Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Vote for Dinelli

As I sit in a hotel room prior to a meeting in Salt Lake City, the seat of the Mormon Religion and its intolerance, I see where the Albuquerque Mayoral Candidates opined on the ridiculous and unconstitutional ballot initiative to ban abortions based on someone else's religious dogma.

The only gutsy guy in this debate is Pete Dinelli.  He stands for these decisions to be made by women and their doctors instead of some incense waving zealot.

Pete Dinelli has my vote.  And now there is a reason for progressives to get out and vote.  And it better be in large numbers because Mayor Berry's handlers wouldn't have let him sign on with the liberty stealing religious fanatics unless they saw some upside.

Meanwhile, Albuquerque takes in the chin again as Frontier Airlines pulls out of serving us.  And Mayor Berry gets another black mark.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fish Filet

I have not seen one media outlet try and get a comment from local Catholic Church authorities on the issue of the Pope's comments on gay priests.  It begs for some attention given the virulent attitude of the Archdiocese on the evilness of gay people.

This whole thing reminds me of the big switcharoo on the mortal sin of eating of meat on Fridays back in the days of my upbringing.  One time I ate a hot dog on a Friday at the swimming pool when I was about 10 years old.  I had forgotten it was Friday and then was reminded by someone before I took the first bite.  I went ahead with it anyway because the real sin to me was not eating it while considering that oft used reminder that children were starving in China.  I hoped I wouldn't go to hell.  And then they changed the rules and I felt better, if not confused.

It certainly cut down on our family's ritual dinner on Friday nights.  That is when we would go to the old Sigler's cafeteria on Central Ave. near Girard for fish filet.  That place was filled with catholics every Friday evening.  The owners made a fortune on those Friday nights.

But then the world's beef producers lobbied the Vatican and then burgers were the norm.  Obesity followed shortly after that when everyone started lining up at those new McDonald's drive ins.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Oil Rip Off

I penned this for "The Hill" on Friday.  The poor, poor and downtrodden oil and gas industry is having your lunch everyday.  And in the Sunday morning Journal some oil and gas lackey republican is criticising the BLM for wanting to close Otero Mesa to drilling.  This mascot says that will cost the states millions.  He seems to ignore they aren't paying what they should in the first place.


It may come as a surprise to some that the royalty rate charged to companies extracting oil and gas from federal lands is the same today as it was in the 1920s, when Woodrow Wilson was president.
The current federal onshore royalty rate is 12.5 percent. An analysis of oil-producing western states found that state oil and gas royalties are significantly higher, usually either 16.67 percent or 18.75 percent. Texas – one of the highest producing states in the nation – doubles the federal rate, charging 25 percent to drill on state-owned lands.

Oil and gas found on federal lands belong to the taxpayers, who should be fairly compensated for the extraction of public resources. Updating the federal rate to match state rates would ensure a fair return by closing a gap that costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

The oil and gas industry is a mature industry that has active leases on almost 38 million acres of federal lands. There is no reason to continue the unfair taxpayer-funded subsidy the federal royalty rate has become at a time when the federal government is struggling to balance its budget without raising taxes or cutting important services.

Oil producing states would also benefit directly from updated federal royalties. Under current law, states receive an even share of federal royalties from oil produced within their boundaries. States have their own budget problems and are dealing with the strains that industrial drilling operations place on infrastructure and services – problems that could be addressed using increased revenue from updated royalties.

According to President Obama’s FY 2013 budget, updating royalties, along with other common-sense oil and gas reforms, would generate $2.5 billion in net revenue for the U.S. Treasury over the next decade.

At the state level, the numbers are also significant.  An analysis by the Denver-based Center for Western Priorities found that matching the federal rate to either of the common state rates would have generated between $400 million and $600 million in additional revenue, respectively, in 2012. The low federal rate cost New Mexico and Wyoming each more than $150 million in additional funds. Moving across the West, the outdated federal rate cost Colorado more than $36 million, Utah $44 million, and Montana over $5.5 million.

The good news is that whatever corrective action is taken on royalties, evidence indicates it will not significantly slow drilling. A comparative analysis by the research organization Headwaters Economics shows that states with higher rates are not at a competitive disadvantage to those with a lower rate. Wyoming has the highest effective rate in the West and is also a leader in production.

Of course, there have been other “good ideas” for helping to balance the budget that end up stuck in Washington gridlock. But royalties are different. While Congress can and should update onshore royalty rates, it is within the power of the Interior Department to set a rate that ensures taxpayers a fair return. In fact, under the Bush Administration, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne raised the offshore oil and gas royalty rates to 18.75 percent without fuss.

More recently, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar suggested updating the onshore rates and President Obama’s 2013 budget recommends addressing the royalty issue. The idea has been floated; now it’s time for action.


Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-a-environment/313539-century-old-oil-and-gas-royalty-rates-shortchanging-taxpayers-#ixzz2aJGqmGFE 
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Modern Editor Orgasm

Oh, the sheer ecstasy that has visited our newspaper editors and news directors.  An orgasm of slime and perdition!  A movie actor caught DWI in Santa Fe.  Headline news on all TV channels and the Albuquerque Journal and Santa Fe New Mexican.  Top of the newscast!  Top of the Fold!  The end of Journalism playing itself out into Entertainment Tonight.

It is almost fortunate that the story had to compete with a 100 year storm in the mid Rio Grande Valley. If that hadn't happened then who knows how much show biz hype would have been increased for our mindless and shallow consumption.

Damn!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Gurgle

80MPH winds.  Water blowing through thresholds.  2 inches rain perhaps.  Funnel cloud sighted.  

Ole Time Religion

Those god fearing folks are setting us up to vote on a religious initative that would limit a woman's choice on abortion in Albuquerque.  If it passes it would be unenforceable and should not be allowed on the ballot since it is unconstitutional.  But who would bet that the Berry administration would allow that?  I might.  Because this fanatical religious move could endanger Berry's reelection bid as it brings out more women and progressives to the polls on election day.

The instigators of this lunacy say the rapid response to their calling for a vote proves that people are for it.   So, what is next?  Calling for a vote to outlaw guns in this country because people might rapidly sign on to such a hopeless campaign?  That would be unenforceable too.

So, will Berry take a position?  Will Dinelli take a position?  They are in a really tough spot.  Both of them.  Because if they are against it they will offend the gaily costumed Archbishop and his minions.  If they are for it they both risk losing votes from the crowd that thinks women should have a choice.

The city attorney could take the heat off them and opt for sanity instead of religious fanaticism.  Don't allow this on the ballot because it is blatantly unconstitutional.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Misc.

Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz and New Yorker Anthony Wiener should do coffee soon.  I mean they both think anything goes in carrying out their duties.   Wouldn't you love to be sitting at the next table and they discuss their philosophies.  You know, I am beginning to think Schultz is setting up his former boss Mayor Berry for a more exciting campaign.

Okay, I am going to upset some people with this one.  But I lost all respect for Eric Snowden when he fled the country and sought asylum with countries that have abysmal human rights records.  I can't help but think he hurt the cause of transparency in government when he did this.  He should have stood his ground in the USA, but in fact he is now nothing more that a little sociopathic spy in my eyes.  I mean, come on, he flees to a country that puts bad rock bands in prison for acting out?


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Appropriate?


I often marvel at the oil and gas boys thinking they have some sort of divine right to drill where ever they wish on Public Lands. They think every square inch of federal property really belongs to them and that every place is appropriate to drill.

The Wilderness Society just released a new publication of places they believe are "To Wild to Drill."  New Mexico has three of the 12 spots on the list.  Visit this site to see them.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Death Comes to the Range

Every Journalist in the state must see death of their profession lurking over their shoulder.  The demise of the Raton Range because of falling revenues, population, and readership was just a matter of time. Small newspapers are going fast around the country.  Unless they are big enough to be bought by rightwing corporations headed by the likes of the Koch brothers, then there are no lifelines for them.

The Albuquerque Journal's ever diminishing content and ever increasing right wing view of the world can not be offset by doing their editorial cartoons in color.  That is the only big change I see in that poorly edited paper, except for occasionally insightful and entertaining columns by Winthrop(corrected) Quigley and Leslie Lithicum.

Will the Journal be around for long?  Probably, but in a radically altered state perhaps.  One might see them dropping their Saturday and Monday editions, or even more.  It might be the only way they can save themselves.  It might help if they gave less of a neocon view of the world on their editorial pages.

I really want to see professional journalism exist in widely read digital and paper formats.  I don't want to have to rely on social media for my information.  And perish the thought that the only news we get would be the sex story of the day on TV News and a run down of the police blotter and five security camera videos of the day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Odds

It would be interesting for someone to start a study to track where this year's New Mexico's high school graduates will end up living five  years from now.  Given the abject failure of the Governor, Mayor of Albuquerque, the Legislature and the Chamber of Commerce operations around the state to bring in any jobs.  How much longer will young people even put up with this?

I know very few kids will want to stay in a place that has no real potential to offer a career with a future.  Thanks to the leaderless pols and the media (who nothing more than tea party editors) we will keep the airlines in money as we constantly fly off to see our children and grandchildren in other places where opportunities beckon.

When will someone start performing on the economy?  We could always change out leadership but the large corporate PACs will keep their mascots in place with out of state money.  The leaders of the Chambers around the state will simply continue their quest for lower taxes rather than try to find new jobs to bring in to the Land of Enchantment.

At this point we are really screwed.  Somewhere there must be someone to lead.  Right?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Misc.

Those protestors who invaded a New Mexico Senate meeting to thank them for Mississippi for us garnering the worst ranking in child well being for the states were pretty imaginative.  They focused on Senator John Arthur Smith with their finger pointing.  In fact they should be pointing at New Mexico's business community for fighting any real increase in funding for child programs.  At the same time, the protestors insistence on raiding the permanent fund for quick fixes falls short.  That fund is to be used when the fossil fuels we extract run out and we no longer have a revenue stream of royalties and severance taxes to fund education.   Perhaps serious people could sit down and work out a compromise in getting the Land of Enchantment back to Enchanting.

The same people who are railing against the government snooping against journalists and the news media are now condemning them for using pictures they don't want to see of that terrorist in the Boston Bombings.  I surmise there may be a double standard somewhere in here.  Certainly bad judgement was used, but I think all of us should be allowed to come to that conclusion with out censorship.  Walgreens says they wont sell the magazine because of the soft portrait of the murderer.  Another corporation making our decisions for us.  Maybe they should change their name to "Walloff's".


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Misc.

Levi Chavez was found not guilty from lack of evidence.  But like that Zimmerman guy in Florida people will cross the street in order to avoid him for the rest of his life.  I had to chuckle at his repeated use of a rosary during the trial.  I think he was really using it to count the number of affairs he has had with other police officers wives.  Frankly, his demeanor with reporters after the trial was very revealing.

Thom Cole in the Journal this morning says that political contributions buy justice in the courts.  Maybe in some few cases.  The real thing that buys justice is the modern day practice of hiring consultants to cherry pick prospective jurors.  Also, the elaborate mock trials that occur in front of paid  juries to see what kinds of arguments work best.  These are very expensive exercises but they do affect 'justice'.

Of course if you are a run of the mill person you can't afford this.

And then a little girl said God made her go to the bathroom before a bullet crashed through her wall into her bedroom.  She was just reacting to the dogma she is subjected too.  I am glad she escaped harm, but it is amazing that the media even reported that god intervened.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Time for a Sweeping Change

We were lamenting the absolute state of  depression that is the  New Mexico/Albuquerque economy.  Why is it that the national weather channels, news channels etc. talk about drought problems in the south west and name every state except New Mexico?  Are we now that invisible under our Republican Governor and Albuquerque Mayor?  Do they deserve all the blame for our state running last in just about everything?   Well, not all but a lot of it anyway.

And who deserves the rest?  It is the New Mexico business community.  They are leaderless and have no vision, other than lower taxes, and they need to change.   Where to start?

How about the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce?

Liz Shipley has just been elected the new president of the Chamber.  She used to be a TV Journalist when that meant doing things besides lost dog stories.  Lets see if she has some courage to do what is necessary in her new position.

She should come in with a broom and sweep out all the executives from the top down and bring in people with new ideas and energy. This might give the Chamber the impetus they need to do something constructive, like helping to bring new jobs into the state.  It would taken an investment from our business community.  The kind of thing they used to do.  And it shouldn't consist of just hanging on to what we have, but thinking big for the future.  It won't happen with the current executive leaders at the Chamber.  Period.

And a lot of new leadership at the Albuquerque Journal would help too.  Lets put  someone like Wynn Quigley, the erstwhile business editor into the top position of that largely negative publication and wait to see if a new positive and constructive newspaper would emerge.  I bet it would.

This is the right time for this move.  Let's hope it happens.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

At Sea

One of the guys I play golf with has always been a supporter of Mayor Berry.  Suddenly, he said he wouldn't vote for him because after reflection he couldn't see that Berry has any vision or any accomplishments.  He said he didn't like Dinelli either and wondered who the other candidate was.

I don't think my friend is apathetic.  I think he is just fed up that nothing is happening in government.  I think he is right.  And I think that is why we don't have good qualified candidates running for office in the last couple of years.  Why should they, since this minority Tea Party ass clown crew, despite their small numbers, is making sure that absolutely nothing will happen!

Most folks who go into politics do it because they want to do something, at least in the beginning.  But since nothing gets done why should they make any effort.

This can't go on for long.  Leaving leadership leaderless in this country is a ticking time bomb and it starts locally.  One can only wonder if a miracle write in candidate could spring forth.  Send in recommendations!  I decline.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Homebound

We fly back Thursday a.m.  We have had a very great time.  Here is what I bring back with me.

  1. People in Vancouver (and Seattle) all look pretty healthy.  Not much obesity in the big city where everyone seems to walk.
  2. The urbanites seem very concerned about conservation and environment.  This oil train that blew up a town in Quebec has been non stop news for days with the oil and rail boys taking major hits.
  3. Canada must have some secret they must share on how all public restrooms can be kept so clean. I mean, really clean everywhere.  This isn't an OCD thing with me.  I am just impressed and so is Bobbi.
  4. There are homeless people in Canada.  They sit on the sidewalk with paper cups looking for handouts, but like everyone else they are polite.
  5. Canadians seem awestruck when you say you are from New Mexico.  They are not so sure where it is.  Most guess somewhere around Texas.  Close, but damn!
  6. This is a place to visit for four months a year.  The rest of the time they all want to spend in warm places.  And many of them do.
  7. Eh?

More Beer

Yeah. Another 25 pounds to lose. This was taken in the 1000 acre Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Vancouver

This is a major city.  We are staying in a historic bed and breakfast in downtown.  It is called the O Canada House and I recommend it if you come up here.  We walked for several hours and had lunch over in the Gay center of town.  We did that in Seattle too.  The best places to eat are there it seems.

This is Bobbi at the Steam Clock.  It runs on steam and apparently it is a place everyone goes to see down on the waterfront.  So we did too.  M'eh!

Drank some Canadian Beer, Eh?

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Great Movie

No, not the Lone Ranger, but a documentary titled, "How to Make Money."  It is about the useless war against drugs.  You simply must see it.  It is cruel to the police and politicians as it should be.  I am a former pol who got sucked into this fight at one point.  And then I woke up.

We got home from Pendaries this noon time and I had to marvel at the full page ads in the Journal.  One from some right wing Christian group trying to state that we are and should be a Christian government. The other ad is from the Freedom from Religion Foundation whom I immediately sent fifty bucks to continue their work.

Off to more cool climate and ocean breezes tomorrow!

After Golf

We had a great three days and two nights in Pendairies playing golf.  Lots of rains between rounds.  Some hail.  Never over 75 degrees.  No forest fire smoke.  And of course the first stop after 27 holes of golf is Maragaritaville.  

Now we  head off for the Pacific Northwest and Canada.  Look for photos.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Climate Relief

Bobbi and I will be out of town for a couple of weeks.  Up to Pendairies for a couple of days of golf.  High of 66 degrees forecast.  Rain Showers too.  Then back for a day before heading up to Seattle for a day, Anacortes for two days with friends and fishing and crabbing.  Then on to Vancouver and Victoria for a look see at summer in British Columbia.  I will post pics when possible!  It will rain in Albuquerque since we will be gone.  Always happens.  My house sitter has a new shotgun.

Pearce

Representative Steve Pearce is in hot water for spending 20K for an international junket.  That is remarkable given his penchant for not wanting the government to spend money on anything.  Frankly though, it doesn't bother me much because even a narrow minded pol like him could learn something on one of those trips.

Here is what the media should be writing about.  Pearce's biblical opposition to doing anything about climate change. He thinks it is a ruse by hundreds of thousands of scientists around the world.  He is really just protecting his fossil fuel buddies who made him millions in his business and now contribute mightily to his campaign coffers.  But, now with the deaths of 19 fire fighters in Arizona who were battling the latest in a string of fires that are changing our landscapes in the west, I wonder what he might say to the wives and children of these front line troops in the climate change stoked fire fights?

Certainly this must bring home to him some sort of soul searching?  Or are profits still etched in his brain so strongly that these kind of occurrences just slide right on by like our ever increasing dust storms.

We can't afford men with a lack of consciences like him to serve in elected positions any longer.