Jewish World Review July 2, 2002/ 22 Tamuz, 5762

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Consumer Reports

From the eye of the storm | Heigh ho, from Arizona, land of first-hand smoke and fire. From the eye of the storm, I offer, in stylishly Martha Stewart fashion, the good thing of an insider's view.

The national media were not prepared for Arizona's idiosyncrasies. Our wildfires have presented phonetics problems. For all you national reporters, it's Rodeo (ROW-dee-o) Fire. The Row-DAY-o Fire is in Beverly Hills. It's said "Eager," not "eee- GAR," despite the "Eagar" spelling.

Several national correspondents gagged while trying to eek out "Chediski Fire." While no one here knows how to say this one either, one thing is clear: ignore Polish-American tendencies to say Che- DIS-ski. Choose any of the following, gleaned from helicopter pilots, anchorettes and U.S. Forest Service spokespersons: SHED-ih-sky; Che-DESK-I, or CHED-ih-ski. Many reporters wondered aloud what Chediski means. Literally translated, Chediski, an Indian term, means "dumb broad who lights flare in tinderbox forest."

For 2 days running the New York Times felt compelled to explain how "Show Low" got its name. Did I ask about SoHo or Tribeca when I covered 9/11? The Times reporter seemed incredulous that a man could win a town in a poker game of low card stud. We still play this game, with sports franchises. They get stadiums and we taxpayers, with a streak of bad luck, draw the high tax card.

National reporters seemed comfortable with Heber, although a few used a short "e," producing a "Hebber" sort of sound. I provided translation for several correspondents on "Heber" which is "Excuse us, Forest Service and Governor Hull, but the fire is over here." Overgaard means, "What are we? Chopped liver?"

The Show Low vs. Heber/Overgaard fire focal points found reporters conflicted. They were all entrenched in Show Low with its motels while all the homes burned in the Heber/Overgaard area. However, the only thing in Heber is June's Dairi-Delight. June permits smoking in her combination fried food/ice cream stand. The national media can't stand second-hand smoke, which is why they have now left smoke-infested Show Low.

Many of the local TV reporters stood before the cameras, running 24/7 for the first time in their young lives, and stammered when anchors handed off to them, "I can't think of anything more to say." One reporterette , who realized Show Low had second-hand smoke, said, "You guys, I am like having a really hard time breathing."

The Red Cross was here in our time of need, busily replacing its computers with fire money raised just so far. And in the midst of the blazing inferno, our 9th Circuit Court of Appeals pushed us closer to brimstone by declaring the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. "Ninth Circuit" is Indian for "black muumuu-covered liberal loons."

I had a wooden stake in these fires because our cabin is located in Forest Lakes, a name many believe comes from the fact that it is located in the forest between 2 lakes. Thus far our cabin has survived, something we have learned only from smoke signals because the media continue to await the fire's descent into Show Low.

Our longstanding ownership in Forest Lakes has provided a first-hand look at the rustic forest folks. They are environmentalists, but not latte environmentalists who litigate to preserve forests. Latte environmentalists can never have these residents' perspective because they prefer not to experience the challenges of living in areas where the roads are dirt, cable is non-existent and the wind kills the contact lenses. Latte environmentalists have a litigious admiration of the forest from afar. Our Forest Lakes neighbors have the weathered faces of those who dare the elements to conquer them.

These hardy souls will have nothing positive to say about the management of the forests, the fires, or the allocation of fire resources. They resent being subject to the whims of a judiciary inclined to follow the desires of environmentalists who dwell in cities with silly notions of idyllic forest primeval. These indigenous peoples know that forests are beasts to be tamed, not pets to be pampered. The management of forests by scientific opinion, litigation and bureaucracies is a formula that has brought us to this disaster and the forest peoples to their knees.

But the upside of this down draft is that their voices will finally be heard. The environmental groups, conspicuous by their absence and failure to provide aid in the Great Arizona Wildfires of 2002, have finally shown their true mettle, something the residents of these rustic towns have long known. The din of environmentalists will finally be banished from the forests. Peace at last. Those who know the forests will now have the authority to manage them. Even the elk breathe a sigh of relief despite the second-hand smoke risk.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


06/27/02: Nick not right
06/20/02: Behind the music
06/14/02: The sum of all fears in vouchers
06/06/02: Where was Agent Rowley when the FBI needed her?
05/30/02: Of big hair and sanity
05/24/02: Should I embrace liberalism?
05/20/02: Some passion about Israel
05/09/02: A mother who cares enough
05/02/02: Go ahead, pass judgment
04/29/02: The irritation of the modern wedding
04/18/02: Claire's life
04/15/02: Harvard takes off its pants one leg at a time
04/09/02: The Clinton legacy: Politics of personal destruction
03/31/02: Oscars' subtle bigotry was embarrassing
03/22/02: Blame Oprah, Rosie, Sally, Ted, David
03/14/02: The costs of women's feeble choices
03/08/02: Botoxic faces
02/28/02: The dangers of organized philanthropy
02/25/02: Don't take the gold
02/14/02: Ease up on the brothers and sisters
02/11/02: Because I was courted
02/05/02: Fat fault
01/24/02: Tolerance does not mean stupidity
01/17/02: Too old too soon
01/10/02: Ethically challenged firms
01/03/02: The year that was
12/27/01: The Twelve Days of inconsistency
12/20/01: Free Speech and the political spectrum
12/13/01: Curbing brats
12/06/01: Power to influence
11/29/01: The disappearing art of grading
11/21/01: The Big Two-Five
11/13/01: You can never find a lib when you need one
11/01/01: Unlucky in sports
10/26/01: An epidemic of counselitis
10/16/01: A touch of class
10/12/01: Of human nature and monsters
10/05/01: Sensitive man
10/01/01: Post-September 11 security
09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
09/06/01: If there is no honor in youth sports, it is because of the adults
08/27/01: The draw of Condit
08/23/01: Lowering expectations and flying high
08/17/01: Thoreau, Walden and stems cells
08/13/01: Our masters: The animals
07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
07/13/01: Rage born of sublimation
07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
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06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
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03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
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01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
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08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
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06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
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05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
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01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
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12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
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11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
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11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
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10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
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09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings