Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Desert Rock Coal Fired Plant Dead?

Here is a good story on the Desert Rock Coal fired Generating Plant in Northwestern New Mexico.

Advice for President Obama

Okay, you have done something to make the oil and gas industry happy.  It may have been necessary to lease off shore federal holdings.  There are mixed feelings about it.  I am not totally happy with it but it might be something that has to happen in the short term.  But here is a bit of advice for you Mr. President.  The oil and gas industry does not like you.  This leasing program means nothing to them when the next election rolls around.  They will do everything in their power to see you are thrown out of Washington, DC.  They are republicans who could care less about your programs and policies so long as it doesn't affect their profits and subsidies.  I know you are smart enough to realize this but some of your folks may still be a little naive.

One thing I have learned in my political career is that the folks who depend on taxpayer owned resources on the nation's public lands really will never vote for any progressive, centrist, moderate or liberal.  They are for the most part ultra wing nut conservatives who vote for their pocket book only.  Their real attitude is "Give us you land, give us your money, and leave us alone."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

City Screwed

I think Mayor Berry is right in calling the state Transportation Commission on their ban of the use of traffic light cameras on state roads.  Berry is now insisting that the state take over the law enforcement responsibilities on those roads in Albuquerque.  If the state doesn't do it then they are endangering lives and mistreating taxpayers in the city and county.  I don't like those cameras much myself, but they have had an overall positive law enforcement affect, if not exorbitant fines.  Sometimes state bureaucrats mindlessly do things that affect other governments.  So does the legislature.

I remember when the state highway department told the city to finish the job  on the new Big-I interchange.  They refused to landscape it and sure enough the city got to ante up the funds up to do it themselves under Marty Chavez.  (They did a good job) I am glad now to see Mayor Berry, a former republican legislator, pushing back a little.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back in the USA

It is always nice to get home and take up a routine again.  Especially after a high energy vacation.  We pretty much lazed around all weekend and ate  home cooked meals.  We caught up on the news as much as possible.

We now enter the last 8 weeks or so before the political primary elections and things are shaping up pretty much as expected.  I had always felt that Governor  candidate Doug Turner on the Republican side would be the only threat to Diane Denish in the General election in November.  His wise early spending on billboards and TV is showing its effects.  Allen Weh, the Iraq war profiteer and bush worshiper is also expending money and is showing some strength.  He is the kind of candidate that needs the tea party types to get anywhere and they seem to me to be rudderless.  Their captain, Sarah Palin, thinks the world is flat and 6000 years old and she will lead them over the edge.

I had numerous phone messages from candidates seeking money.  I am retired now and won't be giving huge amounts any more.  I think the funding outlook for most of the candidates is not good because of the economy.  The big givers will be the oil and gas industry and they will work mightily against democrats.  Remember the New Mexico republican party is run by oil and gas executives who want no regulation and unbridled and untaxed profits.

Things didn't change a whole lot in the last few weeks while we were gone, except for the fact that Obama has found his stride, passed health insurance reform and got a victory.  Now, if he would just insist that the Department of Interior get rid of the bush appointed State BLM directors everything would be find.  Those directors are not following the wishes of the administration and they need to be transferred to other places.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Movie Show

Did you ever get invited somewhere and then be forced to sit through a slide show of a vacation?  It would be nice if there were an easy way out of enduring it.  So, if you want to have a choice on such a thing you can either watch this vacation movie or not and no feelings will be hurt.  Just scroll down to the movie section and click on the Jim and Bobbi's South American movie.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Last Day

We had a great time after entering the harbor in Rio De Janeiro.  We did not stay in the city to see the regular sites, like the Christ the Redeemer statue that watches over everyone.  He was currently wrapped in steel scaffolding since he could not redeem himself from mold and mildew in the humid tropics.  

We did go to Petropolis about 60 miles outside of Rio.  It was cool and pleasant there as we visited the “Imperial Museum” built by Brazil’s second King, Peter II.  It was a great museum.  

You had to wear special slippers which polish the floor as you walk around.

Finally, we say a fond good bye to our dinner mates on the cruise.  Greg, Beatrice and daughter Savannah were fine Canadians from Toronto.  They own a very successful trucking company.  They were fun to be with because like most Canadians they are rather liberal in their views.  They were constantly incredulous about the lack of  healthcare for Americans and were very congratulatory when Obama signed the bill this week.

This was a great cruise.  It was not for those who want to stop in world class ports on every shore leave.  Rio and Buenos Aries are fantastic, overcrowded and polluted but the small undeveloped towns we visited were rugged, basic, friendly and educational.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This is our last stop before disembarking the Veendam in the morning.  We were on one of the first tenders off the ship this morning since it was already getting hot.  We walked around this jet set destination for a few hours.

This place was put on the map when it was a fishing village because Brigette Bardot and her Brazilian boyfriend came to tryst here.  They even made a statue of her to thank her.

Probably there will be no posts tomorrow as we tour Rio all day and then go to the airport for a red eye back to Atlanta.  It has been a great two weeks.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


We spent the day in Ilhabela, one of the larger islands off the coast of Brazil.  It is a getaway for residents of Sao Palo and its flora and fauna are highly protected.

I have noticed in Brazil that the churches here are not near as opulent as in Europe and other places.  Perhaps taking care of other things was more important than spending most of the national wealth on God. 

The churches are quite understated and charming.  Somewhat like New Mexico.   Ilahbela was founded just 8 years before Albuquerque.

We visited water falls and watched local ski over wet rocks and then do flips into pools of jungle water.


Shipping Containers.  Let me tell you about shipping containers.  After five cruises around the world we have decided there is one or two shipping containers for every living soul on this planet.  There seems to be hundreds of acres of them stored in every port, and outside every port.  Half the existing smelted steel in the world must be made up of steel shipping containers.  If their use becomes obsolete then we can shut down every iron ore mine in the world and just throw all the containers into the furnace.
They could also be converted for housing.  They could be used for many things.  But mostly they sit around waiting their turn to get on a ship.  Which might take decades after seeing all of them stacked up around the world.
Our sail away from Paranagua last night was breathtaking as you can see from the photo.

Monday, March 22, 2010


We spent today in Paranagua, Morrettes, and Antonino in coastal Brazil.  

This is real jungle around here and we lucked out by having very moderate weather.  The locals were all happy about it.

The towns and buildings all look as if they are just succumbing to mold and mildew.  It is extremely humid here.

We had another incredible lunch of local foods.  Beef with masa mixed at your table.  Fish, shrimp, mussels, sundried tomatoes, bananas fried, fresh bananas and candied banana for desert.  MMM.

We saw Brazilians young and old.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The South Atlantic

This is a Sea Day on the Veendam.  It is about as calm as I have ever seen the open ocean.  We are about forty miles off the coast of  Brazil as we head for Paranagua to the north.  

I have been reading, doing crosswords, did close to three miles around the deck, ate, and relaxed.   Bobbi took a cooking class and worked out in the gym.  A nice day.  

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stewart Udall was a guy that should be imitated by a lot of conservationists today.  He always found a way to get things done and our country is better for it.

I read today that he passed away.  A giant has left.  This is a picture of Stewart and me at the National Press Club in 1992 trying to convince folks that the 1872 Mining Law was a bad thing.  It has outlived Stewart.  How sad.

Punta Del Este

We had a really pleasant day in Punta del Este, Uruguay.  I think this may be the main playground for the obscenely rich in the world, and I can see why they come here.  The soft beaches are beautiful along the River Platte and the Atlantic side of the peninsula has hard rock beaches.

Then a real treat was a visit to the Ralli Museum, which is one of four worldwide, that highlights the work of living South American Artists.  It is run by a private foundation.

You will also see a picture of Sherpa Bobbi here.  That bag she carries everywhere is a regular Pandora’s box.  Anything a human possibly could need is stowed in that bag somewhere.  Water, first aid, food stuffs, cameras, batteries and virus killing handi wipes.  Bobbi told someone yesterday she was nothing more that a Sherpa.  That will stick.

We now head off for a day at sea before reaching Paranagua, Brazil

Friday, March 19, 2010

Buenos Aires Day Two

We spent our second day in Buenos Aires bumming around with Rachel Sanderoff.  She took us down a secluded alleyway near the Congresso to her apartment.  This place really does resemble Paris.
This city has a motherlode of street trees.  I think that is one thing that makes the city so attractive.  Some trees are bigger than others.  They hide some of those buildings that are kind of ugly. 
We leave Argentina this evening for another stop in Uruguay.  Punta del Este should be an interesting place.  

We actually got to watch the Lobo Game on the ships cable system last night.  Actually, we fell asleep before it was over because we had been partying a little.

Tango Night

Rachel Sanderoff showed us the town last night.  We started a famous bar "AFederal" and then went to a steak  house for Argentinian beef, or several pounds of serious cow as Rachel calls it.  Then off to a non touristy tango joint.  We had a great time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

La Boca

I think the taxi drivers here are really unemployed nuclear physicists.  They manage to get their cabs in between the molecules of the cars and busses next to them.  Or they are all failed kamikaze pilots.  That ride from the pier was exciting.

We made our first stop at La Boca today. 

It is kind of a tourist trap, but it is also an awful lot of fun.  If  you are into color and art then this is the place to visit.  It was originally painted with left over paints from the ship maintenance in the ports.

After walking around La Boca for a couple of hours we headed down to Plaza Maya.  One thing I have noticed in South  America is that they take their cell phones so seriously that they allow towers to  be constructed anywhere.  
This city of ten million is very cosmopolitan.  Lots of hustle and bustle and business being conducted.  A rat race maybe?  But a very neat city so far.

Buenos Aires

We just pulled into port in Buenos Aires and will leave the ship soon.  We have two full days here so we can see the sights.  My friend Brian's daughter lives here so we will meet with her tonight to "eat some serious cow" and then go to a Tango Show.

I see in the Albuquerque Journal this a.m. that City Finances are causing some angst.  I also see that Marty Chavez misappropriated road maintenance funds from the tax I passed while I was Mayor.  I always knew he would be tempted to do that and tried to get someone to audit it.  This is a serious thing but I will bet there will be no consequences.

We will get back to the ship late and if we are lucky we can watch the Lobo game.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


We spent St. Patrick’s day in Montevideo just walking around the old area of town which is just a few hundred feet from where we docked.  We did not see any green beer, but we saw green chile in a market.  Last night on the Veendam at dinner they had green chile corn chowder and it tasted like the real deal.
The reason for spending time in this city can be summed up in one word.  Architecture!  One of Bobbi’s degrees is in Architecture so I had a personal guide.  There is every kind you can think of in this old city.  Venetian, Art Deco(my favorite), modern boring 50’s stuff, and what I think is the ugliest building I have ever seen which was made uglier by putting a cell phone tower on top of it. 
Most of the buildings are lovely though.  I have to say that the people here are great too.  They would stop to help you get to your destination if you were looking at your map.  There were tourist aides on every corner too.
We had perfect weather….about 72 and sunny!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

At Sea Redux

Very high winds last night and big waves.  Like a roller coaster.  I am lucky it doesn't affect me.  Today we have another day at sea.  I will  hit the gym.  Then do three miles around the promenade deck.  Tomorrow we will tour Montevideo on foot.  It looks like a great place. 

Note to the Albuquerque Journal.  I put up with  your slow quirky website at home.  At sea it is a real pain as you wait....wait.....wait for the webpages to load.  I know times are hard but the internet is the way of the future and you should fix your webstie to perform like others.  How else can we keep our love hate relationship going on the high seas.

Monday, March 15, 2010

At Sea

walk around the three cross words.....walk a

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Let me tell you about coffee.  It made a whole country prosperous.  Santos, Brazil is partially responsible for that.  Using slaves as workers they built a coffee empire based out of this vibrant city of half a million.  Just 60 miles from Sao Paolo it has preserved some of its colonial past.  These pictures are of the area around the coffee auction house.  The sunset is from Paraty as we sailed last night.  So, we will leave Santos late Sunday night and we have two days at sea.  We need them, especially after experiencing a Brasilian traffic jam.  3 blocks in one hour.  But still a great day.