Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Nightmare Before New Years

I can not imagine what went through former Mayor Marty Chavez's mind when he was informed his live in girl friend was involved in a $3.5 million dollar alleged rip off of the Christus St. Vincent's hospital in Santa Fe.  These nightmare developments develop in every single campaign for office and many sleepless nights are endured trying to figure out what to do about it.  As campaign nightmares go, this is a pretty major one.  It doesn't matter that Chavez had nothing to do with this situation because he is now on the front page of the newspapers as being close to it.

I think this may possibly sink his candidacy for a congressional seat.  That might be unfair but folks might not understand why his girlfriend of several years made him look so gullible.  Also, those religious folks won't understand him 'living in sin.'

It will be interesting to see how Chavez's opponents, Eric Griego and Michelle Grisham, will handle this.  Probably they will use their heads and just let this thing continue to stew.  It will also be interesting to see how long the media stays on the story.  If this were Bill Richardson the Albuquerque Journal would rewrite the story one hundred times on the front page.

If, however, the media plays this out for just a few days then Marty still has a fighting chance five months from now of winning this primary.  Then, if he wins, you can be sure a republican opponent would have a bonanza for a negative ad campaign.  That is the danger for democrats holding on to this seat.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Misc.

Sometimes things make no sense to me.  As I understand it the nation's Catholic Bishops are complaining that their constitutional rights to pursue their religious beliefs are being violated because they are being denied federal funds because they refuse to assist gay people wanting to adopt kids through Catholic Charities.  So, they are being discriminated against because they are not being allowed to discriminate against others?  It is kind of hard to wrap your head around that logic.  As I posted yesterday, I still think the Church will leave all this gay phobia behind in a few years.  Meanwhile they are closing some of their centers for helping the poor in order to get even with the policy.  What would Jesus do?

I for one will miss the New Mexico float in the Rose Bowl Parade.  The curmudgeon Martinez administration won't fund the enterprise any longer.  Governor Richardson started the tradition and the State's floats always won awards for their imagination.  I can understand opting out for a few years because of economic concerns, but as usual, Governor Martinez seems to be killing it because it was Big Bill's idea.

My wife Bobbi went with others to work on the float construction.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Charge the Media

It was a surreal thing watching the so called 'Newscasts' last night.  Every one of the stations mirrored the others on the lame news front.  The big story of the day, again, was the story of the guy who shot his brother in law with a cross bow.  There were some video of bloody rags.  Of course the real reason for this repetitive news was the new extreme poor quality video of this guy being arraigned.  The stations are doing this kind of thing more and more where they have the government to provide video their shows.  Next story up was a 911 call audio of someone reporting a child abuse case.  Another easy picking that requires little effort on the journalism front.  I am beginning to think that local government should charge a stringer fee every time they provide video and audio for a news cast.

The Albuquerque Journal is no different.  Today they opine that they should get video of that meltdown by Rep. Stapleton a few weeks ago.  Apparently there was a security camera nearby.  The Journal editors are upset that the Legislative Council won't release it.  Now, they can't throw the whole embarrassing incident on their website in order to attract a few more hits.  And then the Journal today provides us with dark humor in running another pro oil and gas piece from the much discredited Rio Grande Foundation.  They are trying to say fracking is good and harmless.

It really might be time for some brave legislators to pass that much threatened bill that would make the Journal pay gross receipts taxes on the sales of their paper like every other business does on the sale of their products. I am pretty sure the TV stations do so.

We can only dream.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rich Man Poor Man

There is nothing wrong with very rich people serving in congress.  Of the 535 congressmen and senators over 250 of them are millionaires. That is a very big number though. Senator Bingaman and Senator Udall are listed as millionaires.  Congressmen Martin Heinrich and Ben Lujan Jr. are amongst the poorest in the congress.  I am glad they are there but also wish they were doing better.  But at least they know what it is like to struggle as folks with little assets have to do.  Sure, they have good salaries at $174K a year.  But running two households on that is not easy.  $500K won't buy much in DC when looking for a  home.  It would not be a problem for the oil and gas mascot Steve Pearce.  He is worth up to $30 million and really doesn't need a congressional salary.

All of this spills over into campaigning and politics.  The very rich are essentially self funded by themselves.  They can pursue their own self interests without worrying about stepping on donor's toes. The poor must spend every breathing moment on the phone raising money for the next election cycle.  This puts them under the thumb of their contributors.

Unless this nation changes its approach to campaign funding then we will continue down a slippery slope of the rich running everything.  Think about the basic fact that close to 50% of our elected officials in DC are millionaires.  And think about the percentage of rank and file Americans that are millionaires.  Something needs to change.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Frugality

The big question for me today is whether to reuse my luminara bags for another year.  The ones that burned brightly on Christmas Eve have been  used for the last three years.  I usually just empty them out.  Separate the wax and sand and them fold them up and insert them into a grocery bag.  A few get trashed, but not many.  This is one sign of frugality in my otherwise less disciplined spending habits.  I even use the same sand every year from a little pile in the back yard.  I really started recycling the bags because I am so worthless at folding them every year with out tearing them.

Not as many neighbors put up the farolitos this year.  Maybe it is a sign of the general funk of the economy.  There seemed to be a slight lack of energy in this holiday season around here.  Probably because we are a year older and none of the kids were around.  Wait until next year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holidays

We are going to have a subdued Holiday this year.  None our our kids will be here nor will by brother Tom's.  It is the first time ever I can remember that happening.  But thank the digital gurus for inventing Skype!  We will be able to see them all and the grandkids on real time computer screens.  They just won't be able to sample the posole and tamales this year.  Too bad.

Not a lot of gifts exchanging hands this year.  We find that young couples need a nice check in the mail to get what they need, rather than what we think they need.  We used to do a gift exchange drawing at Thanksgiving where every one reached into a hat full of names and then bought a small gift for the person they drew.  We don't do that anymore since we never seem to be all in one place at the same time.  Times change.  Time certainly marches on.

Here are some gifts I think need to be handed out to well known people or groups.  I hope they get them.


  1. A sense that environmental issues that affect us all on the planet are important for President Obama.
  2. A realization that the GOP needs to shed its 'crazy' wing nuts who seem to be running the party so it can be a respected political group again.
  3. A show of courage and new leadership to the democrats in congress in fighting those crazies.
  4. A resolve on Governor Susanna Martinez's part that she will no longer listen to those who feel that demonizing undocumented workers is a good thing.
  5. A realization by the fossil fuels industry that they should no longer try and run our nation with political donations and that they use their business expertise to develop renewables in a profitable way.
  6. A happier outlook on life to bloggers who whine in 90% of their blogs.  
Happy Holidays to you all! Peace on Earth!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Alike?

I have always wondered how the country of North Korea functions in the face of a national ongoing case of dementia.  How can it be that a even a minority of the population can not see clearly enough to know that their leaders are all major Bozo crazy?  I guess brainwashing really does work but I never thought everyone in a country could be had.

Then I look at our U.S. House of Representatives and the GOP majority that is also Bozo crazy and I wonder if we are moving closer to the North Korean way of thinking.  Which is not thinking at all.  (At least we have electricity.)  Could it be that the House GOP folks are pushing this country towards another term for President Obama?  I think so.  And even after all of my disappointments with his administration I can say that would be a good thing.  He may be a wuss, but he is not living as a crazy person like most of his opponents.

Having said that I get the feeling that the republicans will reelect more of their reps than most people think.  I see their base turning out stronger than Obama's.  I read somewhere that if Obama were to run against a 2008 version of himself he would lose.  I think that is true.

 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Snowed

Alright, snow storms are news.  But watching TV last night you would have thought that after dedicating 11 minutes to watching reporters bend over and scoop up snow from a two inch drift that maybe they could get to the real news of the day.  Those news directors just love sending out their toothy reporters in the satellite trucks to cavort in the snow.

Actually, the big news of the day is that I took Hermes and Ajax to the vet for their Rabies shot and they are both healthy.  I was worried they might run into Representative Stapleton when they were out catting around.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Onslaught

Get ready for the onslaught of disgusting and trashy political commercials after the first of the year.  Given the republican dominated supreme court's decision on corporate and special interest spending in political races we may be in for the worst ration of political bottom dwelling in our life times.  Think of the movie "The Exorcist" and the little girl's ability to spew!

Of course the winners will be the TV stations and media outlets that will run this stuff.

However, I had an interesting conversation with some people who are knowledgeable about how this will work.  These special committees that will be spending the money will need to pay top dollar for their commercial time, unlike a candidate's campaign who gets the lowest rates.  Also, the special committees will not be able to use outright fabrications and lies in their ads, or they are liable to be denied air time.  A candidate campaign can lie but a special committee can not.  Weird.  There may be a real effort on the media's part, for their own good, to use some editorial prerogatives on what gets aired and what doesn't.  Let's hope so.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Calculus

Some one needs to explain to me the calculus used by the Obama Interior Secretary on leaving New Mexico's beautiful Dona Ana County lands out of a bill that would protect wilderness jewels in this country.  Wilderness is a difficult issue at any time because of the influence of the fossil fuels and livestock lobby.  But this state currently has two democratic United States Senators, two democratic congressmen and one lonely republican representative who is a mascot for the oil and gas industry.  And he wins.  No protection for beautiful landscapes in Dona Ana County.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Funny

R.I.P. Christopher Hitchens

Heaven is where : 
• the police are British,
• the cooks are French,
• the mechanics are German,
• the lovers are Italian,
• and all is organized by the Swiss.
Hell is where :
• the police are German,
• the cooks are British,
• the mechanics are French,
• the lovers are Swiss,
• and all is organized by the Italians !

Easy Date

I think the oil and gas industry has found that Obama is an 'easy date'.   They just got their planet killing tar sands pipe line from Canada to Houston on the fast track decision process in return for a two month extension of the payroll tax deduction extension for working Americans.  For the last few weeks Obama had vowed not to let that happen.  He weakly says now after another capitulation that it might make it easier for him to deny the pipe line.  Fat Chance!

I am beginning to think the Obama administration, on environmental matters, is one of those cosmic jokes that come around every now and then.  Those things that defy rationality and that are totally unexplainable.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coffee Chatter

My friend Arturo and I were bemused this morning over the flap of Legislative Representative Sheryl Williams Stapleton's racist rant against the Governor.  She called Martinez the 'mexican on the fourth floor.'  She gave an apology yesterday at a news conference but did not invite Channel 13 news who have been after her for taking a salary from APS while serving on committees and during the sessions.  She showed her vindictiveness has not lessened.  At the same time it is humorous and the Governor and her right wing handlers, Pat Rogers, Mickey Barnett, and Jay McClesky have not apologized for demonizing undocumented Mexican workers in our communities who legally applied for and received state driver's licenses.  I think it would be fitting for the Governor to do that now.  Don't hold your breath.

We also talked a little about the Bernalillo County Commission's lack of comment on the tax money being offered to Lowe's Home Improvement Center to locate a call center here.  Given Lowe's proven bigotry against Muslim Americans they should at least state what their position is on continuing this funding.  Why has the Albuquerque Journal not asked this question?  Or any other news media?  Sure, these meager paying jobs look good right now, but at what cost to American ideals?

We also lamented the passing of Lisa Breeden, former journalist and aide to Pete Domenici.  Lisa always had a smile and a wink on every thing she worked on.  She died from lung cancer at the age of 56.  Way to soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Misc.

No one is saying the word victory or win as we pull out of Iraq.  If we won, what did we win?  I think bush/cheney really need to explain the carnage to us and what good it all was.  Nine years of death, profit for defense contractors, and economic wreckage.  Not a great result.

Timing is everything.  Just as news of Representative Sheryl Williams Stapelton's racist rant against the Governor hits, the NAACP files a civil rights suit against the city of Albuquerque alleging racism in hiring and promotion actions.  Stapleton, an African American, accused a fellow legislator of 'carrying water for the Mexican upstairs."  She should resign her seat now.

Of course the Albuquerque Journal tried to implicate all democrats in this with a headline that said, "Democratic leader calls Governor a Mexican."  First, Stapleton is a minor leader.  Second the bigotry shown by the Journal is as bad as Stapleton's.   Third, the editor at the Journal should resign too.

The Journal must be collecting money somehow from the oil and gas industry.  Today they opined that the planned tar sand pipeline from Canada to Houston should be approved as a part of a tax bill that will keep payroll taxes low.  Usually they hate this kind of tactic, but now its okay.

The silence out of the County Commission and City who are helping to fund a new call center for Lowe's in Albuquerque is deafening.  Following on the heels of Lowe's decision to pull advertising from a reality show about American Muslims you would think maybe someone would express disappointment.  The bigoted action certainly should make us wonder if we want to be support such a company with tax dollars.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gerry Mander R.I.P.

The process of reapportioning political districts in New Mexico is entering its second year.  The once a decade process usually ends up with a huge amount of gerrymandering and shifting of political tides.  This decade's process is turning into a funeral for gerrymandering.  As I read about the efforts all over the state the flavor of this decade seem to be 'least change', despite the fact that the state's growth pattern demands otherwise. Although one could argue that is a stealth form of manipulation.

It is typical that any incumbent congressman, legislator, city councillor, county commissioner or school board member would want things to stay pretty much the same as when they were elected.  But the idea of this task is to make things fair.  Why would we want depopulating areas in the oil and gas patch to keep their political power when that power should really shift to urban areas that have grown strongly since the year 2000?

At the end of the day this is all an inside game.  The public doesn't care.  It is meaningless to them.  As the lawsuits drag on at great cost to the taxpayer the only interested folks are the ones who are making money out of this.  The lawyers that is.  And the politicos who want to hang on to their little fiefdoms.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Misc.

We were at breakfast this morning and my friend Rodger wondered aloud when New Mexico's Presidential Primary election would be held.  Last time around it got moved up when Bill Richardson was running in the Primary.  It was thought an earlier primary would give him a leg up in the race.  It turned out to have no impact whatsoever.  I asked my magic new iPhone when the state would hold its primary.  Sure enough it is next June.  That was a one time deal for the Governor.

The media is now talking about Richardson again.  He bought a summer home in Cape Cod for $1.5 million.  It seems to me the story was built around the price of the house.  Not so much the location.  And the media is giddy with talking about an alleged affair the Governor had that ended up with $250,000 in hush money being paid to the woman.  It seems the crime here was that the Governor's supporters raised the money for him which the US Attorney thinks is a crime.  I think it would be if campaign funds were used but apparently it was not done through the campaign.  Is this a crime? Or is it another attempt to indict Richardson no matter how silly the attempt?  We will find out soon enough I guess.

If anyone could find out the connection between the oil and gas industry and the Albuquerque Journal I would take them to dinner.  First they opine that subsidies for oil and gas are necessary and  good.  Then they run a right wing article today from the Hoover Institute that says things have never been better in this country because of all the oil and gas they are finding.  So, why do they need subsidies?   And could they at least mention climate change as a reason not to rely on more oil and gas?  I also have a suggestion.  The editors and columnists who push this dogma should be forced to drink water for two years from homes near fracking operations that are polluting ground water.  Make their families drink it too and then if they agree I will give them the benefit of the doubt on fracking's safety.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Some Truth

There may be some truth in this lengthy article.  Worth a read.

Idiocy

It has been the "Year of Idiocy" as far as I am concerned.  Just putting up with the flavor of the month in the republican presidential primary would cinch that title for sure.  But corporate America is doing their part.  First there was the banks trying to charge a $5 fee for using ones debit cards.  Only idiots could try and foist that onto their customers, or victims as I call them.

Now comes along Lowe's Home Improvement Centers.  I am a frequent customer of Lowes.  They are just a half a mile away and I probably spent $400 there in the last week converting my house to LED lights.  I guess I should be happy I am not a muslim though.  Lowes just pulled their TV commercials from a Muslim reality show because a wacko christian fundamentalist group insisted they do so.

I wonder how much this will cost Lowes.  Millions and millions I hope until their CEO and his minions are fired for bald faced bigotry.  That is the only thing that will get me back into a Lowes store.  I am serious.

This all traces back to the state of religion in this country.  The fanatics are winning while the rest of the good folks that are believers just sit back and watch it happen.  Shameful.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Annoyances

Yesterday my cellphone disappeared.  Today, my email was hacked.  I wonder if the two are connected.  All my friends got emails today about the wonders of Viagra.  Now I am trying to figure out how to stop all of this.  I am a luddite when it comes to this.  New dangers in a modern world I guess.  Plus, now I need to get a new phone.  Maybe a new Apple that helps me remember things.  That would be useful.  A nagging device that speaks to me about my upcoming appointments.  A backup memory.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Worth Some Time

The Albuquerque Journal picked up this essay from the Los Angeles Times.  It is worth reading.  I have felt this way too.

The Governor

I have to say the Governor is doing a good thing in pushing this additional support for reading instruction for young children.  It really works!  We did this same thing when I served as Mayor and it upped reading proficiency in kids who were lagging.  They all came out a least one year ahead of their peers after just six weeks of intense help during the summer.  The parents had to sign on to the effort and help the kids in the evenings.  I can't think of a better thing to do for children than to give them the power to read well.

Being There

One of my commenter's has stated I am overly leftist on the decision in which the White House over ruled the Federal Drug Administration Scientists and said Plan B morning after birth control could not be made available to those under 17 years of age with out a prescription.  Certainly, I don't like the idea of 14 year olds getting this over the counter, but when I look at the problem of teenage single mothers I think it makes sense.  If the parents of these boys and girls don't do their job on instruction for use of contraceptives then we end up paying the freight on unwanted kids.

This is the second time that the Obama White House has told scientists and experts to go screw them selves in the name of electoral calculations. Think of the clean air regulations that Obama halted from going into effect.  Whats a little global warming compared to electoral votes?  It makes one wonder what motivates the Cabinet Secretaries to stay on.  Both Lisa Jackson of the EPA and now Ms. Sebilius of of Health and Human Services have been gutted by the campaign managers for Obama.


During my tenure as a Senate confirmed appointee in the first Clinton Administration it became apparent to me that for the most part, people who took those positions really wanted to just be there.  It over rode their own best instincts and they were willing to do anything to hang on to their jobs.  I quit my job after having around in DC for about 18 months because of Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt's continual caving in to the oil, gas, and livestock industries.  What was the point of sticking around?  I think I was the only one who did this at Interior.  Clinton's White House did some good things in the second term but none of it meant stepping on the fossil fuel industries feet or messing with the cowboys.

Maybe one just feels better in being there, but I can guarantee you that it isn't all that it is cracked up to be.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Obama

I had been hopeful that the Obama administration had a Plan B.  I just didn't know it would still require a prescription!  This was a White House call completely and another huge disappointing sell out to fundamentalism.

Confirmed

I got a surly note from the New Mexico State University Foundation about its acting as a pass through for the Domenici Institute.  They said my answers would be found in a large list of news releases they provided.  Period.  They could not take the time to provide me with just a link to the specific document.  I found it easily though.  My suspicions were confirmed that Yates Petroleum was the source of a $500,000 gift to the Domenici Institute.  The money was given to the Foundation directly and they were instructed to send it on to the institute.  Why not just give it to the  institute?  Of course the Institute is supposed to do oil and gas economic studies and it might have been embarrassing to easily find out the studies are being funded by the oil and gas industry.  And why didn't the institute give me the information instead of saying they were not allowed to do so.  If there was a press release why camouflage the funding?  One can only wonder if this is the just part of the story.

Since the NMSU Foundation did a news release back in 2008 they were not being secretive.  If anyone ever wrote a story about this I never saw it and I looked into a few archives to find it.

The Albuquerque Journal's Thomas Cole this morning did a piece on where the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senator are getting their money.  That is fair game.  He says it indicates how they might govern.  But when a U.S. Senator's legacy institute gets a huge donation from an industry he carried water for, you hear little about it.  Domenici gets a free ride on this one.  Maybe because he is a republican?

I can not imagine what kind of press there would be if former Governor Bill Richardson's favorite institute were to collect half a million bucks after leaving office from the operators of the racino at the New Mexico Expo.  It would run on the front page of the Journal for years.

I don't disrespect Pete Domenici.  I disagreed with his energy policies and blind support of the military industrial complex.  He did good things too.  Like his concern for mental health issues.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Tumbled

It was very cold out on the Bosque today.  These tumbleweeds have probably tumbled their last after the big wind last week.  They blew into the Rio Grande and stuck!  They look homeless and huddled.  It will have to blow even harder to get them out of their watery grave.

The Bosque looks devoid of life, except for a fat coyote that didn't stop for a picture taking session.  I much prefer it in the fall when there is color.

Who needs Excellence?

It is just amazing to me that the media and a majority of the business community do not see any advantage to showing leadership and vision in the Land of Enchantment.  All we hear about is that trying to achieve excellence in the fields of energy conservation and protection of the planet will do nothing but cost jobs.

Currently, the home builders are trying to get Albuquerque's forward looking energy efficient building codes eradicated.  Why?  Because it will add to the cost of housing.  The costs of housing have already dropped pretty dramatically due to the financial meltdown caused by, well housing and mortgages.

And then there is the Governor and her minions in the oil, gas and coal industry trying to take apart New Mexico's national leadership in climate change management.  After all, why would we want to keep our air clean, water clean and landscapes in pristine condition.  Oh, thats right, it might cause a drop in the fossil fuel industry profit levels.

It just wouldn't do to have us looked at as a progressive, smart, ready for the future state.  We will be happy just following the lemmings over the cliff.  That is the kind of leadership we have in New Mexico right now on the state and local levels.  Even some of our smart democratic congressional delegation still believes in tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry.  Makes one want to register and an independent.  But that would just cost the ability to vote in a primary.

P.S.   It has been two weeks since the New Mexico State University Foundation said they would get back to me on who is funding the Pete Domenici Institute on the school's campus.  The foundation is beginning to look like a money launderer if they fail to provide us with that information.  If it didn't involve state tax dollars in supporting the institute in it's studies then I would not care.  But it does.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Flakes

We didn't get a real flake of snow at our home in the North Valley last night.  Other parts of Albuquerque were under a nice blanket of snow.  Apparently the flakes destined for us were blown away by canyon winds blowing into the center of the city.

Speaking of flakes, Newt Gingrich is the flake of the month for the GOP.  Flakes flitter back and forth.  Just last summer Newt's open accounts at Tiffany's in New York blew him back into the clouds but he is now floating down around our necks again.  His supporters call him a great idea man.  He had an idea he could be a high priced lobbyist earning millions from the healthcare conglomerates, but all the while calling  him self a citizen who just helps people.  He is an evil man.

I will soon think the editors at the Journal are flakes if they don't look into Mickey Barnett and Pat Rodgers influence on the Martinez administration and their connections to the recently rushed through lease for the racino at the Fair Grounds.  These two extreme right wing GOP operatives seem to be mostly invisible to the media.  They are running the show for Susanna Martinez and ought to be profiled.  When this racino at the Expo was nurtured by the Richardson administration there was no lack of coverage.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Double Standard

On Page B-1 of he Albuquerque Journal today is a story about how our Congressional Delegation supports continued subsidies for the oil and gas industry.  They cite the need to help out the little independent producers.  That would be the guys that donate a lot of money on a state level to politics.

On Page E-1 there is a story about the shortage of food assistance for the poor and homeless because the Congress is cutting back food aid programs.  These are the poor folks who can not donate a lot of money to state level politicians.

On Page A-1 there is an excellent story on a rightwing mega church pastor who uses the pulpit to endorse candidates but whose church pays no taxes even though this endorsement process is illegal for non profit entities.  The County of Bernalillo should immediately put this church on the tax rolls and the IRS should start collecting income taxes.

Leslie Lithicum's column on how the police have treated the "Occupy" movement versus the "Tea Party" movement was right on.  One of her best ever.  I have opined ad nausea on the police being trained like Marines rather than public servants.

The Journal had a good day and deserves a pat on the back for some good journalism.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

SiriusXM Corporate Assholes Update

After using up an hour of my time I finally cancelled our SiriusXM service.  They turned of our radios immediately even though we had several weeks left on our subscription.  They did this so I might call again and get hammered with special deals to enroll again.

A note to our Congressional delegation.  Any business in the US that provides account services through the internet must provide the ability to cancel such services in a simple and effective way.  Introduce that bill and win thousands of votes.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Misc.

I am sitting on the phone waiting to cancel my Sirius XM satellite service to our two cars.  The prices seem to have doubled from last year with no explanation.  You can do everything you want online except cancel service and I have been shuttled back and forth in my efforts to do that on the phone.  I have turned from a customer into a victim once again by corporate America.  I like the radio service with no commercials.  Now I will just download podcasts to play in the car via blue tooth.

It is like Comcast.  It seems every time I get a bill from them it goes up.  It is time for the city of Albuquerque to allow a new franchisee into the mix.  My son has a choice of providers in upstate New York and his fees are much lower. And he has fiber optics right up to the home.  If I have any regrets from my term as Mayor in Albuquerque it is that I did not try harder to have the city council, a very reluctant group who got freebies from Comcast, to do it.

That wind yesterday in Albuquerque was tremendous.  It blew a nice tiled name plate that sat over our porch for seventeen years right off its hooks.  The only tile that survived was the B for Baca.  Strangely, the piles of leaves in the front yard disappeared and it now looks to be manicured.  Those leaves and many more ended up in the back yard and the currents caused a three foot high pile on our porch blocking access to the hot tub.  I had to cut a pathway in order to take my early morning soak.


Thursday, December 01, 2011

Misc.

The Big Lie has always amazed me.  Newt Gingrich says he was acting as a citizen and not a lobbyist when putting  the corporate health care crowd together with the congress.  His company made millions doing it.  And he thinks he is just a citizen.  Sometimes the Big Lie can work.  Gingrich is following the lead of Herman Cain.  He didn't do anything with that woman he saw for thirteen years in a long drawn out relationship.  He was just trying to help her financially.  It seems to me the GOP candidates for President are trying to see who can tell the biggest lie and get a way with it.  Clowns.

The Albuquerque Police Department and Mayor Berry want the public to vote on the new color of police cars.  Any thing for them to ignore the real issues of police violence and lack of jobs in this community.  I vote to keep the cars in the red, white and blue configuration.  The black and white looks a little sinister and are harder to see.  The Mayor is following the lead of Governor Martinez in trying to distract folks from real problems.

The Governor makes a big deal out of saving money on cars and cell phones but never says anything about jobs.  The only things she seems to talk about positively now is the movie industry and the Space Port in our state.  Both of those were created by Bill Richardson.  Last night on the SciFi Channel the Space Port and New Mexico had great exposure on a biography of Arthur C. Clarke.  He was a visionary and author.  His book Childhood's End is the first SciFi book I ever read.  It is a Masterpiece.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Looking a Long Way Ahead

It is just never to early to look ahead to Gubernatorial elections.  As Governor Susannah Martinez's first year inches to a close there is plenty of reason to think she could be vulnerable in a few years.  But I don't see much in the way of anyone wanting to take her on.  A lot can happen between now and then but so far as I can see the Democrats are not thinking strategically on the possibility of getting this Governor out of office.  I have always felt deep down she could be a good Governor, but it seems her strings are totally controlled by the right wing elements of the GOP.  Guys like Pat Rodgers and Mickey Barnett.  Those are pretty heartless people I think when it comes to any sort of notion that some people could use assistance during these tough times.

There is grist for the mill in that campaign against Martinez.  Job creation is certainly one area where she has shown no creative thinking or even sympathy.  She has not convinced me she has put this on her agenda as a priority.  Even if it is hard to do I can not figure out why she isn't putting on a show.   And where are the Democrats response to this disconnected administration?  There should be people at everyone of her public appearances waving signs saying..."Where are the jobs?"

You don't see any prospective candidates out there muttering criticisms of the current administration's failed economic growth efforts.  Are there none?  It wouldn't hurt to become vocal if there are.  Given the governors ratings in the polls it is obvious little work is being done in the Northern part of the state where her non policies are hurting people the most.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Misc.

Rep. Barney Frank is ending a decades long career in the House.  He was a champion of fiscal responsibility and gay rights.  He essentially said he was sick of the no compromise attitude that consumed the House.  I have always said that the one person most responsible for this mess was Newt Gingrich.  Frank said the same thing and singled him out as the main cause of the hateful atmosphere in DC.  And now the republicans have switched their allegiance to Gingrich in the latest GOP primary poll.  At least for this week.

Now the GOP and the Governor are New Mexico is starting a destructive approach in the current reapportionment lawsuits they have filed. They want a list of all communications between Democrats and Brian Sanderoff who was hired by the Legislative Council to work on designing new legislative and congressional districts.  He has carried out this task for almost thirty years with absolutely no indication of any favoritism.  They are doing nothing but trying to defame a respected Sanderoff and painting conspiracies where there are none.  What if they find more communications from email savvy republicans?  That would be funny. The Governor is nothing more than another Gingrich.

Albuquerque Journal Columnist Wynn Quigley wrote a good technical analysis this morning about energy subsidies and taxation.  His point I believe was that subsidies for renewable energy systems was really no different that oil and gas subsidies.  He said the economics favored oil and gas.  He is probably correct to a certain point, but he leaves out the most important issue.  That would be the fact that fossil fuels are killing our planet and the continued use of them are disastrous.  That makes the economic issues the least of our worries.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

That Latin Mass


This is a picture of me in 1957 in front of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Albuquerque.  It is located at the intersection of Lomas and Morningside in Albuquerque.  At the time it was under construction and really was the nicest church in the city once it was completed.  At that time I was an altar boy.  We had to undergo instruction in rote memorization of the Latin responses to the priest during mass.  Also, a lot of training in the rituals of the Mass.  It was all pretty easy except for the meaningless latin recitations which most of us never really mastered.  Especially on cold winter mornings when we had to get  up at 5:45AM to bicycle over to the church for 6:30 mass.

Pretty soon the mass was changed to english  and it became more understandable even though we didn't pay much attention at that point.  My doubts on religion all started when we were celebrating May Day in our school, known as Heights Catholic School.  The class 'princess' was crowning the Virgin Mary statue when the ribbons and garland ignited into a conflagration after brushing one of the candles.  Some holy water was used to suppress the fire and the ritual proceeded though the crown looked pretty crummy.  I wondered how an all omnipotent god could let that happen.  The rest of my religious up bringing just started peeling off in onion like layers.  In fact the other day a friend and I started reading through an old Baltimore Catechism and were astounded we ever bought any of that stuff.  Go online and read it.  It is pretty funny.

Now I see that the church is retranslating the english verses in the mass to more closely follow the original Latin scripts.  Not so dramatic in the scheme of things the church has done.  Like the changing of the mortal sin of eating meat on Fridays or the admittance that there is no Limbo for little babies who die before being baptized.

Although I am not a believer any longer I will admit that the Catholic education, aside front the god stuff, did good for me in that I try to follow most of the acts of mercy that were enunciated by the church.  I liked Heights Catholic School and St. Pius X High School.  The one thing they did for me was teach me to read and I was a champion speller.  They pretty much failed to instruct me in anything more than simple arithmetic.

However, they inadvertently molded me into a progressive political person.  Now, they may regret that.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Misc.

Why would anyone stand in line in cold and snow at midnight to get into a store to buy stuff?  They are slaves to consumerism foisted on us by corporate America I guess.  Remember when the economy melted down in 2008 and President bush said that people just needed to go out and shop some more?  As if that was going to fix things when everyone was already in debt up to their lower lips.  I suppose some people get some fulfillment from buying stuff and apparently deals can be abundant.  It just seems over the top.

In my old double standard dilemma I do my consumer overspending from the comfort of my I-Mac.  Maybe I should join the social madness and get a little more exercise and combat training.  It might be good for me.  Who knows?

This is a picture of our daughter Noelle at Christmas time back in 1992 with our Christmas tree.   Now the big debate around here is whether to buy a new artificial Christmas tree.  Our old one was, well old.  The lights were not working and it was a labor intensive thing to put up.  A new one would have to be an easier one to haul out and set up.  Bobbi has been shopping around for a new one but they are pricey.  Since we may not be here for Christmas I suggested we wait for the last minute sales prices and get one for next year.  We still put up many other decorations. With few kids around this year I wonder if it is even necessary.  I probably won't win this argument.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Children

This is Emma, Anya, and Maya.  All children of family in and around these parts.  They kept Thanksgiving boisterous at our home.  Hide and Seek, shrieking, eating, going to the park and generally having a good time.  So much energy while eating teensy portions of the feast.  Why can't I be like that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Looking for Turkey

Ajax our predator cat has pretty much chased off all the the pigeons that were hanging around the neighborhood.  His strolls around the perimeter of our roof everyday has been witnessed by the flocks that were starting to roost on a few houses around here.  They took one look at him and split for good last summer.  We are thankful for that.  So are our neighbors.  Now as Thanksgiving approaches maybe he is expecting a Turkey.

Let's see, what can we be thankful for this year.  Here are a few things.

1. Our kids are doing great.  Justin and his wife Karly sent  us video of our grandson Simon taking his first steps just before his first birthday a couple of weeks ago.  Noelle and her fiancĂ© Lucas are gearing up for their wedding next May and have just bought a home in Fort Collins, Colorado.  It is good they are into snowshoeing.

2. We continued our great travels this year with our Spain, Portugal and France cruise.  We have now booked a river cruise next September between Moscow and St. Petersburg.  It will be different from a large cruise ship and we are looking forward to it.

3.  We are thankful for our continued good health.  With the exception of golf shoulder and golf elbow pain we are holding together pretty good.  Bobbi has a bum knee but will get that fixed up soon.  She still does five Jazzercise classes a week.  I play golf, lift weights, and spend time on the elliptical trainer.  I am still fat.

4.  We are thankful that ever so slightly people might be seeing some good in protecting our planet.  The Obama administration and Congress might not agree through their actions, but the media is starting to pay attention.

5. We are thankful that the 'Occupy' movement has not died a quick death.  Many say it is unfocused and rambling, but really the whole thing is about economic justice.  Next summer will be interesting if this group holds together that long.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Domenici Institute Says 'Go Fish'

I had asked Sara Patricolo of the Domenici Institute to provide the name of the 'private company' that donated $500,000 to the Institute.  She said she could not provide the information because the money is  held at another foundation.  That would be the NMSU Foundation.  One could only wonder why there is a shell game here where money for one group is held by another one.  Would it be to hide the name of the donor?  Is this money laundering?I will now contact the NMSU Foundation to find out who the donor is that seemingly wants to be invisible.

Misc.

Portales, New Mexico, self proclaimed peanut capital of the world, will erect a new sign to replace one taken out by a car accident. The humorous sign welcomes people with the statement, "Home of 12,000 people and four old grouches."  Now that the super committee has failed  its work and peanut subsidies are to be cut it might be 12,004 grouches.  The Feds have spent $80 million in peanut subsidies in the first six months of this year.  Much of it in New Mexico and Georgia.

The Albuquerque Journal said this morning that the State Congressional delegation was divided on the deficit fix.  Divided is a creative word here.  Since the score is really 4 members for raising taxes on the wealthy and one against it.  But that is the Journal's peculiar way of describing a land slide.  Congressman Steve Pearce, who represents Portales Peanut Farmers, says no to taxing the rich.

Governor Martinez got what she wanted in extending the casino lease at New Mexico Expo.  Golly, it is like she morphed into a pay to play politico in awarding her donors with a quick and fat contract to run a gambling operation.  How will she explain this?  I think this is one even the morning newspaper will have to question.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Deficit Failures

I hope  you read the blog from Saturday about the $10,000,000 in Defense Department funds that were handed over to the Domenici Institute at New Mexico State University.  And then reflect on the abject failure of the deficit super committee in Washington.  That failure was caused by republicans insisting on keeping the tax breaks for the rich from the bush administration in effect.  They seem to be living in another dimension where low taxes for the wealthy solves all woes.

This is all going to end very badly for our nation.  Soon, events will spiral out of control in the streets and pepper spray will be replaced with more lethal controls.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Domenici Institute

On Saturday there was an article in the Albuquerque Journal about a local anti domestic violence organization losing its federal funding.  Enlace, a group that works on those issues as they affect immigrants, was recently the recipient of a national award for its excellence.  Keep this in mind for a moment.

Some time ago I was wondering aloud why the media has not looked into the funding of the Domenici Institute which is a partner with New Mexico State University and is housed on that campus.  After a few days of waiting on the Journal to look into it I decided to find out for myself.  I wrote an email to the Institute's program manager Sara Patricolo asking her about the funding sources.  She was very responsive. I received a reply after about a week.  Here is her explanation of the funding of the Domenici Institute.

"The Institute was the recipient of  a U.S. Department of Defense grant(awarded March 31, 2010) in the amount of $10,000,000 for a term from March 31, 2010 through September 30, 2014."

She also said a $500,000 grant was made from a "company" which she did not identify.    I had asked her to identify the source of any funds coming into the institute.  I can only assume it is from a fossil fuel based corporation because  of the work that the institute will carry out studying this polluting energy source.  I have asked her again to identify the mystery corporation.  Much of the institutes tasks will involve studies of the fossil fuels and uranium industries and their impact on our state.  How can we expect these studies to be independent if energy industry money is helping to fund them?  And is the defense department  mingling their funds with this work and why?

Some of the work the Institute will do is fine.  Its educational and mental health work can be positive.  However its investigation of health care reform effects seems a bit befuddling since reform hasn't really begun.  It is also peculiar that defense money will fund development of student programs to "advance free market and entrepreneurial models of economic development."  Does that mean working to cut regulation and public safety?  Who knows why Defense would think this is important?

These are valid questions that the main stream media should investigate since all of this effort ultimately costs New Mexico taxpayers.  New Mexico State University will use state tax dollars to fund overhead and other expenses.  It would be interesting to know how much former republican governor Garrey Carruthers is being paid to manage this program along with his other duties at NMSU.

Finally, think again about the small group, Enlace, that just had its funding pulled.  Think again about $10,000,000 being funneled by the Obama Defense Department, in the middle of a recession, to an institute built to honor a great supporter of the Defense and fossil fuel industries in New Mexico, former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici.  It all seems a little strange.  I will be asking for regular accountings of how all of this money is spent.

And to the media, you are all about transparency in government.  How about using your fervor on this strange expenditure of public money.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Misc.

The fight is on to keep medical marijuana users from owning or carrying guns at the same time that felons are regaining their rights to do so.  The media is running with this story but they are zeroing in only on the ailing pot smokers.   The smokers are automatically outed on their use by having a prescription from a Doctor.  Maybe we could insist that anyone on alcohol, painkillers, anti-depressants, steroids,  and other legal drugs also be treated like this.  Sure, there is a law or two that says it is illegal to use a firearm while under the influence of these drugs, but does it ban ownership or carrying when not under the influence?

The first wake up call for our congressional delegation and city leaders has come as the Office of Inspector General has started looking at cost savings at our National Labs.  Sandia Labs and Los Alamos National Labs rake in the dough here and if spending is cut or consolidations are enacted we will feel the pain in a big way.  This state has a group that exists to protect military installations from cuts.  Maybe we need one to protect the labs and push for new and stronger basic research missions other than nuclear weapons.  Lets see if the Governor can get off her rightwing soap box and start something that will actually help save good paying jobs. Mayor Berry needs to concentrate on this too.  Some leadership is required here.  There is nothing more important to work on right now.

I am off to Salt Lake City for a meeting of the Board of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.  The wacko political leadership in that state keeps us busy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Try, Try, Try Again

I changed the format a little bit on my blog.  I was just messing around with it last night as Bobbi and I were watching a first run movie on the Dish Satellite system.  It is the third time I have changed the format and I kind of like this one.  I decided to stop advertising on the blog because those oil and gas guys keep placing their ads into my blog.  The movie was pretty weird.  I was waiting for it to come to the theaters but there it was on satellite and it didn't require $11 for a popcorn and coke.  This movie was called "Melancholia".  It was not a happy movie, but it was good.  Last weekend we saw the latest Almovodar movie, "The Skin I Live In."  So all in all a weird movie week.  But we enjoyed them.

I see the federal prosecutors office is back after former Governor Bill Richardson.  They keep trying.  This is the fourth time they have tried to get some federal indictments from a grand jury.  They are batting zero so far.  Will it ever end?

Off to play golf now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Anthem

My friend over at the blog Bubba Munster posted this on his blog.  It is a fine anthem for the Occupy folks.  You might not agree with all of it, but it is worth listening too.

The Catholic Bishops and Penn State

Now the American Catholic Bishops have once again put their diminishing influence into even more jeopardy by starting a fresh assault on gay marriage and abortion.  One Archbishop said, “We see in our culture a drive to neuter religion,”  Maybe they should have neutered some of their priests first. What can they be thinking about?  Is this a way to attract young people?


 I think it is interesting that the Princes of the church have lost their influence and are trying to regain by going against the strong social forces that have surrounded them.  Perhaps the NCAA, as represented by Penn State, might want to take some lessons from the church.  Seriously.  


This college athletic system that we have where winning is the only thing that is important because of the revenues it brings in might be in real trouble.  Look what it caused at Penn State.  Maybe it is time to back off that attitude and make college athletics something more than a profit center for the media and some trickle down for the schools.   I know.....it will never happen.  Here is an alternative.  Put Paterno and the rest of those reprobates into prison.  Make sure that any court awards their victims win are paid off by the Athletic department and not the state risk insurance pools that taxpayers fund.  The athletic departments could float bonds to pay off  the expected massive compensation to the victims and then use annual revenues  to pay off the bonds.  Not one cent should be paid by anyone other than the athletic departments.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cats Agree

Those guys at Penn State should never have a place at the table again.  Ever.  What a bunch of dogs.  

Misc.

You can all sleep worse tonight as convicted felons are being allowed to carry guns again, courtesy of NRA and other  lobbying groups.  One can only wonder if the NRA and its legion of cowardly congressmen supporters have truly lost their minds.  Will they also be allowed to carry concealed weapons?  Probably.  No, for you gun radicals, I am not against having guns.  I have a collection.  I don't see any need for concealed weapons or ownership of assault rifles.  So that makes me a bleeding heart liberal in some peoples minds.

There are a lot of good reasons for changing the New Mexico constitution to allow the Governor to keep authority when traveling out of state instead of handing it over the the Lieutenant Governor.  Things have changed since 1912 when that was adopted at statehood.  While they are at it they need to change language that insists that statewide elected officials reside in Santa Fe.  Most of them make around 90K a year and that is not enough to buy a home in the City Different.

We had our regular group over for dinner last night and we all decided that everyone of those worthless bastards that covered up the Penn State child rapist foot ball coach should serve prison time.  Including Paterno.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mysterious Ways

A Penn State coach who is a rock hard Christian led prayers at the beginning of the Penn State Game yesterday.  He said he felt God was in the stadium.  Unfortunate that God wasn't in the Penn State locker room with a little fire and brimstone when required.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cowardly

The Obama administration produced another cowardly and basely political move when they 'postponed' a decision on approval of the horrendous tar sand oil pipeline from Canada to Houston.  They say they are worried about its effect on Nebraska and will need to study it more until after the next election.  So, they are worried about Nebraska but not global warming and fossil fuel consumption.  Much less Canada who is willing to destroy its own beauty to mine tar sands.

I for one will not be a chump here.  No money for Obama's campaign as I told their fundraiser on the phone the other night.  His reaction was that he had heard this before. (Obama will have all the money he needs anyway.)  These guys are really playing with fire for a huge and mostly ignored group of voters.  The conservationists and environmentalists who supplied much of the shoe leather for his last campaign.  They know there is no other choice for this group in the upcoming vote next year and they are playing us for suckers.  It is a dangerous game.

I will say that I have never been so disappointed in a President I supported than Obama.  Ever.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Where is PNM?

The Public Service Company of New Mexico just told 100,000 of its customers to go screw them selves.  So much for their personal commitment to our state. They have announced that they are closing all of their pay stations where customers can come in to make their payments or interact with a human being on other issues.  Of course, these would mostly be poor people who can't make their payments on line or would like to speak with someone in Spanish.  With 498,000 electric customers you just know their might be many people who need a personal customer service interaction.  After all, this is one of the few large corporations still headquartered in Albuquerque.

 This PNM is not the one that used to be an involved company with community service and a record of generous charitable giving.  Another 18 PNM employees will be let go into a merciless job market.  PNM is becoming a run of the mill corporation that values only the bottom line.

Having said that, they are pretty good at providing reliable electric service.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Good News

Some days the news is good.  There seems to be an outbreak in some states.  A common sense outbreak.  Ohio voters slapped their governor and legislature and repealed the grossly anti union laws there.  Mississippi voters stuck it to their fundamentalist governor and legislature and voted down the notion that human life begins at conception, which would have made abortion and morning after birth control illegal.  And the SOB racist State Senator Russell Pearce in Arizona was beaten by a moderate republican in a recall election yesterday.  He was the leader of the pogrom on undocumented workers in Arizona.  Makes me think better of Arizona voters.

There wasn't much good news in New Mexico though.  The right wing Martinez administration is trying to kill New Mexico's forward looking climate change legislation.  She is doing this for the oil, gas and coal boys who value profit over breathing.  Secretary of State Duran has pie in her face after finding only two illegal voters out of the 64,000 she claimed. (I guess that is good news depending on how one looks at it.)

Pueblo Bonito at Sunrise August 2007

In a serious vein, the possibility of a 1000 year drought starting in the Southwest is being discussed.  Anyone who has been to Chaco Canyon would see the results of the last such event.  It would be a dislocated civilization.  The last time Bobbi and I were at Chaco we attended a tree ring lecture that visually showed what happened during that epoch.  It was truly amazing to see the history laid out in ancient trees.  It really shows that civilizations are pretty ineffectual when confronted with mother nature.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Misc.

Now that the Albuquerque City Council has banned traffic cameras maybe the local media will start covering some important issues.  Like the lack of jobs legislation on both the city and state levels.  Mayor Berry and Governor Martinez have done little to relieve the economic downturn.  The governor spends more time talking tax decreases than job creation.  When will folks figure it out?

The other big stories the media are covering now are, you guessed it, sex stories.  GOP Presidential hopeful Cain is an apparent serial groper and Penn State Athletics is being accused of covering up a coach's pedophilia. (Quick, call the Archbishop for advice.)  The media will hang on to these stories  until we all die of terminal nausea.  Mark my words.

The Governor appointed a former advisor to Qadaffi's government in Libya to fill the NMPRC vacancy created by the fall of Jerome Block.  This may make him qualified for the rough and tumble politics on that board.


Monday, November 07, 2011

Follow the Money

Once again the Albuquerque Journal has written a story about the 'Domenici Institute' which is located at New Mexico State University.  It is named after long serving Senator Pete Domenici, a long term supporter of the oil, coal and uranium industries.  The Institute is meant to advocate free market approaches indoctrination to fellows and researchers who participate. It will 'advise' governments on its policy findings.  This is all suspect to me.  Some of the things it will advise on are,  the impact of new uranium mining in New Mexico, the effects of recent health care reform, and deficit reduction and economic recovery. Oh, and energy issues.

This all sounds okay except for one thing.  Who is funding the Institute?  As I read through the article I kept thinking I would be offered that information by the reporter.  Maybe the uranium industry?  Maybe Yates Petroleum?  Maybe the Koch brothers?  Anti government regulation groups like the US Chamber of Commerce or the Wall Street Investment Banks?  Who knows?

Since this facility is soaking up tax dollars by being quartered at NMSU we should know if there is any outside funding for this Institute and who is providing it.  The Institute says it is non partisan but the lack of the Journal's inquisitiveness is telling.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Little Girls




I spent the night at my niece Stephanie's house in Los Angeles.  Her daughters and a friend kept the morning lively.  Left to right is Olivia(the friend), Maya and Emma.  All little cuties!  Home this afternoon.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Solar

Schott Solar has done their fourth annual survey of American citizens to get their preferences on energy production.  Our people are way ahead of the Congressional crowd.

Here are some of the basic findings.

•    Nine out of ten respondents (89%) think it is important for the U.S. to develop and use solar power.

•    Solar energy is non-partisan: Independents (90%), Republicans (80%) and Democrats (94%) all agree that developing solar energy is important.

•    Eight out of ten Americans (82%) believe that solar energy should receive the same level and type of support as fossil fuel industries have enjoyed for decades, and that the government should support solar manufacturing.

•    A plurality (39%) would choose to prioritize solar if they were in charge of U.S. energy policy, more than natural gas (21%), wind (12%), nuclear (9%) or coal (3%).

•    More than half of Americans (51%) would be more likely to buy a product if they knew it was made using solar energy.

So, why the disconnect between the people and the Washington crowd?  Simple really.....the campaign finance laws favor the dirty energy crowd.

I am taking a mini golf vacation to California to see old friends and visit the beach.  I will blog from my smart phone if possible.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Occupy Movement

As Rod Serling would have said on Twilight Zone, "Presented for your consideration a photo from history that shows the face of civil outrage in a disquieted America."  Or something like that.

This is a photo that master photographer Mark Bralley sent me today of the prelude to a large and violent civil disturbance in 1972 at UNM in Albuquerque.  That is me as a young reporter/photographer holding the camera(hidden) as an anti Viet Nam war protestor tries to make peace.  Later people were b wounded on the campus and things went from bad to worse with riots and property destruction for a week.  These protests and many like them led to an end of that war.  It took a while.

Then everything went quiet for the 80's, 90's and 00's.  Thirty years of apathy.  Now the Occupy movement here in Albuquerque and all over the planet is starting to stir emotions and support.  There is a big difference though between the civil disobedience in the 70's and now.  That difference is a clearly defined goals and go-to leaders.  Oh, and the fact that the media has been completely mongrelized by big corporate holding companies who see no percentage in spending resources on covering the causes of this unrest.

In fairness, it is harder in the current globally connected national economies to put a finger on anything other than 'greed is bad.'  And unlike the past, there are few identified leaders who are willing to stick their heads out to plan a political upheaval.  We though Obama might be one, but not so far.  It may be that the internet is now a leader, as in the Arab state rebellions, but there were leaders there to direct and plan.  Not here, so far.  But make no mistake that there is a movement growing.  Whether it is the people hanging out in the parks expressing outrage at the ever widening division of wealth, or be it the consumer revolution that has forced American Banks to rethink plans on overcharging its customers, there is definitely something afoot out there.  To ignore it is political and corporate denial.  Aren't they really the same entity now?  Of course they are.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Litmus

If the ass clown CEO of Bank of America gets a bonus this year after the debit card charge attempt then we will all know just how corrupt corporate America can be.  This guy got handed his head on a platter by his own customers.  If his corporation was a person as the Supreme court says they are then it would collectively be demoted to the mail room.

Misc.

Score one for the Obama administration in its denial for funding to the Catholic Church because of their refusal to refer women for family planning issues under a program that helps victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery.  The church through its Conference of Bishops had received funding in the past but now has been passed over in favor of other organizations.  It is ironical that the church would on one hand want to help victims of slavery, and then make them slaves to the church's anti family planning policies.  Just plain weird.

Score another one for the Obama crew in discovering the Country's Antiquities Act which has been used by many other presidents, including republicans.  That Act will be used today to proclaim the Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia.  It is only 500 acres, but it is a glimmer of hope for us folks in the West who strive to get monuments proclaimed on western landscapes worthy of protection.  Now, lets see the White House take on the 'Lords of Yesterday' in the west.  That would be the oil and gas, coal, and mining industries.  Their motto is, "Give us your land, give  us your money, and leave  us alone."

And finally, I was reminded by a friend today to mention something.  What ever happened to the 64,000 cases of voter fraud in New Mexico?  Governor Martinez and her Secretary of State clone made a big deal out of that number and told the state police to investigate it.  They politely told her they had better things to do.  Now, can we suppose that it was all just a political attack on everyone except right wing republicans?  All rolled out for barrels of ink usage by the Albuquerque Journal?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Angels

Our first tricksters tonight were three angels accompanied by nine adults.

Many of our kids come on Halloween from  the Duranes neighborhood which abuts ours.  Ours is a upper middle class neighborhood and theirs is a strong working class neighborhood. There is a gate offering access to either side at any time of the year.  But our walls fall every halloween in a big way and it is glorious.

We keep count every year.  We ran out of candy after 261 little monsters came to the door.

Vitriol

The Albuquerque Journal just keeps trying to put public employees in the crosshairs of everything that is wrong in our lives.  Today their weepy front page columnist drove the last nails into the public servant careers of two employees by celebrating their departure after they made an error in judgement.  Good people I am sure, but no mistakes can be made in the Journal's estimation if you are a person that works for the public.  Why, they are just vampires aren't they?

Do you thing the editors could at  least do one story on a dedicated government employee a month?  Just throw out a bone?  Given the number of government employees around the area, including ones on contracts, it might be a good idea.

On another issue of vitriol the Journal finally.....finally,  printed a story on the scientist who got wide coverage for debunking global warming changing his mind and saying he was wrong after studying the data he attacked.  This story came out last week and was somewhat glossed over by everyone and ignored by our hometown paper.  I guess it just became to obvious that the story had to be done.  I mean they have to keep up appearances don't they?

Waking up to the Journal every morning is good for me.  It gets my blood moving quickly!  I owe them thanks for that.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Report Card

This graph, a report card really, is from the New York Times today.  Read it and weep.  Think about corporate America and the super rich as you do.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Misc.

New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Charles Daniels took on the neo con special prosecutor who wants the judge to remove himself from the Las Cruces case involving alleged corruption on the District Court.  I have always felt this case was a trumped up attack on democrats when the special prosecutor, Matt Chandler of Clovis, was chosen to run this investigation.  Daniels shredded Chandler in a one hundred page response to the recusal request and in fact turned the tables on the prosecutor by including testimony from one of his assistants that said politics was rampant in the investigation.  This could lead back to the Governor and her backers.  It makes one wonder if Chandler has spoken at any time with Jay McClesky, the governor's political operative, who seems to be running the state.

McClesky's right wing philosophy and influence is now seen in another attack on state employees.  The governor has stopped all flex time schedules for state employees.  Out of spite?  If I were the state labor union chiefs I would start visiting the governor's office en masse.  Maybe even McCleskey's office.  This would be an extension of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement.

A sign seen at one of the rallies said, "It is only class warfare when we fight back."

Actually, I wonder if the governor has any political common sense at all when she makes a unilateral move against her employees who have been asked to work more amidst cutbacks, taken furloughs, and continued to do their share during these hard times.  It is time to fight back.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rainy Day

Two former New Mexico republican legislators are bemoaning the overuse of our state's severance tax permanent fund during these tough economic times.  That fund takes oil and gas severance taxes and puts them into a trust fund of sorts whose earnings go to pay off severance tax bonds that are used for public capital projects.  Many people have said this fund was really set up as a "rainy day fund" to be used in hard times.  In some respects that is true.  But, I have to agree with the legislators that the fund is being unduly hit.  Most of the money that is intended to strengthen the fund is being used to pay off more and more bonds approved by a pork barrel approach to projects.

We are not at a point just yet where this fund needs to be invaded in this manner.  Our state's permanent funds, including the Land Office permanent funds, are an envy of most other states.  These funds were visionary at a time when non partizan solutions were sought in the era between statehood and the 1990's.  My old boss democrat Governor Bruce King supported the severance tax measure as did a majority of the legislature.  Where have those times gone?  Dead with the likes of Susana Martinez and the neo cons.

Dead with the shifting of wealth over the last two decades very few control most of the money.  You can see where the wealthy would like things they way they are happening in the Severance tax funds.  If the state spends its savings account then the rich pay less taxes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Corpses

Is it just me?  Or is media taking some kind of macabre interest in the festering body of Qaddafi?  On the way to the golf course this morning every newscast on every station was doing stories about how this character was finally buried.

Over the last three days we have been submerged in bloody pictures of his corpse.  Stories of his body being viewed by the Libyan public in a meat locker.  Speculation about why he wasn't under ground yet.  Have you ever noticed how the media, left and right, sometimes just get caught in these circular repetitions about things most readers don't even care about?  And then there was that whole thing about investigations into why he was murdered by his own people.  Of course if NATO (us really)  blew him to little teensy pieces with a drone, that would be okay.

Life is too short.

Last Warm Day

Brilliant bosque and blue shifted Rockies.  Priceless.

Twin Warriors Golf Course-Santa Ana
Probably the last really nice day for shorts this year.  My time on a golf course is not wasted because it is always fun to be outside and active.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Loss of Capacity

There is a frightful loss of capacity occurring in the halls of non governmental environmental protection organizations.  The baseless attacks on science, a poor economy,  and dying support for government's strong protection policies has led this nation's non profit groups to the brink of destruction.  Advocacy groups are being gutted because the American public has forgotten, amidst corporate media's relentless ignorance and biased reporting, the great institutions that once helped lead the world in the fight for clean air, water and landscapes.  In fact the whole issue of global warming has disappeared in America even while the rest of the world nation's working hard to address it.  Just turn on the TV and see the ads vomited forth by the oil, gas and coal industries.  The NGOs just cant counter that expenditure of funds.
Sunday the Albuquerque Journal did its part with a story on the costs of clean air requirements mandated upon PNM at the San Juan coal fired Generating Plant.  The story was well written but its whole direction was that we cant really afford to clean the air.  I would love to see the reporters first drafts before the right wing editors got a hold of them.

It is certainly okay to have this debate.  The slant of the article, however, is right in line with the Journal's stance on power costs.  Usually they love to hate PNM and its rate requests.  Now they have teamed up with them to fight these environmental requirements that would make our skies less hazy and increase the publishing companies electric bills.

Back in 1971 I won a local journalism award for my stories on the pollution coming from all of the Four Corners plants.  The owners said they could not afford to fix things.  They were mandated to come up to state of the art scrubbers.  They worked, the companies are still in business.   But now they will need to improve even more and they can do that too. I agree that these decisions come at a difficult time given the unemployment problems in this country, but the public health, safety and welfare should always trump corporate profits.  Shouldn't they?