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.