27 January 2006

For job growth, this has been one stinky recovery

A succinct quote by Max Sawicky that eloquently summarizes the nation's economic landscape after five plus years of Bush-o-nomics.
It happens that the extent of actual job growth can be accounted for by growth in public sector jobs. And there's nothing wrong with that. However.

The upshot is that the triumph of Republican-conservatarian economic policy consists of an expansion of government jobs financed by loans from the Communist Peoples Republic of China.

25 January 2006

Now we walk his trail

End of the Spear is a must see film, a compelling testament to the power of love and forgiveness over the self replicating cycle of hate and violence.

Prior to my viewing, I was completely unaware of the history of events that comprise the true story behind the movie. But, being based on a true story, I reckon most watchers knew the history and anyway, the story progresses in a most predictable fashion — I was able to conjure the exact ending scenario shortly after the beginning. Yet, even so, it was an effective and gripping presentation of the story of the reclusive Waodani tribe's contact with Christian missionaries. Though being a Christian film, it is devoid of preachy prattling, as the creators chose deliberately to reflect Christ as the Waodani came to know him. The center of focus is the Waodani, and their quest to escape the self destructive realm of "spear or be speared". I believe the framing works in a stunning fashion, with the Waodani contemplating those who don't spear back, and how can one "jump the great boa" if not mightier than foes in a physical presence. There is another scene, where the Life Magazine article is given prominent screen space, and sheds a stunning contrast to the understated theme.

Despite being an independent production with what I presume was a relatively low budget, the film is remarkably done, with all the visual splendor of a top notch National Geographic feature, an excellent script and decent acting performances. End of the Spear was filmed in Panama, not Ecuador, due to logistic concerns. None of the leading role actors are well known, and Panamanian natives, coached by Waodani, played many of the Waodani warrior roles.

Some controversy has embroiled the picture — some Christians take umbrage at Every Tribe Entertainment's choice to cast a homosexual in the role of a Christian missionary.

24 January 2006

These problems suggest a systemic problem with election administration in Maricopa County

That, according to University of Iowa computer science professor Douglas Jones, one of the USA's leading experts on voting machine technology. An additional three percent block of votes is magically appears after a mandated machine recount, but yet, the state's newspaper of record wishes to cast this as merely a minor spat between county attorney Andrew Thomas and state senator Jack Harper. Harper, who's led an inquiry into election irregularities, has faced questions for allowing the Phoenix New Times to pay for an "election consultant".
Jones, who testified before Congress on voting-machine technology following the 2000 presidential election, was inspecting the county's tabulation machines to determine why 489 votes inexplicably appeared during a September 2004 recount of a state legislative race that changed the outcome of the election.

Jones says the appearance of the votes during the District 20 recount on September 21, 2004, appears to have been caused by either failure of the county's voting machines to accurately read ballots or illegal vote tampering. Jones says the only way to determine what happened beyond this is to visually inspect the District 20 ballots.

Now, it turns out, that the ballots are not even stored as directed by law and that some illegal handling may have occured.

Are other folks in Maricopa County puzzled as I am about these events?

  • Why is Andrew Thomas and others so vehemently opposed to examining the ballots? Doesn't the public have a right to ensure that the process of conducting elections is above board?

  • Why is Jan Brewer, Arizona secretary of state, dismissing election transparency advocates as "conspiracy theorists"? Are Arizonans supposed to just place blind trust in a process that's obviously flawed?

  • Is the interest to keep order and thus prop a facade up to conceal faulty and unreliable voting machine implementation of greater value than ensuring the validity of the voting process?

John Dougherty seems to be the only journalist on the investigative path here in a critical story that calls into question the integrity of our votes. Although, here is a summary recap, with a little blurb on what precipitated the problem.

…it all began after the September 7, 2004 primary election contest between two Republicans running to represent Maricopa County, Arizona's Legislative District 20 in the statehouse.

Candidate Anton Orlich was a scant 4 votes ahead of challenger John McComish after the initial count on Election Night. But later, after a recount was held on September 21, 2004, McComish ended up 13 votes ahead of Orlich after 489 new votes mysteriously appeared in the totals.

The mystery of those extra votes -- where they came from, and why Rebublican Maricopa County election officials have turned backflips to keep anyone from examining those ballots and the electronic tabulation machines used to scan them

The Brownshirts are now arming themselves with a Gestapo

A provision in the PATRIOT act will establish a federal police force with the power to violate the Bill of Rights.
Go to House Report 109-333 USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and check it out for yourself. Sec. 605 reads:

"There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division.'"

This new federal police force is "subject to the supervision of the Secretary of Homeland Security."

The new police are empowered to "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony."

Indeed, freedom and liberty are under assault.

21 January 2006

Goodbye Blue Sky

While all hope and pray for the fate of Jill Carroll, the Christian Science Monitor reporter abducted in Iraq, here is a profile of her Iraqi interpreter who was killed.
Everyone knew him as simply 'Alan', or "Elin" as it is pronounced in Iraqi Arabic. Prior to the war, he owned a music shop in the best area in Baghdad, A'arasat. He sold some Arabic music and instrumental music, but he had his regular customers - those westernized Iraqis who craved foreign music. For those of us who listened to rock, adult alternative, jazz, etc. he had very few rivals.

We went to Alan not just to buy music. It always turned into a social visit. He'd make you sit down, listen to his latest favorite CD and drink something. Then he'd tell you the latest gossip- he knew it all. He knew where all the parties were, who the best DJs were and who was getting married or divorced. He knew the local gossip and the international gossip, but it was never malicious with Alan. It was always the funny sort.

The most important thing about Alan was that he never let you down. Never. Whatever it was that you wanted, he'd try his hardest to get it. If you became his friend, that didn't just include music- he was ready to lend a helping hand to those in need, whether it was just to give advice, or listen after a complicated, difficult week.

After the war, the area he had his shop in deteriorated. There were car bombs and shootings and the Badir people took over some of the houses there. People went to A'arasat less and less because it was too dangerous. His shop was closed up more than it was open. He shut it up permanently after getting death threats and a hand grenade through his shop window. His car was carjacked at some point and he was shot at so he started driving around in his fathers beaten-up old Toyota Cressida with a picture of Sistani on his back window, "To ward off the fanatics..." He winked and grinned.

18 January 2006

The President cannot simply violate criminal laws behind closed doors because he deems them obsolete or impracticable

I really was stunned to hear a radio talk host defend the practice of illegal wiretapping based on the notion that the U.S. has not been attacked in the same fashion that occurred on 9/11/01. Pushing aside, for a moment, distressing concerns of accountability — without public record of who/what was being tracked, secret electronic eavesdropping serves as a powerful device to tarnish agents of political opposition, curtail any criticism of unjust executive branch actions, stifle whisteblowers and wickedly twists justice to suit purely partisan goals — I find the sentiment that safety should nullify constitutional freedoms extremely troublesome.

It would be akin to arguing for a complete ban of any firearms, as the statistics are clear that in nations where such stricter gun control is in effect, the homicide rate is significantly lower than in the U.S.. Along the same line, supporting a comprehensive implementation of an all inclusive Orwellian style surveillence program to ensure nobody would ever be subjected to violent assaults wouldn't require much of a logical leap. We do possess the technology to accomplish such a program, even if it would be an expensive implementation. Now, I am not arguing for either of these proposals, and in fact, abhor the sacrifice of freedom for the sake of safety.

Regarding the Bush adminstration's usurpation of the Constitution, here are some thoughts from a real conservative and reaction to a recent speech by Al Gore on the matter.

The New York Times ownership suppressed for one year the leaked information in the paper's possession that the Bush administration was violating the Foreign Intelligence Services Act and was spying on Americans without court warrants. Had the New York Times not placed a gag in its reporter's mouth and suppressed the story, Bush may have gone down in defeat as the new Richard M. Nixon. Clearly, the New York Times is failing the obligations of a free press.

Bush is angry at the New York Times and at the government officials who leaked the story that Bush illegally spied on American citizens. Both may be prosecuted for making Bush's illegal behavior public. By ignoring Gore's speech, is the New York Times signaling to Bush that the newspaper is willing to be a lap dog in exchange for not being prosecuted?

With the US media now highly concentrated in a few corporate hands, has the Democratic Party reached the conclusion that opposition is no longer possible?

Once Bush places Sam Alito on the Supreme Court, he will have a high court majority friendly to his claims that his executive powers are not constrained by congressional statutes or judicial rulings. Once a president is held to be above the law, whether for reasons of his role as commander-in-chief or any other, he can no longer be held accountable.

Conservatives should fear this more than anyone. The separation of powers and our civil liberties are our most precious property rights. They are our patrimony from the Founding Fathers. We are stewards of these rights, which we hold in trust for our descendants. How can any conservative fail to realize that Bush's attack on these rights is the ultimate attack on property? It is astonishing to watch conservatives wave the flag while they are transformed into subjects to be dealt with as presidential authority decides.

Nothing is going to be done done about it by Congress, because, we are now in the grip of a one party state, where allegiance to an imperial presidency is a bigger priority than adhering to the supreme law of the land.

It's also alluded in neoconservative circles all about the New York Times liberal bent, but yet the Times sat on this story for over a year, and as Mr. Roberts noted, did not devote any coverage to a challenging speech from a presidential candidate with the most votes in the 2000 election (and also the candidate, if a full recount would have been conducted, that would have tallied the most votes in Florida too).

16 January 2006

Love and justice, not aggression and exploitation, hold the real hope for a peaceful and prosperous future

Professor Juan Cole applies Martin Luther King's Beyond Vietnam speech to the current quagmire in Iraq.
Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered…

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just…

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. [sustained applause]

Of course, the national news media shun the words of Martin Luther King in the period of 1965 to 1968, those years preceding his tragic assassination.

15 January 2006

I ran out and saw planes were dropping bombs, I saw my home being hit

A missle attack directed at an Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan reportedly results in death for innocent women and children, and generates outrage in that nation, threatening U.S. relations with Pakistan.
'This is a big lie... Only our family members died in the attack,' said Shah Zaman, a jeweller who lost two sons and a daughter in the attack. 'They dropped bombs from planes and we were in no position to stop them... or to tell them we are innocent. I don't know [al-Zawahiri]. He was not at my home. No foreigner was at my home when the planes came and dropped bombs.' Haroon Rashid, a member of parliament who lives in a village near Damadola, told The Observer that he had seen a drone surveying the area hours before the attack.

'A drone has been flying over the area for the last three, four days, and I had a feeling that something nasty was going to happen,' he said in a phone interview. 'There was no foreigner there - we never saw a single foreigner here. They were all local people, jewellers and shop-keepers, who used to commute between Bajaur and their village. We knew them.'

The dead were reported to include four children, aged between five and ten, and at least two women. According to Islamic tradition, they were buried almost immediately. One Pakistani official, speaking anonymously, told The Observer that hours before the strike some unidentified guests had arrived at one home and that some bodies had been removed quickly after the attack. This was denied by villagers.

Imagine if the U.S. authorities, in pursuit of terrorists or other wanted heinous criminals launched an airstrike such as this on American soil. And that innocent women and children were slaughtered, as a result of an errant decision based on dubious data. What kind of intense outcry would erupt? Now picture a scenario where it was not carried out by the U.S., but by a foreign nation granted permission to carry out such an operation. Do you believe there would be protests and possibly riots over such a brazen act?

Why is it acceptable that the sanctity of human life is disregarded for natives of other nations, and such a destructive action defended by our political leaders?

However, a Republican senator, John McCain, defended the action on Sunday. "We have to go where these people are, and we have to take them out," he said in an interview on CBS television. While expressing sympathy with the anger in Pakistan, he added: "I can't tell you that we wouldn't do the same thing again."

Ooops, we made a mistake, and we'll kill many more innocent people too, fighting in a country where we are not at war. Or we are at war with every nation, and can do whatever we please, despite the collateral damage inflicted in an open ended, Orwellian "war on terror".

13 January 2006

Who you call, when you call and for how long — it's all for sale

AMERICAblog: All you need is the cell phone number you wish to track and a valid credit card.
I reported the other day that your cell phone records are on sale online for anyone to buy, without your permission. Well, this morning AMERICAblog bought former presidential candidate, and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO (SACEUR), General Wesley Clark's cell phone records for one hundred calls made over three days in November 2005, no questions asked. (Clark's cell phone provider is Omnipoint Communications, which seems to be related to T-Mobile.)

All we needed was General Clark's cell phone number and our credit card, and 24 hours later we had one hundred calls the general made on his cell phone in November. The calls included a number of calls to Arkansas, to foreign countries, and at least one call to a prominent reporter at the Washington Post. To ensure that we actually had General Clark's correct cell phone number, we called the number this morning and the voice mail recording that answered said:

"Hi, this is Wes Clark, leave a message [unintelligible]."

News that cell phone records could be easily obtained is not a new revealation, but now with the disclosure that such a prominent citizen could also be affected has caused quite a mainstream media stir. Of course, the mainstream media is still in a slumber, not asking the appropriate questions and accepting at face value ludicrous explanations like someone can get records by contacting a cell phone company and pretending to be somebody else. Not that that can't and doesn't happen, but the mechanics of such a operation would not allow these services to offer fullscale availability of any cell phone customer's call data.

A Fox News report on Israeli spying in and on the U.S. lends claim that the culprit could be an Israel telecom.

Most directory assistance calls, and virtually all call records and billing in the U.S. are done for the phone companies by Amdocs Ltd., an Israeli-based private telecommunications company.

Amdocs has contracts with the 25 biggest phone companies in America, and more worldwide. The White House and other secure government phone lines are protected, but it is virtually impossible to make a call on normal phones without generating an Amdocs record of it.

In recent years, the FBI and other government agencies have investigated Amdocs more than once. The firm has repeatedly and adamantly denied any security breaches or wrongdoing. But sources tell Fox News that in 1999, the super secret national security agency, headquartered in northern Maryland, issued what's called a Top Secret sensitive compartmentalized information report, TS/SCI, warning that records of calls in the United States were getting into foreign hands – in Israel, in particular.

10 January 2006

Bringing Freedom to Iraq

US troops blast their way with bullets into the bedroom of an Iraqi journalist, cover his face with a hood, and take him away for questioning.
A prize-winning Iraqi journalist, working for the Guardian, was investigating claims that the US and Britain misused and misappropriated tens of millions of dollars belonging to Iraq. (I assume that's on top of the $9 billion in Iraqi money an audit last year said we "lost.")

A few days ago, the director of his film informed US authorities about what he had learned, and asked for an interview.

Yesterday, American troops stormed into his home, firing into the room where he, his wife, and children were sleeping, and took videotape that he shot for the film.

If that isn't an attempt to intimidate a journalist asking dangerous questions, I can't imagine what it is. But American journalists ought to demand some answers.

I reckon Mr. Fadhil's investigation uncovered some truths that "American authorities" were not interested in being exposed.

Just another consequence of an illegal, immoral invasion of a country that had nothing to do with defending America…

In addition to having short memories, we're suckers for appearances

J.D. Hayworth's relationship with sleazy lobbyist Jack Abramoff won't be more than a blip on the radar, according to E.J. Montini, who reminisces about another Arizona politician once tainted by ties to a corrupt lobbyist.
Do you remember 15 years ago, when Sen. McCain announced that he was handing over to the U.S. Treasury $112,000 in contributions that he had received from Charles H Keating Jr. and his associates? Of course you don't.

McCain has reinvented himself since then. He may be known as Mr. Campaign Finance Reform these days, but back in the late 1980s and early '90s he was known as a member of the "Keating Five," five senators who were suspected of improperly intervening with federal regulators looking into Keating's Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. The failure of Keating-controlled businesses wound up costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

7 January 2006

We're being robbed of our freedom of choice because we're not told when the actual movie will begin

By not being provided movie listings that print the start time for the main feature?
Frustrated with lengthy advertisements and previews that delay movies and chew up viewing time, a state lawmaker wants theaters to be honest about when a movie actually starts.

State Rep. Andrew Fleischmann is proposing legislation to force movie listings to print the time the previews start, and when the movies start.

Even if it is an annoying practice that dissuades theater attendance, this probably isn't the best use of legislator resources. Anyway, declining ticket sales, in my estimation, are more due to the lackluster quality of recent releases. And the forecast for 2006 isn't any rosier.

Of course, some argue that the age of the blockbuster is over, given the mushrooming of on-demand content.

6 January 2006

It is dictatorship

Jonathan Schell pens a scathing assessment of the Bush presidency and his proclivity for declaring himself unbounded by any law of the land, his abuses of presidential power are the most extensive in American history. From support of torture to the wholesale secret indefinite incarceration of American citizens.
There is a name for a system of government that wages aggressive war, deceives its citizens, violates their rights, abuses power and breaks the law, rejects judicial and legislative checks on itself, claims power without limit, tortures prisoners and acts in secret.

The Administration of George W. Bush is not a dictatorship, but it does manifest the characteristics of one in embryonic form. Until recently, these were developing and growing in the twilight world of secrecy. Even within the executive branch itself, Bush seemed to govern outside the normally constituted channels of the Cabinet and to rely on what Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff has called a "cabal." Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill reported the same thing. Cabinet meetings were for show. Real decisions were made elsewhere, out of sight. Another White House official, John DiIulio, has commented that there was "a complete lack of a policy apparatus" in the White House. "What you've got is everything, and I mean everything, being run by the political arm." As in many Communist states, a highly centralized party, in this case the Republican Party, was beginning to forge a parallel apparatus at the heart of government, a semi-hidden state-within-a-state, by which the real decisions were made.

With Bush's defense of his wiretapping, the hidden state has stepped into the open. The deeper challenge Bush has thrown down, therefore, is whether the country wants to embrace the new form of government he is creating by executive fiat or to continue with the old constitutional form. He is now in effect saying, "Yes, I am above the law--I am the law, which is nothing more than what I and my hired lawyers say it is--and if you don't like it, I dare you to do something about it."

Members of Congress have no choice but to accept the challenge. They did so once before, when Richard Nixon, who said, "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal," posed a similar threat to the Constitution. The only possible answer is to inform Bush forthwith that if he continues in his defiance, he will be impeached.

I think it should be $10 an hour

The minimum wage in Arizona, that is, and according to a pool of registered voters, Arizonans back a minimum-wage hike, agree to a state wide smoking ban. and are opposed to banning gay marriage
The Republic Poll showed that only 38 percent of the state's registered voters would vote to amend the state Constitution to ban gay marriages and to prohibit local governments from recognizing any legal status or allowing benefits for unmarried partners. But a proposed hike of the state minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $5.95 is enjoying overwhelming support so far. Voters favor the hike, which would jump to $6.75 per hour in 2008, by a 76 percent to 19 percent margin. The poll of 602 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Millions now share the knowledge that laws were intentionally passed to prevent the manual verification of electronic vote tabulation.

Ernie Hancock, Charles Goyette show producer, and Arizona Secretary of State candidate sounds off on the fraud in voting.
Millions now share the knowledge that laws were intentionally passed to prevent the manual verification of electronic vote tabulation.

The simple attempt to quickly hand-count a few hundred easily read and randomly selected ballots and comparing them to the computer vote totals has generated forceful opposition that exposes a very serious flaw: that votes counted by computer give the results they were programmed to produce.

And we have no way to verify the source code of the programming. Yet across the country, government representatives still advocate for the elimination of paper records so "messy recounts" can be replaced with a second push of a button.

4 January 2006

I hope for the year of Jubilee

Richard Lang in The Prophets Versus Empire
Some will say that the Jubilee is irrelevant today, that it was an economic strategy for a small, relational agrarian culture, nothing like today's complex global capitalist culture. Indeed, what does the Jubilee have to do with us?

The notion of Jubilee emerged from a commitment to live an anti-imperial life. The Jubilee was an economy set free from imperial ambition. Today, we live inside an Empire. We have chosen the path of Pharaoh: a path of domination rather than justice. Under the guise of priestly (Christian) rhetoric, the current administration has disrespected the Constitution, and made a mockery of our political process that balances power between branches of government. It has abandoned the rule of international law, disregarded human and civil rights, and unleashed economic chaos on the poor and on the land. We are dealing with outlaws who are drunk on the blood of imperial power. Whether it be Afghanistan or Iraq, Venezuela or Colombia, the Philippines or Haiti, wherever brown-skinned people live, the dogs of war are unleashed. Whenever people claim their own livestock, land, or even their bodies, this administration steps in to suppress any that dare to rise as an alternative to Empire.

Meanwhile, the causes of Christ — love of enemy, forgiveness of sin, practice of generosity, openness to the stranger, resistance to Empire, liberation of the poor — are today being subverted by a hardening of heart. To put it bluntly, Christ is once again being crucified through the merger of privileged imperial wealth and the religious priests who benefit from Empire's plunder. We are, in other words, living in similar times to those betrayed by Joseph. Pharaoh wants our livestock, land, and labor.

As a Christian, all property is viewed as belonging to God, and that we are stewards who give all for Christ, including land and possessions, as well as our hearts.

The pastor at my church frequently admonishes listeners of his lessons to review their calendar and checkbook, as a barometer on whether or not they are living for Christ or other earthly masters. So sad that many "Christians" wish to cherry pick scripture, and pluck out things that arn't even in their environmental sphere to get indignant over, like homosexuality, while totally disregarding as irrelevant items that should weigh greater.

3 January 2006

New Year, New Look and Feel

As is immediately noticeable, I performed some cosmetic alterations to the AZplace look and feel. Not that the old scheme was without merit, just after a duration, familiarity does breed contempt. And I began to dread looking at the site, at least the front index page, as it did seem to be extraordinarily busy, and the reverse colored headers circa 2002. Still not sure about my font selection here, though it is a distinctive one.

AZplace originally started as an outlet for my own software creation, a wiki/blog hybrid. The site was not frequented heavily — until the Iraq invasion started, then a little page I started on how to read Al-Jazeera in English (I lost all the contents) generated an avalanche of reads and writes, spawning off on to multiple pages. The look and feel changed often, from first a light background, then a dark background. Here is a snapshot of the wiki in action.

In June 2003, I made the switch to the Nucleus CMS format, though I added all sorts of hooks and extra plugin code for additional features desired. My wiki software is still running, albeit as a ghost application now at ATITD Depot, hosted at this very own domain. So many projects, so little time… …eventually, the goal is to polish the product up and use it as a Arizona encyclopedia here. Anyway, here is a look at how the site looked for a long time, minus the recent font change and a few other tidings.

Which brings us to 2006 and no doubt more historical information that anyone cares to consider.

2 January 2006

The new owners of KXXT, religious broadcasters Communicom, are dumping liberal talk from KXXT by the end of January

As speculated here previously, after the sell of KXXT 1010 AM, it was just a matter of time before the new owners flipped the format, dumping Air America Radio.

Morning host Charles Goyette, in an email, confirms what the M&M Show reported on air this weekend.

Religious broadcasters out of Denver bought it in a three station acquisition from our owner, James Crystal Inc. Expected closing date of Feb. 1. It's hard to believe that Phoenix needs another religious station, but the new owners will have two here.

It's really is puzzling from a business and revenue standpoint. (It seems like a lot of bother just to get me off the air!) This is the nation's fifth largest city, 15th market, with dynamic growth. There are 60-some radio signals in the airwaves here, most of which aren't making any money. Yet we turned the corner to profitability in less than a year, an amazing feat for a start-up. Despite having done virtually no outside advertising or promotion, Air America Phoenix is already the third talk station in town having left behind a half-dozen others that have been long established in the market. My show is virtually sold out all the time.

Bob Christy, who made this happen, is exploring other possibilities for the operation in the market, but time is running short. Who knows?

While I found some of the national AAR hosts unlistenable (specifically Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy), it was most refreshing to have an alternative lineup of talk shows, not inebriated with the neoconservative Kool-Aid. On its own, the Charles Goyette program is performing a great service in countering the know nothing myopia that pervades much of the political discourse, especially in regard to the new militarism that threatens our republic.

The local liberal listening audience, who finally, at last, were able to receive broadcasts free from neoconservative taint, are obviously upset over this development. But signing petitions isn't going to do any good — though it's claimed such an action plan including phone calls and letters was successful in enabling a Baton Rouge station to switch to AAR. And AAR has been a smashing financial success in some locales.

Air America Radio is still available via XM (satellite radio) and you can stream it through your computer speakers.

Finally, radio insiders pontificate on a possible new frequency home for AAR.