Sunday, May 31, 2009
I have railed before about my dislike for 'professional victims.' These folks in the park win the Oscar for their activities.
P.S. When will the Albuquerque Police Department stop making public the 911 tapes of frantic calls that report these crimes. This stuff is sick and of course the TV folks like it. But so does the Journal who put it on the front of their Web site as a video.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Well, lets face it. This is political sausage being made and it isn't pretty.
The big fly in the ointment here is being overlooked by the media. Why did Anna Lamberson, the ever honest leader of Finance and Administration for the City leave her long time post. Could she not do what was being asked of her? Or did she really want to go to work in Iraq rebuilding their governmental finance systems. Think about that.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Speaking of which. I was glad to see Mayoral candidate Richard Romero finally take Marty Chavez on in the Journal this a.m. Chavez is spending capital funds, bond money, that should not be used for operational reasons. He has been getting away with it for a long time. I also wonder if he is converting other non general funds to this kind of use. Well, times are hard and one can see the value of keeping city employees working, but it would be nice to know exactly where he is getting the money from. That would probably take a forensic accountant and the media surely doesn't have any of those. Does the city Council?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Some politicians seek office by attempting to inspire voters. Others use another tactic. They know that there is nothing as effective as fear for paralyzing the brains of the public. And they depend on that fact to stay in power or to defend their record once they leave it.
George W. Bush used fear to get reelected after an achievement-free first term. The war in Afghanistan did not provide a big enough flag to wrap himself in. So it was on to Iraq in order to eliminate weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. Enough of the voters were reluctant to change the commander in chief with such major combat operations underway that the reelection mission was accomplished.
This showed that using the "war on terror" as a political strategy was so effective that it should really be called the war of terror. And Republicans are waging it once again. Having exhausted their intellectual capital on tax cuts for the rich and failed attempts to let the financial services industry loot Social Security, they are desperately need an issue that resonated with the voters.
The return of the politics of fear comes not a moment too soon for a political party that seems more a minority and more extreme every passing day. A recent Gallup poll found Republicans lost substantial support during Bush's two terms in office in all but one of the 26 demographic groups surveyed. The only group where they did not decline was regular churchgoers and even there they only held steady.
That correlates well with another poll by the Pew Research Center. It found the more a person goes to religious services, the more likely he or she is to believe the use of torture can often, or at least sometimes, be justified. 54 percent of those who go weekly think that. 51 percent that go monthly and only 42 percent that seldom attend church do. So it should be little surprise that Republicans are such staunch defenders of torture given the bedrock of their support base accepts its use as an article of faith.
Leading the charge in favor of torture has been former Vice President Cheney and his daughter Liz. For a time she was the second ranking official in Middle Eastern bureau of the State Department, a position that is usually held by a career diplomat with decades of experience in the region. She had no relevant qualifications for the job but did do one important bit of public service. When she was born she enabled her father to avoid the draft when they had ended student deferments during the Vietnam War.
While at State she was in charge of promoting democracy in the Middle East. She obviously did a heck of a job. Now she has turned into a television talking head providing insights into the thinking of terrorists and explaining how they constitute a threat to the very existence of the nation.
Two arguments often employed by father and daughter alike are that torture works and has saved lives. They claim there are intelligence reports that prove their point and that if these reports were declassified by the Obama administration then everyone would agree.
Anyone who has had a security clearance for more than half an hour knows the difference between an intelligence report and absolute fact. If one wanted to prove that the moon is made of green cheese, an intelligence report could be found in the files to support it. Or an agent could very quickly be produced who claimed that to be true.
The CIA under George 'Slam-Dunk' Tenet could never figure out what the terrorists were thinking but never failed to understand what Bush and Cheney were. And Tenet never failed to tell them what they wanted to hear. So if these reports provided such conclusive proof, why did Cheney not release them when he was running the government? The CIA by the way claims it can't release them now. Why? Because someone else has already asked and that request has to be fought out in court first.
As for the argument that the use of torture saved lives, the Cheneys never mention the lives it has cost. It has been the best recruiting tool available to the terrorists and many have gone to Iraq to fight as a result. Some analysts believe that has cost the lives of thousands of American servicemen and women. That does not matter to Cheney, who never wore a uniform, or to Bush who did only when he needed dental work done.
Republicans in Congress nonetheless echo these arguments and have seized on a new fear issue with great gusto. They warn that if the prison at Guantanamo is closed it will result in terrorists somehow being released in America. They have even argued that if the detainees are kept in U.S. jails, no one will be safe because no prison will be able to hold them.
If there is one thing Americans can be proud of it is that we are number one – in prisons. We have more people in prison by far than any other country in the world in absolute as well as relative terms. About 2.3 million people are behind bars in the United States – more than one in every 100 adults. So even if everyone at Guantanamo were transferred to a U.S. prison it would amount to an increase of less than one hundredth of one percent in the total number incarcerated in this country.
And what if some of them were released? A study by the Pentagon that has been leaked to the press, but not made public, claims that one in seven of those released have returned to the battlefield. One possible reason the report is still officially under wraps is that when such a report has been made public in the past, it took researchers little time to discredit it. There is reason to believe, for instance, that the Pentagon has defined returning to the battlefield to include writing an opinion article for a newspaper.
It is also worth pointing out that a couple of studies have shown that of the violent offenders released from prison in the U.S., some 60 percent are arrested again within three years for committing new crimes. So if it is safety we seek, let's not release anyone ever.
Fear has many uses besides in the debate on how to handle prisoners. Thanks to the gun nuts in Congress it will soon be legal to take assault rifles and concealed weapons into national parks. Presumably this will allow those who worry that Smokey the Bear might go on a rampage a rampage to defend themselves. Maybe they worry about Smokey because he is dark and swarthy. As Willie Horton demonstrated, fear is more effective when a subliminal appeal to bigotry is thrown in. That may explain why it is easier to arouse public hysteria about a handful of supposed terrorists than it is about a couple million criminals.
The politics of fear are popular because they are powerful. In the collective trauma following 9/11, America acted like a nation of sheep lead by a collection of liars, fools and cowards. The leadership has since changed but those who used fear so effectively in the past have not gone away and at this point they seem to again be carrying the day.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Still, I lost mucho stuff that I probably wont miss until I need it. If ever. I think I remained rather stoic about it since it was mainly my series of errors that caused it. Of course, if I could get my hands on that little s**t in Belgium who sent the virus than I would do a slow terminator on him. (Saw that movie this weekend with Bobbi. We love the Terminator movies.")
Anyway you think about it. That stuff is just a bunch of zeros and ones locked into a magnetic disc. It really doesn't mean much in the large scheme of things. Do I really need Word Documents from five years ago? Or archived emails from eight years ago? No I do not.
Things could be worse.
Friday, May 22, 2009
There is a lot of red tape to jump through now. Applications with PNM to get on the grid, applications with the state are in order too. As this process goes along I will give regular reports on our experience. The real goal here is to stop CO2 from entering the atmosphere. We have calculated that over 80,000 pounds of it will not be released over ten years due to this installation.
We had been buying the maximum amount of wind power from PNM. That cost an extra $12 a month on our bill. We will now sign out of that program as we take direct sunlight.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
1. Cheney's constant criticisms. Give it up you bloated right winger! We really are tired of seeing your smirk and attitude. You cant put a dent in Obama's armor so stop trying.
2. The US Congress and Senate's hysterical worry about closing Guantanamo. Your constituents wont be wiped out by 250 alleged terrorists being in supermax prisons.
3. My right shoulder isn't working well. I have started using a trainer. I am getting stronger but my chronic shoulder pain isn't getting much better.
4. The Albuquerque Journal website. Come on you guys! Much of your future may be wrapped around the internet and you still have the slowest and klunkiest site in all journalism.
5. PBS and KNME reception on Dish Network sucks. I blame the locals for not raising hell with the Dish folks. I called them and they just make feeble excuses. Earn your pay.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
As a good neighbor we should all do a sensitive and professional installation of solar panels. As I go through bids on my home I will certainly look at plans for keeping the solar panels as unobtrusive as possible.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Here is an issue they could talk about. Have the city encourage the use of solar voltaic panels on homes by passing a zoning ordinance requiring Homer Owners Associations to expeditiously approve these climate changing systems. Like 10 days max. If they are visible from a street or not.I built the second home in my subdivision and the HOA covenants say you need approval for these systems. It also says they must lay flat on the roofs, thus diminishing their efficiency. They really need to be at a 35 degree angle to the roof here at this latitude to get full benefits of the sun. I will keep you posted on my interactions with the HOA on this.
Monday, May 18, 2009
On another matter I was happy to see Interior Secretary Ken Salazar suggest that a reorganization of the Bureau of Land Management might be a good idea. Right now, unlike other Interior Agencies, the BLM is managed by a head state office in every western state. I always felt they should be regional offices. Why should the Colorado Plateau, a magnificent western landscape, be managed by four different state offices? It doesn't make sense.
This system was set up decades ago and it gives great power to the state congressional delegations, mainly the US Senators, in helping out the extractive industries. They will strongly oppose this move, but its time has come. Will it happen? Who knows? Lots of toes to be stepped on here.
Finally, why would Jeff Bingaman vote against credit card reform?
Friday, May 15, 2009
My friend Rodger sent this to me.
Some artists from the 60's are revising their hits with new lyrics to accommodate aging baby boomers. They include:
Bobby Darin Splish, Splash, I Was Havin' a Flash
Herman's Hermits Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Walker
Ringo Starr I Get By With a Little Help From Depends
The Bee Gees How Can You Mend a Broken Hip
Roberta Flack The First Time Ever IForgot Your Face
Johnny Nash I Can't See Clearly Now
Paul Simon Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver
The Commodores Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom
Marvin Gaye Heard It Through the Grape Nuts
Procol Harem A Whiter Shade of Hair
Leo Sayer You Make Me Feel Like Napping
The Temptations Papa's Got a Kidney Stone
Abba Denture Queen
Tony Orlando Knock 3 TimesOn The Ceiling If You Hear Me Fall
Helen Reddy I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore
Leslie Gore It's My Procedure, and I'll Cry If I Want To
And Last but NOT least:
Willie Nelson On the Commode Again
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I hope for New Mexico's sake the the US Attorney just brings this to a conclusion. It has been going on way too long. I say this because last week a very influential person I know from out of state asked me "Is there any politician in New Mexico that is not going to prison?" So, one could argue that the PR about the Land of Enchantment is not good around the country. That is not positive for us as we pick ourselves off the floor of this severe recession. We need to rebuild our job base and right now this stuff makes our government econommic development efforts harder.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
They are also egged on by Honda Motor Company and others who help fund their "Blue Ribbon Coalition" which is an industry front group that encourages ignorant parents to put their children on these dangerous machines. Looks like I don't buy a Honda Hybrid. Toyota, here I come.
Lets hope the Bureau of Land Management will prosecute these law breakers.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Anyway, It does seem like there is a formula for how TV reporters should look these days. One wonders if the attractiveness is more important than the substance. You don't see many ugly or fat reporters on TV. So you can deduce that attractiveness is paramount.
That all could be beside the point. Local TV News is certainly in as bad a shape as newspapers right now. One could argue you should not care because most local news these days involves sex and DUI, and not much more. But, I actually do care because local TV can rise to the occasion when needed. We just have to put up with all the fluff for those occasional important stories they pick up from the Newspapers and Associated Press. Oh, what happens when those print people go out of business?
This is all pretty scary. Even mediocre journalism is better than no journalism. Maybe that is what we need to settle for right now. Internet news sites might be the only long range solution.
I am not sure this country could function with out independent journalism.
Friday, May 08, 2009
Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has a problem. 500 ATV riders will knowingly break the law this weekend in Utah by riding their satan spawned machines into a wilderness study area. These cretins should be arrested if they do so. Salazar earlier set the stage for strong law enforcement when he decided to prosecute the young man who bid on Utah oil and gas leases even though he had no money to pay for them. Now he has to be consistent and prosecute these landscape destroyers as well.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
"The adjective Orwellian describes the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free society. It connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past, including the "unperson" — a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory."
As you see, Marty likes the 'unperson' part of this because he just removed disgraced former Mayor Ken Shultz's picture from the portrait wall in City Hall. (He also took down my color photo when I left office and replaced it with a black and white one. He also put his name on the Isotopes baseball stadium and took mine off.)
I share Marty's disgust and Shultz's role in the kickback scheme on the Metropolitan Court House. But I don't agree with trying to 'change history' by removing Shultz's picture.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Since the city leaders did not act on the expiring transportation tax when it should have they now must put it to a vote in October. That makes it almost impossible to put another one eighth cent tax up for vote to fund the new all purpose arena.
Chavez said he didn't want to rush the transportation tax because it had accumulated over $30 million that was not yet spent for mass transit and roads. Why is that? Was he using the interest it earned for other things? Why didn't the media call him on it? And then he totally botched the timely development of the arena complex because as those close to the project know, he didn't like the people involved. So he let it just die. And the city council just opted out of their leadership role. Now, the economy is in the tank and the possibility of losing the transportation tax is real as voters are feeling the pinch. And they don't even want to think about the new tax small tax for the arena.
It is pathetic.
Friday, May 01, 2009
Now we are facing this swine flu issue. I don't know whether it is being over hyped or not. I do know that I feel a lot more comfortable with the current administration's understanding that government can do good.
I read a fascinating account of how Mexico responded to this current public health crisis in the Wall Street Journal. A lot of countries can take some cues from Mexico's professional and effective work on protecting its people.