More on my fiction writing

« A death observed | Main | Minorities in early Phoenix »

August 30, 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Let me try to summarize:

1. Almost all places to live and work have pros and cons. Now, maybe that wasn't the point of this posting. Maybe we were suppose to point out what's wrong with Phoenix and leave it at that. So- I apologize if I incorrectly broadened the scope of what Rogue intended.

2. I don't hate cities. I lived in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago for quite some time quite some time ago and enjoyed it quite a bit. If I had Oprah money, I'd probably still live there. Oh- and the whole 24/7 armed bodyguard thing, too.

3. Should Phoenix try to "do" better"? Hard to tell. What are the costs and what is the payoff? Does anyone think that's an important question to ask?

INPHX, while cleverly laid out, your response tells me you don't really want to be a serious part of the conversation.

You are here to oppose and divert attention. That's fine, but it doesn't deserve any further responses, at least from me. Your mind is made up.

The costs of Phoenix's mediocre-to-abysmal performance in a host of areas are well documented by gold-standard sources — or take a look around. No cute quotation marks needed.

Rogue - you're not being fair to your posters. YOUR mind is made up also, yet you maintain that this site 'is not a church".
So, are all welcome or not? You seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth/pen/typepad.

I know Chicago well and the idea you need 24/7 armed bodyguards is pretty much racist claptrap. Yes, this sells well in a party that compulsively stokes fear and racism, which INPHX conveniently denies. It's not an accident, however, that Donald Trump is the natural outcome of this nihilistic strategy. Someone who isn't qualified to lead an HOA could only be nominated by a party bankrupt of ideas and serious policy proposals. It's all fear and loathing in today's Republican Party. "Chicagoland" is a meme pushed hard by the anti-urban, xenophobic, anti-reality elements that constitute the party's "intelligentsia". Ann Coulter, Steve Bannon, Pat Buchanan, and the recently departed Phyllis Schlafly are some of the pillars in this "movement", occasionally confused with a bodily function.

Phoenix is, by comparison, an asterisk in the annals of civilization. It's an also-ran metroplex that caters to ease of driving and parking. Chicago is a global city renowned for its architectural and cultural heritage. Yes, there are Scary Black People that so animate Republican nightmares. No, you won't be raped and murdered in your sleep by them, Fox and Friends notwithstanding.

Trump has realized too late that the gigantic hole he dug dissing non-white and non-Christian people means he can't be elected president. There simply aren't enough uneducated old whites to win presidential elections anymore. So, Trump is busy crying crocodile tears about black people in order to stanch this bleeding. It's an amazing feature of the right-wing imagination to think people can be persuaded to vote for an explicitly racist candidate because he feels sorry for the people he routinely reviles. We saw all this years ago when Lee Atwater, close to death, admitted the GOP's core strategy:

"You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can't say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

Try to keep up, Terry. All views are welcome. But I don't have to engage with them. Bonus points for bringing facts, interesting views, reality, and wit.

Latest BLS data. In the first quarter, Maricopa County ranked 247th among US counties in wage growth. Down 1.5 percent y/y to $972 per week. Nationally, down 0.5 percent to $1,043.

Ranked 66th on employment change, up 3.3 vs. national 2 percent. Socialist San Francisco ranked No. 8.


Figured you'd crawl into the racist hole sooner or later. Any port in a storm....

Congratulations on Chicago and Illinois. Democrat control forever, worst financial condition in the US, and areas of Chicago where an armed bodyguard isn't a bad idea:

But, I guess there's some nice architecture, so everything's fine.

INPHX, I wasn't the one who made the inflammatory and racist comment. You were. You made it for a reason, which is that you're blind to your own party's chronic and - since Richard Nixon - necessary racism. There is no Republican majority without appeals to fear and xenophobia. You know that in your raging id, which is why you played that card in your comment above. Just because you're a hypocrite doesn't mean other people can't hear what are obvious dog whistles. There's a reason the GOP is an all-white party, a demographic time bomb that will render your white identity movement ineffectual and irrelevant in the not-so-distant future. One more time: Donald Trump is not an accident. Neither is Joe Arpaio, David Duke, Russell Pearce, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Steve Bannon, and other racists who are the thought leaders for this movement. The moral bankruptcy of the modern GOP precedes Donald Trump although it finds its fullest and most unvarnished expression in his nomination. And just think: all your denials and deflections will not change the inevitable outcome of this suicide cult. Or do you think an an all-white political party has a future in an increasingly diverse nation?


I pointed out that there is a crime problem in Chicago. Do you deny that?

The rest of your bleating, incomprehensible rant is just the standard nonsense racism bullshit that you've spewed since you began posting. When challenged, reply with the "isms". Lazy,inaccurate, devoid of reason or logic. The ultimate fail safe.

Here's a really good, relevant example.

Are the people that think Rahm Emmanuel is doing a lousy job racists?

So, the GOP is an all-white party because of Rahm Emmanuel? That same party that nominates an explicit racist and bigot for president? A party whose quasi-intelligentsia is filled to overflowing with people as bad if not worse than Trump? A party that is strongest in the white precincts of the old Confederacy?

But you do what you must, which is deflect, deflect, deflect. I totally get that black people shooting each other in the urban badlands of Chicago is a problem. But it's a moral problem born in slavery, Jim Crow, and the Republican Party's Southern Strategy. There's a context here for understanding a social pathology that can't be abstracted to its crudest subset. You're bright enough to argue cynically but probably not bright enough to understand the various complications of social reality. There's no point to this exchange because you insist on the cartoon version of a dark and tragic history. On some level, you understand this. You're simply too dishonest to admit it.

Soleri writes:

But you do what you must, which is deflect, deflect, deflect. I totally get that black people shooting each other in the urban badlands of Chicago is a problem. But it's a moral problem born in slavery, Jim Crow, and the Republican Party's Southern Strategy.


I'm sure the 16 year old gang banger that shot the other 16 year old gang banger over turf is still pissed off about Jim Crow laws. Which he never heard of.

Victims of the GOP. Every last one of them. In a city and state that have been controlled by Democrats forever.

At least the Chicago cops are doing a swell job. You think most of these racist union cops vote Republican?

Apparently not:

Well, geez. Just think how bad race relations in this country would have been without Obama? Thank God it's gotten so much better over the last 7 plus years.

Anyway, congratulations again on the nice architecture in Chicago. Make sure you tell the black people shooting each other in the urban badlands of Chicago about it.

Cause that'll help.

71-yr-old Chicago man killed while watering his lawn yesterday afternoon. He must be in the hallowed 500-plus category of 2016 killings in this outstanding world-class urban mecca.. . my birthplace and home for more than 50-years.

Yeah, Jon, I'll try to keep up by running faster than you. How about that?

Just maybe had we legalized what is now, referred to as "illegal" drugs back when we took alcohol out of the hands of the likes of Al Capone, Chicago and Juarez might be different places.

In memory of my Mexican Hod carrier that was found in a shallow desert grave after his involvement in making extra money on the weekends by running illegal drugs for the Cabrone brothers from Mexico to the great demand in the USA.

Democrats or Republicans alike , America continues to fail the "poor and downtrodden".

Cal - I don't necessarily buy the idea that America has failed the "poor & downtrodden". My folks came, poor & downtrodden" from Eastern Europe, more than 70-yrs ago - in the depression of the 30s. They were in the 'serf' class, and had nothing except courage and a dedication to hard work. Their story is mirrored in the millions of similar stories from that time.
America did not do the job of making them successful, it simply provided the template for their success.
Today, there are other templates immigrants can follow, but sadly, many do not want to do the work of succeeding in this country - they expect a free ride. That is the crux of the beef so many of my generation (and yours) have with the new waves of immigrants and refugees.

Teri, let's set aside the fact that your parents arrived in time to take advantage of the combination of a robust federal government — New Deal, GI Bill, FHA loans, Cold War spending, infrastructure, Social Security, Medicare, zenith of the middle class — and a private sector that wasn't financialized tax dodgers.

Who are these deadbeat immigrants? I don't see them. Every panhandling vagrant I see is a native-born American. Every immigrant I encounter is working, often in the most physically demanding jobs.

There's a legitimate debate to be had as to whether we should be accepting 1 million legal immigrants a year. Whether they depress wages. Whether Americans should wean themselves off cheap illegal immigrant labor (illegals have declined, btw). But where are the immigrants who don't work? It's not as if we, especially Arizona, has such a cushy social safety net.

As a mix of many minorities, I cannot let this go unchallenged.

When someone as highly educated as soleri uses the n word to make a point and when someone as highly educated and as highly principled as Jon allows it to occur without reprimand, then I can only conclude that the basest of human behavior cannot be overcome by education or life experience. Soleri occupies a demographic of our society that should know the power of hateful words. That he does not know this , is a testament of the lost cause that we humans are.

I'm afraid it is time to eliminate the comments section on this blog. They serve no positive purpose.


The word was used in a quotation and context is everything. Soleri wasn't hurling a racial slur. Your point is well-taken. We should be careful. But the larger point of his post is more important, and the shock value of the sentiment used drives it home.

Dear Ruben, Ole Buddy please allow me to disagree on eliminating the comments section. I'll buy the coffee for You and a Pepsi for Petro.

OK I'LL BUY YOU AN Alcoholic beverage.

No, Jon, my parents paid their way the entire time they were alive. They had no FHA loan to buy their home; paid $5,000 cash, in 1941, with every dime they could salvage allocated to the purchase of a house. No mortgage either. Dad was too old for conscription, so no GI Bill for him or for us. Yeah, SS cameinto play by the 60s, but they didn't like it one bit and Mom didn't live to benefit. Cold War spending? Give me a break!! a milkman doesn't see any outflow from that.

No, Jon, these people were not unique -most of the people I knew in my Chicago neighborhood lived simply but honorably and NEVER asked for a handout. It would have been a disgrace to do so, and I feel the same. The last of a breed, I think - someone you would not recognize if you fell over them.
The last time I was in my west-side Chicago neighborhood, I was pelted with rocks by the blacks who had taken over - that was more than 20-years ago. Chicago is dead as a viable place to live.

The most discouraging impediment to honest political discussion is the refusal to acknowledge what is both obvious and irrefutable. The Republican Party employs racist code language to galvanize the petty and aged to vote for the moneyed elites. They do it cynically and with malice aforethought. They have no real ideas aside from hoodwinking low-information voters like Ruben and Teri.

I push hard against cynics like INPHX because there's not enough revulsion against this right-wing strategy. It was born in an extraordinary tragedy several hundred years ago and echoes through our history like a whip breaking human flesh. We did this and we continue to do this. I'm not arguing for reparations or guilty feelings. I am arguing for context and perspective. Right-wingers, for some reason, appear to despise anything that requires nuance and thought. Their tribalism is partly cultural and partly racial but wholly ignorant and cruel.

There is one nation, not just white America and the "subhumans" who don't qualify as Real Americans. If you don't oppose Donald Trump and Republican racists, you're failing a basic citizenship test. We either pull together and heal these wounds or we collapse this national experiment for no better reason than making rich people richer and vested brigands more powerful. I don't need perfection or purity. I need some honesty here. The weakest and least powerful people in America are routinely scapegoated for no better reason than greed and cruelty.

We dance around these problems with invective and rhetoric but I want to cut directly the heart of the problem. I want to shame people out of their hypnotic trance. If you're an American and love your country, stop cutting and dicing it into good and bad. Love this country the way it is, not the way it was. Wake up, grow up, and man up. And if you can't do that, please shut the fuck up.

I'm assuming your parents were white...

And therefore weren't automatically suspect.

And weren't "redlined" out of the nicer neighborhoods.

And weren't stopped repeatedly by police during their normal daily routine.

And weren't confined into areas with substandard schools, and substandard services.

And weren't the last hired and the first fired.

I could go on, but what's the point?

Much of this country was built on stolen land by slave labor, and some folks would like it to stay that way.

Obviously my response is to the post preceding Soleri's.

Soleri writes:

The most discouraging impediment to honest political discussion is the refusal to acknowledge what is both obvious and irrefutable. The Republican Party employs racist code language to galvanize the petty and aged to vote for the moneyed elites.

Right-wingers, for some reason, appear to despise anything that requires nuance and thought.


I guess nuance and thought become optional when GOP racism is "obvious and irrefutable"

Garbage in, garbage out.

More good news about skyrocketing rents and gentrification---

Soleri- give til it hurts.

As near as I can tell, there is no local solution to the national problem of homelessness. I think about this constantly because the homeless in Portland are everywhere, cadging quarters in front of the Safeway to camping out in doorways to lying passed out on downtown sidewalks. The west coast cities bear a much heavier burden than other cities partly because of the salubrious climate and partly because they make serious efforts to mitigate the worst impacts of this national problem. It's maddening because the more we do, the worse it gets for the locality itself.

Maybe if we had a national income floor and guaranteed housing this problem with abate. But that's not going to happen partly because right-wing "Christians", the same cretins who enthusiastically support Donald Trump, despise efforts to help their less fortunate neighbors.

That said, there is no point to helping the homeless by giving personal cash contributions UNLESS you know the individual(s) in question. About 50% of the homeless are drug users, and others have serious alcoholism and mental health issues. Portland does more to help these people than "Christian" cities like Phoenix because there is an ethic of kindness here that is uncommon in this nation. I'm aware of the irony here in trying to solve an unsolvable problem, but we do the best we can given human needs. Liberalism is frustrating to moral midgets like INPHX because the Malthusian knot seems permanent. Maybe it is for all I know. But the struggle against one's own impulses for apathy, heartlessness, and unconsciousness are essential. We know too much to seek solace in comfort and security.

National problem of homelessness?

See a pattern, genius?

The rents too damn high in those utopian cities with the nice architecture.

Always trade offs. Always.

Re "homelessness ":

And let's not forget Phoenix has a large homeless population. Sprawl and white-right apartheid keeps it out of sight for most.

Soleri thanks for bringing up one of my favorite interests (since 58), the Malthusian Trap.

Regarding the homeless, I give out a least $50 bucks a month to such folks. A few days ago my friend and I stopped on the corner of 16th Street and Indiam school and gave money to a 80 plus year old female that we had seen working the corner for a few days.
Survival of the fitness maybe true but it fails to keep me from caring.

In contrast:
"Basic income is often argued for because of its potential to reduce poverty, and even eradicate poverty."

Dudas, Thanks for the Boot strap philosophy. I am quite familiar with such having at nine used my paper route money to buy coal so my family didn’t freeze to death and that eventually at 21, I had more money than my parents. Of course I worked a lot. From 1960 to 1963 I had four jobs and was sleeping 4 hours a day in two hour shifts, one in Frank Calcords tack barn At Turf Paradise, where I was hot walking horses and bartending in the bar/kitchen stable area. So I am a self-made man that has come to the realization that, big deal, actually a just a lot of flatulent in the atmosphere.
You are not the last of a breed, I see many every day that fit what you have described about your life. Many are people of color who are just as proud as you are, if that’s possible as pride can border on condescending or superior.
Being rocked in Chicago may be that you walk like a racist.

The difference between Arizona and Utah LDS.
How about the difference between LDS and FLDS.
Ask Steve Lemmons.
"Still, talk about a disappointment. I had been looking forward to rubbing it in that Biggs — who takes a dim view of women's rights and infamously blocked legislation that would have helped child brides escape Colorado City's polygamous community — got beat by a girl. Now I'll have to await the outcome of the recount to see if I can use that jibe."

For my Pal Ruben,
"At present it is a moral act to get drunk and throw yourself on the earth before statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It's is definitely not a moral act to call your broker or erect a worthless fence along the border."
Jim Harrison

Soleri said, "And if you can't do that, please shut the fuck up."

SO:go ahead and take a, break this weekend and
"At present it is a moral act to get drunk and throw yourself on the earth before statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Cal - 'walk like a racist'? What the hell does that mean?
I was driving on Division St - the same Division St, Studs made famous. That was my neighborhood for almost 25-yrs. Racist; hardly.

Dude, Thanks for clearing that up.
I'll take your word for it and to express my liberal streak of kindness I will buy YOU a cup my next visit to a town laid out by a drunk Spaniard. Or I could meet you at the Wagon Wheel in Patagonia.
I cant hardly tolerate driving into Phoenix anymore let alone Chicago.

Thanks to an accident for the
"Great Sonoran Desert, Whats left of it."

Found my way from the desert to downtown Tempe and into the Valley Art theater to watch "Blazing Saddles", a great western.
Then off to Cafe Lalibela for a vegatarian after show dinner. Then we went for a walk by the river at the Tempe Art theater. The nite was perfect but the unleaded jet fuel was enough to gag you. And the noise was incredibly loud and constant. And the artificial light drowns out stars and nite sky. And apartments and condos to the point of claustrophobic.
Used to be a nice village.

"Built in 1940, the Harkins Valley Art® (originally named the College Theatre) is Arizona's oldest and longest operating movie theatre. Designed and constructed by Red Harkins at the age of 25.
A deceased FRIEND of mines father was Red's first projectionist.

OOPs not UN leaded gas but high leaded octane diesel?

Great comments here, I will try not to echo them.

It was not all that long ago that the Valley business establishment "got" that economic development efforts needed to do better than attracting call centers and other low-wage/low-education jobs.

It was not all that long ago that we did not live in a one-party state. The voters elected Janet Napolitano to two terms; she wasn't perfect from a progressive's perspective but she was 1000x better than Ducey or Brewer. Even some of the GOP pols were thoughtful people rather than partisan nitwit clones of Trump or Michele Bachmann. Go a little further back and we boasted leaders like Mo Udall and Bruce Babbitt.

Now we have complete one-party rule at the statewide level, and every two years the voters give it another thumbs up. Economic development has regressed to attracting call centers and back offices and it now includes private prisons as well.

About 10 years ago we had the chance to get a major film and TV studio on the west end of town; it was killed by a petty grudge held by a GOP legislator and now all those jobs fly over or drive through here, headed for New Mexico. They even killed the state film office to save a buck; this was the final stake in the heart of Arizona's film/TV industry, strangled by the penny-pinching chemtrail-chasing dipshits we call "our leaders". "Breaking Bad", as well as any number of other films and TV shows, could have been shot in Arizona. The excellent film "Sicario", for chrissakes, was set partly in Arizona with New Mexico locations standing in!

Then there's the sad state of our educational system, which keeps high-tech from ever really taking off in this state. I don't think it's tinfoil-hattish at all to believe that a significant number of our right-wing politicians are more concerned about keeping Arizona red than they are in real economic growth, the kind that brings high-paying jobs in the sectors of the future. "If that kind of growth might also bring with it voters who are too highly-educated to vote for us and our know-nothing party, screw that!". This hypothesis sure explains a lot about the current state of affairs.

None of this is inevitable, but it all goes back to politics and the choices made by Arizona voters. I don't know how much of a role is played in this by the state Democratic party (quit running Terry Goddard's and Fred DuVal's for high office, please and thank you), but until the voters stop granting the GOP one-party rule by reflexively voting for the R when they don't know anything about the candidates for their legislative district or the AZ Corp Comm, nothing at all will change here.

Fallai, excellent post.

The Show on KJZZ asked the same question today. You can see their version here

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)