Friday, April 29, 2011

Same Old...Same Old

I am reading an interesting novel right now called "The City of Man."  It takes place in 1492 Florence when the Medici family ruled and the enlightenment was in full swing.  I was inspired to read it because of the mini series "The Borgias" on Showtime.

There may have been enlightenment in 1492 but conspiracy theory and outright demagoguery and superstition still was powerful.  Today when I picked up the Albuquerque Journal I was reminded of that.  I read in a good reporting job by Rene Romo that the Journal's rightwing oped writer Marita Noon said that environmentalists were out to destroy America.

She really said this at Congressman Steve Pearce's rhetoric and slanderous town hall on on the possible listing of an endangered species in his district.  Pearce himself probably enjoyed this hysterical attack on the government and environmentalists.  He put this group together and he is now shouldered with responsibility for the hate mongering.  I am beginning to think Pearce is actually inciting some sort of action against his opponents and he must be held accountable.

At any rate, this is no different than the hate mongering and inquisition of the middle ages.  Except now it is inspired by the oil and gas least in southern New Mexico.

I wonder how the Journal can ever run another oped by oil and gas mascot Marita Noon, and keep a straight face.  Her website says she is known for her ability to unite people.  To do what?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Grape Plants

We bought some grape plants for the garden from Loews in early march and got them into the ground in hopes they would climb up a new coyote fence we installed.  The plants never sprouted.  So, I took them back to Lowes for some new ones and was rebuffed since I no longer had the receipts.  I did have the plant labels but they said that was not enough.  I have spent several thousand dollars at that store on 12th street so I was unhappy.  I went home and wrote a note to the home office.  Lo and behold I got a response immediately saying they had erred and company policy was clear that I should get new plants whether I had a receipt or not.  Later I got a call from the store manager saying to come in and get the new plants.  They handled the problem well.

Not all corporations are so friendly.  Now, they have been given a big victory by the US Supreme Court who have essentially said 'screw you' to our citizens by ruling that consumers can't bring class action suits against corporate entities because of federal arbitration laws trumping state courts.  It doesn't matter if you are poisoned, maimed, persecuted or killed by their corporate actions.  Of course the republican Supreme Court Justices carried the day on a 5-4 vote on this issue.  All in a case that involved the worse corporation in America.  ATT!

Now, having said that, there is nothing worse than seeing these Law Firms advertising on TV to get you to join law suits.  I hate those ads as much as the ones that tout the tax services of some companies on how not to pay your taxes.  But the Supreme Court's ruling now makes it even more difficult for the little guy.  And this is progress?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Politics in New Mexico

Congressman Steve Pearce in the southern district is having a cow again because of the possible listing of a lizard on the endangered species list.  He says it will interfere with oil and gas jobs and raise energy prices.  He fails to mention to every one that there are tens of thousands of acres that are leased by his oil and gas buddies that have not been drilled.  Why not just go to develop those already approved leases?  Because Pearce and his oil pals are just plain greedy and want everything their own way.  Oh, and they love those taxpayer subsidies they are getting which are now on the chopping block at the Obama White House.

State Auditor Hector Balderas is officially running for the US Senate.  He will face off against Congressman Martin Heinrich.  Balderas says he wants to take small town values to Washington.  I think the problem is that they already have those small town values.  They are constantly bickering.  They don't like each other.  They tell lies.  I know how some small towns operate and it isn't pretty.  At least in the cities there is plenty of room for finding a niche and friends that share your interests.  Also, small towns are getting smaller every day.  It is sad, but there is little reason to economically develop these areas where there is little workforce availability.

A case in point for how smaller towns aren't always inclusive can be seen in the school district approach in Clovis to gay students.  Rather than let them have a gay/straight club on the campuses they are forcing all non academic clubs from meeting during school hours.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bad Dogs and Gasoline

People always tempt fate.  The owner of the pit bull dogs that killed a woman who went out for a walk this weekend was tempting fate by keeping those dogs.  I know pit bull owners will rail at this, but that is one breed of dog we can do with out.  They are just following their nature.  They were bred for aggressiveness and it is just what they will eventually practice.  Of course the owners ignore reality and don't educate themselves on these dangers.  Disaster is the result.

The same thing is going on now with the American public and gasoline prices.  They would vote against President Obama because prices are skyrocketing.  Once again people are not educating themselves about the true cost of gasoline.  Add the costs of wars, pollution, climate change and other health factors and that gallon of gas costs double what you think it does.  But, many will insist on keeping the price low while the rest of the world seeks alternative fuels.  Just like the owner of the pit bulls, disaster will strike us.

I wonder sometimes if we are less educated today than we were fifty years ago.  Probably not.  Overall many people are more educated than ever, but many don't seem to understand cause and effect.

"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit;  Wisdom in not putting it in a fruit salad.".......unknown

Monday, April 25, 2011


It is interesting to see the construction industry all up in arms about the legislature and Governor not passing a capital improvements bill in the last session.  They say it will cost thousands of jobs.  It could cost jobs for sure but it is almost humorous that this one segment of the business community cries for stimulus funding, while the the right wing national chamber of commerce and other groups say we can power our way to prosperity with tax cuts for the rich.

One of my good friends has a jewelry and metal art manufacturing facility here in Albuquerque.  He told me over dinner yesterday that their business is doing great and that he thinks one reason is that people are purposely buying local goods.  He is also selling to airport gift shops in the west and says demand is up.  He thinks the recovery is underway and wonders if the right wing will try and stall it so they can elect a republican president.

People I know are trying to dis Martin Heinrich in his run for the US Senate because he wasn't born in New Mexico.  One of my readers commented in the last blog that only one of our delegation was born in New Mexico.  I get really sick of these folks who thinks that a person's birthplace really matters.  It is New Mexico politics at its worse and it is coming from supporters of Hector Balderas, the state auditor who wants to be a Senator.  He is better than this and he ought to shut those folks up.

We had a great weekend up in Fort Collins.  I would post my daughters engagement pics that I shot but she wont give her old man permission.  We did find a great place for them to be married not far from Rocky Mountain National Park.  That region if Colorado is truly beautiful.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


President David Schmidley of UNM says he is stepping down.  Former Governor Gary Johnson says he is stepping up to run for U.S. President.  Someone I am acquainted with says that President Obama can't legally be President since his father was Kenyan.  This woman said it didn't matter if his mother was American and he was born here.  All this happened when we were out for an early game of golf and Santa Ana.  The golf kept us preoccupied and it was a lot of fun.  As far as all of that other stuff, life marches on.

Bobbi and I will travel up to Fort Collins for the weekend.  Mainly, we want to see our daughter and her fiancee Luke.  They want me to shoot some engagement pictures for them.  I plan on coming up with wild stuff for that assignment.  I think we also want to spend some time just standing out in the forecasted rain.  It will be like seeing a long lost friend.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Juxtaposition Again

The front page of the Albuquerque Journal was too much to bear today.  I am not a snob, but the headlines of the day citing the bankruptcy and demise of the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra and the fact that beer sales in the UNM Pit are getting closer to reality is just depressing.

This doesn't mean civilization is closer to dissolving, but it certainly bodes poorly for the state and city.  Amenities like the symphony are important to economic development and culture.  Beer at the pit is important to DUI trends and a negative image overall.  We can do with out beer at the pit, but I am not sure we can do without our symphony.

You would think that corporate America who pays little or no taxes along with the richest folks would help out the symphony as they used to.  Maybe since their taxes are so low that they just don't see the charitable deductions as important anymore.

Those same folks will probably be giving money to the governor's new political action committee though.  The money Susanna Martinez brings in will be used to fight progressive taxing in this state.  Also to find candidates who like to beat up on undocumented workers.

Maybe civilization is breaking down a little bit.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Basic Government

It is hard to believe that anyone who works in government does not know that capital funds (pork barrel) that are handed out by the legislature can only be used for bricks and mortar.  Mostly.  During the Richardson administration the legislators lined up willy nilly for handouts for their districts and pet projects.  Some were worthy, some were not. It was all very unplanned and undirected and once the money was appropriated the legislators for the most part just moved on with out keeping an eye on the spending.  Given the sheer amount of largess handed out it would have been nice if some extra eyeballs were watching.  Now, as in the example of the Hispanic Cultural Center Fresco project, every one points fingers at a past administration as being at fault for misappropriation.  Maybe, but so were the legislators and recipients who certainly should realize how these funds should be spent.  It is shameful they way so many pass the buck.

Many of these projects, once again, were unworthy.  I have said for years the amount of money spent on some of this stuff was totally wasted.  There doesn't seem to be any central planning on how to use such monies and how to control the doling out of cash.  The legislature should set some real parameters on how much can be spent and how any request might be scored for its viability.  A legislator's ego and seniority should not be a sole factor in getting money appropriated for a project.

P.S.  Has anyone noticed the Tuesday comics in the Journal are no longer in color.  Shouldn't they reduce our subscription price for less quality?  Oh, they only demand that of government.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I keep wondering when Governor Martinez will show us a real plan for adding jobs in New Mexico.  At least she should give it some lip service.  But once again all I see are her aggressive policies aimed at school districts in the state.  It is stranger everyday.

I joke that I will go mad from the March/April winds, dust and juniper pollen, but really after seeing the death toll in North Carolina and other places in tornado alley I shouldn't be complaining.  I was looking into some websites to see what the average wind speed in Albuquerque has been annually.  It is 3 miles per hour.  I think that average if calculated down to daytimes in  March and April might be a tad higher.  Like 10 to fifteen times higher.  I think it seems a lot worse this year because of the drought.  Surprisingly, it seems there are fewer days of this misery that one thinks. We will get through it.

Three weeks from today Bobbi and I will board a plane for another cruise.  We will start in Barcelona for a couple of days, then have stops in Gibralter, Cadiz- Spain, Lisbon- Portugal, Vigo- Spain, Cherbourg- France, Brugge-Belgium and then into Dover, England.  I keep thinking about the plane ride over hoping Delta has checked for cracks and metal fatigue.  It is funny how one aircraft incident can get everyone thinking hard!

Friday, April 15, 2011


I still think it is peculiar that the Governor is waging what appears to be a police action against the public schools.  She is auditing them to see if they are trying to get extra money to run themselves by overstating their growth.  I wish Martinez would show such resolve in auditing her oil and gas supporters.  There are a million ways those guys can steal from the taxpayer.

City of Albuquerque Public Safety Chief Darren White, with some goosing from the Mayor I am sure, has decided to take a look at the training procedures for APD's academy.  After the gunning down of another mentally ill person, he should take a hard look.  I would also advise the Mayor to put together an adhoc committee to look at the Academy's philosophy.  Are they turning out US Marine clones or are they turning out police officer/public servants?

If this wind doesn't stop blowing around dust and pollen then we shall all surely go mad.

The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good  ideas! ....unknown

Thursday, April 14, 2011


There is a new website up that will be interesting to watch.  It is the brain child of Stephan Helgesen, former science advisor to Governor Richardson.  In his own words here is what he wants to do with

"I am definitely local. There's no profit right now, but I'm hoping someday. I used to be the Dir. of the State of NM Office of Science and Technology under the second Richardson administration (3.5 years). Before that I served for 20 years as a U.S. Diplomat in Europe and SE Asia. I'm concerned that we have too few places where serious, civil discourse on a range of issues can take place. Since we're coming into a highly-charged political year, I wanted a kind of DMZ where people of differing opinions could get their voices heard in a serious forum, and that goes for non-political issues as well. I'm still a believer that people should talk with one another without raising their voices whether in person or in print.
If you have an article or articles or opinion piece that you want published send them to me and I guarantee they'll get put up on the site. I also have a site that needs a little dusting off called, Greeningnewmexico. I love the land and am a proponent of sound land use, something you know infinitely more about. Just as an FYI, I am also the Honorary Consul for Germany here in NM. Hope to hear more from you.
Best regards,

This will be fun to watch.  In an offhanded way it is another indictment of the Albuquerque Journal for its decidedly one sided editorial columnists.


Another police shooting in Albuquerque makes one wonder.  I have constantly harped on the need for changing the training regime at the police academy and was hopeful that Mayor Berry would do so.  I sense that nothing will happen and these lethal encounters will continue as Public Safety Chief Darren White tries to get back on the good side of the police after a no confidence vote that was served up to him a few weeks ago.  At any rate, this can not continue.

Something else that is wrong is the fact that the Bernalillo County Commission and the Sheriff's office want to open yet another police academy for themselves.  This begs for some cooperation with the city in combining the two.  It could be done with some allowance for different curriculums.  Basic police work is the same though.  Why do we want to pay for two police academies within miles of each other?  And there is still the state academy that could do the sheriff's officers.  This is a waste of money.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Landscapes Lose in Budget

It had to happen.  It always does.  Every democrat president seems to do it because they don't know anything about western public lands.  And Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was left out in the cold by the all the president's men sacrificing more possible wilderness designations and expansion in the budget deal made last weekend.  Salazar had fought hard to overturn a bush administration policy that pretty much killed new protections for our landscapes.  Salazar issued a new policy, a cornerstone of his work, and then the president appeased Utah congressmen who hate him by taking away all funding that would allow survey and classification work needed for protections.   Once again, a democrat president appeases right wing land exploiters in return for, well, more abuse in the future.  Somebody!  Please explain to me why the democrat presidents throw the west under the bus so often?

I got a call from Obama's reelection campaign today asking for money.  I told them to call back next year and if I am not still totally disillusioned I will send money.  I think the best thing is to give money to congressional candidates who can chase out the Tea Party.  Maybe that will give courage to the commander in chief.

This is a photo of one beautiful area in Utah, Labyrinth Canyon, which will be endangered by this betrayal.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The New Mexico Governor

On Saturday night we went to the performance of the Yjastros Flamenco company at the Hispanic Cultural Center.  It was a great show in front of a sold out house.  This is a great asset for our city and deserves support.

Prior to the show Bobbi and I went to get munchies and wine and the St. Claire Bistro on Rio Grande Blvd.  The place was packed and we sat at the bar.  After a while a well known and respected guy came up to me and asked if we could move over a bit so he and his wife could sit with us.

I can't identify  him except to say he runs a major government institution with thousands of employees and tens of millions in revenues.  He told me a story that I found hard to believe.  His duties require him to attend the legislative sessions.  And for 8 weeks he attempted to meet with Governor Martinez.  For eight weeks he was denied such a meeting.  No matter how hard he tried he could not get in.  His crime?  He is a democrat and worked with Governor Richardson on many issues concerning his institution.

First, for any governor such a meeting should be welcome.  Second, this shows a new and unmatched brand of partisanship  based primarily on political parties but also on who your friends are.  I have heard repeatedly that if you are a democrat you don't get in to see the Gov.  If you are any one, including republicans, who had a working relationship with Governor Richardson, you don't get in.  I think this is an unprecedented show of immaturity for a governor in our state.  

I have worked for more than one governor, all democrats.  I have served as a statewide elected official, State Land Commissioner, and worked with governors.  Never, ever, have I seen access to a governor ruled by such hubris.  Our other governors, including republicans Garrey Carruthers and Gary Johnson would not often agree with democrats, but their doors were usually open for discussion.  But the Martinez adminstration, which is being run by neocon right wing campaign functionaries, are setting up the hapless governor for a failed tenure.  If she has leadership abilities and vision we will never know.  Not if this keeps up.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Cat Musings

Take Names

It is time to take names on this impending budget impasse.  Although spending cuts have been agreed on the republicans are insisting in putting in policy issues that gut environmental protection and lessen women's rights on controlling their own reproductive choices.  So, it is easy too see that this is really about business profits and religious fundamentalist belief.  It is almost too hard to deal with.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


I wonder if it might be a good idea for Governor Martinez to let folks know which state provided services that are funded with federal money might shut down with the federal government in a couple of days.  If there are not any, it would be good to know too. Or is she afraid to state the obvious, that her party's brinkmanship could actually make her job more difficult?

Bobbi and I started watching the miniseries "The Borgias' on Showtime.  It looks to be as good as we were hoping it would be.  It is about a family in 1492  who bought their way into the office of Pope.  I bring this up because I laughed out loud this morning when reading about the Archbishop of Santa Fe saying that couples who live together outside of marriage are in 'mortal sin.'  I remember when we were kids that on Friday nights my dad and mom would pack us up to go to Sigler's cafeteria on Central Ave.  The place was full of catholics ordering the fish filet.  (My son Justin calls them tartar sauce delivery vehicles.)  Back then it was a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays.  But the church changed that!  (Donations from the beef council?) They also decided that unbaptized babies dont go to Limbo but get a free pass to paradise.  The church can change silly things but not meaningful ones.

This ban on living together means that just about 75% of all people in the dioceses will surely suffer in hell.  There are very few people we know who did not live together before they married.  It makes a lot of sense to be sure you can really be compatible before having kids.  And the church wonders why its chapels are nearly empty on Sundays.

At least the Borgias lived in the real world.  As do most people today.

"Religion is a major weapon in the war against reality."....unknown

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


No one really will win with a shut down of the federal government.  The republicans and tea party types will lose slightly more however, just like they did when Newt Gingrich shut down the government in the mid 90's.  The biggest losers would be the public, even though most of them would disagree.

Once again, look at our "Land of Enchantment."  New Mexico is a government fueled state that has mostly faired better than most parts of the country because of the national labs and military infrastructure.  Kirtland AFB, Cannon AFB, Holloman AFB, White Sands Missile Range, Fort Bliss, Tx, and Sandia and Los Alamos employ a lot of people in New Mexico with good paying jobs.  And they all will suffer as the budget cutters go postal.  How does a guy like Congressman Steve Pearce square this with his constituents?

If a shutdown does occur the military will be safe.  They are good at camouflage so Pearce can skate on that one.  But, if you old folks have problems with medicare or social security then just live with it.

Certainly, entitlement programs need to be fixed.  That includes higher taxes and cuts.  Both.  But the lunatic fringe in the congress doesn't see that two way approach.  I think in the end the fringe will be lopped off.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Politics and Our Little Girl

Martin Heinrich did announce for the US Senate.  He probably wont have any serious opposition in the democratic primary and that is good.  More of the intrigue in politics in the elections 18 months from now will concern how big the coattails will be from the President's reelection campaign. I think he will surely win the race but how big remains to be seen.

Secondly, who will replace Martin in his house seat?  Right now the pickings are poor for the democrats.  I don't think Eric Griego or Moe Maestas have the legs to win a general election.  Although they are good men and would make good congressmen they are as lefty as me and not in vogue for the foreseeable future.  Who else could run and win?  Those folks will be oozing out of the woodwork soon.  Here are some folks who I hope would consider it.  Lawrence Rael would be a moderate hispanic candidate that could win it.  County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins could make a run.  Senator Tim Keller from the north east heights might be a good pick.  There are more out there I am sure but I can't think of them right now.  I just want to make sure we don't get a nutcase tea party type into the congress for this district.  We also don't need any fundamentalists religious folks either.

Now, concerning our little girl.  She called us last night to announce that her beau, Luke Currell, has asked for her hand in marriage.  You don't get many calls like that in a life time.

There is a great commercial on TV where a dad is giving his daughter some keys to take the car out.  He sees her as a little five year old girl sitting in drivers seat.  That is kind of how I still see Noelle.  These are a couple of pictures of her that I snapped when she was four years old and six years old.

The funny thing is that Luke had called me three weeks ago to see if it would be okay with me if he popped the question!  I said sure!  But he wanted to wait until July 4th during our family reunion here.   I told him I couldn't keep a secret that long.  My wife Bobbi wrote him a note saying to speed it up or I would spill the beans.  His mother, Sue Orth of Minneapolis, MN did the same.  So last night he asked her and we will be really happy and proud to have him as a son in law.

Noelle is a financial whiz for Intel and Luke is a geologist.  They are living in Fort Collins, Colorado where they hike, bike, and live an active life style.

Friday, April 01, 2011


I think that Secretary of State Dianna Duran handled her office's little meltdown yesterday pretty good.  She made it quite clear that the happenings referenced in yesterday's blog were very offensive and she put a staffer on leave.  She was very careful to say she had inherited the employee.  She and the Governor always blame everything on their predecessor.

I am very hopeful that Martin Heinrich will run for the Senate.  He is young, energetic, a good environmentalist, and mostly a very smart guy.  These seats only come along every thirty years or so.  If he wants to be a Senator this may be his only chance for quite a while.  Also, the lure of only having to enduring an expensive and nasty campaign every six years instead of every two years is a positive.  Martin is a moderate and one wonders if there is room left for that in the current "Tea Party" era of extremism.

Sam Bregman, a guy who I love and dislike at the same time, is making a mighty run to be democratic state chairman. He could at least breathe some fire into the party.  I really like the current Chair, but frankly some of the news releases I see come out of the party are very ineffectual and whiny.  I have never been active in the 'party' thing so I have no idea who might win.  If Javier Gonzales wins, he must be more aggressive. If Sam Bregman wins that won't be a concern as long as he doesn't go over the top.