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Nostalgia: How sweet it was

Nostalgia: How sweet it was



While on Facebook the other day, I received a notification from my friend Mike. His profile picture appeared to the left of his witty comment and I clicked on the thumbnail to get a closer look.

That had been his picture for awhile now, and I could tell it was a childhood portrait. When I clicked to see the full-sized image, a brief thought of how cute he was crossed my mind, but I was quickly overtaken by a deep sadness.

I looked into the child in the photograph’s eyes and compared them to Mike’s eyes now. I started crying.

Mike is not the type of person to make me cry.

I’ve felt this way looking at my own childhood photo albums but I wondered why a friend’s baby picture, especially one as insignificant as an old coworker’s, could also make me sad.

I dug deeper. Why does childhood nostalgia make us sad?

When you’re a kid, you’re not intentionally painting memories to make yourself sad later in life, and that’s the joy of being a child: being able to take every sweet, careless moment for granted.

Well, those fond memories get bundled up and shoved into a treasure chest in your mind.

They later come out to strike you with a bittersweet, wistful sadness.

I asked some Tucson friends what sort of scents, objects, sounds or memories brought them back. Some of their replies included:

  • Joop Cologne
  • Maltese puppies
  • The hour before the sun sets in October
  • The smell of citrus blossoms
  • Cedar wood
  • A-Ha’s “Take on Me”
  • The sound of snow crunching
  • Legos
  • Root beer floats
  • Reading books during the early hours before the sun rises
  • Strawberry Shortcake dolls
  • Scented pencils
  • Grandma’s makeup
  • The elementary school library
  • Darkroom fixer
  • Dove soap
  • Freshly-mowed grass
  • Little League
  • Doug
  • Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon
  • Smoking pipes
  • Antibacterial soap
  • John Denver’s “Rhymes and Reasons”
  • Orange and purple Halloween lights
  • A skateboard’s wheels rolling over cracks in the sidewalk
  • The New York City subway

Anything can take you back, particularly picturesque objects like fireflies or a sunset.

For me, it’s my mom’s sundresses and the smell of fresh dill.

The duo reminds me of my mom hanging out in the backyard with us, gardening, or calling us inside to try on the matching dresses she sewed us.

I find myself yearning for a past that feels comfortable and normal.

For many of us, being a kid was lonely, even frightening. Why would those with tough childhoods want to go back?

You’ve heard it before: “Things were better back then.”

I always figured people referenced the past as “the good old days” because it had less technology and simpler pleasures. Or, they were blurring out the hardship and remembering the good stuff, as we all do.

In my research, I found many online forums about the topic. A number of people admitted to even having addictions to nostalgia.

Nostalgia is, after all, a concentration of all the good memories we’ve collected. That sounds like a drug to me.

But that is between you and your therapist.

Apparently, if these folks, myself included, were around during the 17th through 19th centuries and fell into a stupor of memories, we’d be diagnosed with a psychopathological disorder.

The Swiss physician Johannes Hofer created the word “nostalgia” in 1688 by combining the Greek word “nostos,” meaning “homecoming,” with “algo,” meaning pain.

It seemed to be most common in soldiers missing their home and children missing their mothers.

In “The Future of Nostalgia” by Svetlana Boym, the first people stricken with the disease were those displaced during the 17th century like “freedom-loving students from the Republic of Berne studying in Basel, domestic help working in France and Germany and Swiss soldiers fighting abroad.”

Boym described nostalgia as a disease of an afflicted imagination.

The melodrama of deeming nostalgia an illness sounds crazy itself, and should be filed away with other ridiculous ailments of the past like “women’s hysteria.”

According to “Dying of the Past,” Michael S. Roth’s study on nostalgia in the 19th century, nostalgia as an illness was considered so serious that some soldiers even faked it.

But there is a helpful lesson in this research.

For me, nostalgia is my biggest kryptonite. As soon as I sense the feeling coming, it cripples me into a somber daydream.

While my sister will patiently listen to me dwell on the past and even interject with her own memories, we eventually cry it out, snap out of it and continue to live our lives.

Just as baby Mike grew up and was replaced by 40-something Croc-wearing Mike, many moments we hold onto from the past will change, age or decay.

And that’s life.

It’s OK to be afraid to face something from the past. It’s OK to miss something from the past.

Luckily, this is the 21st century and we won’t be electrocuted, tortured, shamed or covered in leeches for it.

But too much of it won’t get you anywhere. Living in the past is easy. Facing the unknown is not.

Childhood nostalgia is my fear of the unknown, my apprehension to take steps into my unwritten future, my search for comfort.

After all, we find comfort in the familiar.

FROM THE EDDIE-TOR: Navigating Thanksgiving family politics

FROM THE EDDIE-TOR: Navigating Thanksgiving family politics


Food is definitely the best part of Thanksgiving. Second best are the utterly insane political points of view that start spewing after the third course of food and fifth bottle of beer.

Every typical family has a “racist uncle.” Try growing up with seven uncles of varying political outlooks, an aunt who is a high-level Republican political consultant and extended family with fingers in local and state government. Let’s not even touch my parents.

Unless my brothers, cousins and I want to get sucked into a conversation about Janet Reno possibly overstepping her authority by ordering the raid on Elian Gonzales’ home during Easter of 2000, we need a strategy.

My strategy is time tested and encompasses the full political spectrum. Because I halfway enjoy Mitch Albom and his sappy, moralistic short stories, I call it “Six People You Avoid in Food-Heaven.”


The alt-right lite

The Samuel Addams lager is a dead giveaway, but there’s more. Listen for key names and phrases: Rush, :, DeSouza, Hillary for Prison and this season’s favorite, “Did you see Breitbart?”

These conversations are usually funny in a pathetic, ironic way. They won’t let you get a word in, so just listen. It’s the best way to get to know the other side.


“They’re all the same”

They didn’t say they were voting for Trump, and probably said they weren’t a year ago. But life gets busy and politics is far off and, damn it, those politicians are all the same!

They’ll be the first to complain that Trump no longer hosts “Celebrity Apprentice.” An “I told you so” is warranted.


The true believer

These relatives hail from both sides of the aisle.

On the left, they were “Bernie or Bust” and can’t imagine attending that Country Thunder “gathering of the young sons and daughters of the Confederacy.”

On the right, Fox News is news (except for that rude traitor Megyn Kelly), John Wayne is their moral compass and everything wrong with society is caused by government intervention and/or PC culture.

It can be fun to talk with them, but the self-sanctimony on the left and insistent whining on the right get boring after one beer. Move the conversation towards sports (not Kaepernick!) and you’ll manage.


The operative

Perhaps this is unique to my family, but you better bring your A game if you find yourself across the table from an actual political strategist. This relative is the most fun to talk to, until he/she finds your intellectual weakness. Mine is economics.

The conversation starts out fun and seems like normal chitchat, but these relatives always steer to politics in general and your weak spot in particular.

There’s no winning here. Sports and the upcoming family wedding are not worthy distractions. Cut your losses and help Nana with the dishes.


The disillusioned lefty

My family always has one or two. They’re apoplectic about the state of the Democratic Party, public education and public sector unions with the exception of police and firefighters.

This happens to be the group I fall into this holiday season. Younger family members should approach only after we open the good tequila.


The honest-to-goodness apolitical one

It’s a trap. These relatives may not have any interest in politics but they definitely will ask why you can’t hold down a serious relationship and what you plan on doing after writing for the school newspaper.

My advice: give Nana a hug. Tell her you’ll find the right one with long legs and red hair soon, and then show her this column. She’ll love you for it.

Electoral College needs a fix

Electoral College needs a fix


It troubles me that we don’t actually vote for president of the United States. Instead we vote for “electors,” who then vote for presidential candidates on behalf of the people from their respective states.

This sequence known as the Electoral College was put in place by our Founding Fathers and dates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention. They instituted the system to ensure that voters wouldn’t elect criminals, or anybody unfit for presidential duties.

The Founding Fathers decided against popular vote because they believed the people didn’t have sufficient resources or information on candidates from other states.

It’s safe to say most modern Americans have sufficient information on out-of-state candidates.

The Electoral College questions the voice and intelligence of the people, deeming them unfit to decide who should be their president. It violates democratic principles.

Regardless of how you feel about the result of the 2016 election, the Electoral College needs to be amended or eliminated.

Hillary Clinton found herself on the wrong end of the popular and electoral vote split.

She became the fifth candidate to win the majority of the popular vote yet lose to the Electoral College, thus awarding the presidential election to Donald Trump. At press time, she led by a million votes.

The popular vote count previously lost to the electoral vote count in 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000 elections.

In a country where “majority rules,” how can the majority vote for their candidate and have their voices unheard due to an outdated system? The Electoral College really should have been ditched after the 18th century.

I have heard people argue that the Electoral College has worked for over two centuries, so why change it? The key word is “worked.” We all know even a dead clock is right twice a day.

We must continuously evolve to maintain democracy.

Congress constantly amends the Constitution and comes up with compromises. Why? Because what worked two centuries ago isn’t necessarily what will work or is working in the 21st century.

Situations change, people change and our traditional ways of thinking change to ensure an ever evolving and stronger country.

I could support two possible solutions:

Solution 1: Amend the Electoral College to make every state equal in terms of electoral votes. If there is an ensuing tie, settle it through the majority vote count. Why give bigger or swing states a distinct advantage in the presidential race?

Solution 2: Eliminate the Electoral College entirely in favor of the popular vote. Win or lose, everyone in America has a voice. This would eliminate the controversy of the split between electoral and popular vote counts.

Let Americans decide who they want to be their leader. Give us a decisive voice in picking our leader and stop depriving us of our right to democracy.

Francisco Zapata studies journalism at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona. He enjoys writing about sports, politics and entertainment.

Revise transfer class

Revise transfer class

Editor’s note: This guest column was written by a Pima Community College student who requested a pseudonym. The student is currently enrolled in STU 210.


 The Transfer Strategies class at Pima Community College starts out helpful, but after a few weeks becomes redundant and pointless.

Transfer Strategies, better known as STU 210, seems like a great way to integrate yourself from Pima to the University of Arizona, especially since the class offers priority registration at UA for two semesters after you take the class.

The class emphasizes the idea that you’ll be at a great disadvantage if you don’t take it, because you won’t have the knowledge of UA that other students enjoy.

At first I was enamored with the class. I received a packet with a map and a booklet that lists programs offered by the university.

Our first UA visit included an information fair in the South Ballroom of the Student Union building. I could talk to advisors from the different departments of study and gather contact information for the future.

I’ve since decided the class could cover everything in a few sessions. It seems too drawn out, like they need reasons to justify it being a 16-week course. It would be better as an 8-week course.

If it has to be a 16-week course, it should include the other two state universities.

Not all Pima students want to transfer to UA. Some want to go to Northern Arizona University or Arizona State University. STU 210 puts students at a disadvantage with other universities because the class doesn’t cover transfer processes for them.

Instructors could still cover financial aid, outline the different programs offered at UA, provide contact information for advisors and give tours of UA in an 8-week course.

So far this semester, we’ve had three tours and one scavenger hunt. That’s excessive.

The scavenger hunt I understand, because we had to find places like the financial aid and admissions offices. However, the rest of the tours have been generalized and simply not useful.

How am I supposed to find my classes if all I know is the way around the Hall of Champions?

It also costs $2 an hour to park at a UA garage. That’s $56 or more a semester for class, because the class is two hours long and you usually must arrive an hour early to find a parking spot.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have to pay for parking, but it would be nicer if there was a way we could have guaranteed parking and a flat rate parking pass for the semester.

Then again, parking passes at UA aren’t even guaranteed for actual enrolled students, who apply each academic year.

At this point in the semester, it’s become more of a hassle than a benefit to attend class.

Pat Smith does not like sports and does not care about UA basketball.


Increase educational funding

Increase educational funding


 Arizona ranks dead last among states when it comes to educational funding.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities gave Arizona that ranking when it compared state funding for K-12 schools from 2008 to 2014. It found Arizona cut its state funding per student by 23.3 percent.

Most jobs now require more than a high school diploma. If K-12 funding keeps getting pushed aside, our students won’t even be ready for an entry-level job.

Education spending averaged $10,700 per student in 2013. The gap between the highest and lowest state was more than $12,000, with New York at $19,818 and Utah at $6,555. Arizona was just above Utah, spending $7,208 per student.

Past cuts have damaged art programs. Teachers had to turn to parent fundraising, grants, donations and voter-approved bonds to keep programs like music going.

Five local school districts sought voter-approved bonds in the Nov. 8 election. Amphitheater Unified School District requested $58 million for general maintenance such as replacing or restoring structural components of school buildings.

However, cuts have gotten so bad that even voter-approved bonds aren’t enough.

The budget Gov. Doug Ducey released in January will modify education funding. State voters approved Proposition 123 in May to provide other changes.

Teachers appreciate the emphasis Prop. 123 put on educational funding, but opponents worry the new structure won’t benefit schools as much as promised.

Changes reset the base per student to $3,600 for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years. Just last year, the base was almost $8,000.

Building Renewal Grants will increase by $15 million to $31 million, and the state will provide $200,000 to the State Board of Education for academic standard setting to assist with the review of standards.

In the 2017 fiscal year, the budget will include a net addition of $46.5 million for more student growth, a continuation of the Building Renewal Grants, a Public School Credit Enhancement Program and $46.9 million in New Initiatives programs.

The changes may put more emphasis on funding but educators still worry.

For instance, the New Initiative programs reinforce academic programs already in place rather than helping struggling art programs.

It will also take time to build funding back to what it used to be. Schools need money now rather than later.

The new budget needs to be thrown out. Ducey made it look like he fixed educational funding, but he hasn’t. He merely disguised new funding cuts by saying he “restructured it.”

We should just increase the amount of money allotted per student.

Education should not be an afterthought. Arizona’s future is being diminished for the sake of the all-mighty dollar.

 Brittney Young grew up in California and moved to Arizona to attend college.

Women deserve respect

Women deserve respect


Disrespect toward women is becoming “normal.” I’ve encountered a lot of men who disrespect women. Even though men will claim that not all of them are the same, most of them are.

A while ago I was on my way to a party with some male friends when they started cat-calling every young woman they saw in a skirt or dress. I asked why and without hesitation they said, “They’re hot.”

During the conversation, they said, “Respect is earned, so if you dress like a slut you will be treated like one.”

There is nothing OK with cat-calling. It’s demeaning and it won’t get you anywhere. Cat-calling or grabbing a woman repeatedly after she has requested that you stop is not right.

Women deserve respect. Just because they are wearing a dress doesn’t mean they should be looked down upon.

Why should women be symbolized as a sex object? Women are not there to please men.

It happens everywhere, whether we’re at a store or a bar. If we’re dressed provocatively, someone will most likely come up to us and — trust me — they don’t have good intentions.

Every time I go out with a group of friends, there is always an annoying guy trying to make out and buy drinks. He will later expect us to “pay back” the drink he bought, and not with money.

I’ve seen young women forced to do things they don’t want to do just because of a drink, or because men were drunk and wanted pleasure at the moment.

Women are expected to dress a certain way. When they show a lot of skin or party too much, men see them differently. On the other hand, men can do whatever they want and society doesn’t say anything.

Women deserve respect no matter how they are dressed or act. The type of men who disrespect women are not real men.

My advice to fellow females: Respect yourself enough to not accept disrespect.

My advice to men: Before you do anything stupid or try to disrespect a woman, think about it. You are also disrespecting your own mother.

Arlaeth Ramirez studies journalism at PCC and plans to transfer to the University of Arizona next fall.

Shocking election result means it’s time for soul-searching

Shocking election result means it’s time for soul-searching


 Donald Trump pulled off one of the great political upsets in American history Nov. 8, defeating Hilary Clinton in the race for president.

Trump won the Electoral College with 276 electoral votes. Clinton was winning in the popular vote as of press time.

In a night that will be remembered for its outcome, Trump outlasted Clinton in numerous battleground states from Florida to Ohio. Along the way, he picked up states thought to be Democratic strongholds, like Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The country now finds itself at an existential crossroads. Down one path lies a pragmatic future, which will require a reasonable and realistic Trump. Down the other path there is only unknown, with storm clouds gathering and buzzards circling.

The defeat has left the Democratic establishment reeling. With a Clinton presidency expected to carry on many of the policies of the last eight years, a total re-think of the party’s national strategy will be needed.

However, there may be more pressing matters at hand.

Along with the presidential victory, Republicans picked up five of eight contested Senate seats, assuring that Republicans control all three branches of government.

The dream scenario has come to fruition for conservatives. Coming into the election, there was some speculation that the Senate could be taken under Democratic control. A wave of Republican voters put that fever dream to rest.

That could spell doom for a host of liberal policies once thought untouchable. With a Trump victory and a current open seat on the Supreme Court, sacred cows such as Roe v. Wade, the Civil and Voting Rights acts and marriage equality will be assailed.

Not since Richard Nixon has there been a president-elect so hostile to the ideals of the New Deal and the Great Society.

These concerns are even more pressing than what Trump has warned will be his policies: building a wall with Mexico, “extreme vetting” of Arab and Muslim refugees/immigrants and an eventual trade embargo with China.

As if on cue, the Asian Futures market was down nearly 700 points in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 and the Mexican government was expected to hold emergency meetings to address the most rapid devaluation of the peso ever.

The immediate aftermath of the loss may leave the Democrats stunned, but much soul searching lies ahead. The most obvious conclusion is that the Clinton Dynasty is now done.

What started in 1991 with Bill Clinton’s ascendency to the Democratic nomination has come crashing down in the most surprising of fashions. The party will be wise to cut ties with the duo and let them lick their wounds.

If the Democrats are smart, they will continue to play to their strengths, and resist the temptation to look at this election as a total rejection of their platform. The country may want a businessman at the helm, but it is still socially liberal.

That is, of course, as long as liberals stay put.

With the results becoming more and more apparent as Tuesday night wore on, a real estate run of anxious Americans crashed Canada’s immigration website.

The rush to leave the country is real. Fear, especially among communities Trump has singled out, is warranted. Leaving the country, while it may feel good, only leaves those fighting the good fight that much more outnumbered.

Instead here is what Democrats can do to begin the turnaround:

First, it’s time to embrace the label “liberal.” Oftentimes, Democrats are just this side of ashamed when branded a liberal by the other side. Instead, embrace and own the title by defining why being called a “liberal” is such a great thing.

Liberals fought for the modern 40-hour work week. Liberals fought for women’s rights and child labor laws. Liberals were abolitionists and pro-choice. In short, remind conservatives that the modern world we live in is shaped by liberal ideals.

Second, it’s time to draw clear distinctions on issues. Perhaps the biggest complaint heard from independents is the unwillingness of Democrats to define what they believe in a moral context.

This is a simple fix. On issues such as the Dakota Access Pipeline, Democrats would be wise to use an old Republican tactic: stand firm no matter what. Say what you will about conservatives, at least they pick a cause and stand up for it, no wavering allowed.

Third, and most important, Democrats must explain why multiculturalism is a benefit and not a boon. It is not enough to trot out great stories at the convention. There has to be more outreach. There has to be different faces making the decisions.

For that, the Democrats are equipped but time will tell if they are willing. Running diverse candidates for positions as mundane as school board takes more than guts: it takes bravery.

The Democrats must show their willingness to get behind untraditional minority candidates for positions that aren’t sexy and glamorous. In so doing, you normalize a population that, while represented, is still looked on as the “other.”

In doing so, Democrats can put themselves into a position not just to win minority votes, but to win over the hearts of those who would otherwise not give second thought to minorities plights.

That’s what it comes down to. In order to beat or stifle Trump and his agenda, liberals must convince many of the same folks who voted for Trump that his policies are disastrous.

It’s doable. If the country can survive eight years of Bush, four years of Trump is survivable.

Eddie Celaya is editor-in-chief of the Aztec Press.

Just put right man in charge

Just put right man in charge


As the nation draws closer to election day, it’s nice to see a man who has faced many hardships on the ballot.

Donald Trump used a small loan from his father to start his own business, which is now worth $3.9 billion. His reality TV show raked in 6.4 million viewers on average.

A man of his stature surely represents the best-case scenario of a well educated and highly respected presidential nominee.

In a world of sink-or-swim, the man swam to Australia and back with one hand tied behind his back.

When Trump takes his rightful seat in office, this country will be the best it has ever been. Go ahead and measure any time period. The Jackson era and his battle with the banks? Trump putting up the wall to regulate Mexicans coming into the United States will be more heroic.

The wall he’s going to put up won’t even be expensive. At first, yes, it could cost from $10 to $25 billion. But we’re looking at an investment here, folks. What’s $10 billion to saving lives in America? How much are we worth to our government?

The future won’t even ponder that question after the wall goes up faster than you can say, “Make America great again.”

Money doesn’t talk in America. Important decisions talk. Decisions like keeping out the people who want to kill and rape others because they’re “bad hombres.”

You know who else talks? Celebrities. Give them a hot mic and anything they say turns to gold.

But enough about talking. It’s the “doing” that really matters. We’re do-ers with or without consent.

Do-ers like the 1 percent.

Actually, more like the top 20 percent. They provide 87 percent of the income tax collected in America. So who’s really holding up this country?

The bottom half of taxpayers end up getting money from the government, like welfare to help them out of poverty, but it rarely works.

It’s like communism in China. The concept works on paper but it’s actually an inefficient idea.

This is what we’ve let America become. It can be so much better if we just put the right man in charge.

Trujillo rarely take sides, prefering to look at the pros and cons of each candidate.

Want change? Generate noise

Want change? Generate noise


In the United States, one can receive a million-dollar loan from one’s father, star in a crappy reality show, sexually harass women and then gain credibility for a presidential campaign.

Now that isn’t the typical American experience but, best-case scenario, you can be a real asshole and people will love you for it.

The more knives you strategically place in the back of anyone unwitting enough to turn, the better. If that means tax evasion, DO IT. More power to you.

This is the country of winners or losers, sink or swim, rich or poor. If you don’t like it, get out. America is the country where the top 20 percent get the pie. It’s too tasty to share because the other 80 percent are complainers who wouldn’t adapt and overcome.

We have a capitalistic society. Being a good person doesn’t pay the bills. Andrew Jackson on the 20 does.

Execute the rape, murder and eviction of native peoples and you could be glorified for 200 years. That’s reality.

Money talks in the USA. We love our millionaires more than our bleeding-heart activists and protestors, and no one apologizes for it.

The possibilities are endless. We have more potential and opportunities than anywhere else in the world. We’re bigger, faster and stronger, and we don’t stop.

Security is top priority. Our drones keep a constant lookout, making sure the people stay in line.

The working class holds the country together. If it wasn’t for their back-breaking work, we would be lost. Of course, that doesn’t mean we value them accordingly. That’s the beauty of it: have the largest, most skilled labor force and keep them at each other’s throats for the scraps the upper class leaves behind.

Accept our country for all its glory: the giant mansions on the sides of beautiful mountain ranges, the skyscrapers rising to the clouds, the breast implants, the gold jewelry and fancy cars.

This is what we’ve let America become. If you don’t care, just keep doing your thing. If you love this country enough to want change, speak up. The ones who make the most noise (good or bad) gain the most following.

Williams has 10 years until he’s eligible to run for presidential. Don’t hold your breath.

AZTEC PRESS EDITORIAL Hillary Clinton earns our endorsement

AZTEC PRESS EDITORIAL Hillary Clinton earns our endorsement


In a field that includes a conspiracy theorist, a know-nothing and a sexual predator, the editorial board of the Aztec Press unanimously endorses Hillary Rodham Clinton for the office of U.S. president.

As a public figure on the national scene for the last three decades, Clinton has established a name for herself apart from her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton was twice elected senator in New York and held the highest appointed position by a woman when President Obama appointed her secretary of state in 2008.

She has the resume and the high-level government experience.

Unlike her closest rival, Clinton has composed herself well in the face of scandals (both real and imagined) that have threatened to derail her campaign.

She is the only candidate with the temperament to be president. Though far from perfect, she is the best choice to lead America through these dangerous times.

Clinton may not possess the oratorical skills or likability of her predecessor but she is the only safe choice for the nation’s highest office.

Consider her rivals:

Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein, while principled in her liberal ideology, is little more experienced in government than a layman.

Her inexperience in high-level politics, coupled with her propensity to latch onto far-left, half-thought-out conspiracies, disqualify her from consideration.

Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson is not libertarian and not a student of geography.

Johnson’s position on marijuana may seduce some millennials, but his penchant for foreign policy blunders makes even The Donald look like a worldly scholar.

Then there is the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

In the last year, Donald Trump has gone from reality TV host to the de-facto head of the Republican Party. His ascent has been the most spectacular train wreck in modern American political history.

From his first press conference, where he referred to undocumented Mexican migrants as “rapists,” Trump has had little time for coalition-building with any group not lead by David Duke or Ann Coulter.

He has threatened immigrants, mocked a disabled reporter, disparaged prisoners of war and bragged of being able to maul women.

Trump has mobilized his most “deplorable” followers in ways that his predecessors, Pat Buchanan and George Wallace, would envy.

Instead of quelling the growing mob he created, Trump has doubled down. His most recent assault seems to be on democracy itself.

In the final debate, Trump refused to answer whether he would accept the election results if he lost. His response: “I’ll keep you in suspense.”

The only suspense is whether Trump will dawn a Brown or Black shirt when the inevitable loss comes.

It would be naive to think that electing Clinton is a panacea to all of the nation’s problems.

However, a Trump presidency would threaten not only the fragile and improving U.S. economy but throw a monkey wrench into the even more complex global economy. With Trump, the juice is not worth the squeeze.

Clinton is the only candidate who can effectively navigate the federal bureaucracy while making tough decisions to cut and expand programs when needed.

In addition, she more closely represents the positions of a diverse, vibrant nation.

Times are hard. Yet the country readies itself to show the world its greatest export. Voting. Democracy in action, on a grand scale.

This election, we encourage you to do something great. Keep America great, again. Vote.

This editorial was written on behalf of the Aztec Press editorial board by Editor-in-chief Eddie Celaya.




In 1975, the Campus News newspaper and Pima's athletic department held a logo contest.


Limit marijuana to medical uses

The “medical marijuana” of today is NOT like the marijuana used in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Through artificial selection experiments, strains of marijuana have been developed by the marijuana drug industry that substantially increase the potency of the drug. As such, its use poses serious potential consequences.

This drug is effective in treating some medical conditions: muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, nausea from cancer chemotherapy, poor appetite and weight loss caused by chronic illness such as HIV or nerve pain, seizure disorders (childhood epilepsy) and Crohn’s disease.

Purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors.

Research in mice showed treatment with purified extracts of THC and CBD, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.

The combination of cannabidiol and 9-tetrahydrocannabinol enhances the anti-cancer effects of radiation in an orthotopic murine glioma model.

Scientists are also conducting pre-clinical and clinical trials with marijuana and its extracts to treat numerous diseases and conditions, such as the following:

  • Autoimmune diseases (diseases that weaken the immune system): HIV/AIDS; multiple sclerosis, which causes gradual loss of muscle control
  • Alzheimer’s disease, which causes loss of brain function, affecting memory, thinking and behavior
  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Substance use disorders
  • Mental disorders

The FDA has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.

Marijuana use for medical purpose should be supported by scientific evidence, including clinical trials, and regulated by the FDA; closely monitored by the tending physician and state department of health.

“Medical marijuana” should be available by prescription only (in a pharmacy) issued by a licensed physician.

Congress should amend the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, making marijuana available for medical treatment.

The major consumers of this drug, if legalized for so-called recreational purposes, will be the younger generation, destroying the very fabric/future of our democracy.

This drug should NOT be legalized for recreational purposes.

The PCC community, particularly students, should be aware of the dangers in using this now very potent drug for so-called recreational use.

Francis P. Saitta, Ph.D.

Governing board candidate


Expand self-love to all humanity

Re the Issue 2 opinion page essay on patriotism: Kudos.

One of the highest goals of most religions and philosophies is to extend the natural love of self to ever widening circles: one’s family, one’s own tribe or culture, then to neighbors, other peoples, even to one’s enemies.

Eventually one can take in all of humanity as worthy of love, respect and consideration, and from there go on to love and respect all sentient beings.

This has been the achievement of all great souls since the beginning of humanity, whether one speaks of Jesus, Buddha, various teachers from indigenous peoples, etc.

Now humanity is at a crisis. There are more of us than ever before, with powerful technology to bring massive life or death beyond our ancestor’s wildest dreams.

If we as a species are to survive this crisis, the rare achievement of great souls — to generalize self-love to love of all — must become the everyday achievement of all.

One may ask, “but what about survival?” The fact is, none of us gets off this planet alive and we cannot take anything with us except the love and wisdom we’ve achieved in our lives.

Joni Pinkney

West Campus Learning Center

From the Eddie-tor: Let ideology guide you, not blind you

From the Eddie-tor: Let ideology guide you, not blind you



It’s time folks. Time to vote. Here at the Aztec Press, we’re gearing up for the election (and depending on the result, the end of the world) with a few endorsements and an election-day theme.

I wanted to write something inspiring about what it means to be an American. As of writing, it looks like Hillary Clinton is somewhat comfortably in the lead. However in the waning days of this heroine-fantasy of an election, I need to address my tribe.

For those liberals who have abandoned all sense and are throwing their lot in with the Donald, this isn’t directed at you. You are lost, my children, but you’re shepherd is not I.

I want to address the few dissatisfied, restless liberal constituencies.

Stop. Think.

If you’re of the mind to vote third party in this presidential election, reconsider. Now is not the time to let the ideal of the perfect become the enemy of the realistic good.

Let’s start with the Green Party and Dr. Jill Stein. The good doctor’s main claim to fame (other than not being Ralph Nader) is her spray-painting of construction equipment in North Dakota during the recent Standing Rock protests.

Forget for a second the image of a potential president of the United States spray-painting fences with a hippie-bandana on her head.

Also forget that “doctor” Stein plays footsie with a proudly ignorant, thoroughly debunked theory proposing a link between autism and vaccinations.

Instead consider that Stein is wholly uninformed on international relations and naive in her understanding of current events

Take the recent, disastrous Brexit for example. Though widely (and rightfully) viewed both domestically in Britain and internationally as an upset victory for neo-conservatism in Europe, Stein would have none of it.

She called the result “a victory.”

For who? For nationalists and racists?

“For those who believe in the right of self-determination and who reject the pro-corporate, austerity policies of the political elites in the EU, a rejection of the European political elite and their contempt for ordinary people.”

Actually, no. Brexit was a reaction to mounting fears on immigration and a ginned up financial crisis that neo-conservatives used to convince just over 50 percent of Britons that it was a good idea to isolate themselves from Europe.

Stein either can’t see this, or tried to spin a near total rejection of her party’s platform into a win. Either way, it was not Stein’s “victory.”

Which is why Stein, after receiving immediate blowback for the statement, ended up jumping online to scrub the “victory” language, then offered-up an explanation that she was actually against Brexit before she was for it.

This is you’re replacement for feel the burn? I’m supposed to go Jill, not Hill? Sorry, not buying it.

Still, ever since Saint Bernie Sanders ascended to political heaven with the sparrow that landed on his mic, Stein has been slowly rising in the polls. This is due, in part, to her unabashed courting of the “Bernie Bros.”

It’s also due to Americans’ overall willingness to consider a vote for a third party this election cycle. A recent Gallup poll found that 57 percent of Americans want a third-party option.

It’s just that, as a RealClearPolitics average of polls shows, they don’t want these third options. Stein and her fellow third-party-pooper Libertarian Gary Johnson (he of “what is Aleppo?” fame) are currently polling at just under 10 percent support combined.

While it is a large increase in the share of the vote third-party candidates received in the last election, it ignores such recent history as the pre-millennial ‘90s.

That would be 1992, kids. An eccentric, “outsider” billionaire who spoke his mind and did his own thing got nearly 19 percent of the popular vote. In ’96, he ran again and got about 12 percent.

His name was Ross Perot, but it was the ‘90s, so ignore that. Just listen to Stein, because the revolution Bernie promised is now being led by her (or if you’re a big fan of Ayn Rand, led by Johnson) and it’s coming.

“We’re going to continue the amazing work that that campaign did and ensure that we will be at it until we prevail,” Stein said on MSNBC. “Peace in our lifetime.”

If only. According to the same RealClearPolitics average of polls, Stein is currently polling at just about 3 percent support nationally as of Oct. 19.

The point of this isn’t just to cast shame on voters who vote Stein or Johnson by telling them a vote for either is a vote for Trump. It’s not just to remind them of 2000 when Ralph Nader swayed the election for George W. Bush.

The point is to show how spectacularly unqualified and underprepared these third party candidates are. Surely Hillary Clinton is not perfect, and does not share some of the core liberal beliefs on hot button issues like Wall Street and foreign policy. Still…

When I look at the alternatives, though they may claim to align perfectly with a certain ideology, it’s apparent the ideologies don’t comport very well with what is happening in the real world.

Plus, the “perfect” candidate has already held office for the last eight years. And his wife won’t be running for at least another eight.
So, until then, I’m with her.

FROM THE EDDIE-TOR Aztec Press continues winning ways

FROM THE EDDIE-TOR Aztec Press continues winning ways


Now that you’ve had two months to adjust to our new look and your new school schedule, it’s time to get down to business and crack the whip. We here at the Aztec Press are doing the same and getting competitive about it.

Numerous journalistic associations, both statewide and regional, hold contests in which they judge everything from stories to photos to layout.

I’ve been on staff since spring semester. If there is one thing I’ve learned (other than not to leave my Facebook account open in the newsroom), it’s that we take awards seriously.

This approach suits me well as editor. Why? Consider this little story from my past.

When I was about 7, my youth baseball team lost the coach-pitch championship. I was so incensed at my own team that, after the obligatory parent tunnel run-through, I let them have it.

Never mind that my father was the coach.

“I carried you all season for nothing,” my dad recalls me saying. When one child dared to speak up and tell me that I didn’t know it all, I let him know otherwise. I believe I said, “Actually, I pretty much do, you idiot.”

From that age, it was obvious: I love to win. That, and team sports probably weren’t for me.

Last semester, the Aztec Press won something even bigger than a coach-pitch age group championship. In our student publication category, the Society of Professional Journalists named us the All-Around Best Non-Daily Newspaper in Region 11.

That’s a pretty big deal folks. It means our paper, from our little corner of the Old Pueblo, is a regionally recognized publication. It feels pretty good.

But it doesn’t end there.

We recently received a manila envelope containing a few plaques. Winners’ plaques, baby. Plaques we didn’t even know were coming.

Another of those associations, this time the Arizona Newspapers Association, also decided the Aztec Press is a pretty decent rag.

We claimed a first-place award and a third-place prize in the Better Newspapers Contest, competing statewide against newspapers in the “non-daily, circulation 3,500-10,000” category.

Photographers Larry Gaurano and Alex Fruechtenicht shared first place for Best Feature Photo Layout. The award honored their work on last fall’s “All Soul’s Procession” page design.

Larry has moved on and sold out to corporate America, but Alex is still in the newsroom as a class assistant. We are proud of both of them, and know that we must live up to their accomplishments and hard work each issue.

Reporter Danyelle Khmara, who now attends the University of Arizona, and the Aztec Press won third place for “enterprise reporting.” Despite sounding like a starship, the award honors Khmara’s coverage of the Rosemont and Oak Flat mine proposals.

Keep those awards in mind when you’re thumbing through or surfing around this issue of the Aztec Press. You may just have a prize-winning photog or writer clueing you into what’s going on, what matters and, of course, who’s winning.

Happy reading.

A living wage for real, living people

A living wage for real, living people


In November, Arizonans will have an opportunity to vote on the first minimum wage initiative since 2006.

Proposition 206 will increase the wage from $8.05 to $10 starting on New Year’s Day, to $10.50 a year after that, to $11 a year after that and to $12 in 2020.

Minimum wage initiatives in Seattle, San Francisco and New York have graciously provided a Petri dish to examine the effects of minimum wage increases on what many call a “living wage.”

The verdict? Not much has changed.

That’s right, fire didn’t fall from the sky and land on every mom n’ pop shop trying to put kids through college. Thousands didn’t lose their jobs, resulting in unprecedented unemployment. Prices didn’t skyrocket, driving poor people out of the market for basic goods.

In Seattle’s case, the rate of employment tripled that of the national average after the city voted to raise the minimum wage in 2014.

A recent study from the University of Washington failed to “find compelling evidence that the minimum wage has caused significant increases in business failure rates.” It explicitly states that any closures were far dominated by business openings.

New York only voted to raise its minimum wage earlier this year, but economic analysts are already chomping at the chance to predict how it will affect the nation’s largest city.

A recent study out of UC-Berkeley speculates the boost in wages will only raise payroll costs by 3.2 percent across the entire city over the next six years. Businesses can absorb this cost by increasing prices .14 percent per year.

It also estimates a .04 percent increase in employment, which would amount to 3,200 jobs by 2021.

The same group concluded a Santa Clara County initiative would increase payroll costs by 1 percent and could account for the cost with a .2 percent increase in prices by 2019.

We’re talking about pennies, here. Pennies to the consumer and thousands in annual earnings to minimum-wage workers. Somehow, the doomsday scenario just isn’t adding up.

But enough of the data.

When it comes down to it, responsibility lies with business owners. When we envision our perfect economy, do we enjoy seeing mega chains and international brands take over our consumption? Not usually.

We like the idea of going to Sally’s hardware shop and Bill’s flower stand, chatting about the latest ball game, asking about the kids and giving our hard-earned cash to people we don’t mind sharing it with.

Aztec Press cartoon by Coral Yankey

Aztec Press cartoon by Coral Yankey

These small businesses are indeed the backbone of a healthy economy and it isn’t the fault of their employees that they struggle.

It’s the mega chains that offer prices too low to compete with and use cost-benefit analyses that tell them how little they can get away with paying their employees.

The medicine for this sickness is boosting those at the very bottom of our economic ladder. Help them reinvest in their immediate markets.

The goal is to get a majority of Americans to a place where they can start saving money. They’ll put it in a bank, where Sally and Bill can apply for a business loan and become providers in our community.

This isn’t an argument won in Economics 101. The real-world examples speak for themselves and the important thing about the real-world examples is they involve real people with real lives.

 Nick Meyers is a former Aztec Press editor who now attends the University of Arizona, where he studies Journalism and Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law, or PPEL. He actually thinks the minimum wage is a silly argument because robots will end up taking your job.

Online hyperlinks:

UW Study:

Berkeley, NY:

Berkeley, SF:

Increase could hurt workers

Increase could hurt workers



No one works at minimum wage in my family except me. I’m the youngest. A proposal on the November ballot would not provide a whole lot of improvement.

Proposition 206 would increase the minimum wage from its dormant state at $8.05 an hour to $10 in 2017, then slowly creep to a ceiling of $12 an hour in 2020.

At first it looks good because that means more money in your pockets if you work at minimum wage. You get to circulate more money into the economy. Go you!

You can now become a contributing member of society to our free market in the US of A.

It’ll start potential job growth in all fields, as shown by the Economic Policy Institute in 2006. The Institute said a wage increase would create 85,000 jobs, and they weren’t wrong.

The unemployment rate for Arizona went from about 4.2 percent to 3.7 percent in 2006-07, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Take a look at what happened next, however. After it dropped, unemployment quickly spiked back up to even higher than it was in 2006, to a little over 11 percent.

Of course this was before the 2008 recession, and I’m not saying that increasing the minimum wage will definitely increase unemployment in 2017.

I am saying the Bureau, and many minimum-wage working Americans, didn’t factor in long-term effects. Those effects include inflation for products they normally buy, and a shortage of popular items.

While the rise in minimum wage may have motivated people to search harder for jobs, it didn’t necessarily mean employers were looking to hire more people.

Of roughly 1,200 business and human resource professionals surveyed by the Congressional Budget Office, 38 percent said they would lay off some employees. Another 54 percent said they would reduce hiring levels in 2006.

So much for the .5 percent decrease in unemployment.

Why don’t we talk about relativity? It is true the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation. It was $6.75 in the new millennium, when rich people were making money faster and the poor were losing it faster. As always, though, there’s a but.

A pay raise won’t make everything else static. We’ll see price jumps in just about everything we buy.

Beef ribeye steak currently costs $5.99 per pound at Frys. After the 67 percent increase in wages, how do we know Frys won’t raise its prices by that much? Prices might get raised even more, because grocery stores have a plethora of employees.

Inflation is very real and it happens very quickly.

And will businesses even provide raises? The other option is to just fire employees

Yes, the minimum wage will have great impact on the economy and on the consumers in the economy. However, the little people will only reap benefits for a short time before prices increase.

In a perfect world, a wage increase means people spend money on items beyond essentials, without causing inflation.

But let’s face it, America isn’t perfect and neither are we. An increase in the minimum wage will only hurt us unless people make big and, more importantly, right decisions.

Nicholas Trujillo believes in both sides for minimum wage but doesn’t trust Americans to make the right decisions with the pay increase.