Monday, January 31, 2011

Editorial: Gun freedoms cannot overshadow trends

The shootings in Tucson and the subsequent renewal of the periodic public dialog about gun control has penetrated to the the Courier editorial suite, once an impervious bastion of NRA propaganda. But the unnamed editor is still too hung up on the old lies to build a cogent argument, and fails utterly to make any sense. In the comments, the piranhas shred his ankles.

He starts right off making the case for the other side: "The argument that deadly weapons will end up in the hands of the wrong people no matter what laws are on the books is valid," so, the argument goes, trying to control guns is futile. Of course, if that line of reasoning ever made sense, we'd have long ago given up enforcing laws against any kind of sociopathic behavior, since some will be sociopaths no matter what.

He spends another two grafs trying to armor up for the backlash, explaining that he's completely bought into the legally very shaky idea that personal-use weapons are every American's gad-given right. This of course undermines his ultimate point, leading him to absurdly advocate "correcting flaws in an inherent right."

Let's be generous and supply what the editor is groping for here: that no legal right is absolute. All are granted on the condition that we use them responsibly.

Since the Industrial Revolution began bringing us ever more efficient, cheap and lethal machines for tearing one another to pieces, a minor but significant proportion of Americans have been irresponsible with guns. But it's only been since the 1970s that political pressure groups have been working to redefine gun ownership as a sacrosanct, inalienable and legally uncontrollable right. That hardline view would be as weird and unworkable to Sheriff Buckey O'Neill as it is to thinking people today.

That the editor is willing to crack open the door on this ridiculous debate -- ridiculous because where adults are in charge, talking like the NRA causes only doubt about one's ability to reason -- would be commendable if he weren't so damn timid about it. Go ahead editor, come out into the light. The NRA goons may slip a bag over your head and and use you for target practice, but only metaphorically, I promise.

I would, however, suggest some serious research to start unlearning all that wacky stuff you've been parroting from the NRA over the years. It'll help develop a take on the issue that's a little better grounded in reality.

Monday, January 17, 2011

King Day

The Courier's extra focus on King Day over the past few editions has been welcome. King's message of peace and brotherhood has been a natural in the context of the Tucson shootings, and the King Foundation focus on community service is something we all need to hear more about. But for those of us who remember Dr King as a living force in this country, an important element is missing.

He was murdered not for his commitment to peace, but rather for his insistence on speaking truth to power and requiring of us that we walk the talk about our ideals of social justice and fair dealing. When his vision of peace extended to the war in Vietnam, he became the target of more hateful rhetoric than ever, encouraging another "lone gunman" to stalk and murder. Let's remember that lesson as well, and honor Dr King's memory by living up to his robust example.

Editorial: A show of unity way overdue

The unnamed Courier editor thinks mixed company in the joint session for the State of the Union would be very nice. My problem with this is that even if our fractious houses of Congress can be persuaded to go along -- I expect they won't -- it really would be just a show, a stunt to try to mask the political gamesmanship that will almost certainly monkeywrench our national government for the coming two years and make a stagnant economy the new normal.

Sorry, editor, I have no use for political theatre. If there's a core point to the recent calls for more adult political rhetoric, it's to make our political process work better on the ground. We should be demanding a little more than a nice photo op.

Amster: Constructive dialogue our only recourse

Randall regularly writes once a month and the most recent was last Tuesday, so today's column is an extra, I expect solicited by Tim as part of his unusually heavy King Day coverage. It could be Randall's best-written piece ever, inspiring but not too flashy, his big picture fairly drawn from personal reflection. Well done, Randall.

Weekend insults

Weekends are busy for me so I generally let off on the bloggerator during the days of rest for working stiffs. The Courier marshals on, of course, and a few details caught in my mental craw nonetheless.

Saturday's story on Gov Brewer's budget ideas included a pic of herself from the Tucson memorial service. I get that it was the most recent photo on file, but it's still really bad practice to run a photo of anyone other than the President behind the Presidential Seal on a story from a separate context.

Sunday's Business section headline, on local effects on gun sales following Tucson, just pissed me off. As I wrote in the comments:

After the tragic events of last weekend and the continuing public focus on incendiary rhetoric, the editor's use of "Reloading" as the headline strikes a particularly dark note. In an editorial suite grown inured to the equation of politics with violence and safely on the right side of the gunsights, it may have seemed clever to reference Sarah Palin's famous tweet. But to those of us who are on the other side, this is another "what could they be thinking?" moment.

And last night when I previewed the Monday edition, I hoped that someone in a hurry just bobbled an online headline and it'd be quickly corrected, but this morning I find that no, it got into the print edition too: "Sharlott Hall Museum library to close for a couple days." C'mon, guys, this is just inexcusable. (Update, 1:45pm: I see someone corrected one of the headline's typos, while adding some garble at the end of the story.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Intentional smear, nontheless irresistable

Separated at birth? I know, cheap shot. But ...

Are they really so different? Isn't it just a matter of which weapon one chooses?

Friday, January 14, 2011

On Debating Our Debate

From Paul Waldman at The American Prospect:

As we debate what kind of rhetoric is and isn't objectionable, it would help if we could make some specific distinctions and keep some important things in mind. To that end:

Every gun metaphor is not created equal. Military metaphors infuse our talk about politics; the only thing that comes close is sports. The word "campaign" only relatively recently began to be used to refer to politics; its original use referred to military endeavors. But there is a difference between using metaphors that invoke violence ("We're going to fight this battle to the end!") and using rhetoric that invokes violence specifically directed at your opponents (like this), or even speaks literally of people arming to take on your opponents or the government (like Sharron Angle's infamous discussion of "Second Amendment remedies" to not getting the result you want at the ballot box). One is perfectly ordinary; the other ought to be condemned.

The fact that someone criticizes your rhetoric doesn't mean they're "blaming" you for the Arizona shooting. Right now, Sarah Palin's defenders are angrily denouncing people for "blaming" her for the shooting, because people have pointed to her now famous crosshair map of candidates she was targeting for defeat in 2010, including Gabrielle Giffords. But no one is saying this guy committed his massacre because he looked at this map. What people are saying is that this kind of thing goes too far. Certain things contribute to an atmosphere in which violence becomes more likely; criticizing those things doesn't mean you've said that in the absence of one particular statement or Web posting this event wouldn't have occurred.

If you think your rhetoric is above reproach, you have an obligation to defend it on its merits. Naturally, many on the right are going to attempt to turn the criticism of them around on the left: See how they're playing politics! But if you think it's perfectly fine for you to say what you've been saying, explain why. Attacking the motives of those criticizing you doesn't qualify.

Asking you to tone it down is not censorship. Over at Slate, Jack Shafer defends inflammatory political speech by saying, in part, that "any call to cool 'inflammatory' speech is a call to police all speech." As someone who has spent many years tangling with conservatives over their rhetoric, I've heard this argument a million times. When you criticize some talk-show host for something he said, he inevitably responds, "You can't censor me!" The First Amendment guarantees your freedom to say whatever idiotic thing you want, but it doesn't keep me from calling you out for it. No one is talking about throwing anyone in jail for extreme rhetoric, but we are talking about whether people should be condemned for certain kinds of rhetoric.

The rhetoric of violence is not the only kind of rhetoric that encourages violence. The apocalyptic rhetoric we've seen from some on the right, most notably Glenn Beck, should be part of this discussion too. When Beck portrays Barack Obama as the head of a socialist/communist/Nazi conspiracy whose goal is the literal destruction of America, he is implicitly encouraging violence. If that really were the nature of the administration, and our liberty really were on the verge of being snuffed out, violence would be justified.

If you're going to say "Liberals do it too" then you ought to provide some evidence. No one disputes that there has been a tide of extreme and violent rhetoric from some quarters of the right in the last couple of years. But any journalist who characterizes this as a bipartisan problem ought to be able to show examples, from people equal in prominence to those on the right (i.e. members of Congress, incredibly popular radio hosts, etc.) who have said equally violent and incendiary things. "Harry Reid once called George W. Bush a liar" doesn't qualify, nor does a nasty comment some anonymous person once left on a blog.

The Geography of Gun Deaths

The Atlantic is carrying a fascinating study breaking down where people are shot to death and correlating that geographic distribution with other factors.

Wiederaenders: Sparring over bills is not the norm

In dashing off his Friday column, Tim writes a confusing bit:

Something I really liked in Tobin's comments was that the bill was "expedited, but mostly was a part of business as usual at the Legislature, where most bills are bipartisan."

See, when legislative debates appear to be problematic or contentious, they "are the most difficult issues and are not nearly as popular, as it likely should be."

This is difficult to parse, but what I get from it is that Rep Tobin told Tim that "most bills are bipartisan," and that a quick and efficient legislative process is "business as usual at the Legislature." And Tim thinks this is great.

This is either willful misunderstanding or obfuscation. A large number of votes in the Leg are minor housekeeping and ceremonial matters that no one cares about and get done pretty quickly -- unless a Speaker or President decides to hold up all bills for some arbitrary reason, as happened last year. This may be what Mr Tobin refers to, in a statistical sense. Many bills don't get through the first stage of the committee process. The remainder are generally contentious and usually partisan, and those are what we hear about in the news. That's where the long knives come out. Any legislator worth her salt will line up cosponsors on the other side of the aisle, that's given. Does that make the bill "bipartisan"? It's a semantic choice.

What we do know, in any case, is that the road is never smooth for legislation that matters. Either Tim heard Mr Tobin wrong, or Mr Tobin was again shoveling the sort of odious dark matter for which he's become famous.

Incidentally, one good reason legislation does not normally pass through this quickly is that there's no time for legal vetting and really thinking the thing through. From what I've read about the funeral-protest bill, it seems unlikely to survive legal challenge. Is that efficient use of legislative time?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Casserly: Foul language degrades humanity

JJ's diatribe reminds me of a broken-headed bum shouting at rush-hour traffic. Best response comes from Andrew Johnson-Schmit:

Mr. Casserly, you are right to be concerned about the use of language in our society. But I would suggest you play very loose and fast with language yourself. You manage to transform former Illinois Governor Former Rod Blagojevich into a former mayor of Chicago (and if the crux of his infamy is plotting to sell the appointment of an Illinois Senator - what in the world has that got to do with a mayor?) You see a clear unifying line between public use of profanity by entertainers with what you consider lies by members of a political party you don't agree with. What is that close connection? Because you feel they are evil in their own ways and Dante would have wanted to torture them in his writing. This is not precise or even informed writing. Mr. Casserly, your byline states you are a "longtime newsman." Act like one.
Hear, hear.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Panic at the comments desk

From the many references to missing comments, it appears that something has changed in a big way over the past few days, and whoever is editing the comments has no clue what they're doing. Perhaps the senior editors don't know what this person is doing either. In any case it's pissing a lot of people off unnecessarily. Someone needs to reread the rules, straighten up and fly right.

Editorial: Redistricting commission needs greater (Republican) voice

The unnamed Courier editor supports Pearce and Adams in rigging the redistricting commission. The question is whether he's being fooled by the rhetoric or he's trying to fool his readers. Here's most of the real story.

I'm hopeful that it's essentially a non-issue because we can trust that the courts won't stand for this naked power play. The editor should know all this stuff, including the personalities of the players.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Amster: Moving our state sideways, not forward

Randall is justifiably frustrated with the state's prospects for educational and budgetary sanity, and it comes through in his writing bigtime, bordering on despondency. Who can blame him? It's gonna be ugly.

TUSD deserves applause for putting up a fight for its kids, but the Ethnic Studies program is going down. New EdSupe John Huppenthal has been as clear about that as his predecessor, and despite the oft-heard Republican love for local control, local control that in any way serves the needs of brown students is off the table for this and the next few years. Times are tough for the scapegoats. There will be worse.

One quibble, Randall: Since the US didn't exist until the founders invented it, by definition none of their parents could have been citizens before that point. They defined citizenship on the basis of maleness, European heritage and owned property, of course. I get the feeling our Legislature would like to return to those halcyon days.

Arizona Legislature prepares for drastic budget cuts

Joanna quotes our local legislators on their views about the budget, and they are united in the narrow and unimaginative. Rep Tobin dismisses the Brookings/Morrison report as "biased," which evokes the image of a ninth-grader challenging Einstein on physics.

The contrasting opinions are missing of course, as I predicted in my current column in Pop Rocket. You can go there to find out what the Dems would do if they weren't chained up in the basement.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Have we had enough yet?

Regular readers know that I've been writing for many years on the danger of reckless, over-the-top rhetoric and the online anonymity that helps foster it. The sudden mainstream-media focus on it in the wake of the politically motivated shootings in Tucson will naturally divide itself into the usual tedious arguments, with the extreme right protesting defensively (with some justification) that the gunman was individually responsible, and the rest of us recognizing that the climate of hateful rhetoric has an intuitive connection with the weather of the broken mind with a gun.

Where we all bear responsibility is in allowing our communities to become so reflexively divided along arbitrary political lines dictated by emotionally charged micro-issues.

It was bad enough when things were going well for us. With the economic downturn we see exposed the American tradition of finding someone else to blame for our troubles. The rhetoric grows yet more heated, the nutbars more empowered by it, and the violent few move closer to action on their twisted fantasies. Denying the reality of this mechanism is nothing but attempted self-deception. In an environment of pervasive propaganda, no one can claim to be unaffected by it, and the more emotional it is, the greater the effect.

No one wants official censorship, least of all any of us who work in media. But we have to do something as a society to turn this tide and ramp down the rhetoric into the adult range. The founders of our nation knew it would be a bold and risky experiment to rely on the people to self-govern, but that's what we most need now. Have we had enough of this nonsense yet, or will we need another civil war to shake us into requiring civility of one another?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

'Selectivity' about comments on Giffords assault

Earlier today I added a couple of comments on the AP story about the assault on Rep Giffords and the crowd. Two of them apparently didn't make the Courier's mysterious cut.They went like this:

"Perhaps we would better spend our energy asking why it took so long for sheriff's deputies and medical help to arrive."

"I notice that AP has altered the passage I mentioned previously."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Gosar Officially Joins Nutbar Faction

Joanna does a good job with the first-day antics of our new CD1 Rep Paul Gosar, contrasting his empty Bizarro-World posturings with real-world facts. I know a lot of readers won't get it, but would that our media were always so circumspect. Here's a cookie.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Editorial: Quit complaining! This is just how Republicans govern! Deal!

In today's defense of the City's bungling of the New Year storm, the unnamed Courier editor glosses over some salient points that commenters and others are making. Sure, lots of people are making ignorant complaints. But there's wheat among the chaff.

"Road crews worked hard to cinder and plow the ice and snow," says the editor, but residents all over town agree that the plows came much later than usual if at all, and the cinders rarely appeared before Sunday. Timely and sufficient application of cinders alone would have vastly improved safety on the streets and promoted ice melt even under sub-freezing conditions during the day. Today, a week after the snow fell, there still aren't enough cinders on most streets to make a difference. This is in clear contrast to previous practice in similar weather events. People reasonably want to know why.

We've heard all kinds of big talk about focusing on public-safety "needs" over silly "wants" from Mr Lamerson and other Council members and staff. Here we had a clear public-safety need that was poorly addressed, and nothing but lame excuses and promises from official sources.

Someone at City Hall is failing to answer the pertinent questions. With this piece the editor is abetting that failure. If the Council were dominated by Democrats, you can bet that the editor would be far more demanding.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New report says Arizona needs tax reform, not cuts

Given the Courier's history of head-in-the-sand responses to budget challenges, I'm a little surprised to see this piece by AP's Paul Davenport on the new Brookings/ASU Morrison report on how we got where we are. A commenter kindly provided a link to the original report, which it seems to me puts a lot more blame on reckless tax-cutting than untoward spending than DAvenport would have us believe. From the introduction (emphasis mine):

Arizona is now struggling with two related but distinct fiscal disasters. Recognized is the portion of the state’s budget crisis that has resulted from the sudden collapse of annual revenues after the real estate crash and economic downturn. This crisis has hit hard but will ease as the economy recovers.

Less understood is the depth of the state’s massive structural imbalance, which has arisen thanks in large part to policy choices made during the go-go years of the state’s recent past but which will not soon relent. During the growth years, legislative and executive leaders acted as if the state could maintain a basic level of service provision even as it implemented tax cuts that permanently reduced the state’s revenue base.

Now, the illusion has been shattered and the state’s yearly labors to close its fiscal year budget gaps are about to get harder. With one-time fixes, gimmicks, and fund sweeps exhausted, budget cuts from this point forward could—if handled crudely—prove devastating and difficult to recover from. Serious discussions among state leaders have included opting out of Medicaid, cutting a K-12 system often cited before the recession for receiving the lowest per-pupil funding in the nation, and significantly reducing funding for the state’s university system. At the same time, if managed well (that is, with a balanced approach and a sense of strategy and rigor) the crisis might actually prompt innovation instead of just pain.

But what is certain, at any rate, is that the current fiscal crisis will continue to have lasting and damaging ramifications unless the state takes prompt, sober steps to address it. To this end, this short introduction to the state’s cyclical and structural deficit problems provides two groups of suggestions to the state as it prepares to attack its problems.

First, the state needs to improve the quality of its fiscal policymaking by moving to broaden, balance, and diversify its revenue bases while looking to the long-haul balance of taxing and spending. Implicit in this push must be a recognition that action has to occur on both the revenue and reduction side of the equation. Spending cuts alone are not going to put Arizona on a stable fiscal path.

And second, the state needs to improve the information sharing and budgeting processes through which fiscal problems are identified, analyzed, and addressed. As part of this, the state needs to put in place the sort of strategic plan that furnishes a long-term vision of state success against which budgetary and other sorts of performance can be measured against clear goals and mileposts.

In sum, the choices that need to be made by Arizonans are difficult and will require of leaders substantial self-discipline. Success at this work is imperative as the first order of business for Arizona as the state prepares to embark on its second century.

Tax policy reform first. What have I been saying?

Editorial: Walking the talk involves learning to walk first

The unnamed Courier editor warns the new Legislature that " Arizonans will be watching very closely," but he's not clear about what he'll be watching for, exactly. Even the most clever measures to spur job growth won't see results within the next two years. It's hard to parse out what he means in the non-sentence "Private prisons," but I'll be charitable and take it to mean no more of them. Allowing the sales-tax extension to sunset on schedule will save the editor a few pennies, but without comprehensive revenue reform it will only increase the pain. Playing nice in Washington after the tantrums of the past few years is worth a try, but to what end, editor? Tell us what you support.

He asserts, "the challenges are largely the same as they were last year and the year before that." Really? Sure, we still have a no-growth economy, a collapsed housing market, record unemployment and a dunderheaded tax structure. But this term adds the complications of Republican supermajorities in both state houses composed mostly of complete newbies who feel empowered to pursue every silly idea that springs from Sarah Palin's mouth. No, editor, this year we can expect it'll be much worse.

The results will be a confused and ineffectual budget process, grandstanding galore, endless lawsuits to fix the many mistakes, and two more years of Arizona being the butt of every third political joke.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

City on clean-up: Crickets

Joanna interviewed the hapless manager who'll be taking the fall for the City's poor response to the snow, but where are the quotes from Council and the city manager? The line employees can tell us what they're doing, but only the elected officials can tell us whether they're satisfied with the results. Why isn't the Courier stepping up to demand answers to the hard questions?

Monday, January 3, 2011

More opinion disguised as news

On today's page 7, under a prominent "News" slug, we find a piece by AP's Larry Margasak about how the Rs in Congress plan to waste the coming two years grandstanding to beat the President, and how great that will be.

This is obviously political opinion, not news. I also notice that the editor placed a pointer to it on page one, boosting its prominence.

Cheerleading for obstructionism and political gamesmanship is no way to start off the new year, editors. Nor is misleading your readers. Could we please have a resolution in the editorial offices to try harder to act like journalism professionals?

Editorial: Questions left in wake of city's thaw

Questions, indeed, and the editor gets around to them right at the end, after a tedious "Days Past" digression. Apparently he was researching the weather in 1967 rather than putting those questions to our city officials.

An event like the weekend's winter storm brings the whole town together and requires official response. So far there's nothing in the Courier. I for one would much prefer reading the answers than wasting time on the editor's idle wonderings.

Last I heard there was still a working newsroom at the Courier -- would it be asking too much to gather some news?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Editorial: No good reason for Pearce to reinterpret Constitution

The unnamed Courier editor gets it right on Sen Pearce's idiotic war on mythical anchor babies. I'd only have encouraged him to be a little more pointed about it, and it's "tenet," editor, not "tenant." Look it up.

What the editor doesn't get to is the developing pattern in Pearce's actions. With 1070, the birther bill, the anchor-baby foolishness, assigning himself as chair of the Senate Rules committee and the attempt to rig the redistricting commission, Pearce is constantly asserting that he knows better than anyone, including decades of judges and our country's best legal minds, what our laws "really mean." There's a whiff of megalomania in everything he's doing, and the national-media attention on him is making it worse.

So far I've been giving him the benefit of the doubt, in a way, imagining that he's been simply pumping up these never-win issues to gain notoriety and power, not really believing that his arguments carry any legal weight. But lately I'm less sure. He may really be as nutz as he appears.

Waiting for the thaw: Rather than doing something about the snow

I can imagine it's not easy to get official comment over the holiday weekend, but Doug doesn't even indicate that he tried in his story today. My experience has been similar to that of many commenters on Paula's we're-totally-prepared story from Thursday -- thickly iced streets suited only to six-wheel offroad vehicles, rare sightings of response equipment, and I've yet to see a single cinder anywhere. Courier reporters ought to be asking pointed questions of City staff and elected officials.

Tomorrow everyone goes back to work. If the streets aren't in better shape by morning, it'll be a nightmare.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New publisher represents big opportunity for change

We learn today that the rumors have been true, Kit Atwell is retiring, and Kelly Soldwedel is replacing her at the top of the masthead. It will be fascinating to see whether this makes any difference in the paper.

On a newspaper, the publisher is the cheese. She makes the big business decisions on behalf of the financial interests who pocket the dividends. She's the strategist for the future and crisis manager for the present. The editors create the product, but the publisher tells them what sort of product it has to be.

From the announcement in the paper it's clear Ms Soldwedel didn't reach this position by climbing the experience ladder. She's all of seven and a half years out of college, and made general manager in four. The paper seems proud that she's only running the company because her progenitors did. I hope she's got enough pride in herself to overcome her elevation-as-inheritance. The paper needs it.

Any attentive reader can see pretty quickly that the Courier desperately needs new blood and real-world experience to blow the cobwebs out of its congested, incestuous culture and make the changes necessary to survive and thrive in a radically changing media environment. Our community needs a vibrant, engaged and muscular Courier.

I challenge Ms Soldwedel to seek out and learn from her more worldly peers, eschew flabby tradition, embrace community service first, kick out the dead wood and push the paper bodily into the 21st century. There is no other hope for its future.

Stupidest headline ever?

Or maybe today's chuckle: Officials tackle underage drinking issue with pizza box fliers

Editorial: Fergadsake, don't look back!

In which the unnamed Courier editor encourages the sort of gnatlike attention span that's killing the newspaper business and driving our jolly old American empire ever deeper into ruin.

He tells us to forget the Gulf oil spill, as sensible remembering could only lead to recrimination and perhaps better regulation of the industry most responsible for global pollution and climate change.

Forget Afghanistan -- it's clear he already has -- for it's just too difficult to understand, and sensible remembering could only lead to the conclusion that the insane revenge-seeking that led us there was a huge mistake we must correct as quickly as possible. (As long as we require our military to be there, editor, forgetting is morally repugnant.)

Forget our ravaged economy, for closer scrutiny might reveal the moral bankruptcy of the financial corporations that own and operate the editor's favored political party. While you're at it, forget the legislative gridlock and fascist rhetoric his party has forced on us ever more avidly for thirty years.

Instead, dear reader, cling to the myths of empire -- our great strength as a people (belied by the fear and denial we collectively express at the slightest difficulty), our international generosity with our wealth (as much smaller and less rich countries show us up every time and we scream at each other over pennies in foreign assistance), our "grit"* (though we can't find a way clear to even start transitioning our economy off dirty, dwindling, foreign-controlled and evermore expensive energy sources).

Be glad that nothing worse happened, like the exposure of official fraud and neglect of infrastructure that was the result of Hurricane Katrina (as our infrastructure falls further into neglect), or the egregious failures of foreign policy and intelligence that led to the killing or injury of over 10,000 innocents nine-odd years ago (as we tread farther down that same stupid path every day. Oh yeah, and how many innocent Afghans and Iraqis have we murdered in that time?).

It's delightfully easy to stay positive when you refuse to face your problems. Don't worry, be happy.

Me, I think I'd rather try to learn from history and avoid repeating it. Call me a cockeyed optimist.

*: Clearly the editor, in the grand tradition of Courier editorialists, has been keeping up on his cowboy movies.