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Prime Cuts 2013

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Crowning The List Of Modern Times Magazine’s Top Arizona Stories From 2013 Is An Exploration Of The Annual Veterans Day Parade Brouhaha, Several Activist And Protest Related Events As Well As A Little Something Known As Phabulous Phoenix


By Chris G. Braswell
Modern Times Magazine

Dec. 30, 2013 — The state of Arizona was always known as a rugged frontier, and frankly, that character still remains. This is a land with a presence and personality of its own that must be cohabited with, not simply lived on.

The state encompasses much of what defines the Western United States, upon whose geographical hip it rests. What works is retained, and what doesn’t becomes a horned skull on the side of the road. In many real ways, as goes Arizona with its beautiful highways, dazzling sunsets, and political testing grounds, so goes the United States and its grand experiments of continental colonization, western expansion, and suburbia.

We at Modern Times Magazine were proud to have been part of this state’s past year. Without further ado, here are the Prime Cuts for 2013.

No. 7 “Border Fence: Incomplete, Slightly Effective Patchwork”
Hundreds of miles of fence have been constructed along Arizona’s U.S. border with Mexico. Both the fence’s efficacy and its ethical justification are contested, and discussion about the wall is frequently encountered as a hot-button issue for political stumping, rather than any level of thoughtful policy discussion.

In simpler times, which seem a long-time gone, communities on either side of the border were wide open to shared lifestyles and marketplaces. For example, migrant day laborers would walk north for the work day, and simply return the short distance home to Mexico each evening. However, circumstances such as increasingly corporate-friendly policies for international business environments — see NAFTA — have resulted in increasingly disparate socioeconomic settings in this geographic region of the globe, that have contributed to a far less pastoral and far more militarized political border in the Southwest.

No. 6 “GMO Debate Cropping Up In Arizona”

Image by david_shankbone and used under a Creative Commons lisence.
Genetically modified anything is a very interesting topic for any setting, and some of its advocates are prominent in the corporate marketplace. However, there is a significantly organized voice against it, too.

In February, author and filmmaker Jeffrey Smith visited the Shadow Rock Mountain Campus, speaking at an event which was sponsored by the Arizona State University Global Institute of Sustainability, GMO-Free Arizona, The Urban Farm, Changing Hands Bookstore, and the Institute for Responsible Technology.

Smith is the author of Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Food You’re Eating, and Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, and is also the creator of the documentary film Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of our Lives.

No. 5 “Phoenix Metro Police, Feds Working Together To Blunt Activists”

Image by Jeff Katz and used under a Creative Commons License.
DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy this year published Dissent or Terror, an 88-page report illustrating a complicated network of law enforcement agencies and large corporations collaborating to stifle the Occupy Phoenix movement and various other similar protest organizations.

The report is supplemented by more than 1,000 e-mails, communications, and other documents in the appendix which highlight the way federal and local police and large corporations cooperate through “fusion centers” as information-sharing communities, which were originally created in a counter-terrorism, all-hazards capacity.

According to the report, such centers including the Arizona center (ACTIC) now have taken on expanded roles in their local communities.

No. 4 “Phoenix Metro To Join Global Monsanto, GMO Protests”
In May, a protest against agricultural biotechnology company Monsanto in downtown Tempe occurred. The national demonstration of which the Phoenix metro took part was organized by Tami Monroe Canal, 31, a mother of two from Salt Lake City, Utah. The very non-anonymous mom inspired more than 350 events on May 25, in pursuit of a million-person globally coordinated event.

Monsanto introduced its first genetically engineered crop in 1994, two years after Calgene brought the first genetically engineered plant to market (Monsanto eventually acquired Calgene).

No. 3 “Announcing the Phabulous Phoenix Awards”

Image courtesy of Fox Sports.
Modern Times Magazine’s Phabulous Phoenix awards were created in 2013 as a means to celebrate the great places that help define the Phoenix metro as a multidimensional and livable metropolis. In August, 74 nominees were named, and the 2014 yuletide season is bringing with it our announcement of the winners.

You stay Phabulous Phoenix!

No. 2 “Scottsdale’s Maya Day And Night Club Is All Wet”
The Maya Day and Night Club in old town Scottsdale debuted in May.

According to the photographs accompanying the article, there appears to have been lots of booty shaking and swimwear. The venue reportedly combines drinking, shirtless and clean-cut college-aged kids, a swimming pool, alcoholic beverages, dancing, and a D.J.

The whole deal just seems like a strong argument for a quiet evening of reading at home with hot chocolate and the cats.


No. 1 “The Unfortunate Case Of The Phoenix Veterans Day Parade”
Last month, there was an unfortunate blemish involving the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade. Apparently, the parade script for the Phoenix chapter of Veterans for Peace, as read by the event announcer in 2012 was slightly censored. This year, when the group balked at a waiver that held parade sponsor Honoring Arizona’s Veterans harmless for any decisions such or other, and the local Veterans for Peace parade application did not get processed, the two groups found themselves at a loggerheads.

But Honoring Arizona’s Veterans countered that, because of logistical issues, they cannot guarantee participating groups will have their entire submission read.

And, as John Guzzon, our editor and publisher opined, the result was that everyone lost.
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An exceedingly intelligent homeless amnesiac finds a dear friend on the streets who is not really from the neighborhood, but beyond the hill.