Monday, March 31, 2008

Take the Quiz

Take this quiz on the Pew Research site and then compare yourself to the sample of Americans who also took this test. It is astounding.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mountain Out of a Mole Hill and a Mole Hill Out of a Mountain

I had to chuckle when I saw the story on the New Mexico Expo in the paper on Sunday. A guy who put on a rodeo at Tingley Coliseum is making a mountain out of a mole hill because two banks of lights weren't turned on for seven minutes before the event began. Despite his filling the coliseum for his events at prices of up to $75 bucks a seat he says he wont come back. As I understand it, everything started on time. He did the same thing two years ago and pocketed ten grand in refunds. Looks like the same thing might happen this time. I would suggest reporters back track this operator to see if this happens regularly at other venues. Maybe he is an honest guy, but I saw this same kind of thing happen at the Convention Center when I was Mayor. The venue operators should do their jobs correctly and as efficiently as humanly possible, but at the same time the 'customers' aren't always right.

Then I see Mayor Marty Chavez try to make a mole hill out of his $65 million dollar deficit mountain at city hall. He says he will not fill 200 vacancies and pull in the belt in other areas. 200 jobs wont save much after the Mayor and Council's spending spree of the last six years. Won't some enterprising journalist look into where Marty threw that money? Will someone check out if the transportation tax we passed ten years ago has really been used as it should have? Or was it used on things the voters didn't approve? $65 million is a big chunk and this will be very painful for the city to handle. It may get worse. When will the legislature and cities work together to widen city revenue options rather than depending on the gross receipts tax for such a large portion of city revenues?

China Girl

This is a nice picture that my daughter Noelle took of herself at a Panda reserve near Chengdu, China. Noelle is traveling there on business for Intel. She endured a 16 hour flight in coach from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and then on to her destination on and airline named 'Dragon Air'.

I am amazed at the places she has already visited around the world at her age. As I recall I had been to Jaurez at that point in my life. I didn't start world traveling until my late thirties. I am also amazed that I can post this photo of her just a few hours after it was taken. What would we do without the internet now? That is kind of scary to think about.

Noelle has been to France, Swizterland, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Mexico, Thailand, Laos, Spain and a few other places I cant remember right now. I think this is great and that it bodes well for her. Come to think of it, her brother Justin is just as accomplished on the globe trotting.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Tell me something I don't know. The Juniper pollen is at a peak and I am zoned out for the third day in a row trying to fight it. Let's see, I am taking native honey, echanasia, Benadryl at night and Claritin (non drowsy) during the day. I feel like I am living in another dimension. (Kind of like Hillary must be feeling today after Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania endorsed Barack Obama)

The Albuquerque Journal announced this morning that Juniper pollen was at its peak and would continue heavily for a few more weeks. Groan. It also said that the reasons some people get pollen allergies and some don't are unknown. Some even say that if your mom smoked it would make you vulnerable. Well Mom smoked a lot but I doubt that means much. I had this malady as a child and into college. But then it disappeared for forty years only to start revisiting me three years ago. Weird.

The hardest part of all this really is the lack of energy brought on by labored breathing. Despite my weight problems I am an avid aerobics guy and walker. I just haven't been able to do it for a few days and I think that complicates things. It also feels like someone has lifted up my eyelids and poured sand under them. I know it could always be worse so I will not complain about it anymore. Zoned!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Me Toos

All of the Congressional candidates from around the state who didn't get enough of the insider votes at the state pre-primary nominating conventions got on the ballot yesterday by turning in additional signature petitions. A few opted out but most took advantage of a hastily repealed law that would not have allowed them on the ballot if they didn't get the magic 20% of the delegate vote.

I am glad the legislature repealed that law but, in reality it wont do those candidates much good. I don't remember any candidate who didn't get that 20% going on to win the primary elections. I do recall candidates who got just over the 20% going on to win. Often the candidates who won the delegate votes don't go on to win either. I think the value of the process however is that at some point it will enable a really good outsider candidate to make a case that they are the best and then go on to win. What is the value in keeping any one from doing that?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Loyalty Oaths

Dear Mayor Chavez,

I know folks like you always like to pile on. You and James Carville and other Clinton supporters are having such fun trying to eviscerate Governor Richardson for not taking a loyalty oath to Hillary that I wonder if you have thought ahead a few months. What if Hillary actually wins the nomination? How hard will it be to get Richardson and people like him back into the fold? How hard will they work after being accused of being Judas? How would a perceived moderate like McCain take advantage of all of this?

And, if as you all say the endorsement doesn't mean much at this point, why are you doing this?

We all know that you got to play golf for a few days with President Clinton. Is that what earned your loyalty? Or are there solid policy reasons? Or promises of jobs to get you out of town before the full impact of the city budget meltdown is felt? I sincerely would like to hear you tell us why you support Hillary so strongly so that we might see the light. We already know that Governor Richardson likes Obama's message of change and frank approach to the issues.

There is nothing wrong will calling out your opponents and supporters on their policy issues. But calling them out because they don't support your candidate is infantile.

I think the real problem for the Clinton supporters right now is that they know they have already lost and they might just be doing some early venting. Lets hope so.

Monday, March 24, 2008


There is no more important news today than fact that 4000 Americans have died in Iraq, along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. There is a lot more fun news to dally with, but this is the one that should mostly be on our minds.

Yesterday, the Albuquerque Journal's Sunday Editorial on the Iraq war was down to earth, realistic and logical. Every once in a while I marvel at how good some of their opinion pieces can be. (Every once in a while.)

But then they do it again today with their Editorial on PNM and the reality of that companies precarious business position right now. PNM, which has not had a rate increase in 20 years, needs to up its rates. Political posturing PRC members, aspiring Mayor candidates in Albuquerque, and others have been ranting that this shouldn't ever happen. Get real. It has to happen or some large conglomerate will buy up PNM and then watch what happens. Along with that I will say PNM has to get real too and tell the people who are building that Pinon Tree burning power plant in Estancia that they wont buy their power.

Finally, James Carville's likening of Bill Richardson to Judas because of Bill's endorsement of Barack Obama proves to me that Carville is really Gollum from the "Lord of the Rings."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Richardson's Endorsement

I was really happy to see Governor Richardson step up to the endorsement of Barrack Obama. I think a lot of people don't realize it was a gutsy thing to do given the job ahead of him now.

I was talking with a long time Hispanic friend the other day who felt that Obama was going to lose the general election if nominated because African Americans and Latinos have too much bad blood between them. He says we don't see it in New Mexico but that it is very real in the rest of the country. I think this means that Bill Richardson will have a lot of work to do for Obama in the next eight months. We all know Richardson isn't afraid of hard campaigning and effective diplomacy. He is one person that can bridge this divide, assuming the divide exists.

So, I am quite certain the Governor will be out on the campaign trail quite often. There is no one that loves it more than him or is better at it than him. This is all good for the Obama campaign.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Enviros Gather for Udall

We had about 75 good staunch supporters of conservation show up at our home last night for a fundraiser and endorsement of Congressman Tom Udall for the Senate.
Gene Karpinski flew in from the National League of Conservation Voters to endorse for that influential organization. They have so far endorsed Udall, Ben Ray Lujan in the Northern District, and soon my good friend Martin Heinrich in the Albuquerque district.

Tom Udall got a 100% rating from the League last year for his votes to protect our nation's land, water and air resources.
Udall, as is normal at these events, pretty much preached to the choir.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's Speech

Obama's speech on race will rank up there with Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream Speech."


The Albuquerque Journal had three stories I know a little bit about today. Mayor Chavez and his budget orgies of the last few years have caught up to the Albuquerque taxpayer. State Land Commissioner Pat Lyon's sweetheart deals with developers have caught up with him. There is also a story on suppression of testimony in the Congress that is upsetting.

Mayor Chavez says he has instituted eleven balanced budgets as Mayor. I think he forgets abut the $25 million dollar deficit he left me when I took over the Mayor's office from him in 1998. Adding to the current city budget meltdown are his pay raises for the police and fire departments that will cost another $10 million and his wish to cut taxes and you have a classic set up for a budget disaster. The city council and the Mayor have launched double digit budget increases for six years and it will now haunt them.

Commissioner Pat Lyons has been shut down on his sweetheart deals by Attorney General Gary King. Lyons has been attempting to give away large sums of potential state income to land developers who contributed huge sums to his campaigns. Gary King did the right thing here but I am hopeful there will be some serious investigations by someone into these deals themselves. I admire Gary King's stand because his cousin Jerry King, who is rumored to be running for Land Commissioner, is a political appointee in the Land Office.

Finally, a Deputy Sheriff in Dona Ana County mysteriously canceled his appearance before a congressional committee in Washington. The Deputy was to have testified on the abuse of public lands by unregulated off road vehicle users. I have worked extensively on this issue and was surprised by the last minute pullout by the Deputy. I suspect, although it has been denied, that Congressman Steve Pearce had a hand in this since he is supported financially by manufacturers and retailers of all terrain vehicles. When I heard of this cancellation I called the Republican Sheriff in Dona Ana county to see if he disallowed the Deputy's testimony. He never returned my call. I hope the media will stay on this one!

Monday, March 17, 2008


It feels like someone sat on my chest all night. When we came over the Arizona/New Mexico border yesterday the wind started wafting the juniper pollen into the car. We came back on Highway 60 from Phoenix. The trip through the Salt River Canyon was breathtaking. I just didn't know by breath would continue to be taken by the 50mph cross wind from Springerville to Socorro.

Everyone seems to have home remedies for this malady. My uncle swears by New Mexico raw honey. Another friend from Hawaii says I should take liquid Ecanasia before bed. Maybe the best thing to do is what my sister Carlota does this time of year. Leave NM for a month.

I watched the Nominating conventions via the Internet from Arizona. No surprises for me at all. I was especially glad to see Pearce beat Wilson in the convention. That shows me the extreme right wing is still in control of the GOP. We know that Wilson her self is pretty right wing too, but apparently not enough for her party. This all bodes well for Tom Udall.

Martin Heinrich will be the Democratic nominee in June despite a nice effort by Michelle Grisham Lujan. I foresee the Democratic Congressional Campaign committee getting behind him completely and that will help with his fund raising. I think he will have a challenging race against President bush campaign chairman Darren White, but that Martin will win because he is running against the President bush campaign chairman.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Big City

I was stationed in Phoenix at Luke Air Force Base almost 40 years ago. It was still a small town. Today I am going to meet an old friend for lunch. I am Noelle's home in Chandler and need to go to Glendale. It is 37 miles through totally urban traffic. Hard to believe the sprawl here. This must be Mayor Chavez' vision. Yuk.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Phoenix Girl

While our house sitter cleans his gun collection Bobbi and I will travel to Phoenix to spend the weekend with Noelle. We might even take in a spring training game.

Before I leave I want to give all of the political candidates for the Congressional races some advice. Saturday, you will participate in the Pre-Primary nominating conventions. You must remember one thing. Ten minutes after your delegate votes are counted up and announced they will amount to nothing more than a hill of beans. At that point the real campaign begins to win votes from the non-insiders. If you win the delegate vote count, by all means spin it and revel in it for about a day. Then go out and convince regular party members to vote for you in the June Primary election. The convention and election day in New Mexico are not really connected at all as far as amassing votes.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Veterans for Peace

The Veterans for Peace set up their exhibit at the University of New Mexico Duck Pond today that shows the photos and stories of all Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It is certainly not as beautiful as the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial in Washington, but is just as emotional.

There were a lot students stopping by to see the more than 4000 names and photos, including this young ROTC student.
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Click to Enlarge

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Accomplished Friend

I graduated in 1963 from St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque. One of my classmates was a guy named Dennis Jett. He seemed to me to be a relatively quiet guy who seemed to get along with everyone.

Dennis went on to a stellar career with the U.S. State Department. He served as Diplomat in Residence at the Carter Center in Atlanta, as the Ambassador to Mozambique and Ambassador to Peru. While he was in Peru I was serving as Mayor of Albuquerque and he invited me to Peru to travel around the country to meet with Peruvian Mayors. I spoke on the importance of pressing the national government to decentralize and give more power to local government. It was a grueling week but my son Justin went with me and we got to see Cuzco and Machu Picchu.

Dennis and I had coffee early this morning. He is currently serving as Dean of the International Center at the University of Florida but will be moving on from there soon. Dennis is a progressive statesman who has just released a book titled, "Why American Foreign Policy Fails." He also writes regular columns that appear around the country. You can see them all at "The Smirking Chimp." You will understand the blog name after looking at it.

It is nice to know Dennis and people like him are out there talking sense.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


This might be worth coverage by the local media, at least to find out if there is anything to it!

Just a Reminder

As the Iraq war approaches its 5th birthday amidst stories of sexual misconduct by current, former and soon to be former elected officials, I thought we needed to be reminded of these statistics.
American Deaths

In Combat
Since war began (3/19/03):

Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03)

Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03):

Since Handover (6/29/04):

Since Election (1/31/05):


American Wounded


Total Wounded:

2932023000 - 100000

Add in 80-90,000 Iraqi civilian deaths.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Any Bets

Do I have any takers on a bet that the New York Governor's use of a prostitution ring will get more attention from America's media than the five American soldiers who died in Baghdad today?

Fact and Fiction

I am really into SciFi author Michael Flynn. I am reading his "In the Country of the Blind" in which he postulates a secret society controlling the future of mankind by the use of mathematical models and assasinations. The group formed when the concept of computers was postulated by Charles Babbage.

Anyway, he gets into this essay about fiction and fact. He says there is more truth in fiction and more lies in fact. I think he is right. Facts are merely things given to us by people who can't get rid of bias, no matter how hard they try. Fiction predicts things that usually come true.

I was reading this last night and thinking of the last couple of weeks politics. In the final analysis Clinton has maybe gained three or four net delegate votes. The media says she has broken the momentum of Obama. They say it as a fact. Obama on the other hand says pay attention to the math. He predicts there is no way she can over come him. This might be a fiction at this point but most likely it is true.

Meanwhile, it was reported this morning that the TV commercial Clinton used about the 3 a.m. phone call used a young girl actress who was eight years old when the stock footage was made. She is now eighteen years old and is working for Obama. How funny is that?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Good Ol'e Harry

There is a great character in John Nichols' "Milagro Bean field War" who keeps bouncing back from certain death. Amarante Cordova just wouldn't succumb.

He came to mind today when I went by to see Harry Pavlides at the hospital. Harry had a triple bypass last Monday. This was on top of his bad kidneys, diabetes, and weak lungs. He has rebounded once again so that he may keep giving out his passionate advice to all who would be politicians.

I met Harry about 30 years ago when he came to work for the Bruce King campaign for Governor. Harry hasn't stopped talking since! He is an extremely interesting character who most in the political game in New Mexico have run across. He is one of those people who can make us see life's great universe of personalities, although he may be one of a kind.

Get well soon Harry!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Republican Nasty and Worrisome Trend

I really don't know Rod Adair, the republican State Senator from Roswell, but I have to say everytime I read his name he is involved in some nasty politics. He is calling fellow republican Ed Tinsley, one of the congressional candidates in the southern district, a 'Santa Fe Liberal." It seems Tinsley's big crime is that he owns a home in the State's Capitol.

In other words Adair is saying there is something wrong with Santa Feans. They are to be mistrusted. They are all bad people. They should be expunged. Put them up against a wall even though they live in the Land of Enchantment like many of us. This is the kind of stuff I just abhor about the politics being practiced today. It is meant to get groups of people hating each other for political gain. Adair is emulating despots like Milosevich and sectarian Mullahs.

The problem is that this stuff can work because it is now in many voters minds down there that Tinsley is a liberal and there is something wrong with people from Santa Fe. Nastiness trumps substance every time.

There is one other thing that is concerning me this morning. That is the fact that the national republican party is out fundraising the national Democratic party. This is not a good thing for all of our Congressional candidates because the republican neo-con crazies will do to the Democrats what Adair has done to one of his victims. Put them in a frame of denying they are something they are not. Send a few bucks to the Democratic party in DC to help counter this.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Some of the candidates for the Congressional seat being vacated by Congressman Tom Udall are aghast that Don Wiviott is loaning more money to his campaign. Wiviott pumped in another quarter million to his treasury recently. He wants to keep running those incredibly effective TV commercials of his and he is putting up his own dough to do it.

What I find amusing is that any candidate or person would find Wiviott's self funding offensive given our state campaign financing corruption. At least he is not selling himself to the oil and gas industry or others. Also, why are some of his opponents acting like he is trying to buy the election while at the same time remaining silent during the last legislative session on campaign reform in state political races. In those races the special interests can give any amount of money to a candidate, think Land Commissioner Pat Lyons donors for example, and get away with it with little criticism.

At least there are limits in Federal races on what individuals and special interests can give to a candidate. While there are no limits on a candidates personal wealth being used, at least it is a better situation than the states. I guess I do have a little problem with the uneven playing field that rich people have in funding their own campaigns. That is allowed by Supreme Court decisions so you cant really blame them.

How on earth can our legislature continue to rationalize not taking action on this issue of campaign reform in state races?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Here is comments from Rachel Cohen in Austin. She is my sister's step daughter. She retired from Texas State Government a few years ago.

I'm so depressed this morning I can barely make myself listen to the news. I agree with your blog this morning -- if it goes really negative -- and ESPECIALLY if she insists on trying to get the Michigan and Florida delegates seated without a real primary in those states -- then I'm not sure I'll be able to be there for her in November. One of the only things that could allow republicans to win in November would be that troika of events -- (1) turning away dyed-in-the-wool democrats like me (2) allowing yet another generation of kids to think that it really DOESN'T matter if they vote and (3) the revitalizing effect that a Hillary nomination would have on the Republican party.
We went to the Texas caucuses last night -- a really interesting civics lesson. And the Hillary people were more "in-yer-face" than the Obama people were, but our caucus had SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT PEOPLE sign in (the presiding chair said that she'd never had more than 30 there before). Obama won 62% of the delegates from our precinct -- they will go to the county convention on March 29, where they will sign in for Obama.
How it works: When our precinct is combined with the other precincts in Travis County, they will determine how many of the 8 delegates allocated to Travis County will go the state convention, and from there to the national convention. (Travis County gets a big proportion of the 67 or 69 or whatever it is delegates allocated by caucus because we tend to have more democratic voters than the rest of the state -- it's determined by how many people voted for the democratic candidates in the last governor's election and the previous presidential election.)
So I guess that people could figure out how it's GOING to go, give or take a couple of delegates, but I'm not really sure what the news people are talking about when they talk about how many delegates WERE awarded yesterday through the caucus process.
How will Democrats survive this?

Late Night

I actually stayed awake last night until 11:30 watching the election returns. No huge surprises there for me except I thought that Obama might take Texas. A few weeks ago he was almost 20% down so this is still impressive, and he still leads in delegates.

I think the thing that astonishes me most is the information gathered from the exit polls. While American kids are still fighting and dying in Iraq the American public seemed to vote more on their paycheck and economic fears. This certainly played in Clinton's favor in Ohio which blames her husbands support of NAFTA as being the reason. They still voted for her. The economy is an important issue, but Obama has to reconnect the importance of ending the carnage in Iraq as being the best economic move we can make.

The other thing that amazed me is the age statistics. Clinton won the older voters by huge margins and Obama won the young ones. This should be very worrisome for the Democrats because it will be hard to keep the youngsters interested if they don't see Obama winning the nomination.

As I said yesterday, Clinton's negative TV ads worked, as they always do and we can now expect a lot more. Every time I read about them I will be less enamored with her efforts if she wins. She needs to stick to the high road if she wants folks like me to be there.

This truly is far from over. McCain sits in the wings rejuvenating himself while Clinton and Obama slug it out for at least two more months.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Munchie Night

I am treating tonight's Elections in Ohio and Texas as I would a Super Bowl night. I am breaking out the munchies, wine and beer and will stay with it until I can't stay awake any longer. Probably around 10:30!

Right now I am totally p.o.'d at the Clinton Campaign for purposely trying to weaken a front running Obama campaign with negative and silly ads. As we all know that strategy works and if Obama manages to move Hillary out of the picture tonight then he has to spend time and money recovering from it. That energy and money should be aimed at the '100 Year' war candidate John McCain.

I think I am feeling like a lot of Obama supporters. I feel that if Hillary is victorious in the race that my support will not be as fevered as it could have been if she hadn't done this stuff. Seriously!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Just Wondering

I spent most of the weekend puttering around the house. Bobbi and I did a little yard work on a nice spring Saturday and then we hunkered down to a wintry and blustery Sunday. It was a nice day to read and wonder.

1. Why does a U.S. Marine and Iraq veteran who chases down a thief and kills him get the support of the community for clemency from the Governor when two Hispanic men who did the same thing spend long years in prison? (I am sure they all overstepped the law, but is prison really the only answer? How about two years working in a Veterans hospital?)

2. Why does Hillary Clinton keep saying that experience is so important for a President when her long years of experience have resulted in one of the worst run campaigns in memory?

3. Why is the renewable energy industry being denied tax breaks while the Senate continues to delay on doing away with $17 billion dollars in tax credits for the oil and gas industry which is seeing record profits?

4. Why are banks and lenders raising interest rates on student loans while (again) the oil and gas industry gets tax subsidies from all of us? (I think Senator Pete Domenici and his pals could answer this question.)

5. Why is Barack Obama dressed in native clothing (a turban) more ominous than bush dressed in native clothing(Chinese)?