Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year

Well, 2008 pretty much sucked. Our hapless and evil leaders, bush and cheney managed to leave at a low point. Compare that to where President Elect Obama starts....yes also a low point for the country but looking at a positive future. I mean how can things get worse?

Many of us are somewhat insulated from the 'worse.' Our family is all doing well as most of our relatives are doing well. However, as the New Year starts there are many families on the edge of desperation and they are going to need everyone's help. Now is the time to help charities rather than cut back. I am sending money to some of them today. Sending some money to the Road Runner Food Bank is a sure bet.

I will cut back on donations to some of the environmental groups I support in favor of organizations that help the newly destitute.. Not all of them, but some enviro groups that I think are quick to criticize the new President's cabinet officers before they even have sat down at their desk. It is almost like they are so cemented into adversarial roles that they cant look up from their own desk to see what is going on.

One thing is for sure. 2009 will be an interesting year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Front Page Juxtaposition

Two stories of tragedy on the front page of the Journal today. One is a young girl who was shot in the head because she got a name wrong of some two bit little ganger. The other story was about rockets and bombs flying between Gaza and Israel killing hundreds.

I seem to care more about the young girl being killed than the hundreds in the Middle East. I have just had it with them. Maybe I am soul less about it, but the warring factions in the middle east just can't live any other way. Thousands of years of tribalism and violence is a culture and they just aren't going to change. It is their way of life and since the people don't stop it I have no sympathy. They are all to blame. Both the Palestinians and the Israelis. Sorry, that is the way I feel and it is probably simplistic. Maybe our only job is not to let it spill over and affect neutrals.

Monday, December 29, 2008


I have worked for many years as an "exempt" government employee. I have also worked as an Elected Official who hires these kinds of employees. These 'exempt' employees work at the pleasure of the elected official and are not covered by the normal protections for state government employees.

So it should be no surprise to anyone that Lt. Governor Diane Denish, soon to be Governor if all goes as planned, has asked for letters from all state exempt employees which requires them to state their wishes about staying on with her when she ascends to the top job. It is totally within her power to keep those folks on or not. That is the way it should be.

I am currently one of those exempts. I sent her my letter and will do what ever she wishes. So should all of the rest of our political appointees.

She has somewhat of a difficult call on this issue. Some of us will go and some of us will stay. I know she will treat everyone fairly but if some go they may go with a chip on their shoulder. Hopefully, that wont affect her race in two years. I don't think it will actually and I am going to support her strongly no matter what. I actually think there won't be many changes right now. Two years from now is when she will truly concentrate for a few months on her own administration's workforce. I am pretty sure she will win.

Meanwhile, Bobbi and the erstwhile volunteers from NM are working on the Road Runner Coyote Float. It is sure to be a hit with the kids.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Glue, Seeds and Flowers

Bobbi and many other New Mexican volunteers are hard at gluing on seeds and flowers for the Coyote Road Runner Rose Bowl Parade Float. See more pictures here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

NM Float Progress

Bobbi will be posting pictures of progress on the decorating of the New Mexico Rose Bowl Parade Float to the blog she set up. See it here.

She and the other 100 or so volunteers will be up to their lips in flowers and glue for the next five days.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Rose Bowl Bobbi

Bobbi got on a plane this morning to go to the Rose Bowl Parade preparation for the State of New Mexico Float. Bobbi volunteered to manage the 100 volunteers that will travel to Pasadena to decorate the float. She will be working in a cold tent for 14 hours a day.
The Float this year should be a hit with kids and the media. Yes, it the Road Runner and Coyote!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Jerry the Cat has the right idea about this time of year. He found a hiding place from the Beagles under the Christmas Tree.

I hope everyone enjoys friends and family over the next few days. We have a house full of guests and I will make Posole and steam the tamales. Then we all head off for Old Town Plaza around 10PM. There are no hassles because of the late hour. I will take a few days off from blogging unless something really moves me.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Senate Cofirmed Positions

I know a couple of New Mexico people who are considering taking high ranking jobs in the Obama administration. These would be Senate confirmable positions. The reasons to accept a job like that are as numerous as not accepting a job like that.

Here are some reasons for accepting the job.
1. You would be part of a historic transfer of power from a bunch of clowns to a bunch of smart people.
2. You would be able to influence good policy for the well being of the nation.
3. You would add to your resume and a brighter future for your career.
4. Your family would experience a new kind of living in the East
5. You would go to the White House often for receptions and meetings.
6. You would generally be on the A-List for everyone who cares about the issues you work on.
7. You will travel a lot in your job.
8. You will have done something not many people get to experience. Its the top of the game.
9. By New Mexico standards you will make a decent salary.

Here are reasons not for accepting the job.
1. You will be worked to death trying to fix what those clowns did to the country.
2. You will get frustrated when the good policies you espouse are gutted by high paid lobbyists.
3. You may have to stay in DC to take advantage of your new career opportunities.
4. Your family would experince a new kind of living in the East.
5. The time spent at White House receptions is really work, not fun.
6. You will eventually not be on the A-List as everyone is pissed at you for caring about the right issues.
7. You will travel a lot in coach, in the middle seat, because no matter how important you are you are just a government passenger to the airline.
8.You will have done something not many people experience and some of them might be thankful.
9. Although you make good money in these positions they are not at all adequate in the DC area for supporting a family as well as in New Mexico.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dirty Pork

Mayor Chavez and his administration wrote up a list of pork projects they would like funded by the Federal stimulus package that President Elect Obama is espousing and which is necessary. Now I read this in the Albuquerque Journal this morning.

Ed Adams, Albuquerque's chief administrative officer, put it this way: "If they expect to have the cities and the counties move these projects forward, they've got to streamline the environmental process. They can't run these projects the way they've done in the past."

So, I can only assume that Ed Adams and the Mayor feel that skirting the laws that protect air, land and watersheds are worth filling city coffers with much needed cash. I am surprised by this since Marty has discovered that he gets good press by talking 'green' all the time. Maybe it really was just 'greenwash.' after all.

I can't believe that there are not projects that are already vetted and ready to go that won't require the skirting of environmental impact scrutiny. As they are identified we should all get behind them so people can be put to work and then provide for their families. That is one thing the Mayor and the Council can agree upon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Inauguration Not

Bobbi and I decided not to go to the Inauguration yesterday. We canceled our airline tickets(which we will use at Cherry Blossom time), car rental and notified our friends not to clean up their spare bedroom for us.

I am not doing this because Obama has asked Rick Warren to pray at his swearing in. That really pisses me off by the way. Having a guy like Warren who openly wars on Gays and also feels that a woman's uterus is not hers to supervise is not exacly what I expected. The bigger question is why have any religious ceremony at a government funded event at all?. Oh well, that is the issue we can never win I suppose.

No, the reason we are not going to the big event, which I am still happy about, is that you will not be allowed to take an umbrella on to the mall between the capitol and the Washington monument. Also, they will close the restrooms in the metro stations. Also, they don't know where to park 10,000 buses. The list could go on. It makes sitting in front of the TV with an Irish coffee and a fire going seem much more attractive.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Rail Runner and Road Tax

I think one thing that will happen when people think about the Rail Runner is that they will always remember that Governor Richardson built it. I talked to two more folks yesterday who used it to go to Santa Fe and they were thrilled. Except there is not near enough parking at the stations. We could all see that coming.

People still remember that I sweated as Mayor over getting the new baseball stadium built. After I left office Marty Chavez put his name on the plaque in front of the stadium. It is the one thing I resent about him. Isotopes Park is making money for the city instead of being a black hole.

The other thing I worked hard for was the Transportation tax that has done a lot of good for the city's infrastructure. It has enabled the rebuilding of our streets and the expansion of the bus system. It benefits the older parts of town over sprawl development. We went to the public on a vote for that tax. It won by 700 votes after a blistering attack by republican city councilors. The ten year tax, which brings in 35 million dollars a year is due to expire and now some current city councilors want to extend it for six months without a vote. I say go for it and then put it to a vote at the next municipal election. I can't understand why this deadline has crept up on the administration like this.

It is really important that the Council and city auditor make sure that money is being used for intended purposes. I have suspected that it has been raided in the past for other purposes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Senator Salazar at Interior

I think that Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado can rise to the occasion and make a good Interior Secretary. Some of my friends in the environmental community are upset with his selection. Right now a moderate seems like a godsend for the Interior Department. The real meat here will lay in the selection of strong BLM and Fish and Wildlife Directors, and courageous Assistant Secretaries who wont be afraid of taking strong messages to the Secretary’s office and the White House. Do not forget that we once again have a Democratic President who knows nothing about western public land policy. Nor does his close aides and staff. But we do have a very smart man coming into the White House and I have hopes he won't hang us out to dry for the oil and gas, livestock and mining industries. Time will tell.

One last thing Senator. Lose the cowboy hat. It does look a little dorky in DC.

Border Violence

I have a very good friend who has been married to a woman from Chihuahua, Mexico for 30 years. They have a great family here and in Mexico. Bobbi and I have visited them. They hold dual citizenship in the US and Mexico. Every Christmas our friends , and thousands like them, journey to the family home in Chihuahua City for Christmas. They have done it without fail for thirty years, but not this year because of the danger of violence on the border.

This year more that 4300 have died in gang/drug wars in Juarez and the border states. About equal to the Americans who have died in Bush's war in Iraq. There are also gangs preying on everyday citizens, tourists and businesses. Extortion and kidnapping are common place. Children are also killed in the cross fire. Lots of them.

Yet, we hear little about this violence just 250 miles from our city of Albuquerque. We have an estimated forty thousand Chihuahuan natives living here with family south of the border and yet the media here ignores this heartbreaking story.

We may like to think this is Mexico's problem, but it is also our problem. If this lawlessness continues our own safety is also diminished. Of course the violence is caused mostly by the drug wars and culture that it inspires. Think about this. The fastest way to stop this culture is to legalize drugs. Will it happen? Not anytime soon because our criminal justice system seems built around criminalization. However, taking the profit out of drugs would do a lot of good overall. It is just common sense.

This escalating violence and the failed government it has engendered in Mexico can not be ignored any longer. Our country must assist in helping our neighbors to the south.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rail Runner

This is the video I produced of the Inaugural run of the Rail Runner on Monday. It was a fun trip.

Let the video load a bit before you start it. If it stalls, just wait a while.

Train Ride

My friend Roy Soto and I will take off on the inagural train ride of the Rail Runner to Santa Fe this morning. This should be fun and I will take my video camera to catch some scenes for this blog later today.

We saw "The Day the Earth Stood Still" on Friday evening. As I suspected it was pretty lame in comparison with the 1950's movie, but it did have a good message and scary ending.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I had a nice comment on yesterday's blog on Motor Trend Magazine from John Fleck. He said reading a Motor Trend Magazine wouldn't provide enough data to say that American automakers are still primarily into muscle cars. John is right. Just go visit a car dealership and see what they are offering. Find me ten American built cars that get 30mpg in city driving.

Last night I watched the original movie, "The Day the Earth Stood Still." It is still a poignant classic and one of my all time favorite movies. Tonight Bobbi and I will go see the new one which probably wont be as good, but any serious scifi movie is okay with me.

If you are interested in a 12 minute video/photo montage of our trip to New Zealand and Australia, here it is as produced on my MacPro.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I stopped by my Barber's yesterday to get a haircut after getting home from Santa Fe. I have been going to Gene Varoz for forty years now. That is hard to believe.

I got there a little early and picked up the December issue of Motor Trend Magazine. After perusing it for about ten minutes I was more certain than ever that the Big 3 auto makers in America are run by a bunch of idiots. All I saw were critiques and advertisements of gas guzzling muscle cars that are being ballyhooed by Detroit. Big engined heavy cars dominated the magazine as Detroit's latest offerings. It was nauseating. Do they deserve a bailout? Hell no, but we better do it anyway.

What I don't understand in all of this is why the Republicans don't want to support this. It was their philosophy, along with Michigan Democrats, that put bottom lines first in the auto world. They resisted research and development and high mileage standards that have led to the current mess. Now they don't want to help protect badly needed jobs. Yes, the featherbedding by labor unions have not helped either but they seem to understand now it is time for concessions.

These currently cheap gas prices will disappears rapidly as soon as the economy heals. Then the Big 3 better show us some new thinking or they should be hung out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Honestly, how do goofy people like this Governor from Illinois get elected? Do people just totally sign out on who they vote for? This guy must be delusional to offer so blatantly to sell the Senate seat of the President the highest bidder. Apparently he was facing other looming indictments and knew well that his phones may be tapped. One of my friends mentioned this morning that maybe the guy isn't an idiot or delusional. That maybe he was doing this on purpose to seem an idiot and delusional so he could make a plea on his other problems that he was 'crazy'. Who knows for sure?

In the meantime this kind of stuff just makes people distrust government even more. Other important things get left in the dust. Like Obama and Gore's meeting on Climate Change. What a shame the press could not spend a little time on that.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Unsolicited Advice

I am hearing things about the Obama transition that have me a little concerned. These things involve the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management specifically. Don't get me wrong. I am elated we have a new President and that he has a big brain. However, as usual, we have a President who knows little of the western public land issues that we deal with every day. I was talking to some friends in some Conservation groups yesterday who are hearing that there is a move afoot to appoint a career civil service employee as Director of the BLM. I am against this totally.

First off, it will highly please the 'Lords of Yesterday', the oil and gas, ranching and mining boys, since they know what I know. A career person won't move to change things dramatically and that suits them just fine. Even if that career person has all the right intentions it will be hard to buck the bureaucracy that has become entrenched over 8 years of bush/cheney. It is time for some visionary leadership and strong political will to change the management of these public lands.

If there is a really good career person with the 'right stuff' then they should be made Deputy Director of the BLM. That will enable a politically knowledgeable Director the time to push the Secretary of Interior and the administration into a logical and well paced regime of reform.

Monday, December 08, 2008

New Zealand Photos

I posted a few photos of our New Zealand-Australia trip. The photo above is Melbourne, Australia. Its a beautiful city on the sea. We had a great time overall and were really happy to hear some comments from a New Zealand couple and an Australian couple we had breakfast with on our last day of the cruise. They said, "You Americans have made a wonderful investment in your future by electing Obama as President. You have been outsiders on the International scene for eight years. Now you are back with intelligent leadership and hopes for a better world." This really happened.


It was sad to get back home Saturday evening and find out that Alice King was in critical condition from a stroke. Sunday she passed away.

I first met Alice King in the 1970's when I was a reporter for KOAT-TV. I was covering a Governor's Conference in Oregon and followed Governor King around for a day. Alice was really helpful to me on what was important about the conference. It was then that I realized she was much more than a ceremonial First Lady.

Some years later I went to work for the King administration as News Secretary. I worked with the Kings through one statewide campaign and two administrations which launched me on a career in politics. Alice King was always helpful and understanding and she always looked out for the Governor's office employees and Cabinet Secretaries. She knew the issues and was also Bruce King's most trusted and respected adviser.

Alice King cared about people. She cared about children and the poverty stricken. She was a loving and involved person and we all mourn her loss.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Back in the USA...

New Zealand kids are just like kids anywhere....Having fun.

We had really nice flights back to L.A. from Sydney and Auckland. Good weather and good food on the plane. I had always though that the term 'air plane food' was an oxymoron, but not on Air New Zealand. They also have polite flight crews.
This is one of the more interesting places we visited outside of Dunedin. These boulders pop out of the cliffs as a result of erosion eating away at the shore line. Sometimes they break open.

They are accretions that took millions of years to form.

Friday, December 05, 2008


We spent our final two days in Sydney.   What a fantastic city.  Home Saturday night.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Milford Sound was beautiful. The water was very calm inside there. But it was only a respite. It is Monday down under. We just endured two full days for Violent Seas as we crossed the Tasman. This morning the weather is much calmer and we have just 30mph winds. The sun is out and the whitecaps are pretty. The ship put up with the 30 foot waves really well although we could not walk around much. We spent most of yesterday reading and watching old movies.
We did not get seasick. Bobbi had a 10 hour migrane on Saturday but she is now back to normal.
We will finish crossing the Tasman Sea today and tonight and will dock in Burnie Tasmania in the morning. We are going on a nine hour trek to some glaciers tomorrow. It will be good to get off the ship for a while. Then we sail overnight to Melbourne for a look at kangaroos in the bush. Then another day sailing before reaching Sydney. I will post a few photos from there on Friday. Thursday Albuquerque time.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Violent Storm

OUr first two fjord visits were blown out by what they call a 'violent storm.' Eighty knot winds and 30 foot waves. I am not in the least sick, but Bobbi is not feeling well. We are hoping the storm will subside in four hours so we can visit Milford Sound.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We have been very busy the last couple of days. As I write this Albuquerqueans are still trying to digest their Thanksgiving dinner. We had ours last night on board the ship as we are a day ahead of you. We spent Thanksgiving Day in Christ Church. It was a nice day touring the countryside. It is a very big city and pretty, but like all of these cities it is essentially new. Albuquerque was founded 150 years before most of these towns. The museums are nice and well done. The countryside surrounding Chrishtchurch consist of the broad Cantebury plains that are taken over completely by agriculture.
Today we spent visiting truly beautiful coastal areas outside of Dunedin. I have never before seen more beautiful beaches and ocean views than we observed today.
Now, we head for two days cruising in and out of fjords and sounds before arriving in Burnie, Tasmania.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We had a great day in Picton. A great excursion by boat to Captain Cook Cove and we took a great hike. We saw Dolphins, sea birds and native land birds. Then tea and cookies on the way back to the cruise ship. Tomorrow is Christchurch and a nine hour excursion. Wish you all could be here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wellington Wind

This is a beautiful city. One of the windiest anywhere and we learned why today. 50mph! At the same time it is a beautiful place and the weather was great. We head for Picton tomorrow.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I have given up on any photos coming to you from New Zealand. Blogger wont take them for some reason. We are seeing great sights and also learning that in just 140 years the people here terraformed their country. Most native species are gone. Most forests are cultivated. And now they are realizing their mistakes and worry about how they can make things right. I think they can because they changed their country once already.

We have visited volcanoes, sheep farms, Gannett nesting areas, nature preserves and beautiful landscapes. This is fun and will get better tomorrow when we visit Wellington.

Friday, November 21, 2008


We arose to this view outside on our Verandah this morning(picture coming soon). I am not sure of the name of this rock, but it is a beauty. We will cruise all day today and Bobbi scheduled us for massages this afternoon. At dinner we are sitting with an Australian couple and two nice ladies from Tasmania. They all seem genuinely impressed with Obama but they wonder what he can really do to stop this meltdown. They think he is only one man and that he can't do it alone. That is for sure. Bobbi and I keep wondering if her retirement account will have anything left in it at all when we return.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


We said goodbye to Auckland at their Sky Tower last evening.  The weather here has been great and I hope it will hold.  We had a great meal at a Turkish Cafe last night.  The Chef was a Turk and our waitress was Russian.  All sorts of people here but we have seen absolutely no black people.  Strange.  There a lot of Maori natives.

We board the Volendam in a few hours.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


We spent the morning wandering around the large park in Auckland which is called the Domain.  We visited the main museum which was pretty nice and all encompassing of New Zeland's history.  We also went to the Winter Garden Botanical attraction.  

This is Bobbi amongst the flowers.

This is me impersonating a beached whale in front a strange tree.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


This is a young and old city at the same time.

We took a ferry to Davenport for lunch and this is Bobbi with Auckland in the background.


It was an easy flight to Auckland. Going to get an hour sleep and shower at the hotel and then walking the historic areas....

Monday, November 17, 2008

LAX and Retraction

I have retracted and deleted comments that the owners of Frontier Restaurant contributed money to pass the ban on gay marriage in California. My source has not been able to come up with solid information. Although those owners contribute money to many anti abortion groups they have not apparently done so on the Proposition 8 issue. I sincerely apologize for putting out bad information and my fact checking should be better in the future. I trusted a source I could usually rely on and this is my mistake.

We are at LAX. New we come.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What To Do?

I am in a real quandary. I just found out some of my favorite places around town contributed to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California. Blakes Lota Burger executives are one. What can I do about that? Why, I can boycott them. But how will Bobbi and I survive without our once a week green chile cheese burger? And, I had just discovered they had really good breakfast burritos. Well, say good by to me Blake's Lota Burger. I grew up with you in this town but you are history in my heart clogging repertoire. I remember your very first store on Lomas Blvd. back when I was a child.

What? No more popcorn at Century theaters? Yep. They sent money too.Well, I can't swear off movies but Bobbi and I will no longer buy their delicious butter soaked popcorn and diet cokes. ($9.75) That is where they make their money, but not from us anymore. I will sneak in Pistachios and leave the shells to let them know I was there.

And finally, don't go buy that new washer at Baillos'. Yep they don't want gays getting married and buying appliances for their new household I guess.

To see who in New Mexico are contributors to homophobia, click here.

After rereading this I realize I will live longer. No more cholesterol pills.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Sister Carlota in Bhutan

This is a note I got from my sister in Bhutan. She is there on a 3 week trek. This is funny.

Dear Loved Ones,

Camping in the Himalayas is not for sissies!

When I had to go pee in the middle of the night, the zipper on my tent was frozen shut, but I finally got out. I ran to the latrine with my flashlight and saw a huge dark thing blocking my way. It was a sleeping yak! I didn't make it to the latrine...

I was in a temple yesterday for a festival and observed about 60 nine-year old monks in training. The adult monks allowed the 4 of us to lean against the wall and watch. One of the teachers walked by me and whispered, "You United States?" I nodded "yes". He then pulled aside his monk robe near his neck and on his tunic underneath, there was an "Obama '08" button!

I'll never think of mountains in the same way again. Our little Rockies are like wee pimples compared to these astounding heights.

This is one of the best trips I've ever had.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Heading Out

Bobbi and I are heading out on a three week adventure to New Zealand and Australia. We will leave our house in the care of well armed house sitters on Monday and fly to Auckland. We will spend three days there and then board the Holland America Ship Volendam for two weeks cruising into every nook and cranny of New Zealand. There will be plenty of off ship excursions into the interior. We will also visit Tasmania and then head to Melbourne and Sydney Australia.

The trip will be especially sweet because we leave the country knowing that the Obama win will put us in good light with the rest of the world. I remember the Mediterreanean cruise we took during the height of the bush reelection effort in 2004. The other nationals on the board were all pulling so hard for his defeat and after we returned home and the election was held we got emails from the friends we had made wondering what was wrong with Americans. I don't think that will happen this time. I plan on taking my New Mexico Zia Obama T-shirt to wear in the gym for my workouts.

I will post regularly from the ship about our travels and what the other nationals are thinking. This should be fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The news that Eclipse Aviation is out of money and has sent their employees home will undoubtedly bring the naysayers out. There will be criticism that State and Local government invested poorly in that company. The truth is that Eclipse is just one of many aviation manufacturers that are skidding into the abyss. Cessna, Beech, Adams and others are all in the same boat because of the credit crunch. It is sad that it is happening. Yes, Eclipse might have had a better business plan, but they embarked on a quest for a new kind of jet aircraft. They have a good product but ran out of time.

It will be interesting to see what ultimately happens here. Lets hope the media does a little research on this aviation issue before sending Eclipse and its supporters(me included) to the gallows.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Curled Toes

The word I get from denizens at city hall is that there are a lot of curled toes amongst city workers and politicos. The deficit for this year just keeps growing and growing. It now stands around $23 million according to my sources and it won't get any better. Add to that the bad news for next fiscal year and you have a classic meltdown occurring.

Mayor Chavez and the city council have engaged in an orgy of spending over the last seven years and that has caught up to them too. I feel sorry for the next Mayor trying to deal with all of this. I also think that Mayor Marty may opt out of another run. He has never had to deal with a tanking economy before like I did when I served. The $22 million dollar deficit Chavez left me when I took office in 1998 was painful and now he will visit that upon a new Mayor at the end of next year.

Certainly, it would be unfair to pin all of this on the Mayor and Council, but the double digit budget increases every year didn't make it better.

Speaking of curled toes, I was astonished to read a story in the Journal this morning about all the old boys who run the Catholic Church threatening the members of their flock who voted for Obama. Can that be conducive to gathering in more of the faithful?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back in Town

I spent the weekend in Tucson at a meeting of the Wyss Foundation. I love those meetings because we give away lots of money to western conservation organizations. The slowing economy hasn't affected our abilities so far to work for protection of the west's landscapes and watersheds. That is good.

We talked a lot about what the new administration in Washington would mean on these issues. We decided that not much will happen for some time because Obama will have his hands full with economic and war issues. We also know that things will be better automatically because bush and cheney will be gone. In fact, on the front page of USA today on Monday the head of the transition for Obama, John Podesta, said they were thinking about undoing last minute bush executive orders on allowing drilling in some of Southern Utah's most beautiful wilderness quality areas. I was astonished to see that they had this on their radar. We all felt great.

In the meantime we will need to make sure that the right people get appointed to the Interior Department. That goes for the position of Secretary, but also for the other appointments like Bureau of Land Management Director, Fish and Wildlife Director, National Park Service Director and Bureau of Reclamation Chief.

I know some folks who will be helping with all that and I am confident we will have a strong team.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Coffee with the Man

Congressman elect Martin Heinrich had coffee with us this morning at the Sunshine Cafe at 12th & Mountain Road. My wife Bobbi was there after fighting a migrane all night. She didn't want to miss the opportunity for a chat with Martin. My brother Tom was there as was Ned Farquhar. We were all early supporters of Martin and he called yesterday to get us together. Everyone who came into the cafe came over to congratulate him.

Sean Gilligan the cafe owner and smart growth developer was there.

So was Rachel Maurer and Bruce Davis.

We mostly talked about what committess Martin might end up on and Bobbi gave him advice on some nice apartments to rent. She saw a lot of them when she did her tour of duty back there. There are other freshman Congressman who will need room mates in Washington's expensive real estate market. Martin's wife Julie and their two sons will stay in Albuquerque while he is in DC three to four days a week.

Martin raised over $2,000,000 for his race. Now he will need to start again as his next race will need to be well funded too. What a system!


The politics of the weird continues. Judge Linda Vanzi threw out the lawsuit of loser legislators who sued nonprofit groups alleging they conspired to defeat them. The losers were Senator James Taylor, Senator Shannon Robinson and Representative Dan Silva. The suit, filed by Robinson, was pretty much demolished by the Judge. I wasn't surprised. Think about it, suing someone because you lost your election fair and square....Mondo Bizzaro!

The other politics of the weird item is out of Otero County. After that Republican Women's group leader called Barack Obama a 'Muslim socialist' and then said all Muslims were enemies of the United States, her resignation was demanded by lots of folks. Her board resigned when she refused to do so. Now the Republican faithful wingnuts in Otero have reelected her to her position. I love it. Talk about dysfunctional. Rebuilding for the NM GOP may take a lot longer than they think.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Congress

With the election of Martin Heinrich and Walt Minnick in Idaho to the House of Representatives, I would like to think there could be a sea change coming in how we treat our western public lands.

Martin Heinrich was called and eco terrorist because he was a board member of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Walt Minnick was attacked in the same way in Idaho because he was a member of the Wilderness Society Governing Council. Both men beat republican bush land policy supporters despite the despicable accusations. As I recall, Senator Pete Domenici has at various times worked with both wilderness groups to pass wilderness legislation. Does that make him an eco terrorist too? Now we all need to make sure that President Elect Obama appoints the right people to the Interior Department so that we can do the right thing for the west's great landscapes, rivers, parks, wildlife and watersheds. He will have some strengthened support in congress on these issues.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Morning Utterances

My sister Carlota is in Bangkok, Thailand for a few days on her way to a trek in Bhutan. She emails this morning that the people on the streets in Bangkok were cheering to all Americans they saw..."Obama-Obama", and holding their thumbs up.

Bobbi got up this morning and as she rolled out of bed she said it felt 'unreal.' But in a good way.

I think I will wear my Obama buttons and T-shirts on our trip to New Zealand and Australia in a couple of weeks.

Today I will just spend most of the day feeling good for America, and surfing the internet.

Two good Albuquerque friends I know have already been appointed to the transition team for the Interior Department.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Life is Good. The nightmare is ending. We are a member of the international community again. Martin kicked butt too!

Maggie Explains It All For Us

When County Clerk Maggie Toulouse posts the early voting totals and absentee totals, sometime before 7:30, we will know who wins the Presidential race in NM, and the Congressional seat here in Albuquerque. It will be a short evening for suspense, unless Martin Heinrich is less than 3000 votes in those totals. I think that is unlikely. He has a good ground game going and bush supporter and nasty campaigner Darren White does not.

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Picks

Lass for PRC(maybe)
U.S. Senate gets to a total of 58-60 Democrats
U.S. House picks up two dozen new Democrats
America is set to be a part of the International Scene once again.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I was right on four out of five predictions for the Albuquerque Journal endorsements. They went with repubican congressional candidate Tinsley down south, republican bush supporter White in this congressional district, Democrat Ben Ray Lujan up north, and Democrat Tom Udall for Senator. They drank the Kool-Aid and endorsed John McCain even though their poll showed Obama with a commanding lead. I would love to have been a Fly on the Wall to listen to the infighting on that Presidential endorsement. I have a feeling that the reclusive publisher, Tom Lang, got his way. I wonder if he ever considered Sarah Palin as perhaps being a factor. No mention of her in the endorsement. Well, he does own the newspaper!

Friday, October 31, 2008


It has happened. I am starting to get nauseous from listening or watching to much NPR, CNN and MSNBC. I am overdosed on politics and I just want it to be over. I know it all will turn out okay and that I will be a happy camper on Wednesday after the election, but I just want it over with.

Last night we had the choice of three hours of punditry or trying out my new blue-ray dvd player at the house. We opted for watching "Juno" in blue-ray format. It was good. I had seen the movie at the theaters but had forgotten my hearing aids and couldn't hear it well. Last night I got more chuckles from the lines I missed first time around.

After the election on Wednesday Bobbi and I will begin preparing for our three week sojourn to New Zealand and Australia. I can't wait to get away and will admittedly sign in to the internet from the ship everyday to see how the transition is going.

In the meantime here is a Washington Post story about what bush is doing in his last few days in office. Yours truly is quoted.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stuck in the Past?

The news for Newspapers in America is not good. Their circulation continues to decline and revenues in this recession will cause a real weeding out of marginal publications. This is not good for any of us even if we disagree with the editorial stands of most of these papers. I often disagree with the Albuquerque Journal. Some say they kill good trees to make a bad paper. But frankly, I don't know what I would do with out them informing me of real news every day. Their editorials mostly turn me off, but not always.

I have to say that I am bewildered that they are waiting so long to endorse in the major races this year. It makes no sense to endorse after 40% or 50% of the folks in their area of influence have already voted. Why is this happening? I have no clue. It is kind of weird.

I predict they will endorse the following people when they get around to it. Barack Obama, Tom Udall, and Darren White. I don't know if they will endorse in the other congressional races, but if they do I predict they will go with Tinsley down south and Lujan up north.

I am probably wrong on all of this but I will remind everyone of my predictions after they endorse.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Low Point

Apparently republican Darren White has hit the low point in his campaign. He now has a TV spot up accusing Martin Heinrich of 'paling'' around with eco-terrorists. White has learned nothing from his friends above him on the ballot. He has also lost any respect I ever had for him, and I did have some.

When you stack this newest ad on top of the news of the lawsuits against the GOP in New Mexico this week, it makes one think that their party is really wandering into the wilderness and probably wont return to civilization for a decade. Pat Rodgers, bush, cheney, Justine Fox Young, Palin, McCain, Allen Weh might wish they knew some eco minded people as they sojourn into the back country of politics. No one will know or care about their exile and they will need better wits than they have shown this year to come back into the decency of the mainstream.


I don't know what it is about the week before elections. I have all these weird dreams and wake up several times at night. I toss. I turn. I get up and drink water. And usually, I am a very sound sleeper.

This all happens whether I am a candidate, supporter, or tuned out during a particular election cycle. I think it harkens back to my first involvement in politics. I was working for Bruce King in his second Governor's campaign. He was running against the late Joe Skeen. On election night when the vote counting was over we were only a couple of thousand votes ahead. That lead held, but no one slept until the canvassing was done three weeks later.

The next election I was involved in was my first run for State Land Commissioner. I was the underdog in the Democratic primary against the oil and gas candidate. At midnight I was 8,000 votes behind and thought there was no way to make up the numbers. Bobbi and I went to bed about 1:30AM and I laid awake wondering what was next. As a new father I was worried about finding a job. Then at 3:00AM I was roused by a ringing phone. It was the Associated Press telling me that the final numbers were in and I surged ahead by 700 votes. I was incredulous. It was really simple though, the North had counted their votes. I didn't sleep for the next three weeks until the canvassing was done.

Now the sleeplessness is just a tradition I guess. Although there is more at stake in this election than ever before. Actually, someone told me that the most important election in their lifetime was in 2004. And that we Americans blew it. I think he is right.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Some Math

The early voting stats for Bernalillo County are lopsided. 34K Democrats have voted to 16K Republicans. The absentee voting is closer with 20K Democrats vs. 15K Republicans.(This is not how it usually works as Republicans always seem to win the absentees) It shows the ground game of the Obama, Udall and Heinrich campaigns are working.

But as an astute friend of mine points out this may turn around on election day a little bit. If the Democrats continue the heavy early and absentee vote there won't be as many going out on election day. So, the Republicans could actually win the balloting on November 4th. (This is the reverse of what usually happens.)

However, the Republicans have to be a little dismayed right now by the polls and the fervor of the Democratic campaigns. Maybe they will throw in the towel and just stay at home to await what seems to be the inevitable.

A Phenomenon

I have lived my whole life in New Mexico, except for my time in the military and in Washington, DC. As a young reporter many years ago I routinely attended or observed political rallies. Nixon, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Ford. I saw them all and was able to shake their hands. In my political years I got to speak at political rallies. The biggest one was for Clinton when 15,000 showed up at Civic Plaza. I think any chance I might have had at shaking hands with Obama was doomed at Johnson field because of the sheer mass of humanity that showed up. . Never, ever, have I seen a politician be able to turn out the crowds that Obama attracts. His rally in Albuquerque on Saturday was attended by 45,000. In Denver on Sunday 100,000 turned out. And these people didn't just have an easy time of it. They had to wait for many hours in long lines. It was a grueling experience. Yet there they were waiting to hear from a man who they think can provide the leadership to make this country great again.

These New Mexico political crowds are something we might not see again in our lifetime. In a way it must be frightening for Obama to see these masses lining up behind him. He now has to deliver.

The 1000 or more stalwart Republicans that attended the McCain rally were the real hardcore loyalists. I tip my hat to them for showing up. But, what can they be thinking now? To be so out gunned just a few hours after they showed up at a small venue they couldn't fill. It must be disheartening to say the least.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Signs Stayed Up

There were no fist fights or shouting matches as a result of leaving my political signs up. Everyone had a great time including the McCain supporters. Until we tied them up and locked them in my garage until November 5th. Just kidding.

It was mostly a great nostalgic evening in which you recognized some folks but didn't recognize others. But, we had it all figured out by the end of the party. We expect more folks to show up tonight at Gardunos on the Green. Bobby Box, the 60's DJ will be spinning oldies.

Friday, October 24, 2008

63 + 63

I have a dilemma. Tonight I am hosting a reception in my home for my St. Pius X High School Graduating Class. We are now 63 years old and we graduated in 63. It is our 45th Reunion Year. Groan. It should be fun and we have a good crowd showing up including some of the faculty.

My yard is peppered with Obama, Udall and Heinrich signs. All pro choice candidates. I kind of wondered if that would offend anyone but I decided to leave the signs up. I am almost certain that politics will probably come up tonight so my preferences should be known immediately.

Just for fun. Here is my graduation picture.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The National Rifle Association, which I belonged to as a young man, has said Barack Obama is a threat because he does not like concealed weapons. They are of the opinion that having a person with a concealed weapon at your kid's soccer match is a good idea. Well, it isn't. Make that person wear it out in the open so everyone can steer clear.

I have been opposed in my political races by the NRA because I opposed concealed weapons as Mayor of Albuquerque. It didn't matter that I own lots of guns and believe it is fine to carry one in your car and have one under your pillow. I just don't want them concealed out in public. This is a place where I don't agree with Governor Richardson. We have opposing views on this issue. But that never made him call me a threat or made me not support him. It is not an all or nothing thing with us.

So, as the NRA always does, they now attack Obama as a threat. Think of that. An organization that exists to now support mostly right wing causes and gun owners are saying Obama is threat. This kind of idiocy is why I quit the NRA years ago. It used to be they were proponents for gun safety, now they are proponents for the likes of bush and cheney. Disgusting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Great News

The early voting continues heavily Democratic in Bernalillo County.

A BIG Favor

The Republican Women’s Club official in Alamogordo who sent a fundamentalist and racist letter to her local newspaper did us all a BIG favor. She called Barack Obama a ‘Muslim socialist’. It really exposes the underbelly of American right wing politics and is at the same time a call to arms for all of us to remake America as an all encompassing nation.

This incident is really indicative of the bankrupt Republican Party and its tactics. Leaders of that hapless political organization should resolve to throw themselves out of power for the good of the country and let some new moderate types take over. It would be better for everyone.These tactics need to be placed in the dust bin of history.

Let’s start by repudiating the TV commercials of bush supporter Darren White against Martin Heinrich. Heinrich has more integrity in his little finger than the Darren White campaign has in it entire organization. I know Martin well. His wife Julie worked for me when I was Mayor. I visited Martin’s non profit organization, ‘Cotton Wood Gulch’ and raised money for him to introduce disadvantaged kids to the great western outdoors. I supported his candidacy for Albuquerque City Council where he did a fantastic job in bringing together a coalition to pass a minimum wage law for Albuquerque. The list of great things he has done could go on for quite a while.

I actually agree with a friend of mine who says that White’s commercials at this point will have little effect. It is just too late to throw out such charges. It should have been done months ago before people got comfortable with Martin’s candidacy. And if seventy percent of the voters cast their vote before Election Day then White is wasting his money anyway.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

House Full

Starting tonight we have a full house around here. Our good friends Rachel and Booth from Austin will be arriving to stay with us for two weeks. They voted yesterday morning in Austin, Texas where they live and are coming in to help the Obama campaign in New Mexico. We already have one other political visitor, Attorney Eli Poupko is also from Austin, and is here helping Martin Heinrich's campaign.

All these good progressives love their native state of Texas but they don't see their efforts in Texas for Democrats being as productive as coming to a 'Battleground' state. I actually think they will be happy with the outcome here.

One still has to marvel at how campaigns continually run nastier and nastier ads and rhetoric. John McCain was a guy who I always kind of liked. But, no more. He has moved to the dark side and seems comfortable there. This tactic has lost him support, but this race is not over yet. It does look very difficult for him to win the electoral votes he needs.

I think it is really important that Obama wins both the popular and electoral votes. Sometimes I think that if bush had won both eight years ago there would not be strong feelings that he cheated to win. Oh, that's right. He used the Supreme Court to win. Two weeks and counting.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Republican and bush supporter Congressional Candidate Darren White has been sending out the vilest direct mail pieces I have ever seen to independent voters. A friend of mine brought them over including one that shows his opponent Martin Heinrich as a weasel. The pieces are slick and constant and it will probably shave some votes from Martin.

At the same time, after the endorsement of Barack Obama by Colin Powell, it may be there can be diminishing returns to such nauseating tactics. Powell pointed out that the nasty campaign advertising by McCain turned him off. Bigtime.

I saw the story on Darren White in the Albuquerque Journal this morning. I thought both stories were fair on White and Heinrich. However I was surprised to see that White was mustered out of the Army before his enlistment was up due to a 'knee' injury. Did he get a disability? Then he goes through a tough police academy? Just thinking that it is kind of strange.

Back to Powell. This endorsement was just the kind of momentum kick that the Obama campaign needed at this point. The stars are aligning.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Biden Rally

We had a nice quick trip down to the Joe Biden rally in Mesilla, NM yesterday. About 1500 people crowded into the Plaza to listen to the VP candidate. In the background anti abortion fundamentalist types paraded around with signs and horrible photos.

It was a mixed crowd of old and young looking for hope.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Just like clockwork the Republicans are screaming that election fraud is taking place. They say they have found some bad ballots from the last election and that it proves things are corrupt. This is a different kind of corruption than we all experienced when the Supreme Court gave an election to bush about eight years ago.

This happens every October before a general election. Every time the media falls for it. Every time.

It is laughable. I will laugh about it all the way down to Las Cruces to see Joe Biden today.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Debate Sponsors

Bobbi and I split up our debate watching parties last night. This is a picture of her at Rodger and Connie Beimer's home. She is chatting with Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. This debate party was mainly for females with Rodger being there in charge of dishing out the Frito Pie!

I attended the party thrown by the New Mexico Conservation Voters. Of course Obama came out on top. McCain's anger showed through and hurt him. I witnessed that anger one time while dining in the Senate dining room in Washington. McCain was sitting nearby with Don Imus and he went ballistic over something. He turned red as a beet.

Anyway, I was astonished at how much advertising on CNN and MSNBC that was bought by the oil and gas and coal industries. These dirty energy companies are trying to turn themselves into good guys and saviours. I sure hope that no one falls for it. Well, they actually are falling for it when you see many people thinking its okay for them to drill and mine anywhere. Last night I was happy to see Obama call McCain out on the fact that the oil boys have 68 million acres of public land leased that they have not bothered to drill even though they want more sensitive lands put on the block. This is just one issue a new Interior Department Secretary will have to deal with.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I will try and update Bernalillo County vote stats every couple of days. Here is what County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver has sent for today.

Ballots Mailed:
Democrats 32414
Republican 25469
Other 8905

Ballots Received:
Democrats 2298
Republicans 1808
Others 411

Early Voting
Democrats 1827
Republicans 584
Others 360


The final curtain is falling on the Metro Courthouse scandal. Former State Senator Manny Aragon is pleading to charges that he received kickbacks on the Courthouse construction. He and others, including former Mayor Ken Schultz, will most likely be in prison for a while. Others will get away with fines and probation.

I have known Manny and Schultz for many years. They teamed up against me when I ran for Mayor in 1985. I lost to Schultz after an extremely nasty negative campaign waged against me. Manny helped with that. They had accused my lovely wife of racism because she kept her last name and said my children kept her name so they would not be identified as Hispanics. That of course was not true, but it worked just enough to beat me in the valley areas. I never much liked Schultz because of that.

I grew to like Manny though because he usually voted for the little guy in his Senate votes through the years. However, he did betray them by taking this illicit money. Money that could have been used for some good purpose or to lessen taxes for low income people.

Will prison time mean much at this point for Manny and Ken and the rest of the crew? I think it won't serve much purpose and it will cost an additional 150K a year to incarcerate them. Maybe more. After some time in Federal prison they should send them to halfway houses. At any rate, Justice is being served.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mischief Afoot

While we all wallow in angst over the value of 401-Ks and the possibility of job losses, the bush administration is stealthily getting ready to do great harm to the west's great landscapes. A case in point is Utah's magnificent Red Rock Canyon Country.

I know we have a lot on our plates right now but the damages that can occur on our public lands is permanent. The economy can heal, the bush war can be ended, but the pillaging of our great landscapes can not be fixed once it is done.

The bush administration is getting ready to implement something called BLM Resource Management Plans in Utah. These plans have been condemned by just about every one including the EPA. But the bush team in Utah under the leadership of Utah's Bureau of Land Management Director Selma Sierra, a former republican operative in New Mexico for Senator Domenici and Representative Joe Skeen (RIP), is doing a last "Hail Mary" pass to the oil and gas, coal and off road vehicle industries. This is malfeasance. It may be we will need to address this in the next administration and I hope everyone will do so for the sake of the land. In the meantime the only solutions seem to be lawsuits.

I serve on the board of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

Monday, October 13, 2008


So, now all of us are wondering if Obama is peaking 4 weeks early. It is okay if people are early voting and absentee voting. However, the rudderless McCain campaign might blunder into some new issue that grabs people for a short time......Say three or four days before election day. We would like to think that folks are not that fickle. But, they are.

My friend who was in New York this last week took a ride to the airport with an African American taxi driver who said he was voting for McCain because Obama's good buddy was a terrorist. No matter what my friend said to the cabbie, he could not get him to change his mind. So, as you can see this process of throwing mud against the wall really does work many times. So, get everyone you know to the early voting locations as soon as you can. Besides, it is bound to save a lot of time for everyone on election day if many people have already voted.

Friday, October 10, 2008

All Five

Is it possible that New Mexico will have an entirely Democratic delegation in our nations Capitol? I have always been afraid of saying there was a possibility and then looking like a fool. (I have looked foolish many times)

Now, I think there is a better that 50/50 chance that it will happen. The Republicans pulling out their TV money in New Mexico is most likely a deal killer for Darren White. Down south Harry Teague just keeps putting his own personal fortune into the campaign and that may well kill off Tinsley's chances.

Tom Udall is a lock. So is Ben Ray Lujan. Bingaman is there already. It could happen! Of course, there are pitfalls in that things better get fixed pretty quick or all of the Dems are in trouble.

I really hope that we get 60 Democrat Senators, even if a few of them are the so called 'blue dog democrats.' This will at least end the paralysis in that chamber.

We are really living in interesting times. Global financial meltdown, climate change, war, religious fanatics running around, and the possibility that we may end up with an intelligent and thoughtful President in Barack Obama.

And now a little humor sent to me by my sister Carlota. New definitions for old words in these times.

CEO --Chief Embezzlement Officer.

CFO-- Corporate Fraud Officer.

BULL MARKET -- A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.

BEAR MARKET -- A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.

VALUE INVESTING -- The art of buying low and selling lower.

P/E RATIO -- The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.

BROKER -- What my broker has made me.

STANDARD & POOR -- Your life in a nutshell.

STOCK ANALYST -- Idiot who just downgraded your stock.

STOCK SPLIT -- When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.

FINANCIAL PLANNER -- A guy whose phone has been disconnected.

MARKET CORRECTION -- The day after you buy stocks.

CASH FLOW -- The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.

YAHOO -- What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.

WINDOWS -- What you jump out of when you're the sucker who bought Yahoo @ $240 per share.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR -- Past year investor who's now locked up in a nuthouse.

PROFIT -- An archaic word no longer in use.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hit Job on Martin...Bad News For Darren-Updated

I was aghast at the hit job that KRQE News did on Martin Heinrich's Congressional campaign last night. They heavily criticized them because they didn't get an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she attended a fundraiser the on Tuesday night for Martin. Republican Sheriff and bush lover Darren White used to be a reporter for the TV station. He also had one of these moments when bush came to town a few weeks ago to raise money for White but the press wasn't allowed to take pictures. There is still no photos of White and bush together that have been made public. Gee, I wonder why. Did KRQE do a story on that?

Now, the bad news for Darren White. The Republican Congressional Campaign Committee just pulled two of three weeks of advertising funding from the White Campaign. That $500,000 was to buy the last three weeks of TV ads for White. Are the Republicans writing it off? Or are they just broke and making clinical decisions in the use of their meager funds? I guess Wachovia's loan to the RNCC wasn't enough to cover Darren.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


There is no question in my mind right now that Obama will win. If.......

That 'if' is that self unrecognized racists don't find a good enough excuse to vote for McCain. This was evident last night when watching CNN's Ohio focus group coverage. Although the metering system showed much more positive reactions to Obama's performance in the debate, the majority of them were still going to vote for McCain. It was weird that the pundits did not comment on it. This is the 800 pound gorilla in the room for the Obama campaign. Another 800 pound gorilla belongs to the McCain camp. That is the current outlook on the electoral vote map. It looks hopeless for McCain/Palin.

Thomas Friedman's column on Sarah Palin today is a must read in the New York Times.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I walked into the Bernalillo County early voting site at 6th and Lomas at 12:09PM. I walked out at 12:27PM after voting. It was highly efficient and my hats off to County Clerk Maggie Toulouse for making it so easy. I am sure that it will take longer as voting steams up.....but I would suggest you go get it done asap. In four hours this morning about 350 people voted. According to workers there this is a heavy early turnout.

Yes, for the first time in a long time I voted a straight ticket.

Of course now all of the millions of dollars of advertising money that will be spent on all of the races will be wasted on me. That is not so efficient.


All I can say is that the word 'Republican' must now be toxic. Yesterday John McCain was in town before another of one of those hand picked crowds who listened to him wallow in the mud over Obama.

The handpicked crowd apparently did not include Republican Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White. Well, of course he was invited but he just could not bring himself to stand with his party's standard bearer in this election for President. Look at Darren's website front page. It has no indication he is a Republican. I guess White is still praying that people will forget his unabashed support for bush and cheney and White's own blind devotion to the Iraq war. So Republican Congressional candidate Darren White is now doing what so many candidates like him are doing. They are running as 'independent' politicos. But apparently this isn't exactly working either since the latest Albuquerque Journal poll shows White losing big time with independent voters who are opting to go with Martin Heinrich. I just don't think a majority of voters are going to buy into candidates who are perceived to be bush supporters and enablers. Sometimes life isn't fair.

I am sure White and his minions will now do what McCain and his ilk are doing. This Republican sheriff will now have to wallow in the mud in a last ditch effort to win some momentum. I am hopeful that Martin's campaign wont let them get away with it.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Church Tax

The New Mexico Independent had a good story on a Pastor in Rio Rancho telling the faithful they had to vote for Republicans because of the bible. He is letting the Internal Revenue Service know that he did so. Is this a dangerous thing for the church? Well not really. They will never lose their non profit status unless a brave person comes forth from outside or inside the IRS to force the IRS to start charging taxes on the churches income. I think the Sandoval County Assessor should also weigh in with some property taxes, but that may be far fetched too. Politicians are just scared of bible thumping folk. This action is part of a larger right wing effort nationwide to further strengthen fundamentalists control on our government. We can't ignore it.

Recently, when three long time legislators lost their seats they sued the non profit organizations that exposed their voting records with violating tax laws. Many bloggers and the media made a big deal out of it, even though the non profits did not endorse any candidate. Once again, they just exposed voting records. This church thing is much more clear cut and hopefully every one will have some comments.

Friday, October 03, 2008

She Kept Her Lunch Down

It is sad when the main comments about the debate are that Sarah Palin didn't do as bad as everyone expected. It is also delusional to think that she proved she would be ready to act as President if the need arose. In my opinion she resorted to jingoism, oil mania, and repetition to get her through the ninety minutes. She was more poised and heavily coached and that helped her fight her own image. I just felt there was an insubstantial air about her.

She really didn't alter the electoral map at all nor the sliding misfortunes of her ticket. McCain has decided to pull out of Michigan and use his resources elsewhere. His own Republican pundits were aghast at that one.

How does all of this affect us in New Mexico? Not much, unless you are concerned about your mortgage and your job. Not much unless you want to end the long and senseless war in Iraq. Palin's position on the Iraq war was the most egregious as far as I was concerned. Thousands of dead American men and women and tens of thousands dead Iraqis and she worries about a 'white flag of surrender!' This is bush and cheney all over again.

Idiots Guide to the Financial Meltdown

This is good.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Risky Business

Risks. We all take them. But, most of them are not risks that endanger ones own life and others safety. The one thing I have always marveled at is how U.S. Navy carrier pilots deal with risk. Every landing is a disaster waiting to happen. A controlled crash really. At night it is just a gamble on odds that vertigo or worse does not cause a splattering on the deck killing deck handlers, the pilot and others. So, these Navy pilots get used to handling real risks every single day.

Now, think about John McCain. Since he was a carrier pilot he is used to great risk and wasn't afraid to risk his candidacy with his selection of Sarah Palin as his VP running mate. He will find out tonight if that risk was a good one. I actually think the bar has been set so low for Palin that if she just manages to get through the ordeal with out barfing on the air, she will not be hurt too much.

But back to the risk thing. John McCain likes to take them. He was a carrier pilot. I wonder if he really thinks that risk taking as President would be a good thing. It is not just his A-4 Skyhawk jet and his own life that he has to worry about in his decision making. It is pretty much the whole world. I don't think his high tolerance for risk is a good thing. I think it is a very bad thing indeed.
Here is Rolling Stone's look at McCain.

Curry Family Photo

A proud father who didn't want me to mention his name, that would be Ron Curry, sent me this photo the other day of his children Sean and Shannon in the Obama bus after the first debate. Shannon, whose husband is serving his second tour in Iraq, met Michelle Obama in Santa Fe at a meeting for military spouses. Michelle then invited Shannon and a guest to sit with her at the first debate. Michelle chose to take her brother. After the debate they were invited into the bus to chat with the candidate. Here is a picture that will go down in Curry family annals. I wonder if they can get me in to see the Obama campaign director in New Mexico? I have had no luck in doing that at all.

A former intern of mine at the Mayor's office, Ray Rivera, is the state campaign director in Colorado. He is doing a great job there and I am proud of him.
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Any Other Day

If the report on the Justice Department firings of U.S. Attorneys had come out on any other day but yesterday, we would have seen major news coverage of Senator Pete Domenici, Congresswoman Heather Wilson, and Sheriff Darren White's complicity. Oh, lets dont forget Pat Rogers and the rest of the extreme rightwingers too. Last night I watched local TV news and the story got very little coverage. Astonishingly, the Albuquerque Journal didn't even mention White's name in the story it did. How could that happen?

Even so, I think it is enough to pretty much finish the Sheriff's run for Congress against former City Council President Martin Heinrich. Martin, give me a call and I will write a TV commercial for you. Although, curiously, White has run such a poor campaign that maybe it isn't necessary. I don't know why this is happened, but I think the Republican party is so fragmented here that they just never got their 'merde' together.

Martin has run a good campaign for the this particular time in this congressional district's history. I think he will win by as good a margin as Heather used to win her seat.

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Hampshire

After the Wilderness Society meeting in Bretton Woods I went to stay with my friend Ned at his cabin at Lake Christine.
You reached it by going across one of those covered bridges.
This was the view across the lake from Ned's cabin.
I smoked my second cigar in a year. People from the seven cabins on the lake rowed out to the middle for "floating cocktails" before dinner. They lashed the boats together until dark and then we rowed back in a light rain shower and ate in front of a nice fire. Everyone should do this at least once.


I arrived home from New Hampshire to learn of former City Councilor Vince Griego's death. Albuquerque has lost a really decent soul. I knew Vince for many years, ever since he was first elected to the city council. Bobbi and I walked neighborhoods for him in his elections as he was our Council member in the North Valley.

Years later, Vince was still a Council member when I was elected Mayor. He was still a decent man who never kept any sort of tally on who owed him favors and who wouldn't get them. He approached every issue as a separate one and didn't let things spill over into other debates. No grudges with Vince. The people in DC could learn something from this philosophy. It is regrettable that the other right wing City Councilors didn't learn any thing from him.

Vince was a pretty good politician though and he usually got what he wanted for his city council district. He really brought home the bacon for the north valley. It is a better place to live than it was before he became the first councilor under the new city charter that set up the Mayor/Council form of government in the 70's.