Thursday, May 12, 2016


Journal Columnist Winthrop Quigley talked about lists this morning.  You know those lists that rank Albuquerque and New Mexico at the bottom of all lists for prosperity and well being.  Some of those lists really don't mean much as he points out, but a lot of them indicate how bad things are in the Land of Enchantment.  And state tax revenue collections are now down another 10% over last year and that is very worrying.  The one list that the Albuquerque Journal will never seek to report on is the one that ranks the effectiveness of our Governor and Mayor in dealing with this economic malaise.

This is a NASA satellite photo of a methane cloud over the Four Corners region of NM.  It is a bad thing.

The powers that be better start thinking about who will be our next State Land Commissioner.  The Democrats need to think long and hard about finding new blood to take on that fossil fuel industry mascot Aubrey Dunn.  Right now he is fighting new regulations by the Bureau of Land Management that would stop flaring of methane gas.  That flaring is costing NM a lot of money and environmental damage, and yet Dunn thinks it is okay.  My advice is for the Democrats to get behind a strong conservationist who has never run for the post before.  That would not include Ray Powell or myself.  We are yesterday's pols.


Anonymous said...

Mayor, would mind including the link to the methane photo/study. I'd like to show it to a "fossil fuel now, fossil fuel tomorrow, fossil fuel forever" acquaintance of mine.

Thanks much.

Jim Baca said...

Bubba Muntzer said...

Incidentally, that article you link to is about as good of journalism as you're going to see, I think. I think you've referenced The High Country News before. According to its Wikipedia article; "In 2012 it received approximately 58% of its income from contributions and grants, 29% from subscriptions, 9% from advertising, and the balance from syndication and other sources." Their "about" page says something similar.

So almost all its funding, 91 percent, comes from sources other than advertising, which is the traditional way media is supported and the lack of which is causing its demise. If you played around with those figures a little more I think you could think of a lot of different ways to fund good journalism. We the people could easily do it, one way or the other.

People of course have to see their interest in paying for something like that, and when in another part of the post you talk about "the powers that be" finding a political candidate you're talking about the same thing. In New Mexico the political parties tightly control ballot access. You have to get voted onto the ballot by party members, insiders, roughly "the powers that be." Those same people make up a good part of the actual voters, which in many elections here is just a few percent of the population. They all leave the nominating convention and then run over and do the voting.

What about the rest of the population? Are the powers that be interested in them being part of the political process? I think not. They're interested in using the system to serve their own interests, naturally. That's how we end up with these elected Democrats who stay awake nights desperately trying to think of things to talk about besides income inequality and declining living standards.

Both problems, the problem of funding journalism and the problem of access to the levers of power, are actually the fundamental problem democracy is supposed to solve -- of all peoples' interests being served equally -- and doesn't do very well, so they have to be solved at the same time and in essentially the same way.

One problem, I'd say, is in how we think about politics and the media. Remember that saying, "the political is personal," popularized by the women's liberation movement? Second wave feminists used it to get women thinking about how their personal oppression was related to politics. The solution, as well as the cause, were political questions.

But the political is also personal. We read the paper, think about our finances, watch TV, and concoct an imaginary world, which means, a world of images. The Roundhouse. Meetings. Offices. That's not the real world. Yes, those things are created by real people, but we create our own images, and the meanings associated with those images. Journalism and government serve that imaginary world. They help create it and are created by it. The solution starts with re-orienting our own thinking, or by re-imagining, as they like to say now, the purpose of the political process and the function of journalism, and thinking about whose interests they represent, and perhaps coming up with our own, more democratic political processes and media or at least reforming the existing ones so they are more democratic.

First though think about where the world you imagine comes from; i.e. those images you're thinking about when you think of the "powers that be" "coming up with" "a candidate." Maybe try going for a walk down by the river. Look at the water, the dirt, the trees, the people passing by. Let your senses create the world. We can create the world we usually imagine when we're under the covers in the dark. We can also pause in our walk and create it again. What is it? Where does it come from? What's it doing there? Why is it there? Whose interest does it serve?

Anonymous said...

Bubba Munster - Good thoughts about imagining what the world could look like. Actions start with ideas. As Laurie Penny said

"Utopias require that we do the difficult, necessary work of envisioning a better world. This is why imagination is the first, best weapon of radicals and progressives."

The whole article is worth a read -

Bubba Muntzer said...

Thanks, Anonymous, and for the link. I hadn't heard of Laurie Penny but in looking around at what she's done I should have. I have been following some other UK millennial radicals lately on Novara Media. Like her they don't seem to me to quite have an equivalent in the US, and I'm no Anglophile either.

Maybe the difference is that they can still (afford to) get a good education over there, I don't know, but it may be that aren't as stifled by dystopian and lesser of two evilism thinking and can imagine a different future. They did after all elect a Bernie Sanders type to the Labour leadership.

I've seen other references to our American lack of a radical imagination -- just google radical imagination -- but then we haven't heard the last from our millennials by a long shot, I'm sure.