Sunday, May 31, 2015

Thieves in the Night

Think about our Governor vetoing renewable energy credits.  And then read the new study below.  We know who's lot she has thrown in with, don't we?


The fossil fuel boys might easily be called thieves in the night.  Maybe worse.  Take some time to delve into this new study by the International Monetary Fund, not exactly a liberal group, to see how poor people are being stolen from in the guise of subsidies for the oil and coal boys.  It is revolting and morally corrupt.  

A Great Debate

Who is closest to the Truth?

Charles Stross.

Or David Brin.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Misc.

There is a cute documentary on Net Flix called "The Short Game".  It follows eight young golfers, ages seven and eight, as the prepare for the world championship of child golfers in Pinehurst, New Jersey.  These kids are really incredible.  But what I think is most important is the fact that their parents are there for them constantly, and that you get a good look into their lives in their home countries.  In their schools around the world  you see some things that stands out.  They are disciplined, they attend music and art classes to stoke their creativity, and they are very happy kids.  The outlier is that the American kids don't get music and art classes.  That might not seem like a big deal, but I think it is incredibly important.  But those things have mostly disappeared from American public schools.  Corporations and republicans strangling education budgets to lower taxes are the reason.  I have no doubt.

The Journal today editorialized against logic and common sense in saying that Santolina development won't increase demand for water.  Their editorial board can now be officially called stupid.  They do have a very interesting graphic that shows just how much water agriculture uses in the deserts of our state.  There is no doubt that Santolina could buy out an ample supply of those water rights to use.  But they aren't doing it so far as I can see and they will insist on drawing down on non agricultural uses before paying the real price for water in the west.  Yes, there might be ample water for an ill advised sprawl development, but it might need to be paid for by the developers rather than the taxpayers in the existing city and county where infrastructure rehab needs are ever growing. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Misc.

John Salazar, a lawyer for the Santolina sprawl development, suspended belief in nature at a Bernalillo County Commission meeting on that horrible project yesterday.  Salazar said the project won't increase demand for water.  He really said that?  Could  he enlighten us on how that works?  Is it magic?  Witchcraft?  This is right up there with george bush saying "Mission Accomplished."

My advice to Salazar and his developer bosses is to read the book "Cadillac Desert."  Or maybe for a really entertaining read by a great young author he could read "The Water Knife."  It  is about a dystopian southwestern U.S. which has essentially gone to war between the states over water.  As a matter of fact, those county commissioners who support this stupid development should be locked into a room and given some lessons on water issues and the future.  Commissioners Art de la Cruz, Lonnie Talbert, and Wayne Johnson are heading us towards a financial and natural resource disaster.

And, it is hard to remember how many times the Albuquerque Journal has published pictures of our failed Governor reading to school children.  They did it again today.  It is bizarre on how they can actually be in the same room with her but never manage to get hard hitting questions in on her poor performance in building our economy.  The same goes for our Mayor.  They get a free ride from our daily newspaper and TV stations.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Justice

Justice has been served, right?  The FIFA's executive team has been arrested for corruption, fraud and bribery in the administration of that Soccer Athletic scam.  I am sure some of them will go to prison and be fined.  They will pay.  They have committed a great crime that may have netted them 150 million dollars!

Now think of the bankers who ripped off poor working people through fraud and corruption.  Not one of them were personally fined or put in jail.  This recent story appeared for a couple of days in the media.  I am pretty sure the FIFA story will be around for months.  The soccer guys get a perp walk in front of the cameras and the bankers get in their jets for vacations.

There are a lot of people calling for justice in the shooting murder of that Rio Rancho police officer, and in many strange ways on the Albuquerque Journal comment page.  If you want some frightening and revealing reading on the subject of racism in our community,  just visit that page.

And finally,  justice has been served properly in Santa Fe after that ridiculous arrest of a school teacher for throwing some paperback books at unruly students.  The Santa Fe Mayor blew it when he supported those charges.  The DA there said there was no case and I think most reasonable people would agree.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Alike

Thinking about that vote in Ireland.  The Pope is like our President.  A modern thinker open to changing the way we do things and achieving justice on many fronts.  The Cardinals and Bishops are like our Congress.  Full of dogma ridden idiots who can't see that train heading straight for them.  The Clergy hierarchy and the Christian fundamentalist Congress will soon find themselves the most reviled groups in modern times.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Tomorrowland

We went to the Imax theater to see the Disney movie "Tomorrowland"  It was a movie with a message and was fun to watch.  Although in the entire movie I never once saw a fat person.  I guess they don't exist in Disney's casting calls.  There were black people, brown people, yellow people, white people, red people,  and everything in between.  But not one fat person.  Really.  Go see it and tell me if I am wrong.  Not even in the crowd scenes.

Seeing a fatty in a Disney movie would be like seeing a serious issue discussed by our Democrat Congressmen on their Face Book Pages.  It ain't going to happen.  Just visit Congresswoman Grisham Lujan's page and Congressman Ben Lujan's page.  All they do is puffy news releases.  They give out lots of awards, but no real information on how they stand on an issue.  Oh, they always say they are for supporting our veterans and they like to pin medals on WWII vets, but that is about it.

Did any of them call for jail terms for the leaders of those banks that were just fined $5 billion for ripping off the man in the street.  Nope. Now that is something I would like to see them do.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Trust

Do you trust Governor Susana Martinez and Mayor Richard Berry to make a more successful effort at growing New Mexico's and Albuquerque's economy?  Again, today in the Washington Post, a story about all of the great economic growth in many south western states and cities.  We are not among them in any measure.  They only thing the local media can cover in the way of economic news are plans for more mini breweries opening and more mediocre call center jobs.  Hardly a way to affluence.

There was a story in the Journal this morning about a highly successful and now seeking retirement school teacher who got a poor ranking because of one of those new teacher evaluations.  I don't really trust those new teacher evaluations at all.  But there has been an effort made to measure performance at least.  How is it that we can not do this on the Governor's performance?

There is a group chartered by Albuquerque City Government called the 'Indicators Progress Commission' that every two years checks on our community progress in many key areas.  This latest report  shows abysmal performance on economic indicators.  (Download the PDF)  Read it and weep.  We need the same kind of report made on a statewide level on the Governor's performance.  Now go back ten  years to see how good things were in our community when measured during my term in office as Mayor.  I certainly don't merit all the credit, but back then we had more bipartisanship and a business community that was involved in working to grow opportunity here.  Now they just protect themselves.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

RANK

A new effort at putting together an index to rank all Congressmen and Senators on their bipartisanship is underway.  It is a good idea if it is done fairly.  I think that it might also be a good idea for some media watchdog group to do the same on newspapers and TV News operations.

I am pretty sure the Albuquerque Journal would rank near lowest in the nation for newspapers.  Fox News of course would hold down the anchor position.

Today the Albuquerque Journal ran a column from a republican legislator, Sarah Maestas Barnes,  who most likely had the piece written by the Governor's right wing mascots.  She essentially blames Senate legislative democrats for defense of child pornography.   This is a perfect example of how the Journal Publisher and Editor publish items that work at destroying bipartisanship.  And this legislator will have to go back into a chamber next time they meet and face these colleagues who all have children and might have some choice comments for her. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Managed News

I gave a plus to Channel 13 yesterday for uncovering the horrendous actions of APD in the case of the man who died in a storage container after wounding a police dog.

Today they get a giant F for Larry Barker's so called expose on a supercomputer system purchased by the state in 2008.  He had Governor Martinez on the air attacking former Governor Bill Richardson for allowing the system to fail.  She said there was no business plan to utilize the system.  Lets analyse this.  Richardson had the system for two  years.  She has had it for five years and yet she convinces Barker it was all her predecessors fault.

And Barker had her in front of the cameras and failed to ask her about her business plan for New Mexico.  There is an out migration of people, the worst roads in the country, the worst job growth in the country, the total lack of bipartisanship ever because of her hateful approach to politics, and generally a war on nature as seen in her vindictive efforts at eradicating wildlife such as the mountain lion and wolf in our state.  And Barker didn't even attempt to ask a question that her handlers might not have wanted him to ask.

When will some real effort be made by someone in the mainstream media to get her on the record on these failures?  How long can this sordid leadership be allowed to go unrevealed?  How can the media not have been allowed a free for all interview with her in five years that wasn't limited to certain questions as approved by her handlers?

The biggest failure here is the new corporate journalism's approach to do nothing that would hurt a rightwing GOP politician.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Remember

Remember when I was on a rant about a criminal suspect found dead in a metal container after the guy allegedly shot a police dog?   I talked about this for months because all of the attention was on the police dog, and not the death of a man surrounded by officers in a large metal storage container.  They said he shot himself but the autopsy report said there were no powder burns on his clothing.  No one cared because of the canine.

Well, I got nowhere getting anyone interested in this.  Now Channel 13 News has done us all a favor.  They have uncovered another outrageous incident that resulted from flawed APD and State Police procedures and leadership.  They actually mauled a man's body for hours after his death.  It is sickening and it is all on a video that APD said didn't exist.  And of course the Mayor and APD Chief are refusing to deal with this in front of the media.

The level of corruption in withholding information by city officials from the news media and other governmental entities  has reached a point where we seem to be living in the age of newspeak that George Orwell visualized in his novel 1984.  Black is white, yes is no, trust only us and not yourselves.

Perhaps the new City Attorney, Jessica Hernandez,  should turn much of her attention to this chaos.  She could be a real heroine if she did so.

Misc.

The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, which exists to provide subsidies to farmers at the expense of city dwellers, will begin early voting for their board elections.  Voter turn out amounts to around 3% in their stealth elections.

I am hoping that incumbent John Kelley and Michael Sandoval are elected.  They will bring reality to this organization which has great impacts on property tax payments in a four county area along the Rio Grande.  I was manager of that notorious outfit for a year back in 1989.  It was traditionally corrupt and I got nowhere in trying to fix it.

We have some irrigated farm land in Pena Blanca on which we pay irrigation fees.  I also pay taxes on my home for so called flood control, but at this time it is nothing more than subsidy money for farmers growing alfalfa.  Over 90% of the cost of the district is paid for by city dwellers who get little benefit.  And so we need people on the board who will look after everyone's interest.  Kelley and Sandoval will do that.  There is value in having open and irrigated spaces, but one can argue that using water for agriculture in the desert is not all that wise.

Mayor Berry is proposing spending a million dollars promoting Albuquerque to be viewed as a "city worth investing in."  This is a soundbite effort at making it look like something is happening in the way of economic development.  It is also kind of a wimpy statement.  Who writes his speeches?  At the same time the City Council has grudgingly approved $4.5 million to have some outside consultant guide the police department to being a more non violent organization.  Add to that the increased self insurance rates and lawsuit payouts for wrongful police actions and you can see why there isn't much going on in the economic development arena.  There is no money to do it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Misc.


Here is a map provided by the Center for Disease Control that shows the most distinctive cause of death in each state.  Guess what ours is caused by?  "Legal Intervention."   That means death at the hands of the police. Nevada is in the same boat.  Click on the map to make it bigger.


Well meaning Bio Park supporters have decided that the poor should pay for the rich in supporting these great local facilities.  They are starting a referendum effort to raise the gross receipts tax to fund the Bio Park.  Of course this is the most regressive tax around and will hit the poor much harder than the rich.  We can blame this situation on the fact that Mayor Marty Chavez started taking the city's share of the property tax for operational purposes instead of using it to fund capital improvements through bond issues.  And of course Mayor Berry just continues to be an ineffectual leader in fixing anything.  I would vote for a bond issue to do this, but give a big thumbs down on a gross receipts tax, especially after the Bernalillo County Commissioners raised it because of their incompetence at being financially responsible.  We must stop making the poor pay for everything.

I don't mind paying taxes at all.  I just want the rich to pay a progressive tax.

P.S.  The new Max Max movie is the best of all of them!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Governor Loses Mind

Oh Susana, you have truly lost your mind in not calling a special Legislative session to pass a much needed Capital Outlay bill.  You and your mascots are sacrificing the well being of New Mexico's citizens with your bizarre approach to government.  You hate government, but you are leading it in our state, and doing a disastrous job.  You are putting your national political aspirations ahead of our long term well being.  Even after economic development experts have taken state leaders to task on their lack of any aspirations.  You are the worst Governor in the nation in economic development. The worst.  And I for one hate being second to Alabama or Mississippi.

We are lost.  Adrift.  At sea.  And we will be until you and other right wing nut jobs are gone from our realm.  You are Looney Tunes and will soon be seen as such.  But it might be too late for our future.  Shame.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Golf and Religion

One of the things I like about golf is that it is a sport that attracts all kinds of players.  The rich and poor play in foursomes and usually have really good times.  Right wing and left wing also put away the axes and strive for pars and birdies.  Everyone is equal on the golf course which utilizes a great handicap system to even out the playing field.

I play golf with a one time Minister in a Protestant Church who after many years took off the collar and went forth into the business world.  He became very successful.  He also kept his faith.  We often discuss religion, me as an atheist and him as a believer.  Yesterday we were trying to figure out why more and more people are describing themselves as 'none' when asked about their beliefs.  I feel the internet and its ability to open peoples eyes to so many points of view is responsible.  He believes that the great scientific discoveries of the last few decades, especially in physics and cosmology are responsible.  I  think we are both correct to a certain extent.

No matter what we think the latest Pew Surveys show that people believe less and less in the dogma of the different religions.  That doesn't mean they aren't spiritual, just that they don't believe in the stories and fables surrounding religion.  I think this trend will continue but there will always be believers.

"Some of us worship in churches, some in synagogues, and some on the golf course." - Adlai Stevenson


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Imagine

Imagine you are a economic development specialist sent to New Mexico to scope out the possibility of bringing a business to Albuquerque.  You pick up the Albuquerque Journal and start reading.  The first thing you see is an item about how New Mexico school teachers are leaving their profession because they are not paid enough.  And then  you read a story about how basic constitutional rights are being denied because the Public Defenders Office is underfunded and representation in court is doubtful.  Then you read that the Governor and divided legislature can't even pass capital outlay measures to fix roads and infrastructure, thanks to a right wing emergence in the House of Representatives.

You get back in the plane and report to the CEO that the Land of Enchantment isn't very enchanting.  No wonder we are not getting where we need to be in the economic recovery.  It just comes down to one thing, and that is a lack of leadership at all levels.  And the sap public sits and takes it.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bubba on Corruption

Bubba Munster, a frequent commenter on this blog and a great blog author himself made a comment on my rant on Susana Martinez using taxpayer money to attend the Republican Governor's Conference and Legislators sabotaging their own legislation.  It is so good I wanted to make sure everyone sees it.  Here it is.

"We should be alarmed by things like this, I think, and jump on them as soon as they raise their ugly heads.

These are corrupt practices. The interesting thing about corruption is that it's corrosive. Note how the lawmakers interviewed see nothing wrong with what they've done.

According to the Journal article, the practice of New Mexico lawmakers inserting the word "notwithstanding" into budget items to subvert existing law has been increasing in the last few years, almost exponentially. The Republican Governor's Association has no civic function. According to its own web site it exists "primarily" to "help elect Republicans to governorships throughout the nation". For the governor to attend their conferences and charge it to the people of New Mexico is clearly illegal, but that's not an impediment to the governor and the people around her. Why?

Well, we have a mayor who doesn't go after corruption ("I don't play the blame game") and a president and attorney general who haven't prosecuted one Wall Street banker or CEO. We have our own lawmakers keeping watch here.

There's always some corruption. We cut corners. We act in self interest. We're imperfect. But in the US we have the "rule of law," a standard outside ourselves, that we've all agreed on, and against which we can measure ourselves. When government begins to ignore that standard, not just secretly but blatantly, you're headed for trouble.

Just look at countries where corruption is rampant. It's a long, long way back from that. It literally requires generations."

Susana

Susana Martinez is spending tax payer money going to rightwing meetings of the Republican Governor's Association.  $27,000 so far.

Segue to the AP story today that talks about the budget chicanery that allows agencies to use the word "notwithstanding" in their funding legislation to get around that legislation.  One example of it would be that the underfunded court system, thanks to Susana, could reduce payments to jurors if they wanted to do so.

It all stinks.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day Bobbi

Here is Bobbi with Justin and Noelle back in about 1986.  She has been the perfect Mom for them all these years.  Now they are great parents themselves.  

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Harry


Many people on the political scene in New Mexico know Harry Pavlides.  He has been a gadfly, in a good way, around the political campaigns of the last forty years.  He passed away yesterday after multiple health battles over the last ten years.

Harry was one of those individuals who would just never give up on his dreams.  Despite his health problems, he always saw a silver lining in the numerous clouds that surrounded him. Despite his hardships He was incredibly generous.  He was one of the most interesting characters I have ever known.  RIP Harry.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Misc.

The people in our neighborhood have to be wondering if there is much in the way of policing being done in our city.  While APDs resources are being spent on self policing our neighborhood continues experiencing problems.  Two days ago a pistol packing guy followed a woman into her garage and demanded her purse after she got out of her car.  Last night another car was ransacked.  I am not saying this is a crime wave because generally, crime is down.  But as we see APD trying to clean up its act, if it is, we wonder where the enforcement might be for us lowly taxpayers.  Of course this is all happening  because drugs are illegal and theft is the only way users can feed their habits.

The officers who gunned down that homeless man in the foothills last year are now trying to either blame each other or confuse the case against them by insisting that it is important to find out who fired the fatal shot.  Two assault rifles blazing away at a mentally ill and unarmed man and they are trying to duck responsibility.  It is nauseating.

The Mayor is trying to get rid of panhandling on the streets of Albuquerque.  Probably the best way to do that is to insist your economic development team actually do their jobs.  That won't solve it all, but it would help a lot.  My fellow blogger Joe Monahan has a great piece today about what has happened in Albuquerque vs. Tucson from the standpoint of a Tucson resident who loves Albuquerque, but not so much any more.  This falls right in the Mayor's lap.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Ski Team Stuns!

The Albuquerque Police Department Ski Team's stunning (pun intended) receipt of a cash donation from the Taser folks is just one of the new revelations of the ongoing sweetheart contract between APD's former Chief Schultz and Taser.  The Ski Team!

First the State Auditor slams the multimillion dollar contract and now the city's own Auditor piles on.  Soon the city's Inspector General will do the same.

There is solid evidence that city officials purposely evaded proper and prudent financial procedures in the award of this contract.  And everyone goes unpunished  because they are cops?

The Mayor and CAO should immediately place on administrative leave anyone who, in Shultz's own words, "greased the deal."  And if they don't do so then finally we know this is a corrupt administration.  And if the city council doesn't raise hell then you know they are just hopeless bystanders. There is nothing they can do as a council on personnel issues, which is good, but they can certainly send a message at budget deliberations that gets the public's attention.

You can read the document here.



Monday, May 04, 2015

Misc.

The new chair of the NM Democratic Party just went ahead and said it today in an Albuquerque Journal OpEd.  Debra Haaland outed the Journal after they attacked the two highest democratic elected state officials for engaging in politics.  Oh my!   My hats of to Ms. Haaland for being unafraid to call the editorial crew at the Journal rightwing.

Mayor Berry has hired Erin Gentry, the wife of Legislative Republican Leader and bad boy Nate Gentry to try and help him communicate better.  I don't know her and she may be very good at what she does.  If she is then lets hope the she makes the Mayor understand that he has to appear on camera once in a while at something other than reading to kids at a grade school.  Of course he learned that from the Governor.  This aversion to dealing with the press is starting to erode his credibility and I assume that he knows it and that is why he brought someone in to help.  One can only wonder if the Governor's aversion to answering questions will ever start eroding her reputation.

The old Archbishop Sheehan, who recently resigned, just couldn't help himself yesterday when he weighed in on Gay sex in another oped.  He said it wasn't a sin to be gay, just a sin to have gay sex.  I am so glad he is gone.  Now he can move into a new house that was purchased for him by the archdiocese on the west side bluffs of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque.  Since it was purchased for him by the church there will be no property tax payed on the residence.  It is just down the street from the other church owned home that he live in while on active duty.  This money is all spent while many churches are in disrepair and many priests and nuns struggle in retirement.  Also, while the church pleads it has no money to compensate victims of pedophile priests.  Very sad.


Saturday, May 02, 2015

Road Tax

The Albuquerque Journal today did a fairly good story on the deterioration of the state's highways.  It made needed comparisons in the gasoline taxes collected by other states in the region, and we are pretty much at the bottom.  For a wide open state that has so many miles of highways to maintain, this is incredibly bad and you can thank Governor Susana Martinez.  Her whole reason for being right now is to be able to say she never raised taxes while Governor.  That is what is required as she seeks the GOP national spotlight.  And to hell with the well being of New Mexico and the people who live  here.  She really doesn't give a damn.

Yesterday she stood in front of the TV cameras to brag about 70 new jobs coming to the State, after she gave the company a small fortune to locate here.  70 jobs in six years.  What a record!  And the sap public just stands by and takes it.

But not for much longer I think.  The first match was struck in a conflagration in Baltimore this week where the chronically unemployed and poor started rampaging.  Some people think it was about police abuse, but mostly it was about the rich getting richer and the poor remaining without jobs.  I think it might be a really tough summer in this country.

I want to give a quote from a book I just  read, "The Affinities" by Robert Charles Wilson.  In it he said,   "In the early decades of this century we saw the world’s financial elites become increasingly divorced from national loyalties. The wealthy learned to think of themselves as essentially stateless—citizens of the Republic of Net Worth—while the rest of us clung to our old-fashioned patriotism."

That may be coming to an end soon.  And of course the ever diminishing middle class should  participate.