Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Did It

Even I didn't think I would actually cancel my subscription to the Albuquerque Journal.  But after 45 years as a reader I called them this afternoon and said 'no more'.  Especially after a blatantly false headline in the paper this morning that was intended to scare people into thinking their pay checks would go down if the tax cuts for the rich were done away with.  A longtime friend of mine, a very accomplished documentary producer, sat with me at coffee today with the Journal in front of  him and pointed at the head line and said, "This is a damn lie", except he really used the F-Bomb.  From here on out I will look for abandoned copies of the Journal in coffee places so I can keep up with Leslie Lithicum's columns and 9 Chickweed Lane.  When there is new leadership or a return to fairness at the paper I will resubscribe.

Corporate America a New CEOcracy

We are all lamenting the actions of big shot corporate CEO's throwing secret money into right wing causes and candidates.  Thanks to the george bush supreme court and Chief Justice roberts they have more power than ever.  I do mean that.  The power of $100 bills by the car full.  The same goes for unions and left wing groups who have car loads of one dollar bills.  But, who should we really be angry with?

My friend Tim knows.  We should be mad at the stockholders and ourselves if we hold stock in any oil and gas company etc that is funding these efforts.  Did we stockholders give them permission to do this?  Did the stockholders ever think they might be destroying a democracy and turning it into a CEOcracy?

Well, Tim has a great idea in that legal mind of his.  He thinks large government investment and pension funds, such as the NM Investment Council, the Public Employees Retirement Association, the Educators Retirement Association, and other groups of stockholders should now start initiatives in all states requiring that corporations hold a ballot of all shareholders to allow or disallow contributions to candidates, PACS and special political committees.  I guarantee you that right now these corporate officers are doing whatever they damn well please. I will bet a lot of institutional stock holders will oppose most contributions.  Individual stockholders would too.  And this can't be done in one of those confusing and fine print ballots these CEOs send out.  It should be simple and concise.  I will even write the question.  Here it is, "Should this corporation allow any expenditures for supporting candidates, PACs, special committees or initiatives?   Yes_____    No_____

What courageous New Mexico legislator will write and sponsor such a bill?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flamingo Dreams

I took this handheld time exposure of Flamingos for a night time photo assignment.  I kind of like it.  It looks surreal, wobbly, in and out of focus.  A lot like many political races this  year.  Mostly it looks like independent voters.  They are the chameleons who transform every couple of years.  I am trying to figure them out.  Two years ago they recognized the lunacy of the bush White House and its new republican wing nut roots and said no more.  Now, after constant tea party fringe attacks, Fox News, Talk Radio and misinformation campaigns they took the bait from the folks they threw out and are turning on the Obama administration.  Question?  Are these people missing some marbles?  Is it the ultimate mass case of attention deficit disorder?   Or am I just naive?  Don't answer that.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I had coffee with my good friend and former City Attorney Bob White this morning.  We love talking politics.  Today we centered on the "fatigue" factor in politics.  People do get fatigued with elected officials.  Think Marty Chavez.  Think about my career.  Think about Governor Richardson.  And in some respects think about any incumbent this year.  People are tired of this cast of players.  People are pissed off at the state of things.  Voila!  The Tea Party fringe exudes frustration and gets the media talking about them.  The Democrats and what is left of a reasonable republican party minority don't even recognize the frustration and don't talk about it and you end up with a lot of otherwise good elected officials being shown the door.  Many of those who replace them will be really scary.

That is a reason that Diane Denish is having a hard race.  The media connect her with Richardson and the fatigue attaches to her.  Her campaign team has not figured out a way, so far, of getting her energy out.  I can tell you I have known her for years and she is her own person.

Part of this fatigue is due to a corporate influenced media.  I feel the oil and gas industry influences the Albuquerque Journal to beat up on Denish because she is concerned about climate change. And so you get stories that try to turn her into a bad person for pursuing funding for childhood education.  Can you believe it?  Making  her seem corrupt for doing something so admirable?  How does this happen at the Journal?  And people ask why I want to stop my subscription.  I guess I am fatigued with that once okay newspaper.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Questions from Friends

We had a great crew over for our Sunday night Dinner.  We were all interested political types and two of our guests were employees of the Albuquerque Journal at one time....years ago.  They had read my blog and were insisting that I not cancel my subscription because it was important for people to keep reading newspapers.  I agree, but it is hard to swallow the front page news stories which are editorials in disguise as is the case in the Journal.  The both agree that things had changed at that newspaper in recent years.  I will ponder their request for not canceling!

All of us sat around the table last night consuming Gypsy Stew, Bobbi's home made jalapeno corn bread, and good wine. None of us even made an effort to turn on the debates last night.  For us our minds were made up on most races.  Even the moderates around the table said that Diane Denish was eminently qualified to be Governor and would be better at the job.  Susana Martinez, if she wins, will be much like Gary Johnson was in office and will be able to offer little more than vetoes.  She will have a tough time leading with a strong Democratic legislature.  Santa Fe will begin to resemble Washington, DC where little gets done and when it does will inspire Newt Gingrich style hate politics.  At least the democrats won't act like cowards in Santa Fe.  There will be no big ideas in Santa Fe.  Lack of money and courage will be the reasons, especially if a republican like Martinez is elected.

Interestingly most of our guests will not vote a straight ticket.  I think Secretary of State Mary Herrera could be in trouble.  I think Ray Powell will win now since his opponent's comments on "christian war" have made the rounds.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Gratuitous Picture of My Cat

Hermes is growing up.  He always like to perch high on something, like a leopard.  At night he comes in to our bed and lays down between Bobbi and me.  He gives us both love bites and then goes to sleep.  Then his buddy Ajax arrives and lies next to my head.

Right now people are praying about this election.  Which gives me an excuse to show another neat quote that praying Democrats might read.

"Two hands working do more than a thousand clasped in prayer."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Journal

I am going to do it now.  I am canceling my subscription to the Albuquerque Journal after being a loyal reader for most of my life.  They are no longer credible.  They are Fox news.  They are right wing and vicious.  After reading that they endorsed all republican candidates for Congress, including the nutcase Mullins up north, I decided that the publisher and editor of the paper no longer deserve any respect what so ever.  I don't mind if they are conservatives.  That is their business.  They can also use their opinion page to say what they please and endorse who they please.  But I should not be able to figure out weeks before an editorial what that editorial is going to say because of the way they cover politics on the front page with Thomas Cole, the Drudge of New Mexico.

 The only thing I will miss is Leslie Lithicum's column, the Obituaries, Dilbert and 9 Chickweed Lane in the comics, and my ability to disagree with them any more since I will not be reading them.

I will continue to read the New York Times everyday and with the money I save I might even take the Wall Street Journal, which at least keeps its editorials and dirty work on the opinion page.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Real World

I went up to Truchas, New Mexico on Friday morning to a gathering of Northern New Mexicans who were presented with a grant from the US Department of Agriculture.  The $150,000 will be used to create the Cooperative Development Center of Northern New Mexico.

It is always fun to go into such a beautiful part of the Land of Enchantment.

Terry Brunner who is Director of the State USDA Rural Development Office handed the funds over to Arturo Sandoval who will help administer the project.

They met with a group of farmers and outfitters who will participate in the program.  The idea is for cooperatives to get products to local markets.  The second objective involves cultural based tourism and recreation.

The beautiful landscapes and natural resources are an under utilized economic tool in the area.

While so many criticize federal public servants these days they should reflect on the real good that is being done to help areas like Truchas develop jobs and a future.

And finally, a funny quote.  "Prayer /n/: how to do nothing and still claim you're helping.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Rope

A rope might be too good for this nation's bank and mortgage company CEOs.  Why is the public not in the streets screaming for justice?  Oh, thats right...those people are to busy looking for Obama's birth certificate while also demonizing anyone who works in government.  And, don't forget those banks etc are private business and they can do no wrong.  So what if they steal your house because of their own incompetence.

Just like the oil and gas guys who are securing their profits by bankrolling republicans in all political races this year. Don't forget they get billions in subsidies.   Sometimes the dam just breaks for me.

Like yesterday when I told ATT Wireless that I was canceling my contract with them because for the last 18 months I have no cell service on my Iphone at my house.  They said they couldn't guarantee service and gee for $150 more I could by their mini cell tower that hooks into the internet so my phones will work. I said, "So I have to buy something that gets me service for something I already pay for?"  "Yes" they said in a pleasant and saccharin voice.  "And if you cancel we will require a fee."   I want to personally carry the rope for the ATT Wireless CEO SOB.  He is a con man.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I keep wondering where Susana Martinez would find folks with experience in government to work in her administration if she is elected.  The republican bench for thoughtful public servants is pretty weak.  Anyone who worked in the Johnson administration is off on other pursuits.  Mostly I am afraid that Martinez will draw government haters from the far right to occupy the Cabinet Secretary's jobs.  They will find out real quick that the rank and file state employee will push back on radicalism.  Just like in everything else, experience does count.

Especially when we are looking at further budget deficits on the state level.  The next Governor will have a horrendous  no win future in decision making.  It will be brutal and even Susana Martinez will endure attacks from all sides.  She has no clue what awaits her.

I know we are a couple of years away from the next election.  I am wondering if Senator Jeff Bingaman will run again.  It might hinge on what happens in this election and whether or not the Senate stays in Democratic control.  I think that is likely.  But if Bingaman doesn't run again then who will?  Certainly Martin Heinrich is a candidate.  Who would the republicans pick?  Heather Wilson?  Just something for us junkies to think about.

On a personal note, I have been dealing with prostate cancer for about a year but things look really good.  We are in a watch and wait mode.  My blood tests look very good and no action is necessary for the next six months.  We can book a cruise!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Morning in the Bosque

I took arthritic Athena for a walk in the Bosque this morning.  The Rio Grande is definitely losing its flow and we may be in for a dry winter thanks to La Nina.

It was a beautiful morning out there.

On the way back home I saw a leaf blower at work.  I hate these things pushing particulate into the air for all of us allergy sufferers.  Have you ever been in a parking lot while the landscaping crew is using those things?  Your car will be full of dust and pollen in just a few seconds.  Starbucks on Rio Grande is a place where this happens all the time.

Oh, That Debate

Sunday night Bobbi and me went to a great dinner party with friends in Corrales.  I suddenly realized sitting around the great Paella that all four of us guys there worked in the news media at the same time back in the 70's.  We all are news maniacs.  We are all left of center, some more than others.  We talked a lot about politics. We all new there was a gubernatorial debate occurring on TV.   We all could have cared less I think because there would be little news value in watching the affair.  These things seem to be some sort of performance art now, rather than an airing of serious issues.  The coverage, like the TV commercials, is geared toward negativism.  All I saw on the news later in the evening was attack mode snippets.

I will say that Channel 7 and the Albuquerque Journal has done a good job this year on covering the political season.  The others use those vapid TV commercials as coverage.  Lots of  young toothy and inexperienced reporters find it an easy way to segue into a story. Kind of like airing 9-11 tapes of some dastardly crime.  It takes little effort. All the stations are making a fortune airing the commercials.  This is politics today.  Money and personal attacks.  It is so different then it was back when I got in the fray in the mid 70's.  It is disheartening and dangerous.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wake Up Call for Public Servants

The Tea Party types, the republicans and the far right wing are getting what they wanted.  Their incessant ranting about the government is now starting to show in the disrespect people have for public servants.  I am talking about Federal, State and Local government employees.  A new poll shows a growing negative view of federal employees.  I wish those who seem to see these employees as lazy shiftless people could come and watch how  hard my lovely wife Bobbi works for the US Forest Service.  And countless other employees like her.

And then you listen to candidates like Susana Martinez, a government employee her self for over 20 years, criticize public servants on the state level and you wonder what is next.  This hate mongering is just grist for the mill with the GOP.  And right now there are a surprising amount of public employees who will vote for her and then find out there is a concerted effort coming from the her administration to kill benefits.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


If someone can explain to me the story in the Journal this morning about how state oil and gas regulations affected friends of the governor I would appreciate it.  Did they even own companies that benefited?  Why is it important that people who bought these companies from the governor's friends and then sold them years later for a lot more money important?  Did the oil and gas regulations protect water supplies in the oil patch?  Or is that beside the point?  I read this story a couple of times and just did not get it.  It was all gibberish.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Misson of Mercy

Praying for a toothache to go away will only work if you have a skilled dentist.  Many of our citizens simply can not afford one and dental coverage is not included in the healthcare reform bill.  That is where Mission of Mercy comes in.

This was the scene at the Expo grounds in Albuquerque today where Mission of Mercy's 200 local dentist volunteers and 130 dental hygienists gathered to give free dental service to over 2000 people for the next two days.  Lines started forming last night.

Rodger Beimer received praise for the assistance and facilities the EXPO folks have given.  Dr. Wendy Churchill from Anthony, NM and Linda Paul were working hard at moving folks through the system and handling the 1400 volunteers.

These are very organized folks, thanks in part to Dr. Larry Lubar who was managing the ground game effort.  Larry has been my dentist for over 30 years.

These pictures reminded me of an efficient factory floor.  There were sections for Triage.

Sections for translators.

Sections for restorative surgery.

Lots of generous professionals giving their time.  It is great to see this kind of effort where no questions are asked about background, residency status, or motives for showing up.  Just humane healthcare for all.  And who would say that is not a good thing?  


Thursday, October 14, 2010


I bought a bag of those good Portales Valencia peanuts the other day at La Montanita Coop.  There is nothing like them.  Now, they are really harvesting a good crop for this year. These peanuts are grown by mostly republican farmers in Roosevelt County.  Those are the guys who mostly disfavor healthcare for all, environmental regulation, unemployment checks and such.  Oh, but that doesn't count the over $32,000,000 in subsidies they have received from the taxpayers in the last 15 years.  But damn, they know how to grow a great New Mexico Peanut and they had better do so.  We get to pay for them twice.  Although their subsidies are falling it still bothers me.

Oh, one more thing on that Land Commissioner race.  Blogger Heath Haussamen has an interesting post today on that GOP/oil industry funded candidate Matt Rush.  Rush apparently is a strong fundamentalist christian who has said "christians have to take the fight to the enemy."  If that is so I would wonder if any atheists need apply for grazing, business, commercial or other leases?  Just asking.  That is all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


It seems most people are thanking God that the miners in Chile are being pulled to the surface.  Should we be concerned that God put them in that situation in the first place?  Even the Pope is praying.  I would most like to thank the engineers and safety consultants, many from the USA, who pulled this feat off.  And the guy who invented that ingenious drill bit that augured down to them.

The GOP in New Mexico could be called the Grand Oil Party.  I see where Oil and Gas  has given oodles of money to Republican Matt Rush.  Some of the money was disguised as donations from the state party and the Lea County party. That amounted to $40K in hidden donations.  I can guarantee you that was all oil and gas related money.

Why doesn't any one seem to care that Susana Martinez's campaign is subsisting on out of state dollars from the extreme right wing and oil boys?  It should trouble everyone.

Life is too short.  I played golf like a beginner this morning.  I used God's name a lot, but it wasn't praying.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I have started taking a night time photo class at UNM Continuing Education.  I never really mastered it before nor spent much time thinking about how to do it properly.  This photo is my first try at taking a serious photo in the dark.  It is the San Jose Cemetery at Gibson and I-25.  It is actually owned by the City of Albuquerque.  I rendered it in black and white since the sodium lights from the  interstate gave everything an orange hue.(Click the photo for a full size look)

Many of the folks who are interned here helped build this city and its culture.  In today's society we seem to be sending a message that we don't want their kind anymore.  These are mostly the immigrants and their offspring who built our homes, paved our roads, constructed our schools and places of business.  They joined the military and veterans are buried here I am sure.  Now unfounded fear from demagogues on the right wing make them into villains. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Toilet Bowl

That might be the only offer the UNM Football team will get this year.  Thanks to a real lack of accountability on so many people's parts.  Let's talk about accountability.  We rid the Lobos of a competent football coach in Rocky Long at a price of $750,000 for a buyout.  It was all couched as Rocky wanting to move on, but then why pay him all that money if it was voluntary?  Then we hire Coach Locksley at some astronomical salary.  He immediately gets into trouble for wanting an older secretary replaced because she is not attractive enough, then he tries to strangle an assistant coach who is now suing UNM.  Oh, and least importantly he has the worst team in the USA.  When the axe falls on him UNM will have to pay off his contract at some astronomical cost.

Here is what should happen.  The Athletic Director should resign.  He had cause to fire Locksley after the attempted strangulation.  Now he will have to pay to get him out of town.  Locksley should voluntarily resign and just admit the whole experience in New Mexico was a disaster.  He should agree to a low payout especially since the University will pay out to the assistant coach who sued.  The UNM President should find some credible people to run athletics at UNM and then hold them accountable.  The UNM Board of Regents should hold the President accountable for fixing things.  And the Regents should be held accountable for it all.

I say all of this as a person who is not that much into Lobo athletics.  I say it as a person who wants some accountability at the school.  Where else could this kind of malfeasance be tolerated?
"When it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else."   David Brin

Friday, October 08, 2010

Comments from Afar

I spent the last couple of days in Durango, Colorado at a meeting of the Governing Council of the Wilderness Society.  We had members in from all over the country and they kept approaching me about the negative TV ads they were seeing in the Governor's race, especially Susana Martinez's.  They were aghast at the nastiness.  I told them I saw the same kind of mudslinging in both Massachusetts and New York last week.  A lot of very accomplished people are on the Council and most were strongly lamenting the over arching power of money from corporate America that is being used secretly in these elections.  It is unprecedented and the Sap public has no clue.

We did have beautiful scenery for our meeting.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Land Office Race

Republicans and their Oil and Gas and Agribusiness supporters have started funding a TV buy for Matthew Rush in the Land Commissioner race.  Meanwhile, there is no sign of Ray Powell on TV.  Depending on the size of the GOP buy, Ray might actually win with out TV since the commercials have come so late.  Yesterday afternoon I stopped and voted and 100 people had already done so in front of me.  Those TV commercials will be wasted on them.

At the same time I hear Rush's commercial is positive and shows his speaking abilities.  It may stand out from the other dreadful stuff clogging the arteries of TV right now.  Ray would be an honest Land Commissioner.  I just  wish he knew how to raise money for this campaign.  It might be close.

I am off to Durango, Colorado for a meeting of the Wilderness Society Governing Council.  It should be pretty in the Southern Rockies.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Apples and Oranges at the ABQ Journal

There is no editorial page I loathe more than the one at the Wall Street Journal.  But, I love the newspaper itself for its other insightful information and features.  It is an apples and oranges thing  They treat their editorial page as a separate entity from news gathering.  I used to say the same about the Albuquerque Journal.  They used to do a good job of insulating their Editorial page from the News side of the company.  But, no more.  It seems to me that the editor on the news side is now controlling the editorial page too.  There is nothing wrong with the two groups talking to each other, and they should.  But they should not be managed by the same person.

Now, witness the nauseating diatribe by Thomas Cole against the venerable Albuquerque Community Foundation this morning.  Their big sin is that one of their employees appeared in a Diane Denish commercial. And Thom Cole turned it into the scandal of the day in his allotted front page space.

This is a very dangerous practice for a newspaper.  Soon we will not be able to separate editorial diatribe from news coverage.  The Cole piece this morning is just one example of this degradation in the newspapers credibility.  The Journal is becoming the Fox News of the print media.  I really believe that.  I think the only thing they can't slant to a editorial view is the comic strip content.  Even they would not screw with Dilbert.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Things You Have to Do

Martin Heinrich and Ben Lujan and Harry Teague all do what ever they can to get reelected as the state's congressman.  Including seeking out and getting the endorsement of the all powerful NRA.  They are the guys who want to let  someone pack a gun to your kid's school picnic or soccer game. (I am a gun owner too, but not a paranoid one.)  And then a rags to riches guy like Harry Teague signs on to keeping the tax cuts for the rich.  It is all nauseating.  I suppose we all have to keep our lunches down though because right now the alternative is worse.

I would still recommend that everyone read a couple of SciFi novels that will get your blood boiling about how corporate America increases its stranglehold on our politics and government.  Daniel Suarez's books, Daemon and Freedom, pretty much spells it out for you.  They are a fun read too.  The books are closer to fact than fiction.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Those Polls

I arrived back from Syracuse last night.  I had baled out of bed there yesterday to bring up the Journal website to look over the Journal Poll, but it wasn't there.  So I had to start making phone calls before I heard the numbers.  I have to say I wasn't surprised at the Governor's race numbers.  Susana Martinez has done a good job of suppressing support for Diane Denish by running blatantly false TV ads.  The Denish campaign has not figured out a definitive way of reversing the trends.  I don't think it is over yet, but something has to happen soon since early voting is just around the corner.  I still don't think people really know who Diane Denish is.  Martinez has managed to bring  up a persona.

One bit of advice I have or the Denish team is to rally State, County and City employees around the state.  Martinez's supporters in the moneyed GOP want to gut all government pension programs if possible.  That should be a big concern to thousands of New Mexicans.

Martin Heinrich will win in a tough year for Democrats.  I have always liked Jon Barela, his opponent, but he really took the republican mantra on as his own.  Which means no new ideas....or rather no ideas at all.

I am hopeful that Harry Teague can pull it off down south.  Here is a guy who has lost  most of his business after an embargo by the oil and gas industry down in the Permian basin.  Just remember what these oil and gas cut throats will do to protect their profits.  They would rather bake the planet than allow any climate change legislation.

Finally, I had a great time with my son Justin and his rather pregnant wife Karly.  We will be grand parents in six weeks or so.  They have moved into a nice house outside of Syracuse.  This weekend they bought a nice Subaru Outback to handle those snows.  They are doing great.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Car Shopping

I am trying to explain to my son and his wife in Syracuse why republican legislators in New Mexico would want  members of the Environmental Improvement Board in our state kicked off the board if they have strong feelings about protecting the environment.  I wonder if that philosophy would also be good for legislative committees that have oil and gas industry types sitting in those chairs.  Don't hold your breath.

I am spending the day with my son purchasing a new car for himself.  It will need to be a sturdy reliable all wheel drive for snowy winters.  Sounds like a Subaru Outback or Forester for sure.  Buying new cars is one of my favorite pastimes.

The Chamber

I can remember when the Chamber of Commerce was a Chamber of Commerce.  Now it is a Chamber of Horrors, at least for any from the center to the left.  The revelations on how much American Corporations are pouring into the National Chamber in Washington, DC is heartbreaking.  That money is being used to defeat candidates and legislation that big business, big oil, and the right wing don't want.  The rest of us don't stand a chance against this kind of economic power.

I think this unbridled money machine could well drive a nail into the coffin of democracy.  I am not kidding.  These folks even managed to put together a Supreme Court under the bush administration that actually is a subsidiary of Corporate America.  Am I getting senile and paranoid?  Not yet.  I am just dealing with reality.

Kudos to the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce who has philosophical differences with this kind of approach.  There are not many like them right now.

Friday, October 01, 2010


We had a great meeting of the Wyss Foundation in Cape Cod.  All day Thursday tropical rains came down to the west of us, but we had sunshine.  Today I drove from Cape Cod to Syracuse, NY to see my son Justin and his wife Karly.  I drove through a torrential downpour for about 100 miles.  I don't ever want to do that again.  One reason is the semi trucks pulling two forty foot trailers on the drenched highways.  They put up so much water from their wheels that you are driving blind.  I always can judge a state legislature on whether or not I see these kinds of rigs running.  Only a corrupt and paid off legislature would allow those on the roads.  They are terribly dangerous. The highways in Massachusetts and New York seem to be in relatively good shape.  Especially I-90 which is a toll road.