Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ignorant Bliss

Everyday I run into folks who are so angry with the demise of fairness at the Albuquerque Journal that they can hardly keep their lunches down.  Seriously, I don't think the Editor of the Paper, Kent Walz and not often seen Journal publisher Tom Lang can really understand the bad feelings in this community about this state of journalism in our only daily newspaper in Albuquerque.  Is it still a newspaper?  Or is it another Fox news or Murdoch publication?  You would think that its being locally owned would make some difference, but that seems meaningless to who ever is in charge of the ethics at this paper.

It may be that only center and left politicos feel this way.  That is still a major percentage of our population and out of sheer economic survival you would think the business managers at the Journal would start ringing the alarms at the already financially stressed newspaper.  Here is what one could say, "You know, the daily news coverage doesn't seem to be fair when you have fully 40% of our market pissed off.  We finance guys wont tell you what to write, but just be evenhanded and leave the editorial out of the news coverage."

It wouldn't be so bad if we could rely on our local broadcast media, but they are even more hopeless than the Journal.  Not because they have a slant on the news, but because they don't do meaningful journalism at all unless by accident.

P.S.  I am waiting for all of the media to start criticizing Pete Domenici for having his name slapped on that $80 million dollar Federal Court House a few years back.  

Sunday, November 28, 2010


When we were eating turkey last week I understand that Governor elect Martinez picked her closest advisors.  She called them the core group.  Missing was the Lt. Governor.  This should get a chuckle from everyone since during the campaign she blamed Lt. Governor Diane Denish for everything.

If you really know anything about how Santa Fe works it is that the Lt. Governor only really counts when someone's heart stops beating.  Denish was more active than most Lt. Governors but she didn't set administration policy, even though she was accused of being the devil incarnate.  When the new Lt. Governor gets home from his tour of the state he might want to sit down with Denish to get some pointers on the many different kinds of solitaire games.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recipe and Turkeys

I had a request for that brined Turkey recipe that Noelle used on Thanks giving.  Click here to see it.

Also, when I was gone I see that Governor elect Martinez has selected Harvey Yates of Yates Petroleum to be on an efficiency committee during the transition.  When I heard this I wanted to hug all New Mexicans and wish them well.  When the GOP state party chairman and oil magnate gets on an efficiency commission I can assure you that his definition of efficiency will be different than mine.  His will mean no regulation of oil and gas operators that would interfere with profits.  My definition would say, "profit is good, as long as it doesn't result in poisoning my water, air and landscapes."  We are pretty far apart I think.  I wonder if this wanders into the pay for play arena that Martinez says she doesn't like.  Seeing as Yates bankrolled a major part of her campaign I think maybe this could be a sign of things to come.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I used to like to come to Phoenix, but not so much anymore.  It is to big and the people drive like they are all paranoid schizophrenics. And then there is that whole thing about persecuting immigrants and a crazy sheriff who does it for them.  The politics here are in a sad state of affairs.  Worse than most places.

But, that didn't stop us from having a great Thanksgiving Dinner yesterday.  Noelle's brined turkey was stupendous!  Luke and his mom Sue Orth cut him up.  That is a recipe we must keep.  Next year we will most likely go up to Fort Collins, Colorado for dinner there as Noelle and Luke will be moving north in January.

We are looking forward to driving back through the Salt River Canyon on Saturday.  Truly a beautiful drive that is off the beaten path.  We will end up driving through the plains of San Augustin in New Mexico and come out through Socorro.  We will pass by those radio telescopes that are delving into the secrets of the universe.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

First Turkey

We had a nice ride down to Phoenix yesterday.  We are at daughter Noelle and Luke's house near South Mountain.  Today will be the coldest Thanksgiving day since 1937 in Phoenix.  It will get up to 57 degrees.
Noelle and Bobbi worked on the first turkey for Noelle.  She brined it overnight.  I can't weight....er I mean wait for dinner.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The Albuquerque Journal, local commercial and public radio, and TV news have all been giving ink and air time to a guy named Paul Gessing of the so called Rio Grande Foundation.  He is a rightwing mouth piece who gets money from unknown sources to continually denigrate environmental protection, social programs, fair tax policy and consumer protection. (He wants to close the Rail Runner service too.) Now an enterprising blogger has called him on his credentials.  This is a must read for those in the media who think he is worth quoting.

My Journal is still being delivered until my subscription runs out.  Wynn Quigley had a great column today about the nut cases that the media turn into pundits, like congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.  But then Quigley turns Pete Domenici into a savior on cleaning up the budget mess in this country.  Wynn needs to look at St. Pete's history a little more carefully.  I would argue that he is responsible for the mess and the financial deregulation that got us to this point.  I still think Wynn is one of the bright lights at the Journal along with Leslie Lithicum.  I will miss them when the paper stops landing in the driveway.

We are running off to Phoenix for Thanksgiving with our wonderful daughter Noelle and her significant other Luke.  I plan on buying all gasoline at the New Mexico border so I don't leave any tax money in Arizona that might get used in anti immigrant hysteria.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quality of Life

There seems to be little of substance coming out of the Susana Martinez transition so far.  I bumped into Heather Wilson, transition chief,  at the dentist office on Thursday and we exchanged niceties.  I told her to wish the new Governor good luck.

I have a feeling the ones who are going to need good luck are the hardworking environmental and conservation groups in this state.  Whether they deal in water issues, wildlife issues, landscape protection or climate change, I can pretty much assure you that after eight years of cooperation from the governor's office things are now going to get sticky.  With oil that is.  And all fossil fuel energy sources.

We should watch for some key appointments to see just how bad things are going to be.  Who will head the Energy and Natural Resources department?  How about the Environment department?  Who might be general counsel for the governor?   If any of them come from the lobbyists/lawyer ranks for the energy cartels then you can be pretty much assured that New Mexico's quality of life will go into the crapper in favor of climate change based profit.  So watch these appointments carefully.

And my advice to the green groups is to lawyer up.  It is the only hope.  It is a strategy that actually worked well against the bush administration in many ways.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

News Vacuum

The New Mexico Independent online news service is now toast.  One less alternative view of news since the demise of real American Journalism.  This news service depended on charitable donations to exist and the economy flattened that revenue over the last year.  One less push back to the now right wing Albuquerque Journal.

The Independent wasn't a great site but its very existence was important.  It was certainly more than just a ranting blog, ahem, and it did provide some insight occasionally.  I guess we all need to spend more time on reading the Santa Fe New Mexican.  That is a newspaper that could be the greatest in the state, but it has never achieved that status.  It is not to late.

And then there are the TV stations so called news departments who are in an orgasmic state right now because there is another high school football team story that involves sexual escapades.  They have their lead story for the next four weeks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I got an invitation for a celebration party for Hector Balderas.  He easily won his re-election as State Auditor based on his anti-corruption stands.  This party is mainly being sponsored by lobbyists in Santa Fe.  Go figure.  They probably see him as a possible gubernatorial candidate in four years.  I like him a lot, but this is a little disappointing.

I am getting word that the Susana Martinez transition is way behind the curve in getting its work done.  Compared to eight years ago when Richardson was spending 14 hours a day having meetings, the current transition is not seeing many people.  This might be setting the pace we will see in a Martinez administration.

Congressman Martin Heinrich hasn't been sworn in for his second term yet but an Albuquerque City Councillor, Dan Lewis is thinking about running for the seat.  He is a part time preacher.  Someone should find out if he thinks the world is only 6000 years old.  That might make a difference on what kind of congressman he would make.  We don't need any more fundamentalist kooks.  I hope he isn't one. He seems to be an okay guy but Martin would be hard to beat at any rate.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


UNM Lawyers and Albuquerque City Councillors look silly.  This debate over selling beer and wine to the rich people in their fancy new suites at the Pit turned into government at its worse.  The councillors look especially bad in denying the licenses since the city has one for Isotopes Park just across the street.  UNM lawyers look bad saying the city should butt out since this is state land and they have no say.  I believe that EXPO New Mexico has a license so why deny one to UNM?  That is like jamming a stick into a hornets nest of over ego'ed city pols.  UNM has been notorious for never working with other community leaders on their decision making, so maybe they deserve this.  I remember when I was Mayor of Albuquerque the UNM administration and Regents seldom cooperated on any number of planning and land use issues.

I guess I don't really care what happens except to say I don't know why only the suite owners get a beer.  It should be everyone or no one like at Isotopes Park.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Waiting for Analysis

I would like to see some analysis done by some wonks somewhere that would make clear what happened to Diane Denish's vote vis a vis the vote for Martin Heinrich in Bernalillo County.  Heinrich won his race by 10,000 votes while Denish lost by 4,000 in the state's biggest county.  Where exactly did those differences come from?  What does that mean for elections two years from now?  I have a feeling that the difference in those candidates vote totals might have come from areas other than the city's mid heights which is mostly a strong democratic area.  Did Martin excel on the West Side or far North East Heights?  Did Diane perform poorly in one of those areas?  The fact is that democratic candidates cant win unless they win this county.

I am sure somebody somewhere will come up with this analysis and I will share it if I see it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Middle Class Air Heads

We went to see the documentary movie "Inside Job" on Saturday.  Its that movie about the meltdown of the American financial system and who caused it and how it happened.  It is a must see.

During the movie a couple of families got up and walked out after about 10 minutes.  They probably had thought it was an action movie from the title and weren't interested in where the film was going.  They are exactly the ones who should have stayed.  The rest of the audience was pretty much caricatures of policy wonks and people who stay up on events.

This is why I think the middle class should not get off scott free from a tax increase.  Too many of these middle class folks never pay attention to what is going on, nor do they read and more importantly vote.  They let their Senators, Congressmen and Presidents deregulate the financial industry.  They abetted setting loose the 'dogs of greed.'  There should be a price for apathy.  They really deserve to experience the pain of getting our financial affairs in order.  At the same time we better be prepared to soak the rich to get back some of the windfalls they have had since the bush tax cuts went into effect.  Also, if Obama caves on this I will consider looking for a new candidate in 2012 to support.  Yeah, Really!

We might be on the brink of an apocalypse if, instead of poor people with suicide bombs killing middle class guys, middle-class people with suicide bombs started killing rich guys. Bruce Sterling  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Rainy Day

El Nino may keep the rain and snow away from New Mexico for the next year, but it is easy to see the Land of Enchantment is still having a rainy day.  The new budget deficit numbers coming out of Santa Fe are truly scary.  It is something I haven't witnessed since I started work in state government in the mid 70's.  Now we have to deal with it and I think there is a way.

Firing thousands of state employees at this point would only make things worse for ourselves.  It seems Governor elect Martinez understands that.  But it is not like the state is completely broke.  We have the Permanent Fund and the Severance Tax Permanent fund sitting in place with billions of dollars.  While I would oppose raiding the Permanent Fund because of its value to education, I could certainly see some value on issuing bonds against the severance tax permanent fund to keep state government on an even keel.  That fund should have over $4 billion in it. Strangely, you cant find that number easily on state websites so this is an educated guess.   If it were ever considered to be a rainy day fund, then that day has arrived.  I believe the legislature could do this without much trouble.  Some constitutional lawyer might think otherwise, but I know that Senator Michael Sanchez has some idea that this could work.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I am headed north to Salt Lake City for an evening and morning of meetings.  I have served on the board of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance for 17 years.  It is an incredible group and I love the meetings because we talk about reality and politics and how we can educate folks to get wilderness lands in place in Southern Utah.

This next congress will be tough, but it was tougher before when we didn't have a democrat for president.  He can proclaim National Monuments if he wants to do so.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

State Employees

Most state employees will go into sleep mode for the next couple of months.  Most of the state's political appointees will do job searches.  Nothing will get done as the Martinez transition gets underway.  That is probably okay although I am sure a few lingering issues will be pushed by Governor Richardson.  He will find a great reluctance on anyone's part to actually follow orders.  It is just the way things are.

It would be naive to think that anything of great import can change in the next 53 days or so.  Transitions manage to send tendrils out into every facet of government to watch things, mostly.  In that time period most of the cabinet secretaries will be chosen, but that is about it.  It is kind of like limbo, which I learned about in my catechism at Our Lady of Fatima.  (I had always thought about the unbaptized babies who died and couldn't go to heaven as being pretty unjust.)  Except in the case of state employees for the next few weeks it will be more like a vacation from stress.

I have been involved in more than a few transitions.  It is a time of unrealistic goal setting and superfluous words.

It was time to raise the bar higher, or lower if you're doing limbo. Tre Cool 

Monday, November 08, 2010


My hat is off to Mayor Richard Berry for his supporting the continuance of the Albuquerque Downtown Business Improvement District.  There is an effort underway by some wealthy building owners to kill the District.  This would be a long term mistake and the Mayor knows it.  Berry  has just done more for the downtown revitalization than Marty Chavez did in eight years.

As expected there is murmuring of a coalition forming in the legislature which would require three democrats to switch sides and push power in the House of Representatives to the republicans.  Anyone who does it should not run as a democrat again if they feel this way.  Don't hide from what you are.  You could still stay loyal and be a conservative democrat.

In the US House I am still waiting for specifics on what exactly the GOP will cut in the budget.  And I do mean specific.  If they don't touch defense, social security and medicare they have taken 85% of the budget off the table.  Oh, and there are the bush tax cuts.  Will we continue this deficit growing madness?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Grandma and Grandpa

Justin and Karly had a baby boy on Sunday afternoon.  His name is Simon  Baca.  Bobbi and me are now officially grandparents.  A new role for us!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Where the Action Is.

My sister Carlota was reading the newspaper yesterday morning here at our house before leaving for a 16 day  sojourn to Indonesia.  I think she was reading a story about the volcano erupting about 300 miles from where she will be staying.  I told her not to worry about it because the tsunamis would put the fires out.  She went anyway.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Oil Governor

Damn!  It only took one day for Susana Martinez to start delivering for her mega donors to the campaign.  Her first policy decision wasn't one that showed concern for New Mexicans at large.  No,  the first thing out of her mouth was that she would trash New Mexico's Environmental Improvement Board vote to join a regional 'cap and trade' program aimed at lessening climate change.  Of course that means her oil and gas contributors immediately pulled the strings on their very own Governor.  This is a really bad omen. Now she will most likely move to gut the 'Pit Rule" that protects ground water from oil pollution and drilling waste.

Well Susana, we are anxiously awaiting the birth of our first grandchild.  Your position effectively diminishes that kid's quality of life in the future.  All for keeping the oil and gas industry in the money and deep profits.  Did you think of children when you said this?  Did you think of all those scientists who are warning world leaders to get off fossil fuels?  Did you think of New Mexico's own climate future which portends drought and water shortages?  No, you apparently did not.  Did you even give a second thought to this decision or did the oil boys just lead you by the nose?

And so Yates Petroleum owns the Governor's office.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Some Advice

Congratulations again to Susana Martinez on her election.  Now the real world starts interfering.  I have a few points of advice for her as she starts her transition.
  • 1. Ask former Governor Garrey Carruthers to be your transition chief.  He  understands bi-partisanship.
  • 2. The transition will mark your style of governance.  You better think carefully and work long hours on it.
  • 3. Ask people to serve who know how government works.  Not people who hate government.
  • 4. Don't be afraid to keep some people from the Richardson administration.  Some are quite talented despite what your Lt. Governor has said during the campaign.
  • 5. Don't hire anyone that thinks the world was created 6000 years ago by a guy with a white beard who lives in the clouds.
  • 6. Many democrats voted for you.  Don't forget that.
  • 7. The Rail Runner is a good thing.  Don't mess with it.
  • 8. Do not let the oil and gas industry run the Environment Department.
  • 9. Do not let the oil and gas industry run the Energy and Natural Resources Department.
  • 10.  Don't mess with the politics of the Legislature.  That is not your job
When your mother asks, "Do you want a piece of advice?" it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway. Erma Bombeck 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Real Winners

I am ecstatic that Martin Heinrich won his congressional race.  After all the outside secret money that was thrown against him I am relieved that he ran such a great election day performance. Plus he won the early and absentee total vote.  Many of those votes were cast before the special interest infusion of millions against  him in the last two weeks of the campaign.

Rodger and Connie Beimer , Bobbi and I went to his rally in Los Lunas on Saturday.  He was confident they would win because of their election day plans.

Now he will go back to DC in the minority with diminished power in the committee structure.  But having someone there who has some real world views will be great for us in the future.  He deserved this victory.  I hope he spends time getting around the state to meet voters outside his district now.

We are the real winners here.  Maybe John Barela can go back to being the nice guy he was before the right wing put him on their team.   Thank fate we kept the Senate in Democratic hands.

Susana Martinez ran a great race funded with money from right wingers.  Diane Denish's campaign never really caught fire.  She would have made a better governor because of her experience and big heart.  I figure that Susana will moderate out of necessity as she faces a still heavily democratic legislature with whom she must work.

Ray Powell will be Land Commissioner as he managed to keep Santa Fe and even Bernalillo county heavily in his column.  I think his religious fundamentalist opponent really hurt him self with his 'christian war' comments.  What a dufus!  I hope Ray shows some inclination shake things up at the Land Office.  At least we will have an ethical man sitting there.

Now, the biggest winners on election day are the TV stations who raked in the cash by airing the dirtiest and nastiest commercials ever seen by mankind.  Most of them were not even well done.  Most of them were lies.  But what does corporate media care?  They are less than moral.

Monday, November 01, 2010


So, now the police and FBI are actively getting people on Facebook and Twitter to do their work for them.  That would be great if it were a one way street.  The police also can look at your stuff.  When I saw the picture of the PR seeking Darren White in the Journal this morning looking at someone's account it scared me.  It should scare you too.
But, it appears people are fine with this lack of privacy while many are okay with dumping healthcare.  I am at sea I guess.

(My subscription to the Journal was paid through December.  Won't you all join with me and cancel your subscription's to send a message for real journalism.)

I am pretty sure that this weekend many of god's managers, priests, deacons, reverends spoke to their flocks from the pulpit and either directly or indirectly told them who god wants them to vote for.  If so they need to lose their tax status pronto.  Read this for an eye opener.

Someone said, "Fundamentalism means never having to say 'I'm wrong'."  

If you think corporate America secretly funded the republicans this go round, wait until the presidential race next time.  If most voters think they have any ability to fight this stuff right now they are naive.  When will a hero come along and lead us to defeating this?  When will CEOs be  held accountable?  Two million dollars into John Barela's race in three weeks!  Has Barela turned into a dishonorable man? Deep down he knows.   He didn't use to be but the power of money is a marvel.

After reading this blog I think I have turned into a conspiracy theorist.  Time for another cruise.