Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Credit Where It is Due

I hate it when this happens. I have to agree with bush on something. This doesn't happen often, maybe just once before on his original immigration stands. This time I agree with him on the need to cut down the wasting of taxpayer money on nuclear weapons development. Yes, it will deeply affect Sandia and Los Alamos Labs and many jobs they provide. But, rather than cut these jobs that are designing weapons of mass destruction, couldn't we keep the jobs to design better renewable energy options and nuclear power reactor systems? They are all smart people and can easily use their big brains to make the transition.

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

There are a lot of reasons that wilderness advocates, environmentalists, renewable energy supporters and river protectors should get on the bus for Iowa for Bill Richardson. Mainly, I think his record speaks for itself, from helping save the Valle Vidal to fighting to protect the Gila River and Otero Mesa. There is another big reason and that is a great need for a western leader in the White House who cares about these public land issues. Right now we have that guy from Wyoming, cheney, who represents the dark side of public land management in the west. He thinks there is no acre that should be left unleased or undrilled for his rich oil and gas supporters. Can you imagine having a man like Bill Richardson as President who knows what the issues are on western public lands and who is also on the sane side of those issues? This would be a first for the west and the landscapes we love.

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

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?

Sometimes I just feel bewildered. Especially after enduring the stomach flu for 36 hours on a beautiful weekend. My fitful sleep and fever kept me coming back to some things I don't understand. Here they are.

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

Traffic Jam

This sculpture is symbolic of New Mexico's political landscape right now. What is a politician to do? I have personally heard that more office holders might be getting into the Senate Race. Marty Chavez won't end up the only player for sure.. Tom Udall's name cropped up today. Steve Pearce will announce down in Hobbs where he will amass donations from the oil and gas industry. (The last thing we need in the Senate is another oil and gas lackey, don't you think?) I hear even Attorney General Gary King is 'keeping his powder dry.' Diane Denish is still possible too. Then, there is always Governor Richardson's possible entry into the race. I am not sure that is likely, but I could be wrong.

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


My friend Ned Farquhar had a great column in the Albuquerque Journal today. His thoughtful opinions on energy and environment are refreshing and make up for a bizarre Journal editorial last week supporting the burning of our pinon-juniper forests to generate electricity. (It is all really a ploy to clear land for more grazing for the Land Commissioners friends.) The Journal did put in a good letter to the editor explaining why their editorial was wrong.

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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Good Read

This is a really good read. I saw it in the New York Times. The question asked to scientists and scholars was, "Does the Universe have a purpose?' It is fascinating. The women are sure there is a purpose, the men are all over the place.


I happened to be watching local TV news last night and saw Sheriff Darren White holding a news conference about his buying a new $3,000,000 helicopter for his office. Instead of cooperating with the Albuquerque Police Department and sharing a chopper, White spent a fortune on his own machine.

You will be seeing a lot of White showing his face on local news for free publicity now that he is running for Heather Wilson's seat. He knows the territory since he did a stint as a crime reporter on a local TV station.

I think all this publicity will not be able to get Darren White away from the fact that he was one of New Mexico's biggest enablers for bush's war in Iraq. White was a Chairman for bush's campaign and an unabashed supporter. This will hang over his head no matter how much arm waving he does.

Just look at this quote from White, "We can sit back and wait for the terrorists to plan an attack on us," White said. "Or we can bring the fight to the terrorists. America needs a president who means what he says and says what he means. And if you don't believe it, just ask Saddam Hussein."

Now, what the hell does this mean? More nonsensical nattering of a bush supporter?

Monday, October 22, 2007


No wonder there are no monkeys at the White House. Those Homeland Security guys are on the ball.


Things that bother me today.

1. The media continues to bash Eclipse Aviation
2. Hillary Clinton is making googoo eyes at conservative Matt Drudge
3. The media continues to bash the Rail Runner
4. A power company continues plans to burn our pinon forests for fuel in a power plant. All made possible by our State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons.
5. Shirt sleeve weather is gone.

Things that make me happy today.

1, Bill Richardson's new TV commercial is really effective.

2. Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson are already fighting.
3. Bill Richardson's press is getting better.
4. The Inter-Mountain West has a team in the series.
5. Smart politicians are shutting down plans for coal fired power plants in many states.
6. I hear Diane Denish might just run for the Senate. Sign me up.

I have come to the point in my life where if something bothers me then I have to also think of something that makes me feel good. It is calming.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Plutocracy & Money

Paul Krugman had an interesting column today about campaign dollars, their suppliers and recipients. It seems the money makers are switching over to the Democrats big time. It is still the same money and I agree with Krugman that it should make us all nervous.

Oil money is oil money, defense contractor money is the same and so are the pharmaceuticals largess. As I mentioned the other day incumbency, good polls, and open access are what matters.

There is one other factor in this formula that has been at work for some time. That is the real and existent plutocracy in America. Maybe it is not exactly a plutocracy since family ties are so important. It seems, besides being taller than your opponent, that two things can define successful candidates. One is money and the other is relatives who have held office. Think about the Udall family, think about the Bush family, the Kennedy family, the Gore family, and now think about the Clinton family. Some of the families had money, some not, but you always get a leg up if you have one or both, family and money. Usually though winners have both. The families who don't have their own money surely have the collective experience to raise money from long cultivated sources.

Political families aren't bad in and of themselves. It is their access to campaign money that has skewed the system.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I am more convinced than ever that the political parties are becoming less and less important in shaping America's future. I think things have gotten to the point of 'every man (or woman) for them self.' You can see it in Steve Pearce taking on Heather Wilson. Pearce is sacrificing a sure win in the House for a less than even chance of winning a Senate seat. Pearce is looking at an office where he doesn't have to run every two years, (who can blame him?), no matter what the good of the party might be. Anymore, the party is nothing more than a vehicle for getting someone on a ballot. After that, there is no big sign of loyalty shown and incumbency and its money machine call the shots.

Changes in the election laws of New Mexico pretty now much guarantee that there will never be more than two or three people on the ballot in a primary. The problem is that decision will be made by just a few hundred people at party conventions and a lot of good candidates will be left bleeding at the curb. This change in the law should be eradicated by the next legislature or the hope of seeing moderate candidates elected will disappear.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Collection Plate

I used to be in charge of the collection plates during Mass at the Newman Center at UNM when I was a student. So, I have decided to use that experience to start a collection for New Mexico Political Bloggers who will shortly suffer cerebral strokes due to the overuse of the analytical parts of their brain. Now that Congressman Steve Pearce is running for the Senate against Heather Wilson the potential outcomes for all races has exponentially expanded. Political blogger Joe Monahan will certainly blow a vein before anyone else.

Am I wrong, or have the republicans just endangered their one sure victory for the House or Senate seats from New Mexico? How cool is that?


A barrel of oil has been selling for $86 the last few days. At the same time we have a lot of whiners wanting to 'deep 6' the Rail Runner. This is one of those things that defies logic. The Rail Runner is a longterm investment in the transportation infrastructure for the economic engine of the state. That is the corridor from Belen to Santa Fe. And yet, people are complaining that it will cost too much. Wait and see how much it costs in 20 years if we don't do it now.

I hope the politicians who are slamming this program will start thinking about the over all good of this project instead of how they will fund speed bumps or unnecessary pork projects in their district.

All of this reminds me of the fight over the Isotopes Stadium being built when I was Mayor. We outlasted the negative attacks of right wing city councilors who thought it was a waste of money. The stadium is now turning a healthy operational profit for the city as well as bringing in people from all over the state to stay in our hotels and eat at our restaurants.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Double Talk

Here is what Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White said when he announced he was running for Congress last week.

“Unfortunately, mistakes have been made by those in Washington, and the Iraqi government has not stepped up,” he said. “We all want to bring the troops home, and I will do just that, but our troops must return in victory because al Qaida must be denied a safe haven in Iraq.”

I have been thinking a lot about this statement and have come to the conclusion it makes absolutely no sense. It convinces me that White is not independent. He prides himself on saying he is independent because he quit his job with Governor Johnson who wanted to legalize drugs because the 'war on drugs' was an utter disaster and failure.

Now, after reading White's statement he obviously feels that the war in Iraq can end in victory, just like the war on drugs. Oh, wait, that hasn't been won yet either. It has been going on for decades. Is White saying decades is okay for the Iraq war? Does anyone see the irony here? Does that statement seem like it was written to make him seem tough on al Qaida in Iraq as a reason for staying in this almost five year long war. Lets keep track of how much money White raises from the defense industry and the oil and gas industry. Uh, just one more thing too, why the hell didn't anyone in the news media try to ask him what this statement meant. That would have been helpful. Since the TV stations wont do it, especially if there is a sexual predator story followup, then maybe someone from the Journal, New Mexican or Associated Press could do it.

We all know that Heather Wilson has blood on her hands for being a bush administration stalwart on waging brutal torture, war and rendition. Now it appears that Sheriff Darren White is signing up to play the same role. Disgusting.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Define Victory

The sheriff wants to be a congressman. Darren White, the campaign chair for bush and cheney in the last election says he is independent. He also says he is for pulling out of Iraq but not until victory against the terrorists there is achieved. He didn't define victory. I think he meant his independence is nothing more than appealing to the far right wing for support and money. You know, the guys who are making money on the war. Lots of profits could be lost.

White has done an acceptable job as sheriff in Bernalillo County. I won't argue that. I had always thought he was an decent guy until he got onto the bush bandwagon for war which has killed almost 4,000 American kids and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Now, he says he wants victory in a war that is not winnable nor justifiable. So, he is not independent and he is not the kind of person we want replacing Heather Wilson who is also a war monger.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Udall and UNM Regent's and Mayor's Tunnel Vision

I have actually decided that Tom Udall would make a great U.S. Senator. Even though he and his staff didn't have the courtesy to give me an answer on a direct request for assistance on an environmental matter a couple of weeks ago. Tom did give me a call about the matter but never followed up with an answer. I called his staff three times and even visited his office in Washington.

I know Udall feels comfortable with the Seniority he has built up in the Congress, but his unswerving left of center credentials are what the Senate desperately needs right now. How is this idea, Udall runs for the Senate and Santa Fe newcomer Don Wiviott runs for Udall's seat? Oh well, just musing and I would appreciate an answer from Udall's staff.

On another matter, UNM Regents are getting ready to drop $60 million on rebuilding the famous UNM Pit. Does anyone think that maybe they and Mayor Chavez should get together and jointly build a state of the art all purpose arena for Albuquerque? Or will the Mayor and Regents stay hiding in their own little spheres pretending that cooperation really isn't important. It is astounding that this is progressing with them not talking about it. This is tunnel vision for sure.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Two Bits

So, here is my two bits on the current political scene in New Mexico.

1. Marty Chavez can't win a statewide race because he has been Mayor of Albuquerque and still is the Mayor of Albuquerque.Also, his gigantic budget increases will get big time scrutiny. His past support for Domenici will actually hurt him.

2. Diane Denish could win the Senate Primary and General Election, but I would rather see her in the Governor's Office.

3. Heather Wilson is currently damaged goods and will have a tough time winning because she is first and foremost a war monger. (Just like Domenici was, and a lot of uncourageous Democrats too.) The last thing we want is Congressman Steve Pearce as Senator. He is an extreme conservative, and I do mean extreme.

4. The Democratic Primary for Senate could be won by a slightly left of center Hispanic candidate, man or woman, who runs a great campaign. Again, I wish I were ten years younger

5. Senate Candidate Don Wiviott of Santa Fe would make a great Senator too, but no one knows him and I fear for his abilities in the cut throat nominating convention.

6. It certainly is Bill Richardson's for the taking if he wants it. I know he would rather be in the executive, but there is a lot at stake here when you think about it. Maybe he should run for both, just in case.

8. Martin Heinrich will still win the Democratic Primary and will kick butt at the nominating convention. He needs a strong media presence and press officer.

9. Lots of others will run against Martin after deciding they wouldn't need much courage to take on an open seat.

10. Sheriff Darren White will carry the Republican banner in a one dimensional race revolving around crime. There is a lot more at stake here than graffiti artists.

11. Anything can happen. Watch for surprises. Where is Sparkle Plenty? Think 1972.

Monday, October 08, 2007

New Daughter and Lots of Messages

So, here is a good photo of our new family member, Karly, along with the rest of us. As I said before Noelle was Justin's best man. We really had a great time.

The bride's maids were all really close friends of Karly's. They all are highly educated and out in the world working for good progressive causes.

This picture is with our new in-laws, Rick and Debbie Moore of Olean, New York. It is a really nice small town in western New York. Rick is a fireman/EMT and Debbie is a Nurse. They are super nice folks. They have never been west and we want to get them out here asap.

I got home to numerous messages from prospective Senate candidates. Marty Chavez's campaign manager called me and asked for my support. Sorry, not in this lifetime. At least not in the primary. I think our biggest task is to elect a left of center Senator to try and balance out what bush has wrought on us for the last seven years. I wish I were ten years younger.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Ceremony

The weather turned out beautiful for Justin and Karly's wedding and reception. This is Rick and Debby Moore, Karly's parents along with Bobbi and me and the bride and groom.

This is Karly. Our new daughter in law.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Justin and Karly Legally Wed

Justin and Karly were legally wed in a quick ceremony in Ithaca, NY today at noon. Saturday the really big affair will occur in Olean, NY. This is all really fun.

Justin's sister, Noelle was 'best man' and Jessica Scanlon, Karly's best friend, was maid of honor.


Justin and Karly picked this weekend for their wedding in upstate New York because they thought we all would enjoy the fall colors. There are none. It is 20 degrees above normal here and the leaves around Syracuse and Ithaca have not started turning. It will be 85 degrees for the wedding tomorrow. I wonder if bush still thinks there is nothing urgent going on with the climate.

Pete Domenici's resignation is big news outside of New Mexico too. It is right up there with Larry Craig's decision to not resign from the Senate. What can the republicans be thinking about right now? I think Craig's saga is a great metaphor for what is happening to the GOP. It really is unbelievable, but it doesn't mean the Democrats are assured of victory.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I couldn't get on that 6:30am plane today without throwing in my two bits on Domenici's retirement. Well, I have thought this would happen all along, but I felt he wouldn't do it until after the Primary election. Then the republican central committee would have appointed Heather Wilson to run against the Democrat.

Also, this will cause some movement in other races if Wilson, Representative Steve Pearce, or Tom Udall run for that Senate seat. I imagine that some timid souls will now run against Martin Heinrich in the Democratic Primary since Wilson will most likely run for Pete's seat. I think Martin has this nomination sewed up though and they shouldn't waste their time and money.

There will be a lot of head scratching going on for a few weeks. This all happens as the period begins for gathering petition signatures to be allowed to participate in the Primary nominating conventions next March. Don't forget that the Legislature did away with allowing candidates to gather extra signatures if they don't get 20% of the delegate vote, so if someone is interested they better be able to out those party loyalists who attend conventions to vote for them.

One thing is for sure, there is no reason for a Democrat to lose to a republican in this race.

Old Pics

I rummaged through our albums and came up with this old picture to take to Justin and Karly's Wedding. I think it must have been shot in about 1955. The people here are my Grandfather Delfin Baca, Grandmother Lenore Armijo Baca, my dad Fermin, my Grandfather Russell Sapp, a great aunt Maime, my mother Dixie and my Grandmother Tom Sapp.(Yes she was named Tom) That is my twin brother Tom and me along with my sister Carlota on the bottom row. Time marches on and sometimes you wonder what you were thinking about during those days.

I will try and post photos from the road over the next few days.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


So we start toward a great convergence in Olean, New York on Thursday. Bobbi, my sister Carlota, my daughter Noelle, and I will all be arriving at the airport in Syracuse within an hour of each other to attend Justin's wedding to Karly. This wedding is a new experience for Bobbi and I since we have never married off a kid before. My brothers two daughters were married years ago and each of them has two nice children. My twin brother has been a grandfather for years now. I have no clue when we will be grandparents, if ever, but we are ready and able baby sitters when the time comes.

This is a complicated trip. We spend the first night in Syracuse where Justin is working on his Masters degree in Public Administration. (Policy wonkism runs in the family) Karly got her Masters in Social Work last May and is working already.Then we go to Ithaca, NY on Friday morning for some legal stuff involving the marriage. Then we go to Olean, NY for a dinner on Friday evening. Then we have a wedding around noon on Saturday and a reception in the evening. Then on Sunday we travel back through the Finger Lakes of upstate New York to see the fall colors and spend one more night in Syracuse. Monday we take an early flight and get back to Albuquerque by 10:30AM.

This will be an interesting trip for us since we have never had the opportunity to meet the bride's parents. Karly's mom is a nurse and her step dad is a fireman. Karly has 13 cousins. Justin has two. Justin and Karly put together a pretty good briefing document for us to track her large family. It will be helpful. We sent information about our side of the family to them so they would know a little about us.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Our suspicions are confirmed. The National Rifle Association is successfully lobbying to keep an International effort at controlling the arms trade from being enacted. The bush administration has seen to it that the United States will not sign an agreement that 135 other countries have signed to limit arms trade. They lamely say it will lead to gun control in the U.S. Actually, it will lead to a loss of $7 Billion in taxpayer subsidies to the U.S. manufacturers.

I say our suspicions are confirmed because this is really indicative of Eisenhower's Military Industrial complex at work. He said,

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

This is really about America's leading role in the arms trade. It is not about keeping your Beretta in the night table next to the bed to protect your family from intruders. The NRA that I was a member as a child was one that promoted hunting, gun safety and training. Now it is just a promoter of war and right wing politics.

There was a letter to the Editor in the Journal this morning that really got to me. It is a rant against immigrants. It reminds me of the movie "Gangs of New York" in which the 'nativists' declare war on all non born residents of America. I think this attitude is growing in this country and it is scary.