Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Fix the New Mexico State Land Office

Amend the Constitution to do the following:

  • Create a State Land Disposition Board that has veto power over any permanent land disposal or trade by the Commissioner
  • Require that all State Land transactions that affect local governments be subject to at least one public hearing by the land office to receive testimony on local impacts.
  • Require a yearly report and public hearings on the affects of state land transactions and leases on the environment.
  • Make the land office election for Commissioner fully funded by public financing with no political contributions allowed by any industry sponsored groups, companies or individuals.
  • Require that any decision at the Land Office equalize revenue generation considerations with protections of New Mexico's Air, Water and Landscapes. 
These would be relatively non controversial amendments to the almost 100 year old state land office mandates in the New Mexico Constitution.  These reforms will be reviled by the oil and gas industry(the republicans), the real estate industry,  the agricultural and cattle ranching businesses, and the lobbyists that represent them.  Will anyone champion these simple good government reforms?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ft. Collins

Bobbi and I drove up to Fort Collins, Colorado on Friday to check in on daughter Noelle and her boy friend Luke.  They moved up a few weeks ago because they could no longer stand the hellish,  polluted, sprawled and generally homogenized city of Phoenix.  They made the right decisions.

I haven't been here since 1966 when I was stationed at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver.  We would drive up here on the weekends to hang out at the campus and watch the girls.  It was a great way to waste time and make us feel like individuals after our training regimes.  Most of my friends were in the Nuclear Weapons or Intelligence schools but I was in the Photo/Cinema Courses.  I remember they separated the weapons guys from the rest of us in the barracks because they  feared some of them would talk in their sleep and reveal secrets.  As silly as the TSP at the airports.

Ft. Collins  is still a nice town.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lawyer Up---Works

Not long ago I had suggested that the conservation groups concentrate on 'lawyering up' as a way of fighting 'oh Susana's' pogrom on the environment.  Thanks to the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, the Supreme Court has turned back the Governor and her oil and gas donors on their attempt at stopping regulations aimed at protecting our water, air and landscapes.  I am sure this administration will be much more careful with their approach from here on out and the enviros will need to be on guard.

Also, since oil and gas Senator Tim Jennings wants people tested for drugs before they can get unemployment benefits I would suggest that the same process be used for the oil and gas industry who receive taxpayer subsidies.  We could start with the CEO's, Boards, Officers and administrators of the oil corporations.  Also all of the oil field workers and the suppliers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Money Pit

We had a tough time with one of our beloved cats this week.  On Sunday we couldn't find Ajax.  He did not come in with Hermes the other cat to wake us up for their much loved canned food. (at 5am every day...damn)  I went all around the neighborhood thinking he had been squashed or something, even though they stay inside most of the time.  You pet lovers will recognize that sinking depressed feeling we had.  And then I saw his tail underneath an end table in the living room.  He was just sitting there in a stupor with his tongue hanging out.  I mean this cat was on death's door.  Quick!  Bobbi to the emergency vet on Montgomery Blvd.  I figured he was a goner.

$600 later, one life down, eight to go.  He spent two days there on an IV to replace his fluids and bring down an astronomical fever of 105 degrees. That is really in the danger zones for cats we are told.  The vets were really good there.  Now he is back with us and we still don't know what was wrong.  Just a bad virus or infection.  He is on drugs but back to being himself.  Notice the shaved leg where the IV was placed.  Maybe we should get him a tattoo.  It could show a heart with the words, 'catnip or death.'

While he was gone Hermes learned to climb to the tallest part of the house.  Surveying his domain.


I got a late start on my daily three mile sojourn into the Bosque near our home.  The light was much different and I took along my small camera and messed around with some new photo software to get this picture of the dormant cottonwoods in the dead of winter.  Hopefully in the future this wont be the same scene in July.

John Fleck at the Journal has been doing some good work on the water situation along the Rio Grande.  Now that the municipally owned water from the San Juan Diversion Project is actually being sucked out of the river we will see some changes.  The cities certainly have the right to that water and the farmers at the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy district are now off their diet of charity water from the cities.  They will complain and conveniently forget that the city slickers pay over 85% of the cost of the district even though they don't use district water and services.  A day of reckoning is coming for the district if they don't get new leadership and step into reality.  I had hoped for a long time that the new board members elected two years ago would bring change.  They have not.  My worry is that the farmers will really be left out in the cold because they couldn't agree on some sensible tax and water policies now.


I watched President Obama's speech last night.  I thought it was more like his inspiring campaign speeches than his other recent Presidential addresses.  I gave him a B+ for it.  I certainly give him an A for his remarks on renewable energy.  We will have a successful policy in place when we are off fossil fuels.  I then turned off the TV because I didn't want every single cable TV pundit analyzing it to the point of absurdity.  This constant harping of theirs shows why Americans distrust their government and institutions so much more than other countries own citizens.

The oil and gas industry is worried that Rep. Brian Egolf wont roll over for them in his chairmanship of the House Energy Committee up in Santa Fe.  He already looks successful in my book.  Make them squirm.

Sometimes I think the Russians have it right.  They hold people responsible for malfeasance.  They have already fired the airport managers for having lax security at Moscow's airport where, most likely, religious fanatics blew up innocent people.  Then you can think about how hard it is to fire problematical employees in government in this country.  Bernalillo county is finding that out.  They are tiptoeing around getting rid of the county manager so he cant sue them for millions of dollars.

Having said that there are a lot of dedicated public employees out there.  They are under continued assault by corporate America who want public pension plans scrapped.  Why?  Because they worry their own employees will wonder why they are treated like indentured servants with no benefits.  Today the Albuquerque Journal gave a voice to those corporate bosses on the oped page.  There is always room for some reform, but the corporate boys want no less than a complete eradication of defined pensions.  

Life is too short.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The New York Times has a story about how the bush administration, under the machinations of Karl Rove, broke the federal election laws in 2006 by using federal money to organize political events.  Big Time.  The story was buried on a back section.  Yesterday's news I suppose.  The feds won't even say if they will prosecute or not.  The dark side wins again.

The dark side has lost, mostly, when the corrupt administration of Patrick Lyons at the Land Office was slapped on the hand by the New Mexico Supreme Court for illegally trying to swap state land for private land in the wildlife rich Whites Peak area in the north.  This swap would  have absolutely screwed local hunters and turned prime lands over to some out of state ranchers and oil men.  I have said for years that these land swaps were unconstitutional.  So are these so called 'development leases' that give real estate developers access to state lands without going to open and competitive bids.  I hope our new Commissioner Ray Powell will look at all of those carefully before jumping into that mud pit himself.  Ray is an honest man so I think he will do the right thing.

Powell will have to reign in his new general counsel, Harry Relkin, who might have some ethical quandries to solve.  Relkin worked for Powell when the land deal was made with Forest City Covington, a reputable developer, at Mesa Del Sol.  Relkin did most of the work on that deal.  Then when Ray left office after being termed out, Relkin became the counsel for Forest City Covington in New Mexico for the Mesa Del Sol Project.  Now that he has left there and gone back to work for the Land Office, Powell will need to be very careful on dealings with the developer so there are no conflict of interest problems.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Red State

New Mexico is a red state according to CBS news.  They portrayed this state that way,  I guess because the color of blood is red. Why did they do this?  Because in this state not one mentally ill person has been entered into the National Crime Information System as one who should not be sold a gun.  Can you believe it?  We are not the only state that way.  Now you can pretty much figure that the recently released mental patient down the street who thinks you are a space alien can go into any gun store and buy a Glock.   Not a comforting thought really.  I don't know why this  has been allowed to transpire, but Governor ' oh Susana' really ought to do something about this.  If her handlers at the NRA approve.  Silly me.

Money Speaks

Have you seen them?  The TV commercials currently filling the airways saying how the oil and gas industry cares about New Mexico and how they make us strong financially.  They even take credit for clean air and water in our state.  They would have you believe they are being charged to much to do business in the Land of Enchantment.  They prey on people's ignorance about taxes and royalties.  Remember, royalties are a payment for the publicly owned resources taken out of the ground.  Same with severance taxes.  They are severing resources from the ground and they should pay for it.  Right?  Not in their handbook though.

And then they say the care about our environment while at the same time getting their new puppet governor, 'Oh Susana' to gut protective regulations on clean water, air and undisturbed landscapes.  But, money speaks and they can pour it into the media and there is no one to respond.  Well, the environmental community needs to get off their butt and start invading Santa Fe to fight this unmitigated propaganda.  How about a few news conferences naming names, like how the republican party is controlled by the oil and gas industry through its former chairman Harvey Yates of Yates Petroleum?  How much money has he put into this group airing the ads?  Are there any journalists left alive at the Albuquerque Journal to ask these questions?

P.S.  The Journal has done a few decent in depth stories recently that reminds me of their glory days as a real newspaper.  How did that happen?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Touche to the Santa Fe New Mexican

The Albuquerque Journal could learn something about Journalism from the Santa Fe New Mexican.  Today they did this story on oil and gas industry tax subsidies.  I had planned on doing this next week but they beat me to the punch.  You probably wont see this story picked up by the Journal because they are in bed with the oil and gas boys in some manner I haven't figured out yet.  Shame on the editors of the Journal for not doing this kind of journalism and instead putting that buffoon Tom Cole on the front page worrying about the legally set Governor's salary.  Just so you know Tom that is set by the legislature and runs for an elected officials full term.  It can't be changed until a new term starts.  At least do your homework.

It is a great thing to see Representative Brian Egolf of Santa Fe ascend to the House Energy Committee's Chairmanship.  He is not afraid to carry through with some tough questions for the 'Oh Susana' administration and its ties to the oil and gas industry.  Just why would she go after film tax credits but not the oil and gas industry?  Well, maybe $900K in campaign contributions is one reason.

Friday, January 21, 2011


It will be interesting to see if New Mexico stays in the top ten for state's showing the most tolerance towards people.  'Oh Susana's' highly negative approach to immigrants with drivers licenses, gay marriage, and support for the death penalty could dramatically move us out of the top ten.  This is the report to read.


I noticed the new republican sheriff Dan Houston made it onto the front page of the Journal this morning for promoting to Captain the husband of his campaign advisor.  I hope that is what happened on its face, because it is less scary than my other paranoid suspicion that the guy was chosen because he is a born again christian.  His new Captain talked about that in his interview in the paper.  Here is what Houston said of his own campaign victory on his facebook page.

"Thank you for your trust and confidence. What a great VICTORY. It will be good to go to the house of the Lord tonight and give honor and praise to God for what he has done."

I thought the voters gave him a victory.  Not God.  I am pretty sure even some atheists might have voted for him.

There is a giant bond issue on the ballot for the Central New Mexico Community College.  $70 million.  That isn't chump change, but I will vote for it.  In the meantime I want to make sure that none of it is used to open a new south valley campus for CNM.  At a time when budgets are tight and the wisdom of the state's plethora of branch colleges are rightfully under attack, this seems like a really naive thing to do.  So, don't do it.  If someone can't get themselves  from the south valley to the CNM campus then they should find other alternatives.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Other Guys

It is not like we have no democrats left in this country in power.  The US House went republican, but the Senate and White House are still strongly democratic.  In New Mexico, we have a republican governor in the ascension of "oh Susana", but the legislature is democratic and most of the other executive elected officials are democrat.  But you would never know it.  Will any of them ever do anything in the way of positively reforming their offices and the state as a whole.  Will they even let the public know they exist in their state government office buildings.

Attorney General Gary King, Land Commissioner Ray Powell, and Treasurer James Lewis are all good, honest and decent people.  But I have become convinced none of them will break out as great elected officials because they all were nurtured in the era of politics that insisted on a 'don't rock the boat' philosophy.  It is a shame because we could really use them all working hard against the hateful and negative policies of the new governor's political masters.  How about a little public push back from some folks?  It would be healthy.  Maybe Ray Powell could at least push back against the anti environmental policies of the new governor.  Maybe Gary King could beef up his folks who look into conflict of interests in  the oil and gas industry and the new administration.  Maybe James Lewis could ring the fire alarm when financial questions need answers.  Come on you guys....we need you to show some guts!

Also, the media has not said a word about who our democratic elected officials  have brought into their offices as exempt employees.  Did Ray Powell hold over any Lyons people?  Who knows because there has been no news releases or media inquiries about it.  The same for the AG and Treasurer.

P.S.   Well, in order to keep peace in my home we are now taking the Albuquerque Journal again.  Under my loving wife's name.  She missed the inserts and early morning ink on  her hands.   We lasted a whole four weeks with out that rag.  But it is nice to have Leslie Lithicum on the kitchen table over coffee again.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


The so called "Prayer Breakfast is being held in Santa Fe tomorrow for the Governor and Legislators.  I hope it doesn't get out of hand.

Here is what the new republican Governor of Alabama said on his inaguration day.

'Anybody who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior … you're not my brother.' 

So, I wonder if any democrat governor would ever be this ignorant.  Possibly, but this Alabama governor is a symbol of what has gone so wrong with the republican party.  It is why that party's days could be numbered. Someone told me the other day that this party is so far right now that no republican with an intellect can any longer count on running for the GOP and being successful.  Even very conservative republicans are now edged out by the lunatic fringe which has taken over much of their party.

I don't think 'Oh Susana', our new republican governor in New Mexico falls into this category just yet.  But you can certainly tell who her handlers are by her publicly hateful policy agenda.  She is acting out for her funders.  Let's just hope she doesn't really sign on to Holy War.  So far she has taken a very negative approach to every thing, thanks to her campaign staff working in the Governor's office.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Care?

Does anyone really care that the New Mexico State Legislature will begin 60 days of work at noon today?  In the grand scheme of things I would say no.  Of course the lobbyists, the regulated, the contractors, the unions and other special interest groups will be entrenched up there, but by and large the average citizens will not follow this process at all.  It is just not all that intriguing to them.  They could care less who the next Speaker of the House will be.

People will pretty much stay slightly interested with what "Oh Susana" is doing in her first few months as Governor, but not because of the legislature.  It is because she is new and interesting.  They will lose that interest fast if she doesn't chuck her campaign mode and be a leader.  A smile from her on TV now and then would help.  (I wish I had done that more in my career)

And if anyone thinks the Tea Party is a sophisticated political group then try to figure out  how they have railed against the possibility of a coalition in the House where some democrats and republicans make a deal to control the speakership.  The Tea Party says no way should that happen.  They would rather have no power than a shared power.

Monday, January 17, 2011


We will be hearing, to the point of nausea, for the next 60 days lots of debate about the State Budget.  We certainly are not in as bad of shape as California, Arizona, Illinois and most of the other states.  But all of the rhetoric  over the next few months as state legislatures convene will be about their budgets.  Revenues, Taxes, expenditures and cost cutting will be the subject of much 'word barf'.  (I heard that term on Bill Maher this weekend.)

As these debates go on it seems that we need another kind of budget discussed.  And that is the 'Moral Budget.'  I am not sure exactly what that should entail as lawmakers set about their business, but I know it is about more than just dollars and cents.  It is about poverty, justice, gun laws, extremism and any other number of topics.  I am thinking this will get little or no attention as the questions of appropriations and taxes get worked over.  But just the same someone should present a Moral Budget to the New Mexico legislature.

Maybe 'Think New Mexico 'could do it.  Or some community and private foundations.  It should become an annual thing that gets at least a bill sponsor and hearing.  It would certainly be time better spent than debating the wisdom of a new kind of license plate for someone's favorite constituency.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Goose and Gander

'Oh Susana', our new Governor, said when she appointed two new legislators down south that she didn't consider others who were recently voted out because they had been rejected by the voters.  Okay, there is nothing wrong with that.   However, does that dogma only apply in certain cases?  Maybe so.

Lets see.  Let me count the ways.

  1. Heather Wilson is appointed head of the transition after being rejected by republican voters in her US Senate primary election.
  2. John Barela is appointed head of the Economic Development Department after being rejected by general election voters in his congressional race against Martin Heinrich.
  3. Demesia Padilla is appointed head of the Department of Taxation and Revenue after being rejected by voters for the position of State Treasurer four years ago.
  4. Brian Moore was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor's Office after being rejected by the voters in the republican primary for Lt. Governor
  5. Harrison Schmitt was appointed head of the Energy and Natural Resources after being rejected by voters some years ago in his bid for re-election to the US Senate.
Now having said that it doesn't mean they are 'damaged goods'. Not at all. (Well maybe Harrison is after reading his blog.)  I respect them for jumping into the cauldron of elective politics.  They can do their jobs.  It does indicate, as I have said many times before, that the republican bench is pretty shallow.

Oh, I should mention that after I lost my Mayoral re-election in 2001 that I was hired as State Natural Resource Trustee by Governor Richardson.  I guess I wasn't damaged goods either.

P.S.  I have some good friends who were at the inaugural and they echoed what I have heard so much.  That 'Oh Susana' is very gracious with everyone she meets and seems genuinely to embrace them.  Some how that is not matching her TV appearances where she seems angry and negative about everything and can't get out of campaign mode.  She should stop listening to her campaign managers who she hired into her office and start listening to other less combative and non partisan advisors.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cinemark Sucks

These movie theaters in Albuquerque have been going steadily downhill.  Bad popcorn!  Dirty restrooms!  And now withholding movies from us.  Let me explain.  I read all of Stieg Larrson's novels starting with the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  Not great literature but really fun reads.  Then Bobbi and I went to see the Swedish produced movies of the first two books of the trilogy.  They were excellent.  But now some idiot at Cinemark says Albuquerque wont get the third installment because they don't think they will make money on it. It is no different than running the first two Lord of the Rings movies and then telling your customers to go screw themselves on the third movie. Never mind that when we went to the first two "dragon" movies the theaters were packed.

However, you will still get to see lots of product commercials at their theater.  There is no escaping it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Yesterday I entered the sixth day of my cold.  I felt okay.  The end stage is here and it is the worst.  Everything moves into the chest.  It is like a relapse but I know I will be doing my hikes again by Sunday.

I hope "Oh Susana" doesn't have a relapse on her effort to cut the ridiculous number of branch colleges around the state.  It is the biggest money waster around and the savings could be significant.  I am with the Governor on this one. Lets see what the legislature does since they are mostly the ones who created this labyrinth of educational overlap.

Gun Sales are up after the violence in Tucson.  Paranoia runs deep.  It is still legal to buy 30 round clips for Glocks.  Just think if someone else was armed at the shooting with a concealed weapon.  You don't need training in Arizona to carry one.  60 rounds available to be discharged before loading.  30 from the bad guy and 30 from the would be protector.  All in a big crowd.  The toll might have been greater.  Paranoia runs deep.

I did not watch the President's eulogy last night in Tucson, but by all media accounts he did well.  Lots of bible reading, but if that helps with the grief then okay. At the same time you look at Sarah Palin's ham-fisted attempt at defending herself and you wonder if she has seen her best days already.  Let us hope so.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Both Sides?

I keep scratching my head wondering why most media people say that the rhetoric on 'both sides' needs to be controlled.  Isn't it the corporate far right that is controlling rightwing radio talk show hosts?  Isn't it Roger Ailes and crew that controls 24 hour a day unfair and unbalanced news at Fox?  Isn't it Rupert Murdoch controlling way to many newspapers editorial pages?

Locally, I don't see any evidence of liberals controlling the editorial page at the Albuquerque Journal.  Or the hate talk at KKOB radio.  This is one of those examples of how the media can rewrite what has happened in reality.  It is amazing really but something we must live with.

Speaking of the Journal, we have gone 10 days without home delivery now.  I am reading it for free at coffee shops and other sundry places.  I got a letter from them yesterday saying they want me back and touting a special 90 day offer, which as far as I could tell was the normal subscription price.  As much as I love 9 Chickweed Lane and Dilbert I am still not feeling withdrawal pains from reading this failing newspaper.

I am happy to see the New Mexico Environmental Law Center pushing back against the oil and gas operated Martinez administration.  They  have gone to court to get regulations protecting our states land, water and air from "oh Susana's" illegal suspensions.  I give the Center money because they have good attorneys.  Donate to them here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Career Diplomat's View

My highschool buddy Dennis Jett writes often for the McClatchey News Papers.  Here is his latest column.  Dennis was Ambassador to Mozambique and Peru during his State Department career.

With the Republicans taking over the House of Representatives, there has been much speculation about what policy changes will be made. The focus has been mainly on domestic issues, where the agenda is ambitious. The first priority seems to be to turn back the clock to the good old days when insurance companies got to determine your health.

Very little attention has been paid to what the new majority might do with regard to foreign policy. There is at least one strong indicator in that area, however. In the "Pledge to America," the policy document issued by Republicans back in September to show they were ready to govern again, there was a section entitled “A Plan to Keep Our Nation Secure at Home and Abroad.”

At less than 750 words, the Plan was not a comprehensive foreign policy blueprint, but it did have a clear theme. The theme that runs through all its main points is quite simple — the outside world is largely populated by scary, dark, swarthy foreigners. Let’s call them SDSFs for short.

Here is how that theme plays out in the Plan’s proposals. It promises to “Pass Clean Troop Funding Bills” because our military is the only way to deal with a world full of SDSFs. Its description of the need to “Keep Terrorists Out of America” is essential because the homeland is no place for SDSFs; and apparently keeping them abroad solves our security problems.

In line with the need to keep terrorists out, the Pledge asserts the new Congress should “Demand an Overarching Detention Policy.” The U.S. has more people in prison, in relative and absolute terms, than any other country in the world, so perhaps there is simply no more room. But a more likely explanation is that the Guantanamo Gulag must be maintained forever because it keeps SDSFs over there instead of over here. An assertion that suspected terrorists have no Miranda rights and should be tried in a military court, however, makes it seem that a country that prides itself on the rule of law makes up new rules when it does not like the law.

Everywhere else in the Pledge there are references to cutting government programs, but the Plan has one that calls out for an increase by making a commitment to “Fully Fund Missile Defense.” Clearly there is nothing scarier than SDSFs with missiles. Never mind the fact that the missile defense program does not work or that an offensive system needs only one more missile than the defensive system to defeat it. Spending billions on such a system, even if were effective, also makes little sense when a bomb is far more likely to arrive in a shipping container.

The Pledge says it will “Require Tough Enforcement of Sanctions against Iran” because in the post-Saddam Hussein era, they are the scariest SDSFs around. Unfortunately effective sanctions cannot be imposed unilaterally and our allies need to be convinced, and cannot be required, to enforce them.

And finally, the Pledge pledges to “Establish Operational Control of the Border”, “Work with State and Local Officials to Enforce Our Immigration Laws” and “Strengthen Visa Security.” Those steps are necessary to keep out all SDSFs, except of course those who do our gardening, dish washing and menial construction jobs.

So it is a new day in America with a new approach to international, as well as domestic, issues. The only question left is whether this foreign policy of fear is a political ploy or a true reflection of public opinion in America. The world has no doubt noted the latter is exactly what the new majority claims everything it intends to do is based upon.


In my Nyquil induced stupor I looked at today's date in numeric form and was surprised some fringe group had not seen an omen or conspiracy in it.  I have been suffering from a pesky cold for the last four days.  I  haven't had one in about four years so I have become reacquainted with the side effects of cold medicines.   That stuff you squirt up your nose to relieve congestion works well, but it sure brings on the nose bleeds.

We can put the computer power of a early mainframe into a smart phone but we can't stop colds from occurring.  It is hard to believe that little tiny viruses still rule us.  And they always will it appears.  We can no more eradicate them than we can the crazies who go around killing innocent people, although we could make the gun laws a lot more stringent.  That is where the real conspiracy is. The NRA does a good job of teaching gun safety but then supports handing them out willy nilly to insane people.  Once again, I am a gun owner and former NRA member who thinks things have gotten out of hand.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Prayer Again

The National Rifle Association says it is praying for Representative Giffords. (It funded her opponent last year)  The Tea Party says it is praying for her too.  Rightwing congressmen are saying she needs our prayers even after funding extremist candidates against  her. Everywhere I look people are saying she needs prayers.  Pray, Pray, Pray.  Remember that definition of prayer?  "How to say your helping with out really doing anything."

I think civil actions are required more than prayer right now.  First up are Arizona's silly gun laws that allows unfettered access and carrying concealed weapons with no permitting system.  Would that have  helped in this case?  Maybe.  Maybe not. But toughening up those gun laws would send a message.

I think outraged citizens might want to call the media corporate bosses and insist they tell their nut job talk show hosts to ratchet it down about 500%, at least.  And I mean really dog those media bosses and name names.  Violent rhetoric might make revenues, but we can let them know we will hold them accountable.  It does work.

And we all should realize there are good public officials in Arizona, here and there.  Sheriff Dupnik in Pima County is one example who was not afraid to state some truths about what is happening in that state.  He is the opposite of that other Sheriff in Maricopa county who never met an immigrant he liked.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Stay at Home

If I were a radio talk show host in Tucson, and many other places, I would call in sick on Monday.  And anything that Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the Tea Party says about the carnage in Arizona will be contrite and a little self serving.  Frankly, I think things are going to get very difficult in Arizona.

Friday, January 07, 2011


Just because you walked on the moon and worked as a geologist doesn't mean you are hitting on all cylinders.  Here is a quote from the newly annointed cabinet secretary for the Energy and Natural Resources Department in the Martinez Administration.

"There exists no true concern by the President or Congressional Leadership about the true effects of climate change-only a poorly concealed, ideologically driven attempt to use conjured up threats of catastrophic consequences as a lever to gain authoritarian control of society."

Yes, he really said that on his blog.  I am talking about Harrison Schmitt, former US Senator and Astronaut.  He will be in charge of doing whatever the coal, oil, and gas industries want him to do in his new position.  It is very sad to see those quotes from him.  I remember that after he left the Senate (Bingaman defeated him) that he took a bunch of fathers and sons on a geology field trip near Taos.  My son Justin and I went, and I was thrilled with Schmitt's scientific approach to his subject and the great way he talked to the kids.  But now, he has drifted into the fringe.  It is very sad.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Big Business and APS

Can you believe it?  The Chamber of Commerce in DC pours tens of millions of dollars into right wing candidates who will lower taxes on Corporate America in every way.  Soon America's CEOs could soon be in charge of our schools.  Case in point is the Albuquerque School Board approving leases for the corporate media giant Clear Channel to put electronic billboards on school grounds in return for some money to help run the schools.  It is ingenious.  It used to be they would pay taxes to support the schools but now they take that same money saved from low taxes and make a deal with the schools in Albuquerque to turn their campuses into advertising platforms.  Damn!  Life is too short.


The new Governor is dropping the salaries of Cabinet Secretaries coming in to their new jobs.  She is touting that she will pay less than Governor Richardson.  Does this get her the best people for these difficult jobs?  Does it mean that there will be no raises for these new people?  Richardson gave raises along the way to reward hard work.  It is an incentive.  So, why is the new Governor doing this?  I think it is to show people how she has jumped on to the 'hate government workers' bandwagon.  It is the current thing with many right wingers but it is curious since Susanna Martinez has been a government worker most of her career.

She is using that political ideology that she accused the entire Environmental Improvement Board of using when  passing tough air pollution regulations during the Richardson Administration.  She is the one that is really using a right wing ideology.  Do you suppose she ever read these regulations that protect New Mexicans from the polluting practices of the coal, oil and gas industries?  Not a chance.  But those CEOs who bankrolled her said to her, "Trust Us."  Is she showing wisdom in trusting CEO's rather than common New Mexicans who worked hard to pass these regs?

And finally, since the new Governor has fired the food staff at the Governor's Mansion, when the King of Spain comes for a visit will she just throw some taquitos in the microwave?  From Camelot to Dog patch!

 I am still hoping for some brilliance on her part.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Lawyer Up

It is time for all New Mexico conservation groups to make major new investments in personnel.  And I mean lawyers.  They have to become extremely litigious as our new oil and gas controlled Governor starts ruining our land, air and water protection agencies and laws.

She has started out by stating that she has removed all members of the State Environmental Improvement Board for protecting future generations from green house gas emissions.  She says she will scrap 'pit rules' which protects our ground water.  This will just be the start.  She reminds me of the w. bush's attacks on environmental regs.  He was pretty much stymied over eight years by good attorneys with the law on their side.

Governor Martinez will also face the hard working and honest scientists and public servants in the agencies. Her administration will threaten them with job loss and career ruination. Those scientists will need to be tough. We need to support them in every way.  We will need to bolster Attorney General Gary King to convince him to fight these long term life threatening policies of the new governor.  Land Commissioner Ray Powell will need to show courage and fight her in these industry sponsored moves.  Call him at his office and tell him so.

Send money to your favorite groups to get ready.  Call a career public scientist and say you will stand with them.  We should fight for New Mexico's Landscapes and water supplies.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


The first thing out of the box for the new Governor, who was flanked by Albuquerque public safety officer Darren White, is an attack on civil liberties.  They want to force everyone one to give DNA samples if they are arrested for certain crimes.  Even before a trial or decision on whether to prosecute.  Shades of things to come?  Scary!

Today is our first day with out receiving the doorstep delivery of the Albuquerque Journal.  I don't have a problem with it, but maybe I should have asked Bobbi if she was completely okay with it.  Like me she enjoys Leslie Lithicum's work.  We despise the front page editorials camouflaged as news stories.

We had a great trip to Syracuse.  Bobbi got a lot of time with Simon as I did.  I had forgotten how much work these little guys can be.  But worth every moment.  The little guy has the longest fingers!  Maybe a concert pianist?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

We spent New Years Eve in Syracuse, NY with our new grandchild Simon. 

 He is very cool and we feel good about being grandparents!

Syracuse is in the midst of a warm spell and the 70 inches of snow they recieved in December is melting fast.