By Junkman Uncaged
Although the scope of this blog and podcast will be national, from time to time I’ll write or talk about issues here in my home state of Arizona, particularly when the story, though local in scope, exemplifies a fundamental that applies nationwide.
A number of newspapers and blogs across the country have established “fact check” features: ostensibly unbiased examinations of statements made by politicians or their supporters, intent upon showing whether the statements are objectively true or false. These monuments to cynicism were, in fact, developed to facilitate bias while denying it outright. Some are more clever than others and some are more subtle than others, but generally speaking, they have all, at one time or another, employed carefully-worded deception and even outright logical fallacy to advance or damage a political position or candidate.
AZ Central has their own such fact check feature, and they have deployed it on occasion to either advance the Democrat agenda or harm the Republican agenda in ways that I must concede are sometimes admirably clever. As the drumbeat of the 2014 election begins to pick up, they have realized something that many of us have seen coming for quite some time; Doug Ducey is emerging as the likely GOP gubernatorial candidate for 2014. At the very least, there are more than a few among the AZ Central editorial staff who strongly oppose his election. They also know that there is not a Democrat candidate that can defeat the GOP candidate in the general election, so they will use their fact check feature, among other devices, attempting to either wound Ducey’s candidacy or help a more moderate Republican win the primary (and hence the general election).Read more
By Adam Kress
From the Phoenix Business Journal
If you live in the Phoenix area and spent any time on Facebook or Twitter yesterday, you may have come across a story that a lot of people were sharing. It was titled: “Reasons why Phoenix is the worst place ever.”
Pretty provocative headline, right? It’s kind of hard not to react in some way to such a bold statement.
The piece was published on Vice.com, a popular online magazine that prides itself on going against the grain of mainstream journalism. Vice also has a documentary TV series on HBO.
The column was written by a Phoenix resident, Troy Farah, who also writes music reviews for the Phoenix New Times. His take on Phoenix was hilarious in a few spots, but generally predictable in the ways people always criticize Phoenix (hot weather, boring architecture, snowbirds, etc.)
Farah and Vice have every right to publish a column that in no way could possibly be proven as true. This is clickbait of the highest caliber, and people who run websites like page views. As the person who manages the website you’re reading now, I understand that as well as anyone.Read more
Legislative Salute Success!
We wrapped up last week with our Legislative Salute and were honored to have so many of our Republican legislators and supporters attend, but also to hear Senator Jon Kyl address the crowd with his wisdom, humor, and enthusiasm about the upcoming elections. We are extraordinarily thankful for our GOP-majority Legislature, and we raised more than $200,000 to help our efforts for Republican victories in 2014.
GOP = Great Opportunity Party
Out with the old, and in with the bold. 2014 is going to be celebrated as the Year of Opportunity, when voters in November express their dismay at the failings of the Obama Administration and vote for the Great Opportunity Party. We've seen Obama's approval ratings tank, the Obamacare implementation implode, and Harry Reid's ridiculous tactics in the Senate get blasted by his colleagues. The GOP is turning our potential into power by turning out voters to support our candidates, and we are excited as can be for November!
How to Lie with Statistics: Quote Obama Administration
Yesterday the unemployment numbers for April were released and things are worse than the Obama Administration will admit. Special thanks to Frank Luntz, who was our speaker for last year's Legislative Salute, for pointing out this fact and tweeting this "infographic" at right. The jobs report here notes people are not counted as unemployed if they quit looking for a job, and that means there are still millions of Americans that need jobs and can't find them. Time for the GOP!Read more
From the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board
There are a lot of questions remaining about the strange, vile, racist comments that have been attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. The audiotapes need to be authenticated. The context of the remarks, which represent 16 minutes out of what was apparently an hourlong conversation, should be explained.
But if it turns out that the tapes have not been doctored or misrepresented, and if Sterling did indeed castigate a female friend for associating with black people, then it is clear what needs to happen: Sterling must sell the team. If he doesn't do so on his own, the NBA should apply whatever pressure it can, whether that means fining him or suspending him or using whatever other tools it has at its disposal to urge him out.
The comments, if he made them, are a disgrace to Sterling himself, but more than that, they are an enormous embarrassment to the NBA and the city, and a heavy burden on the talented team now battling to win round one of the playoffs in its best season ever. While we generally support the right of individuals to say and think even the most offensive things, the team is not just another of Sterling's private businesses; it is also a civic institution that plays under the banner of the city of Los Angeles. The city ought not be associated with an owner who says that he doesn't want his mistress (if that's indeed what she is) bringing black people to his team's games — a remark made even more offensive by the fact that more than three-quarters of the players on the team and in the league are black. On the recording, the speaker tells the woman that it "bothers" him that "you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people."Read more
What about them, they ask?
What about Bob Kalsu? Until Tillman died in Afghanistan 10 years ago today, Kalsu, a rising star lineman for the Buffalo Bills, had been the last NFL player to die in service to his country. Kalsu was killed in South Vietnam in 1970.
In all, 26 young men who played in the NFL died in war, the majority during World War II.
For that matter, what of Rocky Bleier, the remarkable Pittsburgh Steelers running back wounded in both legs in South Vietnam in 1969?
Told he would never play football again, Bleier returned from war to team up with Franco Harris and Terry Bradshaw on some of the greatest NFL teams of all time. He's not enshrined in Canton, Ohio. Yet, the Bleier story is among the most incredible in sports.
There is no great football argument for Tillman, as opposed to others who served.
But there is this: Finding a spot for a Tillman bust in Canton is an argument on behalf of all NFL players who sacrificed their lives in service to their country.
The very concept of the modern era's super-stallion players giving up their riches to serve in the U.S. military is becoming almost inconceivable. Enshrining real heroes such as Tillman, Kalsu, Bleier and others would remind NFL fans that the stars of their cherished sport are citizens as well as football players. The word "sacrifice" can have a deeper meaning than merely training really hard as an athlete.Read more
By Alexis Levinson
“Ice cream brings people together,” according to Arizona state treasurer, Doug Ducey. “Of course, government is dramatically different from ice cream.”
Ducey is one in a crowded field of Republican hopefuls vying for the governorship next year, when current Republican Gov. Jan Brewer will leave office. For the past four years, he has served as Arizona’s state treasurer — but what he really wants to talk about is his time at the helm of Cold Stone Creamery, which he helped grow from a local store to a company with franchises all over the country and the world, before selling the company in 2007.Read more
By Byron York
In 2008, both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain supported defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In 2012, only Republican Mitt Romney supported traditional marriage, Obama having announced a change of heart six months before the election.
What about 2016? It's impossible to imagine a Democratic candidate not supporting the redefinition of marriage. As for Republicans, it's hard to see a gay-marriage-supporting candidate make it through the GOP primaries. But it is possible to imagine a Republican nominee who finds a softer way to oppose gay marriage without alienating either his party's older voters, who continue to overwhelmingly disapprove, or the millions of Americans who now support same-sex unions?
While an overwhelming majority of Democrats (69 percent) approve of gay marriage, just 39 percent of Republicans do, according to a Pew survey released this month. But Pew found that 61 percent of Republicans aged 18-29 approve of gay marriage, and 43 percent of those aged 30-49 approve. How will Republican candidates talk to them? A hint came this week, not from a politician, but from a leading evangelical.Read more
Every one has seen these union banners – usually due to using non-organized labor. They either elicit cheers or jeers, if anything at all, depending on one’s political perspective.
The owner of this Subaru dealership in Wichita came up with a brilliant response: coopt the protest for their own purposes. They added this sign:
Which resulted in this awesome message:
Free markets: Not just great for buying cars – also good for funny ideas.Read more
From the New York Times:
The message implicit in the prizewinning documentaries “Detropia” and “Searching for Sugar Man,” in Detroit’s declaration of bankruptcy in 2013 — in even a casual drive along Gratiot Avenue, past mile after mile of burned-out or boarded-up houses and stores — is that Detroit is in a pitiable state.
Yet when Toby Barlow reflects on Detroit, his adopted hometown, what he describes is potential, not pity — cheap real estate being the major reason.
“It’s fun to be here and be a part of those things that are re-emerging,” says Mr. Barlow, creative director at the advertising agency Team Detroit. “There are just a wealth of things that don’t exist in Detroit — and should.”
To create those things in the Motor City, Mr. Barlow, 48, who moved from New York to work on a Ford Motor account and stayed, has become an entrepreneur. He has opened a design store in Midtown, founded a nonprofit at Eastern Market that trains people in letterpress printing, and plans to open a restaurant in Corktown soon.
He has even found time to publish two novels since moving to Detroit from Brooklyn seven years ago. But his newest, headline-grabbing venture — with Sarah Cox, his partner in the project and another Brooklyn transplant — is one that aims to revitalize the city’s art community and potentially be a model for post-blight Detroit.
The project is called Write A House, and it is giving free houses to writers.
Starting in April, a prestigious panel of writers and poets will review applications from literary authors, poets and journalists; winners will receive free houses.
They need to live in the renovated structures two years, pay modest fees ($500 monthly) for insurance and taxes, make low-cost interior improvements and participate in Write A House’s blog and literary readings.
They must also be of modest income. “If you were making a good living as a writer, you probably weren’t going to want to move to Detroit,” Mr. Barlow jokes.
The first three houses, in ramshackle but salvageable shape, have already been acquired. They are clustered in the neighborhood north of Hamtramck called Banglatown, for its large Bangladeshi community. One house was donated; two were purchased for $1,000 each.
Over 12 weeks, starting in April, these three classic Detroit bungalows will undergo overhauls by construction trainees from the nonprofit Young Detroit Builders, supervised by a professional contractor. Each renovation will cost $35,000 to $70,000.
The first $30,500 for the renovation work was raised in December via the crowdfunding site Indiegogo; a second appeal is online at Fundly.com and a matching grant is expected.
While Write A House pursues tax status as a charitable organization to seek foundation grants for what Mr. Barlow calls a “realistic” goal of three or four houses a year, the Indiegogo effort has already spread the word. Hundreds of writers have contacted the group.
“We were very thrown, in a good way, by the positive responses,” Mr. Barlow says. He says some have come from South America, Northern Europe and India, “not to mention across town and in the suburbs, and places like New York, Pittsburgh and Texas.”
Mr. Barlow’s partner, Ms. Cox, 31, is a journalist and another Detroit booster. She works for the real estate website detroit.curbed.com and relocated from New York three years ago because “I found the cost of living there a little prohibitive.”
She, too, cites Detroit’s low-cost real estate and improving safety. “There’s more going on than just burned buildings and foreclosure,” Ms. Cox says. “It is a good and interesting place to start a business, and I have friends who have come from Brooklyn or Toronto or other places to start a business in Detroit.”Read more
The following was submitted as a Guest Column:
When State Representative Justin Pierce first entered the Secretary of State's race last year, many political observers thought he would be a viable candidate who had at least a shot of beating both Wil Cardon and Michele Reagan in a divided Republican primary. It was assumed that Gary Pierce's connections, the support of the House GOP leadership, and a ton of "dark money" from people looking to curry favor with Gary Pierce on the Corporation Commission would give his campaign the resources needed to compete against two well-funded GOP primary opponents.
However, since the middle of October, all of these assumptions have proven false. After a very lackluster initial fundraiser, Pierce abruptly decided to run as a clean elections candidate, which immediately limited the amount of resources that he would have at his disposal in both the primary and general elections. Additionally, after APS received intense criticism from the press for their use of "dark money" in the net metering debate and the exposure of their links to Justin Pierce's campaign consultant Alan Heywood (who also employed Pierce's father) it now appears highly unlikely that there will be an independent expenditure effort to support Pierce's Secretary of State campaign.Read more