Friday, September 30, 2005

Hurricane Otis heads toward the southwest

BAJA CALIFORNIA MX -- Hurricane Otis is heading toward southern Arizona. Mother nature must want to slap us in the SW too. We deserve it, and could use some more rain right now. C'mon, Otis, blow on into Baja Arizona.

Otis Forecast Eye Path ™

Thursday, September 29, 2005

GOP hacks America's Endangered Species Act

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Dick Pombo pisses on American conservation.
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WASHINGTON -- The house voted today to pass a bill by US Rep. Pombo (R-CA) to gut the Endangered Species Act, America's most important wildlife law.

The anti-conservation Bush administration supported his bill, of course. Now it is on to the Senate, where there is a better chance of protecting the Act.

Julie Cart and Janet Wilson of the LA Times yesterday did a great job covering the problems of the Pombo bill.

Americans must push their Senators to reject attacks on the Endangered Species Act. You can do something about it, and stop Pombo's zealotry against nature.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Will the cost of gas get people off their ass?

U$A -- Prepare for gas prices to rise again post-Hurricane Rita. Even Bush is encouraging conservation in these times of tight supply.

I don't mind the cost of gas going up, mostly because I've already learned how to live without being dependent on my car. When I do need my car it is efficient and I plan trips wisely.

I am not alone in favoring higher prices. James Surowiecki, a financial columnist for The New Yorker says a 50-cent gas tax would make drivers pay for the real cost of cars on the road and make business cater to the fuel-conscious.

I still see many big SUVs and other oil hogs speeding around daily with the A/C blasting. This tells me the cost of gas is not yet high enough to spark real lifestyle changes.

Motorheads, will you just pay more and more? Or will you finally get off your ass, park your car more often and walk, carpool, bus or bike? You'll feel great when you do. Plus you'll help our country and planet.

We'll see how higher prices play out in the future, because I don't think prices will be going down much for a long time, if ever.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Big turnout in Arizona for peace

TUCSON -- Over 500 people turned out today to march across the central city for peace and ending Bush's Iraq war. After a good peace and justice rally at Catalina Park including the Raging Grannies and others, people marched east on Speedway Blvd. toward a US military recruiting center. My family and I joined the march.

Peace lovers had lots of powerful signs, including a life size cardboard Bush cutout, modified to look like Hitler. Many American flags also flew, some with peace signs across the stripes. I held a sign that said 'PAZ' with a peace sign.

Police at first tried to keep marchers on the sidewalk, but there were too many jamming the sidewalk, pushing some wheelchairs in to the bike lane. I talked with the cop in the front and he agreed people should take to the street. The mood was positive with almost all feedback positive from observers and passers-by. It was hot, but lots of grins. Stop lights were a small problem, cutting up the march. Next time there should be an arrangement to let the march go through red lights to help stay together.

The crowd rolled in to the recruitment center, filling the parking lot and all around the front of the building. Anarchists taped a big revolutionary flag covering both front doors. The center was closed. Peaceniks walked around, held signs, and chanted some. Cops stayed back, mostly, which I and many appreciated.

Eventually a red Suburban rolled up, with huge US Marines stickers on it and also a memorial photo of a young marine killed in Iraq. A middle-aged man got out with his wife; a few minutes later 3 or 4 kids showed up, his kids. He was in camo pants and had a big red marines flag, but was fairly calm. Marchers respected his rights and there was even some dialogue. People explained that they were supporting the troops from being killed in an unjust war. One marcher commented about how his giant SUV contributed to world insecurity.

My wife said some of these grieving families have to believe the war is just, or they'll go nuts. She is probably right.

It was a good march that showed people in southern AZ want the war ended now. Thanks organizers for putting it on. Let's do more.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Katrina & Rita punches may push masses to desert

HOUSTON -- First Hurricane Katrina blasts Louisiana and Mississippi, now Rita may hammer East Texas. A tough season to live in this part of the country.

Government officials, perhaps overreacting, try to protect everyone order mandatory evacuations over a huge area for many days or longer. People must flee. How long will this go on before many people decide they can't live like that?

Leaving Port Arthur TX LA Times

It still remains to be seen how many will actually try to move back to places Katrina destroyed. Many, perhaps hundreds of thousands, may not move back at all. They have nothing, and can try to start new somewhere else.

Warm weather living folks in Hurricane zones are being worn out, and they will start flocking to the southwest. Refugees of extreme weather very likely to get worse in the future due to global warming.

Can the southwest support the crush? Not likely.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Arizonans fight Bush attack on endangered species

photo by Robin Silver

TUCSON -- Federal wildlife officials were in town this evening at TCC to discuss and hear criticism of the Bush administration's insane and immoral proposal to remove legal protection for the endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl by taking it off the endangered species list.

Despite the fact that there are only around 20 owls known in Arizona, the US Fish & Wildlife Service claims they are not endangered. This unethical proposal is an attempted political favor from Bush officials to big corporate developers. Removal of legal protection would doom the owls in Arizona.

FWS says they need more information, but the agency already has all the information it needs to continue legal protection under the Endangered Species Act. In fact, FWS biologists in Arizona sent high level agency bureaucrats a detailed analysis and justification for continued listing, but Dale Hall, a politically-driven FWS manager rejected it in favor of the de-listing proposal.

Hall, then FWS southwest regional director in Albuquerque, rejected the biologists' report and ordered the de-listing proposal. After Hall's developer-serving favor Bush nominated him to head the agency. The pygmy owl de-listing proposal is just the latest in a nationwide series of reckless GOP attacks on the Endangered Species Act.

The feds want to argue, same as the developers, that it doesn't matter what happens to owls in Arizona because there are also some in Mexico. Pathetic.

We're Americans, and we have a duty to protect what we have in our country, including wildlife, not leave it up to another nation that may or may not care. Habitat in Sonora is being rapidly lost due in significant part to Mexican goverment programs to bulldoze native desert and plant bufflegrass for cattle.

It is unlikely the Bush administration will change its mind about de-listing, but luckily the pygmy owl has many friends in Arizona who will fight for its survival and recovery, including US Rep. Grijalva, the Center for Biological Diversity, Tucson Audubon, Defenders of Wildlife, the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, and others. I hope the owls can hold on long enough in Arizona to outlast Bush.

Rep. Grijalva and staff in particular deserve thanks and praise for working hard to protect the Endangered Species Act.

Local conservationists will hold a pygmy-owl rally and letter writing campaign Monday, Sept. 26, 4-6pm, at the Audubon Nature Shop, 300 E. University Blvd. Cool people, snacks and drinks provided. So c'mon out and do something good for pygmy-owls and your Sonoran Desert.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Dalai Lama brings peace message to Arizona

The 14th Dalai Lama TUCSON -- The Dalai Lama visited Tucson today and gave a 90 minute talk downtown.

He sat in lotus position and spoke to a full house at TCC Arena. It was a good talk. He has a good sense of wit and humor.

The talk focused on overcoming personal anger, and being responsible for changing the world by finding and maintaining our own inner-peace.

I was honored to be there, and Tucson is honored to host him.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bay Area transit a model for Arizona cities

SAN FRANCISCO -- I'm here right now on a work trip. Transit in this urban area works. You don't need a car to get around.

BART System

I'm able to fly Tucson to Oakland, then get to SF easy on the BART. While in SF it is easy to get around on bike, bus, or Muni train. Ease of movement stimulates a city and benefits the economy.

People always point to Portland as a model, but Portland got a lot of its ideas from the Bay Area.

People in Phoenix and Tucson would benefit if our transportation planners and local politicians looked here for inspiration.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

GW Bush: One of America's worst disasters

Bush: The Worst Disaster in U.S. History

This image says it all. Bush is the worst American disaster, and a global disgrace.

I hope America can make it to 09, and we get a much better President.

$50+ billion more for FEMA to waste!?! No way. How much of the federal payouts will really be bailouts for big insurance corporations? Alot, I suspect. They've gambled everyone's premium away, now the feds will pay with our money so big insurance CEOs don't have to.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Guaymas port means traffic & pollution for Tucson

NAFTA/WTO express

GUAYMAS, SONORA, MEXICO -- Plans here to build a huge shipping port could affect quality of life in Tucson and southern AZ. The multi-national free-traders want a new location for shipping, and everything coming and going from Guaymas would pass through Tucson on trains and trucks, bringing more pollution, traffic, and noise.

Southside Tucson residents would be particularly affected. The current rail line to Nogales now runs straight south starting from just east of downtown. Now there are a moderate amount of trains daily, but a Guaymas superport would bring a sharp increase.

There is talk of routing the rail line east toward Houghton Rd. to avoid most existing urban areas, but this would require a major federal payoff to the railroad, which will not move willingly.

Yet another aspect of living near the border, being caught in the path of the NAFTA/WTO express.

If freight trains are routed farther east, passenger service on the current Nogales line could start. This seems supportable and would connect rail travel from Tucson to Mexico and further south.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bush stumbles along as nation crumbles

No leadership, no hope.

WASHINGTON -- With the public angered at the feds sorry response to Hurricane Katrina, record high oil prices, a failing and costly war in Iraq, and our economy headed toward recession, most people must now see Bush's incompetence.

The GW Bush failure is undeniable, even to most right-wingers. Bush supporters such as Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) must go, and I hope Jim Pederson or someone else OK runs and beats him next year.

Is anyone really surprised that the historically racist US government had such a bad response to the storm? C'mon, most of the people down there are poor and black. They are not the GOP base.

The bayou reeks of death and destruction while our troops and equipment fight a pointless oil war in Iraq.

Our taxes keep going up, but all the money goes to the Pentagon for wars.

Caring nations of the world, please liberate US.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Workers stiffed by ASARCO as Labor Day nears

TUCSON -- The over two month old strike by over 1500 ASARCO mine workers continues as Labor Day approaches.

ASARCO mine strike c...

ASARCO/Grupo Mexico won't offer workers a fair deal, even during this time of record high copper prices. It's bad corporate anti-worker politics.

The strike could be more effective if the picket line was in town at the ASARCO headquaters north of downtown. Union organizers are missing an opportunity for many Tucsonans to join them for justice. Most people can't go to Hayden or the Silverbell Mountains for strike solidarity.

I'm thinking about the striking mine workers this weekend, wishing them well. Their strike is justified, but the company may try to wait and starve them out to crush the resistance.

El Grupo may mothball Arizona operations and increase foreign mining rather than play fair and strike an ethical deal. Then they'll come back later and re-open the mines with no union.

Think of justice against corporate greed this labor day. This holiday is about work even though many take the day off to rest.