Friday, March 31, 2006

Border: Bush must lead, reject right-wing hate

TUCSON -- Student walkout protests by thousands this week for immigration reform were important and inspiring 13 years after the passing of Cesar Chavez.

Fair and humane immigration reform is a critical issue now for the southwest and our nation. Bush could finally step in, show some leadership, and do something decent. But will he? If Reagan gave legal residency to millions in the 80s, surely Bush can too? Maybe, if he has the balls.

The minutemen jokers claim to be back along the border. The few of them will be posing for overhyping media droids, overestimating their numbers and influence as they drive their ATVs around with hunting guns spewing hate and racism.

Better hope the Mothership Militia doesn't see you out on the borderlands, littlemen. You will be confronted and run off like the scared honkies you surely are. Go back home to Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, racist assholes.

I've been away this week on personal priorities, and hope to cover more issues next week.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Arizonans mob streets and Kyl for border reform

TUCSON -- Over 21,000 people estimated took to the streets today here and in Phoenix in support of humane immigration reform that will protect people and the fragile border environment.

People also protested against Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and proposals for more border militarization coming from congress.

This is the photo of the Tucson event at putside Kyl's southern AZ office at Ina and Oracle Rds.

Dem congressional candidate (D8) Patty Weiss wisely was there, at sometimes holding a sign reading "they come for work".

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Science shows rapid warming & cities underwater

TUCSON -- The new issue of the journal Science features new research by Univ. of Arizona climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck showing if global warming trends continue and ice keeps melting sea levels could rise by 20 feet within generations.

Check out the maps. Huge areas where millions of people live will be underwater, including big parts of the US southeast and east coast.

Still want that gas-guzzling SUV? Be sure to get the submarine model.

One major contributor to global warming pollution in Tucson tonight is VP Dick Cheney, here to help rake in corporate money while showing Arizonans that Jon Kyl is his right-wing buddy. Cheney flew in to town in his own big jet, drives around in a speeding caravan of flashy huge limos and Suburbans, and will wine and dine in climate-controlled comfort under bright lights.

If Cheney and Kyl own coastal property they'll likely be selling it to some suckers and investing in high elevation undisclosed bunkers.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Cynda killed by cancer from our toxic lifestyles

TUCSON -- Tucson-native Cynda Cated died recently of cancer. I just found out today.

The image “http://students.washington.edu/giorgia/varie/dj_girl.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

She was a friend of mine, good DJ, Radio Limbo activist, and a lot more. We had a lot of laughs and fun many times while she was living in Arizona. I didn't get to see her in January at her benefit concert at Solar Culture, and I am sad about that.

Too many people dying of cancer. Too much pollution and toxins in our lives.

Rest in peace, Cynda. Better yet, come back in an even greater form.

All the rest, live each day fully and with happiness. Life is too short.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

International media watching border issues in AZ

TUCSON -- A prominent European reporter is in southern Arizona this week covering the story of death, destruction and dispair on the US-Mexican border.

This reporter is doing a 'big picture' story, meeting with human rights, environmental indigenous, politicians, and other people on all sides of the issue.

Look for a major story about the Arizona borderlands in major EU media later this spring.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Restoration & snow at Sonoran Desert Monument

SONORAN DESERT NATIONAL MONUMENT AZ -- Out on-the-ground this weekend for the Center, media, public, and land managers restoring the desert from off-road abuse.

Nice, cool and starry last night. Then a short, cloudy sunrise with great glows early Sunday. Followed by some snow, hail, and rain. Time to go home.

The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is attempting some much needed and overdue restoration on the eastside of the monument, closing the Butterfield Stage Route for a short time to try to get everyone back on the main route, and stop driving everywhere across the desert. BLM really should plan to keep all off-road vehicles out of the monument, allowing for access not excess. Cars and trucks would still be allowed on open routes.

This BLM monument southwest of Phoenix is also hammered by cattle, with public lands allotments tied to huge cattle corp. feedlots in Stanfield AZ, east of the SDNM. Cattle are eating all the forage plants, essentially starving desert bighorn in the North Maricopa Mountains. We also saw carcasses of at least 5 dead cows, who also likely starved in the extreme dry desert conditions not suitable for livestock grazing.

No matter what, the monument is a cool place. It needs more friends, restoration, and better management. But 20 years from now as Phoenix keeps expanding it'll be seen as a critical protected area. If BLM actually protects it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Dirk Kempthorne new Bush bad guy at Interior

WASHINGTON -- Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID) is the new top man for US public lands and natural resources. What a terrible choice, showing again Bush has not a streak of moderation in his body.

Here Dirk is seen with Bush, who is likely trying to convince smarter people that we need to drill for oil in the arctic or kill the Endangered Species Act.

Looks like we'll be seeing more 'rape & scrape' land proposals from BushCheneyKempthorne, Inc.

No welcome for you, Dirk. Prepare to fight the American people, who want conservation not exploitation of our fragile natural resources and American natural heritage. You will lose.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

San Pedro River at-risk from Kyl's border walls

Update, Mar 17: Good info. says Kyl will soon pull part of his border wall plans away from the river. DRP

*

SAN PEDRO RIVER AZ -- Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) wants to build a wall across the last free-flowing living river in the southwest. This wonderful river, flowing north from Sonora, Mexico into Cochise County AZ, is home to over 400 bird species, and a scenic critical wildlife movement corridor.

The San Pedro is an endangered landscape, a desert river. Arizona has already lost over 90% of our desert river riparian areas.

An amendment Kyl attached to the Senate immigration bill late last week demands construction of a border wall from Naco AZ then 25 miles westward, across the San Pedro River. This amendment must be stopped.

This wall would not work, people will just go around it and it would be washed out in floods, but it would really damage the river ecology.

Kyl is out-of-touch with real solutions and has been in the DC bubble too long. Time to replace him in Nov.

Senate candidate Jim Pederson should be all over Kyl on this one. Birding in AZ and the San Pedro River annually brings in over $1 billion in tourism spending.

We cannot let the failed border politics from Washington DC destroy the San Pedro. The gov't cannot enforce and militarize its way to a better border situation, but that is what is being handed down by Kyl and other bonehead politicians.

Meanwhile people and Arizona's border environment keep dying.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Desert web-of-life wins over Bush motorheads

YUMA AZ -- Big decision today to protect the biggest dunes in America, the Algodones Dunes, a very cool place just over the stateline in Imperial County CA.

Sonoran Desert nature prevailed. The off-road lobby and Bush Interior Department lost.

50,000 acres of fragile scenic dunes will stay protected from damaging off-road vehicles.

Glad we still have the courts, for now.

Visit the dunes April 22-23.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Latas a longshot, but don't rule him out in CD8 race

TUCSON -- Sat down today and talked with Jeff Latas, dem candidate for Jim Kolbe's (R) seat in congress. I like him. He could also be a good Independent candidate for the district 8 house seat.

He seems solidly progressive, especially on environmental issues.

I don't live in the district so can't vote in this race. I've already endorsed Giffords and I stand by her, but Latas as underdog is a guy to watch during the primary and in the future.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

RTA's TV ads for roads plan vote; May 3 forum

TUCSON -- Backers of a regional transportation plan, including developers, some greens, and right-wing GOP car dealer Jim Click, have new TV commercials on local channels.

Steve Farley is the spokesman, and he does a good job. Is he getting paid?

I haven't yet made up my mind on how to vote on the RTA plans in May. I like the urban streetcar, wildlife corridors, and bike/ped. elements. There should also be a streetcar route included connecting the airport to downtown and UA, but it is not in the plan.

But the RTA plan also relies too much on street widenings, which could be especially bad for neighborhoods along 22nd St. near Santa Rita Park, and Grant Road, both of which are already pretty wide everywhere.

The Aviation Hwy. plans, especially the westside connection to St. Mary's, could bring many problems as a downtown freeway cutting off downtown to neighborhoods, 4th Av., and UA areas. This is also hugely expensive, $100 million+ for a mile of highway.

I also don't like the sales tax increase, favoring higher gas taxes and transportation funding by developers. Let the drivers and urban sprawlers pay the most. They contribute the most to the problem, not me and my family on our bikes. Pima County already has a fairly high sales tax.

The plan is OK, but hardly 'great' in my opinion. I also don't see it as a for-sure winner in May, it could lose. I'd put it at 50/50 right now.

The Santa Rita Park Neighborhood Association will host a public-forum on the RTA plan on May 3, with both sides presenting pro and con arguments. Be a part of it at the Sam Lena library on S. 6th Av. in South Tucson, 5:30-7pm, Wed. May 3.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Arizona soaking-in critical winter rain and snow

TUCSON -- Very windy all day. We're getting some real rain right now, and snow down to fairly low levels. The cistern is filling. The air is clean and cold.

This photo from my neighborhood area isn't from today, but it looks like this outside now. Can the rain wash away what ails us?

Mt. Lemmon road is closed at the bottom, and lots of snow up higher. I talked with Pam at the Mt. Lemmon Cafe today about it on the phone. We wanted to go today, but can't, even in our 4x4.

The reliable word is that new, fast and big snowplowers don't want anyone else on the road when they are travelling downhill at 40mph. Highway Depts. are also spreading chemicals to keep ice off the Mt. Lemmon road, that will also wash-off into streams like Bear and Sabino Canyons.

So nice to get some real winter rain today, and hopefully tomorrow too, but it'll take a lot more storms to end our severe drought this year.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Top Bush environmental destroyer Norton resigns

WASHINGTON -- Gale Norton today resigned as US Interior Secretary. This position has more influence on Arizona, the west, water, and America's natural resources than almost any other in government.

It has been reported that maybe Norton is somehow caught up in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, perhaps having hired some of his cronies.

She was terrible for the environment. The worst Interior Secretary since James Watt. Attacking conservation laws and programs since day 1. Real conservatives used to be about conservation, but not Gale Norton or BushCheney.

Americans are more and more concerned about the environment, global warming, and loss of quality-of-life. Gale Norton is a big part of those problems and I'm glad she's leaving.

Current Interior political appointees Lynn Scarlett or Julie MacDonald would be especially bad replacements for Norton.

Bush could be smart and appoint a true moderate conservationist to Interior, someone who will work with everyone and follow the law. He could, but likely won't.

How about former GOP pro-environment congressman Pete McCloskey (R-CA)? Bush could take him out of the primary race against Rep. Pombo (R-CA) if he did that, doing Pombo a huge favor. Then McCloskey and Pombo could fight it out in DC.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Pederson's Pima office a spark in Senate race?

TUCSON -- Jim Pederson for Senate opened his Pima County office today, and it's about time. His campaign needs some serious help, a much more aggressive daily assault against Sen. Kyl's bad record, as Pederson talks more about positive solutions.

Pederson will have to crush Kyl in Pima County to have any chance of winning in Nov. He should be in Tucson/S. AZ more often; at least twice a month, once a week would be better.

Looks like he'll need to spend a lot more of his own fortune too, seeing how badly Kyl is kicking his ass in fundraising alongside with Cheney and Bush. But that is not surprising given Kyl's reliable service to BushCheney Big Corpo-Gov't, Inc. Kyl supports big money interests, and they support him.

C'mon Jim, don't cheap-out, you gotta spend big to have a good chance. You've gotta be loud, clear, confident, and charismatic.

I hope Pederson can inspire people to step up and work for him in Pima County. He better do it soon. I missed the Pima HQ opening party, but it will be super-important for Jim to connect with key Independents, like me.

Kyl is too extreme-right to represent a majority of Arizonans. Jim Pederson, and all of us who care about true representation in the US Senate, will have to do more attacking of Kyl's record to pound that in to peoples' heads from now until Nov.

We also need to keep pushing progressive and sustainable solutions on energy, immigration, quality-of-life, and other key issues of our day.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Cascading away from the plugged-in buzz calls

CASCADE RANGE, OR -- Going high on the backbone of the NW near Mt. Jefferson.

Searching shrinking glaciers high near the peak.

Some warm, some cold, some peace.