It's Time That Arizonans Start Thinking Locally

The "Poverty and Pride" article (Jan. 29) by Tim Hull is outstanding. It represents an example of journalism that has become all too rare in this time of budget and personnel cuts. Thank you for sharing it with Tucson Weekly readers.

I recently checked out Angela Donelson and Adrian Esparza's Colonias in Arizona and New Mexico: Border Poverty and Community Development Solutions, but I did not give it the time and attention it deserves. I'll get back to it.

It has long been a mystery to me why E.F. Schumacher and Mahatma Gandhi's ideas (on local production and sustainability) never took more widespread root. Perhaps as the global meltdown plays out, they will be rediscovered, and approaches like those of farmer Jamie De Zubeldia will be adopted.

Hal Mansfield

One Example of How Colonias Are Superior to Condos

It just might be that life in the colonias, as described by Tim Hull, is more sustainable than life in some Green Valley condos or homeowner associations. Fixed-income seniors can be hit with large special assessments that are totally uncapped. If they are not paid, they can lead quickly to foreclosure.

Those who live in colonias probably have homestead exemption rights. These seniors do not.

Georgia Hotton

Arizona Deserves Better Than the Football Cardinals

It's nice to see Tom Danehy writing about sports again. I particularly agreed with his assessment of the Phoenix, er, Arizona Cardinals (Jan. 29).

It's unfortunate that this year's trip to the Super Bowl will validate this sorry franchise for the next few years, because as long as they're in this state, they prevent a class organization from being here.

Now that the Super Bowl is over, they will return to being what they have always been: the sewer rats of the National Football League.

Pete Johnson

There Seems to Be a Disagreement Over Portuguese Pronunciation

I read your article "Blessing of the Beat" (Music, Feb. 5), and I want to say thank you for making space in your newspaper for such a wonderful group as Batucaxé.

I was really impressed with the accurate spelling of the Portuguese words, something that we Brazilians are not used to when reading U.S. newspapers. I've seen São Paulo spelled San Paulo in a major newspaper, and San Pablo in another, which is even worse, because it reinforces the wrong idea that Brazil is a Spanish-speaking country like the rest of Latin America. So, thank you for taking the time to add those accent marks!

Talking about accent marks, I'd like to point out that the word Batucaxé, although spelled correctly, is phonetically misrepresented. The acute accent above the letter "e" indicates that it is an open vowel, and that the stress falls on the last syllable. Therefore, it would be better represented by (bah-too-kah-SHEH), not (bah-TOO-kah-shay). The last syllable sounds like the English word "shed" when you drop the final "d."

Oliver Simões

Welcome to Dickish Letter Corner With Bennett Kalafut

It's cute, for lack of a better word, that someone like Catherine O'Sullivan, who seemingly received only half of a liberal education, defends the real thing with such passion (Feb. 5).

What do I mean by "half"? The object of liberal education is to develop a critical thinker. Math and sciences are traditional components of the liberal arts, not only to convey knowledge about the natural world, but also to foster an analytic habit of mind.

If feeling awe at the sight of a Renaissance painting or getting weepy at the sight of the Temple of Athena at Paestum adds something of value to O'Sullivan's life, good for her. Those are private goods. More important for the rest of us is that she knows when to turn "weepy" mode off, quit feeling her way through life and think things through like a grown person.

For example, to understand the difference between 40 percent and 16 percent and be able to determine which of these two values is the proportion of a university's budget cut by a legislature would be of tremendous value. If O'Sullivan gets the answer correct, it means that nonsense doesn't end up in the Weekly, misinforming voters of the state of affairs.

Let's do this one as a "worked example": The state of Arizona ordinarily provides 40 percent of the University of Arizona budget. The Legislature proposes to cut 40 percent of this contribution; 0.4 times 0.4 equals 0.16. The university will experience a 16 percent budget cut, not a 40 percent budget cut.

Once we get beyond this remedial stuff, we can start having intelligent discussions about the Michigan model for university funding and the fairness of taxing some to provide others with deep-discount self-edification and the education they slacked through in high school. We can even talk of constructive solutions to the UA's problem.

It's perhaps too late for a nonanalytic Catherine O'Sullivan to receive a transformative education, but we can at least establish in the English Department an O'Sullivan Chair for Convenient Fictions in her honor. I'll contribute $19.84 myself!

Bennett Kalafut

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