Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Posts

I noticed today that I have posted 936 times to this blog since I began it in 2005. Some days it is hard to write anything halfway intelligent because of mood, time constraints or malfunctioning gray matter. Today is like that. I have stared at my draft page for 30 minutes and all I can think of is "Why should Obama's Church Pastor's stupid comments be held against him to the detriment of having real issues addressed?" Except, that has been blogged about already this month about 5 million times.

In the meantime read Thomas Friedman's column today. Mainly because he agrees with me!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Funny and True

This is Funny and True!

Bingaman for Obama

I was really happy that Senator Jeff Bingaman endorsed Barack Obama's run for the Presidency on Monday. I wonder what Hilary thinks about respected Senators doing that to her. I wonder if she does the math. Think about the money she needed to get a net gain of 10 delegate votes in Pennsylvania. Think of the nasty advertising and negative attacks she resorted to that have had little effect. Think about Binagman's Super Delegate vote now going to Obama and that fact that it cost nothing to the Obama camp. This all gets more and more interesting and I just hope everyone kisses and makes up before the convention. That is two New Mexico Super Delegate votes now that have jumped Obama's way if you include the Governors. Let's see if James Carville will attack Bingaman.

Let me give you one reason that I think Obama is the better person here. He is not pandering to folks by saying we should suspend the gas tax. Only a desperate pol would do that, think Clinton and McCain, in order to get votes. No matter that it would devastate our already crumbling highway infrastructure and 18 cents a gallon is going to make absolutely no difference to even even the poorest people. But, being the kind of pols that Clinton and McCain are they are really counting on peoples ignorance. Obama is trying to lead and he is showing he isn't afraid to make good decisions.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Science

I read in the Albuquerque Journal today that Science Fair participants are becoming fewer in our public schools because the bureaucratic malaise caused by bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy.

Then I read that San Juan County, up in the Farmington area, is the sixth largest emitter of CO2 of all counties in the United States. That is right up there with Houston and L.A. And some idiots want to build another coal fired power plant there!

So, what we are doing here is inspiring less kids getting into science at a time when we need to depend on it more than ever to solve our energy and climate change crises.

I remember that my good friend Lee Otteni and I entered the St. Pius X High School Science Fair in 1961 and came in second. We went to the regional and got clobbered. (No one had a prayer of winning with all those national lab parents from Sandia and LANL tutoring their kids.) Lee went on to become a wildlife research and scientist. I went into politics. I won't demean science by saying I am a political scientist.

After watching a weekend of Nova, National Geographic and other documentaries on the state of the earth, I am actually wondering if we can handle the collapse of ecosystems. Things are happening much faster that even the biggest pessimists had predicted. They only thing that might save us is a lot of smart kids being nurtured in the sciences and being put to work ASAP to solve our problems. The next President and our Congress will be our last hope.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tax Evasion and Tax Theft

I just noticed that the actor Wesley Snipes was given three years in prison for tax evasion. I just noticed that Lockheed Martin Inc. just had another massive overrun on building a new Navy ship, to the tune of several hundred million dollars. Now, we get to pay $60K a year to keep Snipes in prison and most likely we will award some more Billion dollar contracts to Lockheed Martin. Sheesh!

Domenici's Distraction

Here is what the Senate Ethics Committee said about Senator Pete Domenici's late night phone call to U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

"The committee finds no substantial evidence to determine that you attempted to improperly influence an ongoing investigation. The committee does find that you should have known that a federal prosecutor receiving such a telephone call, coupled with an approaching election which may have turned on or been influenced by the prosecutor's actions in the corruption matter, created an appearance of impropriety that reflected unfavorably on the Senate."

So, what does Domenici do? He doesn't apologize for the phone call but for the distraction that it caused. I can't imagine what the neo cons would be saying right now if Senator Bingaman had done something this stupid.

Speaking of ridiculous things people say, Domenici's answer to $4 dollar a gallon gasoline is to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Why doesn't he just give that one up and let his staff start thinking about his legacy before leaving the Senate in January. Domenici could go out with a bang by sponsoring a windfall profit tax on the oil and gas industry and putting all that revenue into the nation's renewable energy research? He would be a hero in my book.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Common Cause

video

I had coffee with Bob Edgar, President and CEO of Common Cause this morning. He feels the way to help poor people in this country is to reform campaign finance laws. He has been impressed with the City of Albuquerque's new public financing laws and is hopeful other cities will adopt them. He especially calls out the New Mexico Legislative leadership for not acting on our states disastrous lack of campaign finance reform. Click on this clip.

So It Goes

Hillary Clinton got her 10% last night. I thought she would get 8%. Now she is making a deal out of winning the 'big' states. She seems to forget that Obama is winning the 'big' cities. He handily won Philadelphia last night but lost in the so called blue collar communities. So, this campaign will go on with the endgame still inevitable.

I find it amusing that the first thing Hillary did last night was ask people to go to her website to give her money. This after she spent the last week complaining that Obama was spending a lot more money than her. She spent what she had in negative campaigning. Here is what the New York Times thought about her victory. Don't forget they endorsed her.

I get way wrapped up in this stuff. I wonder how many New Mexicans other than us politicos really cares what happened in Pennsylvania last night. My gut feeling is people want a change in direction in this country and will vote for the Democrat no matter the animosity be engendered by Clinton's negativity. Yes, even I would vote for her although I hope it doesn't come to that.

In the meantime do not forget about this as one of my readers reminded me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Diminishing Returns

Every time I watch Hillary Clinton do another attack on Barack Obama I believe she is a victim of diminishing returns in the way of support from many Democrats. For example, now that she has invoked Osama bin Laden in her advertising, thus using the 'fear' factor that she decried bush for in the last election, she ratcheted down my level of support should she be successful in her quest for the nomination. Where I might have gone out and tried to raise money for her, now I will just put up a yard sign. Get the picture? And I am pretty hardcore anti bush/McCain. I know I am not the only one who feels this way. We are totally fatigued with it and are actually angry.

I am assuming that Hillary will win today in Pennsylvania. If she doesn't win by 15% then she has failed to maintain her candidacy. If she wins by less than 5% she should graciously resign from her quest. Anywhere in between those two numbers and she just prolongs the inevitable.

It looks like another fun night watching returns on CNN and MSNBC. Well, I hope they wont use any analysts that are taking money from any of the candidates. Do you think?

Monday, April 21, 2008

More Media Stuff


My friend Rodger Beimer has been sending me lots of comments on the state of the national T.V. news operations lately. We served as reporters together thirty years ago at Channel 7.
Rodger and I sit around coffee about once a week and bitch about how bad it has gotten. How it couldn't get any worse. Well, we were wrong. After reading the story in the New York Times yesterday on the military analysts used by our national broadcast news networks I think we certainly have reached a new low. These retired opining Generals are all on the payrolls of Defense contractors who have a vested interest in war. How can they do honest and unbiased analysis if they worry about their access to the Pentagon for their companies? You must read this article. Every thing they say is tainted and you can not trust them to be honest about the military situation in Iraq.

I find it interesting that this new Internet based Center for Independent Media will be doing great work in New Mexico with some reporters inherited or hired away from the Albuquerque Journal. I also think it will be interesting to see if the Journal replaces the reporters. I know things are tough for most daily newspapers right now and the Journal is no exception. It was sad to see when Tania Soussan, their environment and energy reporter left last year that they didn't replace her. They need someone on that slot full time given the energy and climate change issues.

I have booked marked this new local news site and will check it our regularly.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Antelope

There is a picture of a hungry Haitian girl hunting for food in a landfill on the front page of the New York Times today. She and many others like her are victims of rising food prices around the Globe. It is caused by drought, speculators, ethanol production for fueling our cars, and poor distribution.

That is why I am getting angrier by the moment over the rancher slaughtering those antelope who were in his winter wheat field. He left them wounded and dead to rot in the sun. Food uneaten at the very least and cruelty beyond words. See the video on the Albuquerque Journal website, but even I turned it off after a minute. I am not squeamish at all. I just hate waste and cruelty.

The law that allowed this should be repealed within days of the next session of the legislature. In addition, I am sure there are other laws that should be invoked. Start with wanton waste and animal cruelty for letting these creatures suffer. New Mexico's livestock and agricultural communities have stayed silent so far as I know on this issue. They should find a way to make sure that other methods are found to keep New Mexico's publicly owned wildlife from this kind of waste.

Get real mad.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The West

Last nights TV debate put on by ABC was revolting. Okay, I didn't watch it. I was working Crossword puzzles instead. This morning I read the stories from the mainstream media and the blogs and made my decision that we need to ignore the main stream media in DC.

About the time flag pin politics and religion were taking all the time up in the debate about 50 more Iraqi citizens died in another bombing. Stephanopolous and Gibson, the debate moderators, marched on with their inane questions that ignored every important issue facing this country.

While these showbiz/National Enquirer type talking heads wasted valuable time on stupid questions the nation's Democrats learned little of their candidates beliefs. They could have asked about one of the most important part of the electorate, the Western States. There are real issues out here.

The American West is vital for Democrats. The number of voters self-identified as Independents has grown to nearly 40 percent in much of the West. In the past three election cycles, Democrats have gained five governorships, two U.S. Senate, and seven House seats. In the 2008 general election, the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and Montana could play a decisive role similar to Florida in 2000, and Ohio in 2004. Democrats, however, have not won an inter-mountain western state in the last two presidential races, with the exception of New Mexico's vote for Gore!

Issues out here include energy, water, health care, and protection of our beloved environment. I am an Obama fan as you all know and here is what he must think about.

Seven out of ten of the nation’s fastest growing counties are in the West. People and businesses move to the region for its quality of life, environment, and other amenities. To win the West, Senator Obama will need to share a vision that respects traditional western culture and custom while implementing policies to conserve the lands and waters that define the region. Over the last several presidential elections, Republicans have taken the West for granted and Democrats have ignored it. If Senator Obama can articulate an integrated social and ecological agenda that recognizes the inextricable link among community well-being, and land and water protection, he can carry the West.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Call in the Feds

State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons told Attorney General Gary King today to "stick it." Lyons says he will continue to pursue unlawful land deals with developers on State Lands. The AG had told him it was not kosher and Lyons did so "at his own risk." Now it is up to Gary King to decide what to do next. My suggestion is that he ask the U.S. Attorney to get involved and conduct an investigation in to Lyons Land Office dealings with the developers. Since the state land office was set up by the Congressional Enabling Act that made us a state, the U.S. Attorney has the power to look into this since it appears the Enabling Act and our resulting New Mexico Constitution are probably being violated. One thing is for sure, the developers involved in these sweetheart deals should be wary of proceeding until this is all cleared up. Also, the beneficiary institutions of the land office should be fearful of costly lawsuits that will cut into their income from the land office. Oh wait, that is already happening because of these sweetheart deals! My big question is, "Where is the New Mexico Legislature on this issue?" Oh, thats right, the son of an influential legislator is the lobbyist for the developers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Slaughter

The slaughter of 39 Pronghorn Antelope by a North Eastern New Mexico rancher because they were "taking money out of my pocket" will surely start a firestorm of recriminations between New Mexico sportsmen and ranchers. The Ranch Lobby ought to run away from this one as fast as they can. If they don't they will certainly lose big time in Santa Fe at the next legislature. And they should. At the same time I recognize that many ranchers protect wildlife and see them as an asset and adjunct to their ranching business. They provide waterholes that are crucial to wildlife and many love these animals for their own sake. But this inhumane shotgunning of New Mexico's wildlife is not pardonable especially when the Game and Fish Department offered to help with fencing.

The agricultural community has always had a strong and effective lobby in Santa Fe. But it will pale beside the outrage of our state's hundreds of thousands of hunters. State land lease holders should be very interested in this issue because it will certainly envelope them.

Monday, April 14, 2008

10 Things

My sister Carlota thought I should put this on the blog.

10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don't):

1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1

2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."2

3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3

4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."4

5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.5

6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.6

7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."7

8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8

9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."9

10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10


Sources:
1. "The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day," ABC News, April 3, 2008
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/04/the-complicated.html

"McCain Facts," ColorOfChange.org, April 4, 2008
http://colorofchange.org/mccain_facts/

2. "McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq," Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aF28rSCtk0ZM&refer=us

"Buchanan: John McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,'" ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/06/buchanan-gandhi-mccain/

3. "McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill," ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/20/mccain-torture-veto/

4. "McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned," MSNBC, February 18, 2007
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17222147/

5. "2007 Children's Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard," February 2008
http://www.childrensdefense.org/site/PageServer?pagename=act_learn_scorecard2007

"McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion," CNN, October 3, 2007
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/mccain.interview/

6. "Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady," Associated Press, April 3, 2008
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5h-S1sWHm0tchtdMP5LcLywg5ZtMgD8VQ86M80

"McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,'" Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aHMiDVYaXZFM&refer=home

7. "Will McCain's Temper Be a Liability?," Associated Press, February 16, 2008
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=4301022

"Famed McCain temper is tamed," Boston Globe, January 27, 2008
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/01/27/famed_mccain_temper_is_tamed/

8. "Black Claims McCain's Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: 'I Don't Know What The Criticism Is,'" ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/04/02/mccain-black-lobbyist/

"McCain's Lobbyist Friends Rally 'Round Their Man," ABC News, January 29, 2008
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4210251

9. "McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam," Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008
http://www.motherjones.com/washington_dispatch/2008/03/john-mccain-rod-parsley-spiritual-guide.html

"Will McCain Specifically 'Repudiate' Hagee's Anti-Gay Comments?," ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/03/12/mccain-hagee-anti-gay/

"McCain 'Very Honored' By Support Of Pastor Preaching 'End-Time Confrontation With Iran,'" ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/28/hagee-mccain-endorsement/

10. "John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record," Sierra Club, February 28, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/blogs/environment/77913/


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Reality in Politics Today?

I am posting this video blog with some trepidation.  I am just getting this sinking feeling about next November's election.  video

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Misc

Courtesy

This case of the off duty Albuquerque Police Officer who allegedly ran over a woman in the parking lot of a bar has all the makings of one of those 'professional courtesy' cases that law enforcement often finds themselves in. It seems to me that APD is dancing around the actions of that officer. Would you or I get the same treatment if we had backed over and killed this woman. Don't forget this was all caught on a video camera. Would a politician get this same kind of treatment? Not a chance in hell I think.

Mayor Chavez and his Chief need to get to the truth of this incident as quickly as possible.

The Dark Side of the Force

The Governor issued an Executive Order that clarifying the consolidation of all computer and software related issues and personnel into the Office of Information Technology. That agency is run by my good friend Roy Soto. I called him today and equated him with Darth Vader's comment that one should not underestimate 'the power of the dark side.' Roy's agency now controls the Information Technology Officers in every agency. "The Circle is Complete." He got a kick out of that. He doesn't look like Darth Vader.

Actually, this is a good move by the Governor in his efforts to get the state's IT costs and operations under control.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Basic Training

I finally feel I should comment a little on the flag incident at
UNM a few months back. Apparently a lot of people feel threatened that a Mexican Flag was flying next to an American Flag on the campus. A student was angry it was still there after Old Glory was taken down for the day. So, he tore it up. He was tried and found guilty of destruction of property. See the story here.

The erstwhile columnist Jim Belshaw at the Journal wrote a thoughtful column about and it resulted in many people accusing him of being unpatriotic since he couldn’t understand why people were so fearful of a Mexican flag. Many of his harshest critics were military men or retirees. (Some defended him too.)

It got me to thinking about how our soldiers are being trained. When I was in boot camp 42 years ago I remember sitting through many classroom hours learning about everything military, but I don’t recall ever being given any classes on this Country’s Constitution which we were there to defend. I had learned quite a bit about it at St. Pius X High School in Civics class. I think it was a great course that made me understand that we do live in a great country that offers us many civil liberties.

I wonder, given that most high schools don’t offer such classes anymore, whether or not there should be strong instruction in our Constitution at boot camp for our armed forces. I can assure you that every naturalized citizen that emigrated from Mexico and is now serving in the military for this country knows more about the principles of the Constitution than their fellow men and women at arms. They had to pass a test to become an American citizen. If all recruits were educated about the concepts in this Constitution then they would be less likely to act like anyone who disagrees with them is unpatriotic.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Ingenuity


Maybe I just don't get out enough anymore. When I saw this card come in yesterday amidst the daily haul of 3lbs of catalogs I took notice and marveled at the ingenuity behind this idea.

Can you believe someone has a full time business cleaning up, er, uh, dog shit? They must be successful because it is a high class glossy mailer. Just like the ones that Heather Wilson sends out at government expense.

The card says that there will be a $20 off coupon for the first month if you sign up. I am almost afraid to call and find out how much this service costs if there is a discount that big. However, congrats to the minds that thought this up. I think that I will stick with my twice weekly cleanup with an $8 dollar pooper scooper and a kitchen size garbage bag.

Monday, April 07, 2008

My First Video Blog

This is a first stab at getting all of my new software, HD camera and computer to work together. Be gentle.

Knives Come Out

The knives come out about this time every April before a Primary Election. First we saw back room dealing that picked Sheriff Darren White to be the neo-con candidate when the bush republican operatives in the state got the national party to endorse him and throw Senator Joe Cararro under the bus.

Now we see an effort underway to get former Secretary of State Rebbecca Vigil Giron thrown off the ballot by the forces of Michelle L. Grisham in the Congressional race in Albuquerque. Rebecca didn't get enough delegate votes at the nominating convention so she opted to get more signatures from regular old Democrats going into grocery stores. (one of the best places in my experience) This allows her to get on the ballot.

Michelle and her supporters say Rebbecca allegedly came up 100 signatures short, but there is a great danger in trying to get a judge to bar her from running. Mostly, I think there is nothing wrong with people getting on the ballot and don't forget the thousands of folks who did sign Rebbecca's signature petitions. What are they? Worthless?

Of course the real game here is to weaken the front runner Martin Heinrich. Michelle and her handlers don't want two Latino women running on the ballot under the conventional wisdom that it will split the vote. I don't think that wisdom is valid and I don't think this will weaken Heinrich. Maybe it will improve his position as Rebbecca will now pull the "Bowie" knife out whether she stays on the ballot or not!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Adventurous

I had a great time at our Foundation meeting in Boulder and even got time for a nice massage in the Hotel Julien Spa. Then we sat around and gave away money and ate for two days. I feel like a beached whale.

Bobbi and I had a big adventure today. My computer has been crashing lately so we went out to shop for a new one. One reason I really needed one was to get the capability to edit high definition video. My family got me a high def Canon HG 10 camcorder for Christmas and I didn't have a computer that could handle the editing. I have been wanting to start some video blogs on this site and now maybe I will be able to do it. The big adventure is that we bought an Apple Mac Pro Laptop. I have been playing with it quite a bit and it is impressive. It is handling the video editing nicely, although I have a lot to learn. I have signed up for lessons on how to operate an Apple. It might take a little getting used to.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Board Meeting and the Sheriff

I am off to a meeting of the Wyss Foundation Board in Colorado for the next few days. We will be doing funding work for many western public land groups. It is always a lot of fun. I am looking forward to getting out of the pollen blanket over Albuquerque, although it will be snowing and blustery in Boulder.

I read this morning that Sheriff Darren White who is running for Heather Wilson's seat has done some back room dealing to get the National Republican Party's endorsement over Senator Joe Cararro. And their Primary election hasn't even occurred. This kind of thing fits a pattern that the bush administration would love. Remember all the back room deals for Halliburton? Let's not forget what an unabashed supporter of the bush/cheney team that our Sheriff was. White was a great supporter of the Iraq war as bush's Bernalillo County campaign chairman. This is something that we will never let anyone forget. He can not run away from it or try to rewrite his history on it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Doug Kent Hall

Doug at his studio-June 2005

One of my secret ambitions was to be a world famous photographer. About as close as I got was knowing Douglas Kent Hall who passed away this weekend. Bobbi and I met Doug and his wonderful spouse Dawn back in the early 90's when our son Justin and his son Devon became best friends at Valley High School.

We last saw Doug at our Christmas Eve party when he and the family came over to meet Justin and his new bride Karly. I was just thinking of calling him last week for coffee and now he is gone from us.

Doug was one of those people that could pick up a camera and somehow every time get on film the essence of his subject. I especially loved his photos of every day people living their lives in New Mexico. I was inspired by his images of Flamenco dancers. His many books grace legions of coffee tables through out the world. The art community in New Mexico has lost another great member.