Friday, May 11, 2007

A thought for the weekend

Mother's Day Proclamation
by Julia Ward Howe, 1870

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Talk of the town:"Global warming science incomplete, but adequate"

Tim Crews, a scientist who's actually involved in climate science, does a point-by-point and mops the floor with Terry Lovell, a scientist who isn't. I can't see why it took him a month to get this done, it seems pretty straightforward, but it's here at last, overcoming the editor's mushy headline.

Editorial: "Retail growth is natural and reflects community"

The unnamed Courier editor genuflects to his god and professes his true faith.

Letters: The Queen Bee has history

Curt Cowell kindly reminds us of the background of the SuperSpringer's position on water legislation.

NB: Rep Mason didn't just accept the amendment to her bill, she embraced it.

A1: "Sales tax growth slows"

I like to see coverage of things like municipal economics, it's important information for making voters smarter. What bugs me is that it usually comes with weird spin, most of it inadvertent, I'm sure, because arcane subjects tend to carry the shorthand thinking their practitioners employ.

The fact here is that sales-tax revenues in Prescott are up by five percent over last year. But the story we get is that sales-tax growth is down by seven percent against last year. So most readers who've suffered the indignity of a public-school math education will walk away with the idea that the City has less money this year. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Check this out:

"This year is nothing like last year," Norwood said of ongoing budget deliberations. As opposed to last year's 15-percent jump in the total operating budget, Norwood said he expects this year's total to be up by about 10 percent.
Uncareful readers, and there are lots of 'em, will conclude from this that this year's City budget will be five percent smaller than last year's rather than 25% greater than two years ago.

The story here is that the City has been spending like there's no tomorrow, betting on temporary, freakishly high revenue increases. One might expect that a conservative newspaper would respond to that with a little more skepticism and take some pains to clarify the situation.

A1: "Local man travels in style, by land and air"

We've had pretty good use of the page-one photobox lately, but this is serious backsliding. A guy flies a plane and drives an old car. I can make a phone call and get you ten like him in a couple of hours. Who cares? There isn't even enough here for a decent inside feature, let alone page one.

A1: "Church of Scientology critic fights his extradition"

Mirsada Buric updates us on Keith Henson's fight to stay out of jail -- from jail, unfortunately. Check out the backstory here if you're unfamiliar with it.

Interviewing lawyers is always a mine field, and Mirsada doesn't manage to cut through the fog. To complicate matters it looks like the editors were watching a ball game at work: "He alleged numerous violations that violations his client since his arrest." and "the Uniformed Extradition Act" are the most egregious errors.

A3: "Ellen Simon says she’ll try again for Renzi’s seat"

Maybe A3 is the Courier's place for late-breaking news -- the kind where it broke and the editors are late. Simon's press release went out last Thursday, and there's nothing here that wasn't in it to explain this tardiness. I'm no particular fan of Ellen Simon, but I know filler treatment when I see it.

A3: "Prescott City Council approves final plat for Enchanted Canyon"

Well, the Dalke land is finally gone, the 'dozers are on their way. Bob Luzius put up the last protest vote, and Council said, "go on, take it."

We knew this was coming. I have to wonder why, though, the story that culminates years of public contention appears in the Courier two days late and on an inside page.

(The courieraz site is a mess this morning. Maybe John K has the day off?)