Monday, March 02, 2015

Channel 13 Gets Suckered

Have the religious fundamentalists got an in with the KRQE NEWS dept?  One might think so after the story on a cancellation of a Charles Darwin historical series at the NM Museum of Natural History.  Except there wasn't any thing scheduled.  I asked for some illumination on this issue from a person in the know, and this is what he sent to me.  A couple of 'Intelligent Design' engineers who believe in the power of fairy dust conned the station into running this item.


This whole thing was driven by News 13 being conned into running the "story" by the local "Intelligent Design" (ID) crowd. Briefly, the museum had a Darwin Day event in 2014 (OVER A YEAR AGO). There was a brief error of attribution of an New Mexico Science and Reason event as co-sponsored by the museum in a flyer, but this was corrected LAST YEAR, BEFORE the event even took place. The museum tried to explain things to the ID folk (this is the Feb. 7, 2014 letter shown on News 13), but by that time the ID people were committed to pushing the false claim that "the museum is sponsoring anti-religion talks, so it should sponsor ID talks too." They made a huge stink about it last year, but then, the local news people knew better than to run a non-story. Cut to this year, the museum has a new director, and there wasn't any effort to do another big Darwin Day like the one of 2014. The group didn't even do Darwin Day this year.

Here's what the ID people really want: to have the museum sponsor their pseudoscience. That's why they are saying the museum "cancelled" Darwin Day. But it's not an annual event. We did have a few Darwin Days before, during, and after 2009 (bicentennial of Origin of Species), but our Feb 2010 NMSR meeting was about patent law. Why didn't News 13 run a story on why we "cancelled" Darwin Day in 2010? Our Feb. 2011 meeting was on early American anthropology. Where was the outrage then? Our Feb. 2012 meeting was on science for the public (w/ Sandra Blakeslee of the NYT). Where were the protests that year? In 2013 we did Lake Monsters. Again, no ID protests, no News 13 "Story."

If you want to complain, please don't bother the museum. Tell that News 13 sorry excuse for a reporter, Tina Jensen, and the anchor Dean Staley, that they were CONNED into running a non-story that makes it look like the ID folks are being "discriminated against." THAT is the story here.(IMHO)

And in fairness, the Governor's Office was apparently not responsible for their being no Darwin Day. But they do believe fairy dust will ultimately fix New Mexico's economy.

Tripping

The Journal did a good recap of Governor Martinez's political fund raising travel.  She has been out of state for an astounding 272 days since she was elected Governor.  It is a lot more than I would have suspected.  And once again I ask the question, how many days was she out of state on economic development trips?  If she did take some of those trips she isn't saying so because it would probably show her as being highly ineffective at attracting desperately need jobs.  I actually don't  get real upset about her fund raising absences, but I go get pretty worked up about her total cluelessness on the state of our economy.  What the hell does she do all day?

This story was was the result of legal actions by the Santa Fe Reporter, a solid weekly newspaper in the Capitol.  They Governor's spokesman Enrique Knell could only respond that the Reporter was, " a left wing weekly tabloid."  It is one thing for a blogger to say such things, but a state paid employee of our highest elected official will have that quote follow him for the rest of his career.  It is typical for this republican administration where they always attack the messenger instead of responding to the issue.

On another item, I am very proud of Senator Martin Heinrich's decision to not attend Netanyahu's address to congress.  This severe disruption of diplomacy by Speaker Boehner is very damaging.  Now, one can only wonder why Senator Udall, Congresswoman Michelle Grisham Lujan, and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan are attending.  Gee, do  you think it has something to do with pro Israeli PACs?  Shame on them.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Say It Isn't So!

And did the governor's office ask that this be done?  This could turn into a very interesting story.  I hope it gets legs.

Catching Hell

I have caught all sorts of hell from County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins for my criticism of the Commission's passage of a super regressive tax to fund mental health services and general county operations.  But his has been done and it will stick, for a while anyway.

Now we all need to keep a sharp eye on how this money will be spent.  Which nonprofit organizations will be lining up the get the mental health money to provide services?  Because I can only assume that is where that money will go.  Since there was no plan formulated on how this money was to be spent, it will be a free for all as the money gets doled out.  At the very least this Commission needs to come up with some measurable outcomes for the use of this money.  How do we know it will be used effectively?

Maggie pretty much said in some emails to me she didn't care about her political career, that this was the right thing to do.  I never argued that providing services was bad.  It was the funding mechanism and lack of planning I was criticizing.  And on top of it the Commission raised taxes to cover up their total mismanagement of the overall budget for operations.  And they raised it many times the amount needed to correct the problem.

Meanwhile, the heavy load of these taxes is put on the poor and middle class.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Goes Around Comes Around

When I ran for my first elective office back in 1981 I won a primary election that was said to be un-winnable for me.  That culminated in my first term as State Land Commissioner.  I won the primary for a lot of reasons, but possibly the one that put me over the top was the Oil Pump Jack that had been placed in front of the Land Office by then Commissioner Alex Armijo.  He managed to estrange every voter in Santa Fe by this callous placement on one of the main entryways into the historical Plaza.  I was running against Armijo's picked successor, Oscar Jordan in the Democratic Primary.  He had the support of all of the extractive industry folks that normally plundered the Land Office due to low royalty rates and subsidized grazing fees.  But when the votes came in from Santa Fe and environs in the north that Primary election night, I beat the machine.  That pump jack that had sat in front of the Land Office won it for me.

Cicero said, "We learn nothing from history except we learn nothing from history."   Current right-winger Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn just decided he would remove the beautiful public art from the front of the land office and replace it with a pump jack.  A symbolic and yet real step backwards from a more enlightened era for the Land Office.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Two Inches

I sent this around to my son in upstate New York to prove that his home town is toughing it out.  He  probably wasn't to impressed as the snow in his front and back  yard has accumulated to about five feet in depth.

Yesterday I commented on the military style training DOE is providing to APD saying, "Who knew?"  I guess I did because this was supposedly going on during my term as Mayor.  I remember visiting the Police Academy many times, but I really don't remember visiting DOE's facility.  It  is quite possible I didn't know, but that was almost 20 years ago and can't be sure.  It is still a bad idea.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What?

Channel 13 just did a story on a lost chicken.  It really happened. This means that things in Dick Knipfing's old newsroom aren't to the point of throwing blows like at Channel 4.  It just means......  I don't know what it means.

APD/DOE

Albuquerque Police Officers are undergoing training at hard military tactics provided by the Department of Energy?  Who knew?  What good does it do to clean up APD's training program so that it will turn out public servant/officers when the DOE is giving them a 'kill em all' type of training?

Well, thank you Congresswoman Michele Grisham Lujan for asking DOE to cease such training for APD and local law enforcement.  As she points out, 28 fatal police shootings since 2010, might be indicative of too much macho regimens.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Definition Required

I have not commented much on the KOBTV anchorman/reporter to-do  in the newsroom.  This stuff happens often and I have said on facebook, jokingly, they were probably fighting over which lost dog story with smart phone video should be the lead story.  But only if there wasn't a sex related story to do first.

But a quote by the news director on the incident is very curious.  She said that 25 year veteran anchor man Tom Joles was having trouble getting used to a 'modern day newsroom'.   What the hell does that mean?  That is the real story here and it actually might redeem Joles in my view in the long run.  Of course it is really hard to tell what it was all about, but the news director should give us a definition of her idea of a modern day newsroom.

We all know local TV news is about as informative as a Guantanamo prisoner.  We get 90% junk with an occasional piece of journalism.  Such as Larry Barker's story on Hospital billing ripoffs on KRQE the other night.

And in the end it is kind funny to know that this all KOB stuff was made public by a newsroom employee sending off information to media gossip sites.  They have their own whistle blower!  Hah!

Misc.

The new cowboy promoter,  State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, has reportedly hired Jim Lane who mysteriously was shown the door  at the Game and Fish Department 15 months ago.  Lane who came from Kentucky to run the department was a great proponent of Coyote killing contests, trapping,  and other cowboy favoring issues.  But no one has been able to ferret out why he left Game and Fish after such a short tenure.  Were there some inappropriate behaviors involved?  Did Dunn check him out to see if they were serious problems?  And what will Lane's responsibility be at the Land Office?  Will he encourage Coyote killing contests on state trust land?  Or will he let leg traps, which as Commissioner in the 90's I forbade, be reinstated?  Dunn should state his positions on these issues to make them clear.

The legitimate hunting sportsmen with conservation values better watch this closely.  Here is a story by the Santa Fe Reporter about him. 

A reasonable compromise on a motorcycle helmet law would be that if a rider sustains a head injury in an accident then his insurance could deny payment for his care and no public funds could be expended in hospitals on the injured's behalf.   That sounds cruel, but I am not sure that riding without a helmet should victimize taxpayers or insurance policy rates.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lauren Villigran

The Journal's southern NM correspondent wrote an excellent Up Front Column today on the immigration and border security issues.  It is a dose of reality for all of those xenophobic Americans who think brown people from the south will kill us all.  Just look at some of the facebook comments on her column.  Gee, they don't think that way about Canadians.  I wonder why?

Essentially, Lauren says the current hysteria is a tempest in a teapot.  Read the article and you will find out we are spending triple the money while the illegal border crossing has fallen by 86% since the year 2000.  And it isn't because of enforcement.

And then think of the time wasted on the drivers license issue in Santa Fe over the last five  years.  Instead of working on this kind of nonsense, why not work on economic development?  Mexicans have stop coming across the border in the New Mexico sector because Governor Susana Martinez is incompetent in bringing jobs to our state.

Once again, how many trips has she taken with her economic development team outside the state?  We know she is constantly outside the state raising money for other right wing candidates.  Could she squeeze out a little time to show she cares about our economic malaise?   In this lifetime?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Misc.


When Walmart starts raising the wages they pay their food stamp collecting employees you know that for the most part the economy is steaming up and the competition for workers is increasing.  Except in New Mexico where our GOP legislators can't even stomach a 50 cent raise in the minimum wage for our own workers.  I can't understand what goes through the minds of these people.  Most scientists say such rightwing behaviors are caused by certain structures in the brain.  (Likewise for us lefties.)  But when it gets down to 50 cents an hour you know they have some pretty strange brains.

Former Governor Richardson had an oped in the Journal this morning saying Governor Martinez needs to stop blaming him for everything that is wrong in New Mexico.  He would like her to start working to fix our dismal and depressing economic problem.  That got me to thinking, what does she do all day?  Everyone has their own opinions about Richardson, but he worked very hard.  I have no idea what Susana does in the course of a week.  How many out of state trips has she taken in the last five years with her economic development team?  Does anyone know?  Does anyone care?  Doubtful.  All she needs to do is appear at a school and read to kids and the voters think she is fine thank you.  She has done little to make a future for those kids and she will be long gone before it shows.

And one just has to stand in awe of Governor Scott Walker who is so afraid of losing the really brain impaired tea party types that he has to give up on issues like family planning and toe the line of the extremist fundamentalists.  He used to support a woman and her medical provider making decisions on pregnancy, but now he has reversed himself.  This is what the republican party has become because of the people who show up to vote in their primary elections.  Only the dogma driven crazies cast their ballots.  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Skeptic

I attended Michael Shermer's lecture yesterday and truly enjoyed it.  He is the publisher of Skeptic Magazine.  Some comments on my posts say he is nothing more than a libertarian, but if he is, it didn't really come through in his talk yesterday. He summarized his book, "The Moral Arc."  Essentially he says things are better now in almost every category on earth as far as freedom and democracy are concerned.  Things are better mostly because of the application of science and reason.  Even rank and file republicans believe that and are now concerned about climate change.  They are coming around.

Pols and bloggers, of which I have done both, are usually in the business of saying how bad things are, but if one really does look back at history of the human race, its obvious things are better than they used to be.  His examples included the phenomenon of the acceptance of gay marriage.  Ten years ago everyone was aghast at the notion.  Now it just elicits a shoulder shrug in most nations.  Live and let live grows.

Now, back to reality.  Things could be better in New Mexico if the legislature and Governor could just go ahead and raise the gas tax.  Senator John Arthur Smith said in a Journal oped this morning that is the only way to plan a highway rehab effort.  And I agree.  Now is the time to do it.  The Governor's plan to borrow money through a bond issue is not sensible and is a one time shot.  It would have New Mexicans pay all the bills while truckers and tourists don't pay their fair share for using the roads.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Kate on the Rebound

Cheeky Kate Currell, one of our twin granddaughters is on a great rebound.  She is going home a different baby in a few days.  Two holes patched in her heart and she is much stronger.  Noelle and her husband Luke have been exemplary through this ordeal.  When her little twin sister Alex was in the room with her last night and let out a cry, Kate opened her eyes as to say, "where have you been?"