Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sniffing Around


I got a decent picture of our marauding raccoon last night. Bobbi wants to give him a name and so we will call him "Attilla the Coon" in honor of his raiding ways. He was sniffing around the cat food supplies again. Much like all of the candidates are spending this weekend sniffing out last minute votes for Tuesday's Primary Election. Bobbi and I already voted so all the last minute TV ads will mean nothing to us.

I kind of chuckle at the last minute endorsement of Heather Wilson by Pete Domenici. An awful lot of people out there just don't care who is running to go to Congress as a bush loving supporter, and that is what Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce are. They are both right wing war mongers who don't deserve our trust or support.

I think Pearce will win the Primary handily. I think he will have a hard time getting a lot of Albuquerque votes that Heather might have received had she been the nominee. Tom Udall will have an easier time of it with Pearce. It should all be interesting.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Pat & Rebecca and Expo

Three cheers for State Auditor Hector Balderas deciding to audit the Pat Lyons 'sweetheart' deals at the State Land Office. Lyons says it is obviously a partisan Democratic plot to get him. That is the same tact that Democrat Rebecca Vigil Giron is taking on the Federal audit that found millions of unaccounted for dollars spent by her while Secretary of State. She says it is a plot by the Republicans to keep her from being elected to Congress. Paranoia is apparently non partisan.

I was thrilled to see that the New Mexico State Fairgrounds are being considered for some real redevelopment. I was proud to see that the Governor's office thinks the effort should be modeled after our efforts as Mayor to revitalize downtown Albuquerque. This is something that has been needed for that area of the city for a long time and I think only good can come from it. The effort will need buy in from a lot of special interest groups but as in the downtown area, it can happen. The effort will also need a knowledgeable and strong executive to pull it off.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Waste

This is a site worth visiting to get an idea in graphic terms about waste in American society. Bobbi found this!

Mystery Solved

No, it wasn't the mystery of where several million dollars in missing government money spent by former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil Giron ended up.

Our cat food bandit has been exposed. When the weather gets nice we keep the garage door cracked open about six inches for ventilation and access to Jerry the Cat's favorite sleeping place next to the water heater. Last summer the large bag of cat food we keep nearby kept getting raided along with the cat food dish. We knew that our neighbors cat, Ninja Cat, came in to sup once in a while along with some other kitties. But we thought they couldn't be eating as much as they seemed to be. Sometimes the 25lb. bag of food had been dragged ten feet towards the garage door.


Last night I set up my wildlife camera and got this picture. The rear end of a Raccoon. Mystery solved. I had suspected it was a raccoon since we live in the valley within a stone's throw to the Rio Grande. I have always liked these critters. Do they eat cats?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

No Pictures of bush and White

Just as I thought. No one has been able to come up with a picture of george bush and Darren White standing together at a fund raiser yesterday. It is actually phenomenal that the President of the United States is so disliked that the people he supports want no evidence of it. Darren White can not run away from the fact that he was bush's campaign chairman here in Bernalillo County. It makes no difference that White now tries to mildly criticize the President when just a couple of years ago he felt bush walked on water.

We went to a really nice fund raiser for Martin Heinrich last night. The interesting thing was that many of the folks there were not the party regulars or political junkies, (like me) who usually turn up at these events. There were many new faces that indicate new involvement in our party. That is a good thing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Michelle Obama



Michelle Obama had a standing room only fundraising crowd at Yanni's on Central Avenue in Albuquerque today. She spoke for 45 minutes and had the crowd's attention the whole time. She said one thing that I think we all need to remember. I know I should. She said that "The things that unite us are bigger than the things that divide us." She has the makings of a great first lady!

She spoke of Governor Richardson as a good friend and how he had always shown such good grace when he was on the campaign trail before he retired from the race. The big guy sat and listened today to a great speech.

$100 Reward

I will pay a $100 reward for the first person who sends me a good quality photograph of Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White and President bush standing together at White's fund raiser today. It will be the single most powerful image of that campaign. Don't forget that White was bush's campaign chairman in this county and we certainly want everyone to remember it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Picnic Photos As Therapy

We just finished watching HBO's "Recount". It is about the counting of votes from the election in Florida that stole the 2000 election from Al Gore and gave it to george bush. It was a good tale and I am sure it will open old wounds. It has with me. I got so angry with it all over again I decided to work on these photos as a means of therapy. I love taking pictures of kids. I took along my Nikon to my brothers for Bar-B-Q today. I wanted to get some new pictures on John and Lisa Newell's kids. They are really photogenic. John and Lisa are my brother's wife sister and husband. He manufactures great jewelry and she is a hotshot computer programmer. These photos turned out great.

Anya-7 years old

Ian-10 years old

Amanda-12 years old

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Crimes Against Humanity

It was bad enough that bush and his crowd started an unnecessary war that has caused countless deaths. It was bad enough that they eroded our civil liberties. It was bad enough our national policy now includes torture. It was bad enough they ignored the imminent energy crisis and climate change. But now these incompetent and criminal leaders are imprisoning desperate people for merely trying to work to provide for their families. The 270 illegal immigrants who were found working in a meatpacking plant in Iowa will now be carted off to five months hard time in federal prison, all because they wanted to send money home to feed their families. (How much has been spent by the prosecutors and then the prison system to pay for this? $100K each?)

Has this country and its Justice system lost all sense of right and wrong? Yes, I think it has. War profiteers run free. War criminals are immune. Poor working people are imprisoned. If we are going to send a message, lets start with the people at the beginning of this list. We have little time to rebound from eight years of chaos under the republicans and complacent democrats who have allowed this to happen.

I feel ashamed for my country right now. I used to be a proud American but things have gotten so out of balance that I think our country is on the path of certain ruin as a renegade state. The only solution is to vote entirely for liberal to moderate candidates in November. No bush supporters or campaign operatives should be given any chance what so ever of attaining office. No republican or democrat who voted for the war should be allowed to stay in office without some scrutiny. Period.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is mainly a holiday to remember things or go to the new block buster movies that usually start the summer season. I will be doing both this weekend. We will go see the second Narnia movie. I liked the first because it really denoted Christianity as an inclusive religion, although it really doesn't seem like it in real life.

I decided to try and remember some random good things. So here are a few.

I remember my grandfather and grand mother Delfin and Lenore Baca. This is their wedding picture taken in 1913. They were such good people and they lived in Pena Blanca. My grandfather was incredibly generous. When he had a good apple crop he generally gave his money away to those who needed help.
I remember my good friends from my childhood years and the fact that we still stay in touch from time to time. This is Bob Salazar, Rodger Burnett and me with my Man in the Moon Kite! I remember taking my first picture of Bobbi shortly after we met. This is her peeking out from around a wall in 1976. What a babe! I was a cradle robber. I was 30 and she was 23!

I remember my big sister Carlota always bossing my twin brother Tom and me around. We gave her so much crap that I am surprised she talks to us anymore. She still gets a little critical of us. I guess that is a big sisters job. This picture pretty much protrays her attitude towards us.

I remember the joys and stamina required of Bobbi and me in raising our children Justin and Noelle. They have both turned out so well. 23 year old Noelle works for Intel and Justin gets his Masters in Public Administration at Syracuse University in June. He has accepted a job with the Solar Energy Industry Association in Washington, DC starting in July.


I remember our parents Fermin and Dixie who worked hard to provide for us.They divorced after we all graduated High School.

I remember our joy at my brother surviving mortal combat as a helicopter pilot to return home to his family after two tours in Vietnam.


I look forward next year to remembering that the most evil and incompetent administration ever to lead our country will be out of office.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

End of an Era


I have made a momentous decision. I will no longer service my own swamp coolers. I have been doing it since I was 15 years old. Now that I am approaching 63 I will change my ways. I am now hiring professional swamp cooler servicemen to deal with the descaling, lubrication, pad cleaning, copper tube preparation, trips to the hardware store, and those million other little details that I have come to loathe about swamp coolers. Last year I replaced two old and rusted swamp coolers with new shiny ones that were not held together by corrosion. It was then that I realized I would never again subject myself to the Memorial day rigors of 'startup'. With all due respect to those who toil on with the annual time consuming chore I have only one thing to say. Life is too short.

However, I will still do the landscaping work during the summer. I can cut the grass in the front and back yard in 12 minutes. Bobbi handles the weed eater and we hire Gavino twice a year to do the heavy lifting in the autumn and spring. I watch over the tomatoes along with Bobbi and she goes out and tells the dwarf peach tree that it is loved. That little tree puts out a ton of peaches.

This is the kind of blog I like to write. It is more uplifting than talking about the sexual lives of congressional candidates.

P.S. I dedicate my blog today to Jim Belshaw of the Albuquerque Journal, AKA Dr. Swamp Cooler.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Worthless Endorsements

Here is who I want to see elected in the upcoming Congressional and Senate Races in New Mexico.

First, I hope Steve Pearce beats Heather Wilson for obvious reasons. He will be easier to beat in the General Election in November. He is truly a right wing radical. I think Tom Udall will make a great Democratic Western Senator and I know he will be forceful on all issues regarding renewable energy, landscape protection and climate change.

I want Martin Heinrich to win his Congressional seat because he is simply the best person to serve us and he will put up a great campaign against Sheriff Darren White who loves all things george bush.

I am going with Ben Ray Lujan in the Northern District because of his outstanding record on environmental issues while a member of the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission. He got the New Mexico Conservation Voters Alliance endorsement, as did Martin Heinrich.

Down South I am torn between Harry Teague and Bill McCamley. They are both good people although Teague probably has a better shot at winning the General Election.

What I do not endorse is the nasty campaigning by Congressional candidate Benny Shendo in which he tries to out Ben Ray Lujan as being gay. Who cares? We should never forgive Shendo for this. Shame!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The New Campaigns

It is a fact of life anymore that most media involved in coverage of political campaigns is not about issues but about the latest TV ads the candidates put up. This morning the Albuquerque Journal served up several stories about candidate's TV ads and one story about the Congressional CD-1 candidates positions on Iraq. Republican Darren White was willing to say we need more time to do the impossible. He should go here and ride a Humvee around the cities if he feels things are on a right track. By the way, it will be interesting to see if White will release pictures of him and bush next week when bush comes to town to raise money for his former campaign chairman and unabashed supporter. Any bets?

In the northern Congressional District Don Wiviott and Ben Ray Lujan are slinging mud. In fairness to Lujan he had to respond to Wiviott's nasty ad about Lujan being a black jack dealer and a recipient of a boost from his dad, Speaker of the House Ben Lujan. (Aren't dads supposed to help their kids?)

But, I have to say that Lujan's theme of Wiviott's being a millionaire and intimating that is bad leaves me pretty cold. I think it is a mistake given that there are lots of millionaires living in Santa Fe who have given Ben Ray some money and will give more. They won't if Lujan turns this into a class war.

In the meantime a really good story on former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil Giron appeared in the New Mexico Independent last week. Why cant the mainstream media pick this stuff up? Just because they didn't originate it doesn't mean it is unimportant. She is running for Congress and this stuff should be known.

Monday, May 19, 2008

McCain, Republicans, Oil, and New Mexico

The biggest contributor to the Republican party in New Mexico is the oil and gas industry. That is a fact. Now, John McCain says that he will rely on the Republican party for most of his fundraising for his presidential campaign. Ergo, the oil and gas industry will be largely funding his campaign, along with Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the rest of the military industrial complex. Gee, just like they did for bush and cheney. Do you think many people will notice this. I don't think they will, or if they do they wont care. One thing I have noticed in my political career is that people seem unusually complacent about where politicians raise their money.

I would sure like to see that change this time. If Steve Pearce, the oil and gas guy who might end up beating Heather Wilson faces off with Tom Udall for the Senate we should not let anyone forget who he really is. He is a right wing ultra conservative who made money in oil and gas, voted to support a horrendous war (like Wilson), and he will not change his stands of support for that now dishonored oil and gas industry. While his industry gets tax subsidies real people in New Mexico suffer with energy costs.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Marty Chavez and Marc Schiff

This is the story I had hoped the Journal would do. Instead Pulitzer Prize Winner Eileen Welsome did it on the Clearly New Mexico Website. It is a must read.

Wilderness Society

This first picture denotes why we in the Wilderness Society enjoy our work. This is a picture from our host's home near Snowmass, Colorado. A picture is worth a thousand words.
We had a great reception and dinner at our host's elegant house. Eighty folks showed up including Congressional candidates, grass roots organizers as well as the Council of the Wilderness Society.

This last photo is taken near Alamosa, Colorado. Rodger Beimer insisted I take this picture on the way back today in honor of New Mexico Political Blogger Joe Monahan. Apparently, there are alligator farms all over the Alamosa area due to the abundance of hot springs which they supposedly thrive in. Rodger has visited them. I don't know why but the next time you see him ask! I want nothing to do with them ever since I was chased by one at a Texas Wildlife Refuge. It was 11 feet long. I really thought I was a goner and then found myself on the other side of a six foot fence. I never remembered having jumped it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Colorado Highways

The Colorado highways I spent many hours on yesterday are in bad shape. Add to that the website for their highways didn't show that Independence Pass was closed made for a long and rough trip to Aspen. I was 33 miles from Aspen and had to take a detour of 118 miles. But, it was a pretty drive. I dread having to go back the same way but it will be a pretty drive again!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Snow Ahead

I am traveling by car to Aspen, Colorado this morning.  In the snow.  In May.  I had been looking forward to the drive but now I am just hoping it wont be miserable.  This will be a three day meeting of the Wilderness Society.  It should be fun.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rail Runner

I read in the Journal this morning that it still hasn't been decided to put Rail Runner Stations at the Pueblos between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. This should be decided immediately in favor of the Pueblos who want a stop. Especially at Domingo, New Mexico which would serve Santo Domingo, Cochiti, Pena Blanca, Sile, and Cochiti City. The old Trading Post at Domingo now sits in ruins along with the old Rail Station. Let's put them back in the mix!

I cringed when I saw that some neighborhood associations objected to a great infill project along Silver Avenue close to downtown. The dense condo project is exactly what we need to be doing. Usually, these associations are run by three to five people who lean on city councillors to lean on the planning commissioners to stop anything that would change their neighborhoods at all. These associations look inward so much sometimes that you wonder if they live in a micro universe.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bobbi's Turn

I met Bobbi in an elevator at City Hall when I worked for Mayor Harry Kinney in 1975.  She was 23 years old.  I was 30.  She was an intern in the Planning Department.  Now a days that would be a scandal to many in the media, you know the whole intern thing.  But we have been together now for 33 years.  She is still an incredible woman with three college degrees.  One in Architecture and Planning, one in Civil Engineering, and a Masters of Business Administration.  

Her parents were not big on photography so we don't have a lot of pics of her as a child, but the ones we have are great.  This one is five minutes long.

video

Friday, May 09, 2008

11 Dimensions

Sometimes I feel so stupid. I read about this 30 year old Physicist who may set the world on its head and I wonder why people like me came out on the short end of acquiring any math genes. Or any genes that make you less dumb as some of my friends would say.

After reading this article ask your self if the reason Hillary is staying in the race has something to do with vibrating in 11 dimensions. I think something like that must be going on.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Justin Grows Up

Justin Andrew Baca, our son, is now 28. This is his video album. You will see a lot of pictures with his sister because she was his shadow. It drove him crazy, but they are very close now. Noelle was his 'best man' at his wedding.

video

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tinkering

Ever since I got my new Apple Mac Pro I have been tinkering with the software. It is amazing stuff that even a brain cell deprived aging guy like me can get into easily. Herewith is my first real attempt at putting together a Ken Burns style movie of our family scrapbooks. This is my daughter Noelle's life so far.  I am doing one of my son and a compilation of albums from as far back as 1930.  Enjoy!
video

Woo Hoo

It is always nice to see something turn out better than you thought it would. Obama's speech last night was inspiring. Clinton's speech last night was somewhat subdued with an undercurrent of inevitability. If reason prevails then this contest should end in a matter of days. I actually think her trying to turn herself into a whiskey drinking blue collar type who dissed economists probably hurt her. It wasn't who she was and more people saw through it in Indiana than I thought would.

I think Hillary would like to continue but it looks like her campaign is flat busted and that is the core problem. I hope everything is done graciously and that the party comes together. Those working class folks that vote for Hillary need to look one more time where we are right now before staying home in November or voting for McCain and his war like tendencies.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Three People

I was reading somewhere the other day that in a persons lifetime they are really three different people. We change personalities. I believe that is true. I think that is what has happened to Hillary Clinton. I am sure her first personality was as a bright and intellectual young woman from good Ivy League schools. Then she became a smart political ally of her husband Bill and saw to it that he was elected President. Now in her third personality she has become a pandering, below average, desperate politico who feels nothing is too low to stoop towards to win her election. She started high and is ending low. Real low. I say this because of her pandering on the gas tax relief that will do nothing but harm. She is attacking Obama for not doing the same. It is disgusting and it will probably work. Not what I was looking for in a leader.

So, my prediction is that she will win Indiana but not by much and she will lose North Carolina to Obama. This means her new low personality will endure for a couple of more months and that her negativity will continue to hurt the party. I hope I am wrong.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Constitutional Questions

I have been paying a few compliments to the Albuquerque Journal recently. Today I am perplexed by them, especially with their Editorial on opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. It seems they are buying into the myth that there are environmentally safe ways to do this with new technology. What that myth really means is that the amount of damage that occurs to wildlife, landscapes and water will not be as bad. But, be assured it will still be horrendous, on a slightly smaller scale.

I also had to wonder about the headline story in the Sunday Journal making a big deal about the Governor being out of state and the Lt. Governor not knowing about it. The story does point to an obvious issue however, and that is the outdated New Mexico Constitution. It was written in the 1910/1912 years. It was adopted upon statehood. It never envisioned cell phones, satellite phones, computer networks, the Internet, modern highways, and jet air travel. It was so concerned about timely communication back then that all statewide elected officials were required to live in Santa Fe so they would be close by. It may be the only statewide elected official who does live in Santa Fe is the Governor. The rest of them just can't afford a home in Santa Fe. Yet reason dictates that although all of the officials are required by the constitution to still live in Santa Fe, there really is no problem in them living elsewhere because of modern communications. Certainly, the Governor was only seconds away from communication at all time while he was out of state.

It really begs the question of holding a Constitutional Convention in the next few years to update and modernize our Constitution. The last time it was attempted was in 1970. That attempt failed because they Game and Fish commission didn't like the document and they scared sportsmen into voting against it.

We need some brave young politico to start pushing for such a Convention. Maybe some one like State Auditor Hector Balderas could take that on. I saw him at Starbucks this weekend. He now lives in Albuquerque and commutes to Santa Fe like the many of the elected officials.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Inertia

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

You couldn't find two more different approaches to this nation's energy crunch than looking at the positions of Senator Pete Domenici and Senator Jeff Bingaman. Domenici wants to drill our way out of the crises even though we only have 3% of the reserves. Today he is calling for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge....again. It will mean absolutely nothing to our current crises since it won't bring on oil supplies for ten years and it will only last half that long. Ten years from now if we haven't set our path firmly away from oil we will be lost anyway, or at least buying renewable technology from Europe and the Pacific rim. Domenici is just following the wishes of his profit fixated handlers in the Oil and Gas Industry. It is the same kind of thing we cold expect from Republicans Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson. Electing Tom Udall to Domenici's seat looms even larger in the scheme of things.

Senator Bingaman has a plan that is quite simple. 1. Freezing the filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. 2. Taking effective action to bring the oil market under the control of U.S. laws and regulations. 3. Empowering consumers to reduce their demand.

The consumers are already reducing demand by buying up high mileage cars and reducing overall demand. Now it is up to Washington to show some true leadership, unlike Hillary Clinton and John McCain's lame brained summertime gas tax roll back.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Religion Everywhere

The newspapers today are filled with religion based stories. The Albuquerque Journal website has three major stories on religious cults, ministers and their politics today.

The Bishop in Gallup is resigning after a highly bizarre episode in which he claimed he was beaten. After recuperation for a year he had some more 'episodes' and finally left his position.

Then there is the nut case cult leader up in Northeastern New Mexico who apparently has achieved mind control over his 50 followers and might be messing with young girls. The locals say they are pretty nice people but they notice the cult has now cut itself off from the outside world. Not a good sign. (The Journal's reporting on this was quite good.)

And then there is more hammering of Obama for having a pastor who is a world class egotist and conspiracy theorist. Well, Obama certainly isn't the first person to have a 'mental' for a pastor but since he is black and running for President it is bad. The Journal had a very thoughtful and absolutely correct editorial this morning on that issue. Even so, it seems the ignorant American public is looking on Obama poorly because of this. Incredible.

I guess my point is that religion is taking up a lot of media space these days while more important things that are really affecting us are taking a toll. I imagine this is what the Kings and Clerics in the middle ages did too. Find and enemy and start a crusade. It takes peoples minds off the real issues. Think of Hillary as King Richard the Lion Hearted slaughtering the infidels. Oh wait, george bush is already doing that.

I have a feeling that Obama has probably bottomed out now and should start his rebound. In a way it is good he has been pummeled like this because it tempers him for the swift boating that will surely come.