Friday, December 29, 2006

James Brown moves the crowd at the Apollo

HARLEM NY -- Yesterday we visited the Apollo Theater in NYC to pay tribute to the great James Brown. All the way from Tucson and the 520 to Harlem and the 212.

Here's a photo I snapped.

The line was way too long to get in, so we danced and had some drinks at the historic Lenox Lounge on Malcom X Blvd.

The street scene on 125th was jumping, with Brown's 'soul brother number one' jams blasting. Incredible street party and vibes.

I hope to post more and some live audio later.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy holidays, merry Christmas, Capitol fight 07

Christmas lights on Saguaro cactus, Tucson Arizona USA

TUCSON -- Best to you this season and for 07. Here's wishing you didn't spend too much during this special, but overcommercialized time of year.

What would Jesus buy? Probably not too much.

If you did spend too much, like many Americans, take some things back and cut up your credit and debit cards. Stay on a cash budget and you'll save more money and stay out of debt.

My top 07 wish is Pelosi, Reid and the dems in congress will come out swinging at Bush, the GOP righties, and the Iraq war disaster, and not be weak and lame dems in the name of 'moderate centrism'.

Tucson's US Reps. Grijalva and Giffords can and should help boost backbone in the House at least. Pastor and Mitchell of Phoenix should also push tough for broad reform in DC.

Another 07 Daniel view: John McCain for President? No way, McCain for Retirement is more like it.

America needs more than just far right and middle right agendas on our political plates, which essentially is almost all we have now on a national level.

I'm taking some time off from the glow and buzz of computers to enhance real world connections, so there may be little to no action here until Jan 5 or 8.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dr. Ortiz helped AZ's poor, UFW & Cesar Chavez

TUCSON -- Dr. Augusto Ortiz died on Saturday, Dec. 16th at the age of 89. He and his wife Martha had been married for 62 years. Dr. Ortiz spent his whole career as a doctor attending to the medical needs of poor people in Phoenix and in rural Arizona.

For years Dr. Ortiz with Martha at his side drove a gigantic van into rural areas caring for those who were in need of medical attention. Dr. Ortiz cared for Cesar Chavez when Cesar undertook a forty-day fast in Guadalupe after the Arizona Legislature passed a vicious piece of anti-farm worker legislature. When Cesar was in Tucson, he often stayed with Augusto and Martha in their home.

If you wish to make a donation to the United Farm Workers Union in his honor, you can call Justin Watkins at the UFW headquarters 661.822.5572.

-- from CDH

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Give your phone rare wild animal sounds, for free

TUCSON -- Why should your cell phone sound like everyone else’s? Personalize your cell phone with the fascinating sounds of rare and endangered wildlife calls. Now your phone can come alive with the croaks, chirps and songs of endangered species.

The Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity offers you ringtones of rare and endangered animals, a collection of high-quality, authentic sounds of some of the world’s most threatened birds, owls, frogs, toads and marine mammals. Download their haunting hoots, sensational songs and crazy croaks to your cell phone, for free.

You can now set your cell phone ringer to the amazing and intriguing calls of the Blue-throated Macaw, Beluga Whale, Boreal Owl, Mountain Yellow-legged Frog, Yosemite Toad, or any one of over forty other endangered critters. Download the sounds of endangered species in your area or from around the world.

-- from CBD

My personal favorites are the Western Burrowing Owl, Black Toad, and Rio Grande Leopard Frog, all found in the southwest.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

State resistance threatens to wipe out desert fish

Desert Pupfish (male)

AZ & NM GAME & FISH RESISTANCE THREATENS TO WIPE OUT DESERT FISH
: State push for nonnative game fish undercuts federal recovery plans

PHOENIX -- Federal recovery plans for imperiled fish in the rivers of the Southwest are frustrated by inter-agency conflict, according to a detailed analysis by a team of independent biologists released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

The scientists found endangered and threatened fish of the Gila River basin in southern Arizona and western New Mexico continue to decline because key steps in approved recovery plans are not implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, particularly control of nonnative game fish managed by the state wildlife agencies which are supposed to be assisting in federal recovery plan implementation.

A recovery plan is a basic provision of the Endangered Species Act. It outlines the steps needed to prevent possible extinction of a federally-listed species and to restore a healthy self-sustaining species.

“The recovery plans are sound but the problem is that there is no consistent follow-through,” stated Dr. Paul Marsh of the Desert Fishes Team, a group of agency, academic, and non-government biologists monitoring conservation of native fishes of the southwest. “The conflicting mandate of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect native fish versus the state wildlife agencies’ promotion of sport fishing has stalemated effective actions in addressing root causes of the continuing deterioration in the status of the native species.”

The scientists’ analysis found that use of nonnative fish for sport fishing, aquaculture, and bio-control programs by state agencies now constitutes the principal barrier to recovery of warm water fishes in the Gila River basin, such as the desert pupfish, spikedace and Colorado pikeminnow, all of which are listed under federal law as threatened or endangered. The analysis documented that:
  • Despite having recovery plans in place for between 9 and 28 years, full, successful implementation has not been achieved for any of the eight listed fish species, and a moderate level of implementation has been achieved for only one (the Gila topminnow);
  • Progress for recovery of some species, such as the desert pupfish, “has been virtually non-existent”; and
  • The failure to remove nonnative sport and bait fish and other aquatic species, such as crayfish and bullfrogs, is preventing recovery of native fish populations.
“We’ve found that the federal Endangered Species Act will work provided it is followed,” added Jerome Stefferud, a team scientist. “The Act can save these eight fish species, but only if the agencies commit to rapid and effective implementation of the recovery plans.”

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cannot do its job unless it starts standing up to its state ‘partners,’” observed PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that Arizona and New Mexico game agencies push introduction of exotic sport and bait fish to maximize fishing license revenue. “To add insult to injury, these state agencies are using federal dollars to screw up expensive federal recovery plans.”

Two earlier reports by the Desert Fishes Team reviewed the status of all native fish species in the Gila River basin. Those studies found that all of the fish were declining and that in addition to the nine already listed as endangered and threatened, another seven are now in need of that protection.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Yuma biologist attacked by Bush admin. for emails

Colorado River bed dried up near Yuma AZ due to overuse

FEDERAL BIOLOGIST FACES FIRING FOR EMAILING ENVIRONMENTALISTS
Bureau of Reclamation Cites “Subversive” Behavior in Revealing Agency Misdeeds

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has proposed to fire a biologist after finding emails he had sent to environmentalists and to other agencies, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In its letter of proposed termination, the agency alleged the “subversive” activity of communicating with “environmental organizations which are opposed to Reclamation generally and adversarial in nature” justifies immediate removal.

Charles (Rex) Wahl, a GS-12 Environmental Specialist, has been on paid administrative leave for the past three months while the agency continues to ponder his fate. Shortly after Wahl was notified of his proposed firing on September 18th, the Bureau of Reclamation also dismissed his wife Cherie from a temporary clerk-typist position.

Ironically, Wahl’s main duty in Reclamation’s Yuma Area Office was to keep stakeholders, including environmentalists, abreast of agency “actions and initiatives” as required under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In addition to his contact with environmentalists, Wahl is also charged with revealing “administratively controlled information” to other federal agencies.

“These charges are both insulting and illegal,” stated PEER Senior Counsel Paula Dinerstein, who is leading Wahl’s legal challenge against any proposed disciplinary action. “Public servants cannot be fired simply for telling inconvenient truths.”

In May, Wahl (who had earned excellent performance evaluations) had transferred to Reclamation’s Albuquerque Office. In August, Reclamation discovered the emails Wahl had sent months earlier as it cleared the hard drive of his computer.

Wahl’s disclosures concern an array of proposed Reclamation projects on the Lower Colorado River. He also revealed that Reclamation had falsified material in a permit it submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, Wahl suggested to environmentalists that they obtain certain agency reports through the Freedom of Information Act.

“Federal employees are not required to swear bureaucratic omertà – silence at the expense of the public interest,” Dinerstein added. “Part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s problem is that it apparently regards environmentalists as enemies. Contrary to its paranoid posture, Reclamation is required to be forthright about the implications of what it is doing.”

Reclamation is under no deadlines to act on Wahl’s case. Facing a short statute of limitations on filing complaints, however, PEER has initiated an investigation into the matter by the U.S. Department of Labor under the whistleblower provisions of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and Solid Waste Disposal Act.

-- from PEER

Saturday, December 16, 2006

LA-style freeway plans & sprawl will choke Arizona

TUCSON -- Arizona is making some big transportation mistakes, worsening global warming, urban sprawl, and air pollution with massive new road building proposals. As a downtown dwelling dad of a 4 year old, I'm very concerned, and you should be too.

Gov. Napolitano
's Transportation Director in Phoenix, Victor Mendez, following the failed SoCal freeway model, is pushing new freeways all over Southern Arizona. So uncreative, and absurdly expensive and disrupting.

Until recently, freeway mania was focused on Maricopa County, and it still is, but now metro Tucson, Yuma, and Pinal County are targeted as well.

Developers, road builders, bureaucrats, and other profiteers gathered Thursday in Tucson at I-10 and 22nd St. to cheer the expansion of I-10 from 6 to 8 lanes. This hugely expensive project won't do much to improve traffic, which really isn't that bad on I-10 in Tucson, but it will further divide downtown and the west side, and force most of the local freeway traffic on to Tucson streets and neighborhoods for at least 3.5 years while the new lanes are built. Then the new lanes will fill up with traffic.

Now, former big development attorney Si Schorr, on behalf of RTA, is pushing a Tucson bypass route, supposedly for trucks. His current proposal would run a new freeway north of Tucson along the San Pedro River in a wild area between the Sky Island Santa Catalina and Galiuro Mountains.

Schorr is no dummy. He knows development follows road projects, and he and his buddies like a lot of development. The Tucson huge loop bypass is at least partly for development, make no mistake about it.

Global warming is upon us like a speeding train. Metro Phoenix has bad air alerts weekly, and Tucson's air quality is declining rapidly. More freeways, pavement, and associated urban sprawl will only make it worse.

The only way to ensure future quality of life in Tucson is creating more options for people to get out of their cars, or at least not drive alone so much. We are smart enough to do this.

We cannot build our way out of congestion, especially when we keep approving more development that adds to it, but we can destroy a lot of desert, foul the air, and wreck neighborhoods by trying.

If these freeways must be built, and I say they must not, shouldn't developers be paying for these roads which open huge new areas to their crappy subdivisions and strip malls? Yes, they should. But instead we all pay so millions more can come to Arizona to drain our water supply, pollute the air, pave our deserts, and wreck our quality of life.

LA-style freeways don't work, just try to drive in LA, but that isn't stopping the greedheads in government or industry from building these colossal boondoggles.

Growth for the sake of growth is what cancer cells do. The out-of-control freeway plans for Arizona are a cancer that will doom southern Arizona to eventual SoCal style gridlock, thick smog, and low quality of life. One distant slight positive is oversized roads will make great bikeways when all the oil is gone, if we survive.

Gov. Napolitano has so far has done little to really challenge Arizona's unsustainable growth, allowing Mendez, and State Lands Commissioner Mark Winkelman to run wild serving big money sprawl development interests.

Will the popular Gov. Janet really take on the deadly, unsustainable sprawl machine? It is no small task or political risk. But if not now, when? We need big land, water, energy and transportation reform soon.

When all the water is gone, the deserts are paved, the temps are even more scorching, and the air is sickening, then we will all learn that we cannot drink, eat, or breathe cars, super freeways, or money.

But by then it may be too late to save us. For the sake of all of us and all that is good in the world, I hope it doesn't come to that. We are smart people and we can live cleaner.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Right a wrong: change Tucson's pro-war 'A' Mtn.

TUCSON -- The Tucson Weekly got it right this week by calling for an end to the blue, white, and red paint job on 'A' Mountain.

Iraq war fans, Mayor Walkup (R), and the former GOP-lead city council rushed to change the 'A' in 2003. Since then many Tucsonans see the 'A' as a wrongheaded symbol of death and Bush/Cheney's unjust Iraq war.

Since then citizens have taken action to restore the traditional white paint, or even paint it black. But each time the city and a handful of aggressive war fiends have rushed to restore the blue, white, and red (actually French flag style) paint job.

The Iraq war is a deadly mistake and disaster. Jose Ibarra and the rest of the Tucson city council should right a wrong by restoring the white paint job, or as the Weekly suggests, paint the 'A' black in respectful mourning for the war dead and wounded until we get out of Iraq and bring the troops back home to their families.

The 'A' stands for Arizona, not American (Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, Inc.) arrogance. Celebrating Bush's failed disaster war is hardly patriotic or supporting the troops. Mourning the war dead and wounded shows respect, reflection, and understanding.

Who wants to have an 'A' painting party?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

City leaders may waste $200M on unneeded arena

TUCSON -- City leaders may spend $200,000,000+ for a new downtown arena.

I'm not sure this is the best idea for our city.

We already have a decent downtown arena at TCC. Improve it, if needed, but an building a hugely expensive entirely new arena is absurd.

I have been a strong supporter of Rio Nuevo, but these bad ideas are making me a skeptic.

C'mon, Mr. Hein, Mayor and Council, we can and must do better for downtown. $200M could do a lot for downtown quality of life, small biz, parks, transit, etc. than a new arena that sits idle most of the time.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dennis Kucinich may push dems for President left

CLEVELAND -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced he'd make another run for President in 08.

His announcement today got some press, but mostly was ignored in the Obama-Hillary hype.

He ran in 04 and attracted some lefty support, but ended up getting crushed by the big candidates and dem party machine.

Kucinich did make a campaign stop in downtown Tucson in 04. Maybe he'll be back soon?

I voted for Kucinich in the 04 AZ primary -- before supporting Kerry/Edwards -- and I may vote for him again in 08.

Nice to see Congressman Dennis Kucinich jump in the race today.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Most states pick environmental quarter designs

WASHINGTON -- So far 45 states have had their quarters minted, or selected the final design. Even though the US Mint allowed industrial scenes, 24 states have picked environmental themes, such as the endangered Peregrine falcon that will appear on the Idaho quarter next year.

Peregrine falcon

States with natural resource themes on their quarters are: CT, SC, NH, RI, VT, LA, MS, ME, MO, AR, MI, CA, MN, OR, KS, WV, NV, NE, CO, ND, SD, MT, WA, ID.

Eco designs are especially prominent in the West. Overall, many green quarter states are considered 'red states' where it is said that 'conservative' politics dominate.

It's likely that 4 of the 5 remaining states yet to choose a design will pick an environmental theme -- Arizona plans the Grand Canyon and Saguaro cactus -- so in the end it may be 28 states with green quarters -- 56%.

I am encouraged by this. It shows once again that the public and states are far ahead of the Bush feds in DC on environmental pride and awareness.

The North Dakota Quarter
The Nevada Quarter

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Public Enemy tour booms in downtown Tucson

TUCSON -- The Public Enemy tour ripped downtown last night for over 4 hours in front of a lively and diverse crowd at the Rialto.

Starting with AZ's Grime, the Banned, and X-Clan the show was high energy, and loud.

Public Enemy played by far the longest, doing old and new raps backed by DJ Johnny Juice, the Banned, and the S1Ws.

PE seemed to really enjoy the hyped Tucson crowd and playing in Arizona, as seen in my two photos here.

Chuck D. was strong and positive, energizing the crowd and slapping many hands.

Flavor Flav was especially in to the crowd and excited about Tucson, being the last to leave the stage. He also rocked out on a funky drum solo.

Professor Griff was great too, especially when he brought out a very talented Tucson breakdance crew to rip it up.

PE has inspired me since high school, and they still do. They represent real hip-hop revolutionaries.

Great show!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

DRP now PEER Southwest Director for AZ & NM

TUCSON -- I started a new position Monday as Southwest Director of Washington DC-based Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Right now I am investigating problems with the US Fish & Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System.

To support SW PEER, or if you are a public employee in Arizona or New Mexico trying to protect the environment who needs help, contact me at roundriver@gmail.com

Friday, December 01, 2006

New Apache leader Nosie could help Mx. wolves

SAN CARLOS AZ -- Wendsler Nosie was elected last month to head the San Carlos Apache Nation, a 1.8 million acre section of southeastern Arizona desert, mountains, and forest.

Mexican gray wolf recovery has been treated with hostility by a handful of ranchers on the nation. Let's hope Nosie works to make the nation more wolf friendly.

Nosie is a great leader, a real friend to nature and traditional indigenous values. He'll be sworn in Tuesday 10am. Congratulations, Wendsler Nosie.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Xtreme off-roaders target rare Death Valley stream


Daniel R. Patterson

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK -- The Los Angeles Times on Nov 28 revisited an issued I've worked on for a long-time, protection of Surprise Canyon and the most productive spring-fed riparian stream in the Mojave Desert.

The Times even used two of my photos.

Surprise Canyon is a rare desert jewel, not a road.

Even the Bush BLM & Interior Dept. should back away from the loser push to let extreme modified jeeps wreck the stream by chainsawing trees and trying to winch up waterfalls.

PEER, CBD and others are moving in court to keep the canyon protected.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dust pollution storm clogs Arizona sky with grit

TUCSON -- Cool gusty winds are blowing dust and other pollution to very high levels today in Pima County.

Stay inside and don't drive if you can.

The gov't may say today is good or moderate air quality, with their skewed standards, but the air today really is bad. You can't see the Catalina Mountains from downtown.

Dust blew in late this AM from metro Phoenix and Pinal County, certainly fueled by ag, urban sprawl, cars, roads, and bulldozed desert.

All I want for Christmas is clean air for my family and all.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Arizona activist of the month: Isabel Garcia

TUCSON -- More like activist of the decade. Isabel Garcia has been out on the front lines for human rights for a long time. She serves with strength, smarts, and dignity.

Isabel was recently selected as the National Human Rights Award Recipient by National Human Rights Commission in México.

from Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Nov 24 06: Coalición de Derechos Humanos is extremely proud to announce that Isabel Garcia, one of its Co-Chairs, has been selected by the Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (National Human Rights Commission) to receive the Premio Nacional de Derechos Humanos 2006 (National Human Rights Award 2006). The Premio is bestowed by the independent human rights commission chartered by the Mexican Constitution upon individuals who have distinguished themselves in the promotion and defense of human rights.

According to the official announcement of the Human Rights Commission, Isabel will receive the award in México City on December 13, 2006, in recognition of her passionate and effective organizing and advocacy for respect for human rights, particularly on behalf of migrants along the U.S./México border.

“Although it is quite a personal honor, this award is really for our entire community of human rights warriors, especially the members of the Coalición de Derechos Humanos who have consistently and courageously fought alongside with those who face the harshest abuse and violence” says Garcia. “It is particularly gratifying given that our position and analysis have always been very critical of both the US and México in their dealing with the issues of migration, militarization, and the economic dislocation of migrants. We are hopeful that this recognition will serve us in promoting policies that are based, first and foremost, on the respect for the humanity of each individual.”

Members of Coalición de Derechos Humanos have worked tirelessly for nearly thirty years to promote respect for human and civil rights and fight the militarization of the southern border region, discrimination, and human rights abuses by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials affecting U.S. and non-U.S. citizens alike.

Monday, November 27, 2006

ORVs damage desert, kill 4, at Yuma-area dunes

YUMA AZ -- Out-of-control off-road vehicle (ORV) madness and motorhead mayhem again at the Algodones Sand Dunes in the Sonoran Desert of Imperial County CA. Observers also reported off-road violations of protected areas for endangered species and wilderness values.

* adapted from the Yuma Sun, Nov 26 06.

Fatal accidents mark holiday weekend at dunes


Four people died in accidents in and around the Imperial San Dunes Recreation Area during the Thanksgiving holiday that saw crowds of about 180,000 people, officials said Sunday.

Lines of recreational vehicles could be seen about a mile long Sunday as the mass exodus of revelers left the sand dunes west of Yuma. But for the most part, officials said, it was a routine holiday season at the dunes, a popular spot for dirtbikes, sand rails, bonfires and of course, beer.

"It was about the usual crowd of 180,000 people," said Steve Razo with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which manages the area.

"That’s typical for a holiday weekend..."

The popular spot challenges authorities because many of the injuries occur far away from major roads, out in the expansive hills of sand.

Joe Miller, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, said the El Centro CHP station handled three fatal accidents in and around the dunes, and there was one on Interstate 8, which cuts through the area.

There were also 26 drunken driving arrests involving motorists in and around the dunes and on the highway, Miller said.

"It was busy," Miller said. "We had a lot of DUIs."

U.S. Border Patrol agents were also out in the dunes, including the agency’s Border Search Trauma and Rescue Team (BORSTAR), said agent Lloyd Easterling.

"With so many people out there on the dunes, they (agents) are out there for two reasons," Easterling said. "First, it might might be easier for smugglers to get through and blend in with the crowds. ... (Second) they are an asset because of their medical experience."

Razo said the crowd and the number of medical or enforcement actions were a little smaller compared to last year’s.

Still, the riders kept BLM officers busy. There were 131 medical calls and 753 law enforcement actions, which included tickets for safety violations, drunken driving and other violations. In one incident, BLM officers gave a drunk-in-public citation to an off-duty corrections officer, and in another area, officers had to break up a large group that was beginning to become unruly, Razo said...

"They’re crazy," a Yuma woman said of the riders. "They like to show off their toys."

Will she come back be back?

"Maybe, but when it not so packed," she said. "There were a lot of drunk people..."

*

Great family fun, Bush BLM big oil style.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Eating is a political act

TUCSON -- Our family recently purchased a food share in the Tucson Community Supported Agriculture and we are very excited. It's one thing to eat organic produce and quite another to eat good-tasting food from *locally-grown* farmers. How much sense does it make to buy organic food at Wild Oats or Trader Joes when most of it was trucked in from long distances?

We will also learn to eat what is in season. A charming but important message in their recent newsletter alerted members that cow and goat chesse shares are on hold until spring because the milk has 'gone dry' for the winter. And, there are plenty of free recipes to help you cook that odd but temping veggie you've never seen before.

Their store also holds both shelves and a cooler full of organic Zapatista coffee, herbal Native-made remedies, local honies, goat cheese fudge, sauerkraut, jams and jellies, and a tidy book selection.

A little background:

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) originated in Japan (1960s) and Europe (1970s) and began in the United States in the 1980s. This "movement" provides a direct link between consumers and farmers. The goal of this relationship is to provide solutions to the problems of small farm survival, food quality, nutrition, community building, sustainability and quality of life. This direct marketing method can benefit both farmer and consumer in many ways.

CSA arrangements are based on a contractual agreement between a farmer and a consumer. Every CSA arrangement operates differently and in a variety of forms. However, the concept is that the consumer, often described as a "shareholder" or "member", usually purchases a "share" or "membership" prior to the growing season. This not only provides the farmer with capital to start their business, but also ensures a guaranteed market for their product. Members can rely on fresh, local produce throughout the season. As each crop comes in throughout the growing season, members receive their share, often once or twice a week. The size of the shares vary in quantity and variety. As shareholders of the farm business, they share the risks with the farmer. In this way, the risks are spread throughout the whole membership rather than falling solely on the farmer. The produce is picked up by members at the farm or at a central location.

We pick up our first bag (share) this Monday.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Friday is Buy Nothing Day; spend no money


PALM DESERT CA -- Instead of rushing around like a nutcase Friday with all the other shopping nutcases, participate in Buy Nothing Day by spending no money Friday.

I'll be keeping my money in my pocket.

Check out this great Buy Nothing Day promo video.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thankful this holiday for Gould's turkey restoration

SKY ISLANDS AZ -- This thanksgiving I'm thankful for family and all that, but also for the restoration of the Gould's Mexican turkey to SE Arizona.

This big bird is doing well in the Sky Islands of Cochise County since being reintroduced by AZGFD several years back.

Now if I could only get a fall tag we could have a tasty wild Gould's turkey at my house some year.

Fighting, Kissing, and Making Up


By Jeneiene Schaffer

It’s funny how you come to see the similarities between the dysfunctions of your family and the dysfunctionings of the family politic.

Take my twisted sister, for example. Just two years ago in the days leading up to the 2004 election we were both frothing at the mouth at each other. If spit could reach along the telephone lines all the way to New Jersey and back we’d both be doing the ‘ew gross dance’ while shouting ‘you dumbass, how could you vote for that man?!”

My entire extended family, with the exception of me, my brother and youngest sister, are all diehard Republicans. Heck, my dad *still* defends Tricky Dick at family reunions, where my relatives must scheme for weeks: “do you think we should get on her case about abortion?” Nah, let’s remind her again about how Clinton nailed that poor innocent intern!” And so on.

But, the past couple of weeks have brought fewer and fewer sarcastic bombastic so-you’ll believe-anything-Michael Moore, Moveon.org,-and-the-liberal-media-tell-you, won’t-you emails from my family. No, the airwaves and ewaves have been copiously and mysteriously quiet. No smirking forwarded messages from the desk of Limbaugh, O’Rielly, and Coulter. Nadda.

Yes, the media talked a lot about hate back in 2004. They discussed and evaluated surveys showing how incredible it was that people not only disliked a president and his policies, but now there was outright hatred. Despising and loathing even. I would sometimes cry after my sister, who I love dearly, and I would fight about Bush, Iraq, attacks against gays, etc. I would email her late in the night and swear to her that nothing, not even Bush, could tear us apart.

Then the blog movement began and we stopped spewing at each other. Instead, we left searing comments on each other’s blogsite. Sometimes I think the blogoshere movement began with so many pissed off people and nowhere to go.

And, now we: the dems, the independents, the repentant Republicans have been delivered our comeuppance. If this were a schoolyard playground we would be shouting in the bullies’ faces and demanding that now you play what WE want to play. From the time it became apparent that the dems would take not only the house but the senate as well, how I fought the urge to email the now silent part of my family and rub, rub, rub away in all their faces. Ah, that would have felt good.

But, only temporarily. You see, we of the ‘liberal’ persuasion now have the awesome and very awkward responsibility to carry on and display what the conservative right have championed for so long and failed miserably at: the traditional Christian legacy of turning the other cheek. To live and let live. We must be compassionate, caring, and begin to gather in the whole flock—black sheep and all.

When I think about how that’s no fun at all, I remind myself how angry it made me to be the so-called black sheep both in my own family and in society at large. When Nancy Pelosi talked on the News Hour the night after the election and said that now is not the time to fight back but work together, I considered. Maybe we can seize this opportunity to show ‘em how it’s really done. Dems are the true uniters, y’all so listen up and take notes.

Maybe it’s the cynical New Yorker in me. Maybe it’s because human nature changes at such a tortoise-like slow pace that I doubt the dems will really be that much better. But most of all, maybe it’s because I see my own dysfunctional family when I watch Nancy and George Junior dance around how much they can’t stand each other.

At the Double Tree Hotel victory party for the dems in Tucson, Jim Kolbe plants a smooch on Gabby Gifford’s cheek and the crowd goes wild. Um, did I miss something?

My sister and I are looking forward to a great visit this Christmas. I just got off the phone with her and because I’m flying out with my family to see her, she’s kicking down for the rental car. I’d bet the farm that neither of us will mention the election. If keeping our mouth shut sometimes is what keeps the peace, let it be so.

***************
Jeneiene is a registered Independent. A frequent contributor to publications such as the Tucson Weekly, she has submitted this piece for consideration.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Heavy rail overlooked option for Arizona commute

MAP_5-6.gif (195740 bytes)

TUCSON -- Railroads through Tucson run along I-10 & I-19. With some investment, these heavy rails could become hosts to daily passenger service from Benson -- Tucson -- Marana, with key stops and connecting bus service. We could also have daily trains to Phoenix and even Yuma.

We've got these rails in place, but can the Union Pacific RR be convinced to share? Could be a problem.

Imagine a nice train ride from the NW side, SE side, S side or Nogales in to downtown or UA, or many other stops along the way. No car stress, less cost, and the fun of the train.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bush Border Patrol shoots Mexicans in Mexico

SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, SONORA MX -- (AP/CNN) The mayor of a Mexican border town said U.S. Border Patrol agents shot two city workers with pepperball guns early Wednesday while the workers picked up trash.

A pepperball gun launches hard plastic spheres that burst on impact and are filled with enough pepper derivatives to irritate the eyes, nose and throat. It is one of many so-called "sub-lethal" weapons that police and military units have acquired for crowd control problems.

Ruben Espino, mayor of San Luis Rio Colorado, called the shooting "aggressive actions" and complained about the incident to Gov. Janet Napolitano, who was meeting with him Thursday in Mexico. Espino said in a statement he will ask that the agents be disciplined.

The two city workers were on a trash detail near the U.S.-Mexico border crossing early Wednesday when two U.S. agents asked them to identify themselves, even though they were on the Mexican side of the fence, according to the La Prensa newspaper in San Luis Rio Colorado.

The city identified the workers as Francisco Estrada Estrada and Gabriel Ramirez Garcia, who were in city uniform and using vehicles with a city logo at the time.

A city press release said one agent continued to fire at the two workers even after a Mexican police unit arrived.

La Prensa published photos of Estrada with welts on his back. He said he was hit at least four times.

*

This is just the most recent example of many on how out-of-control the Bush Dept. of Homeland Security Border Patrol stormtroopers are. These human rights abusers must be reigned in now.

Gov. Napolitano, and Congressman Raul M. Grijalva, who represents Yuma, should aggressively pursue justice here to ensure it doesn't happen again. Please kindly let them know how you feel about this. DRP

Friday, November 17, 2006

Dump ChiSox for better team, the Detroit Tigers

TUCSON -- The lame Chicago White(bread) Sox want to move to wack smoggy Glendale for spring training. It may be a scam and suck for Pima County, but we should make them pay and let them go.

The Sux don't want to be here, and so don't deserve Tucson anymore.

Pima County should go after the AL Champ Detroit Tigers, who train in Florida, and make the Sox help bring them to Tucson.

No more pro sports subsidies, please.

UCLA Police taser man for no ID in random search

UPDATE, Nov 18, 9:25am: LA Times article today.

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA Police, reportedly conducting a random search at a computer lab, repeatedly gave severe taser electrical shocks to a student for several minutes. The student apparently either didn't have, or wouldn't show ID during the random search and questioning.

Dozens of students were witnesses.

There is no law that I am aware of that says you must show ID for police, especially when you are not committing a crime.

Read the story and watch the disturbing video. Life in post-9/11 Bush USA. Tasers have been linked to many deaths.

The abused student plans to sue.

This has got to stop. We must defend the Bill of Rights.

Pelosi and the dems should repeal the Patriot Act in their first 100 hours.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hoyer v. Murtha a healthy battle for House dems

WASHINGTON -- It's Hoyer v. Murtha in a battle for House Majority Leader.

I support both, but suspect Hoyer (D-MD), seen here with the Maryland Terrapin mascot, will win the secret ballot. He did a fine job as Whip, and really hustled during this election to support candidates, including a visit to Tucson. He'll do a good job.

Jack Murtha (D-PA) is inspiring due to his leadership on Iraq and past history. With Speaker Pelosi behind him, he may win.

Hoyer v. Murtha is not a problem for the dems, it is a healthy process. Competition is good.

Monday, November 13, 2006

New effort to restore desert bighorn to Catalinas

TUCSON -- There is a new effort starting up to restore desert bighorn sheep to the Santa Catalina Range (aka Mt. Lemmon) on the north side of the city.

Bighorn were stressed out of the Catalinas in the 90s, but there are still reports a few still linger.

Currently the only remaining viable desert bighorn herd near Tucson is in the Silverbell Mtns. within the BLM Ironwood Forest National Monument.

The habitat is there, most protected as wilderness in the Coronado National Forest, but some of it may need to be burned to improve forage. This could be carefully done to avoid harm to homes, which have encroached on the south and west side of the Catalinas.

Recreational management, including seasonal hiking and dog restrictions on Pusch Ridge, may be essential to return this desert icon to Tucson/Oro Valley/Catalina. Hikers should support this as there are many other great places to hike in the Catalinas and around Tucson.

Key interested parties are starting to consider and plan.

Let's bring back the desert bighorn to Tucson.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ed Bradley's death a loss to good journalism

NEW YORK -- Ed Bradley has died at age 65. The 35 year CBS and 60 Minutes reporter was a great journalist and muckraker.

He was also a jazz fan, seen here at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in 1997.

R.I.P. Ed Bradley. Generations of journalists and citizens are better off for your pioneering leadership and style.

All Souls Procession visuals, Tucson, Nov 5 06

TUCSON -- The annual All Souls/Day of the Dead Procession was powerful again this year. A night to remember and celebrate the dead.

Some cel phone shots...






















Wednesday, November 08, 2006

AZ & western elections show progressive moves

TUCSON -- Arizona and the west are changing politically, for the better. Regular people, like me and my family, will be benefit.

Arizonans re-elected centrist dem Governor Napolitano, increased the minimum wage, cut factory farming animal cruelty, rejected a gay union/marriage ban, and curbed secondhand smoke dangers.

The election of Gabrielle Giffords to the US House is a great moment. I'm especially thrilled she won in rural Cochise County, where I spent half of October helping move voters her way. Gabby will serve well, fighting for fairness for families, and against corruption, global warming, and big corporate dominance of Washington. She will be a star in DC, and most importantly an effective voice for everyone.

Harry Mitchell's win over bad guy JD Hayworth shows that metro Phoenix, the 5th largest city in the US, is moving left. Arizona has gone purple, keeping dems Grijalva and Pastor, and picking up CD8 & 5, to make an evenly split US House delegation.

Too bad Jim Pederson lost, but he ran a solid race and exposed Jon Kyl. Thanks, Jim.

Westward, in Central California, the win of Jerry McNerney over Dick Pombo is huge for conservation! Maybe now we can get some decent environmental bills heard and passed in the House?

Overall, my family and I are pleased with the election results, but we'll all have to keep working to ensure meaningful change from the new congress.

Speaker-elect Pelosi and the House
must strongly take on Bush right away in 07. We expect congress in January to quickly and aggressively start challenging all the Bush failures, on Iraq, environment, privacy, etc.

I'm going out into the warm AZ sun now to remove all the campaign signs now littering our neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pederson can win! Tucson Prec. 46 turnout 'good'

TUCSON -- UPDATE, Nov 7, 6:50pm: Worked the polls today for fairness. Worked the streets to get out the vote. Election workers in my part of Pima County south of downtown Tucson said turnout was 'good, above average.' Could be a big night to party for AZ dems.

TUCSON, Nov 3 -- Great rally last night with over 10,000 strong at Reid Park with Bill Clinton, Jim Pederson, Gabrielle Giffords, Raul Grijalva, Janet Napolitano, and Richard Elias. Lots of energy for change in the air.

Jim Pederson is especially close to knocking out bad guy Kyl. He needs your vote!



Check out my voting guide.

Today
is the last day to mail your vote-by-mail ballot.

Tuesday
is the day to vote at the polls. Check out all the signs I made yesterday!

Call 512.0012 (Giffords) or 629.0050 (Grijalva) to help get out the vote.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Gov. Richardson, 08 candidate, backs Giffords

TUCSON -- New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a likely 08 dem presidential candidate, campaigned for Gabrielle Giffords Thursday.

Much of his talk focused on international relations, environmental protection, and clean renewable energy.

Giffords' star power again brings the best and brightest to Tucson to support her.

Bill Richardson should run for President in 08. He has a wealth of effective experience and would be attractive to left and center voters.

If Richardson does run, he'll have my support.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Stop Gov. Ruiz & Mexican gov't killing in Oaxaca

OAXACA MX -- The Zapatistas, on Oct 30th 2006, wrote: "...the EZLN calls out to the Other Campaign in Mexico and north of the Rio Grande, so that these November mobilizations happen wherever possible, completely, partially, at intervals or symbolically... "

Last week the Mexican government attempted to crush and stop the growing peoples' movement calling for democracy and justice in the state of Oaxaca with a violent paramilitary assault on a people's sit-in/planton in the heart of Oaxaca, in the state capital.

Brad Will, a U.S. Indy Media journalist from NYC and two others were killed by paramilitary or police agents in plain clothes and many others were wounded.

Please call the Mexican consulates in your area and demand: 1. The immediate departure of the Mexican army and Federal Preventive Police from Oaxaca. 2. Immediate freedom for all the detained compañer@s. 3. Justice for our murdered compañer@s and the punishment of the murderers. 4. Immediate departure of the murderer Ulises Ruiz, current "governor" of Oaxaca.

Since the middle of June, the people of Oaxaca have been organizing to force their corrupt and repressive governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, to step down from office. The Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO, Asamblea Popular del Pueblo de Oaxaca) is an explicitly non-violent movement and has fought to exercise their constitutional right to change their government. Their non-violent mobilization has been met with repeated government violence that has led to approximately 20 deaths over the past four months.

On Friday, October 27th, New York City independent journalist Brad Will, striking schoolteacher Emilio Alfonso Fabián, and Oaxaca resident Eudocia Olivera Díaz were murdered by people connected to the state government of Oaxaca.

Brad's death was used by the Mexican government to justify the brutal occupation of Oaxaca by federal forces on Sunday, October 29th that led to the death of four more people, including a minor, and the arrest of over 50 Oaxacan civilians. The police chief and several representatives of the Oaxacan government who were photographed when they killed Brad, however, have not been arrested. The Mexican federal police are in Oaxaca to defend the corrupt government, not to end the conflict.

The Zapatistas declared on October 30: "The call is to create peaceful actions. The occupation of embassies, blockades, marches, encampments, meetings, and protests everywhere in the world on the 1st of November 2006 and again on the 20th of November of the same year. Let us create this global mobilization together on November 1st and November 20th. We demand the freedom of our compañer@s political prisoners of the town of Atenco. Our strength brothers and sisters, because we are the poor of the world, is that we fight together. The people of Oaxaca are counting on us."

Please contact a Mexican consular office in your region today.

Stand in solidarity with the Asamblea Popular del Pueblo de Oaxaca (APPO) and demand:

* Immediate withdrawal of the occupying Federal Forces from Oaxaca.
* Immediate and unconditional freedom for all detainees.
* Cancel all arrest warrants.
* Punish the murderers.
* Justice! Freedom! Democracy!

update from Red Nacional Pro Derechos Inmigrantes y Refugiados

News from Chiapas Indymedia
NYC Indymedia

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ACC passes new 15% renewable energy standard

PHOENIX -- After nearly three years of consideration and hearings, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) today passed a final rule establishing a new Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) that sets the goal and sets up a funding mechanism for 15% of a utility's power resources to come from renewable sources by the year 2025. The current goal was just over 1 % by 2007.

Some members tried to pass amendments that would have weakened the rule and/or sent it back to the Attorney General's office for yet another review. In the end, the proponents of reason prevailed and the measure passed by a vote of four in favor and one against.

Please send a quick thank you to these 4 commissioners for supporting renewable energy.

Chairman Jeff Hatch-Miller hatch-web@cc.state.az.us

Commissioner Kris Mayes mayes-web@cc.state.az.us

Commissioner Bill Mundell mundell-web@cc.state.az.us

Commissioner Barry Wong Wong-web@azcc.gov

Update from Sierra Club.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Give AZ growth & conservation options, Yes P. 106

PHOENIX -- See all the blue on this map of Tucson and SE AZ, that is Arizona State Trust Lands. It is a huge part of our landscape; 9.3 million acres statewide.

VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 106 to give Arizona more options and tools for growth, education funding, and conservation.

Prop 106 is reasonable, some environmentalists even say too weak. To me, it is a modest step forward, and we need it now.

Forest Service fire policy risked SoCal fire fighters

INLAND EMPIRE CA -- As a former certified wildland fire fighter, I am very sad and angry over the deaths of 4 US Forest Service fire fighters in southern California this week.

Yes, it looks like some jerk set this fire, but these deaths didn't have to happen.

I've lived and worked many years in this part of southern California, and we can't stop hot fires during gusty dry Santa Ana winds. These lands have always burned, and we're not going to stop it.

Federal bosses sent these guys in to an explosive deathtrap and they died.

The Bush Forest Service failed fire policy is mostly to blame here for these deaths.

In general, fires go out when environmental conditions change, such as the wind dies, humidity goes up, or it rains.

These wildland fire fighters died trying to save houses in the forest. I understand people don't want their houses to burn down, but it can and will happen when urban sprawl moves in to wild areas and people don't prepare for fire.

The responsibility for protecting structures lies mainly with property owners. Far too many are still not practicing 'fire wise' living by removing burnable materials far away from their homes.

Forest Service fire fighters should not primarily focus on saving doomed houses to save the insurance industry fat cats big money.

We've got to start letting more fires burn themselves out, and stop killing fire fighters for the sake of urban sprawl, irresponsible land owners, and insurance industry lobbyists.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Giffords best in debates, issues, city & Cochise Cty.

TUCSON -- Looking strong in a dark jacket, Gabrielle Giffords again dominated a debate over Randy Graf last night. Education was a key focus. Clearly Giffords has a better grasp on education solutions and will work to improve, not cut education.

Giffords' truthful toughness is attractive to voters. Not only in the debates, but also in her excellent new 'line in the sand' ad about protecting Social Security and Medicare.

We need someone in DC for us who is tactfully tough and aggressive as needed against the Bushies. Gabrielle is showing her strengths well.

Giffords is maintaining a solid lead in a new AZ Daily Star/KVOA poll -- 14 points in Pima County, where almost all the D8 voters live, and at least 10 points district-wide. She is also doing well in Cochise County, especially with Independents.

Gabrille Giffords is a smart, sophisticated and tough. She has earned a chance to represent us in the US House.

Stick it to corrupt Renzi next week in Pinal County

Rick Renzi
PINAL COUNTY AZ -- Now that Republican Rick Renzi's land deal corruption is out in the open, Arizonans may want to peacefully challenge and protest his dirty politics next Thurs. Nov 2 outside the 3pm CD1 debate in Coolidge at Central Arizona College.

This is not too far from metro Phoenix or Tucson.

Here's Renzi (middle) getting a big check from controversial Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Tom Phillips, moneyman at the National Conservative Campaign Fund.

Good people of Arizona and CD1, let's get this scammer Renzi out of office Nov. 7.

It is still unknown if Renzi will debate, or if he'll chicken out again and avoid a public discussion of the issues.