Friday, September 28, 2007

Grant Turns In His Grave

I spent ten years of my life trying to get the 1872 Mining Law reformed. That is the law that President Ulysses Grant signed that was meant to help develop the west after the civil war. It allowed mining companies to steal from the tax payer.(Now we allow the defense industry and the Oil companies to steal too.) The Law's usefulness ended in the early 1900's but it is always hard to get pigs away from the trough and despite lots of good efforts the mining industry stopped reforms for 100 years.

Now it actually looks like the law might be reformed. Congressional hearing are progressing and some Republicans are signing on to the effort as their constituencies clamor for strong environmental law and accountability. Better late than never.

Actually, all of a sudden there are some positive things happening on public land issues in the west. The one big worry is whether bush and cheney will give away the farm through administrative actions in the next 15 months. One thing that you can say about them is that they stick to their guns and never give up on their give aways to friends.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I visited nine congressional offices today on the effects of Off Road Vehicles on our western lands, watershed and wilderness. We visited both Republican and Democrat offices. The hight point was a visit to a Vermont Congressman's office. He had prominently displayed in his lobby a brochure about how healthy cheddar cheese is for human beings.

On a plane at 6am and should be back tomorrow by 10am.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


As we flew the serpentine approach over the Potomac into Washington, DC this afternoon I was shocked at the appearance of the DC area. It almost looks like New Mexico. It is brown and dry. The cab ride in reminded me of a drive through a desert. They are suffering a real drought here and it shows. The cab driver, a nice Ethiopian guy who wondered if New Mexico was in the U.S., said there was great hope for later in the week when the forecast was for rain. I instantly thought of all this as a metaphor for the bush administration. Things are bad, but soon there is hope for a change.

I think my brain is stuck in this mode of thinking about bush all the time. A friend of mine who has been out of town for four weeks but was checking in on my blog said I was beginning to sound like Bill Maher. Well, yes I do. My friend hasn't any kids and I told him that I guess that was driving my bad attitude. They are the ones who will reap the result of all of this bush failure.

I went to a couple of nice receptions for Alaska Wilderness tonight. One at the Rayburn house offices and one at the National Geographic HQ. They were really nice and I saw a lot of old friends. All of them are hoping for the best in the next election, but they are all very cautious at the same time about whether the Democrats will self destruct. Me too.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I travel tomorrow. I used to love to go to Washington, DC. Now I don't enjoy it so much anymore, except for the really great people that I meet with when I am there. It goes without saying that they are not members of the administration, although I would meet with them if they really wanted to do something positive and competent. They don't do much of that these days. And most Americans agree.

I will be busy on Wednesday with numerous meetings on the Hill with Congressmen and Senators and mainly their staffs on the Off Road Vehicle problems on public lands in the west. In the evening I will be attending a roll out for the new National Conservation System Foundation which will help to protect the National Landscape Conservation System which was created by President Clinton. These lands are comprised mostly of Bureau of Land Management Lands that are worthy of increased protection.

I will undoubtedly go by the White House and curse under my breath. Maybe, I will wave too.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

bush & weh

Here is another example of the President and his stand on your civil liberties. Read it and weep, I mean really weep.

Above is the cover of Canada's biggest news magazine and their take on bush. (I saw this on Bill Maher last night.) This week I will have stuff added to my dossier as I travel to Washington, DC for meetings and then on to Wyoming for a speech.

And now New Mexico State Republican Chairman Allen Weh has criticized Governor Richardson's fund raising mailer asking folks to stand with him against the war and send in $50.. Weh said, according to the Albuquerque Journal, "its in extremely poor taste." He meant you shouldn't talk about raising money and the war in the same letter. Governor Richardson effectively pointed out his main reason for running was to end the war and it certainly is fair to raise money to achieve that end. I wonder if Allen Weh doth protest too much.

Any bets that Allen Weh's business, CSI Aviation Services which charters aircraft world wide, might have another dog in this fight? I wonder if he is making money and bonuses chartering aircraft to fly into Iraq to service the 130 thousand soldiers and 180 thousand American contractors. An end to the war would end the transfer of taxpayer money to defense contractors after all. Look at Weh's website and you will see him at the trough.

This is from his website. Think extraordinary rendition here.

CSI has provided aircraft for several federal agencies to include:
Bureau of Prisons (BOP)
Department of Defense (DOD)
Department of Energy (DOE)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Department of Justice (DOJ)
Department of State (DOS)
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA)

Friday, September 21, 2007


Some mortgage companies have turned into nothing but Predators. I get something like this everyday. (click on it to see it clearly.) This particular mailer looks like the government has flagged my house and mortgage as being in danger. It implies I must call them for action on the mortgage. It is aimed at senior citizens and is meant to sucker them into getting new mortgages before their current ones run out. I will bet the interest rate will be higher for those old folks. I know it would be for me, since I have a 4.3% mortgage that has another 4 years to run. (I got this one at the absolute low point)

I know that the Governor and GSD Secretary Ed Lopez are investigating these fraudulent folks on an ongoing basis. Good for them. When they are found guilty I hope there will be criminal complaints filed against the CEOs and Board of Directors because their crimes are just as bad as someone breaking into your house and stealing everything you own. I have no sympathy for them.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Interesting Analysis

I just got this in the email from someone. It is an analysis of Newspapers in New Mexico and their philosophical bent as a product of the make up of their columnists. It is called 'Black and White and Re(a)d All Over.' It is worth a read. I will say the Albuquerque Journal has a progressive local columnist in Ned Farquhar. He is not listed.

Media Frenzy

If you get run over by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway freight or passenger train you might get a minor mention on the state page of the newspapers. The TV news stations might give you ten seconds of time between their sex crime stories, unless your car is still on fire and then you get 15 seconds.

But if you are run over by the new Rail Runner commuter train you will get a full page front story with a color picture and four minutes live coverage on the TV stations. What is it with this media frenzy over a visionary new way of getting around the Rio Grande Valley? If a train hits a car with a loss of life it is a terrible thing, but why is it more terrible if the new Rail Runner is involved? There have been trains going down that same track since the 1880's or so and we have always been taught to look both ways when crossing a track.

Could it be that the media sense that some people think the Rail Runner is a dumb idea that costs too much? It is a progressive move to build this new infrastructure and maybe our arch conservatives just don't like the idea that it wont pay for itself. Well, no public transit pays for itself. And neither does the commercial trucking industry, which we all build highways for. But that doesn't mean they should be done away with either. They serve a larger public purpose in our economy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mobile Hate

I am not a big fan of Mayor Marty Chavez. However, I think he does have a reasonable and respectable policy on immigrants. I feel sympathy for him as the mobile hate truck operated by the Republican Party travels around the city with a billboard on it basically saying that Chavez harbors criminal immigrants in Albuquerque. I saw the truck yesterday as Arturo Sandoval and I sat at lunch in Downtown Albuquerque. The gas guzzling behemoth was cruising around the busy streets that were peopled by our town's potpourri of citizens, tourists and movie set workers. A friend of mine says he sees the truck parked at Republican Party Headquarters at Journal Center when it isn't out adding to global warming.

Has the Republican party reached a point of complete meltdown? Have the decent GOP party members just given up on their radical leaders? Don't they know what is important to people in this state any longer? Is the politics of hate the only issue left open to them? What is next? The Frito Bandito with an assault rifle?

I would think that they should be more concerned with Senator Pete Domenici, Representative Heather Wilson and Representative Steve Pearce being named to the top 22 most corrupt Washington politicians. That is out of 535 Senators and Congressmen!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The bush Team Gift

The bush administration is getting ready to give a huge gift to their oil and gas industry enablers by getting ready to approve up to 126,000 new oil and gas wells on your public lands in five western states. New Mexico is slated for a hefty portion of those water threatening drilling jobs. To understand the largess that bush is willing to give to his buddies, consider the fact there are only 76,000 wells operating now. Ahh, the gift that keeps on giving.

See the report here.

I had a flash last night as I was watching a TV show that reminded me that bush lost the popular vote in the last election. Somehow, I had forgotten that and it made me angry all over again.

I had coffee this morning with a friend who was wondering what Colin Powell and Condolezza Rice think about every morning when they look in the mirror. These are two smart people who wanted to be around power rather than centering on honesty. As smart people, I wonder if deep down they can truly rationalize their complicity in this mess.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Apparently, according to the Albuquerque Journal, at least one city police officer thinks it is within his realm of authority to tell someone to 'shave their armpits.' I wonder if that officer has shaved his armpits. I wonder if the rest of the horse mounted officers really found it necessary to ride their hay burners down a sidewalk to force Iraq war protesters into the street. I think maybe Mayor Marty Chavez better get some constitutional training for the officer in charge of Saturday's police detail outside of Kirtland Air Force Base where a couple of hundred people showed up to hold signs condemning the war and its perpetrators.

Having said that, I would now like to take to task the leaders of the protest for stupidly doing this at a military base gate. You can't rally support by doing it there You are wasting time.. You hurt yourselves and chances of acheiving your goal. You should be protesting it in front of Pete Domenici's office, Heather Wilson's office and Steve Pearce's office. They voted for this war for their idol, george bush, and they are the ones who are responsible. Just like the democrats who did the same thing.

Don't come after the men and women who are following orders as they are supposed to. Let me make it clear. I am against this war completely. From its inception in bush's macho brain to the current day. But aiming protests at the military is highly inefficient. They are not the ones who can end this disaster, only our elected officials can. That is something that will find out from my wallet. No more money for them from me after stupidly saying Petraeus is a traitor. Petraeus deserves heavy criticism and some disgrace, but calling him a traitor is not valid or believeable.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Carry Out

I got an amazing copy of a news story in the Gallup Independent from the Environment Department on my state email yesterday. I am surprised that I haven't seen it in picked up by other media yet. The release is about eco burials. Should we call it 'Green Death Solutions?'

An eco burial is one where your body is not embalmed with toxic chemicals or buried in a non biodegradable container. No more pollution of ground water with harmful toxins or metals. Apparently, you are now just buried in a giant cloth baggie. The theory is that you will just dissolve away sooner or later. Most likely later in our arid environment. Maybe there are other solutions too as pictured here.

Actually, cremation still makes sense to me, although it does release carbon into the air and uses a lot of energy. I just want my ashes scattered in Pena Blanca, New Mexico.

Or as a final solution where we can continue to be productive after death, we could do the whole "Solyent Green" thing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Right Thing to Do

The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, announced today he would step down from leading that nation. He was a strongly nationalist leader and wanted Japan to assert itself politically and militarily around the world. However, his administration was corrupt, incompetent and inarticulate. Sound familiar? So, why do leaders in other nations have the courage to throw in the towel when things go south on them? Is it because prosecutors will come after them? (think of our Justice Department), is it because they have lost the support of the people? (just read the polls on bush/cheney), is it because their military plans were poorly executed?(well, that sounds familiar), or is it because those shamed leaders actually feel shamed by their own incompetence and dishonesty?(don't hold your breath in the USA)

But, looking back on it, Nixon at least had the courage and intellect to know when the game was up. That pretty much puts bush out of similar decision making.

I have had a tough time even listening to the testimony of our Generals in Congress this week. I am aghast they have decided to take a bullet for the bush/cheney gang. They have dishonored their heretofore admirable careers. This just goes to show what a hopeless situation this country is in. Yes, sometimes things are just hopeless and I frankly have no clue what the best course of action is now in Iraq, but I lean just getting out of there as soon as possible. I also lean towards vilifying the bush/cheney team for the rest of my life and begging Congress to get a backbone.

These kinds of rants are about all we can do right now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

PNM as Hypocrites

Every month Bobbi and I shell out extra dollars to be in the Public Service Company of New Mexico's green program. We feel it is the right thing to do to buy wind energy to keep carbon out of the air. Now, PNM says they will buy power from the plant that will be burning our Pinon and Juniper forests for fuel. That harebrained idea is actually moving along and PNM is aiding and abetting it by saying they will be a customer of the Torrance County Western Water and Power plant. The New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board shrugged their shoulders yesterday and granted an air quality permit to the plant. Secretary of the Environment Department Ron Curry had delayed the project, but now it looks to be back on track.

The best thing everyone could do right now is to put pressure on PNM and other utility companies not to buy this power. PNM will stand as a huge hypocrite if they participate. Next time you see PNM CEO Jeff Sterba tell him what you think.

The State Land Office has also enabled this fiasco by granting a no bid lease to strip state lands of the Pinon/Juniper forests that we all know so well. Where are the media investigations of that little movida? Where are Legislative inquiries into this?

Who will protect Pinon forests?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Good Idea

At first I thought it was a silly idea. Seconds later I thought it was a good idea. While sitting around with some of the Council members of the Wilderness Society near Winthrop, Washington the other evening someone said they were afraid that history would treat bush better than he should be treated. I have always worried about that too since so much of the media is in the hands of corporate supporters of the bush gang.

We suddenly flashed on the idea of citizens time capsules being planted all around the country with information that can be dug up hundreds of years from now that will tell the truth of bush, cheney, powell, rice, wolfowitz and rumsfeld's disastrous leadership. We should all write testimonials and plant them in effective time capsules in new buildings, farmland, abandoned mines, basements...and everywhere else we can think of. The goal is for people in the future to learn from our mistakes and how we let these incompetent self serving war mongering idiots take power.

I am personally going to buy one of these time capsules and bury it around Christmas time. If anyone wants to put in their observations about the bush regime I will be glad to add them. Read this for how it should be done.

I will be glad to add my thoughts to any other time capsules. Wouldn't it be great to see these all over the country? I am serious about this and would love to see it become a national undertaking by peace loving progressive people.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Yesterday was the 43rd anniversary of the signing of the National Wilderness Act. It was a visionary thing to do. Now stop and think about the bush administrations approach to Wilderness. That there shouldn't be any that interference with his coal, oil and gas donors wishes.

I will be gone for the next few days attending a Wilderness Society meeting in the Northern Cascade Mountains in the state of Washington.

Monday, September 03, 2007

City Council Races

As a former Mayor I probably take more interest in the city council races than most folks. Those races are pretty boring for the most part and yet from a standpoint of the city's future they are pretty important.

I live in Councilor Debbie O'Malley's district and I will be voting for her again. Her opponent came to my door not long ago seeking signatures for her nominating petition and I signed one just because I like to see people get on the ballot. I found later she works for real estate developers and regretted signing that form, although she seemed like a nice enough person. I just don't think we need to have a Mayor who is a tool of developers, (Chavez) and a council who is controlled by developers. As it turns out the developers have three ringers in the city council races and that isn't good.

At the same time I don't want to see councilors be completely anti development. I would like to see them pursue good planned community type projects that will keep as much development close in to the city as possible. It doesn't make sense chasing it all out to Sandoval and Valencia counties because of the commuting problems.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Bosque Walk

It was a beautiful morning for a walk in the Bosque. We had an intense rain last night in the near north valley and the trees looked sated. Click on the pictures to make them bigger.

It must have rained up north quite a bit. The amount of sediment in the river looked like almost blood like. This stuff is really bad for the irrigation ditches because it fills them in with sand and clay. If the ditchriders don't close the right gates at the river diversions it can cause real problems.

Look for Athena, Goddess of Beagles, in this picture.
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