Associated Press is reporting that the Democratic party rules committee has agreed to a compromise measure that would fully seat delegations from Michigan and Florida but give each delegate half a vote.
Can you look back on one teacher, pastor or counselor who changed your life? I don't mean the incremental changes that occur in a lifetime of experiences, I'm talking about reflecting on your life and realizing that the absence of this one individual would have left you a fundamentally different person.
I pretty much failed junior high. By the time I hit high school I was enrolled entirely in vocational education classes. Welding is indeed an honorable trade, but in retrospect, it probably wouldn't have been a good fit.
Tommy Harper is the man who changed my direction. Mr. Harper's "real" job was as an English teacher at Catalina high school in Tucson, but I first met him when he was the choir director and interim youth pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
I'll never forget the moment that he sat down beside me in a converted school bus on an 8th grade trip to Big Surf. I was new to the church and had known Mr. Harper for a few weeks. We sat and chatted on the bus for a few minutes and he said "Mr. Patterson, you could be a Congressman. When you get to Catalina, I want you in my class." Mr. Harper had the unique ability say the most encouraging phrase at the most appropriate time. I enrolled in Mr. Harper's English class my sophomore year and never looked back. I took every class he offered and graduated Catalina with double the required number of English courses.
When I walked into class that first day, I was chewing gum and Mr. Harper called out from the front of the class: "Mr. Patterson, your actions are reminiscent of bovine mastication." Well that stumped me. I knew that "bovine" meant cow, but I didn't know that cows masticated. I was trying to picture that when another student told me that it meant "chew." Then it all made sense and I spit out the gum.
I used the word "nice" in a paper and Mr. Harper called from the front of the class. "Mr. Patterson, toilet paper is nice if you need it." Working on vocabulary words, he would tell us that "the iniquitous are ubiquitous." When I used too many commas, Mr. Harper would interrupt the class to say, "Mr. Patterson, commas are like sex. When in doubt...leave it out."
We read dozens of books, explicated poetry, memorized vocabulary words and we would write, and write and write. Every time I write the phrase "to be sure" or hear the words "laconic", "obsequious" or "bombastic," or read a Robert Frost poem I think of Mr. Harper.
Some of the things I learned in high school--typing skills, public speaking and the ability to write--have proven to be indispensable. Some--factoring with F.O.I.L. and using a four-chuck lathe--less so. To be sure, my sentences are still somewhat choppy; I use too many commas and I tend to capitalize for emphasis, but those English classes formed the foundation of my education and Mr. Harper was the chief cornerstone.
I don't remember exactly why we started playing practical jokes, but I remember that he started it. My senior year I was his assistant in an independent study class. I told him that things were really starting to come together and I was going to have my first straight A semester. He gave me a "B" on the interim report card for my Independent Study Class. I responded by dropping the course and citing "religious differences."
He got the last laugh though. He played the piano at my wedding and when we listened to the tape (yes, it was pre-video) at the point where I walked in with my groomsmen, Mr.Harper switched to "Send in the Clowns."
Mr. Harper retired from Catalina but couldn't stay out of the classroom. He's been teaching AP English at Salpointe for a number of years. He gave the commencement address last week. With an oxygen tank by his side and a walker for support he opened with the words "Proper posture is a sign of good breeding." Three thousand adults and adolescents sat up straight--each sure that everyone was looking at them.
Mr. Harper is surprisingly tough for a piano playing English teacher. He slipped on the stairs at Catalina in the early 1980s and badly strained his leg just before he was about to leave for a two-week tour of Egypt and the Holy Land. There was no way that he was going to miss the trip and the doctor assured him that it was only a soft tissue injury so he walked mile after mile on crutches. When he got back, the doctors re-evaluated and concluded that the leg was broken.
That's why when Mr. Harper was diagnosed with melanoma three years ago, we were concerned, but not overly so. That is until I received this email from another Catalina alum last week.
Just a heads up: It is our opinion that Tommy isn't doing so well. He and Jeff are going to a doctor's appt. tomorrow to see if the clinical trial he is participating in is having any impact at all. If you guys had any plans to come down and visit this summer, this might be a good time.
He still plays the piano at Emmanuel and I emailed him last week to say that we would come to Tucson this Sunday to visit and hear him play. Here was the response.
Greg, I am already in hospice care. I will be at home on Sunday. I just can't make it to church anymore. I will tell you about it Sunday if and when you come. It will be great to see you. Tommy
There were a handful of us in his living room on Sunday. CHS classes of 1980 through 1983, all alums of Emmanuel Church. Most of my old groomsmen were there. Mr. Harper played at their weddings too-- we all got married right out of high school and we are all still married.
Mr. Harper is an Espresso Pundit fan and when we sat down he said with a smile "your website is full of vitriol." Naturally, I've heard the word vitriolic, but Sunday was the first time I had heard "vitriol" used as a noun.
We reminisced for an hour or so and as we left, I shook Mr. Harper's hand. It was no longer the crushing grip of a man who had played the piano for sixty years, but it was strong nonetheless. Tho' much is taken, much abides.
He pulled me close and said. "You could be governor."
The doctor said that he couldn't give a firm time frame, but if he had to choose units, they would be weeks and not months.
Raymond Thomas Harper, who has encouraged so many people and has changed the lives of thousands of young men and women over the last 40 years will soon hear the ultimate words of encouragement.
The definition of "Ambivalence" is when your ex wife drives your new Mercedes off a cliff. We all have mixed feelings about things; I have a strong sense of ambivalence when two groups that I oppose engage in a fight to the death.
The Mainstream Media is virtually claiming that Hillary put a contract out on Obama and I'm deeply conflicted. After all, Hillary Clinton is...well, you know...Hillary Clinton. And the legacy media is so...well you get the picture.
I'm not one to defend Hillary, but when the media targets anyone this unfairly, I'm going to comment. If you watch the clip it's obvious that her point is that the primary season often doesn't end until June. She points out that Bill Clinton didn't sew up the nomination until June of 1992 and her second example is that in June of 1968 the Democratic Primary was still hotly contested. The most memorable event of the California Primary, of course, is not that it occurred in June, but that Bobby Kennedy was killed that night. The context of her statement is clear and the feigned outrage of the mainstream media is just one more indication that they have finally turned on the Clintons.
Naturally I feel a deep sense of satisfaction...and outrage. In other words, I'm ambivalent.
In an e-mail, a reader says: "The staff changes you mention today at the Republic are all low-level managers, 36 total, all buyouts."
A reader says in a new comment, below: "'Low-level managers' is not really correct, at least not in the newsroom. Those who are called 'content managers' or 'platform managers' in the IC are included. In other words, the people who really put out the paper while the higher-ups work 9-5 and the editor keeps adding to the management layers. The buyout stinks, in terms of what is being offered."
The Arizona Republic’s crashing circulation numbers have now been countered by another buyout offer from the company to its employees – this one being offered to 36 employees for 29 packages, based on seniority. Chances are, some seasoned veterans, fed up with the direction of the newspaper, will be taking the offer and leaving soon. In time, the place will be devoid of anyone who actually took – and passed — Journalism 101.
I took my son to little league try outs a few years ago. There's always a lot of dead time while the kids are waiting for their turn to catch fly balls or take a few swings so I was looking around to see if I could find familiar face. Sure enough, there was Republic Columnist Bob Robb sitting in the stands--reading the Economist.
It's great that the Republic has a thoughtful, intelligent, conservative columnist. I just wish he could write an interesting sentence.
On transportation, much of the new road building involves better connections between developing nodes and the developed urban areas. These are the sorts of improvements for which user fees are possible and appropriate.
Last week I broke the story that the Republic was about to offer buyouts to key employees. Today the word is that 35 people who are over 52 years old and have more than 12 years experience have been offered buyouts. I'll keep you posted when I hear more.
The title of this post is a punch line from an old joke. "The Pharisees are tired of hearing of all the great things that Jesus is doing, so they start their own newspaper to get out their side of the story. One day they hear that Jesus walked on water. They know that they can't ignore it, so they write a story titled 'Jesus Can't Swim.'"
The flip side of the "Jesus can't swim" story is the "Hindenburg Clears the Atlantic" story. That's what happens when a newspaper's favorite politician gets caught in a really embarrassing situation and the paper puts it in the best light possible.
The Republic's Lesley Wright showed us a great example of a Hindenburg story after the Tribune busted Governor Napolitano's office for shaking down the Homebuilders for contributions for her Transportation initiative. Here's what we learned from the Tribune.
Gov. Janet Napolitano eliminated key elements of a major transportation initiative this week, agreeing not to tax homebuilders in exchange for their support and $100,000 to kick-start the campaign.
Wow, that's political dynamite. The Governor demanded $100,000 from the Homebuilders in exchange for writing them out of an initiative.
Arizona home builders, who have repeatedly given the death blow to conservation efforts, have agreed to let a state trust-land-reform initiative move forward without a fight.
The Home Builders Association of Central Arizona told Gov. Janet Napolitano it would take a "neutral" stance on the initiative in return for key concessions on a $42.6 billion statewide transportation plan.
Republic to Janet: "You go girl." Wright's story is a great example of a Hindenburg story. It's technically accurate that the Hindenburg cleared the Atlantic, but focusing on that detail is an obvious effort to divert the reader from the real story.
If Wright had focused on the real story, she would have learned some amazing facts. Howie Fisher, for example, followed up on the Tribune story and uncovered this astonishing defense from the Governor's Chief of Staff.
Burke defended the deal between the governor and the home builders. "You do that with (legislative) bills," he said.
"Someone comes along and says, 'I can't support that unless you change this, this and this, and that's critical for my support,' " Burke said. "I'm not sure why it's viewed as secret or kind of nefarious."
What? Sure legislators ask for changes in bills, but Dude, "give and take" is an EXPRESSION. It doesn't involve CASH. I've never heard someone say "sure we'll make some changes in this bill for you...if you give us $100,000." Maybe in Russia, Nigeria or Chicago, but you're not supposed do that here.
Good Guy Bias
Lesley Wright's story is also a great example of "Good Guy Bias." She makes it clear that "A good Guy" is demanding money from "A bad Guy" for "A Good Cause." That is: "Governor Napolitano" is demanding cash from "Developers" for "Land reform".
If "Russell Pearce" demanded cash from the "Restaurant Association" for "Immigration Reform," the Republic would hound him until he resigned or was indicted.
The lesson, of course, is that if you are going to shake somebody down...make sure it's for a "good cause."
Post Script: Should the Developers Pay?
Now that that the Governor's deal has been exposed, people are asking me if it's binding. I'm not an attorney yet, but I've had one course in contracts, so naturally I consider myself an expert.
The answer is clear: heck no it's not binding. The deal may not quite rise to the level of extortion or bribery and it may not even rise to the level of impeachability, but it's clearly against public policy; it's unconscionable and it was made under duress. "Give me $100,000 and I'll write you out of this proposed Legislation." Try getting a court to enforce that one. Give me a break.
Let the governor sue. Let's have some discovery and see ALL the emails (not just the ones that were sent from a government computer.) Let's depose the governor's staff and see if the elements of duress have been met. While they are under oath, let's find out what really happened behind the scenes. Maybe enough evidence will surface that we can see if this really does rise to the level of bribery or extortion.
What's the governor going to do? Rewrite the initiative to include the Homebuilders and file it yet again? Even Tony Soprano isn't that ham handed. Once you have been busted trying to shake down the homebuilders, you can't have them whacked for refusing to pony up.
Keep your money Connie. I'm sure you have some commercials to write.
The Arizona Daily Star has lost over 50% of its value in the two years since Lee enterprise purchased it.
If you think the morning Arizona Daily Star is worth less these days than it used to be, you’re not alone - so do the people who publish it. Lee Enterprises last week said it is reducing by $90.4 million the value of its Tucson operations.
The Tucson markdown was part of $722 million Lee took as non-cash impairments to its financial statements for the first three months of this year. The company announced the charges in a filing May 14 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Last week I mentioned that the Tribune had discontinued printing the baseball box scores. Well, in the tradition of great customer service, the Tribune has reinstated the box scores with apologies to its readership. Hmm, there may be hope for the Mainstream Media yet.