Monday, December 31, 2007
Among the many articles in the paper on Sunday were some statistics that make you wonder why a state with such little diversity in its population has the honor of having so much influence on the up coming political year.
There are three million people in Iowa. There are about 1.9 million voters. Republicans account for 574,000, Democrats for 600,000 and 737,000 are independent. About 20 to 25% will participate in the caucuses. That means about 150,000 Democrats.
The ethnicity breakdown is 94.9% White, 3.7% Hispanic, 2.3% Black and 1.4% Asian.
Not exactly a diverse group. But they work hard and a 72% home ownership rate is impressive. Iowa has 16.6 million hogs, that's a lot of bacon, and produces 20% of the nation's corn and 16% of the soybeans. 88% of the state's land mass is covered by farms. Wow.
The state will be in the spotlight on Thursday night and its caucus results will only be really important until New Hampshire votes five days later.
I don't know how much money will be spent for each vote that is cast at the caucuses. Some one needs to figure that out when the dust settles. It will be sobering I am sure. If it doesn't make the case for public financing of campaigns and a leveling of the playing field, then nothing will.
I am pretty much convinced that the celebrity status of the candidates enables them to bring in enormous amounts of money. Senator Obama is a celebrity because of his beautiful speech at the Democratic Convention a few years back. Hillary is a celebrity for a lot of reasons, and Edwards is a celebrity because of his being on the ticket four years ago. That leaves substantial candidates like Bill Richardson and Senator Biden in the wings as far as raising cash goes. If Bill gets into the top three he will become a celebrity for it and funds will pour in. I hope he gets there and his non stop work might make it happen.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Iowa House Party
I went to a really well attended house party in Des Moines. It was a 100 year old old home on top of a snow encrusted embankment.
There were some all important Precinct Captains at the home and about 80 people jammed into the den. It was a cozy and enjoyable afternoon.
I find that in my phone calling and interactions with Iowans that they are very graceful and patient people. I have not had one person hang up a phone or say something less than nice. This may not be a very diverse state, but no one can beat them on friendliness.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Connie and Paula's Amazing Adventure
Connie Beimer and Paula Maez made it to Iowa this morning after a not so perfect trip. Southwest Airlines lost their bags so they had to wait around in Kansas City for five hours to find them. They then left for Des Moines and were held up for bad traffic accidents on the Interstate. But they made it in late last night. They came by the HQ for a short time before heading off to their assignments in Cedar Rapids. They will attend several house parties for the Governor there today.
Connie and Paula met up with old friends Liz Guiterrez and Lori Martinez.
So, Connie Beimer is in Iowa and her husband Rodger is in Pasadena, California to decorate the Rose Bowl Parade Float. My wife Bobbi is there with him while I am in Iowa trying to figure out why 150,000 Iowans most likely get to decide who our next President might be.
Friday, December 28, 2007
The crowd at the HQ was impressive once again. Most of the younger folks were going out to canvass on the ice encrusted streets. The older activists stayed inside and made more phone calls.This afternoon I met with some the Public Interest Research Group representatives to discuss the Governor's energy policies. This got the top attention of Dave Rogers, the Richardson political director for Iowa. We met with Mary Rafferty and Melisa Stodieck of Environment America. They are attempting to get pledges from all of the Presidential candidates on seeking development of Clean Energy nationwide. This should be easy for Governor Richardson since he has already advocated almost all of the points they think are important.
I visited the Press boiler room for the Richardson campaign this morning. Most of the people were out at a major foreign policy speech by the Governor at Des Moines botanical gardens.
That would be the place to be this morning because it snowed again last night!
The hotel restaurant at the Quality Inn is a regular mish mash of campaign workers. There are a lot of Hillary Clinton workers staying here, as well as Richardson's folks. Everyone looks a little tired and pasty. That is probably because they have not seen the sun here in a while. O Fair New Mexico! I miss the light already.
Obviously, the Pakistan situation is on everyone's mind here today. It will be interesting to see how it affects the coverage of the race here. Off to work now.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I am already impressed with the level of effort here for Richardson. Their are a lot of New Mexicans here and some others from all over the country. It seems relatively organized. As we drove into Des Moines we heard Governor Richardson commenting on the events in Pakistan. That is getting all the attention today.
This is one of the boiler rooms. My headquarters for work will be at the Quality Inn Motel. This kind of effort is going on all over the state.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Well, I guess I will just layer with the many new sweaters I got for Christmas. I will wear warm socks and shoes and even take my longies!
Why am I doing this? Well, mostly for Bill Richardson and a little for the experience. I happen to think this is a pivotal election that will determine this nation's place in the future. Who wouldn't want to be part of that process? Especially if you have kids.
I will see a lot of friends there too and the Governor will be having a nice New Year's Eve party I am told. Meanwhile, Bobbi and my sister in law Jan will be in warm Pasadena, California to help decorate New Mexico's Rose Bowl Parade Float. Strangely, she need to take longies too because they will be working in warehouses kept very cold to preserve the flowers on the floats!
I will blog as much as possible from Iowa if my cameras and keyboards don't freeze up.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The kids and the dogs had a great time opening gifts this morning. Noelle, Justin, Karly and the Beagles looked over the goods. Last night we had a great Christmas Eve reception for Justin and Karly. It was the New Mexico Wedding reception from the marriage last October. Many of Justin's old friends and parents came by. It was a nice evening.
I got a High Definition Camcorder which I will use in the future for some blogs. I have to figure out how to use it and find software for editing. I also got sweaters which I will need in Iowa next week.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Our family has started gathering for Christmas. Noelle got home from Phoenix last night after a quick drive. She does it faster that I use to do it when I was stationed at Luke Air Force Base in 1968. I remember on one trip back to Phoenix I almost killed my self when I swerved my 1960 Plymouth Valiant to miss hitting a mountain lion just east of Flagstaff.
Justin and Karly get home at 11PM this evening and I got the dogs shampooed and groomed for them.
I will blog occasionally over the holidays. I hope you all have good times too.
Hmm, speaking of the old Valiant, here is a list of all the cars Bobbi and me have ever driven or owned.
1973 Pontiac Grand Prix
1978 Pontiac Grand Prix
1978 Volkswagen Fox
1983 GMC S-15 Pickup(the only lemon I've owned)
1984 Dodge Caravan
1992 Dodge Caravan
1995 Mazda Millenia
1996 Honda Civic (Totaled by a dump truck with only 1300 miles)
1996 Toyota Camry
2001 Volkswagern Beetle (Diesel)
2002 Volkswagen Passat
2004 BMW 325
2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid
2007 BMW 328I
I have few vices. The one I do have is nice cars. Some of these cars Bobbi drove for a long time, but mostly I get a new one every three years which is why I mostly lease them.
This was more an exercise in memory for me than anything that might interest you all. I didn't mention one car I had. It was a 1985 Pontiac compact station wagon that I won in a raffle. I kept it a week or two. It was junk.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
TV Anchors & Iowa
TV anchor persons on the news casts are the ones who get to lead off the news hours or half hours with the latest sex story or car accident. They are usually very nice looking folks, no fat people allowed, and they are under 40 years of age. Well, Dick Knipfing at Channel 13 is the exception to that rule. He is the guy that originally hired me back in 1966 as a news photographer. I then discovered that I could write and read the news too. I was supposedly the first Hispanic anchor in the market and I was honored to do it. Especially since back in those days we covered news rather than tabloid kinds of stuff. We covered the legislature and its issues and the political races and their candidates stand on the issues. Ah, the good old days. (Well, I have to admit we were pretty much into car wrecks too.)
I think it is a little sad that the three anchor women who have left and were all Hispanic are not being replaced with other Hispanics. If I were the station managers I would take one more look at the demographics of this market to see who lives here.
On the subject of Iowa I will be leaving in about a week to help Governor Richardson's effort there. I have never been to Iowa. It is the only state I have not been too so I can mark that off my map. I am looking forward to blogging from there and will take lots of pictures of the process. It should be fun.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I hate it when this happens. I am happy with something that bush did. Two things, actually. He signed the energy bill, which is weaker than it should be thanks to his protecting subsidies for the profit soaked oil and gas industry friends, but he signed it!
And he came to the conclusion that most first graders could make, that we have way too many nuclear weapons and that we should have a lot less. He has included this notion in his budget.
There. I have said something good about him.
Now, something bad. As Commander in Chief, how could he condone this kind of thing in the military? It is bad enough having religious tests for politicians and presidential candidates, but doing it to they guys that have all the really big weapons is really ominous.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I noticed in the dark this morning that the Mayor and Airport manager had painted lots of no parking markers on the little inlets on Sunport Blvd. This is where legions of folks pull in off the road to await cell phone calls from passengers who luckily didn't have their baggage lost by our increasingly pathetic airlines. Then I get home and read the paper and the story is all laid out there too.
Score one more hassle for the airport visitors and passengers. This is totally unnecessary. Yes, there is another poorly lit and out of the way airport cell phone waiting area on the North East Side of the airport. I used it once and watched a drug deal go down in the mostly deserted parking area.
Mr. Mayor and airport manager, would you please stop thinking of ways to make air travel and airport hassles even worse?
Meanwhile the city council says traffic light cameras will keep on clicking away for a while at least. I really don't have much against those cameras and most people I talk to think they have made intersections safer. However, I am against the enormous fine structure that the Mayor is using to pad the city coffers.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I am hopeful you all can send Martin an online donation. Do it here!
Now this is a Washington Post story everyone must read. It is truly astonishing that the lines between engineering and biology are being blurred. Synthetic DNA that is being manufactured by the labs will undoubtedly be of great help in the future. But is is also scary. Think of loosing a virus that turns everyone into a neocon!
We have all been wary of genetic engineering and its moral and ethical conundrums. However, that pales beside this new synthetic which might hold great promise for energy production or great fear in loosing upon the world something naturally not evolved here. (I know, somethings and some people are already pretty bad.)
And now in Albuquerque and the Southwest the newspaper tells us we have a new thing to fear. The Quagga mussel? I think I won't worry about this one just yet.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I have the sense that no Mayor of Albuquerque can ever go on to win higher office any more because of the constant media coverage on city government. The media have a bulls eye target when covering city affairs, and that is the Mayor. Everyone knows who the Mayor is and they remember it every time they hit a pothole or their garbage pickup gets missed.
When it comes to a County Commission there are anywhere from three to five elected officials and no one strong leader for the media to latch on to for coverage. So there is no one really held accountable. Certainly not the county managers who are hired by the Commission.
Since the counties use their political acumen in the State Legislature to screw the cities they have garnered a lot of power. In Albuquerque's case it was the theft of the municipal water system into a Water Authority that the county thought they could dominate.
Since the television news operations have pretty much checked out on serious local news coverage of government in favor of the sex or bad weather story of the day, then it is really going to be up to the Albuquerque Journal, soon to be our only daily paper, and bloggers to cover these important county government stories.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
The representatives from the Denver area noted during their meeting that Albuquerque was now their biggest competitor for economic development. They pinned that directly on the leadership of Governor Bill Richardson's. The also lauded him for the foresight in buying the rail line in New Mexico all the way up to the border with Colorado.
I will be laying out some interesting statistics about what we will see in the future for New Mexico when I get them compiled. It is dramatic and it can be a positive thing if it is done right.
I personally believe one of the biggest obstacles towards proper planning for the the future in the west are the County Commissions that spend little or no time thinking about how to handle the development that is headed our way. The cities have pretty much been built out in many places or their planning and development requirements make it easy for counties to show the developers an 'easy' way of making a buck. Little thought is being given to the burdens that will be put on the taxpayers by understaffed county governments and corruptible county commissioners.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Remember that in the final analysis just three things sustain life on earth. They are the oceans, forests and croplands.
The Albuquerque Journal had a good story on Sunday about an immense water mining scheme near
Dumars is doing this on behalf of an Italian businessman. So I am sure that many people will be concerned that ‘a foreigner’ will possibly own a large pool of
What is next, the atmosphere? Actually, many people think they own that too. I say that because of the way they freely pollute it.
American corporations are currently buying up much of the water in many third world nations. Yes, they will provide clean water but at what price. And if you can’t afford the price do you drink from the ditch?
Monday, December 10, 2007
I know he must be feeling 'down' about now but his inability to appear in the media to announce his withdrawal is strange for a guy who will call a news conference to announce new floor wax in the lobby of city hall. His decision to leave the Senate race was posted on his website at 5:30 on a Friday afternoon.
Now there is a headline story in the Journal that generally accuses him of being in a conflict of interest with his Senate campaign manager, Mark Fleisher, and Fleisher's gig as a lobbyist with SunCal, the developer and owner of thousands of acres of west mesa land. I am not sure there is a conflict, but Marty never talked to the media on this one either and they apparently were satisfied with his press officers statements on the subject.
There is the old adage that you if you live by the sword you die by the sword. It looks to me that Marty has thrown his sword away.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
My brother Tom and his wife Jan brought over their new puppy tonight. It is a Husky. My brother says it is a Chick Magnet and that you ladies come up and want to cuddle. Obviously, not him but the dog. This is their third Husky and he is red colored.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
I just liked this view and its contrast from our bedroom door this morning looking west. It was one of those rare times when the sun peaks through a cloud layer at a low angle and saturates objects with bright light against dark storm clouds.
Friday, December 07, 2007
The Golden Compass and Marty Chavez
All during the movie my cell phone kept vibrating. When I got outside I discovered all the messages that were left about Mayor Martin Chavez resigning from the race for US Senate. I think maybe he had a compass he was looking at too, and it said he couldn't win. Marty is not a stupid politician and he knew that his hard campaigning got him nowhere fast and things weren't likely to start working no matter how much he tried. So he did the right thing. His news release on the Journal web page said he would return to the Mayor's Office to follow through on some programs he is interested in seeing completed, so I guess that means he wont decide to run for Congress either. If he does he will look to be job hunting. (We have all done that! Right?)
Now Tom Udall has clear sailing through the Primary but I think he has to be aware now that he is already the BIG target for the Republicans. They will start unloading on him right away and he has to be prepared for that. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce vs. Tom Udall. Our entire congressional delegation fighting it out!
The movie ending of "The Golden Compass" was really more like an intermission until the next part of the series is produced. Kind of like this political season.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
It got me to thinking about some of the jobs I had in my youth. My first job was as a busboy at the Village Inn Pancake house when I was a sophomore at St. Pius X High School. You haven't scrubbed until you try getting syrup off tables.
I then worked in a door making factory in the North Valley and then delivered the goods to the construction sites. Those things were heavy. I also kept inventory on parts and learned how to match keys and lock sets.
I joined the Air National Guard and went to basic training and then to Photo School. I had always loved photography and the military provided me with a great opportunity.
I made money taking wedding photos after that to help with tuition expenses.
Also, while a college student I worked at a dry cleaners and laundromat. I worked at the old First National Bank in the mail room and as a courier. It was a great job. I was eventually promoted to be a Trust Auditor. I hated that job and it convinced me to not become an accountant.
I then got activated into the Air Force in 1968 and was sent to Phoenix. I wasn't allowed to do photography but was assigned the interesting job of sitting in F-100 fighter jets every night and shooting their 20 millimeter cannons at a target. My job was to make sure the gun camera was aimed at the target to correctly record the hits.
After being mustered out I returned to work at the bank, got my degree, but was then called by my friend Dick Knipfing and offered a job as a news photographer and reporter at Channel 7. I continued that work for 7 years and then got into politics when I signed on as Governor Bruce King's press secretary.
I can honestly say I learned something from all of these jobs, but the only one I didn't much care for was the busboy thing. I watched some of the older guys having to work in the restaurant because they had no education and it convinced me that a college degree was a must.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Oh, Wait a Minute
The bush administration is probably worse on most things because they really set out to 'kill the beast' of government so they naturally did not want it to work. But, you have to wonder if that included fiascoes within his administration's analysis of intelligence data on Iran. (Of course, they just wanted to invade another country to enrich the defense contractors and open up new oil production possibilities for their buddies. )
Well, they really look stupid in a bad way now.
Now move on the a story in the Albuquerque Journal this morning about the Albuquerque School System 'finding' $108,000,000 in new capital funding. It is the result of double dipping and reaping interest income on funds sitting at the bank. But at least this makes the Board and Administration look incompetent in a good way. I have no doubt there is a good use for those found funds as long as the incompetence doesn't spill over into managing the funds for construction.
This APS story will cause problems with the tax payers who think they are being taxed into oblivion right now. The sad thing is no one will react with the same kind of fury over the money being wasted by fighting a war based on a lie and the ensuing corruption that revolves around no-bid contracts to supply the war.
Finally I suggest you read Thomas Friedman in the Times today. See it here.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The first meeting of the new city council didn't go too well when four of the members boycotted the Monday evening lawmaking session. The four members didn't like the fact that Councilor Brad Winter, who ended up as the new President of the Council, had lied to them about who he would support for the job. I can tell you that this is pure Brad Winter behavior. When I was Mayor we found we could never rely on his support. I don't think it is because he lied though. He is just one of these elected officials that will always seem to support the last point of view that is presented to him before a vote. Like many elected officials today, think Marty Chavez, he has no strong core beliefs. He just wants to stay in the game.
All this is going on while the city revenue situation is smoldering. It will soon break into a major 4 alarm fire while this nonsense of boycotting on the council continues.
I noticed today in the Journal that state government has revised downward its revenue projections. It was mainly due to the housing bust and the state's share of the gross receipts tax revenue off of home construction. Well, the state still has money coming in from $95 a barrel oil. That is something that the city of Albuquerque can't rely on. So with the Mayor's double digit budget increases over the last six years the city is in for a large wakeup call. Get out of the way as all of the budget cuts will bring special interests and professional victims in front of the council to argue that they simply can't get cut.
Mayor Chavez will have his hands full as he runs for the Senate and the budget hearings occur at the same time. I am sure his nemesis Brad Winter will use his Council Presidency to make this a big issue.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I always get a kick out of stories that can appear in the same edition of the New York Times or the Albuquerque Journal. Today is a case in point.
1. The Pope says Atheism is a bad thing. Near by is a story that God fearing people want to cut off the head of a teacher because she gave the wrong name to a teddy bear. (I think Christians and Moslems worship the same God and have agreement on many Prophets) I will leave it up to you to decide which is more dangerous.
2. Evel Knievel. famous for jumping over buses on a motorcyle, had his obituary next to Roger Smith, former CEO of General Motors. Smith certainly had more impact on people and the nation but the cultural icon of a daredevil will trump gravitas anytime.
One last thing. I think Tommy Lee Jones should just buy a home in Albuquerque. We saw his third movie in three months that was shot on location here last night. It was "No Country for Old Men." It was excellent and had me tossing and turning all night.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Marty Chavez and the Santa Fe Trust Fund Elite
"Here are some of the things that the “trust fund elites” in Santa Fe have supported: Quivira Coalition, Earthcare International, St. Elizabeth’s Homeless Shelter, Somos Un Pueblo Unido for immigrants, the Food Depot, the Lensic Performing Arts Center, National Dance Institute, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Railyard Park, Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library, the Boys and Girls Club, the Santa Fe Farmers Market, Bienvenidos Outreach, the Wildlife Center, the Espanola Animal Shelter, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society, St. Johns Soup Kitchen, Kitchen Angels for homebound and disabled, Challenge New Mexico for disabled children, Think New Mexico, NM Voices for Children, the Youth Symphony, Open Hands for the Elderly, the Hospice Center for the terminally ill and the bereaved, the Teen Center, Cooking with Kids, Kids in Distressed Situations, Salvation Army, the SF Incubator for Small Business, Santa Fe Literacy Volunteers, Assistance Dogs of the West, Partners in Education, the Mentoring Project for Youth, the Council for International Relations, the Children’s Museum, Corazones Unidas for HIV+ Women and Families, Cornerstones Community Partnerships, La Familia Medical Centers for underserved populations and uninsured, Women’s Health Services, Fine Arts for Children, Girls, Inc., El Centro Health Centers of Northern NM, Hispanics in Philanthropy, the Forest Trust, Santa Fe Community Foundation, New Mexico Community Foundation, New Mexico Women’s Foundation, Futures for Children Indian Youth Education, Save the Children, League of Conservation Voters, Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, Homewise, Inc. for Affordable Housing, SF Land Use Resource Center, Taos County Economic Development Corp, SF Maternal and Child Health Centers, Teen Suicide and Crisis Hotline, Youth Shelters and Family Services, La Nueva Vida for mental health, drug and alcohol problems, SF Rape Crisis and Trauma Center, Natural Helpers Teen Suicide Prevention, NM Environmental Law Center, Southwest Women’s Law Center, Outside In for institutionalized people, Pecos Valley Medical Center, Heart Gallery New Mexico for adoption of older children, Santa Fe Watershed Assn, Santa Fe Mountain Center (for troubled youth), National Resource Defense Council, Southwest CARE Center for HIV/AIDS, Trust for Public Land, Amigos Bravos (conservation), Animal Protection of New Mexico, Trust for Public Land………….. and a couple of hundred other good community causes.
How disappointing and how ignorant of Marty Chavez to suggest that Santa Fe County’s charitable donations and generosity are somehow diminished because of its reputation for also supporting New Mexico’s arts, culture and diverse heritage and ethnicities. I suggest his speechwriters do their homework before having him mouth such stupid and moronic statements."
Dr. Maria Carlota Baca Explains It All
The Imminence of Converging Catastrophes
There is an article that has just come out that I consider required reading. It is by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and it’s called The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush in the newest issue of Vanity Fair. (http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/12/bush200712)
In the economic sphere, let me paraphrase Mr. Stiglitz. We are currently looking at the following dangers: a avalanche of mortgage defaults, during which it is estimated that 1.7 million Americans will lose their homes in the coming year. This crisis was driven by greed and irresponsibility on the part of predatory lenders, a willfully ignorant populace, and an administration that stood by and did nothing.
We have an $850 billion trade deficit and we are going to depend on other countries, particularly
We have a tax code obscenely slanted in favor of the wealthy. The Bush administration came into office with an almost $2.2 trillion surplus, but rather than using it to upgrade education or investing in the Social Security fund, this administration converted the surplus into tax cuts for the rich. To quote Mr. Stiglitz: “The first major economic initiative pursued by the president was a massive tax cut for the rich, enacted in June of 2001. Those with incomes over a million got a tax cut of $18,000—more than 30 times larger than the cut received by the average American. The inequities were compounded by a second tax cut, in 2003, this one skewed even more heavily toward the rich. Together these tax cuts, when fully implemented and if made permanent, mean that in 2012 the average reduction for an American in the bottom 20 percent will be a scant $45, while those with incomes of more than $1 million will see their tax bills reduced by an average of $162,000.”
We have a currency that is rapidly approaching such fragility that international trade is veering towards the euro as the medium of international barter. The dollar has lost 40% of its value since 2001. Because this country imports 80% of its goods, this translates into a frightening rate of inflation. The consequence is financial fear on the part of middle class families who simply stop spending, and that almost always results in a crippling recession. In just the past 18 months, bankruptcies have soared 60%.
In the sphere of foreign policy, we have, of course, the cynicism, immorality and tragedy of the
In the sphere of civil rights, we have watched the erosion of our national pride and ethic with warrantless searches and electronic eavesdropping, and we now know that most of our “terrorist” prisoners were innocent bystanders who are now wasting away in unspeakable prison conditions, with no charges leveled against them. Our own Department of Justice is cringing with shame as we break every international rule of decency. Again, this did not happen without our permission.
In the area of energy, we have an administration that is so beholden to major oil corporations and their political financing, that the development of alternative sources of fuel has been easily set back a generation. We created the atomic bomb in a few years, we put humans on the moon in a decade, and yet we won’t embark on the proven technologies that can wean us from oil within the next 15 years. We are woefully behind on this effort and we need an enlightened leadership to embark on the equivalent of the Manhattan Project or the Apollo Project. We know we can do it, but our current political leadership is too heavily invested financially and politically in the status quo. We have given our permission for this unspeakable circumstance.
In the area of the environment, we now have irrefutable evidence of the consequences of human-caused climate change and global warming. The Center for American Progess reports that “2,500 scientific expert reviewers, 800 contributing authors, and 450 lead authors representing 130 countries warn that ALL countries will be affected by climate change if carbon emissions continue to spiral. By 2100, global average surface temperatures could rise by between 1.1 and 6.4 degrees celsius, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could lead to an eventual rise in sea levels of up to 1.40 meters.”
But forget oil. Forget coal. We need to understand that WATER is going to be the most valuable substance on the face of the planet. The increased desertification of land, unbridled deforestation, melting freshwater icecaps converting to salt water, extinction of species, and privatization of water resources are the most dangerous phenomena facing the world’s populations. Consequently, we can expect that the environmental refugee movements of these populations will make illegal economic immigration seem trivial by comparison.
Perhaps one of the most dangerous and irresponsible neglects of the Bush Administration is its willful disdain and disregard for science. We see diminishing support for basic research in health and energy. New pandemics that are afflicting poor populations in developing countries will eventually spill over into the industrialized nations. Right wing political power and its short-range thinking have resulted in the dumbing down of our national intellect. We are actually still arguing about the validity of evolution! The most powerful nation in the world has abandoned critical thinking and scientific vision and the reason is that, for the most part, our citizenry has left the thinking to the ideological idiots in the White House, in the Congress and on the school boards. We have engaged in collusion by our passivity.
Finally, we seem in this country to have forgotten our founding precepts as embodied in the Constitution and its wise amendments, and the Bill of Rights. Remarkable, inspiring and humane documents that remind us that we need to care for each other. If we abandon the middle class, the whole society collapses. If we ignore the underclass, the result will be civil chaos resulting in crime waves unimagined in the past.
What can we do? Yes, we can convert to hybrid cars. Yes, we can switch to energy efficient light bulbs. Yes, we can stop buying bottled water. But what we really need to do is clean out the stables. Our problems are fixable. This is the only planet we’ve got, and in an economic sense, there is only one Market, and it’s global.
It’s tempting to take refuge in isolationism, but that is a refuge that doesn’t exist. What happens in
It’s time to become citizens again. We must vote with the future of our kids in mind. We must make noise. We must be vigilant against religious fundamentalism, particularly at home. We must be skeptical of leaders who have everything to gain from their cynical promotion of the fear that keeps us quiet and passive.
I know that it’s very easy to blame everything on the current Administration and 9/11. But we’ve got to realize that we all share the blame. Our comfortable lives are in danger but we put them there. Giving up our power to the bureaucrats and their financiers is what got us here. Let’s take back the power, clean out the stables and then let us get back to and vote for the fundamental values that have made our country so admired in the past. This means voting with our conscience, civic activism, and abandoning the passive comfort of our nests. Let’s do it.
M. Carlota Baca, Ph.D.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Marty Again & Alien P.R.
I don't think that until now that I realized what a danger a guy like Marty can really be. This statement is meant to do one thing, engender prejudice. I am surprised he went this far and it denotes "the end justifies the means" kind of campaign that Chavez is willing to conduct.
I can remember when my Mayoral administration was fighting hard to get a new Triple A Baseball team to Albuquerque. The Albuquerque City Council was trying to bring in a Class B team and kill any chance of a new stadium while a group of good folks like Rodger Beimer and Dave Bucholz worked to move the city towards having a great facility and great team.
Once we acquired a team and funding for a facility a new debate arose. That was whether to name the new team as the Albuquerque Dukes, the old long time used moniker, or decide to really jazz things up with a new and unusual name. The debate went on for some time with the traditionalists sticking with the Dukes and the rest of us wanting something that denoted more excitement. As it turned our we really left it open to the new team owners and they came up with the name Albuquerque Isotopes. It was inspired by the Simpsons TV show and a now legend episode where Albuquerque was trying to steal the Springfield baseball team named the Isotopes.
The new name set the stage for a much better baseball experience in the state and it garnered lots of national attention.
I cant figure out why the naysayers are now attacking the State's Tourism Department's Rosebowl parade float and TV advertising campaign which uses the 'Roswell Alien Story" to great advantage. It may not be traditional but I predict that it will be highly successful. Just watch the Rosebowl parade on TV and watch the attention the New Mexico Float will get this year.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Marty Chavez and the H-Bomb
This is pure Marty Chavez. It is his way or the highway. Obviously he doesn't realize that there are a majority of 525 Congressmen and Senators who also feel that the labs missions must change. They also realize pounding money down a rat hole of nuclear weapons is not making this country energy independent or a leader in other scientific research. Just maybe, that might happen if the Lab's mission is redirected and that is what much of this budget fight is about. This is about Marty standing for the status quo.
If I were Marty Chavez I would start worrying about a looming budget crisis at city hall. His double digit budget increases will soon come home to roost on our city. Since Albuquerque's revenues depend primarily on sales tax we can be assured of a big hit over the next couple of quarters. Marty's traffic light cameras won't be able to fill in the gaps.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I snapped this picture of all the female progeny of the family except for little Maya Schmidt shown on her own. She belongs to Stephanie.
Top row is Stephanie and Sara, my brother and Jan's daughters, Noelle who belongs to Bobbi and me(well, used to belong). Bottom row is Emma Schmidt who belongs to Stephanie and Mike, Kelly who belongs to Sara and Jason Reeves, and Amanda and Anya who belong to Lisa (Jan's sister) and John Newell.
Everything today was really nice except for an editorial in the Albuquerque Journal saying we should drill in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge. How about we put a drilling rig in front of Journal Center and see if they still think it is okay? And then put a couple dozen more on every vacant lot in Journal Center. And then connect them all up with pipelines and roads. Well, I hope you get my point.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
But Thanksgiving day is for guiltlessly pigging out on carbs with the family, and really reflecting on the good things we have experienced over the year, or at least the bad things that didn't happen. So here is my Thanksgiving list for the year.
1. We are thankful for our new daughter in law, Karly. She and Justin were married six weeks ago. Justin really lucked out in meeting such a wonderful woman.
2. We are thankful for our greatest vacation ever to Venice, Croatia, Greece, Turkey(the country, not the food), and Slovenia.
3. We are thankful our daughter Noelle got her first big promotion and raise at Intel in Arizona after her first year with them. Noelle is 22 and makes more money than I did at 45.
4. We are thankful that bush and cheney are so disliked by the American electorate. It should have happened sooner but it did happen.
5. We are thankful that New Mexico is a beacon of hope in the growing hysteria over immigrants. Governor Richardson, the legislature and the people should be recognized for valuing our immigrant neighbors as hard working folks who care about their families.
6. We are thankful that the Land of Enchantment stands a good chance of having an entirely Democratic congressional delegation.
7. We are thankful that people and the media are finally thinking a little about what a small planet we live on and how we can truly screw it up if we are not careful.
8. We are thankful we are all in good health in our family and that all of us have health insurance.
9. We are thankful for having good friends, good wine, two cute beagles and Jerry the cat.
10. We are especially thankful that bush and his ilk will be gone in just 14 months and that the country can work towards being great again.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Around the West and at Home
I want the media and other critics of the Rail runner to take the trip I just did over the last week. I started in Phoenix, and Chandler, went to Wickenburg and then to Glendale, Arizona. Then it was up to Salt Lake city. Last week I was also in Denver and Colorado Springs. There are two clear things from that trip. One is that water is running out, two and maybe more importantly people are choking to death on air polluted by automobiles. It was so bad in Phoenix, Denver and especially Salt Lake City that I felt like I had a bad cold coming on. My eyes burned and a general sense of malaise set in. Let face it, Albuquerque is fast approaching that.
And then I come back to hear the whining that subsidies for the Rail Runner are cutting too much into the subsidies for the automobile manufacturers. (Those subsidies being road construction.)
Its hilarious to see the highway construction industry in the newspaper crying that the gravy train is slowing down. Well, it is about time that gravy went to a real train. Governor Richardson was looking into the future by aggressively pushing for that train from Belen to Santa Fe. In fact, the next Governor should tackle a joint commuter train between El Paso and Las Cruces.
Visionary leaders are what we need most right now in this state and country. I look at Mayor Marty Chavez and his vision for traffic light cameras to finance his run away budgeting and I look at Representative Tom Udall's vote against the Iraq war some years back and I know who I am working for and voting for.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Then I had to head for Wickenburg, Arizona where my meeting is being held. I zeroed the trip meter on the rental car at the restaurant to track my mileage. It was 43.5 miles before I left the metro area of Phoenix. I was dumbfounded by the additional overpasses and frontage roads being constructed along I-17 towards Flagstaff. It will only be a matter of time......
So I decided that Marty Chavez should come and run in Arizona for the Senate. He would understand this place.
His kind of sprawl development is unabated and unsustainable but they would probably embrace him here.
Monday, November 12, 2007
But the call of buttered popcorn and Diet Coke over took Bobbi and me this afternoon so we went to the downtown movie theater and saw "Lions for Lambs." Now of course, I am really pissed off even more. It was not a great movie but it certainly hits all the right buttons. Especially Meryl Streep as a reporter with a nagging conscience and growing dislike for Washington leaders and corporate media..
Now I will sleep fitfully as the subject of Iraq, bush, cheney, and American apathy dominate my dreams.
Tuesday morning I am off to several meetings in Arizona and Utah and may not be able to do much blogging.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Wagon Mound Aliens
Rodger Beimer and I ran up to Denver for the night. I snapped this photo at my favorite Rest Area at Wagon Mound along I-25. Note to the Transportation Department....the rest area was very clean but the sinks were missing and one couldn't wash their hands.
There was something intriguing about these brightly painted trash cans standing sentinel over the rest area. I told Rodger they were really space aliens watching the comings and goings of the poor human species. We spent the afternoon driving back spinning alien conspiracies and what role cows play in their plans. We also think cell towers are playing a role, but we are not quite certain how they fit in yet.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Imminent Converging Catastrophes
She moderated some sessions today and spontaneously came up with the term 'Imminent Converging Catastrophes.' She is referring to global warming, poverty, energy shortages, forced immigration caused by these things, and a general lack of people not caring about each other in this country anymore.
I think she has it down pretty good. It all started with Ronald Reagan's administration and has reached its crescendo with bush. Clinton and numerous Congresses share the blame too.
I am out of town for a couple of days but I asked her to write up an essay on this which I will put on the blog soon.
This is a photo of the Gila Wilderness. It was the first wilderness area created in the United States. That was in 1924.
The Wilderness Society has just come out with a new report titled "Natural Dividends." Every elected official and news reporter should read it and then put it to use in their professions. This professional economic report really puts into focus a very clear fact, that protected public lands are better for economic growth in the west than the damaging extractive practices of the oil and gas and mining industries.
The real economic wealth is now coming from the professional and service industries, the outdoor recreation industry, entrepreneurs and retirees. The oil and gas extractive industries in 2005 accounted for just 1.3% of the region's personal income. And you can imagine where most of that money ends up. It ends up in the pockets of the stockholders and executives of the oil and gas industry who are not paying fair taxes and in fact are receiving tax subsidies.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Las Cruces as a Bellwether?
Wilderness groups now have three elected officials who are also employed in the effort to save New Mexico's great landscapes aquifers and watersheds. NMWA's Jeff Steinborn is a State Representative, Nathan Small is a new city councilor, and Bernalillo County Commissioner Deanna Archuleta is the new Southwest Director for the Wilderness Society.
This group of elected officials existence in the state's fastest growing county should be a bellwether message to the developers and industries who oppose land protection and smart growth. The message is the people really want to protect their communities from unbridled exploitation and sprawl development.
At the same time the oil and gas industry and real estate developers have an awful lot of elected officials doing their biding. However, these results in Dona Ana county should be a wake up call that the public doesn't like them pushing their way around with campaign donations and sweetheart deals.
I would predict that this election is just the beginning of a movement against incumbents. There may be a certain fatigue setting in on the electorate where there is a feeling that new leadership is needed and incumbents can't provide that.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Seen It All
I got to thinking about all the things Pelta has seen in her lifetime. Airplanes had only been flying a few years when she was born and now we have interplanetary spacecraft moving away from earth. When Pelta was born in 1913 the Congress enacted the 16th Amendment which led to the income tax. A near riot occurred in Washington, DC prior to the Inauguration of Woodrow Wilson. It was caused be 5000 women suffragettes wanting the vote. The 17th Amendment allowed for the direct election of US Senators. They had been elected by state legislatures. And Ford started the first moving assembly line.
Pelta was a school teacher for over thirty years in the Bernalillo and Albuquerque school systems. She now lives in a very nice assisted living center in Albuquerque.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Where's the Money Coming From?
I think the scramble for money to fuel all of the upcoming Congressional and Senate races will be unprecedented. Add to that the need for money for the Presidential candidates, including Governor Richardson's natural home state take, and you have a big time shortfall. It is especially dangerous in New Mexico because there is not that much money here in the first place, except for the tunnel visioned oil and gas industry. We know their money will automatically accrue to republican candidates. That money will hurt Democrats big time.
The Senate Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committees need to be careful about assessing viable candidates in New Mexico on something other than their ability to raise money, since there is little of that here. Of course, candidates have to ante up a respectful amount just to show they can, say $350,000 by the first of the year. But, what is respectful here may look puny in other richer states. These committees need to get involved in raising money for the optimum candidates in the Federal races almost immediately.
No matter what happens, we will see one thing during the general election. Lots of out of state money will decide these races and we will have to make sure that the 'big money boys' don't run the elected officials lives after the election.
Now, think where all that money is going. It is going to the TV stations. This whole system is designed to get money to the TV stations for advertising. The campaign accounts are nothing more that holding areas for enriching the media giants. Pathetic.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Udall Considers Senate
Winners on Udall's entry would be: Udall himself, the American people and New Mexicans, the Democratic party, America's journey back to status as a respected member of the international community, the environment and western public lands.
Losers on Udall's entry would be: Marty Chavez, the Republican Party, neocons, and the oil and gas industry(my favorite).
The dam of candidates for Udall's seat will burst forth soon. Ben Ray Lujan, Peter Wirth and any number of other folks could get into it. Interestingly, since the all New Mexico State Senators in the legislature are running in this cycle we will see if any from that district take the leap. As a friend of mine told me, they are all probably wishing the Senate still had staggered terms. That was changed a few years back. New Mexico may be the most politically active place in the country right now, other than Iowa.
I attended a speech by Governor Richardson today in Santa Fe. He once again reiterated that he is not running for the Senate but for President. He was quite clear about it.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Credit Where It is Due
Yes, I get a lot of grief because I wont condemn nuclear power, but it may be in the mix for a CO2 choked planet. There is a lot of debate on this issue with many enviro organizations now looking at nuclear with new attitudes. Some of them are the Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Defense Fund, and Natural Resources Defense Council. Those still opposed are the Sierra Club and Greenpeace.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Let's Go to Iowa to Save the West
We need to get a contingent of 25 or more New Mexico environmental advocates to travel to Iowa from December 20th to January 3rd. Obviously, many cant make it over Christmas, but I plan on going from December 26th to the day after the Caucuses. If anyone wants to sign up please contact Michelle Frost at 828-2455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richardson has really delivered for us in New Mexico on land and water issues and we need to take that message to Iowa and New Hampshire.
Am I Missing Something?
1. Heather Wilson is trying to be the most conservative candidate in the Senate race. Why?
2. Steve Pearce is trying to be the most conservative candidate in the Senate race. Why?
3. Hillary Clinton voted with bush to designate a military organization in Iran as terrorists. Why?
4. National pundits keep saying Bill Richardson is highly qualified to be President or Vice President and then they shrug their shoulders and talk about Hillary's war chest.
5. The American people need to use critical thinking on this whole Iran thing. A pattern is emerging, right?
6. An acquaintance is supporting Marty Chavez for Senator even though he admits he doesn't know what the Mayor's core beliefs are. Why?
7. A developer I talked with the other day still thinks global warming is a ruse cooked up by environmentalists to raise funds for their non profit organizations. Maybe he will change his mind after cruising the northwest passage.
8.How can I gain three pounds after having the stomach flu?
Friday, October 26, 2007
Can you imagine what would happen if Udall did get in the race? People would be stumbling over each other to try and win his seat. Legislators, state office holders, green candidates and more oil and gas candidates from San Juan County.
I am beginning to think the only sure thing in the Democratic Primary is that Martin Heinrich will walk away with the nomination for Wilson's house seat. Patsy Madrid let it be known to Martin and others that she will sit this one out. That pretty much opens the door for Heinrich who will most likely face bush supporter Darren White in the general election. My money is with Martin and I hope you will send some for his campaign as soon as possible.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Ned hit on one thing that I have been noticing more and more. That is the propensity of some environmental organizations towards turning adversaries into enemies with bad rhetoric and name calling. I recently took to task one group who I generally support for demonizing some politicians who were generally better than most on environmental matters. I don't know why such rhetoric is used even if frustration is high. It will always come back to haunt you.
We need to make more friends in the fight for Planet Earth, not drive away our sometime friends.