Friday, May 26, 2006

CD-8 Ol’ Anonymouse Squeaks Again

This time by mail, which is peachy since it cost “Real Democrats for Real Democrats” 39 cents a pop. The best overview of what this is all about is to be had at Tedski’s, “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion.” Stick around and read the comments, too.

Anyway, it looks like either a Weiss or Latas supporter is pretty anxious about the depth and breadth of Giffords’ support. As annoying as these squeaking annonymice can be it’s good to remember that you don’t find mice in an empty cupboard, and Giffords’ political cupboard is chock-a-block.

There are some fairly serious legal and political issues revolving around this otherwise silly mailing. Is “Real Democrats for Real Democrats” a PAC, even if it is only a PAC of one? If it is a PAC is it not now in violation of federal election law, which requires registration and identification?

The rumor gnomes are telling me there is a suspect, but no way to anchor those suspicions down…yet. Save the envelopes, gang, maybe ol’ annonymouse licked the flaps. DNA testing anyone?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

MTA: Maximum Television Annoyance

I took my car for routine service to my local dealership yesterday. I like the dealership. The service reps are courteous, the work always seems to be done efficiently and there is a nice waiting room if you have to hang out while the work is being done.

Coffee and Danish are free, and there is shuttle service if you need to go home, or want to hang at the mall.

However there is a snake in every Eden, and the snake in this Eden is a television set tuned in to a news channel where teams of babbling monkeys breathlessly repeat the same five stories over and over and over.

The twenty or twenty-five people waiting for their cars never pay any attention to this infernal irritation. In act they seem to be doing their very best to ignore it. I try my very best to ignore it but it’s like a Chinese water torture. You can’t ignore it; it slowly drills its way into the lower reaches of your consciousness, turning you into a clockwork orange.

Why do businesses think this is a customer service? None of the customers seem to give a rat’s patootie for this irritating “service.” We’d all be better off without it. Geez, we’d all be better off with Muzak.

Fight MTA.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Backward Looks, Forward Looks

Well, we kept waiting for the other “Rove Indictment” shoe to fall but the time line kept stretching and still there was no shoe. The story shifted from Rove to the blogosphere and even the Wall Street Journal elbowed in to report the story of the story.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…err, here in CD 8, the rumor ghosts floated through the walls of various campaign headquarters but they seem to have vanished. Best not to frighten the troops by even bringing them up.

There was some “solid” news. Weiss turned in her nominating petitions, thus winning a race that’s hardly worth winning. Wouldn’t it be better to continue collecting signatures until the last moment? Of course maybe she is.

Randy Graff is claiming to be the first candidate to turn in petitions (2000 signatures) for the September CD 8 primary. Guess he means the first Republican. Weiss turned in 2051 signatures.

Oh, My…what can it all mean?

I took Sunday off and the Data Port Team took the sidehack to Wilcox for the car show and assorted Wilcox Days fun. By the time we got there it was hotter than billy-be-damned but there were a number of Democratic campaign teams working the crowd for signatures and passing out stickers. Giffords was the only congressional candidate I saw represented. Doesn’t mean there weren’t others.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Invention of The Cocktail

Good Lord! We have missed an historic event: The two hundredth anniversay of the invention of the cocktail. I quote from Jonathon Miles’ celebratory column in Sunday’s New York Times.

“Two hundred years and a day ago, the term "cocktail" first popped into print (so far as we know) in The Balance and Columbian Repository of Hudson, N.Y. "Cock tail, then, is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters — it is vulgarly called a bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion," went this inaugural mention. "It is said also, to be of great use to a Democratic candidate: because, a person having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else." A snarky birth, to be sure, but hallelujah for it.”

As any mixologist worth the name recognizes, this was the ancestor of what today we call the Old Fashioned.

Several years ago I wrote a poem (copyrighted, if you please but feel free to reprint with appropriate credit) about the preferred cocktail of the truly sophisticated, The Martini.


Oh give me Martinis medicinal, cold.
I want them astringent and forthright and bold.
At the end of a day when I’m truly done in
I welcome a glass that is filled to the brim
With a whiff of vermouth and four ounces of gin.

And take to your heart this immutable truth:
Martinis are made out of gin and vermouth.
They aren’t just concoctions of stuff you have handy,
They’re really not made with sweet cordials or brandy.
They’re not colored blue or be-clouded with brine,
Though best when straight up, ‘on the rocks’ is just fine.

A final reminder, I’ll not let it pass,
What makes a Martini is not just the glass!

Voting The Old Fashioned Way

I voted this morning. I did it the old fashioned way, by going to our local school, signing-in at the polling place, and filling out the ballot. There’s an “I voted” sticker on my T-shirt, which I’ll keep on all day.

I like seeing friends and neighbors, I like being seen and doing what religious folk sometimes call “witnessing”—publicly demonstrating my belief in the obligation to fulfill one of the primary responsibilities of citizenship.

I like getting up early enough to have a cup of coffee before going to the polling place, and I like chatting with neighbors afterwards as we go about our day’s business.

Absentee voting is fine for those whose disabilities make it difficult to get to the polls, but I think voting by mail is a curse. Voting should be a public ceremony. Voting by mail somehow reduces the act of voting to an act not unlike mailing in a rebate coupon; something impersonal, something to get done with so we can move on to other (more important) stuff.

Going to the polls is a healing act. No matter how rancorous or bitter the debates have been leading up to the election, once the voting is done people chat and smile and wait for the outcome to be announced. There is a coming together that you never see after you vote by mail.

I like the old fashioned way. I’ll feel cheated if I ever have to give it up.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Rove Indictment Story

Is the truth out at Truthout, or not? The complete absence of any mention of Rove’s indictment in the main street media certainly calls into question the accuracy of the story, or at least the immanence of some announcement of an indictment. The indictment has long been rumored to be in the works.

Now the ‘story about the story’ begins to get almost more interesting than the indictment story itself. Was Jason Leopold set up by his informants? If so, why?

Leopold is threatening to release the names of his informants if their story is bogus. Things get curiouser and curiouser. There is a long background piece about his at Talk Left.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Modest Proposal: A Section for Adults

I understand that no newspaper can be all things to its readers. A little newspaper like the Arizona Daily Star has a special role in reporting local news and being ‘entertaining.’

There is a lot, well most, in the Star that I simply am not interested in. I don’t read the ponderous Sport Section; Accent, the women’s pages by any other name, doesn’t much attract me; and I feel no need to be informed about the touching life aspirations of some 15 year old girl, Summer fashions, or what the Seniors are wearing to the Prom.

Believe me, I understand that some people are interested in this, that they want to know who of their friends have been arrested, or where the fire was, or who has been promoted to be the chief assistant to the assistant chief.

I subscribe to the Star, but in the small hours of the morning rather than dashing out in my bathrobe and slippers I fire up the computer and get the Star on line. (Free) I look at one or two stories and then click on to my real news sources: The NY Times, The Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, a couple of on line sources, and Salon, and some local bloggers.

I’m interested in solid national and international political news, extended business news, and serious science reporting. If the Star wants to survive as a ‘paper’ newspaper it should try appealing to readers like me.

I would happily continue to subscribe to the Arizona Daily Star if only every other day it had a section that was headlined not “Sports” or “Accent” or “Opinion” but simply “Hard News.” (I have suggested “Adults” but that does seem too much like the back sections of the Tucson Weekly.)

Four pages would be nice. Sell ads if you must but leave at least three pages of news hole. All the sorts of stories I surf the web for would be right there in the new section and I could wrap garbage in the rest of the paper. Hey, Guys, you don’t even have to hire reporters. Just buy stories from the big- time papers.

One “Mutha’s” Day

According to Blog For Arizona and Truthout.Org, Carl Rove has been indicted on charges of perjury and lying to investigators.

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

It’s interesting to note, however, that I could find no mention of this in the MSM as of this posting. If any “professional journalists” can explain this I’d appreciate hearing from them…oh, yeah, Mother’s Day.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Another Reason to Vote No on 1 and 2

It looks like grass roots opposition to the Regional Transportation Initiative is beginning to get some real traction. The proponents have lofted a slick hit piece against its opponents.

Slick, yes, but also filled with lies and evasions that add up to more reasons to vote no on 1 and 2… a backlash that the proponents didn’t expect. You don’t have to take my word for it because Mike Bryan over at Blog For Arizona has done a detailed analysis (and gutting) of the piece. You can read it here. Send it to a friend. Keep up the pressure.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

CD 8: The Mother's Milk of Politics

The cash-strapped Latas campaign is moving in the direction of much needed major fundraising, sponsoring an area visit by former Senator Max Cleland. If you’ve never heard Cleland, but have always wanted to, this is your chance.

As of this post there was no mention of this on the Latas website. Why keep it secret, guys? Maybe they thought that only hard core Latas supporters would be interested, but those supporters haven’t been particularly open-handed.

At any rate, if you’re interested here’s where and how much.
RSVP: (520) 207-0455

Sunday, May 21, 6:00-8:00 PM, $50, buffet dinner at Windemere Hotel in Sierra Vista (preferred seating with Max or Jeff, $100) Cash bar at 5:30 with Max and Jeff.

Monday, May 22, 9:00-11 Am, $35, breakfast at Quail Creek Country Club Green Valley (preferred seating with Max or Jeff, $75.)

Monday, May 22, 7:00-9:00 PM, $100, dinner at Sheraton Hotel on Grant Road in Tucson (preferred seating with Max or Jeff $500) Private reception 6:00-7:00 pm $250 (includes dinner.)

This post sponsored by The Yellow Dog Democrats

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

CD8 Three More Unions Endorse Giffords

The Data Port received the following press release yesterday:

TUCSON, Ariz. – Three additional labor unions have joined the large and growing coalition backing former state Sen. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat running in Arizona's 8th Congressional District.

The following unions have announced their support for Sen. Giffords:

*The United Brotherhood of Carpenters of America (Southwest Regional Council) represents highly skilled men and women throughout the building-trades industries, including carpenters, cabinetmakers, millwrights, piledrivers, lathers, framers, floorlayers, roofers, drywallers, and workers in forest-products and related industries.

* The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (Local 99) represents workers in health care, meatpacking, poultry and food processing, manufacturing, distillery, winery, textile and chemical trades, and retail food industries.

* The United Brotherhood of Teamsters (Local 104) represents individuals who work in transportation and freight-related industries.

"We choose to endorse Sen. Giffords because she is the only candidate with a proven track record of supporting working families," said Tom Hynes, Special Representative for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Southwest Regional Council. "She has demonstrated that she understands the challenges that working people face. We believe she will serve the people of Arizona with strength and integrity."

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union echoed these beliefs. "Sen. Giffords is a champion for the issues that matter most to the working people of Southern Arizona," said Jim McLaughlin, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 99. "She has proven that she strongly believes in the right of workers to organize. She also supports raising the minimum wage and increased access to health care for all."

The United Brotherhood of Teamsters also lauded Sen. Giffords. "There was no question about who the Teamsters would endorse," said Joe Hernandez, Business Representative of the United Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 104. "Gabrielle has not shied away from being a fighter for the working men and women of Arizona, and we are confident that she will continue to do so in Washington, D.C."

Monday, May 08, 2006

RTA: Grass Roots Opposition Growing?

I received an interesting e-mail today. It was forwarded to me from a friend, who had received it as a “forwarded message” from an acquaintance. Basically it contained the info in my previous post, with the links you find there.

Apparently a viral e-mail campaign against the plan is underway. This is an excellent grass roots use of the net. To make it easy for folks who want to oppose the Regional Transportation Plan, here are some URLs you can mail to your address lists:

Tucson Needs a Real Transportation Plan:

Then for News Stories and a collection of letters in opposition you can look

Friday, May 05, 2006

RTA--More Debate Needed?

The last sentence in the previous post should have read: Maybe we in Tucson should vote for the Regional Transportation Authority Plan and sales tax increase.

On the other hand, maybe we shouldn’t…at least not without more public debate. The absence of debate, particularly in the local blogosphere, was commented on by Kralmajales in the comment thread to that last post.

A front page story in today’s Arizona Daily Star (link) reports that the proponents of the plan and the tax increase have raised almost a million dollars, outspending the opposition by 125 to 1.

For a look at some of the reasons for rejecting the RTA plan you can visit the “Tucson Needs a Real Transportation Plan” web site. (link)

Here is a partial list of contributors supporting the plan.

New Car Dealers Association $131,445
Jim Click Ford $50,000
Jack Furrier’s Western Tire & Auto Care $1,500

Real Estate
Realtors Issues Mobilization Committee $75,000
Tucson Association of Realtors, Inc. $75,000
Baker, Peterson, Baker & Associates $500
SDR Associates, LLP $500

Diamond Ventures, Inc. $50,000
Southern Arizona Homebuilders Association $50,000
Cottonwood Properties $10,000
PICOR Commercial Real Estate $3,000
Aberdeen Group, LLC $2,000
Forest City Southwest $1,000
Western Associates Dev. Co. LLC $900

Associated General Contractors of America $50,000
Granite Construction $25,000
The Sundt Companies, Inc. $25,000
The Ashton Company $10,000
Hunter Contracting Co. $10,000
KE&G Development, LLC $10,000
Pulice Construction, Inc. $10,000
Arizona Builders Alliance $5,000
O’Leary Construction, Inc. $2,000
Trinity Southwest Contractors, LLC $5,000

HDR Engineering, Inc. $17,000
Engineering & Environmental Consultants, Inc. $10,200
Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc. $10,000
Stantec Consulting $10,000
Tran Systems Corp. $10,000
URS Engineering $10,000
Castro Engineering $7,500
American Council of Engineering Companies $6,000
AMEC Infrastructure $5,000
Structural Grace, Inc. $4,000
RS Engineering $3,000
Rick Engineering Company $2,500
WLB Group, Inc. $2,500
Kimley-Horn & Assoc., Inc. $2,000
Terracon $2,000
CMG Drainage Engineering $1,000
Kittelson & Associates, Inc. $1,000
AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc. $500
Morrison Maierle, Inc. $200

Empire Machinery $25,000
Sunstate Equipment Co., LLC $5,000
Tucson Tractor $3,000
Earhart Equipment Corporation $2,000
Arizona Equipment Rental $2,000
Tool Rent Shop $1,500
Red Mountain Machinery Company $1,000
Schwab Sales, Inc. $500

Financial, Insurance, and Legal
Wells Fargo Bank $20,000
Banc One Management Corp. $10,000
Snell & Wilmer LLP $7,500
Beach, Fleischman & Co., PC $5,000
Lewis & Roca, LLP $5,000
Lovitt & Touche $5,000
The Mahoney Group $4,000
Fennemore Craig, PC $2,500
RBC Dain Rauscher $2,500
Hecker & Muehlebach, PLLC $1,000
Nova Financial $1,000
The Clements Agency, Inc. $1,000

Arizona Rock Products $25,000
Arizona Portland Cement $10,000
California Portland Cement $10,000
Rinker Materials $10,000
Vulcan Materials $10,000
Hanson Pipe & Products $3,000
CTI, Inc. $2,500
Kalamazoo Materials, Inc. $2,500
Boral Material Technologies, Inc. $500
Southwest Gas $10,000
City Van Rental Service $5,000
Cooper Aerial Surveys Co. $4,000
AAA Landscape $2,000
Sage Landscape Architecture $1,000
Arizona Trucking Association $500
Kleinfelder $500

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Three Buck Gas

I’m inclined to agree with Maureen Dowd: What’s wrong with three buck gas? Of course I understand that three bucks imposes a real hardship on some folks. If you have been forced to buy or rent a home out in the boonies because local rents and costs have skyrocketed in town, then three buck gas to drive to your entry level job in the city is very bad news indeed.

On the other hand for the rest of us this can be an honest-to-God wake up call. Geez! maybe the Hummer was a mistake after all.

My guess is that more than a few of the big cars I see around Tucson are never driven out of town. It seems to me that we should develop a small car with a 750 cc engine just for urban transportation.

In the mean time, consider what other folks pay for a gallon of gas:

Amsterdam 6.48
Oslo $6.27
Milan $5.96
Copenhagen $5.93
Brussels $5.91
Stockholm $5.80
London $5.79
Frankfurt $5.57
Paris $5.54
Lisbon $5.35
Budapest $4.94
Zagreb $4.81
Dublin $4.78
Geneva $4.74
Madrid $4.55
Tokyo $4.24
Prague $4.19

My “truck” is a motorcycle/sidecar outfit…36 mpg around town. My wife’s motorcycle gets 65 mpg in town. My own scoot gets 47 mpg.Yes, we do have a car, and we do use it…Toyota Corolla..31 mpg, although we use it a lot less and carefully plan our trips.

Maybe we in Tucson should vote for the transportation bonds.