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September 30, 2009

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I posted that question as a joke, but glad you answered just the same.

When I encountered one of your former colleagues and told her I thought you should be governor, her response was "I'd rather have a governor who didn't hate Arizona".

Anyway, why do you hate America?

Great post, Mr. Talton! I love the way you first defused, then turned the question around. Literary ju jitsu in action.

Speaking of approaching climate, water, and other sustainability problems, Krugman of the NYT included a disturbing prognosis in an opinion piece titled Cassandras of Climate:

"For example, one 2007 paper in the journal Science is titled "Model Projections of an Imminent Transition to a More Arid Climate in Southwestern North America" — yes, "imminent" — and reports "a broad consensus among climate models" that a permanent drought, bringing Dust Bowl-type conditions, "will become the new climatology of the American Southwest within a time frame of years to decades." "

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/28/opinion/28krugman.html

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/316/5828/1181

No doubt the Kookocracy would say that (a) there is no problem, and (b) the solution to the problem, if there is one, is to cut taxes on the wealthy and spending on the poor, and eliminate pesky government regulation. Because when all you have is a hammer...

Boor -- I figured you were being ironic. But it was a great starting point...and one many have raised without irony.

This reads so much like Ed Abbey's "The BLOB Comes to Arizona", and that's a damn good thing!

I love you for having a voice. For having balls. For speaking your mind - and for calling it like you see it - like it is...

Having lived in many cities (Minneapolis, Chicago, L.A.), and having lived in AZ for 11 years now; I find it creepy that people here seem terrified to "rock the boat." More so than any other city I've lived in. It's really weird to me.

What happened to being proud of your beliefs? Agreeing to disagree? Standing up for those weaker than you? Actually being a human being?

I have a love/hate relationship with AZ for everything you talked about and more.

Believing in baby steps is necessary for me to live here and I will continue to simply try - one drunk midget step at a time - and speak my thoughts passionately.

Thank you for doing the same.

p.s. I should clarify I'm not drunk OR a midget...

It doesn't sound like he hates America to me- it sounds like he hates what the corporate swine at the trough have turned America into. Dude has the right of it- good for him!”

Thanks, man. I’m a new reader, and thank gawd someone said it. I live in Tucson’s downtown for exactly the reasons you discussed in the rant against master communities. They suck ass.

The animus toward Talton always surprised me. It's one thing to be a libertarian/cornucopian who sees everything good as deriving from correct beliefs. But the hostility to a dissenting viewpoint suggests just how religious this belief system became in our lives. Talton blasphemed a rather horrifying god (Growth) and the faithful were not amused.

I used to post in a forum that celebrated the vertical aesthetic of growth, but which in fact accepted uncritically any and all growth, including freeways and far-flung exurban subdivisions. I pointed out that the two were mutually exclusive, that one tended to undercut the other and that a state with ultra-low density didn't require real cities with tall skyscrapers. Imposition of growth boundaries would have helped here to increase density (and the tall buildings adolescent males revere). But all I did was further exacerbate that tension between belief and empiricism. Unexamined beliefs trump empirical evidence with extraordinary ferocity. One correspondent wished death on Talton.

The pathos of Arizona lies in this painful refusal to acknowledge limits. We can't have everything even though we decided we could have the next best thing: crap everywhere.

Amen. I share your outrage!

Preach on, Mr. Talton. You have many loyal readers/fans from when you were a columnist at the Republic -- who have followed you over to Rogue, I might add. Keep doing what you're doing; the Kooks can't escape you.

Thank you for giving voice to the frustrations many of us share in Phoenix. Thanks for not settling into the lie of "everything is hunky dorey, let's just keep growing bigger and bigger". Here's to a better tomorrow with better choices and hoping that we've learned from our mistakes.

Satcey Champion wrote:

"p.s. I should clarify I'm not drunk OR a midget..."

Technically speaking, you might still be BOTH if you're using "OR" in its "exclusive" sense (as a Boolean operator).

And you must admit, the name is strongly reminiscent of a drunk midget: probably a professional wrestler who, in an inebriated state, transposed portions of his or her first name...Stacey instead of Satcey. And Champion is your stage name.

Therefore, I prefer to conclude that you are, indeed, a drunk, female, midget professional wrestler. A highly deceptive, drunk female midget professional wrestler, since you sought to characterize this misleading statement as a "clarification".

Stop trying to fool us!

The saddest thing is that there are too few with the vision or the resources to rescue our once-wonderful state. Corporate leadership has diminished in numbers and influence. Media has largely devolved into slimmed-down staffs with little capacity for true investigative reporting. The legislature has turned into a hornet's nest of idealogs with little leadership or public respect.

So I'd ask my treasured friend, Mr. Talton who he thinks might rise to the occasion! There's no THERE there!

I love this post... thank you for writing it so well. The biggest thing that kills me is transportation... or the lack of it. I've said since I moved here in 99... "whoever's running arizona is 15 years behind"... I could be right or off by a little but you get the point

As a former Mesa (and now Gilbert) resident, I miss Talton's incendiary columns that made EV neo-cons to have conniption fits. Republicans here don't even understand their own philosophy or history. It's Talk Radio Nation. TRN is the real think-tank behind the politics here. Basically, people who couldn't pass a community college poli sci course.

Excellent post. As a native, the age old complaint I so tire of hearing is that there is no "neighborly" feeling in my neighborhood, or, "I cannot count on Arizonans to follow through with a commitment". It is very rare that I meet someone local to Arizona, primarily because most Arizonans are transplants from another state, yet in almost every instance it is a transplant that is complaining or contributing to the reputation. So please, if you can't step up and aid in change, repack your Winnebago and be on your merry way, or just shut up.

We in Florida encounter a lot of the same Growth-is-God mentality, and hostility toward any reporter or columnist who dares to challenge it. Such critics are written off as "Yankees who moved here and got theirs and now want to close the door behind them." What amazes me is the slick way that officials present a facade of caring about the environment -- the local governments appoint Growth Management Commissions with advisory powers only and think they've done enough. A new big box might be made to put in a little landscaping but it never will be rejected.

In a previous article, Mr. Talton wrote:

"Phoenix had a slam-dunk in the boom years if it had exploited the winning of T-Gen and the beginning of the downtown biomedical center to build it out as a major biomed hub, including medical, nursing and pharma schools, research, a hospital, pharmaceutical companies and biotech startups. It failed to do this."

http://roguecolumnist.typepad.com/rogue_columnist/2009/04/phoenix-dubai-and-other-heat-dreams.html

Today's Arizona Republic (Saturday, October 3rd) had a small, one-paragraph item buried in the Business section, in a list of news-blurbs called In Your Region. (You won't find it online.) It reads as follows:

"A new study shows that TGen, the downtown Phoenix-based bio-science research group, last year produced $8 for every $1 invested by the state -- more than twice its economic benefits of two years earlier."

And that was during a recession year. Score: Talton 1, Kookocracy 0.

"Health care remained a rare bright spot, adding 19,000 jobs in September, but construction jobs slipped by 64,000, manufacturing declined by 51,000 and retail lost 39,000 jobs."

The New York Times, on the Labor Department report for September employment data, just released.

(Arizona's economy relies largely on construction and retail, along with tourism -- also down. Meanwhile, the state has a shortage of trained nurses, but plenty of empty houses.)

Be a little more fair..

1. "I am not selling anything"

No, but you are selling your agendas.. it is clear your attack on Arizona helps fly your flag for water conservation, stopping sprawl and abating global warming.

2. "I am not one of the boobs from the Midwest or inland California"

No, but you are basing much of your rhetoric on a feeling of loss. A loss of the place you grew up in. Your nostalgia can blind you as much as it enlightens you.

3. "I am not a member of the Real Estate Industrial Complex"

No, but that machine killed what you love and hold dear.. You judgment may not always be unbiased.

4. "I am a mean, mean man"

No, you are passionate and not afraid to speak your mind. Admirable qualities, not meanness.

Bla Bla Bla bullshit.
Lets look at things in the proper tense.
Arizona is a crooked piece of shit that can hardly sustain itself.
Its a lie of a western storefront,
real from the street, but when you go around back you see 2x4`s propping it up.
The people here act like your typical person on vacation.Loud ignorant and waiting for any chance to screw you.
The whole place is as fake and generic as the rich that inhabit it in the winter and spring months.
The whole state is an immigrant safehouse full of crime and drugs.

If your a rich jerk you can live here.
If you are a blue collar worker you are subject to all the negetive things no matter how much you spend to get away from the bullshit.

Why the hell do you hate Arizona?

One word: Republicans. They have controlled the state since the early ‘60’s. Whatever Arizona has lacked or lost or is in utter disrepair all leads back to them. And they don’t care because their only concern is retaining power. If that sounds like a cliché, just consider SB-1070.

Very few people have asked the obvious: How, in the middle of the greatest recession in history, did the foremost issue facing Arizona suddenly become kicking undocumented immigrants out of the country? Only a dolt would find a correlation like, “they take our jobs,” and even the legislators supporting the bill knew that was a stretch considering there are still NO unemployed landscapers. They also knew that they lacked any authority to legislate immigration. Bottom line: The bill didn’t stand a snowballs chance in Phoenix of changing anything about immigration. Its sole purpose was to shift the focus away from the stalled local economy. Nothing more. And the great unwashed masses bought it.

The GOP is so in control of the state that when Democrats offer brief moments of clarity, it shines. Like the enormously successful recall movement against Republican Governor Evan Mecham in 1987. Or how democratically-controlled Phoenix not only created an amazing freeway system, but did so in record time. Yes, it caused the loss of some historic homes. It took my boyhood home on West Moreland. But considering the 30+ years the GOP-controlled local newspapers successfully delayed the inevitable, it could have been far worse.

Growth has been the only thing that has kept Republicans in control in Arizona. They have depended on it and now it is gone. A reasonably balanced and fair universe will make them follow it.

I don't hate Arizona but I loath and detest the Republican Political machine that is so tone deaf that it won't notice 100,000 people marching in front of John McCain office. The Republicans shout out "malcontents. They're just malcontents." 40 years ago 100,000 people protesting anything would have anointed Kookacracy shaking in their boots and finding places to hide the rope and pitchforks from the angry villagers.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this column, Jon.

Soleri: come out, come out from wherever you are. We need you on the anti-BS team!

I dont think the author hates AZ at all. I too was born and raised here. I now own the house I was born and raised in. I know just as well as anyone how people are here. And they dont care. The more we clean our property, the more they dirty theirs. You try to be nice to them, they try to look up your pants or down your blouse. The merchants are just as bad. Everyone lies thru there teeth and they are very predatory. Thing is too, they can dish it but they cant take it. The second you try to stick up for yourself they make your life a living hell. We have tried to volunteer with the local community organization, we have tried to get involved with urban gardening (which we do do in our yard), we have shown extreme patience towards our neighbors who love blaring spanish baby karaoke at one oclock in the morning. These people just dont care and they will go out of there way to drag you down to there level. As the old saying goes, come on vacation, stay on probation!

Bravo! We left Phoenix in 1990 because we could, and because Phoenix was starting to rival Las Vegas as a giant live-in theme park. At the time, we figured we'd retire there one day, but now Phoenix does not make our top 10 retirement list for reasons that I don't think I need explain.
It is my home town and I wish it well, but they'll have to improve without us.

In hindsight, Taft-Hartley and the Goldwater gang's dire threats about loss of corporate investment in a union state probably doomed all of Arizona. It simultaneously: (1) Tightened the chains on the bond-slave environment for migrant workers (2) Doomed skilled and unskilled labor alike to uncompetitive wages and (3) Ensured there would be no large gathering of the masses to affect political change. Now, I've never been a big union guy, but that lack of unions has definitely unbalanced the state far in favor of unfettered growth and history-be-damned mentality.

Mr. Rogue, I would love to read your take on those seminal 1944 right-to-work hearings that breezed right on by in the Arizona legislature.

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