1. Times Publications

  2. Times Media Group Publications
  3. The Valley’s Best Told Stories


The following has been transcribed from our Sound Off line during the past month. Sound Off is a monthly editorial feature of The Times. We encourage participation.

Submissions can be made via phone at 480-348-0343 (option 8) or make your submission on this Web site by emailing soundoff@timespublications.com.

We sure will be glad when they take that screaming man off the Cox commercials. He’s such a pain in the neck. Who wants to hear that dummy every station you turn on? Cox, get a new commercial, please!

I just bought 20 Star-Spangled Banner Forever stamps at my local gas station (postal contract office) and they cost me $9.80. When the Forever stamp first came out, we could buy 20 for $8.20! The reason the post office doesn’t put a per-price amount on each stamp is because they don’t want us to know how much the price goes up, almost every year. We, the public, can’t help it that technology has sunk the popularity of the first-class letter. I am thinking that the postmaster general will try to sell us a zillion Forever stamps and then “run” to Congress and tell them they need a “bailout” because now they really need help from Washington. Then if the postal service goes “belly up,” then we will have a bunch of worthless Forever stamps, and they will be as worthless as our folding American money may become! I am Ken Unwin…a former (27 years) postal employee. Have a beautiful day!

Oh please, you news hogs, stop blaming everything that’s wrong on the current president. How about checking out the previous three and all the problems that were created in their administrations, or can’t you count back that far, you poor dummy?

More disgusting politics from the people who don’t know what they’re talking about. They have to make this president the “Judas goat” for all the others who did nothing to change the VA. At least this president is working at it. You don’t have to fire Eric Shinseki; they didn’t fire any of the other ones that had the same problems. At least he is working on it. Shame on all you stupid, greedy people who need a “Judas goat.” Goodbye.

Blaming someone for something they were not made aware of and not allowing time to fix it when they are as dumb as the troublemakers hiding it in the first place. Holy moly. The politicians always need to blame someone else. All they have to do is look in the mirror.

There’s no money for healthy food for children in schools. They should just serve what Congress is served in their cafeteria. I bet it’s not Twinkies, chocolate and potato chips. How about that, Mr. Smart Politician?

Can we just skip Congress like Obama does and impeach him as a people?

So the typical naysayers of Congress chopped off his head and said, “Oops, we needed those brains. What do we do now? Go back to trying to hang the president? It’s all his fault, of course.” The dummies don’t do anything but more dumb things.

It’s sad and unfortunate that a young man is missing and people are looking up the mountain for him. He’s not the first young man to park a car and walk away. I know of three of them myself and it’s something almost every family in the Valley has heard of. You never know what’s behind it all.

Well, haste made waste again. What do you, those advisers in the White House, do besides make mistakes and give inadequate information? Who are they working for anyway? They sure aren’t working for the president or America’s best interest.

Well, in the present brouhaha give the diplomats enough time to work out the kinks. There will be a Taliban in Afghanistan and other political parties in many countries in Africa, just as there will still be confederate separatists in South Carolina. Understand now, poor lame brainers who complain about everything? Understand the big, big picture?

Well calm down. If our POWs get to go home, so should the enemy’s. If they go home to fight again, what did you expect? Ours go on TV and make news for the Congress. Common sense died on 9/11. Religions have been fighting for 5,000 years and al-Qaeda is the new modern way. Common sense can also control when people vote and the fight will go on forever. We have to get along with the good, the bad and indifferent.

Think about the other side. Maybe the freed five have learned their lesson and they want to go home to represent their own Taliban in their own Congress. Wouldn’t that be something special? Think about it. Everything is possible under the sun.

I found the answer to what’s wrong with American education. I needed six 3-inch nails at the hardware store. They were $1.79 a pound. I had a quarter of a pound. The computer could not figure out how much they should be—neither could the new graduate at the register. I had to teach him how to do simple long division. Now we know where the U.S.A. is headed. The caves, the trees. Pitiful, pitiful.

Are the last of the greatest generation’s voters the only ones who remembered it was Reagan who opened the mental hospitals and fired the air traffic controllers?

Why are all these troubled people shooting strangers? Because they’re cowards and can’t bear to face the people who create the problems they think they have? Talk to your kids and make sure they are as well as you think they are. You never know what a teenager is going to think next or be influenced to do.

Did you notice the people of certain countries that do not understand any rules, except those of revenge, are now forming new ways to have their own copies of elected government parties? Wonderful. Let them fight it out with ballots or bullets to quote another fellow, “It’s not my problem, man. It’s not my problem, man.”

Oh put it this way, if you can’t stand politics or understand diplomacy, bring your thoughts back to your basic daily life. You have a neighbor, a co-worker or relative you just can’t stand but you have to live with them anyway. That’s diplomacy. That’s applying it everywhere around the world, rather than have a family fight. Even Putin and the Taliban got the message, but they will still be the people to watch, the sneaky uninvited relative at the next wedding party. Can you figure it out now? They’re working for the betterment of everybody. You have to live with whether you like them or not.

Surprise, surprise. A couple of nit-picking-never-give-up Republicans who were of the 80 or 90 who were left out of the secret exchange are still crying foul. Shame on them and their selfish egos. These stupid people do not belong in Congress.

Well, the two-faced war hawks of Washington are happy for the surprise third-party attack and to lay more blame on the president. Of course they will take credit for more war supply product jobs. Remember, it’s a religious war for the other guys. The U.S. doesn’t need to fight for oil anymore.

How are all these children being sent to America on a plane? Where does it land? Why can’t they fuel it up and send it back to where it came from? What’s the matter with all these stupid people in Washington? Don’t they know how to do anything, ever? Just send the people back where they came from, stupid.

Surprise, surprise. Some weather expert named the calendar date for the start of monsoon. What a joke. Every Arizonan knows it’s the weekend before or the first one after Fourth of July. When everyone goes up north to camp out for the rest of the season. Right? Right.

Oh when these crybaby Republicans remember Iraq was their big mistake and start coming up with corrections, maybe they’ll have a chance in 2016. Meanwhile, shut up and cooperate with diplomacy. Your future’s at stake as well as the rest of us. Pay attention, dummies.

Sunni/Shiite religious war. It’s not a war. It’s an open door insane asylum set loose on the world.

Poor blood-thirsty Benghazi Republicans. They just can’t stand another presidential success. It makes you wonder about their sanity, really.

OK, smart aleck Republicans. You don’t like the president’s plans. What’s yours? After all, it’s your party in Iraq to begin with. Speak up or shut up.

It’s about time government worked on making up its mind of legal maturity. Let’s go back down from 21 to 18 to drink and drive and vote, etc. then be told science says your brains aren’t mature until you’re 19. It’s ridiculous. How about settling on age 20 for everyone. Why don’t you get on that, citizen voter?

Be careful when the police call you and ask for a donation. It’s a scam again. As usual. Somebody’s always trying it. Police do not ask for donations over the phone. Print it in big letters for people to read: Do not answer the phone solicitors’ calls. Just get the number and the name of where we can catch them.

Well, it’s Christmas in June and Uncle Sam is now Santa Claus. For the little border runners who don’t like the flour tortillas, they get to have the corn type they requested. How about that? The homeless, jobless hungry citizens in line for food are grateful. After all, a free meal is a free meal. Then again, Uncle Sam has to be a sucker again. Send your children back because we don’t need them.

A belated Maya Angelou should inspire us all. She communicated with a passion, purpose and soul as few ever have. Indeed, an authentic American icon.

I know that the molestation of a child can happen at any time during any day by a family member, friend or stranger, but I have been hearing more and more stories of men and woman complaining of it happening when they were children in their own homes during the night while their mom and dad slept. I’m not saying that parents need to take turns staying up all night if they have guests spending the night, but it amazes me of how in a lot of these circumstances the parents knew that the family member or friend was a child molester because a lot of these parents were molested by this same person when they were younger. How stupid can some of these parents be to let known child molesters sleep under the same roof as their children? If it happened just one time the odds are that it will happen again! I have heard so many stories of children going to bed only to be awoken in the middle of the night by a family member touching them and the parent has no clue! Come on, parents. Open your eyes! If you have guests spending the night make sure you keep your bedroom door open, have your kids leave their door open and keep your ears open. Why not check on your child during the night? And if you think, “not my uncle, not my dad, not my grandpa,” get your head out of the sand and think, again because it happens way more than you think and yes, it very well can be your uncle, your dad or your grandpa! Stop assuming that these child molesters are creepy shadows lurking on the street corners! Nine out of 10 times it is someone that you know! They are sick pigs and need treatment! Educate your children as early as you can about these jerks and start paying attention!

Looking for a body in the early morning hours? Why isn’t somebody smart enough to at least have a cadaver dog working? They’re everywhere else in the country. What’s the matter with the Phoenix departments?

I’m sick to death of having the VA hospital denigrated. What about all the millions of people who have been treated in these, many years since these wars began? Once George Bush started two wars, there weren’t arrangements made to take care of the veterans who would be coming back. The system was already busy, not overwhelmed, but busy. The vets were receiving wonderful care but it wasn’t possible after two wars. Nobody talks about the wonderful care they do provide. I think more attention ought to be given to that while they work on resolving some of the present issues. This is appalling.

Years ago, I left a message on a similar answer line to a similar newspaper in Tempe. It was tongue in cheek. I talked about how we needed to have comfort stations for all the illegal Mexicans crossing the desert. It was just intended to be sarcastic. We have all these illegals and we’re acting like they’re deserving to be here. Somebody picked up on that, and it wasn’t long before we started hearing about how we needed to provide more comfort as they crossed the desert. I never regretted anything more than calling in that statement. These Mexicans are illegal, as are all the ones who are coming from other countries. They don’t belong here. I’m sick to death of deciding how we can best treat them and their children. They need to be shipped back to the country they came from. The United States is overwhelmed financially and we have so many people going to bed hungry at night. We do not need these illegal immigrants. If people want to apply and wait it out, that’s what they ought to do. We do not need illegal people coming into this country and we do not need to worry about how well they are once they got here. It was their choice.

I recently took two of my granddaughters—ages 10 and 12—to a Phoenix Mercury basketball game. The quality of play truly surprised me, as did the number of female couples “making out” throughout the arena. Such behavior in a public venue before impressionable preteen boys and girls is in poor taste.

The current big news story in our state is about the abysmal treatment of our veterans in the VA health care system. Then, we read about the heavy-handed IRS treatment of our citizens, the EPA putting little fish ahead of water needed to grow needed crops and causing our electricity and gasoline bills to rise due to an apparent animosity toward energy production, and finally, the BLM using military force to tell states how to use land that should belong to the states to begin with. These are all federal government agencies regulated and controlled by the administrative branch of our government. Does it not seem apparent that the increase in the number, size, complexity and cost of all of these federal agencies has ballooned to such gigantic proportions that nobody is really in control? At least that is what we hear at all the congressional hearings, “I had no knowledge of that,” or “I don’t remember anything about that,” or, “That wasn’t my department.” There is a way, however, that we, the people of the states, can impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office of federal government officials. That remedy is an Article V Convention of States. Some folks talk about a Convention of States like it’s some kind of conspiracy, but here’s the truth: A Convention of States is more legitimate and less conspiratorial than any other means of curbing Washington’s power. Article V of the Constitution (the Supreme Law of the Land) explicitly describes a “convention for proposing amendments.” This isn’t a conspiracy. This isn’t secession or Snowden or the “X-Files.” This is a legitimate tool the founders gave the states for stopping an overreaching federal government. A short history lesson might clear things up. The founding fathers included a Convention of States in the Constitution for a specific purpose. George Mason realized the states had no way of proposing amendments. So, he suggested the states be allowed to call an amendments convention, and the motion was carried unanimously. That’s it. You can read it for yourself. The framers wanted the states to call a Convention of States when, like today, the federal government began getting out of control, overstepping its bounds and abusing its power. Toward that end, Citizens for Self-Governance has launched the Convention of States Project. Please get involved by visiting their website, www.conventionofstates.com. If you like what you see there, you can actively further the cause by emailing your state representative and your state senator and urging them to take action on this issue. This is definitely a volunteer and a nonpartisan effort. I believe this is the only way to preserve liberty for future generations. Please join us. Let’s give this country back to the people.—E.L. Goheen, Scottsdale

Quite predictably, John McCain, who has consistently voted against any increased funding for the Veterans Administration, is now righteously outraged. Why doesn’t Johnny Mac demonstrate he is a true leader of character by withdrawing from the best health care plan in the world, which he enjoys as a member of Congress, and immediately enroll in the VA system. Go Johnny go!

In Saturday’s Arizona Daily Star under “world issues” was a short article about a woman in Saudi Arabia who received 150 lashes for driving a car and resisting arrest. Those of you who saw the movie “12 Years a Slave” witnessed the brutal whipping of a young black girl for a minor offense. If you did, you were horrified and appalled that such inhumanity existed back then. This news article reaffirms that atrocities are still occurring in the Muslim world today. Our leaders choose to ignore these happenings as our thirst for their oil resources continues unabated. We spend billions annually maintaining our fleets in the area to assure the free flow of oil without compensation. Only an aroused citizenry can bring this to the table to be ended. There are many options that can be used to get their attention. I particularly ask American women to speak out and demand these ancient barbaric practices be stopped.

The Valley Times has been getting out to my area of Chandler—Arizona Avenue and Elliot Road—at the middle of the month. Today’s the 11th. It just got to the newsstand. This does me not much of a lot of good if I want to enter any of the contests. I like to enter all the contests you run. I’m not able to get out there and enter if it doesn’t get out there the first or second of the month. Please take care of this. Goodbye.

RE: The Up Side: Looking at Life through the A La Carte Menu. I enjoyed Michael Grady’s article on being vegan. My husband and I became vegans early this year. Physically, we feel wonderful with our lifestyle change and wish we had come to the party a lot sooner. We wish everyone could be enlightened with the information that led us to make this change in our lives. We live in a retirement community and do have a few challenges finding appropriate food choices in our dining rooms, but have no problems at home or when dining out.

This is for the person who feels the 50 U.S. states shouldn’t solve Africa’s problems. You are correct—there are 50 states. We are united under a constitution, a federal government system, a market economy and a common language. However, to imply simply that we are “united” is what I would call a half-truth (one only has to look at the red versus blue state scenario). To state that 50 countries on the continent of Africa are disunited is inaccurate on two counts. First, there are precisely 54 autonomous countries on the continent, each with a capital city (like our Washington, D.C.) and their own form of government, and some have more than two national languages. America, an autonomous country, is divided into 50 states, then inevitably into counties (parishes or boroughs). Each of the 54 African countries is also divided into either regions, provinces, districts and/or counties. On top of the 54 autonomous countries, there is another 10 nonsovereign states, two partial recognized territories, and another two as dependent territories. All but two of these 14 have ties to various European countries. To imply that some 68 countries is similar to our 50 states is comparing apples and oranges. If you had said two countries in North America to 50 countries in Africa, then you would be closer to the truth (a unique set of circumstances created the two countries in North America). Second, is there 100 percent unity within North American, let alone all the Americas….Not that I have heard. South America has 13 nations; Latin America and Caribbean equals 29 nations; North America has two nations. I feel that each of these geographic areas is united under various trade agreements, and economic unions/markets (i.e., NAFTA, APTA, COMESA), but to imply that they are united as our 50 states is inaccurate, but could they? Maybe…! I have traveled within most of the East African nations and some of the Southern African nations. I read that there are some 3,000 languages spoken on the continent of Africa. Each of those 68 nations has its own political system, economic and monetary system. On top of that, there is the diverse landscape…all of this and more are contributing to a very beautiful, yet unique set of nations on the continent. If they were to unite, it will be a great accomplishment. The hurdle to get over—historically, some of these nations have only been independent since the 1960s (some before, some after, some haven’t). So ask them the question about unity in another 150 years. But before you ask, be sure to take out all the colonial interests of minerals, timber and other assets mined on the continent; and then remove all boundaries that were set by foreign colonial governments. America was settled over 200 years ago, and over the years we have set our own borders (sometimes due to a war), mined and exhausted our natural resources (my personal opinion)…but we did it ourselves, mostly for ourselves. The continent of Africa did not have that exact opportunity. It would be difficult to duplicate in just 50 years, in our modern era. Lastly, do we have a moral obligation to help those that live on the continent of Africa…go there…see what is happening (the good and the not so good), then make a decision? Personally, we have a moral obligation to help all—which makes everyone better.—Larry, Phoenix

RE: Marine Andrew Tahmooressi in a Mexican prison. If you go to the Internet you will find all the information you need to take action. This Marine who served tours in Afghanistan took a wrong turn at the border of Mexico and was imprisoned April 1, 2014. There is a petition you can sign to Obama. There are over 100,000 signatures so far requesting him to take action to have Andrew returned. I added my name. I have e-mailed both senators and my congressman and this morning called the three offices asking for their effort to resolve. I am requesting that you add your voice as well. Obama just released five terrorist leaders for a soldier in Afghanistan. Why is it so hard for him to do the same to release this veteran who has served his country well? The only way he will be released is if Americans demand it. Please add your voice. I find it humiliating that Mexico can do this to one of our own.