Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Misc.

One of New Mexico's longest tenure journalists is retiring and it is sad to see.  John Roberston of the Journal, a fair minded reporter, has announced his departure.  He has been undergoing treatment for cancer and is doing well.  I  have known John since the 70's when newspapers mostly reported the news as fairly as they could.  He was a star in his profession.  He could write accurately because he always checked his facts and made sure no partisanship entered into his longtime role as a political reporter.  The Journal will miss his expertise.  If you want to read John's blog you will find a thoughtful piece just about every day.  See it here.

The oil and gas boys are trying to drum up support, via the Farmington Daily Times editorial board, to get royalty rates reduced on stripper wells in New Mexico.  They say they aren't feasible with the drop in oil prices.  If Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn does this he will violate his fiduciary responsibility.  And if you think about it, where were these oil boys when prices were outrageously high?  Were they offering to pay more royalties?

The NM GOP is hiring a new staff.  It doesn't appear that any Latinos were amongst the new leadership.  Maybe the party right wingers are worried about valid drivers licenses.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Misc.

We are trying something new in our household.  We will now only get the Sunday editions of the Journal and New York Times and read the digital versions on all other days.  We tried it for the first time today and both the Journal and Times have excellent apps that make it seem like you have an actual paper.  Except no ink stains and small print.  At least on iPads.  Bobbi traded in her old one yesterday for a new one with better screen capabilities.  I really like the font size options on the digital versions.  As for the crosswords, I will now just buy books full of them.

I am getting convinced that social media is turning America into a land of paranoid citizens.  We have had some problems with crime in our close north valley neighborhood, although the overall crime rate is down.  Now every time there is an incident the list serve fills up with scared comments and how everything is going to hell around here.  Yesterday someone saw two strangers in our public park and called the police because they might be homeless drug addicts.  They were asleep in the park and not causing any problems, but well, they were just there!  The good thing is that neighbors around here really look out for each other.  We did manage to get one of the burglars arrested by working with APD.

County Commissioner Art de la Cruz should opt out of voting on that ill advised Santolina development on the far...far west side of Albuquerque.  Even before he was to listen to testimony on the project, he was supporting it on the Albuquerque Journal's OPED page.  A huge blunder on is part.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Commissioners on the Precipice

Bernalillo County Commissioners have done a outrageously poor job of managing in the last few years.  They just raised our taxes because they were fiscally irresponsible and have walked themselves into an almost 20% deficit.  That is huge. Now they are asking department heads to cut 10% from their budgets.  This is draconian but necessary due to their malfeasance.

 Now they want to compound problems  by getting ready to approve the master plan for the Santolina mega development on the west side of Albuquerque. This will be another long term financial disaster for all of  us, unless some very hard and stringent requirements are insisted upon to keep the county from raiding taxpayer pockets to pay subsidies for the developers.

Of course all of this is happening at the same time the close in Mesa Del Sol project is languishing because of our horrible economy in Albuquerque and New Mexico.  The weak leadership we are experiencing in the Governor's and Mayor's office in job creation has slowed down the recovery of that ready to go development.  And so, why should we let the county commit us to a development ten miles out of Albuquerque?  This all happens at the same time many existing county areas are in great need of redevelopment and infrastructure investment.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Empty Chair.....

Should we shame Governor Susana Martinez for her lack of leadership skills?  Yes, we should. Did she ever try to hammer out some compromises amongst the partisans in the Legislature, which ended with no capital outlay bills?

This is on her as much as the leadership in the houses. She reigns over chaos. Watch your highways, bridges and infrastructure fall apart. No wonder we are now number 2 in poverty rates. When even government fails to provide jobs, then there is something wrong with the leadership.  I suspect the guys who run the cleaning crews in the Capitol are showing more leadership that her by just making sure there is toilet paper available.

Did the Governor ever visit the chambers and gather together the Dems and GOP and say, “Lets try and meet each other half way on getting some bills passed?  No, from what I hear she didn’t.  Probably because she and her rightwing handlers never feel they need to meet someone halfway either.  Maybe they will go for 15%, but halfway…nah. 


Damn, how did the Land of Enchantment turn into the Land of the Hopeless.  We really don't deserve this.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

Weep


Friday, March 20, 2015

Wages of Humanity

Download this little gem of a short novella by Cixin Liu, an incredible Chinese SCIFI author.  It will give you one spin on the evils of the division of wealth we are suffering.  Think evolution.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Left Early

Our friend Maragete Bagshaw, daughter of Helen Hardin and Cradoc Bashaw died today a the age of 50.  The well known painter lived eight years longer that her acclaimed mother Helen, who died of breast cancer at 42.  They were so talented it is hard to describe.

Helen's paintings adorn our walls. She was a high school classmate whose mother Pablita Velarde is world famous for her art.

This talent runs in the family for sure.  You can read Kate Nelson's remembrance of Magarete here.

End of Days

As the End of Days approaches for the NM State Legislative session, things always get silly and ridiculous but usually work themselves out as the grownups take over.  For instance, Democrat Senator Munoz of Gallup who asked a UNM Regent candidate to fire the UNM President and CFO in return for his confirmation vote will now wonder if using his phone to text this message to the candidate during the hearing was a wise thing.  And the candidate who made all of this public  showed his naivety by going public to that GOP reporter at Channel 4.  This story would not have been done if it were a republican senator that did the deed.  It is all silly but typical.  Meanwhile, most folks in the media ignore the real issues because it would take actual work to report on them.

And the hundred of bills that are awaiting action with just two days left in the session will be winnowed down to a few that might squeak through.  Mostly they will be ones that have the best lobbyists behind them.  Most of the bills will die, and that is usually a good thing.  This is the way it all works.

At least our lawmakers aren't allowing concealed weapons to be carried on college campuses like they are doing in Texas.  You really have to wonder if there is some serious natural selection occurring on our neighbor to the east in which the leadership pass laws that are dangerous and deadly to themselves and their constituents.  Those legislators in Austin are just batshit crazy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Misc.

Albuquerque Mayor Berry has come up with $2 million dollars to throw at six nonprofit organizations to help deal with homeless problems.  The NGOs are there with their hands out and will probably put the money to good but scatter shot use.  But the fact of the matter is that this is only a kind gesture that will have little or no impact on homelessness.  This problem will not be solved until the division of wealth in this country is fixed through fair taxation of the very rich.  This $2 million dollars could leak away from a one percenter and they probably wouldn't even notice.

The Albuquerque Journal is certainly going the way of local TV News.  Two major doggie stories today.  One is a syrupy front pager and another is a nice photo of dog cuddling at UNM covering a major space on the Metro page.  Pretty soon the paper will devote as much to lost doggie stories as Facebook does to cat videos.  Arghhhhhh!

Can you imagine a presidential candidate in the USA warning voters that they better get to the polls because there are a lot of black people voting?  That is what essentially happened for Israel when that racist warmonger Netanyahu urged right-wingers to the polls yesterday because there were to many Arabs voting.  How can this country support that nation any longer?  His reelection may spell a real dissolution for Israel.

One wonders if the folks at  UNM are celebrating the loss of former UNM Regent Jaime Koch.  I am betting there are a few toasts being offered behind closed doors.  But what happens now, with two vacancies on that board?


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Gasp

Damn the Juniper Pollen!

A friend said he once shot a wild turkey that had been eating Juniper berries.  When they cooked it they couldn't eat it because it tasted like rancid Gin.  When they offered some to the dog, it sniffed it and walked away.  This is not to say I hate all things Juniper.  Tanqueray is fine stuff with lime and tonic after a round of golf!  But the pollen, the damn pollen.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

That UNM Regent Thing

What are the qualifications for a prospective University Regent in New Mexico?  So far as I can tell the only qualification is that you are a money funnel for the current sitting governor's campaigns.  And I mean any sitting governor, and not just Susana Martinez.

The current chaos around Matt Chandler, who's confirmation was denied by the New Mexico Senate, and the subsequent resignation of that go either way political fund raising Regent Jaime Koch is intriguing.  Why exactly did Koch feel he should resign?  Was there some deal that he would garner support for the governor's good buddy and rightwing fundraiser Chandler?  And when he failed he was told to resign?  Well, we will never know.  What a silly mess on everyone's part! And, what a peculiar system.

But the fact of the matter is that some serious thought and debate should be put into writing up qualifications for prospective Regents of all our higher ed institutions.  Like maybe a few of them could have some experience dealing with faculties, students, research, and such?  Not all regents, but at least half, maybe? Since the legislature has sent only one bill to the Governor since convening 53 days ago, the chance for any reform is about zero.  Oh, the bill that was sent was to fund the work of the legislature.



ABQ Journal vs. Solar

The Saturday edition of the Albuquerque Journal has once again enabled the fossil fuel funded whack jobs to say that Solar renewable energy is a bad thing.  Quotes from the Rio Grande Foundation and an Oped from the so called 'Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy' have cast doubt on the idea of solar rooftop installations and strong renewable requirements aimed at Utilities.  The Alliance is run by Marita Noon, poster girl for the "Merchants of Doubt."

They are fighting a losing battle at this point.  Yesterday I played golf at Santa Ana Golf Club.  I hadn't been there since the first of the year.  I arrived to find the large parking lot covered with 269 Kilowatts of Solar panels placed atop new shade structures, similar to this photo.  The construction guys  there said it would totally cover needs of the facility which includes two restaurants.

It is interesting to watch the old coal, oil and generating model unraveling.  It can't happen soon enough.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Misc.

Apparently the stupidity  of right wing male political leaders isn't just confined to the good ole USA.  The Canadian Prime Minister is now suffering from a backlash from women in Canada for saying face veils are not liked by Canadians.  Read about it here.  It is funny.  And this is right up there with our own Senate Republicans lousing up a bill to strengthen laws against human trafficking by adding anti choice measures for women.  I am beginning to think that the human species is self selecting for extinction by continually electing male  morons to lead us.

Which leads me to Hillary Clinton.  Why are so many pundits saying she is the only one Democrats are thinking about as a Presidential candidate?  I certainly would pick her over anyone from the bush family, but frankly I am just tired of the Clinton/bush oligarchy.  Let's find some new blood and fast.  I say look to Senator Kirstin Gillibrand for a female candidate, or some young male Senator like a Martin Heinrich.  Let's go for someone at least 25 years younger that that war loving John McCain.  And I say this as a guy who is almost seventy.

Speaking of which, looks like I might make it to 80 after completing my prostate cancer radiation treatments today.  I got 45 sessions with a sophisticated machine.  I have been somewhat trapped for the last nine weeks as I went through this regime.  I put almost 900 miles on my car going back and forth every morning.  It was like going to work before I retired.  But now I can go back to a decent diet and I can do my early morning walks with no fatigue.  Thanks to the science, Doctors and radiation therapists at the New Mexico Cancer Center for being so professional and efficient.