Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘southern Arizona’

And not a moment too soon. This winter has been too long, especially in the east. Even though Southern Arizona’s temperatures are running 7 to 10° above average, (see: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/21/1372266/-Cartoon-Animal-Nuz-243-Climate-Hope-Edition) I’m glad to have moved my sweaters to a less accessible place in our little casita.

The heat has also brought spring in an early rush. The fig trees have burst open leaves. Our patio poppies (volunteers from last year) are lush with golden orange flowers. The ocotillo are wrapped in their green cellophane-like leaves and their red bud tips are already providing food for verdants and goldfinches.

Our ocotillo provided cover for a clay pot in which ground doves built a nest. The fledgings (2?3?) left yesterday. All that remains is an untidy mix of twigs, feathers and bird droppings.

Yesterday’s Spring Equinox was a triple treat. Besides the arrival of spring parts of the globe were treated to a full solar eclipse as well as super big moons as it comes closest to the earth for the year.

So, if you’re still digging out or beginning to dig in the garden, here’s a glimpse of the Sonoran Desert’s spring. (All photos © SR Euston)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Border Insecurity: Why big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer. by Sylvia Longmire. Palgrave/MacMillan. 2014. 250 pp.

Since traveling and living in the deep Southwest, I’ve often been stunned by the front and center role border issues occupy here. No mere distant possibility, close encounters of the border kind happen here with startling regularity. Our first sighting was in Imperial County where Interstate 8 dips almost to touch the border. There, in the late 90s, we watched as a old white beater Yugo pulled into the break down lane where someone scrambled from the drainage ditch into the back seat and off they went. Another time while in a Nogales, Sonora border crossing line I watched a teenager climb over the steel fence into Nogales Arizona. In the local Safeway parking lot I saw men handcuffed then pushed into the back of a Border Patrol van. This spring, again on I-8, off the roadside we saw five camouflage-clad men carrying assault weapons crouched and running through a boulder field. Just last monthBorder Patrol agents shot dead an alleged drug smuggler on a local golf course after he fled his SUV containing about 500 pounds of baled marijuana. Right now over 1000 illegal minors are being warehoused in Nogales about 30 miles south.

Border Insecurity CoverSo I was led to this brand new book, Border Insecurity for some  on-the-ground information.

Tucsonian, border security expert and consultant Sylvia Longmire does an admirable job of bringing readers up-to-date on the current situation at the border. Dense with facts, light on rant or jargon, Longmire’s book offers a cogent, non-partisan contribution to the ongoing conversation on border issues. Longmire divides illegal border crossers into three general types: drug smugglers and the drug cartels behind them; potential terrorists; and those seeking work. Recently Mexican drug cartels have taken over “coyote” operations and now use economic migrants as “mules”— slaves forced to carry drugs over the border or else. And as cartels become increasing violent, spillover effects plague Arizona’s border, placing additional burdens on already overstretched state, county and local law enforcement as well as the 5000+ Border Patrol agents who now cover the Tucson and Yuma Districts.

Topics range from the border “fence” (real and virtual) and other technical fixes, to dogs trained to sniff out drugs in cars, to the barbaric actions often involved in crossing, to money laundering, to what’s happening at the Canadian border.

Her major conclusion is that tough decisions must be made to develop realistic Federal policies, plans and benchmarks, rather than having a frustrated Congress impose strict but unrealistic legislative metrics to measure border control “success”, for example the pie-in-the-sky 95% reduction in illegal crossings currently proposed. Since the vast majority are crossing for jobs she posits they do not pose a direct threat and should be dealt with separately from the obvious homeland security risks posed by lawless drug cartels and potential terrorists. She also recommends closer scrutiny of the real value of costly high tech “solutions”—now deployed or dreamed of. It’s an eye-opening synopsis of our current situation which also offers some hope for the future.

Read Full Post »