Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cliven Bundy: A Freeloading Racist Dumbass

Rancher Cliven Bundy was disputing the federal government's claim he owed about $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees from federal land his cattle was using. (photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)
Rancher Cliven Bundy was disputing the federal government's claim he owed about $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees from federal land his cattle was using. (photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

ell, I want to tell you one more thing I know about freeloading racist dumbasses.

Assuming that Adam Nagourney doesn't have mad wiretapping skillz of which I was not aware, or that he is not capable of the average Vulcan Mind Meld, ol' Cliven Bundy, the Paul Revere of the Hoveround militia, beloved grandpappy of the Traffic On The Three's First Vicarious Division, knew full well he was talking to a New York Times reporter when he decided to gleefully set the kitty free from the burlap.
"I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro," he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, "and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids - and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch - they didn't have nothing to do. They didn't have nothing for their kids to do. They didn't have nothing for their young girls to do. "And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?" he asked. "They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom."
If anything were ever About Race, I might say that ol' Cliven was engaging is some racism right here, but since nothing is ever About Race in this country, I must be mistaken, because Cliven is all about freedom and liberty and the ancestral rights his family has to The Land that date back to shortly after the Truman Administration. How do you like your blue-eyed boy now, Mr. Hannity?

Let us leave the dusty plains of Camp Moocher for a moment and check back in with Jayson Veley, the shy and retiring Coldplay avatar from Eastern Connecticut State who was so crushed by his creative writing professor's suggestion that people like Cliven Bundy, and his enablers in conservative politics far and wide, might be stopping by the Nathan Bedford Forrest Rest Area on Liberty Highway that he felt compelled to tape the professor surreptitiously. Jayson, you may recall, was said to be so upset that he "wished to remain anonymous" while finking on his teacher. This lasted until Megyn Kelly batted her eyes at him and dragged young Jayson gleefully into the spotlight. What are we to make of our reluctant freedom fighter?

Well, it turns out there's more to Jayson than meets the eye. Oh, he's quite the aspiring little wingnut, our Jayson is.
For years, we have seen a decline in small government republicanism among the youth. Junior Factor Nation believes that this is primarily due to liberal indoctrination in high school and college classrooms, as well as over-exposure to liberal philosophies from television and the media. As a result, we are seeing an increasing trend towards liberalism, atheism, and big government ideologies. The problem with this is that liberal policies are not in line with our founding principles. Therefore, if we allow this trend to continue, future generations may not even know the true meaning of the words "we the people." That is our battle - to ensure that our children grow up with just as much, if not more, freedom than we have in America today. It is time for a revolution of the heart and mind, and Junior Factor Nation is prepared to bring that revolution to light, one broadcast at a time.
Here are the rest of the Teen Titans. (I don't know which is my favorite. The one who "rights article", or the one who am very opinionated.) Wait a second, here's our boy.
Jayson Veley started his broadcasting career in July of 2009 with The Junior Factor, a local access television show that he co-hosted with his friend, Connor Mullin. The goal of The Junior Factor was to spread the conservative message to as many members as the youth as possible and aired for a total of three years, ending in the summer of 2012. Shortly after, Veley took on an even bigger project - a network called Junior Factor Nation which he co-founded with Caiden Cowger. The network consists of several different conservative radio programs, all hosted by kids in their teens and early twenties. Veley's show, Factor Talk Radio, started on April 26th, 2012 and currently airs from 7-8 PM on Monday and Thursday nights. Each broadcast features in depth conservative commentary, political analysis, humor, and of course, sarcasm, In the past, Veley has been criticized for being too aggressive on the air, but what some call anger he likes to call passion. The future of America is at stake, and if it's a war the liberals want, it's a war they're going to get.
Not actual war, of course. That's for suckers without their own cable-access programs. Anyway, Jayson seems to have a rather elastic concept of "anonymity."

(And, not for nothing, but Jayson also has a few thoughts on The Negro that he'd like to share.)

The point of it all is to point out (again) that there is a very sophisticated propaganda operation being conducted on one side of the political debate. Once you wander into that world, you notice that almost everything is a shuck. It's a completely artificial universe that has unfortunate real-world consequences for the rest of us. Nothing there is ever truly what it seems and P.T. Barnum was born a couple centuries too early.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What our trash says about us

Posted: April 24, 2014
E-waste art exhibit
E-waste is becoming a major sustainability issue on a global scale. The Green Electronics Challenge, co-sponsored by ASU, aims to encourage creative solutions to reducing and repurposing e-waste.
Photo by: Flickr/Francisco Delatorre
If you want to understand a society, study its trash, argues Gordon Knox, director of the ASU Art Museum, in a Future Tense article for Slate magazine.

“The Pyramids of Giza, Teotihuacán, the Coliseum – all these built sites are a kind of bombast and braggadocio to each era. But if you want to know who people really were, if you want to know the texture of their lives, then look at what they threw away,” writes Knox. He goes on to discuss how artists, including Miguel Angel Ríos, Chris Jordan and Melanie Smith, are taking a close, sobering look at the garbage of today to understand deep secrets about our contemporary global society.

“Perhaps the most obvious, most devastating revelation of their work,” writes Knox, “is that the driving core of society today, everywhere, appears to be the carcinogenic belief that life is all about ‘me.’” Artistic work with our contemporary global society’s trash reveals a mania for instant gratification and convenience, and our lack of regard for the long-term ramifications of our disposable, resource-intensive lifestyles.

The article is part of a series on the Green Electronics Challenge, a joint project between the United States and China that, in Knox’s words, “looks to pack together the critical and innovative thinking of trained artists, the technological precision and predictive capacities of science, and the crowdsourced, wiki-solution base of the DIY movement to address ... waste produced by e-technology.”

To participate, U.S. and Chinese makers can create green solutions by repairing, upcycling or hacking electronic products, design new sustainable electronics products, or create artwork from e-waste. The competition is open until May 31, 2014; to learn more, visit

Read the full article to learn more about how using art to explore trash can help us understand the essence of entire civilizations – including our own. 

The Green Electronics Challenge is co-sponsored by ASU, Slate, the New America Foundation and Tsinghua University. Future Tense is a collaboration among ASU, the New America Foundation and Slate magazine that explores how emerging technologies affect policy and society.

Article source:
Slate magazine

DC rally demands minimum wage increase...

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn) addresses a rally protesting inequality. (photo: National People's Action/Flickr)
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn) addresses a rally protesting inequality. (photo: National People's Action/Flickr)

...and an end to corporate tax breaks

What do you bet Fox News didn't cover it?

By eNews Park Forest
29 April 14
s Congress returned from a two-week recess, more than 1,500 people gathered at the Capitol to protest the growing chasm between rich and poor Americans, calling on Congress to stand with everyday people instead of corporate special interest groups. Immediate demands included a raise in the minimum wage and cuts to corporate tax breaks, both key causes of rising economic inequality and the result of Congressional lawmakers who cater to out of control corporate interests.

Today we came together and marched 1,500 strong to take back the capitol by saying NO to poverty wages and NO to corporate giveaways. Congress must put workers and their families before profits. We're showing that our labor and our voices matter, and together we're fighting for a new economy that will work for us all,” said Gilda Blanco, a member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA).

Together, members from a range of worker and economic justice groups — including National People’s Action (NPA), Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and OurDC — came together as part of a broad and growing movement to underscore the wide-spread damage big corporations do to everyday, working people.

“All over America, families are suffering from budget cuts while we give tax cuts to corporations that are already sitting on trillions of dollars of idle wealth,” said Toby Chow, a member of NPA and the Illinois-Indiana Regional Organizing Network (IIRON). “If corporations paid their fair share in taxes, we could reverse cuts to education, create a 21st century social safety net, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs for teachers, health care providers, and other workers.”

The rally coincided with the annual lobby days of the National Restaurant Association, which has consistently blocked policies that would enhance public health and improve the economic circumstances of working families, including an increased minimum wage for tipped and regular workers.

“It’s time that Congress holds corporations accountable for paying fair wages and puts people before corporate lobbies like the National Restaurant Association,” said Catherine Bryant, member of ROC-DC. “Congress needs to stand up to the National Restaurant Association and stop accepting their corporate cash!”

Rep. Keith Ellison joined the protesters to address rampant income inequality and demand an economy and a Congress that work for the American people instead of for corporations.

"It's time the world's biggest corporations stop pushing for bigger tax breaks and start raising wages for the working Americans who make profits possible," Rep. Ellison said. "Congress should raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and increase the tipped minimum wage from the current hourly rate of $2.13. We can start with the planned vote in the Senate this week."

BREAKING NEWS: Donald Sterling apologizes

The Borowitz Report

April 29, 2014

LOS ANGELES (The Borowitz Report)—The Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling offered a “total and remorseful” apology for his racist comments today, telling reporters, “Once I saw that Donald Trump was defending me, I knew I had done something horribly wrong.”

Sterling acknowledged that he had turned a blind eye to a mountain of criticism from basketball luminaries and national leaders, but said that seeing Trump defend him on Fox News on Monday had left him “shaken.”

“Look, I know I’m not perfect,” he said. “But when Donald Trump takes your side, you have to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘Have I become some kind of monster?’”

Photograph by Kevin Winter/Getty.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bridge work on AZ 260 starts tomorrow


Eastbound lanes closed in two locations;
traffic will use westbound lanes 
PRESCOTT – The Arizona Department of Transportation will begin a bridge rehabilitation project on Tuesday, April 29 along a 10-mile stretch of State Route 260 (mileposts 267-277), approximately 17 miles east of Payson.
This $2.9 million project consists of reconstructing the existing bridge approaches of eight structures on the eastbound and westbound roadways. Work also includes milling and replacing the existing pavement at the bridge approaches, guardrail reconstruction and the replacement of existing pavement markings.
Work will begin tomorrow, April 29 at 6 a.m. in two locations, and will be in place for the next three months. Drivers can expect the eastbound lanes, at both locations, to be closed and traffic switched over to one of the westbound lanes creating a two-way roadway. Work hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The first will be at the Tonto Creek Bridge (mileposts 267-268) near Kohl’s Ranch Road and the second will start at the Christopher Creek Campground (mileposts 272 -277) and work eastbound for five miles.
Delays are possible and drivers need to allow extra travel time to reach their destinations. The closures and detour will be in effect for the next three months.  
The work zone will be clearly marked by temporary barricades and signage. ADOT advises drivers to proceed through the work zone with caution, comply with the reduced speed limit, and be alert for construction equipment and personnel. 
For more information, email or call the ADOT project hotline at 1-855-712-8530. To stay up-to-date with the latest highway conditions around the state, visit the ADOT Traveler Information Center at or call 5-1-1.

Writer advocates compassion for less fortunate


A few days ago, I gave a homeless woman a $20 bill.  The truth is, me giving away $20 is like the Titanic losing one deck chair.  So there's no great deed on my part.

It occurs to me that we pass these people at intersections and on the street all the time and they remain faceless.  They're only faceless because we don't look at their faces.

We have all read the stories about the panhandler who, at the end of the day, gets picked up by someone driving a nice car.  So we ask ourselves, "Is this person conning me?"

Well the answer is, "It doesn't matter."

If you get conned out of $5 or $10, so what?  But on the other hand, you might be giving a person a good meal or feeding their dog.

Whatever you think of me writing this letter doesn't matter.  What matters is the bottom line, and that is maybe some folks will take this to heart, and someone will have a few bucks in his pocket - or a good meal.

Ken Doerfler

(Gazette Blog Editor's note: The letter above appeared in the April 28 edition of The Arizona Republic, the Rim Country's best newspaper value.  For home delivery seven days a week, call 1-800-332-6733.  Imagine reading a fair and balanced newspaper.)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

More than half China's groundwater polluted

(photo: file)
(photo: file)

By Jonathan Kaiman, Guardian UK
24 April 14

Number of groundwater sites of poor or extremely poor quality increases to 59.6%, Chinese government says

early 60% of China’s underground water is polluted, state media has reported, underscoring the severity of the country’s environmental woes.

The country’s land and resources ministry found that among 4,778 testing spots in 203 cities, 44% had “relatively poor” underground water quality; the groundwater in another 15.7% tested as “very poor”.

Water quality improved year-on-year at 647 spots, and worsened in 754 spots, the ministry said.

“According to China's underground water standards, water of relatively poor quality can only be used for drinking after proper treatment. Water of very poor quality cannot be used as source of drinking water,” said an article in the official newswire Xinhua, which reported the figures on Tuesday.

The Chinese government is only now beginning to address the noxious environmental effects of its long-held growth-at-all-costs development model. While authorities have become more transparent about air quality data within the past year, information about water and soil pollution in many places remains relatively well-guarded.

Xinhua reported last year that about one-third of China’s water resources are groundwater-based, and that only 3% of the country’s urban groundwater can be classified as “clean”. A land ministry report from last year said that 70% of groundwater in the north China plain - a 400,000 sq km swath of some of the world’s most densely-populated land - is unfit for human touch.

“The situation is quite serious -- groundwater is important source for water use, including drinking water, and if it gets contaminated, it’s very costly and difficult to clean,” said Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs.

“But still I consider this disclosure a positive move - greater awareness can help people prevent exposure to health risks, and eventually, motivate society to try and tackle this serious problem.”

Few Chinese urban dwellers consider tap water safe to drink - most either boil their water or buy it bottled. Earlier this month, a chemical spill poisoned the water supply of Lanzhou - a city of 2 million people in China’s north-west - with the carcinogen benzene, causing a panicked run on bottled drinks.

Last week, China’s land ministry released some statistics from a nationwide soil survey, which was previously classified as a state secret. The ministry found that 16% of sites tested over a nine-year period were polluted, some with cadmium, mercury and arsenic. China’s “overall national soil environment” is “not optimistic,” the report concluded.

While Beijing’s noxious smog has become internationally infamous, drought and water pollution may pose even greater existential threats to the city. Beijing’s annual per capita water availability is about 120 cubic metres, about one-fifth of the UN’s cut-off line for "absolute scarcity".

Last week, state media reported plans for a seaside desalinisation plant to provide one-third of Beijing’s tap water by 2019. The state-run Beijing Enterprises Water Group will spend 7bn yuan (£667bn) building the plant in neighbouring Hebei province’s Tangshan city, more than 200 km from the capital.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bundy ignores GOP racial code words

The Borowitz Report

April 24, 2014

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) — Republican politicians blasted the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on Thursday for making flagrantly racist remarks instead of employing the subtler racial code words the G.O.P. has been using for decades.
“We Republicans have worked long and hard to develop insidious racial code words like ‘entitlement society’ and ‘personal responsibility,’ ” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). “There is no excuse for offensive racist comments like the ones Cliven Bundy made when there are so many subtler ways of making the exact same point.” 
Fox News also blasted the rancher, saying in a statement, “Cliven Bundy’s outrageous racist remarks undermine decades of progress in our effort to come up with cleverer ways of saying the same thing.”

Photograph by David Becker/Getty.

Friday, April 25, 2014

20-year drought threatens AZ's water supply

TOP: Outlet tubes at Glen Canyon Dam send water out of Lake Powell and down the Colorado River. (U.S. Geological Survey Photo)
MIDDLE: Lingering drought and demand from growing cities have lowered water levels on Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam. The U.S. Interior Department could declare a shortage on the Colorado River as early as 2017. (U.S. Geological Survey Photo)
BOTTOM: The Central Arizona Project aqueduct traverses the desert west of Phoenix. Some officials say reduced supplies projected for the Colorado River watershed could require an even greater public works project to bring in desalinated ocean water. (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Photo)

(Gazette Blog Editor's note: Again we ask: How can Payson Mayor Kenny Evans and his rubber stamp town council guarantee a 50-year supply of potable water to a private golf course?)

Cronkite News Service 

PHOENIX – Residents of the Sun Corridor stretching through the Valley and Tucson turn on faucets, water lawns and fill swimming pools without any doubt that the state’s most precious resource will always be there.

More than a century of planning has brought Arizona to this point, starting with the Salt River Project and decades of arduous negotiations that led to a supply of Colorado River water. So have the landmark Groundwater Management Act of 1980 and a system of banking some of the state’s Colorado River allotment in aquifers.

While all of it gives Arizona flexibility in the near term, many conversations these days focus on the long term as two decades of drought grips the Southwest and the Colorado River’s watershed.

In January, an Arizona Department of Water Resources report pointed to the potential for a long-term imbalance between available water and demands over the next century. It said that Arizona will need to develop additional water supplies over the next 25 to 100 years to keep pace with growth.

Former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said last year that to avoid a future water crisis Arizona should partner with Mexico now to establish desalination plants that would bring water north.

If the Colorado River’s flow continues to suffer, the U.S. Department of the Interior could declare a shortage as early as 2017. Under the agreement that established the CAP, Arizona’s rights to the Colorado would take a hit before California loses a drop, triggering conservation steps that include reducing delivery to irrigated farms that use the majority of Arizona’s water supply.

But is Arizona ready for the conversations and hard decisions needed to address a long-term water shortage?

A 2011 report by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy said policymakers have avoided the topic because of the fear that it could create negative perceptions that could hinder growth. It said that water officials sidestep such conversations by simply noting that they are prepared for crises.

Pamela Pickard, president of the Central Arizona Project’s board of directors, said water is a contentious public policy issue and not one that people will compromise on lightly, in part because proposed long-term solutions involve costs that policymakers must weigh.

“They always say, ‘Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting,’” she said, citing a phrase attributed to Mark Twain.

Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, whose quarter century in Washington included shepherding landmark legislation on water rights, said the key at this point is having conversations involving all affected groups, including farmers and the general public.

“Arizona is the No. 1 state when it comes to water issues,” Kyl said. “We need a long-term water dialogue in Arizona so people don’t feel like water will be taken away from them.”

Kyl is teaming with U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to spend the next year promoting conversations about Arizona’s water future and exploring ways to supplement its water supply.

“Now it’s time, where we are really at a point where we need to look again at a new generation of leaders to do what people in the past have done,” Flake said. “This matters politically.”

Dan Hunting, a senior policy analyst at ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, said a shortage shouldn’t come as a surprise to water officials in the state.

“What’s characteristic about Arizona’s water supply is that it’s predictably unpredictable,” he added. “It was always a matter of when, not if, we experience a shortage.”

Hunting said the farming community, as such a large user of water, needs to be more involved in the conversation.

“They feel like everyone is pointing to them and are not enticed to join the conversation,” he said.

House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, said conservation needs to be part of conversations about Arizona’s water future. He noted that schools and community centers have added programs to help children and adults understand the importance of using water wisely, while the use of reclaimed water has increased at golf courses and parks around the state.

“Any number of things could make a difference,” he said.

Tobin said Arizona can build on that by involving more people in discussions about the state’s water future.

“We need to have more conversations right now,” he said.

Doug Dunham, special assistant to the Arizona Department of Water Resources’ director, said education and conservation have taken the state a long way but aren’t the long-term solution.

“We’ve taken all the big bites out of that apple,” he said.

Dunham said officials should be working with Mexico and California on ways to import desalinated seawater.

“The most drought-proof solution is ocean desalination because sooner or later we have to tackle the big issues,” he said.

CAP spokesman Bob Barrett agreed that the most drought-proof solution is to build an ocean desalination plant in or near Arizona, noting that such an agreement may require more than 20 years of discussions.

“The technology is there, but it’s expensive,” Barrett said. “I say to the Legislature: You’re going to have to pony up and pay for the costs of treating water. There is no alternative.”

The Morrison Institute’s Hunting said politicians can come to grips with the price of a desalination plant if they know the facts.

“What we need right now is a deeper understanding by policymakers about what our situation is,” he said. “I want someone who will look at the complex solutions, not the short easy ones.”

Pickard, the CAP board president, said this election year will test which politicians are ready to make Arizona’s water future a priority.

“When Arizonans can unquestionably turn on the tap and get water without question, we’re doing our job,” she said. “We don’t want our customers to have to think about whether there will be water or not.”


The Borowitz Report

April 23, 2014

“We Make Florida Look Safe”

ATLANTA (The Borowitz Report)—Flanked by members of his state’s legislature on Wednesday afternoon, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal proudly unveiled Georgia’s new official state slogan, “We Make Florida Look Safe.”
Gov. Deal told reporters that the slogan was “more than just words,” reflecting Georgia’s determination to best its rival Florida for the nation’s most reckless gun law. 
“When Florida passed Stand Your Ground, we knew we were playing catch-up,” Gov. Deal said. “Thanks to the fine men and women in the Georgia state legislature, we’re No. 1.”
Gov. Deal said he hoped that the state’s newly enacted Safe Carry Protection Act, which makes it legal to carry guns in bars, schools, churches, and some government buildings, would send the message that Georgia was taking its competition with Florida “very, very seriously.” 
“In recent years, if you wanted to fire off a gun any damn place you pleased, there was a sense that Florida was the state for you,” he said. “We’re hoping to change that perception.”

Photograph by Brant Sanderlin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP.

Green Valley Park, Payson, AZ
April 25-26

Schedule of Events

Friday, April 25
4 p.m.- Participants line up at Green Valley Park
4:30 p.m. - Cruise Parade around town (Green Valley Park to Country Club to Vista to Airport to 87 to Tyler Parkway to 260 to 87 to Main Street to Green Valley Park)

Saturday, April 26
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Classic Car Show open to the public at Green Valley Park with vendors, raffles, car parts swap meet, activities for kids, car show awards.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Should change name to 'Earth Killers Day"


EARTH DAY is the day when the chickens dance and sing, proclaiming the beauties of nature, and the day the foxes that guard the chickens dance and sing, celebrating the blind gullibility and stupidity of the chickens.

Like ARBOR DAY, EARTH DAY has become a day of pretending that "all is good on Planet Eden."  On Arbor Day, the foxes line up before the cameras of the media, sprig and shovel in hand, pretending that the sprig will make up for the thousands of beautiful ancient trees that will be destroyed that very day.

EARTH DAY has become an even greater event that deceives the public into believing that corporate America has changed colors from brown to green. Why else would EARTH DAY events be sponsored by big oil, big military/industrial, big power, big chemical, and big automotive?

In actual fact these corporate chameleons paint their faces green, and paste on their toothy plastic smiles for the media and the gullible public, while their millions of corporate slaves go glibly about their jobs of destroying our air, our water, our forests, our soil, and ultimately our future.

It is their day now and thus the name should be changed to EARTH KILLERS DAY in order to expose the almost total emasculation of the environmental movement. The EPA has been sold to polluters by the POLITICAL WHORES that now seem to control America. Even the greatest destroyer of America the Beautiful? in history, the Army Corps of Engineers, has joined as sponsors of the EARTH DAY folly.

America has never been in graver danger. We have allowed dirty corporate money to purchase the loyalty and allegiance of those whom the people have elected to protect us, our children, and future generations from harm.

We are constantly bombarded with fear-mongering politicians, into focusing on terrorists living in caves on the other side of the world, while the most dangerous terrorists are our own eco-terrorists, the immoral mega-corporations and their political hacks that are hell bent on destroying our forests, our streams, our wetlands, our health, and our future as a viable nation.

George H. Russell
American Patriot

Why isn't Payson one of AZ's 25 tree communities?

[Gazette Blog Editor's comment: OK Mr. Mayor.  Let's stop screwing around with the 4-year college myth and the waterfall down Main Street myth.  Can't you at least get Payson designated a Tree City along with communities like Pinetop-Lakeside, Prescott Valley and Show Low?]
By Carrie Dennett
State Fire Prevention and Information Officer

logoPhoenix, Arizona, 21 April 2014 — In honor of Arbor Day the Arizona State Forester Scott Hunt is pleased to announce that 25 Arizona communities have received the Tree City USA recognition. Cities and towns achieving this honored status include: Avondale, Buckeye, Casa Grande, Chandler, Coolidge, Florence, Gilbert, Glendale, Kingman, Lake Havasu City, Litchfield Park, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Patagonia, Peoria, Phoenix, Pinetop-Lakeside, Prescott Valley, Quartzsite, Scottsdale, Show Low, Snowflake, Tempe, Tucson, and Yuma.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, USDA Forest Service, and the National Association of State Foresters, and provides, among other things, national recognition for greener communities. The requirements to be a Tree City USA community are a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a commitment to a community forestry program, and an Arbor Day observation and proclamation. Becoming a Tree City USA and achieving the program requirements will create a healthier sustainable urban forest that reduces energy costs and consumption, boosts property values, builds strong community ties, and honors the community.
Patagonia is Arizona’s newest Tree City USA. Cornelia O’Connor, a Patagonia resident and member of the local Tree and Park Committee, learned about the program after seeing the decline of older trees in a community park and contacted the Arizona State Forestry UCF program for assistance. After working closely with the Town Manager and interested residents, Patagonia hosted their first Arbor Day last fall to meet the program requirements. “This year, we’re looking forward to hosting an Arbor Day tree workshop for residents that will focus on site selection and preparation, native tree and companion plant selection, as well as proper tree planting techniques,” O’Connor said.

Other Arizona cities and towns have been recognized for the following number of years: Chandler (2), Avondale (3), Kingman (3), Mesa (4), Buckeye (6), Gilbert (6), Peoria (6), Yuma (6), Casa Grande (7), Quartzsite (7), Florence (8), Prescott Valley (9), Coolidge (11), Lake Havasu City (13), Snowflake (15), Show Low (17), Glendale (18), Paradise Valley (18), Tempe (18), Litchfield Park (21), Tucson (22), Phoenix (28), Pinetop-Lakeside (29), and Scottsdale (32).

For more information on the Tree City USA program visit:

For more information on program partners:
Arizona State Forestry Division:
Town of Patagonia:
National Association of State Foresters:
USDA Forest Service – Urban & Community Forestry:

Government = Protection Racket for the 1 percent

Portrait, Bill Moyers. (photo: PBS)
Portrait, Bill Moyers. (photo: PBS)
By Bill Moyers, Michael Winship, Moyers & Company
23 April 14

he evidence of income inequality just keeps mounting. According to “Working for the Few,” a recent briefing paper from Oxfam, “In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.”

Our now infamous one percent own more than 35 percent of the nation’s wealth. Meanwhile, the bottom 40 percent of the country is in debt. Just this past Tuesday, the 15th of April — Tax Day — the AFL-CIO reported that last year the chief executive officers of 350 top American corporations were paid 331 times more money than the average US worker. Those executives made an average of $11.7 million dollars compared to the average worker who earned $35,239 dollars.

As that analysis circulated on Tax Day, the economic analyst Robert Reich reminded us that in addition to getting the largest percent of total national income in nearly a century, many in the one percent are paying a lower federal tax rate than a lot of people in the middle class. You may remember that an obliging Congress, of both parties, allows high rollers of finance the privilege of “carried interest,” a tax rate below that of their secretaries and clerks.

And at state and local levels, while the poorest fifth of Americans pay an average tax rate of over 11 percent, the richest one percent of the country pay — are you ready for this? — half that rate. Now, neither Nature nor Nature’s God drew up our tax codes; that’s the work of legislators — politicians — and it’s one way they have, as Chief Justice John Roberts might put it, of expressing gratitude to their donors: “Oh, Mr. Adelson, we so appreciate your generosity that we cut your estate taxes so you can give $8 billion as a tax-free payment to your heirs, even though down the road the public will have to put up $2.8 billion to compensate for the loss in tax revenue.”

All of which makes truly repugnant the argument, heard so often from courtiers of the rich, that inequality doesn’t matter. Of course it matters. Inequality is what has turned Washington into a protection racket for the one percent. It buys all those goodies from government: Tax breaks. Tax havens (which allow corporations and the rich to park their money in a no-tax zone). Loopholes. Favors like carried interest. And so on. As Paul Krugman writes in his New York Review of Books essay on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, “We now know both that the United States has a much more unequal distribution of income than other advanced countries and that much of this difference in outcomes can be attributed directly to government action.”

Recently, researchers at Connecticut’s Trinity College ploughed through the data and concluded that the US Senate is responsive to the policy preferences of the rich, ignoring the poor. And now there’s that big study coming out in the fall from scholars at Princeton and Northwestern universities, based on data collected between 1981 and 2002. Their conclusion: “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened… The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” Instead, policy tends “to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations.”

Last month, Matea Gold of The Washington Post reported on a pair of political science graduate students who released a study confirming that money does equal access in Washington. Joshua Kalla and David Broockman drafted two form letters asking 191 members of Congress for a meeting to discuss a certain piece of legislation. One email said “active political donors” would be present; the second email said only that a group of “local constituents” would be at the meeting.

One guess as to which emails got the most response. Yes, more than five times as many legislators or their chiefs of staff offered to set up meetings with active donors than with local constituents. Why is it not corruption when the selling of access to our public officials upends the very core of representative government? When money talks and you have none, how can you believe in democracy?

Sad, that it’s come to this. The drift toward oligarchy that Thomas Piketty describes in his formidable new book on capital has become a mad dash. It will overrun us, unless we stop it.

Jazz pianist Beth Lederman closes Payson season

The Payson Friends of Jazz present

in their last performance of the season

Jazz Pianist Beth Lederman
Vocalist Donna Wilde
Bassist Mike King
Drummer Gerry Reynolds

2 p.m., Sunday May 4th
Community Presbyterian Church
800 West Main Street, Payson

RSVP or Information: (602-619-3355)

Beth Lederman grew up in a world filled with music. Her family
owned Lederman Music Company, one of Arizona's largest
music store chains. With a whole store filled with pianos, all
begging to be played, what was a young girl to do? Learn to
play! Determined not to waste any time, Beth began classical
study at the age of 5. She quickly mastered the basics and then
branched out to jazz and classical music. If you're goods at
these, you can play any style,she say's, including Latin (she
leads a Latin group.)

Her music education includes attending Lewis & Clark
College, Mt. Hood Community College, and NAU, where she
received a BA degree in music, cum laude. She has been an
active performer ever since. In April she plays with the Natalie
Cole Tribute Band, at CIBO Restaurant, The Mad Hatter Brew
Club, Royal PalmsHotel with vocalist Alice Tatum, and of
course, with us in Payson.

CD's will be available at the performance.

$5 donation per head at the door includes refreshments.