Friday, December 31, 2010

Bigger than Life

We are heading off to see our new grandchild over the New Years weekend.  Our well armed house sitter has some new buckshot shells I purchased. But, before I say goodbye to this year, which went awfully fast, I thought I would comment on our Bigger Than Life Governor of the last eight years.  Bill Richardson.

I think he could go down as one of our best Governor's ever.  I liked the way he thought big and actually followed through on promises.  He got the DWI numbers down dramatically.  He built an incredible rail service between Belen and Santa Fe.  The Land of Enchantment is the go to place for film makers now.  New Mexico has a great commercial Space Port growing in the southern part of the state.  He was a stalwart protector of New Mexico's landscapes, watersheds, and air quality.  And generally he has always done the right thing for New Mexicans.

Yes, I worked as the New Mexico Natural Resource Trustee for Richardson.  He was always supportive of the Trustee's work and put the interests of the state's people first.  I was proud to have been part of his administration.

He will always have his detractors in these days of pure partisan politics and right wing media.  It is too bad that media gets to write some of the history, but that is the breaks.  In the meantime I want to thank him for his service and wish him the best in his efforts at forming a "Peace Institute" in Santa Fe.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Things I Would Like to See in 2011

A Wish List
  • The Pope decides that gay people are okay, priests can marry, and women can be priests.
  • Governor Elect Susana Martinez turns into a moderate republican uninfluenced by her right wing supporters.
  • The Republican House Leadership decides there is value in science and they move to curtail climate change.
  • All conservative Radio Talk Show Hosts have acute decades long laryngitis.
  • Oil and Gas industry CEO's and Boards are all put into forced labor for six months to clean up any and all oil spills.
  • It is discovered that acute laryngitis is incurable.
  • Comcast Cable is broken up into little pieces along with Rupert Murdoch's empire.
  • President Obama makes the right wing bleed a little before compromising.
  • All Defense Industry CEOs, Boards and Congressmen must serve six months of front line combat in Afghanistan.
  • Drugs are legalized so that the modern day crime wave ceases.
  • A flat and progressive tax rate is passed with no loopholes or subsidies except for renewable energy research and development.
  • I take five strokes of my golf game.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Darren's Silliness

Why does the Mayor's Public Safety Chief Darren White need to be on all of the TV Channels and the Journal throwing a tantrum about the DNA lab moving from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.  Why doesn't he just keep his camera loving psyche quiet and wait out this silly controversy?  He will only have to control himself for three days! But, oh god, the cameras are there....the cameras are there at his beck and call.

 I don't know who is right in this thing, but I know the hysterics on TV wont do any good.  It is just a vehicle for White to try and score political points.  I have been positive about Mayor Berry's administration so far, but here it is in a blunt way, "Mayor, this guy is hurting your effectiveness and image."  Period!  Keep him off the media circuit.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The corrupt tenure of State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons is history.  Sate Auditor Hector Balderas did a good job in exposing Lyons.  He will now move his brand of government to the Public Regulatory Commission to join those stalwart public servants like David King, Jerome Block, and other bad actors.  Good riddance, and hopefully the Legislature will undo the creation some years back of the PRC.  What a disaster.

I place the blame for Pat Lyons disastrous terms in office on the oil and gas industry and the Albuquerque Journal and other so called journalists.  I knew what was going on there and how bad it was.  I met with the editors and with Thomas Cole, (the Journal's resident character assassin) and pointed them to where they needed to go.  They didn't go because it would have required real investigation over a period of months and real work.  They saw it easier to insinuate the Governor was going to be indicted.

Of course some of the state's real estate developers especially wanted this Lyons administration to stay in office.  As much as the oil and gas industry and they teamed up to give unprecedented political donations to him in 2006 when he buried me in greasy money.  I lost and it was my own fault for not going negative.

I wish Ray Powell lots of luck in finding out where the bodies are buried.  Ray should ask for a special appropriation to hire a forensic accounting team to see just how bad the damage was.  Any findings should be turned over to the U.S. Attorney.  Don't bother with the media though, they might actually have to do some work rather than replay 911 emergency calls as news.

Monday, December 27, 2010


The Albuquerque Journal did their look back at Governor Richardson's two terms.  It said his administration was dogged by scandals.  It should of said his administration was dogged by the Albuquerque Journal, as all Hispanic democratic governors are.  Jerry Apodaca, Toney Anaya, and Bill Richardson all tasted those barrels of ink.  Unlike republicans Garrey Carruthers and Gary Johnson.  Bruce King was never really pummeled by the Journal in a consistent way.  Susanna Martinez may well escape the poison printing press since she is a darling of the oil and gas industry.

So, the question is, do the exempt employees who are being fired by the new Governor get to collect unemployment compensation?  I think the answer is yes.  It is okay for them to be shown the door by the new governor who should have  her own folks in those positions. (It seems many are from Florida and Texas, doesn't it?)  I think it is also okay that those newly unemployed get help just like everyone else.

The new Governor needs to announce soon who the new Environment Secretary will be.  It will certainly show us what kind of protections we can expect for our water, air and landscapes.

We went to see "The King's Speech" last night.  It was an excellent movie that did not have special effects.  Just good writing.  It was surprising to see a packed theater.  Great acting all the way around.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas is for Kids

We had a nice party last evening.  I took some pics of Lisa and John Newell's kids and Stephanie and Mike Schmidt's kids. 

 Amanda Newell
 Anya Newell
 Emma Schmidt
 Maya Schmidt
 Ian Newell

Friday, December 24, 2010


I always feel so smart when I recycle the Luminaria bags.  It saves work.  Folding those bags is like walking through the seventh level of hell in my opinion.  So I try to save that experience for every third year.  Especially if the kids are home and can do most of it.  But they look nice in our neighborhood.  We wish everyone a great time with friends and family.

Now on to cook the posole for the annual family gathering tonight!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Who is in Charge

I had breakfast with a departing Richardson appointee today who was wondering if anyone would be in to turn the lights on after the inauguration on January 1st.  With a few high profile exceptions most cabinet level agencies and mid level appointees have not been announced and it appears that they won't be for some time.  Why?  Because as a lot of people had suspected there just is not a very big bench of government minded managers in the republican party.  That party hates government and doesn't groom anyone for these jobs. The pay is too low, despite what some think, and the hours too long and that whole commuting thing to Santa Fe.

The effect of these vacancies will be a lack of policy debate in the legislature.  Who will be in front of the financial committees to answer the nitty gritty questions put forth by a largely unknowledgeable membership?  Of course the LFC staff knows what is going on and will be mostly running things.  It will be like a bulldozer over an anthill unless the new administration gets some more people in place.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday List

I spend most of my time on this blog moaning and complaining about things.  So, in the Holiday Spirit I want to be happy about ten things over the last year.  Here goes!

  1. We are grandparents and our grandson is named Simon Baca.  At this point he is charged with carrying the name on for the clan.  Not that it is important, but it is a great name to send into the future.
  2. Bobbi still puts up with me after being together for almost 35 years.  I don't know why, but she does.
  3. Our kids, Justin and Noelle are doing great and we don't have to worry about them.  But being good parents we still do.  They both turned out to be decent human beings.
  4. We are all in pretty good health and not spending the family savings on healthcare.  We are lucky in that we have good insurance backed  up by Medicare for me.
  5. We were able to travel a lot this year including a 12 day cruise up and down the South American Coast.  I went to Mexico City and really enjoyed it.  I want to take Bobbi there soon.  In 2011 we will cruise the Spanish, French and Channel coasts in Europe.
  6. I have rediscovered the game of golf and I am really enjoying it.
  7. Retirement is really fun because I still have plenty to do in volunteer service on several Environmental and Philanthropic Boards.  I think retirement is great because you can pick your own stress levels.
  8. I really enjoy our new cats, Hermes and Ajax.
  9. We have so many great friends and look forward to our dinner parties every Sunday.  We love to cook, talk politics, and visit.
  10. I am planning to start some new internet projects and photo essays soon.  My first will be kicked off in May as I document the Bridges over the Rio Grande.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Outgoing Land Commissioner Pat Lyons says the State Auditor's report citing wrong doing and incompetence during  his term is a 'joke'.  I wonder if the US Attorney will think it is  a joke and sit on his hands over this.  The US Attorney should immediately start an investigation into these issues since he has jurisdiction because of the Enabling Act that made New Mexico Land Commissioner an important constitutional office.

I wonder if the Albuquerque Journal thinks it is a joke and retract their biased and partisan endorsements of Lyons even when they had reported on some of his ethical failures.  They endorsed him over me in 2006 because the publisher and the oil and gas industry were pals.

I wonder if Attorney General Gary King will move on any of these issues.  He might think it is no joke but does he have the horsepower for such an investigation?

I wonder if Ray Powell will ask for further investigations of Land dealings with Dona Ana county land developers that contributed so much money to Lyons.

And who will watch Lyon's performance as the newly elected Public Regulation Commissioner?

I would be surprised if anyone in the prosecutorial or journalism professions will move on any of this.  The oil and gas and real estate industries just would not appreciate it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Irony and Nuts

While the Governor Elect mandates taking away drivers licenses from undocumented workers I couldn't help but notice that New Mexico's Pecan Farmers are reaping record prices for their crops because of a great demand from China.  Up to $3 a pound still in the shell!  Now, if I were a betting man I would wager that most of those Pecan orchards in the Governor elect's home county were tended to by those same undocumented workers.  I wonder what will happen to the workforce in Dona Ana County when Susana no longer lets these people drive to work.  Will the growers or some other group be forced into hauling around these migrant workers in violation of the law?  And not just during harvest time but irrigation season and pruning season and everything else that it takes to grow great New Mexico Pecans.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Irony Again

The great crime fighter who is our Governor Elect Susanna Martinez will now go down in history as creating the biggest crime wave in the Land of Enchantment, ever!  She  has charged her new cabinet appointee for the Taxation and Revenue Department, Demesia Padilla,  with passing a bill that will take away driver's licenses that were legally granted to undocumented residents, thus making them criminals every time they get into a car.  99% of these people are like you and me, they work, they feed their families, they try to live good and decent lives.  But the new administration wants to turn them into criminals.  I can only think that Susanna Martinez wants to break up and ruin families.  After reading recently how well she cares for her disabled sister I thought she might be okay after all.  But not now. Why else do this?  It is heartless and cruel and she is definitely on my list of most unfavorite people. And she hasn't even been sworn into office yet.

This is what happens I guess when the extreme right wing funds your campaign.  Their politics of hate just naturally will spill over into the new Governor's policies.  Well, they better get ready for a hell of a fight.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Hermes the Cat got a look at his first snowfall today. I am not sure  he was convinced it was a good experience.

I got my first look at the new State of New Mexico Website today that makes it easy to look up some basic information.  It was a lot easier to check in on how much money the state has in its rainy day funds.  Over $13 billion right now.  We are in very good shape compared to most states.  That is why I think Senator Michael Sanchez's plan to tap into the Severance Tax Permanent Fund for some operational funding is a good idea.  That is a lot of money that could be creatively used along with some cost cutting.  I have a feeling that the republicans and the new Governor won't like that because they see it as not adding pressure to permanently reduce government spending.  And realistically until Medicaid costs are controlled we will face everlasting problems.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


You have to wonder about this rich man's tax package that just sailed through the Senate.  At least our two Senators, Bingaman and Udall, showed some courage in voting against it.  But you need to stop an analyze this whole thing from the Presidential politics game.

President Obama just handed a gift to the rich and that is something given his lack of 'fighting spirit' that should not surprise us.  But, he is a good politician and here he is pissing off two U.S. Senators from a state that gave him its electoral votes.  Meanwhile, the U.S. Senators in places like Utah, where Obama will never ever get electoral votes, are wringing their hands in joy.  

This deal may have been the best Obama could have ever gotten, but he should  have made the republicans bleed a lot more.  I think that Bingaman and Udall did the right thing in this largely symbolic gesture.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A First

For the first time ever we won't have our kids home for Christmas this year.  Every year at least one of them has been here.

About 30 years ago Bobbi and I started a family.  Every year we would put up a Christmas Tree.  At first we would go up into the Jemez with friends and cut one down.

Justin's first tree enamored him.

A few years after Noelle was born she was heavy into the whole Luminaria thing.

We stopped slaughtering good trees after a few years and started putting up fake ones.  It was like a construction project but they were nice.

This year we made the decision that the tree would stay in the box until next year when our new grandson, Simon, shows up for his first New Mexico Christmas.  Both Justin and Noelle will be elsewhere this Christmas since they were here last year.  The families have tacitly agreed to visits every other year for the holidays.

We will however put up some decorations and the luminarias once again.  Our neighborhood always does it up pretty nice.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Justice Served?

The TV news operations and the Albuquerque Journal ran out to hear City Public Safety Chief Darren White say that the Airport Police did not improperly have a young man and his father deported to Mexico after a traffic stop.  It is good the investigation showed no improper actions.  But, very little was said about the affects of this action in the final analysis.  The father and son are in Mexico and the mother and daughter are still in Albuquerque.  Another family split apart after living here for so many years.  Why is this a good thing?  Will one of these bozo stations or newspaper followup on this story to see the hardship that has occurred?  Don't hold your breath.

I got a call from one local TV news operation asking for a comment on a story they are doing soon on a government agency elected official they are investigating.  I said no thanks, because the story has no gravitas and is simple minded.  It is an easy cheap shot while at the same time there are some really horrible things that should come out of that same agency.  But that would require real investigative journalism and many hours of work.  If that were to happen there would be less time for simple minded sex stories and DUI stories at the top of the news.  The producer that called me said he would immediately send me his email address so I could send him some information.  He never did.

Maybe even the stations could investigate some of their advertisers for ripping off their customers.  Well, maybe in another parallel universe that could happen.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shoot Me!

I played some golf today even though I ate something that fired up my arthritis.  Then I get home and see that CNN's website has a story on where pets go after they die.  Journalism today.  We are so screwed.

Then my supercat Hermes broke my favorite oil lamp when I spooked him accidentally with a garbage bag.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Students Arise

I have always been aghast that young people haven't shown more civil disobedience in the last twenty years.  It is like their parents, the baby boomers of the 60's passed on none of their idealism.  Strange.  But now, at least in the UK, it appears the students there have finally had enough as the government tries to raise tuition rates.

The same thing should happen here in the US.  If, for instance, UNM hikes its tuition then the students should take over the University Admin offices and the capitol building in Santa Fe and demand that higher education be made affordable again.  In the 60's and 70's that would have happened.  Now maybe it can again.

When I was a student at UNM I received benefits from the G.I. Bill that paid my tuition expenses with some left over for food and board.($220 a month.)  We didn't  have to worry about student loans back then.  Higher public education was affordable. But then someone, somewhere, decided that it was too cheap and that the banks could make money lending money to students for their educations.  So, they worked with Universities and Legislatures to make loans in tuition, room and board. Now the loan rates are downright usurious. 7% and higher on my kid's existing loans.  But the rich get tax breaks and we give subsidies to the oil and gas industry.  And those existing loans still have high rates even though we bailed out the damn banks.  It shows where education stands in this country.  And yes, there is a lot of waste on some campuses.  Just fix it.

I hope the young folks get madder than hell.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Winter Golf

I ran out to play 18 holes at Santa Ana today with my friend Lee Otteni.  We were the first off the tee box and finished the round in just over three hours.  It was beautiful out.  Getting into that sunshine, even in winter, is always a tonic.

Until I got home and perused the internet.  While I was having a good time the nation's republican senators blocked the 'don't ask, don't tell' issue once again.  Effectively they are saying to gays and lesbians that "you can go get killed by an IED, but you better not let us know you are what you are.  We fellow republican countrymen of yours hate you."

And then those merciful republicans blocked aid for 9/11 workers who were subjected to toxic substances.  They thought it would add to the deficit.  But it doesn't matter if their continued tax cuts for the rich do so.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing    Edmund Burke 1727-1797

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Okay, Obama gave up without drawing blood.  That is what he does and we cant change it.  I thought the whole idea of this tax debate was to raise more money to fight the deficit.  Instead, it will add to it.  This whole thing is bizarre.  It is other worldly.  The one tax break that would have made sense is one that supports renewable energy.  It was ignored.

In the meantime NASA says the odds of other life off this planet are improving everyday.  I wonder if other intelligent species argue about taxes?  It appears to me that you can not be intelligent and end up where this country is right now. We will be easy pickings if ET shows up.

I see where ATT wireless was voted the worse cell phone service.  I could have told anyone that.  We liked our Iphones but dumped them two weeks ago for Verizon Fascinate Androids.  They are superior in every way, especially since we can now get a signal from a cell phone tower.  I think ATT is run by con men.  They are all crooks and anyone who works for them are too. Apple is complicit.

I know how Mayor Berry can become a hero.  He needs to go out and find another cable TV provider to come in and compete with Comcast.  You know, they are the guys who raise your bill every few months so they can buy NBC and other cable companies, while providing Duke City residents with crappy service.  They are right up there with ATT.  Certainly, when the Comcast franchise comes up in a few years I will spend some time trying to make them miserable.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


There is a story in the paper this morning about how former Governor Gary Johnson smoked pot when he was recovering from injuries received in an accident a few years ago.  A few columns over there is a story on a bust on the border of some guy with 300 pounds of the weed.  And we wonder why drug laws don't work!  Johnson continually gets slammed for wanting to legalize drugs when he was Governor.  It was one thing I agreed with him about.  Our drug laws are funding terrorism in the poppy fields of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  And your household is being burglarized to fund a junkies habit.

I think there could be a chilling effect on people wanting to serve on state boards and commissions now that the Attorney General's office says you may have to pay for your own lawyer in connection with your service to the state.  That might be overly broad on my interpretation, but the chilling effect will still be there.

I was quoted in the paper saying nice things about Mayor Richard Berry.  I do think he is doing a good job with the cards he was handed by that big spender Marty Chavez.  A friend of mine suggested Berry could save more money by just transferring his Public Safety Chief Darren White to the job of spokesman for the police chief and thereby reducing the Mayor's office budget.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Somebody! Do Something!

Congressman John Shimkus of Illinois, a republican, will be taking over the House Energy and Environment Committee.  I found this out after watching a Bill Maher interview segment from CNN.  Watch it here.  After seeing this I decided to look for some clips of this guy who will have so much to do with congressional policy on Energy.  This is what happens when people stop thinking about real consequences of voting, or not voting.  It is embarassing!

In the meantime I ran across this funny quote about atheism.

"The only thing wrong with being an atheist is that there's nobody to talk to during an orgasm."    — Anonymous.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Exempts

It seems that many in the media like to denigrate government employees.  They sort of forget where all their services come from.  Especially in the bullseye are exempt employees who have left other pursuits to work in public service for elected officials.  They serve at the pleasure of the Governor.  Are some of them political payoff jobs?  Yes, some are.  But most of these jobs require management skills and policy knowledge.  The people who hold these jobs are smart and dedicated and yet they are treated with incredible disrespect by talk radio and editorial pages.

In a few weeks many of these exempt employees will be out on the street as Governor Martinez brings in her own crew.  This is how it works and no one should complain.  These exempt employees knew this could happen when they took their jobs.  Now, they are going to scramble along with many others in finding ways to support their families.  It will be a stressful time.  I know because I have been there several times in my life.  It will be especially hard to find work in this recession.

I would like to thank them for their public service.  Working in government is not easy and overall they served the public well.  They have solid experience and institutional knowledge that can be tapped again someday.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

News of the Day

The Obama Administration showed some courage and banned deep water drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico for at least another seven months.  I am happy they flexed their muscles for once and said no to the oil and gas industry.

Apparently there are three times as many stars in the Universe than previously thought.  Scientists announced this yesterday.  It doesn't mean much to our everyday lives except for the fact that the chances triple for other 'more' intelligent life out there.  It brings up the notion again of an expanding universe, but what is it expanding into?

In this whole wide universe though the front page of the Albuquerque Journal finds it important to report on a lovers spat between a Channel 7 reporter and her cage fighter boyfriend.  He was the victim because his sweatshirt cord was pulled out!  Mondo Bizarro!  He called the cops so he probably wouldn't lose his fighting license, if there is one.  But come on, the front page!  I would love to hear the chat between Journal Editor Kent Walz and Mary Lynn Roper, general manager at Channel 7.  The two are partners in news gathering.  If I were a Journal staffer I would stay out of any romantic entanglements for a while.  This will be the most read story of the week.  Someone should find out why the cops even bothered.  Where is the common sense?

Life is too short.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I see where KOB TV news has hired a couple of new anchors.  They are both very attractive women with good educations.  They now get to report stories on car wrecks, sex scandals, and DUI for the rest of their careers.  What a waste!  Also, I know it will never ever happen, but do you think any of the TV News Departments will ever hire any on air female reporters with good educations and experience who are not attractive?  It all really shows where these so called news organizations are really coming from.

I wonder if anyone is doing good job of vetting those people in the new Governor's transition and appointee recruitment efforts.  It would appear not,  when you consider that Pete Domenici Jr., who has a half dozen law suits against the Environment Department, has been chosen to pick a new cabinet secretary there.  Talk about a conflict of interest.

My wife Bobbi is one of those federal employees that will get no pay raises for two years.  She thinks there is nothing wrong with that and said most of her colleagues feel that way too.  John Trever's editorial cartoon in the Journal this morning is very unfair.  I would bet the farm that he never spoke to one federal employee before he did that nasty cartoon today.  This gets back to what I was talking about in yesterday's blog about how the leadership at the paper doesn't really understand the nature of their subscribers.  At least it was an editorial cartoon and not stuck on the front page as a news story.  If I were a federal employee I might make my feelings known to the once funny but now hateful cartoonist.