Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Hate It When This Happens

I ran into an interesting water show this morning at the corner of Adams and Copper in Albuquerque.  A water main let loose propelling rocks, mud and thousands of gallons of water into and over the Media Arts Charter School.  Windows shattered and the building was filling with water.

Windows on cars on the other side of the building were broken by debris.  Just one of those things.  No injuries.

It is funny I happened by this because I had seen this filthy dirty car driven by a State Senator and thought that he might want to take it in for a good rinse somewhere.

Friday, March 30, 2012


I have been really enjoying watching this live-cam of a pair of bald eagles raising their young eaglets in Iowa.  I sign on a couple of times a day to watch the feeding and nurturing of the little ones.  Somehow it is very relaxing to see that there are real possibilities in protecting species such as the bald eagle.

Meanwhile, our oilman right wing congressman Steve Pearce is doing his best to scuttle any chance of meaningful wilderness legislation in southern New Mexico.  He has introduced a bill that would drastically reduce the amount of land that would be protected in Dona Ana County around the Organ Mountains.  There is a consensus among everyone but the subsidized oil and livestock industry that larger amounts of land should be protected.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Bobbi!

My wonderful wife Bobbi turns 60 year old today.  This is the first photo I ever took of her back in 1976.
 This is a little video of her.


So former PRC member Jerome Block Jr. is out of the slammer again.  A lot of people are upset about his being released after failing more drug tests.  He has been in jail for several months.  I for one am glad he is out and that we taxpayers are not paying for his room and board to the tune of thousands of dollars a month.  Just like a lot of other drug users he is costing us serious money to keep in jail.  Money that  could be used to imprison really dangerous people rather than small time users, or to treat mentally ill patients in facilities that are decent and humane.  But of course if we were to decriminalize drugs we would save huge amounts of money in the criminal justice system.  Fat Chance.

I really don't understand why being forced to pay medicare insurance is different from being forced to pay health care insurance or car insurance.  I haven't seen that explained so maybe someone can enlighten me.  Same with Social Security tax and income tax.  This whole issue will hurt the republicans in the long run if the new insurance program is ruled unconstitutional.  This will happen when the media trots out those who will lose coverage and how their lives are shortened or their families ruined with unconscionable medical bills.  Meanwhile this country looks imbecilic to most other first world countries who do have national health care insurance programs for their citizens.  We are a nation that doesn't want to be burdened with the health of its own people.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


We watched a great documentary last  night on PBS about Vashti McCollum who brought suit in 1945 challenging the teaching of religion in public schools.  Over three years she and her family were treated like scum by the good citizens of Champaign, Illinois and all 'god' fearing people in the U.S.  But when the case finally reached the U.S. Supreme court they voted 8-1 to support her assertion.  She was such a courageous person and I had never heard of her before.  She had to the good fortune to live in an era in this nation's history where the Supreme Court put the constitution above politics and populism.  The Supreme Court at the time was comprised of nine white men.  Some democrat and some republican who were men of law and revered the constitution.

Can you think what might happen if we were to put the current majority of the Supreme Court in a time machine and sent them back to decide this case?  I have a feeling that all of our kids in public schools would be forced to wear a cross and attend daily religious indoctrination classes.  Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Rastafarians, Pastafarians and the rest would be put into work houses until they converted.  Or maybe just windowless basement classrooms.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Unwanted Advice

Ajax the cat strikes this pose at the evening dinner table every night we have salmon or fish.  He is looking for some munchies.  He always comes to my side of the table for some reason.  Perhaps he knows that is where instant gratification lies.  A small morsel perhaps.

Speaking of instant gratification, I think that is what congressional candidate Eric Griego is seeking.  I am on his mailing list and he is running against a general election candidate already.  He seems to be ignoring former Mayor Marty Chavez and the primary election challenge he faces there.  I can't imagine why his campaign staff thinks this is a good strategy, but they must have their reasons.  In the meantime all three candidates in that primary seem virtually invisible in the media, both free and paid.  Eric, whom I support, came up with a gimmicky delivery of petitions to republican Janice Arnold Jones asking her to support medicare and denounce the republican budget.   It got zero attention from anyone and there was no upside to it.

My advice is that you should run your primary race before taking on the general election.  Especially in this kind of race where there is no clear favorite.

And finally some more advice, now that the voters will get to have their say on the rebuilding of the Paseo I-25 interchange in Albuquerque, the Mayor should tone down the recriminations and finger pointing at the city councillors who wanted the vote.  His assertions that it would now cost the taxpayers another $10 million is baloney.  I like Mayor Berry but who ever thought  up this strategy on this issue needs to be put in the doghouse.

 I would also advise the Albuquerque Journal to at least state their conflict of interest in their editorial performance on this issue.  They have exhibited a double standard in saying a vote isn't important.  I recall back when I was Mayor the publisher was always whining about the amount of traffic on Jefferson Blvd. in front of their facility.  They complained it wasn't designed to carry the amount of traffic that it did.  They were correct, but they still supported increased sprawl and development on the west side and saw no value on impact fees that might have built a new interchange at Paseo.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Whither Science?

We had a really nice fundraiser for Martin Heinrich at our home last night.  We had about fifty guests and raised around $5K for Martin's campaign war chest.  That is not much these days when you figure what the Super Pacs can do to a candidate.  They will certainly come after Martin in his Senate race against Heather Wilson if he wins the primary, which he will.  Heather Wilson will reap much benefit from those Super Pacs.  Don't forget she served for three years on one of Karl Rove's right wing boards and she will reap the benefits.  

An interesting thing came up during Martin's talk.  We had several scientists at the fundraiser and they were aghast at the demise of science and reason in this country.  Martin then put out this frightening factoid.  He is the only engineer in the entire house of representatives.  One engineer out of 435 members.  There are only two scientists in the Senate and the House.  Two!  And then as we all know there are probably a couple of hundred creationists/fundamentalists.  And only one atheist that has come out publicly.  There are bound to be many more.

I was sent this photo by a friend recently that shows Bruce King, Helen Hardin, and her daughter Margarete.  This was taken by Cradoc Bagshaw,  Helen's husband, in 1978 when Bruce was running for his second term as Governor.  I was his press secretary.  Helen, a good friend to us,  was an accomplished artist that I attended St. Pius X high school with in the early 60's.  She died young from cancer but her works of art are still highly sought after.  I am lucky  to own some.  Her daughter is following in her foot steps, and those of her late grandmother Pablita Velarde, and is a prolific and successful artist.  I often wonder what Helen would think of politics today.  She was such a decent and moderate woman that I think she would have been in a state of disbelief at the makeup of our congress.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Out Classing Arizona

The Governor's gracious welcome to President Obama yesterday in New Mexico's southeastern oil patch showed she does have some class, especially in comparison with her colleague governor in Arizona who shook a finger in the President's face a few months ago.  Of course, the oil and gas industry folks had nothing but criticism for Obama because he wants to cut off $4 billion in subsidies to the windfall profit reaping industry.  Congressman Steve Pearce was also nasty but that is to be expected since he is one of those oil boys.

The President went a little overboard on professing his love for the fossil fuel crowd yesterday, especially in the face of downright nasty and truth bending TV ads that the oil super pacs were running against him.  You can be sure before this is all done next year that some of that money will find its way into reelection efforts for the Governor.

Meanwhile our ever invisible Senator Tom Udall has poked his head out of his DC hole to take on the super pacs by insisting with legislation that they identify their contributors if the pac spends more that $10,000 in a 24 hour period.  He is correct in assertions that elections have been turned into nothing but auctions with corporations being the only funded bidders.

All of this is brought to us by the last bush administration's extreme rightwing appointments to the Supreme Court.  bush just hides out in Texas and watches the political decay progress.  How has he gotten away with it?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Over a decade ago we were in a big fight when I was Mayor to get a new baseball stadium built.  The republicans on the city council did all they could to thwart the process.  It was just politics.  At one point they wanted to just lease out the old Duke's monstrosity of a stadium to a B team.

One of the city councillors at the time was Brad Winter.  He is still there.  He insisted at the time that we go to the voters for permission to spend $25  million dollars for the new Isotopes Park.  We gladly did that and the voters approved the bond issue.  We got all of that done in a matter of a few months.  Now Councillor Winters sees no problem in bypassing a vote to spend $50 million on the Paseo del Norte interchange, even when Rio Rancho and Sandoval County have told us to butt out and that they won't help with the costs.

Maybe the Mayor and council should just call a special mail in election to get this done.  It can be quick and clean.  This issue has been mismanaged enough and rightly or wrongly those commuters need relief.

I ran into former stalwart Democrat Senator Shannon Robinson at the Frontier restaurant the other day.  He was proudly telling everyone he had switched to the republican party to run for his old Senate seat against the Democrat who beat him four years ago.  He has the backing of the oil industry through Yates Petroleum.  I have always marveled at how some people are willing to do anything to hang on to these legislative jobs.  Get a Life!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stick in the Eye Redux

Here is something GOP candidate Heather Wilson can run on.  The republicans in congress will push a budget that will continue a wage freeze on federal employees until 2016 (six years without an increase), cut the workforce by 10% and expect the gap to be filled by the survivors, and try to lessen retirement benefits that were promised.  (Which are not nearly as generous as the old civil service retirement and are mainly comprised of 401K type plans.)

My spouse, Bobbi, has been required to work longer and harder for the last few years  because of dwindling resources.  She often works weekends.  And the party of Heather Wilson paints her as some sort of blood sucking vampire that is responsible for all our troubles.  Well, you just run on this Heather and I will predict that those federal employees will do some blood letting at the ballot box.  Cuts in New Mexico are going to hurt enough with out putting thousands of New Mexican federal workers on the rack.  All this under the shadow of oil companies receiving subsidies while enjoying wind fall profits.


OOPS! has to be the word of the day in Albuquerque Mayor Berry's 7th floor office today.  He took one on the chin on trying to pass a $50 million dollar approval for sale of bonds on the Paseo del Norte interchange funding.  Three city councillors insisted this go to the public and be voted on next November.  Is it needed?  Of course.  Though one could describe it as payback for years of catering to westside Albuquerque homebuilders who, with city approval, kept pumping out more homes and leaving the infrastructure problems for someone else to worry about.  (Next up is the intersection of I-25 and Highway 550 at Bernalillo.)

I can not imagine the six council supporters of skipping a bond election doing this on any other issue.  This funding was just defeated last year on a vote when it was coupled in a log rolling incident with other projects the voters didn't want.  So, unless there is a change of heart this will go to the voters in a few months.  As it should.

Here is a wonderful video everyone should see.  My friend Ned sent it to me.  It shows in no uncertain terms just how thin the veil of life around our earth is and how little there is of it.  And some of our rightwing congressmen and senators still won't believe we can pollute it to the point of extinction.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Obama Visit

President Obama will become the first President ever to visit Carlsbad, New Mexico.  He will visit oil producing lands in the area.  There are an abundance of BLM and State Trust Lands in the Permian basin of southeastern New Mexico and activity there is high, if not over hyped.

Here are a few things he should stress while in Eddy County.  This is from the Wilderness Society.

More oil and gas drilling occurs in America every year than anywhere else in the world.
Since 1950, 2.6 million oil and natural gas wells have been drilled in the U.S.
1. By the end of 2009 there were a combined total of 824,847 producing oil and gas wells in the United States.

2. As of the first week in February 2011, there were 1,739 rotary drilling rigs operating in U.S. lands and waters, more than in any other country in the world.

3. America ranks #1 in natural gas production, and #3 in oil production.

4. We are the largest producer of natural gas in the world. and the third-largest producer of oil.

5. Yet, we have only 3.8% of the world’s natural gas reserves, and less than 2% of proven oil reserves.

6. Tens of thousands of wells are drilled every year in the U.S.

At the beginning of the decade 27,000 oil and gas wells were drilled in the U.S. in one year. But last year over 40,000 wells were drilled on American lands and waters.

7. The West’s public lands are already extensively drilled. There are tens of thousands of oil and natural gas wells on public lands, with thousands more currently approved for drilling and tens of thousands more planned for the future.

8. Such intense, localized development makes other uses of the land—hunting, fishing, recreating— difficult if not impossible. Tens of millions of acres of onshore and offshore federal lands are already under lease to oil and gas companies much of it unused. According to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) data, as of FY 2010, 41,000,000 acres of federal public lands were leased for oil and gas development, an area the size of the state of Tennessee.

9. However, 29,000,000 acres of these leases are sitting idle. In addition, over 34 million acres of offshore federal lands are under lease in the Gulf of Mexico alone, where roughly 4,000 platforms produce oil and/or gas.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bi Partisan Idiocy and Some Cahoots

Governor Martinez's selection of a Texas firm to do New Mexico's Tourism ad campaign was bound to blow up.  And it has.  The company put out a casting call for caucasians and 'light' skinned hispanics to appear in the ads.  What a bunch of idiots!  And then to equal that idiocy the Democractic party issues a statement saying the Governor Martinez doesn't care about our state's hispanic heritage.  That is unbelievable too and that statement will become the pivot point for further media attacks on the Dems.  Just watch how the editorially right wing Albuquerque Journal turns this around on the issue.

This took the Governor and her minions out of the fire and put them back in the frying pan.  They will suffer some.  But, this will end up hurting democratic candidates in the long run.  If I were Martin Heinrich, Hector Balderas, and all of the Congressional candidates I would march over to the Democratic Party HQ to roast the executives there over a slow fire.  The took a golden opportunity and turned it into a pile of donkey dung.

And then there is a story about what one can only describe as the republicans and their secretary of state being in cahoots.  She will put up a feeble or no defense to a suit by the GOP to do away with publicly financed elections.  It is not enough the repubs will bury dems in super pac money from the oil and coal boys, now they want to take overturn  legislation that would help low or median income candidates level the playing field just a little bit.

Time for Attorney General Gary King to step up big time and defend this law suit.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hats Off

I really admire these two New Mexican doctors who have filed a lawsuit that would seek protection when working with patients on end of life decisions.  I have always marveled at the fact that we treat our pets with more consideration and love than the law would allow us when dealing with our own decisions and those of our families and friends.  Of course if Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney were elected as President we could expect to see them interfering in these decisions based on fundamentalist religious dogma.

I am really thrilled to see President Obama continually sticking it to the republicans and their oil boys on seeking other achieving renewable energy as the future power source for our country.  They will continue to fight him tooth and nail in order to reap continued windfall profits.   This is the Obama that has been missing in action over the last three years on energy issues.

I am still on weight watchers and just hit a 15 year low!  25lbs to go by the end of the year.  The only thing I really miss is a daily glass of red wine.  Now I am down to two glasses a week.  I am not missing red meat at all.  Even less after reading about pink slime and early death!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Channel 13 and the Albuquerque Journal did stories about the State of New Mexico handing out a big contract to an Austin, Texas firm to produce ads for the Tourism Department.  Local filmmakers attempted to get subcontracts for some of the production but were snubbed.  The stories never once mentioned Governor Susanna Martinez and her role in this.  Can you imagine this break ever being handed over to Governor Richardson?  Frankly, I am surprised at the TV station's decision to do this.  I can assume that Dick Knipfing, at Channel 13, no longer has any editorial clout.  He was always a fair minded journalist but that station's current menu of nightly sex stories and abused puppy features must have just worn him out.

As far as the Journal goes, this is just one more example of their highly partizan editors approach to journalism.

Wait, hold that thought while I try and figure out why the Journal put a nice picture of the President of the United States on the front page today picking the Lobos to advance to the sweet 16!  Is this a trick?

Republicans, who want less money for almost all federal government programs, are now whining we are not spending enough money on nuclear weapons stockpiles.  It is really hard to understand how having a few hundred more nuclear weapons will really keep  us any safer.  If they want more money piled into nuclear research then lets put it into solving problems of highly toxic and dangerous nuclear waste.  Or maybe a new generation of clean reactors, if there can be such a thing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Day's Reading List

Senator Bingaman tells it like it is right here.  I like this because it shows what liars oil executives and republican presidential candidates are.

A Goldman Sachs executive tells it like it is right here.  Finally, a courageous man on Wall Street.  This article is astonishing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'm Baaack!

Hackers should try and be like our cat Ajax.  He can be happy with the simplest of things!  But no, Hackers are just assholes.

Google folks were able to being my blog back from oblivion after someone made many efforts to hack it.  I have always wondered if hackers were just modern day versions of psychopaths, sociopaths, or serial killers. Or maybe they are future CEO's of oil and coal companies.   I think when hackers do real harm they are more dangerous than your average bank robber and strong arm artists.  They should be put in special prisons with absolutely no access to computers, internet or any silicon chip.  five year minimum sentence.  And they should pay for the costs of that five years to the taxpayer.  They should all get a cat in prison to take care of.  They would be better people upon their release.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Conspiracy Theorists

I always get a kick out of conspiracy theorists.  You know, the black helicopter crowd.  You wonder where they come  up with this stuff, but they do.

I am worried I am becoming one of them.  I am beginning to think there is a conspiracy with in the American oil industry to continually raise prices over the next eight months in order to hurt President Obama's chance of reelection.  It is a win-win for them because they will also reap windfall profits.  Yeah, I know the price of oil is set globally, but a few refineries breaking down or slowing output of stock are local occurrences that affect prices.

There was an interesting article in the Times this weekend about the fact that countries with few natural resources have the best educated and accomplished students.  Think Taiwan, Japan, and other fossil fuel resource starved nations.  Since they must find other ways of prospering they invest in the best educations possible for their children.  So, in a way our oil industry is also having an effect on the dismal state of our schools.

Now that is a conspiracy theory.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


The State Democratic pre primary nominating convention is over.  In another 24 hours the results of the voting will be meaningless.  Any candidate who thinks this has anything to do with primary election day is fooling themselves.  There were no upsets at the convention.  Martin Heinrich came in first with 55% of the delegate vote over Hector Balderas.  Eric Griego dispatched former Mayor Martin Chavez and County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Griffin in the congressional race.  I think Chavez's former live in girlfriend who was just indicted for embezzling $3 million dollars probably hurt him a little.

Now that this process is over the real campaign for rank and file voters is joined.  The money race to fuel those expensive TV ads will now commence at an accelerated pace.  It is better to have more money than your opponents and some candidates will go anywhere to get it.

The one good thing about the convention is that it gets the party activists into the same room and gabbing with each other.  In the end that will end up fostering unity.  But not until after the Primary!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Must Read

My friend Charlie sent me this article.  If anyone cares about our natural landscapes, wildlife, watersheds and wild lands they should definitely read this.  I have come to the conclusion that the republican candidates for U.S. President in 2012 will someday be collectively named the 8th Wonder of the World.

Thursday, March 08, 2012


It is invigorating for me to see President Obama finally giving grief to the oil and gas boys.  They have had a free ride for too long with the last few Presidents, and now for whatever reason, Obama has decided to call them what they are.  In so many words he is outing them as the greedy backwards jerks they are.  He will be repaid of course with oil super pac money blaming him for the rise in oil prices. These guys would have us using this outdated energy source until the planet could no longer be inhabitable if they could just keep making money.

PNM is on my list again for partially abandoning downtown Albuquerque.  They will move hundreds of employees to the I-2 5 corridor.  One of my friends said yesterday that PNM had turned from being a historically good corporate citizen into a 'cheap Chinese goods company.'  I agree completely.  He reminded me of the time that PNM hired former Mayor David Rusk to do one thing for them, and that was think about how the company could be better.  In this era of quarterly bottom line profits they would only hire someone to think about how to wrench the last dime out of rate payers and to hell with being a respected New Mexico presence.  What a fall from grace they have undergone.  I feel bad about it.  But, once again the lights do go on when I flip the switch.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Making Congress Look Good

The new Mayor of Clovis, NM is an anti Obama birther wing nut.  The new Mayor of Sunland Park, NM is currently in jail and trying to make bail after trying to blackmail his opponent.  Both these characters were elected by voters in their communities whose only motivation had to be an effort to make the U.S. Congress look good.  Those voters are all certainly within their rights to elect whomever they want.  But it all looks pretty lame to me.

Can you imagine the new Mayor of Clovis representing his region in a fight to keep Canon Air Force Base open during the next round of base closing initiatives?  What would he say in his interactions?  Maybe he could repeat his assertions that the Commander in Chief is the "greatest evil ever known to mankind."  All I can say is that the Mayors of Albuquerque and Alamogordo, where there are other major military installations would urge him to be very vocal in his meetings with the base closure commissions.

All this happens in the background of the nightmare known as the Republican Presidential Primary.  Intellectual republicans, if there are any left, must feel they are in the seventh level of hell.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


We are back from our whirlwind trip to the East Coast.  We selected a new leader for the Wilderness Society, Jaime Williams, and look forward to working with him.  He has a big job ahead in running this respected organization.

Other things from the trip that I learned is my brand new iPhone did not like the ride it took in the washing machine at my son's house.  All it would do was give me the 'chirp of death' when I tried to revive it.  Apple gave me a new one really cheap but the fact that I did it makes me think that I am getting a little more forgetful than I should be.  Bummer!

Having a bad memory is  dangerous when you are reading over your new Bernalillo County Assessor's statement on your property taxes.  They never state whether it has gone  up or down.  They just give  you a new assessment and leave it up to you to dig through files.  They should give you a  year to year history of your assessments, much like PNM does with your power bills or the City does with its water bills.  Do you think some County Commissioner could pass an ordinance requiring that?  Or some legislator?  Or even Karen Montoya the Assessor?  How hard could it be?  And my assessment went up 3% again.  Ridiculous!  I will file a protest for the first time.  Here is the form.  If you look at the seal of the County it denotes the Commissioners like herding sheep.

Friday, March 02, 2012


Not exactly a life long dream, but we were near by.  I had three chocolate covered almonds and did not blow my weight watchers discipline.  That will happen tonight at an Italian restaurant.  This has been a good trip except for hotels in Washington.  They all suck, unless you want to spend $500 a night.

We are in Annville, Pa. tonight at a beautiful bed and breakfast.  On to Syracuse tomorrow for a visit with our son and his family.  Woo Hoo!