Coffee heat rising

Rain, Cold, and…A Cold???

El Niño has arrived, bringing with it a large, wet weather system: inches of rain in the desert and feet of snow in the high country. This is good, since the region has been enjoying a decades-long drought. A whole LOT of rain is in order.

SDXB had planned to drive into town from lovely Sun City but changed his mind upon peering out the window into the gloom. His decision was clinched when I remarked that I may have a cold. But am not sure. I’ve thought it was the usual allergies — pollen-laden plants are starting to grow, what with the rain we’ve already had this winter. That was why I was camped out at the Albertson’s yesterday, trying to extract a dozen Sudafed pills from the pharmacists. I’d already discovered that a Claritin just about disappeared the runny nose and the scratchy throat, indicating the issue was more allergic than viral. Today we’ll find out how true that is, since I just dropped half of a Sudafed. Much more than that and I’ll be awake for the rest of the year…but if the issue is actually an allergy, a small amount of pseudoephedrine will send it packing.

It is unusually cold here. Enough so that, for the first time in many years, windshields on cars left outside overnight are icing up.

A-n-n-n-d lest you think I exaggerate about Arizona’s legions of driving morons….

No kidding. One of them hopped in his car and charged off down the road, surprised and confused because he couldn’t see through his iced-up windshield. NOT surprisingly, he ran into a traffic-control box and put out all the stoplights for a mile or two around him.

It is impossible to exaggerate the number of morons who infest Arizona’s fine roads. 😀

So at any rate, with SDXB out of my hair today, the next 12 or 15 hours are cleared for work. We’re almost done with the Latina feminist journal — everything is finished except for one long article I farmed out to our new intern, who promises to turn the thing around soon. It’s a long and complicated thing, but I’ve already given it a read. I’ll merge her edits with mine, which will allow me to spot any changes she’s made that are different from mine, collate them, and come up with clean copy. Then it’s off to the editors with that magnum opus!

Two new works of Chinese science came in, both by urban infrastructure engineers. The articles are strangely interesting — the one in hand has to do with the dynamics of plumbing water all the way to the top of a tall high-rise, problem-free. Both are written in fairly dense Chinglish. To the natural difficulty of the subject matter, this feature adds the authors’ wrestling match with the weirdness of an alien language. And make no mistake about it: English is a weird language!

One of the Latina scholars has written an extraordinary story whose quality and interest are so high that, IMHO, she should be proposing a version (of the literary nonfiction variety) to The New Yorker. Most academics are not, when you come right down to it, very good writers. But this lady? She can write her way out of a paper bag. I intend to suggest to our editor that she encourage the woman to send a proposal to that august magazine and also to The Atlantic. Editors at either one, I suspect, would fall all over themselves to get a version of this story written in the mode of John McPhee. Which, we might add, this writer is fully capable of producing.

Ruby is lobbying for food. A clap of thunder rolled through. We must have food to soothe our doggy nerves. Water is falling out of the sky. We must mark that with food. We got wet running outside in the rain. We must dry off with food. The Human says we are a good and a cute and a wonderful dog. Clearly that must be celebrated with food.

Hm. Here’s some spam from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. This particular amusing website was the only market that sold the Racy Books we put out through the now defunct Camptown Races Press. It far outpaced Amazon. Occasionally, it even broke even. You have to pay to get your books up there. You’re certainly not likely to make a profit (unless you know a lot of somethings I don’t know). But if an ego trip is what you’re after (which, far as I can tell, is what most self-publishing authors ultimately come away with), there it is.

Speaking of authors…{sigh}…I suppose I’m going to be reduced to actually working, by way of making a few of them publishable.

Economy Is Politics: Arizona’s politico-economic disaster

Bet you thought I was exaggerating when I described the shenanigans going on down at the state house. Truth to tell, though, that post was barely the half of it: a lazy job of reporting, indeed.

To date, budget shortfalls have gutted higher education in Arizona, trashed K-12 education, closed down state parks, and shut down important segments of the state government. Tens of thousands of state workers and employees of companies that contract to the state have been thrown out of work. Far from showing any concern about these disasters, our legislators persist in a demented campaign to balance the budget on the backs of our children, of our most vulnerable citizens, and of every other resident.

What they are proposing to do is cut state income tax revenues by a half-billion dollars, repeal the $250 million state equalization tax, and inflict a further 5.2 percent cut on our already devastated education system. Health care for low-income children would be cut. Child Protective Services, never the nation’s finest agency of its kind, will be further reduced. Food banks will be cut.

To silence opponents, the legislature’s plan proposes to put the governor’s desired temporary 1 percent sales tax increase to the voters; in the unlikely event that they approve it, the 5 percent education cut will be erased.

The 3 percent flat tax legislators are straining to push through in this budget proposal will cut state revenues by $450 million just as a three-year sales tax hike phases out.

As a clue about what kind of people these are, Arizona Senator Jack Harper has described teachers as “feeding at the public trough,” and he made himself the subject of an ethics complaint when, acting as chairman of the committee of the whole, he “accidentally” shut off all the microphones in the room and then cut off an ongoing debate.

Meanwhile, these nut cases are legalizing dangerous fireworks, banned in Arizona for years because of the horrific risk they pose to the children to whom they are marketed (good idea: the more of the little darlings we can maim and kill, the less we’ll have to pay to educate them!), ending the hard-won domestic partner benefits for state employees, and planning to allow Arizonans to carry concealed weapons without a permit and to carry guns into public buildings and schools. They want to close the Arizona Historical Society (shutting a half-dozen museums and effectively discarding their holdings) and they have withheld $18 million in research funding promised to the Science Foundation Arizona. However, overcoming their distaste for “socialism,” these worthies are applying for $1 million in federal funding to save the state’s debunked, intellectually bankrupt abstinence-only program.

A  million bucks for abstinence-only…these are the same folks who tell us that if you’re poor and your sick child needs expensive medical care, you’re out of luck. See? If you had just abstained, you wouldn’t have had that weakling brat!

Jon Talton, an observer who calls the gang in power the Kookocracy, suggests we allow the fools to have their way. The disastrous result, he thinks, will demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt what extreme right-wing dogma means to the individual citizen’s pocketbook, jobs, and quality of life. That’s what it will take—the collapse of the state’s government and economy—to persuade Arizona voters to put the wackos out of office, once and for all.

Maybe so. In the interim, the disaster that will ensue—that is ensuing—will make this state a terrible place to live for a long time to come. Friends are talking about retiring to northern New Mexico. Not a bad idea: once I’m out of work this winter, thanks to the dismantling of higher education, I won’t really have to stay here. I may follow them to Los Alamos, joining the brain drain that’s already under way.