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October 04, 2012


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Excellent. Well done, Jon.
Thank you

One of your best ever, Jon.

Like you said Jon ...... here's hoping.

Having told my preservation story in the "Conversations" segment, I can only add that 10 years later, my old 60's contemporary has been redone and now stands as a fine example of its era. It ultimately sold for an eye-popping price, thanks to the dedication and taste of its owners. So, there can be rewards . . . but I was the schmuck who sold too cheap in an effort to keep it away from Chapo Pendejo and the scrapers. Am told that nearby Tatum still rumbles into action at 5AM, with thousands of vehicles belching out more and more Bad Ozone . . . so I don't miss the congestion/pollution and I don't regret my decision to vamoose 20 miles to the Northeast, where they have not bladed down the saguaros on McDowell Mountain state park.

Well done. And if you had attended the Village Committee meeting, boy would you have had an additional field day with all that material. ;-)

On this subject, and referenced in one of your earlier posts, are the old vacant hotels near US Airways Center. There's an article in the Republic today about the Mayor's efforts to save the Madison and St. James hotels from destruction. Sarver being the greedy whore that he is wants to demolish both so he can have valet parking for games (apparently he believes fans will continue to support the team he is running into the ground, but that's another discussion more appropriate for other forums). The rumor floating around is that the Mayor may be able to save the St. James at the expense of the Madison.

So here's to another surface lot downtown!

I recently discovered your blog, Jon, and as a fellow native I can say this is the most eloquent piece I've read about our horrible choices over the past decades. Just trying to save the Hayden Flour Mills was unbelievable heavy lifting, but at least they're saved, after a fashion. Keep up the good work!

Being a relative newcomer, rarely do I feel qualified to drop a comment in the "101" series posts. While I still enjoy these immensely, regardless of the era-of-focus, there is an occasional one (like this) that touches on personal bygones. Two have been evoked here.

Citrus groves:

I remember venturing out into the hinterlands of Mesa back in the late '70s to spend an afternoon at (an ashram?) nestled in between some miles of citrus groves - I wish I could remember the east/west road on which we traveled. It was an Oriental diarama, with babbling creek, footbridge and peacocks... and silence, a wonderful silence. I was unique as a 20ish male visitor - all of the other guests were the usual middle-aged women with too much time on their hands and a dilettante quest for spirituality in their hearts. I had my first major Phoenix-area spiritual experience there, and later that night in my dreaming.

(Disclaimer: I was skeptical then, and remain so. I'm sure that it all had much more to do with what the acid scientists called "set and setting" than the admittedly bizarre and ad hoc interaction I had - that is another story - with the old Rinpoche.)


When I first hitched into town in the excitingly hot summer of '76, it was the downtown YMCA that gave me shelter - I think they were charging $30 a night for a cubicle of a room and access to the common hallway bathroom, but they waived it for this impoverished soul and told me I could "pay them later" if I were to find employment (I did, and managed to use the skeletal bus system to commute from there to Bob's Big Boy on Scottsdale & McDowell for a few weeks before I found a room, more nearby, to let. I never did settle with "the Y," either :( - but cash was precious in those days.)

Downtown still had the storefronts then, and things to see for pedestrian traffic, nicely mixed in with the amenities necessary to serve the homeless/poor/alcoholic street contingent that was ubiquitous and visible. History has shown that most did not find this arrangement as charming as did I at the time.

Petro, I am sure the Y would let you volunteer a day or two to make up for that stay?

Village community meetings? Tell me I got bad info? I have heard they are hook up networking meetings with the participant feelers out for grant money for their pet projects.

And will the Council save the Phoenix Downtown Market?

Current Phoenix population density - 2800 per square mile.

If you want to improve/ reclaim the city, get the number down to 400 per square mile.

You were so right about the BP shooting. Friendly fire. Can't fool an old PSB guy

if that proves to be the case.
as an old IA guy
i want know why?
PSB are folks that wear ties and talk in unintelligible paragraphs


Bold ambulance driver?

There are a number of folks that believe corruption is rampant in the border patrol. For a variety of the usual reasons but also because of the great drive to hire large numbers led to little vetting of candidates.

what little we know at this point a bout the two dead Agents leads me to believe they were probably very honest agents. Honesty in a corrupt system can be fatal.
And thats why I want to know.

Just saw the Huffington Post on Agent Ivie. I had Agent Terry more in mind before as he took a deadly shot in the "back" and I presume he was wearing a vest. so thats either Armour piercing rounds or a fatal shot at the neck or below the vest waist line.

If both shootings were friendly fire
I am sure the kooks will still say the deaths were because Obama hasnt closed the border.

Phoenix metropolitan area has transformed from a pleasant city with orange groves, Indian reservations and beautiful desert areas into a sprawling, polluted and roasting parking lot. The real estate developers in Maricopa County did what developers would do elsewhere if given the opportunity. A frontier libertarian philosophy wasn't able to transform enough to protect the ecological system.

Once there was a trail, a footpath, that meandered from the Apache highlands (the White Mountains), down to the Valley. When the Roosevelt Dam was built in 1905, the trail was used as a guide. It was widened, flat graded and maintained to accommodate the heavy equipment and supplies that were transported up to the dam from Phoenix. At that time, the trail was named the ‘Apache Trail’. Main Street between Mesa and Apache Junction was also called the Apache Trail though it had little in common with the road that Roosevelt built. The trail that Roosevelt followed cut through the desert at an angle from Mesa to meet with today’s Apache Trail a few miles northeast of Apache Junction. In the early 1950’s, the state held a land auction when my Grandfather purchased a quarter section. He then sold some of the land to my father and, as it happened, the Apache Trail crossed the property that my father purchased. When I was young, I use to follow the old road from my back yard east, as far as I wanted to go. By then it had nearly lost its identity, with few signs that this flat path in the desert belonged to the Roosevelt project. Still, occasionally, one could find stores of antique bottles or rusted tin cans as evidence of favorite resting spots nestled in the shade of an old grove of Paloverde. I remember, as I traversed the trail, how the earth’s crust would crack and give below my feet. I knew that my prints were there where many had walked before. I could not have imagined, however, that history would destroy the trail the way it did, covered over by miles of turn of the century subdivisions.

Thank you Jon for your interesting stories, your oeuvre that is shared with us. You often cover two of my favorite subjects, history and politics.

Well the following is not a magnificent rail road station but it does conjure up some of my good memories of the "good ole days".


One of Teddy's mistakes was the Roosevelt dam. Better to just make the SW a wilderness.

A frontier libertarian philosophy wasn't able to transform enough to protect the ecological system.
jmav, if you're looking for rock-solid criticism of the libertarian philosophy, then ecology (specifically environmental ecology) is the place to find the red meat. I've read some great expositions on this - sorry I don't have the links on hand - but in essence it falls apart spectacularly in its dismissive attitude towards a commons. Suing someone after the fact for polluting a stream on his/her property that affects your property is a closing-the-barn-door-after-horse-gone problem. Let's not even begin to talk about air pollution...

cal, I find your interest and speculation about the BP shooting fascinating. I hope this itch remains with you for awhile... and that you continue to share any interesting scratches you manage to come up with...

Petro, of course I am not certain, however, there was a farmhouse that Larry Simmons purchased in the 70’s, on E. McKellips Rd. just west of Greenfield that was surrounded by orange orchards. He purchased the property to be a retreat where people could live, interact and focus on meditative practices. The way you described (the ashram?) reminded me of Larry’s retreat.

Thanks, Suzanne! That seems to be around the right area. There may have been more than one - it was certainly an ideal place for something like that!


I contacted the YMCA folks. They said if you sing/perform the song "YMCA" by the Village People and you record it and post it on your blog, that all debts will be foregiven.

By the way, your debt including three decades of interest is $38,586.23

I bought the note and I know where you live.

Start singing.

AZRebel, I think you'd cancel the debt the minute I opened my mouth.

My interest in the (BP) border patrol shootings is driven by JB Miller a stringer for the International Nogales newspaper and author Charles Bowden and Molly Molloy NM State professor and her blog Frontera List. And of course my past experiences. But the whole BP thing was fueled for my imagination by two events. (1)The election of George Bush and his very predictable reaction to 9/11. This was not lost on Osama Bin Laden. I think it’s possible had Gore won the election the 9/11 plan might have been rethought (I know that’s really far out). (2) The fact that in the late eighties the feds (CIA, FBI, NSA and all the military intelligence units) had information about terrorist attacks on targets like the trade center towers. And again in 93 after the first attempt to blow up NY buildings, the feds were told by sources “more of the same is to come” and it will involve airplanes. Had the feds all been sharing and paid more attention to some agents concerns and information 9/11 might have been averted. But the feds were not talking to each other, playing my dog is bigger than your dog game. And then the Feds had agents who were too wrapped up in their own self stuff and they missed some big clues. Particularly a west coast FBI agent.
I was an immediate opponent of the Border Patrol build up fueled by for profit companies. Prisons have become very profitable. Arrest more and keep them in as long as possible on the tax payer dollar. As long as the corporations are in charge of congress it will continue to be taxpayer rape. No practical legislation to work on immigration and the illegal drug trade can come be legislated when corporations are making 20 to 30 percent on the dollar locking up people that want a job and people that work and do a recreational substance on their day off. Education about tobacco and legislation about where you can smoke has had in my opinion very positive results.
If you don’t mind the tax bill and you think you are safer because they built that “dang” fence and hired thousands more BP agents. I disagree. I think Reagan was right, “tear down that wall” and let’s get on with building a talking and vibrant community.
cal Lash
Old farm boy and retired narc

Jon, there is an orange grove on 32nd st just south of Baseline and just a few feet from the old Hohokam canal.The fruit is about ripe. But better hurry its about to go under the blade.

Regarding the Border Patrol shootings, here's a copy of feedback to Laurie Roberts on her Saturday column:

Dear Ms. Roberts,

In your Saturday column you wrote:

"Three Border Patrol agents, two of them from Arizona, have been shot since Obama became president. . . My colleague E.J. Montini this week asked if Agent Ivie's death is really the proper occasion for this discussion. The answer is YES. Because otherwise there will be more Nicholas Ivies dead on the border. Because the bad guys are pushing their way in every day and we aren't yet doing near enough to push back."


Alright, here's my contribution to the discussion. There are at least 18,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the southwest border with Mexico. These are law enforcement officers. They deal with, among others, cartel members and their agents -- armed, violent, professional criminals. Without in any way minimizing the personal tragedies of the officers and their families, three agents shot in four years (two of them, apparently, in a very strange "friendly fire" incident) scarcely constitutes an out of control situation. Regardless of border security measures, it's naive to expect the number of Border Patrol agents shot to ever dwindle to zero and stay there.

To suggest that this results from a failure of the federal government to secure the border, rather than from the inevitable result of tens of thousands of law enforcement officers interacting with similar numbers of professional drug smugglers over a period of four years, is irresponsible in a columnist writing in the state's newspaper of record, and merely encourages a similar lack of realism (if not hysteria) among readers. It is your sober responsibility to inform and educate readers, not to pander to their prejudices and fears in order to increase readership.

Incidentally, I couldn't post this as a comment because, apparently, the Arizona Republic now requires those who would comment on its stories to pay a digital subscription fee. As of 2:00 pm Saturday, the column had received a mere two comments. One would normally expect such a contentious subject to elicit greater reader participation. You might bring this to the attention of management, whose greed has led them to erect paywalls under the delusion that the Arizona Republic offers the kind of original content and cachet which makes The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal successful in operating a (far less restrictive) online access model.


Emil Pulsifer

Jon I had a dream you kickstarted a fund to save the David and Gladys Wright house. Raising in excess of 2.2 million would be a lark...

A video of this magical building: http://youtu.be/wHslpE3B5PI

Kickstarter link: http://www.kickstarter.com/

Favorite quote from the NYTimes story:

“There is no house quite like this one, with its mythic content,” is how Neil Levine, the architectural historian and Wright scholar, put it the other day. “Everything is custom designed so that the house is, more than most of Wright’s later buildings, a complete work of art.”

Time to fight? I'm too busy fighting my disgust of what Arizona has become.

Here's a timely but off-topic digression.

Regarding those controversial unemployment numbers -- the rate dropped from a seasonally adjusted 8.1% in August to 7.8% in September despite adding a mere 114,000 non-farm payroll jobs. A look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics report for September was enlightening.

First, note that while the civilian labor force increased by 418,000 in September, this did not affect the unemployment rate. If the roughly 12 million officially unemployed in September were divided into the smaller August civilian labor force instead of the enlarged September labor force, the unemployment rate would be 7.79 which, rounded to the nearest tenth as in the official rate, is the same 7.8 percent.

The real reason for the seeming discrepancy lies in the difference between the two surveys used: the "establishment survey" polls 140,000 business and government employers to determine the number of non-farm payroll jobs added (or lost) during a month. The "household survey" polls 60,000 households and asks individuals questions about their employment status and job search activities, to determine both the total number of employed and the unemployment rate.

According to the establishment survey, 114,000 jobs were added in September; according to the household survey, the number of employed grew by 873,000 in September (775,000 non-seasonally adjusted).

If you look at the raw employment data (non-seasonally adjusted, or as I like to say, non-tweaked), the massive increase in employment in September according to the household survey, resulted almost entirely from 934,000 individuals obtaining government jobs -- local, state, and federal. (Yes, I know this is larger than 775,000; just wait.)

The economy also added 90,000 nonincorporated self-employed workers.

Private sector wage and salary workers actually DECREASED by 205,000. (This includes the self-employed workers whose businesses are incorporated.)

(The other categories: agrigulture and related industries lost 53,000, and unpaid family workers increased by 10,000.)

Through the magic of "seasonal adjustment" these figures changed thus:

Government wage and salary workers: from +934,000 to +187,000

Nonincorporated self-employed workers: from +90,000 to +253,000

Private sector wage and salary workers: from -205,000 to +298,000 (yes, from big losses to big additions)

I can't imagine why the category of nonincorporated self-employed should be subject to seasonal adjustment, much less to change in such a big way. But then, I'm not a BLS statistician, and there might conceivably be a compelling technical justification for such an "adjustment"; though my own private suspicion is that once you independently adjust individual categories of workers, the others need to be adjusted too, in order to avoid gross mathematical problems (though indeed, the individual seasonally adjusted categories don't come close to properly summing to the seasonally adjusted total, anyway).

For me, these oddities don't point to a left-wing conspiracy (vast or small) so much as they point up the inherent crankiness of statistics such as the unemployment rate -- statistics which the media and the nation as a whole breathlessly await each month, as though for the freshly chiseled stone tablets of Moses.

See Table A-8 for the breakdown by types of worker, both seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted (p. 19 of the PDF):


P.S. A technical addendum (all numbers seasonally adjusted):

If you take the change in the number of total employed added in September of 873,000, and subtract the 456,000 decrease in the number of unemployed, you get 417,000 which is (within the rounding error of a single thousand) equivalent to the 418,000 increase in the size of the civilian labor force.

That is, of the 873,000 total employed added in September, 465,000 were already in the labor force but unemployed, while the remainder (418,000) were not counted in the labor force (or as unemployed) in August but found employment (and ipso facto were included in the labor force) in September.

See Summary Table A, "Household data, seasonally adjusted", p. 4 of the PDF:


Mr. Talton has pointed out before that the administration's new health care law, while beneficial in many ways, also throws a great deal of largesse to the insurance companies. I recently came across some figures which flesh out just what a boon it is to the insurance companies.

The Associated Press, citing PwC Health Research Institute, says that by 2021 the government's new health exchanges, which will add 12 million currently uninsured to the insurance companies' rolls, will provide those companies with $205 billion of new insurance premiums annually.

The added premiums are an even bigger boon to the insurance companies than might at first glance appear to be the case, because the demographic concerned consists of those who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but who don't make enough to fully pay (fully or at all) for private health insurance; the median age of this newly insured group is just 33. So, the insurance companies won't be paying a lot of benefits because the cohort is likely to be a lot less sick.

Note also that a substantial portion of these new insurance premiums will be paid for by tax credits (i.e., the taxpayer).

I wonder how long it will be before we get a decent single-payer health system in the United States, instead of this deal with the devil which does little to stem rising health costs charged by private health providers?


I wrote:

"Note also that a substantial portion of these new insurance premiums will be paid for by tax credits (i.e., the taxpayer)."

If I had to write this paragraph again, I would omit the parenthetical comment, as it's a bit of an oversimplification.

The Washington Post published a short article on August 30 called "How Congress paid for Obamacare (in two charts)". There is no need for me to reinvent the wheel, so click here:


Note that spending cuts account for $741 billion of the expected cost; tax increases and fees (broken down in the charts, and most of which won't affect average taxpayers directly) account for about another $700 billion; and another $216 billion is expected to be saved because of the effects of increasing insurance coverage (e.g., decreased costs for uncompensated care, such as hospitals currently provide the uninsured through emergency rooms or other expensive subsidized care).

Here's the complete transcript of the first debate between Obama and Romney:


Anyone who can read faster than the participants talk, should be able to get the full import of the debate in considerably less time than the televised coverage took. You also get the chance to stop and return, at will, to any point, as well as to skip those sections (at least initially) which don't hold your interest. You don't have to wait for televised breaks to end; but on the other hand you can break anytime you want. Finally, instead of being swayed by the appearance (dress, hair, skin color, facial expressions, vocal delivery) of the participants -- who after all are auditioning for President of the United States, not actors in a Hollywood movie -- you can simply evaluate their remarks independently of superficial distractions.

Here's one Obama quip that stands out early on:

"The approach that Governor Romney's talking about is the same sales pitch that was made in 2001 and 2003, and we ended up with the slowest job growth in 50 years, we ended up moving from surplus to deficits, and it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression."

Another notable Obama quote from the debate:

"When I walked into the Oval Office, I had more than a trillion-dollar deficit greeting me. And we know where it came from: two wars that were paid for on a credit card; two tax cuts that were not paid for; and a whole bunch of programs that were not paid for; and then a massive economic crisis.

"And despite that, what we've said is, yes, we had to take some initial emergency measures to make sure we didn't slip into a Great Depression, but what we've also said is, let's make sure that we are cutting out those things that are not helping us grow.

". . .And I worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut a trillion dollars out of our discretionary domestic budget. That's the largest cut in the discretionary domestic budget since Dwight Eisenhower."

this image is the fascinating. official website

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