Monday, December 26, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

Call it what you want, 'tis the season to be jolly

TUCSON -- Happy holidays, merry Christmas, super solstice, whatever.

Let us all find some true peace and happiness this season, remember good will to all, and reject the absurd idea that non-Christians want to 'end Christmas', as some wacko right-wingers have been claiming.

Enjoy the warm weather, smile and be nice. Most of us are luckier than we may think.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bush wants to sell out parks to corporate sponsors

WASHINGTON -- Bush officials, like National Park Service Director Fran Minella (middle here in the photo), want more corporate influence over America's National Parks.

People don't want 'Grand Canyon sponsored by Mega Corp', and it's unethical for the Bush administration and congress to underfund National Parks, then demand park staff become fundraisers by selling corporate sponsorships.

America's National Parks should not be sold out to crass commercialism and corporate logos, instead congress and Bush should fully fund the Park Service.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Junkies want crude fix from Alaska wildlife refuge

DEC 21 UPDATE: Senate blocks Alaska refuge drilling, for now. But both McCain and Kyl voted with Big Oil to halt debate about refuge conservation. Losers. Luckily enough true 'mavericks' did the right thing.

WASHINGTON -- The US Senate is in a battle over oil drilling in Alaska, America's last best wilderness, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, seen in the photo.

Arizona's Senators, McCain and Kyl, will likely split on this 'rider' attached to an important defense and hurricane relief spending bill. McCain should oppose this as he always has. Kyl will support as he always does and everything else evil.

Dick Cheney is cutting short a foreign trip to return to DC in case he needs to cast a tie-breaking vote for drilling. Probably better for foreign relations to keep that guy at home anyway, in his bunker.

We don't need to and shouldn't drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Conservation and better mileage requirements for new cars and trucks could easily replace all the oil that could ever be scraped from the refuge, which would be scarred forever if oil drilling happens.

This is a battle of future visions. The Bush/Cheney oil-heads pushing drilling in Alaska are stuck in the past. Other leaders, most Americans and people worldwide don't want oil drilling in wildlife refuges. The arctic itself is melting off and polar bears are dying due to global warming.

Oil is like heroin and we're the junkies. Big Oil Inc. Bush/Cheney are the pushers.

Gotta get that oil monkey off our backs. If we don't, it'll kill us.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Corrupt Hunter wants SW island for DoD game farm

SAN DIEGO -- US Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) wants to remove southern California's Santa Rosa Island from Channel Islands National Park and give it to the military for exclusive use and exotic big game hunting.

After much opposition, he pulled this proposal on Friday, but promised to bring it back up and push it again.

Hunter, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and himself a big game hunter, is under investigation in the same unethical defense contractor payoff scandal that forced fellow GOP hack Randy "Duke" Cunningham to resign.

The military already has a lot of permitted use of the Channel Islands, but Hunter wants to boot the public completely from Santa Rosa Island, and use it like a game farm for trophy hunters with military connections. This is a boneheaded shameful bad idea.

Hunting is already allowed on Santa Rosa Island, and as a hunter I am OK with that, but giving it all to exclusive use of military brass is immoral. The public outrage surrounding Rep. Hunter's extreme anti-environmental push is understandable and justified.

Hunter should follow fellow corrupt Republican Cunningham and resign now. I'm sure he could get a high paying job with a defense firm and still find a way to hunt on Santa Rosa Island.

Hunter likely won't resign, but he could lose in 06, or the investigation may take him down too like his buddy Duke.

There are lots of places in America for military and civilians to hunt, but there is only one Channel Islands National Park. The public interest says don't mess with it. Ot
her Reps. and the US Senate should say no to Hunter, and keep Santa Rosa Island in the National Park for all Americans to enjoy.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Pope wants you to live more simply at Christmas

ROME -- The new Pope recently spoke out against over-consumption and corporate materialism associated with Christmas, calling it 'pollution'.

I usually don't agree with the Pope, but he's right on about this. I do wonder how much the Pope actually simplifies his own rich lifestyle at the Vatican?

The Pope sounds here like another global faith leader, the Dalai Lama, who has been calling for more simple living for a long time.

Find love and peace this season. If you find it for real you won't have to charge it to your credit card.

All I want for Christmas is some cleaner air in Tucson.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Undergrounding I-10 downtown makes sense

TUCSON -- Undergrounding I-10 through downtown makes a lot of sense and I support it.

The freeway has been a major barrier between downtown and the westside for too long. Undergrounding the elevated freeway between Speedway/St. Marys and 22nd/29th will improve quality-of-life by reducing noise and eliminating the dividing 'wall effect' the road now has.

The reclaimed land above the tunnel could be an attractive park, just like Seattle's Freeway Park on top of an underground I-5 as seen in the photo.

Much of the traffic on I-10 is just moving through Tucson on the federal road, therefore the feds can help pay the cost of improving it.

Tucson City Manager Mike Hein and others are doing the right thing by taking one last hard look at the undergrounding option. I hope it works.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Government kills Tookie Williams' peace message

SAN QUENTIN PRISON CA -- Maybe he did it, maybe not, but no matter what he's dead now. Tookie Williams, famous LA 'Crips' gang founder convicted of four murders, but then turned peacenik in prison.

I thought the CA Gov. may let him live the rest of his life in prison, but why would the Terminator leave anyone alive?

I don't support state-sponsored killing. Since the death penalty was reinstated in the US, the government has killed a prisoner every 10 days on average.

Are we better off as a world with Tookie Williams killed by the state? I don't think so, and I'll always have concern when the government holds such extreme powers to kill people. You should too.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bush lets down US and world on global warming

MONTREAL -- Bush administration delegates acted shamefully -- walking out and refusing to cooperate -- at the international meeting of nations on how to deal with global warming pollution.

Luckily other nations were not amused or influenced by the U$A tantrums. The global community agreed to new talks on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Global warming is not a joke. It is not debated scientifically. It is happening, and we better get serious now about curbing it. Our children (and my child) depend on action now, not more hot air BS from Bush, big energy lobbyists, and Dick Cheney.

Bush could've and should've taken responsibility in Montreal for solving a major problem America mostly created. Instead he foolishly ducks and makes excuses, jeopardizing the future of life on Earth as we know it. I hope other world citizens realize so many Americans are against Bush's immoral administration, and give us another chance when we finally decide to help solve crucial world problems like global warming.

Even though Bush is a big problem, Americans can still realize big progress through individual daily action. Energy conservation and cutting our driving habitats would help clean the air and cut global warming pollution, and we'd be healthier too. Do it and you'll feel better.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Send Farley to capitol to fight right-wing House

TUCSON -- Local activist, artist, and environmentalist Steve Farley is being considered by Pima County dem leaders for appointment to the Arizona State Legislature. He would be a good choice, and is gutsy for even considering taking a punishing position in the wacko House.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors is considering who to appoint to State Senate to replace Gabrielle Giffords, who just stepped down to run for congress. If one of the current State Reps for that district, Ted Downing or David Bradley, is moved to the Senate, then a House seat opens up.

The Pima Supervisors should appoint Downing to Senate, and Farley to House. The State of Arizona would benefit from his vision and motivation.

I'm hoping for Giffords v. Ray Carroll in 06 for the District 8 US House seat being vacted by Jim Kolbe. We couldn't lose, either one would be good, certainly better and more progressive than Kolbe.

But Carroll may not run, figuring he's got it pretty good now and can get more done as a Pima Supe. Can't blame anyone for not wanting to move to Washington.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ecologist joins Tucson Planning Commission

TUCSON -- Thanks to Vice Mayor and City Councilman Steve Leal, I've been selected to help the Mayor and Council plan future development in the city. It is an important position and I look forward to serving the public-interest.

Read the news release. My first meeting is Wednesday evening.

The city of Tucson is the second largest in Arizona, and 32nd largest in the U.S. - bigger than Atlanta, Oakland, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Sacramento, Miami, and others - with an estimated 512,000 residents in 2004. Tucson is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation; it is the regional hub of Pima County and Southern Arizona.

I plan to focus on promoting quality of life, boosting infill development, conserving water and wildlife habitat, increasing clean renewable energy use, improving air quality, expanding clean transit, and reducing the "urban heat island" effect. I am particularly interested in a move by the city to join the county's Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.

What are your thoughts for improving sustainable development and quality of life in Tucson?

Monday, December 05, 2005

New Tucson City Council starts today

TUCSON -- Newly elected city council members Karin Uhlich and Nina Trasoff officially took office today at a well-attended ceremony downtown. Long-time councilman Steve Leal was also sworn in for another term, and elected vice-mayor.

Outgoing councilman Fred Ronstadt showed some grace and gave a pretty cool outgoing speech after he sparked up a fat cigar. Kathleen Dunbar had nothing to say.

Hopes are running high for this council. Let's work with them to help make Tucson a better place.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Kyl may be 'grinch of the year'

TUCSON -- Jobs with Justice is hosting the annual 'grinch of the year' party tonight.

There are several bad candidates worthy of the dishonor, but my vote is for US Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) for his consistent efforts against fairness, freedom, environment, and the public interest.

Kyl recently bragged on Arizona Illustrated about his role in writing the USA Patriot Act. What a jerk!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Off-roading holiday of death & destruction at dunes


OFF-ROADING DEATH AND DESTRUCTION AT CALIFORNIA DUNES

People & child killed, land trashed, yet Bush Interior Dept. wants to expand off-roading

GLAMIS, CA – Over 200,000 off-roaders mobbed the Algodones (Imperial) Sand Dunes over the Thanksgiving holiday. At least six people were killed in off-roading incidents in Imperial County, including a five-year-old boy. At least one off-roader overdosed. The environment, air, and endangered species habitat were trashed.


Hospitals in Imperial and Yuma County were slammed. Imperial County Deputy Coroner Henry Proo called it “the worst weekend I have ever seen.” (Yuma Sun, Nov. 27).

Despite all the death and environmental destruction, the Bush Interior Department is still aggressively pushing to expand off-roading at the dunes by reversing a five-year-old conservation agreement.

“What doesn't BLM (Bureau of Land Management) understand about Glamis? Despite spending millions of dollars out there, an irreplaceable national landmark is being destroyed, children are being killed, mayhem continues, and BLM acts like everything would be just hunky-dory if they could just have more off-roaders out there. It's madness!” said Karen Schambach, California Director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER represents the concerns of many affected Interior Department biologists and staff.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced it will reconsider an off-road industry demand to end Endangered Species Act protection for the Peirson’s milk-vetch, an endangered attractive flowering plant found only at the Algodones Dunes.

Off-road industry lobbyists pushed for the de-listing before, but just last year FWS biologists said it was not justified. But this spring, Bush Interior Department political appointee Julie MacDonald took a trip to the dunes with off-road lobbyists to discuss ending Endangered Species Act protection for the milk-vetch.

Several months ago, the Center for Biological Diversity's Deserts Program filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking details of MacDonald’s trip, but Interior has not released the records. U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, who represents Imperial County, has been asked to investigate.

A federal court recently ruled that the flat-tailed horned lizard must be considered for Endangered Species Act protection in part due to off-roading damage in Imperial County.

In addition to the Peirson’s milk-vetch, the desert tortoise and dozens of endemic dunes plants and animals are imperiled by extreme off-roading at the Algodones Dunes. Hikers, birdwatchers, photographers and other people are displaced from the dunes by hordes of off-roaders and related dangers.

Watch for more problems and deaths every weekend, but especially over Christmas & New Years, Presidents Day, and Easter. At least two off-roaders were killed at the dunes over Halloween.

The Algodones Dunes are a fragile and scenic place being sacrificed to ‘Mad Max on meth’ mayhem. People and the environment are being killed out there due to Bush administration and industry anti-conservation ideology, and it has to stop.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

'Progress' making it harder to breathe

TUCSON -- We are seeing more and more 'bad air days' in southern Arizona. Blame urban sprawl, agriculture, and motor vehicles for the extra pollution.

Most bad air days will be officially labled 'moderate' by government monitors and the TV weaterman, this is mostly due to poor air standards by the feds and state that allow far too much pollution, as seen in 2 local photos.

Sure, Phoenix, LA, and other cities have worse pollution, but Pima County's air quality is declining, and pretty fast. The haze may make for more radioactive sunsets, in fact some days it blocks most of the sunlight, but the dust and pollution also make you cough, and is especially hard on children and old folks.

High gas prices don't seem to have people driving less, they just pay more; put it on the credit card. But I do see more and more people on bikes, which is a good sign. People are concerned about global warming pollution, and more motivated to take individual action to curb it.

You can help: drive less, report dust pollution to the county, burn less fuels and wood, stop buying crappy sprawl development, and push politicians to stop permitting so much of it. You can also move in to town closer to where you need to be, maybe even in to a high rise.

Someday Tucson may need to build the tallest building in the southwest to get above the smog. Let's hope not, and do something about it.

Cleaner air for 06? We can breathe easier if we try. Or cough away our health and vistas if we don't.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Save your money, buy nothing today

N. AMERICA -- Reject the hyperspending of 'Black Friday'.

Join the global celebration of life, not stuff.

Buy nothing today.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Jim Kolbe will quit congress, 06 race will be big

TUCSON -- US Rep. Jim Kolbe said Wednesday he won't seek re-election in 06. This is good news. This blogger and many others have been pushing for Rep. Kolbe to retire.

He recently supported gutting the Endangered Species Act by voting for the Pombo TESRA bill, and is a WTO/NAFTA-style free trade pusher. Kolbe is the only openly gay republican in congress.

Now that he is out, watch for this to be a wide open, hotly contested race.

The GOP may field a right-wing candidate like Randy Graf. At least three dems are already seeking the seat. But it could best be won by a progressive, ethical and smart independent. So far, none has stepped up. I don't live in Kolbe's district.

Moderate Republican Pima Supervisor Ray Carroll would also have a good shot if he runs, and could win my support. But Ray already has an important influential position, and if he considers it closely, he may not want to go to DC. He could get more done in Tucson.

Gabrielle Giffords, a dem State Senator, would also make a fine and tough candidate. She says she's in. I may also support her. She is a smart and talented young leader.

Already in the race are political newbies Jeff Latas and Francine Shacter.

Pay attention to this race over the next year. It should be a good one.

Why Americans don't eat eagles on Thanksgiving

Photos of a bald eagle and wild turkeyUSA -- In 1782, America selected the Bald eagle as the national symbol.

But this was not without controversy. Ben Franklin and others wanted the wild turkey.

An interesting story of US history.

I like wild turkeys, but prefer the eagle as our symbol.

Thanksgiving with the President

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Give thanks and buy nothing

HOME -- Some big things I'm thankful for:

Ruby, wifey, family, friends, job, home, water, rain, sun, wind, comida, bikes, health.

Wishing all of you the best Thanksgiving.

Relax, and don't forget to BUY NOTHING on Friday, Nov 25, the international BUY NOTHING DAY holiday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Federal helicopters hurt quality of life in S. Arizona

TUCSON -- More than almost anything else, the military helicopter is a symbol of oppression. These loud and invasive craft now fly daily from DMAFB over central Tucson, harming quality of life.

Increased fed and military chopper use started in 2003. Shaking historic neighborhoods near downtown such as Armory Park.

The Santa Rita Park Neighborhood Association made a recent informal agreement with US Dept. of Homeland Security to keep choppers away, and it has worked somewhat.

Look for DHS choppers flying over your head, they have the distinctive yellow stripe down the side.

But DHS is not the only arm of the federal government flying loud choppers, so is the military. Often lower, louder, in formations, and longer hours. Attempts to deal with DMAFB on reducing their impacts on families have not been positive. DM answer men explain they cannot answer anything, or do anything. We are just supposed to assume the rattle of our houses at all hours somehow keeps us safer. Wrong! No one is fooled.

The increase in military helicopters in Tucson is part of what we all get as long as DM is open. But the added harm of having the Bush administration in control is that they do nothing to mitigate impacts to people, and they don't care.

Bush locked in, bumbling with world press

BEIJING -- This recent photo of Bush trying to dodge reporters is just too funny not to use. We've got to laugh some days to keep from always cursing and crying.

GW was trying to avoid questions from a reporter who noticed he was 'off his game', but these locked doors kept him in the room until he found the open exit. Bush never did answer the question.

We need to keep him in Crawford more, isolated, so he won't keep going around the world embarassing America.
Photo
Reuters

Monday, November 21, 2005

GM hoses American autoworkers, again

DETROIT -- General Motors executives have just annouced they intend to shut down 12 US factories, including many in Michigan, throwing 30,000 autoworkers to the unemployment lines.

Ford just cut 4000 US jobs. Overall, a total of 60,000 US auto industry job cuts have been announced in the last week.

Included in the GM shut down are the Lansing Metal Center, and Craft Centre, in my hometown, where thousands of good union jobs will be lost in mid-06.

Local governments in the Lansing MI area have handed out plenty of corporate welfare and tax cuts to GM in recent years, but GM still back-stabs them.

Lost GM jobs in the US will likely be moving overseas where strong unions, labor and environmental laws don't exist, where foreign workers will be paid much less to make vehicles that won't cost less.

Cut labor costs + keep selling expensive vehicles = more GM profit.

This is what America gets from bad deals like NAFTA and WTO.

GM fat-cats want to save money to please Wall Street and creditors. But with all the jobs beings lost, who will buy GM vehicles? Is anyone making a truly American car anymore?

GM, instead of cutting off US workers, how about cutting global warming pollution from your gas-guzzling fleet, and making more vehicles that people actually want to buy?

I'll stick to riding my American made bicycle.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Iraq war horror taking Bush/Cheney down



WASHINGTON -- Finally some more American political leaders are getting mad and challenging Bush/Cheney on this terrible war in Iraq. As the flag-draped coffins pile up, the political heat on Bush keeps rising as citizens say 'no more'.

Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA), a decorated Vietnam vet and highly respected house member on defense issues, told it like it is and pulled no punches Thursday about Bush's failed and costly war.

Murtha said we should get out of Iraq now, and powerfully ripped Bush/Cheney for sending soldiers to die without ever having served themselves.

Across the nation you could hear the shouts of supports of people hearing it on the news, 'right on!'

The house erupted in another big war argument on Friday, where some non-veteran GOP Reps. attacked Murtha as a 'coward'.

More elected officials should start speaking up loudly against this unjust war, and calling for troops home now.

Bush/Cheney now up the attack on anyone who is critical of the war. That will not work, not with most Americans clearly opposed. This is their war, it is going very badly, and people don't want it. Why stay the course on a failed and unneeded mission? So we can boost up a dysfunctional Iraqi regime? No thanks.

But common sense and public opinion doesn't stop kneeling Bush lapdogs like Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) from shilling for more war. Kolbe told the LA Times yesterday he thinks most Republicans will still support Bush on the Iraq war, adding his view that we cannot pull out of Iraq. People gotta vote Kolbe out in 06. He's been in Washington too long.

As we approach the holidays, think of this war as we sit safe. Think of the 100,000+ dead and wounded civilians and soldiers and their families. Think of the Bush/Cheney lies. Think of the millions of Iraqi children damaged for life. Think of our moral duty to end the Iraq war's killing, suffering, and destruction.

Bush/Cheney should resign, and step down after an emergency nationwide Presidential election 60 days later.

My fellow Americans, we need to right this wrong.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Community solidarity helps win ASARCO strike

TUCSON -- Union copper workers are back on the job at ASARCO this week after a four month strike.

No doubt that community support and involvement of environmental, political, student, labor, and faith leaders helped back down ASARCO's evil parent company, Mexico City-based Grupo Mexico.

A stronger coalition has emerged, and we won't stop pushing for environmental and human justice. Demanding always that corporations show responsibility and respect for nature and people.

El Grupo may have had enough with our strength. Rumor is Phoenix-based Phelps Dodge may buy ASARCO or some of its key assets.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

'Environmental Darth Vader' quits Bush team

WASHINGTON -- One of the most anti-conservation political appointees in the Bush administratrion resigned today. Craig Manson, Asst. Secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife & Parks, likely has killed more wildlife and habitat protection than any previous Washington bureaucrat. Leading conservationists have called him the 'environmental Darth Vader'.

Manson says he's taking a teaching job at a college in Sacramento.

Maybe he just got a better job. But it could be that he quit due to recent investigative reporting in to his environmental attacks, including recently in the LA Times and today in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Or perhaps Manson was pushed out due to Bush's massive and growing political problems, and the White House decided it no longer wants the bad press he invites by his attacks on endangered species and habitat protections.

The big question is what will Manson do between now and the end of the year, when he is set to step down? Another one is who will replace him?

It seems America could hardly do worse, but you never know with GW Bush in charge.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Desert off-road racing threatens Arizona nature

AJO AZ -- Desert destroying oil-addicted motorheads from Phoenix, and the Bush BLM's Arizona office, are scheming to start 100-mile extreme off-road races on public lands in Pima County.

Off-road racing destroys desert habitat, pollutes the air, harms quality of life, and displaces all other uses of public lands.

Tough, wise citizens of Western Pima County are resisting this terribly stupid idea. The Ajo-based Sonoran Desert Tranquilarians will protect the desert from these off-road 'wreck'reational racers, with your help.

Rep. Grijalva is listening, but where is Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson on working to stop this threat to her district?

If you live in Pima County, please nicely contact Supervisor Bronson and urge her to clearly oppose desert racing near Ajo and support the Tranquilarians, district3@pima.gov, or 520.740.8126. Also contact BLM's Penny Foreman with your strong opposition to desert off-road racing, Penny_Foreman@blm.gov, or 602.417.9200.

Off-roaders' pollution and destruction of nature, and frivolous wasting of fuel are threats to our natural & national security.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Death of Chris Limberis big loss for truth & media

Feature TUCSON -- The Nov 5 death of Tucson Weekly reporter Chris Limberis is a sad loss for all who care about truth, justice and good journalism.

I knew Chris and liked him and his writing, even though some others may not have. He first called me when I declared my interest in Dan Eckstrom's seat on the Pima County Board of Supervisors in 2003. We met, had greek food, and talked a long time about the present and future problems and solutions in southern Arizona.

After that I often saw and talked with him at political meetings and events. He called me for occasional perspective on how I saw a local issue. I appreciated that.

Chris was sharp, informed, and didn't kiss ass or fake friendliness. He wanted the truth, often on touchy subjects, and worked to get it. Those most uncomfortable with his reporting were politicians and fat cats who should've been, usually the same scammers he exposed for violating the public interest.

We'll miss you, Chris Limberis. And we'll likely be less informed due to your passing. You died much too young at 47, but you made a big and positive impact on the world during your time.

Good luck, Tucson Weekly, finding someone tough and smart enough to fill such big shoes.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans deserve holiday, and more peace

USA -- Veterans are remembered today in America, and they should be. Many have died or been maimed for many reasons, sometimes more worthy, sometimes as pawns for politicians.

My grandpa and dad are veterans, but not me. I feel fortunate. Wonder if my kid will be as lucky?

Many veterans had little or no choice, either drafted by the government, or pushed toward the military for economic reasons.

Other veterans joined willingly, and I respect that.

The Iraq war is creating a whole new generation of damaged and dead veterans, and a whole lot more dead civilians, but for what gain? Not much worth it in my eyes.

If you support veterans, support bringing them home safe now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Faith & green groups defend rare desert wildlife


Sage grouse need Endangered Species Act protection in Mono Basin.

BISHOP CA -- Environmental and faith leaders today petitioned the Bush Interior Dept. to better protect the Mono Basin sage grouse by listing it as an endangered species in the Eastern Sierra and Great Basin Desert of Eastern California and Western Nevada.

Sage grouse are threatened by livestock grazing, off-roading, and development/loss of habitat. Mis-management public lands by BLM is especially a problem for sage grouse.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Christians Caring for Creation, Sagebrush Sea Campaign, and Western Watersheds Project submitted the scientific petition to the US Fish & Wildlife Service in Washington and Reno.

FWS has 90 days to issue a finding on the information presented in the petition. It is very likely the agency will ignore this deadline and force citizens to sue to get a finding.

This is a neat bird in a cool part of America. Saving it is the right and ethical thing to do. But expect the Bush's Interior Secretary Gale Norton to stall and fight citizens' efforts to better conserve and recover Mono Basin sage grouse and the land they live on.

Respect the desert and we respect ourselves. As goes the sage grouse and other wildlife, so goes our own quality of life.

AP article

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Big double wins on council boost Tucson's hopes



TUCSON -- Good work everyone for helping elect Uhlich and Trasoff, and booting out the deadwood.

Now maybe our growing city can get some more positive things done for regular people and quality of life. I look forward to working with this council for positive change.

Anyone hiring? Ronstadt and Dunbar need jobs. Don't hire Dunbar for a PR job. Her last minute lawsuit was so stupid that it alone was enough reason to vote her off.

Nationwide Republicans got slapped in elections yesterday largely due to Bush's lack of responsible leadership. Now let's focus on giving Sen. Jon Kyl the boot next year.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Mojave mission

MOJAVE DESERT -- Westward on a mission for truth, justice, allies and scenery on the desert trail.

Taking the wind at face and back. Grooving on the night light mystery flash, and UFOs.

Soaking in the southern sun Surprise.

Wild life, wild feelings, my big space and J's. Ruby sweet.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

GOP's Dunbar bullying teachers with lawsuit threat

TUCSON -- Republican Kathleen Dunbar, in a struggle to be re-elected to City Council, is stupidly threatening to sue teachers for $1 million if they don't kiss her ass and retract a statement about her favoring developers over schools.

I agree with her smart opponent Karin Uhlich, and the teachers concerned with Dunbar's questionable behavior.

But no matter what, suing teachers before an election is politically risky.

Time to vote pro-Bush Dunbar off the city council. This is especially easy this year with such a good choice as Uhlich.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

State Land Dept. a threat to Arizona quality-of-life

PHOENIX -- Ever wonder how we just keep seeing more and more desert fall to sprawl development, traffic, and pollution in central and southern Arizona? Our state government has a special department in charge of 9.3 million acres of your land. Their main mission is to sell it to the highest bidder, almost always a developer. State Lands bureaucrats also lease these lands at bargain rates for damaging livestock grazing, mining, logging, and other abuses.

The Arizona State Land Dept. opened a new Tucson office earlier this year. This office has made it quite clear they are all about selling more land to sprawl developers, and not interested in conservation. State Land salesmen also made it clear they don't want local governments designating state lands within their boundaries as preserves or open space, just 'future growth'. So much for local control, Gov. Napolitano's land man Mark Winkleman keeps setting a tone for more money and pavement.

The Tucson State Lands office is planning to sell off even more of the NW side, and even lands adjacent to Saguaro National Park. When officials raised concerns about impacts to this national treasure, they were rudely rejected by Ron Ruziska, head of the Tucson office.

This out-of-control state agency needs a major shakeup now, starting with the removal of Winkleman. But will the Governor do anything to help provide some balance? The current weak proposal to somewhat conserve a small amount of State Lands is a small start, but hardly a proper answer.

Education interests also need a wake up call that there are better ways -- such as fair impact fees -- than urban sprawl to fund the small state land sales part of the education budget.

Without major reform of the State Land system soon, Arizona will see huge areas sold to the quality-of-life-wrecking sprawl machine, dooming the Grand Canyon State to lame-ass Californication and all the related problems.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Keep the Tucson food co-op downtown

TUCSON -- The Food Conspiracy co-op, in business as long as me, since 1971, is considering moving to another store.

This may be needed to offer more selection of organic foods, health products, beer & wine to people. The current 4th Av. store is OK, kinda funky but it works. It is one of the good food co-ops in the western US. I know because I used to work at the co-op and still do most food shopping there every week.

A new store may be better, but it should stay downtown. But is a new store truly essential? The current store seems to do the job, and appears sustainable. Maybe an addition could be built onto the back?

Now, the co-op is one of the only full grocery stores close to downtown Tucson. Many people walk or bike to shop there and love it. Moving it to a stripmall with big parking lot would be a mistake, and many of the best, most regular and loyal current customers and members would be lost to places like the 17th St. Market and Trader Hose.

Co-op shoppers, board, and downtown boosters should be interested in keeping it downtown, and follow this issue to ensure the store doesn't flee to try to serve sprawl-dwelling wannabe yuppies. The co-op would fail at this expensive attempt. That is the Wild Oats marketshare.

The Food Conspiracy shouldn't move just because some people can't parallel park a car. If you wanna drive, time to learn.

Even if a new store is needed, keep the co-op in downtown Tucson.

All the people in downtown neighborhoods now and soon need healthy food, and someplace to spend all our money.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Culture war will focus on Alito, may knock him out

WASHINGTON -- GW Bush stooped to serve the radical right by picking a solid 'conservative' catholic white man from Jersey, Samuel A. Alito Jr., to replace outgoing moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the US Supreme Court.

After the crash of Harriet Miers, an epic battle is predicted over Alito -- nicknamed 'Scalito' due to his similarity to ultra-conservative Justice A. Scalia. Zany christian televangelist Pat Robertson is praising Alito, hardly a good sign to moderates. We don't need zealots on the Supreme Court.

Alito is smart and tough, but he'll have a challenge in the Senate, especially because some Senators understandibly wanted a moderate woman nominated.

Look for this debate to mirror the divides of today's American society. But in the end it'll come down to rich v. everyone else.

At least Alito seems likely to support citizens' right to bear arms, so if he's confirmed we may still be able put up some kind of fight when corporations try to totally take over. I hope it never comes to that.

If this process drags on, and there's a good chance it will, O'Connor may have to cancel her UA law class she is supposed to teach this winter. That's OK, Sandra, stay on the court as long as you can and we'll wait to hear you lecture. How about withdrawing your retirement announcement until at least 2009?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Strike hard now to weaken Bush/Cheney & GOP

WASHINGTON -- With all the trouble Bush & Cheney are having, now is the time to turn up the heat.

Scooter Libby and perhaps Karl Rove are headed for prosecution for serious crimes. Just as I predicted, Harriet Miers has bit the dust. The unjust Iraq war is failing.

Ethical Americans must go after these two dangerous warmongers now -- in the streets, in the media, in conversations, on talk radio, against Tucson's Rondstadt & Dunbar, and everywhere.

Let's run Bush/Cheney and all the other crazy baldheads out of town, or at least chop them down for 3 years of weak lame duck status.

More people are finally waking up to these deadly dishonest scammers. The US may be headed for the biggest anti-GOP backlash in a long time. I hope so.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Mountain hiatus

Thanks for visiting, but I'll be away from my blog this week.

Please read my past posts and keep up your great comments.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Daniel Preston has died and will be missed

Courtesy of the Tohono O'odham Nation

T.O.N. -- Daniel Preston, 53, former vice chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation's San Xavier District, died Wednesday at age 53 of complications from diabetes.

Preston was a spiritual man, who worked, prayed, and helped everyone he could for a better world. He will be missed.

Suspects Herget & Newman in jail for Rillito attack

enlarge image
Lincoln Lee Herget
enlarge image
Christopher James Newman

TUCSON -- Here are the guys TPD picked up for hacking saguaro cacti to death.

People seem very pissed about this. I was on the John C. Scott radio show this morning and John was ripping them hard.

They'll have a tough time of it with prosecutors due to their past criminal records.

How about lashes with a cholla whip? Then plant 1000 saguaros each to help restore livestock hammered desert public lands.

I hope they will learn some respect for our world.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Two arrests made in saguaro killing case

TUCSON -- Police today arrested two 19 year old males for chopping down three big saguaro cacti and a mesquite tree last week in Rillito River Park.

Looks like the cops may have taken seriously this crime against nature and our quality of life.

If there is a conviction, the judge should impose a strong sentence that helps these criminals learn some respect for our desert -- such as hundreds of hours of community service doing environmental restoration work -- after jail and applicable fines. More news on this as it comes in.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bush 'pit bull' Miers stumbling right toward a fall

WASHINGTON -- Bush's favorite 'pit bull' pick for the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers, seems to be on her way to being rejected.

Here she is speaking in April to the American Tort Reform Association, a front group for industries who don't want to be held accountable in court for harm they may cause to society. ATRA also is a national partner of the American Justice Partnership, launched in 2005 by the National Association of Manufacturers, which is headed by John Engler, a true right-wing crusader and former GOP governor of Michigan. Miers buddies also are pushing the Lawsuit Abuse Reform Coalition, which boasts a laundry list of corporate members.

I'm sure Miers is a great corporate attorney for Bush and all her past big money clients, but she is not fit for our highest court, or even to be a judge at all. She's kinda like all the Libertarians who want to take over the government they claim to hate.

Miers would almost certainly be an 'activist judge' which is what the Bushies demonize, but she'd be a right-wing activist judge so that's OK in the eyes of GOP hypocrites. It seems clear she would vote to end abortion rights for women, and likely also give more power to the state and corporations over the rights of citizens.

Key Senators sure seem suspicious and upset with her for not being responsive in providing information they need to evaluate her qualifications. Miers is a terrible pick for anyone who cares about fairness on the court for the public-interest. No one seems fooled by her, but it'll come down to who has the most guts and determination in the Senate.

Will the big money win, or the public interest? If dems and ethical GOP Senators do the right thing she'll be gone in a month, forcing Bush to hopefully nominate someone more appropriate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

AZ Game & Fish shows anti-monument bias

ARIZONA STRIP -- Protected in 2000 as the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, this wild part of NW AZ is special. Almost all national public lands managed by BLM, it has some of the most remote and scenic lands in the state.

Our state wildlife agency, Arizona Game & Fish Dept., should be in strong support of the monument, but they aren't. The agency's TV show, 'Wildlife Views', which ran on KUAT in Tucson on Oct 16, featured an AZGFD warden based near the monument. Instead of embracing conservation and pushing to restore habitat by reforming damaging livestock grazing, he complained 'everything will be harder' when the BLM completes its monument plan. He complained that building artificial waters (guzzlers) and doing burns would be harder, which is unlikely, and the show's host sounded an alarm that some roads may be closed and hunters should 'get involved'.

Most environmental groups in the state think BLM could and should be doing more to protect the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument -- some unneeded and damaging roads should be closed, livestock should be restricted or removed, and guzzlers should not be built everywhere -- but our state game boys under Gov. Napolitano are even further to the right than the Bush BLM on the Strip.

Too often AZGFD is a problem, and an example of another state dept. that hasn' t changed much under this Governor. Janet may not be a Republican, but she's sure let a lot of the right-wing bias hold on within state government. How about some more balance?

As a hunter and conservationist, I'd like to be able to support AZGFD, but to win my support they must start respecting and managing the full native web-of-life, not just big money game animals.