolish lack of restriction on firearms. They understand which way the political winds in Arizona blow.

Only in Phoenix is it routine to check an approaching stranger for weapons. Rather than enact modest restrictions to avoid weapons' problems, the state defers all violations to a criminal justice system with all its inadequacies and reactive approach to societal problems.

Do not forget that Giffords was a HORRIBLE, catastrophically bad Congresswoman.

Giffords essentially committed TREASON against the people of the United States by introducing a bill to increase the number of worker visas that could be issued. She did this at a time of massive unemployment, when highly-skilled Americans, such as engineers, were eating out of garbage cans because there were no jobs.

Giffords should have been removed from office. What happened to her was horrible and unspeakable. It was a moral outrage and evil.

The bill that she introduced was also evil. Giffords should NEVER hold an office again.

We have nearly 45 million Americans on Food Stamps. We do not need more immigrants on worker visas. We need jobs for our own people. There are no jobs in this country. We don't need Congresswomen like Ms. Giffords. I hope that she makes a miraculous recovery and never, ever gets to vote on a bill again.

A lot of the people who are working very hard to give her husband a safe flight on the shuttle are going to be eating out of trash cans very soon, when they lose their jobs. There are no jobs in the United States.

Consider this. If the United States simply had enough decent jobs for its own people, many of the problems that Jon writes about would be solved, or would at least become much more manageable.

The US has one central problem: There are not enough jobs for the population. We desperately need 30 million good jobs just to be even.

Nearly 45 million Americans are now on Food Stamps. Many of them have (really horrible, worthless, poverty-wage) "jobs."

Food Stamps are really how the US government subsidizes corporations like Wal-Mart. SOCIALISM!!!

Small potatoes indeed:


although she did introduce a bill to increase the cap by 10000 (not doubt at the request of a corporate sponsor -Raytheon? mining?) to 130K from 120K. Can't find if it went through.

That the Demos are placing their hopes on a brain-damaged candidate (who hasn't even declared yet and probably won't) shows just how bad off the Demos are. The perennial loser Goddard might pull off a Flake upset, but I doubt it considering his track record.

The Phoenix mayor is now damaged goods thanks to his hands-off approach to his girlfriend's corporate clients.

But all this points to a recurring theme, the complete and utter takeover of gub'inment by corporations (and the bad of idea of letting anyone carry guns -- there have been two road-rage incidents the last few weeks where both drivers came up armed and one of them was an ex-cop!).

Hmm, looks like in 2008 she proposed doubling the h-1b visas from 65K to 130K, but it did not go thru. Wonder who pushed it to 120K?

Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party just rolled to victory in Canada in large part by appealing to Asian immigrants - somewhat laxer immigration rules along with overtures to cultural inclusion. It's an interesting contrast to the American situation where immigration is now a toxic issue, particularly on the right, mostly because of low-skilled Hispanic immigrants flooding the labor market. While racism can be said to account for much of the hostility, the economic competition from below also matters. It wasn't until the recession hit that the hostility finally exploded. Asian Americans, btw, tend to vote Democratic simply because of nervousness about right-wing bigotry.

Canada has obviously different conditions than ours. There's very little illegal/low-skilled immigration going on. The pluses seem to outweigh relatively few minuses. Here, where unemployment is now structurally high, the minuses predominate.

Free trade and open borders seem to go hand and hand. Republicans have traditionally favored this concept for economic reasons while Democrats favored it mostly for historical and humanitarian reasons. Now, the politics of the situation are more fluid, with xenophobia on the right and economic pain on the left joining forces. Mick's comments suggest the problem is both real and volatile.

Giffords' district, as Lo's comment states, is relatively prosperous with a Republican voter registration edge. Up until several years ago, there was little dissonance on the right about this issue. George W Bush was famously pro-immigration and pro-Hispanic. Ditto John McCain. The Club for Growth wanted open borders. This has all changed quite dramatically in the past several years. It's hard to imagine Giffords making a similar proposal today. When she did introduce this legislation, at the behest of some high-tech companies in and around Tucson, the year was 2008. John McCain was still called Mexican immigrants "children of God".

I appreciate Mick's comments because the pain that informs them is real as opposed to simply psychological. Americans have a right to expect a government that looks out for their interests and not simply those of corporations or high-minded pundits like Tom Friedman. What happened in the 1990s with the various free-trade treaties was bipartisan and "mainstream". It happened because all the "serious" people decided that American workers would have to compete against countless millions of extremely cheap and ambitious workers in Asia. And when these American workers retrained for IT jobs or nursing, or took big pay cuts to keep jobs here, there was no corresponding sacrifice in the boardrooms of the "producer" class. Individuals were expected to conform to a new set of rules while the players who could hire lobbyists were given tax breaks to offshore American jobs.

I doubt we'll ever iron out the creases of racism and meanness that attend this issue. Some of this is an accident of history although much of it is the cynical manipulation of demagogues like Joe Arpaio. Finding a humane middle path that treats American workers like resources to be valued instead of expenses to be cut would help. But even on the right, there's less concern than simple resentment-stoking. I think if the Democratic Party was still strongly linked to unions, this would be different. Unfortunately, there's two parties chasing one sugar daddy, and his name is Wall Street.

First-I don't understand people who can't or wont grasp the correlation beween the number of guns in the population and gun violence.Am I the only one who think this is obvious as a black man at the Republican Convention?

Second-How did the wingnut bullies find this blog to spew their failed economic theories?

Third-Why aren't the millions of unemployed marching in the streets at least once per month.A tea party gatthering of 10 people in Sun Lakes gets lots of coverage.Are the unemployed and underemployed so psychologically ground down,they can't,or do they not care?Are the benefits so good that they like being unemployed?


This is an interesting way to parse the political divide that exercises us so much. I'd call myself a "solid liberal" in this reading although I can find a few issues on which I might deviate from my "typology".

Thirty (30) million more jobs will just do more damage to the environment. I would rather have 30 million less people. Typology? I didn’t care much for the graphing as it seemed to muddle along not saying much. My Topology: I am just a 70 year old Scotsman that became a conservationist at a very early age. I embraced the Republican Party in 56 and started voting in 61. I am still a conservationist and personally a fiscal conservative Scotsman. I am involved in two readings (Soleri has one book) on population. One indicates population will top out a nine million by 2050 (and is already in decline) and then rapidly decline. Sustainability is predicted in this reading. The other indicates a cap of approximately 30 million, sustainability unlikely. McCain and his “build that dang fence” ruined any hope I had for his truly being an honest maverick. All that sucking sound he made to win an election against a bloated loud mouth was truly unnecessary and I think his paternal ancestors would have been embarrassed by his conduct. Of course one of his maternal ancestors was a “Robber Baron”. I believe that there are some exceptions in America to the thought that “Americans have a right to expect a government that looks out for their interests.” I know a number of Americans that don’t want the government to look out or in or do anything but protect the US from foreign invasion. Speaking of loud sucking sounds, the Arizona kooks are drumming up a whining engine web site calling Governor Brewer a RINO. A talking about guns and nuts and a scary place I don’t go near, the in session armed legislature.

Cal, I just finished watching Who Killed the Electric Car. I switched back and forth between outrage at the usual suspects (Big Oil, Detroit and Japanese automakers, and the political class that serves them) and hope for a greener future thanks to technology and human ingenuity. We won't get to a sustainable future if we kill this hope. It's really the next stage we need to focus on. I'm not saying there's a miracle out there with our name on it. I'm saying we have to act as if it's a possibility if only to avoid the worst of the coming catastrophe. Our job is to tug on the reins of this bloated monster we call industrial civilization and somehow pacify it. If we don't succeed, how would that be different than the inevitable failure we're already resigned to?

The twins Soleri and Hope and their galloping grey steeds ride the range of despair and disaster as “The Brave Cowboy” (Ed Abbey) trying to rope in a sustainable future for “manukind” (ee cummings). I have yet to see Who Killed the Electric Car. My disc of “Dirt” is out there making the rounds. If U have electric car on disc I would like to borrow such. Time is such a ravaging devil stalking my living corpse. I just picked up “Ghetto Plainsman” and I am 38 pages into Black Panther, Eddie Cummings book “Marshall Law. I just finished 4 books on FLDS and LDS and am working (in my car stereo) the tape “Lost innocence” a book by a woman in the LDS forced to be married at 14. I did wonder off and watch “Atlas Shrugged” as I have a friend that owns a couple of rare book stores and has an intense interest in Objectivism. This is a movie similar to what I watched in the fifties and probably would have done well at the cinema in the fifties. And I made South Mountain at 6 AM and a stack of lemon ricotta pancakes at Wildflower and Changing Hands this AM. Go to go for now as I am chasing two white collar thieves for a couple of clients. Sorry I forgot in Arizona its “Buyer Beware.”

A riteous post. I live in the Nassau Bay area of Houston near JSC and know many people close to the family. They are devastated. The husband has a father in law...I'm sure its not how he wanted to spend his twilight years just for openers.
It's so sad that these cute little slogans that people throw out there for their political agenda turn into tragedies or at the least throw a spark to these events. Because all political differences aside, these two twin brothers that are astronauts and Ms. Giffords are stone cold nice people.

mike doughty asked . . .
"Are the unemployed and underemployed so psychologically ground down, they can't,or do they not care?"

No. We are inspired to get our pilot licenses.

soleri, in a previous life, you were likely a wise, republican senator legislating sometime after the apex of the Roman Empire.

Those who do know history are doomed to watch history being repeated. Sigh.

I've asked before in this forum, "What is the greatest thing ever created by the State of Arizona?" I asked this because, after living in Arizona for nearly two decades, nothing came to mind. Even Arizona's monumental sporting venues are, as my 11-yr-old daughter remarked upon visiting BOB (as it was then) for the first time, "this place is just like a big shopping mall!" My university's ancient stadium has more charm and grandeur.

These words from Matthew Arnold recently came before my eyes, "What makes a nation interesting is its capacity to inspire awe, which it does chiefly through the creation of beauty. And until America makes itself awe-inspiring by an attachment to beauty, it will remain uninteresting. For this reason, the gentle spirit will not find a home there."

Arnold's antique assessment holds still. As a nation, we chiefly, but briefly, inspire awe in places like Baghdad, but where is our Hagia Sophia? The Mall of America?

Finally, I think I've answered why Arizona is becoming less and less interesting to me, and why I could not find a real home there.

Rate Crimes, Ed Abbey's words in Desert Solitaire and other writings best describe for me what is great in Arizona and in the last 60 years I have had the pleasure of enjoying the greatness of its natural beauty but we are rapidly destroying that gift.
cal lash and his dog Spot from their motor home somewhere in the great Sonoran desert. What's left of it!

cal, I couldn't agree more. More than anything, I miss the Sonoran Desert made silver under a full moon, and the real magic of a midnight owl swooping by. But, that is the Desert, not Arizona (the State of).

Rate Crimes, depends on what your "thing" is and what someone would consider great. To come out of Arizona: Miranda Rights, Artificial Heart (UofA), aircraft for WWII, and looking into the future, solar energies' possibilities.

As for our nation's Hagia Sophia, there are plenty to choose from but usually on East Coast; the Smithsonian to the Empire State Building are still awe inspiring.

Rate Crimes, I can't think of anything that deserves the title "greatest". That doesn't mean there weren't really good things here, only that they were relatively modest and depended on their relationship to each other for their collective magic. That magic has attenuated over the years to the point where's it is now virtually gone.

I think it goes without saying that Arizona is not going to be cherished for its civilization. Yes, we had some impressive infrastructure, mostly courtesy of the feds. But the cities have become almost entirely forgettable. You can drive for miles in Phoenix and not see anything notable or wonderful. And that's the way we apparently like it.

I'm stepping onto Kunstler's turf here but what is the point to any of this gigantism? We might throw out some pablum like "American dream" but if that's the point, it's a really dumb one. I think you can even suggest that the lack of really ennobling and majestic buildings makes us a little crazy. If you can't see the civic value of your community, it might actually tell you there isn't any. And that can drive people mad. I know it makes me tetchy and neurotic.

The American Empire has been a disaster for our collective soul. We degraded nearly everything worthwhile in order to sprawl in the most brutal ways imagineable. And now that we're facing a period of contraction, there's nothing standing between us and an abyss of existential dread. We look around and wonder what the point was and, not finding any, we decide our sour mood must be somebody's fault. Say, a president's or the government's.

Arizona's nuttiness relates directly to a prolonged post-war boom that devalued real community in the name of cheap thrills, short-term profits, and growth. Jared Loughner came from a particularly debased landscape of cheap tract housing and suburban anomie. Is it extravagant to suggest we are literally driving our kids crazy in this way? This is the morning after we can't sleep off. The reckoning has arrived.

"We look around and wonder what the point was and, not finding any, we decide our sour mood must be somebody's fault." -Soleri

Definitely not my generations sentiments; we've barely engaged in our nation's next great struggle and rather looking forward to it. What's the point, I guess making one for starters...there are great things this nation is capable of and you can either choose to be a part of it or sit on the sidelines. Just being involved in your community, volunteering for instance, makes you a part of it (that's the point).

Here I must support phxsunfans optimism. As I move on into the Sonoran dust may the coming generations come closer to a peaceful universal intelligence. May they build and enjoy their Hagias Sophia's in a manner that is in balance with the universe. When I was very young I used to hear my elders say, "thank god I don’t have to stick around as this coming generation is a nightmare." Early on I made a vow to try and not have that approach when I got old, I do well most the time but occasionally I slip off into that senior moment and think it's all going to, well U know where. Keep up the good works phxsunfan; I applaud your attitude and your efforts. PS I watched Ernesto Miranda bleed to death on the dirt floor of the La Amapola bar on the Phoenix Duce. I recently was contacted by the Phoenix PD cold case squad reference his death. It seems his killer has been going back and forth (illegally) between Mexico and Phoenix. Apparently the PD has worked on the case and may have enough for a warrant.

Cal, is the Duce where Miranda killed the one open today? On Central and Lincoln? Or is "the Duce" you refer to the warehouse district? I was told that the "Duce" is so called in Phoenix, unlike other cities' "Deuces" because it was the proDuce center of the Valley.

PhxSunFan, I like your attitude about "the point" of it all. Keep it up. Mom Dudas

pSf, thanks for the inspiration for another Phoenix 101.

phxsunfan, Well at 71 my memory is not in sinc with whats on line that the bar was where the civic center is today. I recall it was on the NW corner of 2nd and Madison but I got to check with my sources. The Duce was in the produce area. Rough boundary's were Washington to Jackson and Central to Seventh street. The actual produce area ran east and west along Madison and Jackson streets. Former county attorney Rick Romley's people were big in produce. In early phoenix there were no portable radios or radios in police cars or cell phones, consequently there was a "callbox" in Paris alley (Paris Hotel)to call police headquarters.
I also recall that Miranda had a stomach and a neck wound, he bled out quick and there were no paramedics in those days.

Cal, from what you describe, sounds like the bar was near or on the land that the U.S. Airways Center (Sun's Arena) sits on today.

And to all the moms; Happy Mother's day. As for Gabby Giffords, I hope her recovery is as quick as is being portrayed. I've seen many people, mostly vets, come back from some horrific injuries. Perhaps this is another one of those stories.

If she does run for Kyl's seat win but not entirely on the sympathy vote. She will (this is cliche) get those who haven't voted, rarely do, etc to the polls. I say it isn't a sympathy vote because those that will turn out likely fall in line with her politics, more so than the kookiness of Pearce and Arpaio.

Jon look forward to reading your next 101; always a great history lesson.

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