Monday, February 28, 2005

Staying dolphin free is not enough...

When you buy your tuna now, you need to know how it was caught?


"Albacore tuna, according to recent testing by the FDA, contains 3 times as much mercury as does chunk light. You should avoid albacore tuna if you wish to keep your blood mercury level low. There are exceptions, however. Some companies sell albacore that is troll-caught. These fish are younger and therefore contain lower levels of mercury. According to a recent study from Oregon State University, troll-caught albacore mercury levels are similar to chunk light levels (on average 0.14 parts per million as compared with 0.358 parts per million for older longline-caught albacore). Data for troll-caught fish in the mercury calculator is from the OSU study. Cans of chunk light tuna typically contain skipjack tuna which is a smaller species of fish and therefore contains lower mercury levels (on average. 0.123 parts per million). You can compare the mercury levels between the two in the mercury calculator above."

via Calorie Restriction Society newsletter

Related waves
[Pure Land Mountain]

Speaking of Social Security...

Funny how TIME magazine picks up a story that the Republic (and all other local media, save for ASU's State Press) did not:

At a town-hall gathering at the Madison #1 Middle School in Phoenix, Ariz., G.O.P. lawmaker John Shadegg faced a crowd of 280 people, 30% of whom by his estimate were there to voice angry opposition to tinkering with Social Security. "They rushed to the microphones," says Shadegg.

We knew about the town hall before it took place because Mr. L, my co-conspirator, subscribes to Republican email blasts. You didn't know about it beforehand because Shadegg's people didn't tell the media. Read between the lines -- they wanted supporters there, not doubters.

Still, the doubters came. Nice work.

[Arizona Congress Watch]

Thought I should pass this along...

Sign up to attend a large rally for Social Security at the Phoenix Civic Plaza at 10 AM on Saturday, March 5. Congressman Grijalva is organizing buses from Tucon to this event. Organizers are trying to arrange a bus to the event. Congressman Grijalva will [Blog For Arizona]

This is a warning to all you women that expect to out live your husbands...

You still have a margin of 5 years, but it's shrinking...
AP - Declines in death rates from most major causes — including heart disease and cancer — have pushed Americans' life expectancy to a record 77.6 years. Women are still living longer than men, but the gap is narrowing. [Yahoo! News: Most Viewed]

A virdict for freedom?

I think so. No matter your view if you are an American you should stand up and cheer this decision that says that as a citizen you must be given certain rights and due process.

You, as a citizen, cannot be held for an indeterminate amount of time with out being charged with a crime. Now I hope the administration will do the right thing and charge this man with a crime (or let him go if they don't have the evidence).
AP - A federal judge ordered the Bush administration Monday to either charge terrorism suspect Jose Padilla with a crime or release him after more than 2 1/2 years in custody. [Yahoo! News: Most Viewed]

Now we can get an insurance card that really does something!

AFP - A Japanese firm has developed a plastic chip half the size of a business card which it said could detect a number of diseases, including cancer, within 30 minutes. [Yahoo! News: Reader Ratings]

I've always suspected...

That those at the top didn't really know what they were dealing with or how it worked. Now we have proof that CEO's are over paid!
The former WorldCom chief executive said that he knew little about the technology that WorldCom sold and even less about the company's accounting. [NYT > Home Page]

Someone plug the gravity leak!

Perhaps this wasn't really discovered? - WASHINGTON, D.C. - Scientists may not have to go over to the dark side to explain the fate of the universe. [Yahoo! News: Most Emailed]

Rabbit, another "White Meat?"

AP - Rabbit farms are multiplying rapidly across the South, but their products aren't necessarily destined to be sold as Easter bunnies. [Yahoo! News: Most Emailed]

Jef Raskin, Macintosh Creator, Dies at 61

Thought I should mention this...
Jef Raskin, the lead designer of the first Macintosh computer and a pioneer in the development of user interfaces, died Saturday at age 61. He had been diagnosed recently with pancreatic cancer, his family says in a statement.

Raskin joined Apple Computer in 1978 as employee number 31 and headed the company's Macintosh development team from its founding in 1982. He named the project after his favorite type of apple, changing the spelling for copyright reasons.

He is credited with significantly advancing the design of user interfaces, which in the early 1980s were largely text-based and required users to memorize complex commands. Raskin convinced his peers at Apple that to reach a wider audience, the Macintosh needed an interface that was elegant and easy to use.

"Up to that time, at Apple and most other manufacturers, the concept was to provide the latest and most powerful hardware, and let the users and third-party software vendors figure out how to make it usable," he wrote later on his Web site.

Raskin left Apple in 1982, two years before the Macintosh went on sale, but he continued to influence the design of computers through his writing, lectures,and consulting work. Soon after leaving the company he founded Information Appliance, where he designed the Canon Cat computer for Canon USA, although the product was not a commercial success.

His consulting clients have included Intel, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and many other big names in computing. In 2000 he published a book, "The Humane Interface," that is widely assigned at universities.

Recent Projects

Raskin was currently at work on a project called Archy, where he hoped to put many of the ideas expressed in his book into software. Archy uses simple commands for common operations in word processing and e-mail, but "doesn't work like anything else on this or nearby planets," meaning users wouldhave to learn it from scratch, he wrote on his Web site.

His son, Aza Raskin, will continue to develop the project, a preview version of which is due out later this year, his family says in the statement.

Raskin's interests were not restricted to computers: He taught the recorder, harpsichord, and music theory at San Francisco Community College in the 1970s, and his family described him as an orchestral soloist and composer. He also founded a company that designed and sold radio-controlled model aircraft.

Along with Aza, he is survived by his wife, Linda Blum, and his other children, Aviva and Aenea. Raskin lived most recently in Pacifica, California.

More information about Jef Raskin is available at his Web site,
More information about Archy is at
[Yahoo! News: Most Viewed]

Is anyone else having flashbacks to the end of the cold war?

Lebanon's prime minister says he and his government are quitting amid pressure from opposition and protesters. [BBC News | World | UK Edition]


Microsoft's Bill Gates criticized the American school system on Saturday, saying that they do a poor job of educating students. Gates added that one of the major problems with today's high schools is that the technology they use is obsolete. Hmm... could that possibly be because operating systems and applications like Microsoft Office are so goddamn expensive? Source
[Regurgitated News]

I don't know if I agree, but I've never heard this said before...

This is your must-read blog post, over at An Old Soul:
Read this entire speech, given back in 1997 by David Stratman, and then you can decide whether to be blown away or hide your head in the sand.

Stratman dared to pull all the pieces together about what's going on in public education policy almost 8 years ago. I think the whole picture he paints makes complete sense as we see that some of the strongest cheerleading and unconditional love for NCLB comes from the corporate Dems, the DLC.

The reason that public education is under attack is this: our young people have more talent and intelligence and ability than the corporate system can ever use, and higher dreams and aspirations than it can ever fulfill. To force young people to accept less fulfilling lives in a more unequal, less democratic society, the expectations and self-confidence of millions of them must be crushed. Their expectations must be downsized and their sense of themselves restructured to fit into the new corporate order, in which a relative few reap the rewards of corporate success-defined in terms of huge salaries and incredible stock options-and the many lead diminished lives of poverty and insecurity.

If my analysis is correct, it means that you - public educators, every person in this room, and all the staff and colleagues you have worked with these many years - you are under attack not because you have failed - which is what the media and the politicians like to tell you. You are under attack because you have succeeded-in raising expectations which the corporate system cannot fulfill.
There is a world of difference between raising our "expectations" for students and raising "standards." Raising our expectations means raising our belief in students' ability to succeed and insuring that all the resources are there to see that they do. Raising standards means erecting new hoops for them to jump through.

I think this goes back to what BushCo said in a debate once, another era ago: NCLB is a jobs program to better prepare workers for the 21st century jobs. Yes, I see, I see.

It's to better prepare us to work at all those slave drudgery jobs, so that we the sheeple will unquestioningly live our lives of insecurity and poverty for generations to come.

It has the ring of truth, doesn't it? [The Sideshow]

If you haven't seen this yet, check it out... LOL

Health Care Guidelines for Michael Jackson: "Health Care Guidelines for Michael Jackson After Michael Jackson halted jury selection for his child molestation trial to be treated for the flu, a hospital memo was discovered detailing the guidelines for his care."

Bblog has a nice piece on historic Phoenix canals...

This just makes me want to learn more!

Saturday I went to take a tour of the Park of Four Waters at the Pueblo Grande Museum. The site, located perhaps a half mile south of the museum, isn't open to the public except for one guided tour on the last Saturday of the month when it's cool. I've wanted to attend one of these tours for the last several months but something always came up. I'm glad that I finally went because it was quite a memorable experience.

I'm kind of a nerd when it comes to history: I can get really excited about very mundane things. For example, I've spent twenty minutes looking at and contemplating head of the Old Crosscut Canal that joins the Grand and Arizona Canals. I studied it from a variety of angles, took in the adjoining land, and imagined the people designing, building, and maintaining it. I then spent several hours researching this one particular canal. Water is such a vital part of Phoenix history that I bristle when people act like it's unlimited or can't appreciate the struggle that the early settlers went through to make the desert hospitable.

The Park of Four Waters is a small section of land where two ancient Hohokam canals are preserved. The Hohokam dug approximately 500 miles of canals. Their extensive canal system inspired Phoenix founder Jack Swilling to start his own canal project to irrigate the Salt River Valley. The canal he dug with his employees—known as the Swilling Ditch or the Town Ditch after he left Phoenix—is located not far from this place underneath one of Sky Harbor's runways. This, and the fact that many of Phoenix's early canals were made from widening and deepening Hohokam ones, is a testament to the sagacity of that ancient people.

The two canals we saw were actually considered two channels of a single canal. One channel was cut like a V so that water would flow faster and farther; the other was cut like a semicircle, which kept the water moving rather slowly so that it wouldn't decimate lateral canals. One wouldn't be faulted for missing the significance of these two ditches since they looked like rolling hills. The fact that they have lasted for at least 600 years in much the same condition was awesome.

Near these two Hohokam canals was a modern canal of uncertain origin that looked to join the Grand at the point of the Old Crosscut. It was fairly wide and deep but entirely made out of concrete. It followed the same line as the Old Crosscut would have if you continued it down to the Salt River bank, but the Old Crosscut would never have followed that route since it strictly joined two canals. That's why I'm not sure of when it was made, what it was called, or even who built it.

Its origin is suspect because it was likely built by the Salt River Project though it would have gone right through the Tovrea stockyards and could have been a private canal. This, of course, merits further research. I will also post a gallery of the hundred or so pictures I took since the Web is a veritable desert when it comes to the Park of Four Waters.


Corperate blackmail!

Semiconductor kingpin Intel Corp. is sending a not-so-subtle ultimatum to state lawmakers: Give the company a tax break or risk losing out on the chance for a $4 billion production expansion at its Chandler campus.
I think more than a chance would be necessary before any consideration should be made.
Intel, other technology advocates and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council are pushing hard for a change to the state's tax code that would result in a $100 million break for large manufacturers.

The Silicon Valley-based chip-maker, as well as defense and electronics firms, would benefit from the so-called "sales factor." That tax cut would benefit large manufacturers by allowing them to calculate their corporate income taxes based on in-state sales instead of the current, more expensive formula that also takes into account property and payrolls.
What does the state get out of this deal?
Intel is considering its Chandler semiconductor plant for a $2 billion to $4 billion expansion that could result in 500 new high-tech jobs. The lure of that expansion is being dangled in front of state lawmakers who have failed to pass sales factor proposals in recent years.

Critics argue that the sales factor is corporate welfare that does not offer the economic development or job stimulus promised by supporters.

They point to sales factor states such as Illinois, Missouri, Massachusetts and Iowa, which have lost manufacturing jobs in recent years to offshoring and corporate consolidations despite having the business tax benefit.
According to this, the state gets nothing.
Elizabeth Hudgins, vice president of the Children's Action Alliance, said the sales factor's $100 million price tag would jeopardize spending on key programs related to health care and child abuse prevention.

"It's very expensive, and this is a state with a plethora of neglected priorities." Hudgins said.

Michael Mazerov, an economist and tax expert with the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, contends the sales factor is not a big determinant in company site selection and has not resulted in manufacturing or high-tech jobs gains in the states where it has been enacted.

Mazerov said state and local taxes make up only about 2 percent of corporate expenses and income levies only 10 percent of that total. [Arizona - BizJournal]
It looks like this is part of a larger agenda and not related to the decision to expand here.

I don't understand this...

They started building this freeway over 20 years ago, shouldn't they have gotten permission then?
Gila River Indian Community members may vote as early as spring on whether they would allow the South Mountain Freeway (Loop 202) to be built there. [ | news]

Winslow wins 7th state title under Don Petranovich in 12 tries since 1977

Winslow High School has won a second 3A state title in a row. Coach Don Petranovich has won his 7th in 12 tries since he began coaching at Winslow in 1977 (he didn't coach the entire 1986 season for health reasons).
Winslow game plan turns Seton inside-out
The Winslow girls basketball team repeated as Class 3A state champion with little trouble Saturday night thanks to a two-pronged strategy that it executed nearly to perfection.

Winslow beat Chandler Seton Catholic 61-35 at Glendale Arena.
The size of the victory is a testament to the level of competition in the northern conferences and what a team effort can do when playing against "...the greatest player that ever played in Arizona history," (Seton coach Karen Self referring to Christina Wirth).

Among Petranovich's impressive accomplishments are having participated in the most well attended games in Arizona history. The largest crowd was an impressive 16,010 at America West Arena for the 2000 semifinal against Monument Valley which also happens to be tied with the best attended Boys Basket ball games of all time the 1996 5A and 2000 3A Championships. The championship brings Petranovich's career to 648 wins with 133 losses.

Another good Idea!

When I saw the headline for this article, I was ready to be upset and go into a rant. "This was never listed as a possibility on the literature for the transportation bill we voted on las fall. If it had been I would not have voted for it."

Turns out that that is not what this is. This is the passing of savings from a simplification of administration to the public. My favorite part of this is the change from $1.25 to $1 for the bus fare. In a place where no change is made it's a good idea to keep the fare from requiring change!

There is more to this but, you'll have to read the article.
Valley Metro may cut bus fares
Prices on everything from food to fuel seem to go in only one direction: up. [ | news]

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Has it been 10 years?

I went online with Netscape 1.0 in the fall of 1994 on a p486-50 machine with a 350 Megabyte hard drive, 16 Megs of memory, and a 16.6 modem. I had a 17 inch monitor that was the envy of everyone in the dorms! I started using Yahoo in 2005 and I still remember the Snowball Cam, the Coffee Pot Cam and U-Roulette...
AP - Co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo parlayed Yahoo Inc. from a college hobby into a full-time job 10 years ago, but the Internet icon was never quite comfortable with the happy-go-lucky mood of the dot-com boom. [Yahoo! News: Reader Ratings]
Times have changed, but the net is slower than ever! I want my gopher server back!

Dude, check out this Benson

Arizona is not one of them...

Arizona has decided to go the other direction and has started by trying to remove passing the AIMS test from the graduation requirement.
AP - A coalition of states confirmed plans Sunday to require tougher high school courses and diploma requirements, changes that could affect one in three students. [Yahoo! News: Most Viewed]

I was going to write about this but it's just too confusing...

Tracking what happened to $175,000 contributed by two Indian tribes to a political group called CREA leads from a disgraced lobbyist to an elusive environmental organization spawned by Gale Norton before she became Secretary of the Interior. [ | news]

Lisa at the London Fog took a post I did yesterday and ran with it...

It's worth the time to read so read the original here and then go check it out...
Pssssst - I will give you a $100 for a gram of salt!
A consumer group sued the federal government on Thursday, saying that salt is killing tens of thousands of Americans and that regulators have done too little to control salt in food....
Hat tip: AZ Perspective and Junk. [The London Fog]

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Gates, first hand accounts from Citygurl [HAVE YOU SEEN MY SHOE?] and Jon Mandle [Crooked Timber]

gates 7
Originally uploaded by citay-gurl.

Let's talk about The Gates. I was reserving judgment until I actually saw them myself, and I know it's ridiculous that it took me two weeks to actually go see them, particularly because I live two blocks away from central park. So today, my first free day in a long long time, I decided that the only things on my list of 'things to do' would be to go see The Gates.
And of course take some photos.

Some background for you art enthusiasts (I stole this from here):
Christo and Jeanne-Claude developed the concept for The Gates in 1979. On January 22, 2003, the City granted permission to the artists to realize their vision. They paid for the whole thing themselves.

There are 7,500 gates, 16 feet high with a width varying from 5 feet 6 inches to 18 feet will line 23 miles of footpaths in the park.

The free-hanging, saffron-colored fabric panels will be suspended from the top of each gate and hang down to 7 feet above the ground.

The Gates will create a visual golden river appearing and disappearing through the bare branches of the trees, highlighting the shapes of the footpaths.

The luminous moving fabric will underline the organic and serpentine design of the walkways, while the rectangular poles will be a reminder of the grid pattern of the City blocks around the park.

Now, there was a lot of hype about this and I was skeptical, but I had to see for myself…I was not disappointed, it's really damn cool. I know the park like the back of my hand and walking through it today was a completely new experience.

Here is a link to their other work:, they really have done some enormous astounding things. I am their newest and biggest fan. I only wish I got to see The Umbrellas in person.

Here is a link to my photos (these and a few more) below; these aren't the best photos out there of The Gates by any stretch of the imagination, but if you want 'em, go for it.
my photos. [HAVE YOU SEEN MY SHOE?]
Additional Photo's from Citygurl:
gates 4
gates 5
gates 6

Additional thumbs up from Jon at Crooked Timber (excerpt, click the link at the end to see his pictures and read the rest):
Count me as a moderate supporter. It’s hard to talk about The Gates – the Christo and Jeanne-Claude installation in Central Park – without sounding pretentious. Like this: “Our memories of this experience are how the artwork changes us — perhaps the most powerful force of art, that the changes made are not in the site, but in us.” I can’t really say that I’m so different than I was a week ago. Sure, I guess they made me think, but that’s something I try to do anyway.... [Crooked Timber]

Expect another "Mexico is safe for tourists" article in the coming week...

Reuters - The burned body of an unidentified person showing signs of torture was found in Cancun, the latest in a series of gruesome murders that have plagued the popular Mexican holiday resort in recent months. [Yahoo! News: Most Viewed]

Murder soap opera surrounding Tucson's Dr. Stidham continues

The defense attorney for Bradley Schwartz, the doctor accused of hiring a hit man to kill his former medical partner, is indicating he may ask a judge to throw out the indictment against Schwartz.

A motion filed in Pima County Superior Court this week suggests that attorney-client privilege should have protected Schwartz from being incriminated by statements of a former girlfriend.[Tucson Region]
My Last Related Post:
The murder investigation saga of Dr. Stidham continues: 4 more county lawyers leaving

Related Articles:
3 prosecutors' hearings public
Fired officer withheld, leaked info, reports say
Dispatcher accused Hunt of harassment
Pinal to prosecute Schwartz, Bigger
Suspect in murder had been potential witness for county
Stidham case leads city move to fire cop
Hit-man tip came through cop
Suspended aide at odds with LaWall

Something to think about

From KVOA in Tucson:

Easter is America's second-largest candy selling holiday, but, before you bite the ear off your bunny, Southern Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva, a Democrat, says consider, "The labor that produces this is child labor and, many times, exploited child labor."

Chocolate comes from cocoa and 70% of cocoa comes from West Africa, which critics say uses young slave labor to harvest it.

Grijalva says, "I think it is atrocious."

He won't be buying chocolate this Easter.

Suddenly, I have an image of Rush Limbaugh starting an obnoxious "eat a candybar to upset a candyass" campaign. But I'm glad Grijalva is using his position to raise awareness. Child exploitation is a huge problem that is overlooked and underreported.

[Arizona Congress Watch]

Keys and cherry trees is a good read

Keys and cherry trees
Maybe it's our cynical age. Maybe I'm just getting cranky, or at least crankier. But I find myself less and less sure of things as I get older. More suspicious of those who are sure, who claim some special pipeline to God. And a lot less surprised when something I've known and taken for granted forever turns out not to be true.... [Disorderly Content]

Why not start a Meme

Follow the instructions below and record what you find in the comment section.
1.Grab the nearest book.
2.Open the book to page 123.
3.Find the fifth sentence.
4.Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5.Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

From Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework:
"A second color can be easily introduced into either pattern by alternating the color of yarn used for the rows."

via Blog d'Elisson via Goose
[LIFE... or something like it]
I'll start it off (I can't believe this is the closest book, I need to clean off my desk!).

The Golden Sayings of Epictetus from Volume 2 of the Harvard Classics
"Short indeed is the time of your habitation therein, and easy to those that are thus minded."


I found this at cbeck's and had to share it. Sorry, but I thought anything this funny was too good to leave on just one site.
Oil Change instructions for Women:
1) Pull up to Jiffy Lube when the mileage reaches 3000 miles since the last oil change.

2) Drink a cup of coffee.

3) 15 minutes later, write a cheque and leave with a properly maintained vehicle.
Money spent: Oil Change -$20.00, Coffee -$1.00, Total - $21.00.

Oil Change instructions for Men:
1) Wait until Saturday, drive to auto parts store and buy a case of oil, filter, kitty litter, hand cleaner and a scented tree, write a cheque for $50.00.

2) Stop by 7 - 11 and buy a case of beer, write a cheque for $20.00, drive home.

[it just get's funnier from here]...
[Wasted Days, Wasted Nites]

I'll have to check this out...

I've been a fan of Steve Earle since I played his music on a little AM country station in my High School days. If you're not familiar with him, its not surprising. He has been on the edge of stardom for decades but because of drugs and other problems he never quite made it all the way. He's played with the likes of Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Townes Van Zandt. If you have heard of him it's problably because of the song Copperhead Road.

I didn't know Steve Earle's younger sister was a recording artist.

Check out Stacey Earle at eMusic:

I like!

And here's her Web site.

[J-Walk Blog]

Anil has run with a post I did yesterday that's worth a read

Democracy and ending poverty The NYT has an editorial on the United Nations proposal to halve poverty by 2015:
The strongest, and probably most legitimate, critique of approaches that flood poor countries with money is that many of these poor countries are run by corrupt governments that will stash most of the donor money in private Swiss bank accounts. That has certainly proved true in the past, particularly in Africa, where the poor have stayed poor while a succession of despots have run country after country into the ground. But it is counterproductive to make poor people suffer because they have bad governments.

R.J. Rummel makes a fine point on his blog about how democracy can help tackle these issues:
There are tons of websites devoted to famine, hunger, and trying to help the starving around the world. Yet, not one of these good people devoted to this great cause realize that there is a solution to famine at hand, which is practical and much desired in itself. What is this miracle? Democracy. No democracy has ever had a famine.

Why are democracies immune to this greatest of all disasters. Three fundamental reasons. One is that democracies have a free or semi-free agricultural market that usually produces more than enough food and is resilient in the face of local shortages. Two is that democracies have a free press that almost immediately communicates nationally, and especially to elected legislators and administration leaders, dangerous agricultural conditions in one part of the country or another. And three is that these politicians better do something about it, since their political future depends on the rapidity and success of their response.

[via azpnj > dean's world]

Tags: , , , [Anil's Doublespeak]


A new moon discovered around Saturn has been given a provisional name by the team that discovered it: Polydeuces. [BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition]

Time to upgrade...

[Neil's World]

This reminds me of another story

The Old Man and the Sea
AP - Unlike many fishermen, Harald Skoge didn't have to exaggerate the size of his latest catch. The 321-pound halibut was too big for his nearly 29-foot boat. [Yahoo! News: Most Emailed]

Marth Stewart may have some company... ChoicePoint Executives!

AP - ChoicePoint Inc.'s top two executives made a combined $16.6 million in profit from selling company shares in the months after the data warehouser learned that people's personal information may have been compromised and before the breach was made public, regulatory filings show. [Yahoo! News: Reader Ratings]

Today marks an interesting bit of history for the Yavapai and Apache Indians in the Verde Valley

Feb. 26 will mark the 130th anniversary of what would best be described as the low point in Anglo-Indian relations in the Verde Valley.

It was on that date in 1875 that 15 troops from Fort Verde, under the direction of Indian Commissioner L.E. Dudley and led by Gen. George Crook’s chief of scouts, Al Sieber, began relocating the Yavapai and Apache Indians from their reservation in the Verde Valley. [VERDE VALLEY NEWS]

It happened quietly...

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll recall Phoenix recently had a problem with water. I've blogged on this extensively. The latest chapter in the saga is that the former Water Director has been fired.
Phoenix officials fired the city's water director Friday, four weeks after he had been reassigned to other duties in the wake of the city's water scare in late January.

City managers wouldn't give specifics on why they fired Mike Gritzuk, a 17-year veteran who was responsible for issuing an advisory last month that urged the city's 1.4 million water users to boil water before drinking.

Gritzuk said he is suing to recoup damage to his reputation, adding that he was "flabbergasted" when he was told late Thursday that he was fired as of 5 p.m. Friday. [ | news]
This should not have come as a surprise. If you read the transcript below you can see that his superiors were all blindsided when the city was put under a boil water advisory last month. The subsequent investigation showed a slew of problems in the Water Services Department which indirectly lead to the problems.
>> Michael Grant:
Does this report point a very strong finger at the Water Services Director and fix much of the blame there?

>> Claude Mattox:
What it does is it identifies problems that were within the system. I'm not going to blame any one person. I think overall, the Water Services Department needs to look at their communications process. They need to look at their emergency procedures. They need to practice what's in this book when they have a problem and then we as a city need to look at our overall process in communications and emergency processes to make sure that we don't have a repeat of this problem with other departments in the city of Phoenix.

>> Michael Grant:
Has he been relieved of his duties?

>> Phil Gordon:
He has been relieved of those duties, temporarily assigned on special assignment in another area, not related to water.

>> Michael Grant:
An Arizona Republic investigation of the city records shows the City of Phoenix Water Department received hundreds of state and federal violations costing the city more than $1.6 million since 1988. The Republic found that top water officials gave inconsistent responses to state and federal regulators, down played violations by claiming there was no danger to public health over non-compliance and gave incorrect and false information to city managers. The Arizona Republic also reported that Phoenix Water Services Director Mike Gritzuk was suspended for five days over the way he handled an earlier audit. Councilman Mattox, I seem to recall talking to you about the environmental group report about a year and a half ago. Were you aware of the problems that the Republic discussed?

>> Claude Mattox:
I was not aware of all of the problems at that time. And when we had the conversation, if I remember, we had the director of ADEQ here with us, as well, having the same conversation on it and we were talking about how the report from the natural resources defense -- I can't -- defense committee or something to that effect was basically a report about a report. They were talking about how we weren't -

>> Michael Grant:
Reporting issues, different data sets. Those kind of things. This seems to indicate that the problems were much more fundamental.

>> Claude Mattox:
Well, I'm not going to -- Now that I know what I know at this point, that this was symptomatic of some of the issues that we were dealing with, I was not aware of some of the infractions prior to myself coming on the Council which was five years ago. I was aware of some of the things identified in the republic after the fact, which was the lab issue that Mr. Gritzuk got suspended for five days on. We now know there was a history of things happening in the department that ultimately, I would say, in this particular case the events that occurred on January 24th and 25th brought Frank Fairbanks the city manager to the point where he felt it was necessary to reassign Mr. Gritzuk.

>> Michael Grant:
Was the city manager actively kept out of this loop? A million six should have given some indications to somebody we may have structural problems here.

>> Phil Gordon:
You know, Michael, this report, what it does is create a time line and it shows very clearly that not only the city manager and deputy city manager, senior elected officials were not only unaware of the protocols that should have been followed that the plant had problems as early as Saturday, significant problems, but that until after the process we didn't learn about some of the problems or weren't notified. The city manager Frank Fairbanks, under the charter is responsible for the personnel matters, we're responsible to make sure that it gets fixed. The city manager determined that in order to have a complete and open audit, seamless, that he needed to reassign and relieve the director of his duties. What happens at this point will be up to the city manage on that and any other personnel. I think you asked a question that I would like to address based on my review of the report. There was clearly a culture within the water department that is unhealthy for the safety of our community and that was --

>> Michael Grant:
How so?

>> Phil Gordon:
To keep information within the actual operation and not follow the protocols that were established by the city manager and deputy city manager. Again, not that at 1:30 in the morning somebody should have issued a boil advisory alert or not, but whether city management should have been brought in earlier, certainly whether the elected officials should have been brought in earlier. And also, after that issue was given to the public at 1:30 in the morning, then to contact both the city management team and the elected officials so that we could determine the actions at that point.

>> Michael Grant:
Councilman Mattox, the problem here is that if these problems were systemic, going on for a long time, apparently they date back to at least 1988, okay, you have a problem in the Water Services Department, but doesn't it speak to the level of supervision and oversight that the city manager's office was giving to the water services department? Which I would think would be one of the city's key departments.

>> Claude Mattox:
Absolutely. It's probably, along with our solid waste people expect when they turn the tap on, the water is there, and so to answer your question, Frank Fairbanks is responsible for personnel. What I understand is that when we ran into issues, Frank took corrective actions on those issues. To my knowledge, it was a progression of steps that ultimately ended up with Mr. Gritzuk being suspended for five days. And I can't tell you what specific investigations or reviews were done on Mr. Gritzuk because our charter prohibits City Council getting involved in personnel issues so we have to respect Frank Fairbanks' decision on that.

>> Michael Grant:
But you do have ability to hire and fire city managers?

>> Phil Gordon:
Mike, let me be clear. First off, we have the top city manager in this country, I back the city manager and I know all my colleagues do. The city manager thought he had taken the appropriate action and that was based on all the information he got, you can only make decisions based on what you have, he had corrected that. We learned through this incident that was not the case. When he learned about it, he immediately took the action of getting him out of there. [Horizon Transcripts February 15, 2005]
Still think Gritzuk should be surprised? This shows he had problems in the past and that they weren't well known by everyone. Now that everything is in the light of day it makes sense that he is fired.

Previous Posts:
What the f#@%...
City water advisory
Maricopa County: Safety Measures for the Boil Water Advisory Headlines Wednesday
Phoenix water woe roundup... with links to local bloggers
Update Phoenix water woes...

Citizens of Tucson, be on the lookout...

Even while looking at the mountain lion, Daniel Thompson and Bob Loder said they doubted their own eyes Friday morning.

They said they saw a big, agile, orangish-brown cat stretching out in a pine tree next door.

Loder called 911, leading Tucson police and wildlife managers to begin searching in vain for the animal in the 100 block of West Prince Road, between Oracle Road and Stone Avenue.

Between 9 and 10 a.m., eight police officers and two Arizona Game and Fish Department officers were rapping on trailers and peering into overturned trash cans in apartment complexes and trailer courts, but they never found the cat. [Tucson Region]

Friday, February 25, 2005


I have now taken to blowing my nose on any birds I can catch - hoping to give them a flu before they give me a flu. [The Monkey Cage]

This is just stupid!

Reuters - A consumer group sued the federal government on Thursday, saying that salt is killing tens of thousands of Americans and that regulators have done too little to control salt in food. [Yahoo! News: Most Emailed]

This is worth a read!

I have observed here more than once that a remarkable fact of life is that democratic nations--defined as those which enshrine universal suffrage, free speech, and free press into their systems of law--simply do not, as a rule, go to war with each other. The exceptions are generally short-lived, low-intensity, and debateable. If you doubt this, I have a simple challenge: name the exceptions....

Something else that I've noted here on Dean's World before is that, in the last 100 years, it is impossible to find a case of a famine which was not caused by a government. I always startle people when I say it, because most people are convinced that famines are caused by overpopulation....

[Dean's World]

Funny stuff from Thursday...

[Conservative Cat]

The Council Has Spoken!

And now from Watcher of Weasels, the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are... Not me, but I didn't come away with out any votes. Not bad for a first try against such stiff competition.

The 28th Carnival of the Recipes is up...

Fly to Rocket Jones and feel free to look around...

Or you can cheat and go straight to my entry here.

Imagine catching a falling knife

I imagine that's what this will be like. People have been chipping away at AIMS for years.
Arizona's state Senate president has vowed to stop the momentum of a legislative move to let many high school students graduate without passing the AIMS test. [ | news]

This isn't good news for Arizona

Especially Yuma!
The Army's Proving Ground in Yuma is included on unofficial short lists circulating within Congress and among defense contractors of military installations to be targeted by the Pentagon for the new round of base closures. [ | news]

WOW... I didn't believe this when I read it

Then I went to the companies web page. Here's a picture of the prototype.

It produced 50KW of output. Here's a link to an animation of how it works.

An Australian company, EnviroMission has developed the most amazing thing in my world. It is a solar tower. Basically, there is a large farm of PV cells surrounding a large hollow tower. The cells collect solar energy and also create great amounts of heat from the solar absorption. The hot air is then pointed out of the tower spinning turbine to create even more electricity. The company recently purchased the land and is working on getting investors to fund the project. If built, the tower/panels are expected to generate over 200MW, about enough for 200,000 households. The system will also save more than 900,000 tons of greenhouse gases from entering the enviroment!

[What the junk?]

Some insight on India

If you're not familiar with the boy who scamed India about passing a NASA exam, you should probably read the whole thing. If you are familiar you should still read the whole thing.
Much has been said about the case of Saurabh Singh - an ingenious scammer and wannabe NASA scientist. While the whole episode has been hilarious in the way an entire nation, including politicians, reporters, editors and ordinary people fell for the scam, it also showed how India is so starved of real life heroes that a report about a possible child prodigy throws it into a frenzy of adulation and self-congratulation. (not to mention the opportunists who crawl out of the woodwork to claim credit and share some of the limelight) Even if Saurabh Singh had topped such an exam (had it not been fictitious), it would hardly be any reason for Indians to celebrate. There are plenty of young Indians with brilliant academic and business successes who get their share of recognition....
[Anil's Doublespeak]

On Extraterrestrial Bum-Lookers- a nice piece from the Parrot Head

ABC talking head Peter Jennings hosted a UFO special last night. There must be a reason. I got busy and missed it, but I've always been curious about aliens and UFOs and stuff like that. I mean, c'mon, does anybody really think we're the only critters in the whole entire universe? Those funky-looking dudes with the big eyes gotta be out there somewhere. But why-oh-why would they have the least bit of interest in a self-destructive bunch of numb-nuts like us earthlings? My theory is that we are a lot like an anthill out in the back forty of the universe somewhere. I mean, they know we're out here. They just don't give a shit. One of these days, if we get to be too much of a nuisance, they'll blast us with some intergalactic Raid and just get it over with....

[check out the rest at his blog] [Parrothead Ramblings]

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Follow along with this...

ABC is airing a special on UFO's, the network is a part of Disney. Disney owns Touchstone Pictures. Touchstone Pictures is releasing "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" in April.

Basically the special airing tonight is a part of the marketing for "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy". It's sole purpose is to generate buzz about UFO's and aliens as a prelude to the movies release.

This is one more reason why Main Stream Media is scum... Priming the pumps with rehashed "journalism" to market a movie.

Either that or it's all a coincidence.

Krispy Kreme Announces Criminal Probe

AP - Shares of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. dropped nearly 7 percent Thursday after the company said it is cooperating with an investigation by federal prosecutors who want to interview current and former executives. [Yahoo! News: Most Emailed]
Sources have it that the probe will begin at the doghnut hole and work it's way around the structure of Krispy Kreme. In the mean time the company will be providing snacks for the officers involved in the investigation. Coffee and milk to be sold seperately.

One officer working the case was quoted as saying, "There's a lot of dough involved here and it could take quite some time to proof."

Funny how this story is all over the place...

The EPA finally set a guideline on perchlorate that was very industry friendly yesterday.
L.A. Times: Scientists on Tuesday reported that perchlorate, a toxic component of rocket fuel, was contaminating virtually all samples of women's breast milk and its levels were found to be, on average, five times greater than in cow's milk. The contaminant, which originates mostly at defense industry plants, previously had been detected in various food and water supplies around the country. But
[The Higher Pie]

This has been tried before...

It won't play well in rural parts of the state.
A legislative committee on Thursday approved a proposal to prohibit children from riding in the open beds of pickup trucks. Supporters of the bill say the restriction would protect children from spinal and brain injuries they might suffer in accidents. [ | news]


AP - Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian told an opposition leader Thursday that he would not shut the door on eventual unification with rival China if Beijing expressed goodwill. [Yahoo! News: Most Viewed]

Chew on this for a while...

From the Eastern Arizona Courier:

Despite local Republicans' reputation of being conservative and sober, Congressman Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) sent all local Republican officials a bottle of his own Renzi wine to help celebrate at the annual Lincoln Day dinner.

"Here is to the good life," the label on the wine bottle reads. Renzi personally signed each bottle.

It's good to be a Republican official! But, as the article continues, not so good to be a constituent in rural Arizona:

Konopnicki also talked numbers. He said he is pushing for better salaries and quality of life for those who work in rural Arizona.

"Teacher salaries are $10 - $12,000 less in rural areas than in metro," he said. Health insurance and retirement also cost more in rural Arizona, and even those who qualify for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) are paying more than they would in the metro areas.

"The reason is that the state can get away with it," Konopnicki said.

Then Speaker of the House Jim Weiers comes out and says we have the worst healthcare and education in the nation, but oh well.

Cheers, everyone!

[Arizona Congress Watch]

This is what I call must watch TV! Tarantino Bloodying 'CSI'

He's writing and directing... I can't wait!
Reuters - Call it "Kill Gil." [Yahoo! News: Most Emailed]

I'm even watching... I don't usually follow basketball

This is the year of the Suns!
The Phoenix Suns continue to enjoy a strong surge in television ratings. [Latest news from The Business Journal of Phoenix]

This is not a good sign!

AP - The share of the working-age population working or actively seeking a job — known as the participation rate — fell to 65.8 percent in January, the lowest reading in 17 years, according to numbers collected by the Labor Department. [Yahoo! News: Reader Ratings]

This doesn't make any sense...

Why wouldn't they want to insure accurate information? There must be more behind this than meets the eye.
PHOENIX - State lawmakers refused Wednesday to require school districts that provide sex education to provide students with "medically accurate" information. The legislative proposal by Sen. Toni [Tucson Region]
According to the article the bill is part of an agenda to put an end to Sex Ed in the classroom.

Calling all Beatles and John Lennon fans...

John's art work is on display at the Borgata.
John Lennon was an artist before he was a musician. But being a Beatle made it more difficult to be recognized for his visual art, according to his widow, Yoko Ono, during a recent interview with The Arizona Republic. [ | news]

This was a strange twist...

I'd like to see this happen more. In addition, I wouldn't be against giving guest worker status to people who turn in coyotes like these people did. It takes courage and a strong sense of right and wrong to do this and it is behavior that should be rewarded.
A group of undocumented immigrants walked into Phoenix police headquarters Wednesday night and asked for help after escaping a nearby drop house where they were held against their will, police said. [ | news]

Please say Yankee's, Please say Yankee's

A call to expand the Cactus League, which is enjoying unprecedented popularity, won support from a new governor's baseball commission and from certain fans in the stands Wednesday.

But in Florida, word that Arizona was trying to pluck two Major League Baseball teams from the Grapefruit League was met with alarm.
[ | news]
Darn! it's the Indians and the Astros

In related news:
In an effort to bring more sports and tourist dollars to the state, Gov. Janet Napolitano has created the Arizona Baseball and Softball Commission. [Latest news from The Business Journal of Phoenix]


Hosted by

...I wore one of my favorite Halloween costumes of all: During the Spice Girls era, I went to my office as "Old Spice". [The Dog's Breakfast]

I'll have to look into this...

You can check it out here and make your own decision.
The Arizona Senate will soon vote on SB. 1229, which will strip away the funding mechanism that has worked for public access television. Cox Communications, the largest cable TV operator in Arizona, is behind this bill, as is the industry group the Arizo [Blog For Arizona]

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

You should read this...

It's good!

DER SPIEGEL: "Could George W. Bush be right?"

President Ronald Reagan's visit to Berlin in 1987 was, in many respects, very similar to President George W. Bush's visit to Mainz on Wednesday. Like Bush's visit, Reagan's trip was likewise accompanied by unprecedented security precautions. A handpicked crowd cheered Reagan in front of the Brandenburg Gate while large parts of the Berlin subway system were shut down. And the Germany Reagan was traveling in, much like today's Germany, was very skeptical of the American president and his foreign policy. When Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate -- and the Berlin Wall -- and demanded that Gorbachev "tear down this Wall," he was lampooned the next day on the editorial pages. He is a dreamer, wrote commentators. Realpolitik looks different.

But history has shown that it wasn't Reagan who was the dreamer as he voiced his demand. Rather, it was German politicians who were lacking in imagination -- a group who in 1987 couldn't imagine that there might be an alternative to a divided Germany. Those who spoke of reunification were labelled as nationalists and the entire German left was completely uninterested in a unified Germany. . . .

When the voter turnout in Iraq recently exceeded that of many Western nations, the chorus of critique from Iraq alarmists was, at least for a couple of days, quieted. Just as quiet as the chorus of Germany experts on the night of Nov. 9, 1989 when the Wall fell.

As the article notes, German foreign policy is based on differentiating itself from the United States. Sounds a bit adolescent to me. (Via TKS).

And lots of people are making that Berlin Wall comparison today. Meanwhile, Arthur Chrenkoff has a roundup of Lebanon / Syria news that's worth your time.


When I read the Title for this post, I was ready to fight...

I didn't have to. It's actually quite reasonable...
Have you ever thought that it was the evil white males who have been keeping women down and out of sciences? Well, Marie Reyes of the Southwest Institute for Research on Women believes it is so:

"Reyes said it is difficult for women to succeed in fields largely dominated by white males."...
[Rings of Benzene]

Did you know there where are 293 ways to make change for a dollar. [there still are!]

I learned a few things today...
My buddy Hippy is always sending me interesting and amusing E-Mails. Here's his latest. Where does he find it all?

A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear....
[Wasted Days, Wasted Nites]


Michael Jackson must be shocked that the folks in Santa Maria found a jury of his peers:

The panel included four men and eight women, ranging in age from 20 to 79. The racial and ethnic breakdown appeared to be: seven whites, four Hispanics and one Asian.

Mostly women, no blacks.

Yup. It's a jury of Michael's peers.

[The Dead Pool]

Things that make you say Hmmm

From Spiegel Online: With a Hush and a Whisper, Bush Drops Town Hall Meeting with Germans.

During his trip to Germany on Wednesday, the main highlight of George W. Bush's trip was meant to be a "town hall"-style meeting with average Germans. But with the German government unwilling to permit a scripted event with questions approved in advance, the White House has quietly put the event on ice. Was Bush afraid the event might focus on prickly questions about Iraq and Iran rather than the rosy future he's been touting in Europe this week?

No, that couldn't be it. Probably just a scheduling issue.

(via Daily Kos)

[J-Walk Blog]

It makes me proud!

Fortune Magazine's Most Admired Companies list is out, and six Arizona companies made the list of 582. [Latest news from The Business Journal of Phoenix]

My page views are growing faster than my blog,

I take this as a good sign! Thanks to everyone who stops to read for a while! Posted by Hello


A manure pile that has been burning for almost four months in Nebraska has finally been extinguished. The mound of crap was the byproduct of a giant feedlot nearby that can handle as many as 12,000 cows at any given time. Local tourism officials are disappointed that the fire is now out because the giant pile of cow shit was the most interesting thing to see in Nebraska. Source
[Regurgitated News]

"AZ-Gov: Nothing here. Move along"

ASU poll. 2/17-20. MoE 4.9% (No trend lines)
Napolitano (D-incumbent) 54
Hayworth (R) 28

Napolitano (D) 70
Symington (R) 14

Napolitano (D) 50
Romley (R) 25

Fife Symington is a former governor of Arizona. He was forced to resign after being convicted of felony bank and wire fraud in 1997.

It would be nice to go after J.D. Hayworth's congressional district as an open seat, but with numbers like these, Hayworth may decide to pass. [Daily Kos]

Slightly off center gives his take:
The latest polling data coming out of Arizona shows Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano with a healthy lead over the top three GOP contenders.

As I prefaced in the last poll released, it's still way to early to put any stock into it as of right now, the Arizona electorate still isn't paying any attention to it. But they will be in the not so distant future.

The Arizona Republic chose, curiously enough, to focus the story on how former Governor Fife Symington is doing against the sitting governor. To each his own I guess.

KOLD-TV has more on the poll results. [Slightly Off Center - Missiles from all over the Middle]

I thought this was very interesting...

My only observation is this... I agree it's easy to know what the president has said, what's frustrating is that sometimes he just doesn't say anything.
Is George W. Bush an embarrassing rube, or refreshing? Your reaction to this report from the BBC probably predicts your answer to that question:
The president is wonderfully un-European - refreshingly so in the view of those of us who have worked in Brussels.

He is unsmooth. He stumbles over his sentences. He uses short, plain, sometimes almost babyish words, while the sophisticated multilingual Euro crowd prefer obfuscatory long ones.

And he gets a clear message across, like it or not. He has no need of spin.

It was interesting that on the White House bus back into town, the journalists did not need to compare notes or discuss the president's words and what they meant.

On the other hand, for Chirac and Schroeder there was a discussion that would have made an old-style Kremlinologist blush.

Much of it was over my head, but my clever colleague Alec Russell from the Telegraph held his own rather well, I am pleased to report, in an argument with a Dutchman about whether a particular message was "implicit" or "explicit" in a text.

Some people think Schroeder said one thing about Nato and some think he actually meant another. Others claim that Chirac really believes Schroeder wanted to say... etc etc.

Welcome to Europe, Mr Bush.

Sounds a lot like Canada.

I've been nominated by the Watcher of Weasels...

Check out my submission as well as all of the others at Submitted for Your Approval from Watcher of Weasels.

I always thought if we added another state it would be Puerto Rico

Eastern Washington may beat them to the punch.
AP - If Washington state Sen. Bob Morton has his way, he'll soon be a resident and lawmaker in the 51st state of the United States. [Yahoo! News: Most Viewed]

I have a question

What's the difference between a dark galaxy and dark matter?
Astronomers led by a team from Cardiff claim to have found the first 'dark' galaxy to be detected. [BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition]
Based on this the galaxy is made of the matter, but we still don't know what the matter is.

Speaking of good things... Go read this.

We are pleased to present the third edition of The Carnival Of Education. What we have done is assemble a variety of interesting and informative posts from around the EduSphere (and one or two from the Larger 'Sphere) that have been submitted by various authors and readers. We think that they represent a great variety of topics, political/educational viewpoints, and writing styles. A word or two
[The Education Wonks]

The Carnival of Vanities is up...

I made the carnival with this post. So go visit Pundit Guy and read all the great stuff from this past week.

Terri Schiavo,Terri Schiavo, Terri Schiavo...

What's the difference between her and the living thinking smiling blinking parasitic head on this little girl?

I havn't seen a single blog plea for the life Manar Maged's parasitic head. Why not? Is it too horrible to think about? Is a clump of prehuman cells more important than a thinking head with no body?

Seriously, I consider this head more human than a fetus and yet I hear knowbody else asking question about the murder of this nameless person previously attached to Manar Maged.

I could get behind this...

As long as the countries are not repressed under brutal leadership...

Reports The New Nation (Bangladesh):

A bill seeing duty-free access of products of Bangladesh and 13 other least developed countries (LDC) to the United States has been raised in the US Congress, a BGMEA press release said on Monday.

Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe and Bangladesh caucus chairman in US Congress Joseph Crowley of Democratic Party raised the bill called Tariff Relief Assistance for Developing Economies Act of 2005 or "Trade Act of 2005" on February 17.

[Arizona Congress Watch]

I've been meaning to blog on this...

The Desert Rat beat me to it... I wouldn't have used quite the level of rhetoric, but it's still worth reading.
Fifty-five employees with criminal records....

No, I did NOT say 'former employees'....

Where do they work, you ask?

Why, right here in Arizona at our own Child Protective Services...CPS...and we just had another murder of a three year old little girl who was beaten to death by a 'friend' of the family...a little, helpless three year old girl to whose house CPS has been called at least EIGHT TIMES in the past after hearing complaints about child abuse...and CPS never found a problem in that house...

[Desert Rat Ramblings]

You've heard me talk about Arizona Drivers...

Look at what one legislator is looking to do about it...
PHOENIX - Arizona could soon have a new way of setting speed limits on state roads and freeways: Majority rules. Legislation approved Tuesday by the Senate Transportation Committee would require [Tucson Region]
It's interesting, but I'm not sure it's the right way to go about things. At least the debate is now open. BTW, did I mention that this is the same guy behind this that I wrote about here. (I have a strong feeling that Sen. Thayer Verschoor, R-Gilbert is a leadfoot!)

I hadn't thought about this, but

This could be another bumper year for West Nile in the Phoenix area. With all the rain we've had and with the forcaste for continued wet thru May it could be dramatic. I know that it's supposed to taper off in the second year, but consider this.

Last year the outbrakes were centralized in certain parts of the city. Certain parts of the city don't really have any mosquito's. My neighborhood is one example. I can't remember ever being bitten once in the 4 years I've lived here. I've been bitten at work and while visiting family out of town etc. but never here. That could change with all this water.

Something to think about...
A Scottsdale man who was paralyzed last year after contracting the West Nile virus and still uses crutches to walk complained Tuesday that neither doctors nor health officials were prepared to deal with the most severe cases of the mosquito-borne disease. [ | news]

What's the deal with stupid job titles like this one?

The dot-com boom led to many things, including creative job titles. But the Scottsdale Unified School District has changed about a half-dozen job titles to better reflect its commitment to learning. So when you walk into the school office, you won't see a receptionist, you'll see the ''Director of First Impressions.'' [ | news]

Rain is having a dramatic effect on the Valley of the Sun

The big winners... Roofers. The big loosers... Construction and The San Fransisco Giants. Isn't that irony?
No one wants to be the first person in Phoenix to look up at the rain clouds and say ''Enough, already,'' not after so many years of drought. But six inches in 12 weeks - the Arizona desert just isn't built for that. * Some business is mushrooming as rain continues* Some businesses watching profits get washed away [ | news]

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Big news flash here...

Another cold, wet Pacific storm is moving across Arizona, bringing the Valley a chance of showers during the day and likely showers and a chance of thunderstorms, small hail and brief heavy rain at night. [ | news]

An extreem take...

It does say something though.
On Monday, the same day that it urged Congress to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, Arizona's Republican controlled House of Representatives voted 56-3 in favor of requiring its school districts to prohibit students from harassing, intimidating and bullying other pupils. In some respect, the legislation is reminiscent of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy toward gays: Schools will now have to find "confidential" means of reporting bullying incidents. Intimidation and harassment take place in schoolyards for a variety of reasons, but under this plan gay kids in Arizona will now be forced to keep their humiliation at the hands of bullies in the closet, along with their sexuality. []

Mark your calander...

Just wanted to post this again, to remind everyone in the area...

Phoenix New In Town Meetup

Add This Event To Your Calendar

Come join us! Even if you're not new to the area...

[Listening to: Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action - Toby Keith - Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (02:50)]
[verns blog]

Should have expected as much...

WASHINGTON - The government on Friday issued its first safety standard for perchlorate, a toxic chemical used in rocket fuel and explosives and blamed for widespread contamination of drinking water near military sites.

The Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites)'s new limit for what it considers a safe exposure level will be used in guiding Superfund cleanups and determining whether the agency should go a step further and regulate perchlorate as a drinking water contaminant.

The limit, which translates to 24.5 parts per billion in drinking water, is the same level recommended by the National Academy of Sciences (news - web sites) in January but higher than what EPA proposed two years ago. [Yahoo! News: Reader Ratings]


The manager of a Glendale video store and his wife have been arrested on charges of faking a robbery, then trying to pocket the money for themselves, police said Tuesday. [ | news]

La Shawn Barber should get her facts strait or Extreeme rhetoric isn't all it's cracked up to be!

Read this excerpt from one of her latest posts:
The frustrated people of Arizona are taking matters into their own hands. They will do what George Bush refuses to do: protect our southern border. The Minutemen Project is an idea whose time has come!

While we're spending billions to keep the enemy in Iraq at bay, enemies in our own country continue to use our own stupidity and suicidal tendencies against us. But real men are saying, "No more!" [La Shawn Barber's Corner]
Sounds great doesn't it. The truth is something quite different. According to The Sierra Vista Herald, The Minutemen Project is headed by Jim Gilchrist who is from Aliso Viejo, Calif., about 60 miles north of San Diego. Ok, it doesn't have to be lead by an Arizona resident. Problem is when he was in Arizona last month for an Organizational meeting there were only about 20 people at the meeting. At the time, he was claiming 204 people from 33 states had signed up.

If it's starting to sound less and less like, "The frustrated people of Arizona…" and more like a publicity stunt put on by outsiders for outsiders. That's because that is what it is.

- In November 2002, Minuteman Project founder Chris Simcox said dozens of people would come out for his much-debated Civil Homeland Defense, the Tombstone-based group that was supposed to patrol the border, gather up illegal entrants, turn them over to the U.S. Border Patrol and show up the federal government for not doing its job.

The group has seized about 150 illegal entrants, a far cry from the 4,000 Simcox contends have been apprehended since he started two years ago, according to Miguel Escobar, Mexican consul in Douglas. The consulate responds to every citizen's encounter.

By contrast, Escobar has tracked at least 65 incidents in which citizens stopped entrants since 1999, when groups and individuals such as Cochise rancher Roger Barnett, American Border Patrol and Ranch Rescue began apprehensions in Cochise County.

- The Border Patrol has had three to five instances in which citizens were standing with a captured group of illegal entrants in the past year, said Tucson Sector spokesman Andy Adame. By contrast, the agency receives 300 to 500 anonymous calls from other civilians each month, he said. The agency has adopted a "wait and see" attitude toward the Minuteman Project.

- A handful of people showed up at the first organizational meeting of the Civil Homeland Defense on Dec. 7, 2002. Fifty were expected.

- On Jan. 1, 2003, two volunteers showed up for the first training session. Four reporters were there to greet them. []

This is the funniest piece I've read all day!

The Moderate Voice -: "NEWS BULLETIN: Startling Claim By North Korea by Joe Gandelman This just in from investigative reporter Andy Borowitz:"

I hope I'm not on this list...

I hope you're not either!
The chief executive officer of personal data warehouser ChoicePoint says he takes a breach of the company's credentialing process "very seriously." ChoicePoint CEO Derek Smith says in a TV interview in Georgia ... [Arizona -]

Our favorite Senator has called for permanent U.S. bases in Afghanistan

AP - A senior American lawmaker called Tuesday for permanent U.S. bases in Afghanistan to safeguard American security interests in a region that includes Iran as well as nuclear-armed Pakistan and China. [Yahoo! News: Most Viewed]
Office: McCain not calling on permanent bases in Afghanistan (The Arizona Republic)
WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCains office scrambled Tuesday to clarify that the Arizona Republican is not calling for permanent U.S. bases in Afghanistan as a way to safeguard American interests in the region that includes Iran, Pakistan and China, despite...

Set back for NAFTA? - Thousands of 18-wheelers roar across the Rio Grande every day, with more than 40% of U.S.-Mexican trade passing through this corridor. [Yahoo! News: Reader Ratings]

This is unbelievable!

I was saddened when I read this in today's Arizona Republic: A recent geographic literacy survey polled more than 3,000 18- to 24-year-olds in nine countries. The results: The United States came in second-to-last, ahead of Mexico. Eleven percent of young Americans couldn't locate their country on a world map. Gale Ekiss, co-coordinator for the Arizona Geographic Alliance, said a push for
[The Education Wonks]

Since the Bobbit incident this kind of story just doesn't have the impact it once did

AP - A woman upset about an impending breakup with her boyfriend cut off the man's penis and flushed it down a toilet, police said. [Yahoo! News: Most Emailed]

This would look great in you're very own game room!

AFP - The flashing dance floor on which John Travolta strutted his way to stardom in "Saturday Night Fever" is being put up for auction. [Yahoo! News: Most Viewed]

Who didn't see this coming?

Good new for Phoenix Suns fans: The increase in ticket prices won't match the team's increase in winning percentage. [Latest news from The Business Journal of Phoenix]

Geek Alert...

Christie's in New York has what you've been looking for...
Reuters - Computer geeks who love history have a chance to get their hands on rare documents and technical relics at "The Origins of Cyberspace" sale in New York next week, Christie's auction house said on Friday. [Yahoo! News: Most Viewed]

This is sad...

Who would do such a thing?
Canadian Press - VANCOUVER (CP) - Fourteen more eagles believed slaughtered for their talons and tail feathers have been found in North Vancouver, prompting the B.C. government to add to the reward money already posted. [Yahoo! News: Reader Ratings]