Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Open thread, Wednesday edition

What did you notice today?

State workers to report to work as scheduled (update)

This short piece, credited to Paul Davenport (AP), appeared early this morning. Given the usual depth of Davenport's reporting, I have to think the Courier chopped it down to almost nothing, and I'll watch for it elsewhere on the web to check it. For now, here's what real reporting looks like, and oddly enough the Reps don't come off looking quite so good.

But I'm sure the Courier waved the red machete on this one because there just wasn't enough space on its website. (If you buy that I've got a great deal for you on the Pioneer Parkway bridge. Cash only.)

I expect this is a placeholder for another press release from Andy Tobin shortly to tell Prescott what really went down.

4:39PM: OK, I found it at, and my news nose did not lie, the Courier only ran half the story. Here's the rest:

The Arizona Legislature completed action on budget bills to implement most of a compromise $8.4 billion budget negotiated with Gov. Jan Brewer. However, lawmakers omitted a sales tax increase that Brewer wants to help reduce spending cuts.

The Senate approved the bills early Wednesday morning, about three hours after the House's action just before midnight Tuesday.

Lawmakers missed the Arizona Constitution's deadline of midnight for approval of a new state budget.

The bill's ultimate fate remains in question as it is now up to Brewer to decide whether to sign or veto them.

Spokesman Paul Senseman won't say what Brewer will do, but he says Brewer still wants the sales-tax measure.

Health-care debate v.2: The Maw of Charybdis

We're seeing steady letters on this issue and even a Chris Bergman column over on the pseudo-blog page, but trust me: you won't see anything intelligent about public health care in the Daily Courier. The darksiders have had 15 years to prep and sharpen their misinformation since the Clinton-era health-care debacle, and that will be the bulk of what you hear -- fear-mongering, statistical lies, economic lies, false equivalencies, and finger-shadows that look like big nasty teeth. Try to avoid buying in.

There are a lot of people who truly understand what the right to health means and how a public health-care system actually works. The vast majority of them live outside this country, in countries that are mostly almost as rich as ours -- in fact, the entire developed world plus. And while every group of people on the planet has its 15% share of malcontents and complainers, in all of postwar history not one of those countries has reversed a commitment to the health of all its citizens. The vast majority of the world's rich people -- everyone but us -- pay their taxes and enjoy real health security at low cost. Try to let that soak in. Most of us can't even imagine what it feels like, we're so accustomed to the crazy system we've built.

The darksiders would have you believe that every other rich country in the world is committing economic suicide and marching its hapless populations into Stalinist concentration camps for some dark purpose they won't try to describe. It's just not so. These systems, while as imperfect as any other human endeavor, really do work, and work far better than ours does. Truly. I lived in one of them for seven years.

So if you really want to continue feeding the vampires of the drug and insurance industries, open another vein and be my guest. But if you care about quality of life and security for your children, your parents and even yourself, please take this issue seriously, become informed and help move us all into the 21st century. We can't afford another 15 years till this opportunity comes around again.

Editorial: City let down those who need transport

The unnamed Courier editor stands up for those without cars and against the City bean-counters who've pulled their ride subsidies, anticipating that the state may not provide the accustomed major portion of the funds. Bravo.

I might be a little more enthusiastic if I hadn't been reading the same editor telling us for years that Prescott doesn't need public transportation. It leaves a tinny aftertaste, a bit like crocodile tears.

Letter: Illegal immigrants generate more money than they cost

I don't care for Mr Server's clunky sports metaphors, but he has the facts right, and we see this point made so rarely that it's worthy of note. Here's some research to back him up:

The Wall Street Journal, in its "Monthly Economic Forecasting Survey: April 2006," conducted from Apr. 7-11, 2006, asked 46 economists this question: On balance, has the U.S. economy benefited more than it has been harmed by its current population of undocumented workers? Two of them answered that illegals bring more harm than benefit. The other forty-four agreed that they bring more benefit. There are many more good examples of balanced studies.

There is a lot of subtle spinning around this issue to watch out for. When you see someone reference census data about illegals, for example, bear in mind that the census will more often find those illegals who are easiest to find -- settled people with families. That inflates average family size, and subsequently inflates estimates of education costs. People who actually study this issue scientifically agree that the issue of immigrant cost to society is a boogeyman.