Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Misc.

First the good news.  President Obama will open diplomatic relations with Cuba.  I thought this would happen and if the right wingers in Florida don't like, Screw Them!

The slaughter of innocent school children in Pakistan by armed religious fanatics may well be the end of the Taliban in that country.  Wouldn't it be meaningful to see the same thing happen in this country to the NRA's continued support of assault rifles for everyone?  All those children who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School have not inspired anyone in this country to react as we all seem to want the Pakistanis to react.  I had a friend say yesterday that he thought the NRA was as evil as the Taliban.  They may be.  But the gun manufacturers motive is profit, while the Taliban want a religious state.  The demise of both of these groups as currently organized would be a plus for civilization.

So, as New Mexico sits at the bottom of economic recovery the big issue of the day for the republican legislators and governor still involves drivers licenses for undocumented workers.  If this doesn't point out their lack of ideas, I don't know what does.  In the meantime the government hating GOP in our state stays silent on the fact that the state made out well in the federal budget.  That means at least some high paying jobs will remain intact.

The Albuquerque Journal subscription statement sits right in front of me.  What to do?  After reading one of their insipid editorials this morning I am close to trashing it.  They said that the meteoric rise in generic drug prices is unexplained.  Well Mr. Editor, I can give you the explanation. It is about American Corporate greed and the consumers ability to just stupidly absorb these hits with out raising hell. The Journal needs this explained?  They want someone to look into this issue which is good.  But, they just can't bring themselves to admit the obvious.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Misc.

We all should be made aware of which congressmen inserted the language to weaken campaign finance laws into the budget bill.  We must know who is responsible for pimping for the rich who would make our division of wealth even more skewed.  I am betting Congressman Steve Pearce is one of them, or at least complicit.  This wasn't compromise.  It was extortion on a grand scale and we need to take names.

Senator Martin Heinrich has taken a stand against selling public lands to fund an International Mining  Company to walk away from leases in sensitive areas in California.  Heinrich says it would set a horrible precedent, and I agree.   In taking this stand Heinrich has shown he is not afraid to oppose Senate Democratic leadership.  It is refreshing.  Heinrich supports buying out the leases, but not by selling other public lands.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Us Vs. Them

The nice near valley neighborhood we live in has been experiencing some burglaries lately.  Although crime is down overall, we are being especially hard hit this year.  Thieves are coming in through smashed sliding doors, skylights and splintered entryways.  Even with burglar alarms going off they spend 30 seconds grabbing jewelry boxes and such.  It is very unsettling.

Some in the neighborhood immediately want to put up gates.  In my opinion there could be nothing worse than cutting ourselves off from the rest of Albuquerque.  And it would cost a fortune as the HOA would have to pay for all of the public streets, sewer and water lines, the park, road maintenance and such.  It will never happen.  The only thing that will stop this activity is good police work, which we haven't seen yet, or the legalization of drugs that will no longer necessitate junkies breaking into our homes to feed their habits.

The reaction of some of our neighbors is understandable.  But sometimes I sense a lot more going on in these situations.  The ideas of gates turns the issue into one of 'us vs. them.'  Them, being people that are not like us in economic standing, skin color, and security.  I don't think we have a neighborhood full of racists because we are pretty diverse.  But I think people are very angry at the instability of our political system overall which they feel helpless about fixing.  They feel vulnerable and they want to build walls to protect themselves. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

PNM Screws Solar

They will deny it, but PNM is coming after roof top solar advocates with an axe.  They want to charge a $21 a month fee for 'grid maintenance' to those who sell power from their rooftops to PNM to resell.  This is an abomination.  (I love that word).

We put our solar panels on the roof in 2008 and we have been heavily selling to PNM ever since.  In fact we make about $700 a year over what we pay them in the hottest months of summer.  We are fortunate we got in early because we get a good lifetime rate from PNM.  If you were to put solar on your roof now, which is much cheaper than when we installed it, it would be less and this monthly fee would kill the solar industry in New Mexico for residential.

This proposal should be shown an early grave by the PRC in Santa Fe.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Deeper and Deeper

Kim Vesley of the Rio Rancho School district, their longtime flack and an old friend, is piling the bullshit deeper and deeper on the case of the school teacher fired because one of her students wrote something that another student didn't like.

But, first I digress.  I played golf today out at Santa Ana and a young CNM student and former team golfer for that Rio Rancho school joined us and said that the teacher was one of the most popular and effective instructors in the school.  He was really angry they had fired her.  He said that she was a teacher who really taught the students how to think and be creative.  He just kept gushing out compliments on her when I asked him what he thought about the situation.  But, gosh, he was only a student.  Right?

Now back to the bullshit factory.  I had asked Kim Vesely for the biographies of the School Board Members.  She said they didn't keep biographies of their elected officials.  If they don't, they are incompetent.  If they do and don't want to reveal them now then there might be something discoverable about them that would put them in a bad light.  Whatever the reason, it is bullshit.

Just like the statement that Vesley sent out yesterday saying that the fired teacher used profanity and sexually explicit language in her classroom.  OMG! I wonder if her high school students have never heard something like that!

I remember as a sophmore at St. Pius X here in Albuquerque that we were given reading assignments that included George Orwell's "1984".  There was lots of sex in that book for those days.  All the students were talking about it.  But now fifty years later you can't even make a sexual reference in school?  That indicates to me that fundamentalism is alive and well in that institution.

The media has gone silent on this in the last couple of days.  So they might be on to something I am missing.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rio Rancho Response

Service Temporarily Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

Apache/2.2.14 (Ubuntu) Server at rrps.net Port 80
This was the response to my inquiry to the Rio Rancho PR department on the possibility of getting the biographies of the School Board Members.  I am guessing their servers are overloaded with outrage from all sides because of this stupid decision to force the resignation of this teacher.

Rio Rancho Schools

Well, the Rio Rancho School District may take away from APD the prize for being the most inept organization at handling public relations.  It appears they backed a loved teacher into a corner because one of her students wrote something that Christian Fundamentalists don't like.  They forced her to resign.  The School district will hem and haw that it wasn't the reason, but certainly it was.  I imagine if one were to look over the school board up there that there would be a few fundamentalists in those seats.  The Albuquerque Journal wrote a great story on this today.  I hope they will follow up.

Apparently, the students at the High School really like this teacher.  She teaches them to think and write.  Apparently not a good thing up there.  If I were the students at that institution I might call for a walk out because of the attacks on their inability to keep good teachers from being fired for bad reasons.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Peeling Layers

I have the feeling that watching the APD come after the DA on her son's crimes as a drug addict will turn into something akin to peeling an onion.  There will always be another layer of intrigue.

Yesterday, Kari Brandenburg, did a great job of defending herself against the cops who leaked a story to a salivating Albuquerque Journal that put the charges out there that the DA kept her son out of trouble by agreeing to pay for items stolen from his victims.  Once again, any parent would do that, but not every parent is a DA whose job it is to charge people with crimes.  Muddy waters.

But for an investigation to be leaked to the Journal in which the cops never even interviewed the DA is highly weird.  There is something else afoot here I think.  It may just be the general incompetence of the APD in dealing with its image.  Or maybe it is a warning shot across the bow that the DA better not indict any cops in shootings of unarmed people.  Although that has not happened anyway.  But maybe Brandenburg in looking around the country feels she must now take action against the cops who gunned down that homeless man in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains.

Someone should call Janet Blair, the recently departed APD public relations person, to see if she would be willing to talk about how decisions like this are made at APD.  They certainly never listened to her because she was not one of the 'club' there.  So of course she probably viewed at an outsider.  That whole 'us against them' philosophy in APD.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Bernalillo County DA

Apparently our longtime and likable Bernalillo County DA, Kari Brandenburg, is being scrutinized for trying to protect her drug addict son from facing prosecution.  Just about any parent would do that I think, although not every parent is a District Attorney.  This is a troubling controversy.

But I have to say it pales beside the failure of her office to ever bring an indictment against the police officers who have engaged in a killing spree over the last few years in the city of Albuquerque.  That is a massive failure of her office and it really needs to be examined by the mainstream media, or at least the Justice Department.  Or, maybe they are looking at it.

The sweetheart relationships between the prosecutors and the cops has always existed.  But it is at a point where there needs to be some sort of ombudsman who can handle these police shootings in front of grand juries.  That system is already flawed enough that alleged perps, who are not cops, have little in the way of tools to use in these one sided legal proceedings.  Someone needs to do some original thinking here that might be turned into legislation.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Tiny Brains

There will be a lot of people gnashing their teeth because a new APS Superintendent may have starting pay of $300,000.  Already some idiots on Facebook are saying $200K should be more than sufficient.  Such tiny brains on some people.  They would pay someone multiples less than a basketball coach?  Yeah, they would.  Tea Party sized brains.

Frankly, I think the salaries should be switched.  Pay the new APS head the millions and the coaches in the NCAA $200K, because right now everything is upside down.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Outliers

Bobbi and I went to see the movie, "The Theory of Everything", which is about Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde, as remarkable a woman as he was a brilliant cosmologist.  I recommend it as a movie more about a love story than one of those outlier thinkers that fascinate me so much.

Next on our list to see is "The Imitation Game", about Alan Turning during WWII.  He essentially broke the German enigma code by inventing a computer.  After saving his British Government and most of Europe they later arrested him for being gay.  One more silly progrom  against people that has nearly disappeared.  We do make progress, mostly.

These Outliers must live in a different world than us.  They come along once in a generation to really change the way we must view the natural world.  Physicists, Biologists, Economists, and other scientists have really made progress possible because of their powerful brains and curiosity.  I wonder what it is like to be inside that process in their heads.  Pure thinking.

So, the question is,  can we include anyone in the realm of political scientists as outliers.  Some exist I know.  Some would say Jefferson, others would say Marx.  I would think in American History that the Roosevelts were outliers.  But, since then we really haven't seen anyone of their stature ascend the world stage, have we?  We could sure use one of those types right now who has it all.  Charisma, compassion, progressive ideals and the means to make the population understand and embrace them.

But maybe that can't really happen anymore with the role that big money plays in leadership.  We can't go many more generations in this mode of operation.  Really.