Friday, July 30, 2010


People are jobless. We are in endless war. Schools don't have enough money to teach our children properly.  America's infrastructure is falling apart.  You can't trust a banker, investment firms or real estate developers with your money.  And then what we get in the New Mexico Governor's race are stories about the state airplane.  The Sap media does it again.  Another non issue that is easy to report on and requires little effort at journalism.  What a farce. Like running 911 tapes and pretending it is news.  It takes no brains or effort.  Glenn Beck in bling as far as I am concerned.  American Journalism today.

Now a reversal of sorts.  Its one of those days I cherish.  The Albuquerque Journal had a thoughtful and supporting editorial on the Forest Service travel management plans that are aimed at stopping destruction of watersheds and forest lands by irresponsible ATV riders.  Most of those riders are okay, but it doesn't take many to wreck whole ecosystems.

Our congressional delegations are strangely silent on all aspects of the Afghan war.  They should be consistently questioned on their stands on this endless war.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Police State

Susana Martinez wants the State Police given political powers to go after alleged ethics violations. Alleged by who?   This fits right in with Mayor Berry's Chief Public Safety officer being openly involved in supporting partisan candidates in the general election.  Darren White has been in Martinez's TV commercials and was shown yesterday on this blog with GOP congressional candidate John Barela during his workday with the city.  Do we really want the State Police going on political wild goose chases after a call from the Governor's office or a powerful legislator?  Any Governor's office whether they are republican or democrat?  If you follow Martinez's thought process she might think it would be a good idea to have the U.S. Army investigating the President and Congress on a regular basis.  And now we see the FBI may be allowed to look at your email in the name of ferreting out 'terrorists.'  This from the Obama administration.  What a shame.

Wouldn't it be better to have a Commission with bipartisan members deciding which cases are worthy of investigation?  And wouldn't it just be better if Mayor Berry prohibits his chief law enforcement officer from being involved in partisan politics?  If he doesn't then there will be major embarrassments or litigation in his future.  He doesn't deserve this.  He needs to put a collar on White.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Our little Peach crop came in and we spent Monday evening preserving them.  They will be great in February.

I saw City Public Safety Chief Darren White this morning around 10:00AM having coffee with GOP Congressional candidate John Barela at the Rio Grande Starbucks.  I kind of wondered why Darren was doing this during business hours but I am sure he can discuss it with the Mayor.  As an exempt employee he doesn't really need to fill out leave forms.  I have said it before, I just don't like the chief law guy for the city being involved in partisan politics.  They did have a nice wave for me though!

Brace Yourselves

We are less than 100 days away from the general election.  Brace yourselves for one of the ugliest and nastiest of campaign ad seasons yet.  As the ultra conservative U.S. Supreme Court sponsored Corporate ad men fan out to do their worst, we will be the targets, or victims.  Corporate and Financial America who brought you the derivative inspired economic meltdown will now bring feces laced mud to your widescreen.

As the money starts pouring into the right wing campaign coffers the candidates who don't fight back will lose.  The American voter is usually gullible because most information is gleaned from 30 second character assassinations between 30 second news stories on the local stations.  And then there........

Oh, why bother complaining.  It is like going to the Dentist.  Just endure it and hope for the best.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I am very sad to see Albuquerque Mayor Berry retrenching on the impact fees that were meant to slow sprawl in Albuquerque.  He says it is too expensive to develop on the west side compared to the rest of the city.  I think that was the whole point of impact fees.  These impact fees incentivize infill projects and keep costs of extending infrastructure down.  It may well be that some adjustments could be made on the formulas, but the basic equations are good ones.  If we want to save taxpayer dollars and natural resources, then getting rid of impact fees will do only one thing.  Enrich developers at taxpayer expense.

After the Wikileaks revelations the military/industrial complex and the Obama administration may need to retrench their explanations of the progress of the Afghanistan war.  That war went sour when bush invaded Iraq and everyone has been trying to sweeten it up ever since.  Including the Obama folks.  It is like that great Woody Allen movie where he and another soldier are the only survivors of a great battle.  The soldier says, "We Won!"  Allen responds, "What did we win?"

He has one of the greatest quotes ever.

"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying."  Woody Allen

Sunday, July 25, 2010

America's Biggest Failure

One could argue what might be the three biggest failures in decision making for the last decade for America.  Certainly the invasion of Iraq is one.  The reelection of bush to a second term was another.  But those may pale in comparison to the massive loss of common sense and leadership in this country in just the last few days.  That loss is the failure of the US Senate to pass a true and lasting energy bill for this country's future.

This action has just put America in the same boat as Spain, the French, the British and the Dutch when they refused to change their basic energy source from wind to coal for their fleets.  They missed the bus.  America just missed its bus too.  And this is not just a case of technological suicide.

Resulting chaos of climate change will be our reward.  The oil and gas industry is responsible for funding immoral republican and democrat senator's campaigns in return for a vote to keep America from moving to the next stage of energy production.

I really do believe these pols are immoral at worse, or just plain stupid.  They are destroying our future because of their lap dog status for the oil boys. Somehow, we must take action to stop it.  In the meantime I think Energy Committee Chairman Senator Jeff Bingaman needs to let us know why this really happened and who is responsible.  Name names Jeff.

In the meantime my advice is to not give the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee one cent.  Pick your individual candidates because if you give to the committee some immoral democrat senators may get some of it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Eagle Envy

When I was in High School at ST. Pius X the thing I wanted more than anything, except for a girl friend, was a Cushman Eagle Motor Scooter.  All the cool guys had one and I did not qualify since my twin brother Tom and I were definitely niched in the nerd category.  (We weren't jocks)

Now my next door neighbor lets me come by occasionally to see his fully restored Cushman Eagle.  He has even offered to let me take it for a spin, which I will do this weekend perhaps.

All of the guys that had these Cushman Eagles back in 62 at St. Pius ended up in wheel chairs and therapy.  I am serious.  Everyone of them had a crash.  Except for one guy who accidentally set his on fire in the parking lot one day when screwing around with a lighter.


Dear CNN,

I am willing to watch that Sonic Drive In Restaurant commercial once when I sign in to your website to look at breaking news..  But, do I have to watch it before every story?  I am beginning to think I will track down those obnoxious chanting carhops and force them to eat themselves to death on those scrumptious Sonic onion rings.

Also, please buy Anderson Cooper some new black T-Shirts.  Or maybe some that have a color other than the one that represents death.  A pink one would be nice.  Or Mauve.

Jim Baca

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I defy anyone to find any environmental principles stated on the web site of republican governor candidate Susana Martinez.
On the other hand democratic candidate Diane Denish has posted her environmental guiding principles on her web site.  They are as follows.

1.    All decisions on natural-resource development and extraction should hinge on the protection of water – New Mexico’s most valuable resource.  Water conservation, protection from pollution, and sustainability of supplies are the key factors to consider in all natural-resource decisions.  Our groundwater, watersheds, rivers, and riparian areas must be protected.
2.    Renewable-energy development in New Mexico is one of the most important economic-development strategies available to us.  It should be prioritized for state economic-development incentives and support.
3.    Protection of New Mexico’s unique landscapes should be a priority of state policy development.  There are many appropriate places for energy and natural-resource development in our Land of Enchantment, and there are many places that are inappropriate.  Otero Mesa in Southern New Mexico is one such inappropriate place.  New Mexico’s enchanted landscapes and natural beauty are two of the most important long-range economic-development assets we have. 
4.    Energy efficiency and conservation must be a priority for state government. This means no new state facilities, buildings, and fleets purchased that do not meet the highest standards for green buildings and efficient mileage. The cheapest source of energy is the energy that is not used.  As state employees, we have a responsibility to lead the way in green infrastructure development.
5.    One of state government’s biggest tasks is assuring public safety.  This includes strong protection through enforcement of environmental rules and regulations.  This commitment to public safety policy not only protects the public health, it also protects the strategic interests of taxpayers by saving them from having to pay huge sums for environmental cleanups.
6.    Climate change will drastically affect New Mexico and the west and we must work with the federal government on a comprehensive national effort to reduce carbon emissions.
If you care about the sustainability of our quality of life you have a clear choice.


Just how shameless can some legislators and the oil and gas industry get?  Senator John Arthur Smith, who I have always respected, has suggested that easing up on oil and gas industry environmental regulations would get our economy going. That Pit rule, which is meant to protect New Mexico's water, is ruining us all in his estimation.  I can't believe he fell for this stuff at the same time that oil and gas leases are still selling at high prices and local oil and gas operators are selling out to the big fish for major bucks.

And then the Washington Post does a story about how the oil and gas lobby in DC is comprised mostly of former government and congressional employees.  They didn't mention New Mexico's latest entry with the Farmington BLM chief going from his government job to head of the NM Oil and Gas Association in just one day.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has an obligation to look into this revolving door at MMS and the BLM.  The leadership of those agencies need to be instructed to give an ethics course to all of their employees.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rain in the North

Had a great time up in Pendairies.  36 holes of golf over 24 hours and some incredible thunderstorms.  It was a very pleasant outing.

Don't you love opening the window and sticking your hand out into the cool breeze?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I am going up to Pendaries, NM again for a couple days of golf.  I sure hope it is cooler than Albuquerque.  As I get into the Zen of golf I will be distracted by the current gross receipts tax rate I noticed on my sales slip last night.  7%!
That is one hell of a high rate.  It is regressive as hell and unfair to the poor especially.  I think when I was Mayor it was around 5.6%.  And meanwhile the republicans want to cut taxes on the rich even more.  That is something to get hot about.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Potash and the Journal

The Sunday Journal wrote a front page story about the long running feud between the Potash Industry and the Oil and Gas Industry in Southern New Mexico.  Instead of doing a public service in really talking about drilling in the Potash areas and endangering miners and resources, the Journal seemed to take the tact that since the Governor had a friend who was a lobbyist for the Potash industry that something was afoul.

This is a long running resource debate that I dealt with as State Land Commissioner for two terms and as BLM Director.  Once again the Oil and gas boys want it all and to hell with everyone else.  The Potash miners just want their workers to be safe from migrating gas and to protect a resource for the future.  The oil and gas guys want to drill close to the mines even though they have thousands of undrilled parcels elsewhere.  Safety should be paramount in this discussion.

In the meantime the NM Oil and Gas Association has a new leader.  Yes, it is a retiring Bureau of Land Management guy from the Farmington office.  Another indication that the BLM in New Mexico could be viewed a branch of the oil and gas industry.  It might be time for big changes in the BLM leadership of the State.

On the positive side for the Journal last week was the story on the re-plastering of the San Francisco de Asis Church in Rancho de Taos.  Very thoughtful.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

That Tongue Thing

This is Noelle and her boyfriend Luke Currell at Luke's father's wedding in Minnesota last week.

This other picture is the last one taken, to my knowledge, of that tongue stud from the famous 'Noelle Tongue Stud Incident' from the year 2000 or so.  She has permanently shed it now as I blogged last week.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kitten Troubles

So, while the cats were exploring the back yard this morning at the same exact instant they each climbed a tree.  One Pear tree and one Ash tree.  They got down fine.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bad News, Good News

I mean really, how low can the republican party go.  They have now dedicated a website to defaming President Obama for planning a vacation with his wife and two daughters.  Family Values at its best.  They are going to Maine for some relaxation.  And the republicans think it is a bad thing.  Is the GOP truly at this point of abject pettiness?  Lets see, they are against aid for the unemployed, want more tax cuts for the rich, and voted against sensible regulation of the financial industry.  They are totally screwed in the head.  This should be their new mantra.

They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa,
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa.
To the happy home. With trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket
weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes and they're
coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!

I always loved that old song.

The good news is that my daughter Noelle called me today and told me she has now removed her tongue stud.  She just thought I would want to know.  This is a picture of her during her 'go to hell' phase while in High School.  When Bobbi and I were out of town one time she went and got this thing put in her mouth.  She had a choice of taking it out or a six week grounding.  She took the grounding.

This is a recent picture of Noelle on a visit to Chengdu, China for Intel where she is an up and coming professional.  She said this morning that after ten years of dealing with the tongue stud she may have to learn how to speak again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kitten Wisdom


The Obama administration America's Great Outdoor Initiative listening session is rolling into Albuquerque this Saturday.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Senator Jeff Bingaman, and USDA Undersecretary Harris Sherman will be there to listen to anyone who might have some suggestions for Public Land Management in the West.  They pretty much already know the issues and the Interior Department has dealt with them for decades.  I dont know what these sessions are supposed to accomplish other than an exercise in listening, which I guess is okay.  Let's see what happens after that.

I want the Interior Department to do a few of things.  Protect more land and water supplies with Wilderness, Park, Monument and Conservation Area designations.(They made progress on this for a while.)  Order the incorrigible BLM make it easier for renewable energy development.  There is a disconnect between the DC office wanting it and the State offices actually doing it.

And please start humanely treating America's Mustang herds.  Twelve horses died this weekend during a roundup of heat exhaustion because of a lack of water.  Unforgivable. There are solutions.

The hearing session will take place at the Marriott Pyramid Hotel on North I-25 at 1:30PM on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Camera

Soon I will hit the road on my Rio Grande Bridge venture.  I have been using a Nikon D70 for the last six years and decided it was time to step up to the D90.  My excuses to Bobbi was that I needed a spare.

It seems like a pretty phenomenal camera so far.  I ran out to have coffee with a friend at the Albuquerque Zoo this morning to snap a few pics to see how it performed.  It was a very hot morning already and the animals were feeling it.  Despite having an allergy attack from hell today I managed to use it as designed.  Mostly automatic mode.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tit for Tat

A poll on CNN says that 70% of those responding support other countries banning scarves that cover the faces of Muslim women.  It is an attack on a whole religion.

So I think these countries should ban the white collar for priests and reverends and also make the pope stop wearing his funny hats.

But what I really want is for the USA to ban men's tank tops.  Have you ever really seen anyone that looks good in one?  Well, maybe .006%.  Tops. We got rid of mullet haircuts mostly.  Why not tank tops?  Who needs hairy armpit shows?

Here is the latest kitten picture.  They are insisting it is time for canned food.  One half teaspoon each. They are growing a lot.

Mr. Mayor

I think you are doing a good job.  Mayors don't hear that often.  I rarely did.  And so having said that I also need to say that the time has come to either let your public safety Director find another job, or keep him off political TV commercials.  He is hurting your attempts at bipartisanship.

As I watched the TV news last night I saw Darren White doing interviews about the horrible violence at Emcore.  Not long before that I see him in a Sheriff's vest saying Susana Martinez should be Governor.  He certainly has a right to do that, but I am not so sure this is good for your public safety efforts.  Is he representing you or the political interests of Susana Martinez?  And as the overlord of law enforcement what happens when a prominent democrat gets tagged for a traffic violation or worse.  Can they accuse your administration of political chicanery?

I just get uneasy when cops and politics mix.  Nothing good will come of it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tragedy at Emcore

It was very sad to see the chaos at Emcore.  Innocent people gunned down.  Very very sad.  More gun violence.

And then the comedy of errors from the Mayor's Darren White crew at APD.  First it was six dead and four wounded, then five dead and four wounded, then four dead.  Now, as of this writing it is three dead and four wounded.   Who's on first?   Sadly, the friends and family of employees at Emcore kept hearing different things.  If I were the Mayor I would ask some tough questions on these issues.  There may be good reasons for this and if there is it should be explained.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Domenici the Elected.....Formerly

Former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici spent some time insulting New Mexico's Environment Secretary Ron Curry in Washington hearings this week.  Curry was insulted for doing his job of protecting New Mexico from harmful effects of nuclear radio active pollution.(and oil and gas pollution too.)  Domenici said that Curry was never elected to anything.  I guess that means that Curry is just a piece of dog crap in the republican mind of Pete Domenici.  You are nothing if you aren't elected in his eyes.  What an asinine attitude.

Curry has been arguably the best Environment Secretary we have ever had in this state.   Rather than serve the goals of  the industry he regulates, he served the well being of the citizens of the Land of Enchantment.  Even Domenici and his children.

This is a picture of Domenici that was taken when he won his primary for the Senate back in 1972.  He was a good Senator for New Mexico in that he brought home the pork.  The same pork he now says that is threatening our nation via the deficit.  What a hypocrite.  And then he oversaw the disastrous budget over runs of the Reagan and Bush administrations as Senate Budget Committee Chair.  He was against regulation of his friends on Wall Street because all regulation is bad, even ones that keep you from glowing after exposure to spilled radio active waste.

Some one needs to tell St. Pete that it is time to move on into the sunset before more people go ballistic at his insults of good and decent public servants.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Irony Again

The city fathers of Hobbs, New Mexico, the oil and gas capitol of our state, are concerned that their cell phone tower ordinance needs more work on where to locate towers in the city.  Now, if they could just see the wisdom of taking the same consideration on placement of oil and gas wells.  Why, they might even support some wilderness!

A friend of mine once said that if you flew over Hobbs with a magnet that it would disappear.  Lots of rigs, pipes, metal warehouses for the oil guys, and metal gathering infrastructure for the oil fields.


The Albuquerque Journal's Editorial Page is down on the state's retirement system for public employees.  I might agree that some reforms are needed.  Perhaps a minimum retirement age before one starts taking pension payments.  Maybe 60 or 62?  It is not like all the retirement is paid by taxpayers though.  State Public Employee Retirement Association members have paid into the funds as well.  One wonders if the Journal just wants the whole system scrapped.  After all, that is what they did when they cancelled their defined retirement program for Journal employees and stopped contributing to employee 401Ks.

This whole spy caper between the USA and Russia seems highly mundane.  Where is the gravitas?  Lots of photos of one attractive spy lady, but not much substance other than that.  Not like the old days for sure where congressional hearings, trials and executions were in order.  On both sides.  It once again indicates we already have a one world government and that is commerce.

Is it just me, or are there no decent movies this summer?  Nothing but special effects platforms.

It is Zucchini, Green Pepper and Tomato madness in our household.  The crops are coming in and I am going to turn red from eating vine ripened tomatoes.  We oven dry the surplus tomatoes and use them for pasta all winter.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Why do we need to know, in headlines, that Lindsey Lohan is going to jail?

Will the heat wave in the East encourage people to at least think about climate change?

Will some one in the New Mexico mainstream media please tell us how much money the oil and gas industry is giving to political candidates?

What will the republicans say to people who lose their unemployment benefits because of their objections to an extension?

Is the green chile crop good this year?

While I wait for answers I will be in Pendaires, New Mexico for another couple of days playing golf.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Sacred Defense

Wynn Quigley had a good column in the Journal today about how no one talks about the Defense Department when looking for ways to manage the federal budget.  Quigley is a thoughful and non name calling writer that I wish the Journal would let others be like on their editorial page.

Quigley is absolutely right in his assertions that Defense needs a going over for largesse.  The Center for Arms Control and Non Proliferation puts it this way.

"In 2008, the most recent year for which complete global data is available, the U.S. approved $696.3 billion in defense budget authority (fiscal 2010 dollars). This figure includes funding for the Pentagon base budget, Department of Energy-administered nuclear weapons activities, and supplemental appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan.
This number is eight times more than Russia, 15 times more than Japan, 47 times more than Israel, and nearly 73 times more than Iran.
In inflation-adjusted dollars, the total U.S. defense budget has grown from $432 billion in fiscal 2001 to $720 billion in fiscal 2011, a real increase of approximately 67 percent. The Congressional Budget Office has regularly warned that discretionary spending will come under increased pressure in the coming years. The legacy of the recent economic crisis will be a high and rising debt that must be addressed across the board."
This group has a great website.  Look at it here.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Memory Lane in Sideburns

Rodger Beimer was rummaging around in his junk and found some great old pictures of 1972 New Mexico election coverage at Channel 7.  The negatives were pretty washed out after 38 years and I fixed them as well as I could.

This is Dick Knipfing, Pete and Nancy Domenici and Jack Eastham (I think) from the GOP. 

This is Dick Knipfing and Fabian Chavez.

This is me with the 1972 high tech Post-It pad election results.  The coke cases on the ground were for the girls who could not reach the top of the board to post numbers.
Here is the whole gang.  That is Rodger Beimer in the loud pink jacket on the left.  I don't recognize the other two on the set.  You can click on these images to make them bigger.  

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Rio Grande Foundation II

I emailed the Rio Grande Foundation's Paul Guessing to ask for a list of their donors.  Here is the reply.

No, this is not public information. Sorry.

So when the media asks for quotes from this group you can assume they are being paid by the far right wing to represent them.  Should the media denote that this group's motives are suspect since they wont let the sun shine on their donors?  Maybe they are getting money from BP, or the Chinese government.   Or even george bush.  But we can never know since Gessing will keep us guessing.

Once again click here to see what one of their employees said on KNME.

Rio Grande Foundation

The Albuquerque based Rio Grande Foundation is now the rightwing group that is quote worthy for the Albuquerque Journal. I have been unable to find out who funds them.  If you google their donor page it takes you there and says the page doesn't exist.  It has other people wondering too.  There is a blog dedicated to pushing back against them.

Here is my paranoid take.  They are funded by the oil and gas industry and ultra right wing groups around the country.  Maybe they will let us know if I am wrong.  Don't count on it.

Strangely enough, I know some of the Board of this group.  Jack Swickard of Roswell.  Sealy Cavin of Albuquerque.  I like both these guys and they have always been very conservative.  I would still go have a beer with them anytime before trying to prove them wrong on just about everything.  (There are some things I would agree with them on.)

Friday, July 02, 2010

City Finances

I think Albuquerque Mayor Berry did what he had to do in cutting city employees salaries.  He will be demonized by many but he really had no choice.  While Berry will suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, so will the city labor unions who want to pretend that there is absolutely no reason they should be like everyone else in this horrible economy.  They are not going to get a lot of pity as they start suing the city for raises that were promised by the fiscally irresponsible Marty Chavez administration.  The unemployed and underemployed people of Albuquerque really are not going to be sympathetic at all.  At some point the union leadership needs to get off their soap boxes and help deal with the city budget.  Then, when times get better they can climb  back on them again.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


Okay, they got neutered yesterday so they are hanging out with the vintage goods.  The wine is really good.  It is from my friend Hansjoerg's Paso Robles Halter Ranch Vineyard.
Where is the cork?  Actually, screw caps protect the wine better.


The Commercial Real Estate Industry's political and arm twisting organization, the NAIOP, has now come out against Green Building standards as envisioned by the state.  The NAIOP never showed up at the table to help develop the standards and now they want to scrap them as being economically harmful.  They feel they are too onerous given the meltdown in construction.  The New Mexico Homebuilders agree and want to delay the standards until 2013.

It is a bad time for these regs to become active.  But these two groups think it is always a bad time for things that would affect their profits to kick in.  They usually fight tooth and nail any attempts at anti sprawl legislation.

It used to be that organizations like these were leaders in the community for change and progress.  Now they seem mostly there to protect themselves.

I stated the Albuquerque Journal's modus operandi is to go after people and bring them low.  They brought County Public Safety Chief John Dantis low and have forced his retirement.  Now they say he is 'walking' with a huge payout for his unused annual and sick leave.  They are now trying to make him look like a thief, which he isn't.  If he is really entitled to this payout then why a headline story?

I am surprised that GOP gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez has had such a tepid response to the 'racist' email controversy that spilled out of her DA's office.  This doesn't make her look good.  While the email is about killing off Mexicans and Arabs with a .45, we then find out that Martinez carries one at all times.  This is a candidate for the 'news of the weird' article that I read every month.

A former oil and gas executive that worked for one of GOP Chairman Harvey Yates oil companies will now manage Martinez's campaign.  These are the same folks who think there is too much regulation of the oil and gas industry in New Mexico.