Sunday, November 29, 2009


We spent the day at sea on Saturday and arose at 6am to watch our ship enter the Gatun Locks in Panama Canal. It really is a marvel and now we have been here. This is a pic of the gang of six, minus part of Connie. We took a cruise on the Chagres River and a walk in the rain forest. It rained there. Tomorrow we are on to the rain forests in Costa Rica.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Bobbi and I crossed to the main shopping area on a pontoon bridge.

Curacao is interesting because as you get off the ship you are in an area of markets and local stores intermingled with a lot of tourist traps. It is a pretty place that has humidity in spades. But it was endurable. Fresh Fish from the Caribbean and fruits and veggies from Venezuela which is just miles away. No sign of Hugo Chavez though.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gang of Six

Here is the Gang of Six, Rodger and Connie Beimer, Ed and Jolene Mahr, Bobbi and me after we demolished Thanksgiving Day Dinner onboard Zuiderdam. We toured Aruba all day and came back for dinner on the ship. Tomorrow we go to Willemstad for a day of walking the old city. Then on to Panama.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Half Moon Cay

We had a great beach stay at Half Moon Cay. It might be the nicest beach we have ever been on….anywhere.

Rodger and Connie thought about pedaling back to the Zuiderdam but they might have been identified as pirates and had the fire hoses turned on them.

I have to say I am disappointed in seeing Obama thinking of sending more troops to Afghanistan. How does the military industrial complex get to a buy like Obama? Maybe they all know something we don’t, but no one has ever brought order to that country and we won’t either. Like a leopard that cant change its spots.

Speaking of spotty….Martin Chavez showed his in his signing agreements on arbitration. I often wonder if it is even constitutional to give a way power to a faceless arbitrator in cutting contract deals with labor unions. That person is not elected. Shame on Marty.

Monday, November 23, 2009


They say pictures are worth a thousand words. Rodger and Connie Beimer are at the Crow's Nest Bar along with Ed and Jolene Mahr. We plan on having fun but will all go our own ways when we hit ports.

Delta Frown

Delta is my airline. They had a bad day yesterday with broken planes and misplaced luggage. That stuff happens occasionally and is just unavoidable.

However, the strain of reduced salaries and increased work loads is showing on Delta employees. We spent a good ten hours dealing with Delta on Sunday and I can honestly say I never saw one employee actually smile. They look stressed to the max. It might be time for Delta management to wake up.

We will be leaving to board the ship soon. This morning I took a long walk in Fort Lauderdale on my quest for a Starbucks. One thing I noticed was help wanted signs in many windows. That is a good sign....right?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Outta Here

We will all be at the airport Sunday morning for our flight to Fort Lauderdale to board our ship. Here is hoping Delta Airlines and the FAA can manage to get us there. Then overnight before embarking on the Zuiderdam. We have been on four of Holland America's Dam ships now.

Ten days of snorkeling, sitting on the beaches, excursions in Panama and Costa Rica and then back again. I will post pictures if the internet on the ship is up to it.

It would be nice to get back in ten days and find that the Senate has passed some healthcare reform. Who knows? I think we are close to something happening. Let us hope the abortion issue proponents or opponents don't sink the greater bill. This issue can always be handled later if need be. I say this at great risk to my progressive credentials, but I think the greater good is passage of a bill.

We will return after Mayor Berry takes office. So far his appointments seem okay. It is apparent to me that the wing nut republicans are not offering up any qualified candidates to run city agencies. I think the only thing they can do is criticize government. They don't actually have anyone who can participate in it because they have no real world experience. Except for whining.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bobbi and Me Cruising

Bobbi has laid out all of her clothes for our upcoming cruise to the Caribbean next week. We will be joined by friends this time and it will be a more relaxing cruise than we usually embark on. Lots of beaches and lazy days. Panama and Costa Rica are included along with all of the tropical isles. As usual our home is protected by gun toting guards and alarms.

We were thinking today how great it would be when cruises can start off loading in Cuba. A visit there by Americans dropping dollars would do a lot of good. I guess Fidel has to croak first so the right wing Cubans in Miami can't complain.

We will sail on Holland America's Zuiderdam. It is a bigger ship that we are used to being on so it might be different. However, I will never get on those new behemoths that carry 7000 passengers and crew. If I want to stay in a city I could just choose not to cruise.

Our next cruise is in March. Rio de Janiero to Buenos Aires and back. Lots of heavy duty excursions on that one.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Bobbi and I went to see that disaster movie last night. 2012 seemed to be a satire on the republican party. Yuk.

The Associated Press has laid off many veteran reporters including Deborah Baker in Santa Fe. They now have one staffer left in Santa Fe. This is really bad. The AP could always be depended upon for reporting not dictated by publishers of local newspapers. This is really bad.

Mayor Berry is still filling out his team. He is taking many long time city employees and putting them in charge. That will result in a mixed bag of results. Some good and some bad. Like I said in my blog yesterday about the federal Bureau of Land Management, will folks like this serve the well being of the bureaucracy or the new policy initiatives of the Mayor elect? It may not come to that since the financial mess Mayor Berry is inheriting will trump everything.

This is a picture I found from my Land Commissioner campaign in 1991. We all won that year. This was Bruce King at his best. What ever happened to Casey Luna? I wonder if he will visit the Capitol tomorrow as Governor King lies in state. I certainly plan on going.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Bureau of Land Management

I need to understand something. Why is it that after 10 months in office that the Obama administration has allowed all of the bush appointed Bureau of Land Management state directors to remain in their jobs? Some of them should be transferred out for their complicity in ignoring environmental laws and allowing destructive practices on the lands they manage. Some of the Directors are nothing but political operatives of the republican party. One example is the state director in Utah who has no land management experience but did work for the GOP in New Mexico and Washington.

I was worried that the new BLM Director, Bob Abbey, would not take action. He is a former career employee of the BLM and a favorite of Senator Harry Reid. I felt if he was appointed that he would not want to rock the boat with the BLM bureacracy. So far, I have been right. For the sake of our western public lands Abbey(a generally good guy) needs to take action on some of these directors. Not all of them, but certainly a few of them to send a message that there is a new ethic in the Interior Department.

It is all to often that Democrats in power help their enemies more than their friends. Can you imagine the bush administration or any GOP management team doing that? Right now the Obama administration needs to put the health of western landscapes and watersheds in front of the politics. A lot of folks worked for them to do so last year.

No, this is not the most important agenda item for Obama. He has his hands full. But the Interior department needs to cover him on this and do the right thing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Payment in Advance?

I see where Mayor Marty Chavez is getting a workman's compensation settlement for injuring his back jumping a fence. One might consider this compensation for the pending storm of criticism he will have to endure on the budget he is leaving the Mayor elect. I heard yesterday from a pretty good source that the outlook is very grim and that furloughs or layoffs for city employees are likely. I have been harping that the budget shortfalls at city hall are a lot more than what the outgoing administration have said they were. We will find out in just a few weeks.

I offered to go in and chat with incoming Mayor Berry a couple of times. So far his staff hasn't even called me back. They must think however that my administration could not have been too bad since they are hiring people who were involved in my four years at city hall. They are good people. Dave Campbell, the incoming CAO, was always willing to take on issues for me during my term in office. Bruce Rizzeri will now take up the post as head of transportation replacing Greg Payne.

I had to chuckle when I read the story yesterday about all the new riders on Albuquerque's transportation system. They would not be riding if it were not for my initiative on passing a transportation tax back in 1999. That has made possible all the new infrastructure over the last ten years. All I got out of it was the hatred of the right wingers in town who thought I was just a taxing SOB. They just didn't think it was worth the money to have a modern transportation system in Albuquerque. Well, they were wrong. Ask one million people in the last year who have used it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Never a Finer Man

I heard of Bruce King's passing on the way from Phoenix to Albuquerque this morning. I had a nice long drive to think about him. This is a picture of Bruce King and me in 1975. I was working as his news secretary during his first term in office. I had left journalism suddenly and was out of work. For a whole four hours. I was at home trying to figure out what I was going to do and Bruce King called on the phone to say he heard I might be available. He said he had ten or so people to interview for the news secretary position and that I should come by and be first in line. He called me on a Friday afternoon. Monday morning I was in his reception area in Santa Fe along with all the other folks looking for the position. He called me in first and asked when could I start. I said immediately and then asked him what he was going to say to the other applicants still in the lobby. He said he would make them all feel good and thank them for coming by. I know he did make them feel good because Bruce King had a gift for doing that. I never knew a finer man. He was one of the most influential people in my life. He hooked me on politics and I never looked back. He once told me, "You and me are a lot alike Jim. Were too dumb to be dishonest." He was an honest politician and I tried to emulate him. I just never could conjure up his great personality.

He was so decent to everyone and he liked everyone. He often quoted Will Rogers and said he never met a man or woman that he didn't like. I think that is true, although he did not suffer fools he always treated them well. As he always said to me, "Life is too short."

This is a picture of Bruce, Bobbi and me in 1978 when I worked his campaign for his second term as Governor. He always greeted Bobbi jubilantly and wondered aloud how I ever managed to get her to marry me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On the Road

I will be traveling for the next couple of days to a board meeting in Tucson. As I write this on Tuesday evening I haven't decided whether to fly or drive. I will decide in the morning when I leave the house.


I often bemoan the art of scapegoating. So in the spirit of the art I will now scapegoat bankers. Yesterday I received a notice from CITI Bank that my credit card interest rate would be more than doubling to almost 20%. The letter just might as well have said, "Bend over your jerk."

I don't charge much on credit cards anymore unless there is a large amount we want to get travel miles for. And that is on our Delta Cards. But once in a while you come across a place that doesn't take American Express so you whip out the old Master Charge.

Here is my message to Citi Bank. You can bend over too while I deftly insert my credit card into the receptacle. Screw twenty years of being a customer with never a late payment. You bankers are a despicable lot in most peoples eyes right now and will be for some time.

"Because bankers measure their self-worth in money, and pay themselves a lot of it, they think they're fine fellows and don't need to explain themselves."
James Buchan

Monday, November 09, 2009


I got a note from a friend the other day wondering why news organizations like CNN and others are now relying on bloggers and so called eyewitnesses to send in news stories. The nation's news organizations are literally on the skids financially so they might think that citizen journalists can fill in the gap. However, that only works if the news groups that takes this stuff in makes sure that it is accurate. How do they do that? It beats me.

Now I look at the Albuquerque Journal. It is turning more and more into nothing more than a republican rag....or worse. They take a highly discredited report by a right wingnut blogger, Jim Scarantino, and they turn it into an anti Diane Denish editorial in today's paper.

Then the editorial against health care reform and you begin to wonder where the publisher's head is really at these days. Who is really in charge at the Journal? Certainly not the day to day reporters who have seen no raises recently, but have seen their retirement program trashed by the publisher. What is next? Their healthcare insurance?

It might turn out that all we have to rely on soon for anything other than movie star news are bloggers. As a blogger myself I can tell you I get somethings totally wrong and that an editor is a crucial part of getting good information out. So if I need to be edited....just write a comment.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Tar and Feathers

Lt. Governor Diane Denish has succumbed to mob rule and is now on the bandwagon of scapegoating so called 'double dippers' in state government. I have been one of those since I was called back from retirement about two years ago to serve as State Natural Resource Trustee. I had been gone from the position for 18 months. Now, I am just an evil person. Double dippers are being held up as a cause of the wracked up state and municipal budgets.

I wonder if Diane's jumping on this bandwagon with a large scythe will extend further? I mean, what is a double dipper? Is it a retired military person going to work for the state? Is it a retired career police officer going back to work on cold cases? (Cops are always given a break in the debate) Is it a retired federal highway engineer putting his expertise to work for the Highway Department? Is it a retired state judge filling in when the calendars get jammed?

Does double dipping include retired federal and military employees from working with the state? Really, is there a difference? Well, maybe just a little, but not much.

This whole thing is just a political scapegoating manipulation. It cuts a large swath with out looking at the real consequences of throwing experience overboard.

I don't think that employees should be able to walk out of the office one day and back in the next day as a double dipper. That is a manipulation of the system. Fix that manipulation and keep options open for calling on expertise when necessary.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Albuquerque Mayor elect Berry's transition is a big yawner so far and it may well be indicating his style as a leader. He is not issuing hourly news releases nor is he getting his face on the evening news. One can't even be sure that there is any concerted message being conveyed on the type of administration he will be leading. It certainly won't be a fast paced one even if he wanted it to be. The city budget will not allow it.

The libertarians over at the Rio Grande Foundation have really showed their hand by coming after Lt. Governor Diane Denish. They are accusing her of improperly using federal funds that flowed to the state. This wingnut foundation also sent their mascot, James Scarentino, over to our office at the Natural Resource Trustee to do investigations into how money was spent during the administration of Congressman Martin Heinrich. Martin held this job for about two years before I returned to it. We got a request for public documents from the Foundation. After spending a lot of time and money in assembling them, Scarentino came over and spent 90 minutes looking over them before leaving with no copies. Just a big shoulder shrug. (Scarentino had been fired as executive director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance when Heinrich was on the board there.)

We can look forward to State Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry sticking around New Mexico for a while. The Obama administration sadly picked another Texan to run Region 6 of the Environmental Protection Agency. Ron was a very strong contender for this position. This administration is falling into the trap of bending over backwards to keep red states happy when in fact those folks will never ever vote for Obama. I plan on saying a lot about this kind of thing in the next few weeks and it won't be pretty.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


As suspected the media is trying to say there is a great message in the defeat of two democrats in their races for Governor back east. (These were extremely low turnout elections.) They say all dems nationwide should heed the message. I still have trouble figuring out what the message is. Perhaps it is one of not in 10 months time solving all the eight years of problems left by the bush administration. Perhaps it is one of getting rid of local unpopular pols. Perhaps it is one of wanting bi partisanship!(probably not.)

It might be one of looking at local issues and figuring out who might best solve immediate problems. That is what I think it is. I don't think everyone is blindly trying to send an unknown message to Washington, DC. Although losing a republican congressional seat in New York to a Democrat might send a message to the GOP to get their merde together.

Right now I am seeing a lot of people who I never thought would be in economic trouble suffering horribly. These are people I have known for may years. Getting this economy in better shape is the most important thing we can do and that is a message for all political persuasions.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Legislative Branch

It doesn't matter whether it is a city council or a state legislature. These bodies will always blame the executive branch for all budget problems when in fact they are just as complicit in disregarding discipline.(They vote for these budgets.)

Let me give you some examples. Every city councilor wants a police substation in addition to area commands in their district. Every state legislator wants a state park or branch college in their sphere of influence. Believe me, it all adds up to whopping operational costs and jobs for local residents. These are recurring costs that only grow and never disappear. Understandably, these are job centers for these areas, but in this modern era of fast communications and transportation networks these are just drains on the budgets. Really, do we need as many public institutions of higher learning that we have for being such a small state? I know, this is scared cow stuff but it does point out the complicity of the legislative branch.

So, I just don't always appreciate the 'tuning up' of the executive by the legislative. Half the time it is not warranted.