Detours AheadThe dream of burying Interstate 10 between Congress and 22nd streets died last week, just because it was going to cost upwards of $375 million and take about nine years. We're such impatient cheapskates in this town!
In other transportation headlines: City officials are planning on diverting funds from downtown's Aviation Parkway extension so they can afford the rapidly rising cost of rebuilding the Fourth Avenue underpass, which has been delayed for years because--and we're not making this up--it's proven damn near impossible to figure out a new home for the Greyhound bus station.
But that's only if they decide that's what they are going to do with the new Fourth Avenue underpass, which might not happen, because developer Jim Campbell wants to put in a new retail/residential complex at the bus station's old home at the convoluted Congress/Broadway/Fourth Avenue/Toole Avenue intersection.
Here's hoping that Rio Nuevo extension goes through, because we're looking forward to decades of these stories.
We Can Quit Anytime We WantHow about that State of the Union? Did you catch the part about animal-human hybrids? Or how we're all hooked on oil? And how we're going to get clean by 2025, long after George Bush isn't president anymore?
Does that mean the federal government is going to do something about, say, requiring more fuel-efficient cars? Not according to an Associated Press story that appeared later in the week, in which "Bush dismissed the idea of increasing fuel-efficiency standards for cars, trucks and SUVs as a way of curbing dependence on foreign oil."
Instead, he wants cars to run on corn, grass and magic beans.
"My plan is to diversify away from oil," Bush told the AP. "You're asking questions about how you deal with cars running on gasoline made from oil; I'm telling you, let's get some cars running on fuel other than oil." Because we certainly couldn't do both.
In the same AP story, Bush said he was cool with the record-breaking profits oil companies were pulling in after cranking up prices at the pump last year.
"I think that basically the price is determined by the marketplace, and that's the way it should be," Bush said.
Well, that makes us feel much better about that $3 a gallon we were paying last year.
Cartoon ViolenceThere are so many things that can get people to riot: injustice, repression, Danish cartoons. And across the Middle East, it's Danish cartoons that dared to satirize the Prophet Muhammad that have the masses all riled up and setting fire to embassies. To which we can only ask: WTF is wrong with people?
The U.S. State Department has fallen firmly on the side of freedom of expression, giving full support to the European papers that are publishing the cartoons. Just kidding! Actually, the State Department is coming down on the side of the rioting Muslims, according to an AP report, which quoted State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper as saying: "These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims. We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression, but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable."
Thanks for clearing that up!
Weeded OutFrom the Busted! beat: U.S. Customs officials in Sasabe busted an 18-year-old Queen Creek resident who was attempting to smuggle 34 pounds of marijuana inside cans of jalapeños and tomatoes last week. During a search of a 1985 GMC truck, officers determined the cans of vegetables felt kinda funny, so they opened one up and found bags of weed, according to Brian Levin, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In other War on Drugs news: CBP inspectors in Nogales seized 2,400 pounds of pot last week in two separate trailer rigs that were carrying bricks and produce. Officials estimate the bulk value of the dope to be more than $1 million.
In mostly unrelated news: The Range visited Nogales last Friday to collect our winnings on the Steelers/Broncos playoff game at the Caliente sports book, which is notable mostly for the use of moth balls to deodorize the men's urinal. The bad news: We lost our Super Bowl proposition. The good news: We don't have to go back to Nogales to collect.
California CollapseThose poor Arizona Wildcats! The men's basketball team continued a downward spiral over the weekend, falling 77-70 to USC and then 84-73 to UCLA. The Cats are now 13-9 and in serious danger of breaking an 18-season streak of 20 wins.
Following the road trip, Coach Lute Olson told reporters: "It will be good to be back home again."