Thursday, June 27, 2013

Southern Gentlemen Myth

Those GOP legislators who wouldn't let Democratic  Senator Wendy Davis wear a back brace during her filibuster to protect women's rights have pretty much destroyed the myth of the fine Southern Gentlemen.  It turns out they are just a bunch of assholes.

It seems to me that we in New Mexico are surrounded by legislatures to the east and west of us that are full of assholes.  I just don't know how else to put it.  The extreme right wing controls those states and will continue to do so with the likes of Rick Perry in the Governor's office. On the bright side, this war against our women will certainly hasten the demise of these crazies on the national scene.  The young people in this country, as evidenced in the Gay Rights movement, will soon control the vote nationally even if places like Texas and Arizona cling to the past of bible thumping idiot elected officials.

I am grateful that we have a moderate/liberal controlled legislature that has some good old time moderate republicans serving.  Even at her worse I don't think Susanah Martinez approaches the certifiably insane right winger yet.  But she is a cowardly fence sitter when she says gay marriage in New Mexico should be decided by only the voters.  Well, not the voters but the religious zealots led by the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Goes Around

What goes around goes far.  Let me explain.  My sister, Dr. Carlota Baca, just returned from her one month sojourn to Italy and Switzerland.  When she arrived to stay with friends in Berne they were all set to tell her of the news article they had seen in their newspaper a few days before.  It was about New Mexico.

Well, what could the fine editors at that Berne newspaper find so interesting about the Land of Enchantment?  Forest fires?  Tourism?  Juicy scandals?  Nope.

It was about the leaders of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and St. Pius X High School not letting the transgender student march in the graduation ceremonies as a member of their new sex!

Why would an international newspaper be interested in this?   Probably because it showed the caveman attitude of the Catholic Church in America and more specifically New Mexico.  Not exactly a positive image for this tourism based state.

Another thing that came around today was the Albuquerque Journal editorial taking the Governor to task for not releasing public information on who picked up the tab for her husband on a hunting trip.  Even the right wing editorial board couldn't ignore this one.  One thing they don't like is secrecy on the part of government, even if they do worship at the altar of Governor Martinez.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Climate Change and Obama

The President's speech today on Climate Change was very good.  Passionate and direct.  He calls out the obstructionists to get out of the way and let non partisanship debate move towards some solutions.  He says he has no time for climate change deniers and meetings of the flat earth society.  And he made the Keystone Pipeline a hostage.  CO2 reductions are at the top of the list.  All in all one of the better speeches he has given.  Finally, where does this leave our oil controlled Governor?  Obama talked a lot about how many states and cities have already taken action on reducing emissions.  Meanwhile Susana Martinez is doing the opposite.

Governor Sighting

The Governor showed up for a news conference on a Tourism Department publication of a guide to sites used in popular movies and TV series.  A good idea actually.  But did any reporter manage to shout the question, "Governor, what are your comments on the fact that our state is at the bottom of the pile  in the well being of its children?  And what are  you doing about it?"

No, the media was being orgasmic over the thought that people could come and see the places where  Johnny Depp used portable restrooms between takes.  We need to have some mobs with pitchforks converge on the offices of the Albuquerque TV Stations and the Journal to capture editors and send them to remedial Journalism class.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Children of No Man's Land

I want a fair and good immigration bill.  Everyone does except the wacko republican tea party types.  They just want their brand of brown people phobia to go away.  And so they want 20,000 more border patrol agents along the Mexican border with a completion of a 700 mile American version of the Berlin wall.  Meanwhile in New Mexico which ranks last in child well being we can only scratch our heads at billions be spent on border barriers while our kids lives fester.  If this is not a sign of America's fall from greatness, then what would qualify?

This is a tough decision for our Democratic Senators in New Mexico.  But, I have to say they must vote against this insane bill.  

The Artful Dodger

It is either a case of incompetence or a case of artful dodging.  I am talking about the story in the Albuquerque Journal this morning showing that New Mexico has slipped to last place in child well being.  We came in 50th, just behind Mississippi.  And the Journal, which rightfully gave the story full front page treatment, never managed to even get a 'no comment' comment out of the Governor Martinez administration.  If ever there was a story that needed a Governor's quote, this was right up there in first place!  How could the editor's of the paper not make an effort to get a quote?

And then they let that  con man Paul Guessing of the Rio Grande Foundation write another column demanding that the federal government hand back control of public lands to the state.  The state never had control of those lands as per agreement to become a state in 1912.  But Guessing and his extreme right wing organization are funded by the oil and gas boys who seem to get most things they want out of the editor of the Journal.  Including the publication of Guessing's outright lies on their editorial page.  Ask yourself one question,  would you want the fossil fuel guys in charge of our National Parks?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Why Cap the Take?

The title of this blog was the title of an editorial in the Albuquerque Journal back in the mid 1980's when I was State Land Commissioner.  I was attempting to raise the oil and gas royalty rates paid to the state land office.  The Journal agreed back then that it was the right thing to do.  The legislature agreed and a new royalty system was introduced and passed that increased by up to 50% the amount of royalties paid to the Permanent Fund from all new leases.  Back then the oil and gas industry put up a token fight against the new rates, but they realized they couldn't justify their stand because of what private land owners were demanding and getting in royalty agreements.  Plus, all the other states around us had already raised their rates.

This morning the Journal ran a column by Michael Coleman about the many states that are demanding that the federal government, aka the Bureau of Land Management and others, start charging a fair market royalty for all of the drilling on federal public lands.  They still only charge a routine 12.5% or so while everyone else gets up to 25%.  If this situation isn't indicative of failed GOP and Democratic Interior department policies then nothing is.  The BLM, White House Chiefs of Staff, Senators, Congressmen and others have all sold out to big oil in keeping these rates so low over the years.  It is corruption in its most basic form.  And it costs the states a bundle because they share in the royalties charged by the Feds.

This might be a great issue for Senator Martin Heinrich to tackle.  Senator Udall might help, but he has been around a long time now and has done nothing because he fears the oil and gas boys.  Meanwhile, what will we hear from Governor Martinez on this issue?  We will see as soon as the oil boys write her news release for her.

I am overjoyed the Journal did this story, like the one AP story they ran on the dangers of fracking to our water supplies.  I hope they won't treat it like the one day scandal story they did on Heather Wilson's fraud on taxpayers.  One day and they forgot all about it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bag Men

The supporters of Mayor Berry who may or may not have violated city ethics laws on campaign contributions are trying to halt a hearing into the matter.  They are trying escape any embarrassing moments by filing a suit in Federal court to halt the hearing.  It seems to me that if they think the law is unconstitutional then they should let the ethics panel proceed with a decision and then appeal the outcome if necessary.  This action on their part is nothing but a ruse to delay the hearings until after the election in a few months.  They don't want the Mayor and themselves to be seen as violating the spirit of the city campaign law.  It is underhanded and corrupt on their part.

Absolutely, no one will take notice of this because the media will gloss it over for the most part.  And the corporate handlers of Berry will get away with it.  The question is, will the city attorney's office put up a decent fight on this issue, or are they going to just waddle along for the corporate bag men.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The News

Let's see.  The big news all the way around in local TV and our ever shrinking newspaper concerns, yes, you guessed it.  MOVIE STARS!  James Gandolfini succumbed to a heart attack in Europe.  That is pretty much major news every where.  The Sopranos star is being mourned more than just about anyone who recently died because he is a celebrity.  And then there is the upcoming premiere of the "Lone Ranger" movie.  That was all covered in front page fashion by the Journal (along with a better story about a marmot on Wheeler Peak).  The movie stars including Johnny Depp(a great actor) held an hour long press conference yesterday which probably will get more coverage than the Syrian civil war for the next few days.  Oh, and then there is my favorite building chatter about Brad Pitt's fight against Zombies in the movie World War Z.  I like Zombie movies.

It is all like having the National Enquirer delivered to your front step every day.  Or in your local newscast.  Really, the media has always done this kind of stuff.  But it rarely gobbled up time and space with the regularity it now does. I think we will just have to live with that as the whole world just has an attention span of three minutes.  About the time it takes to read a People magazine story during your visits to the bathroom.  Like the time it takes to read my blog everyday.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


After being back in the east for the golf tournament it feels like I am in a giant vat of dessicant.  I am drying out.  Shriveling  up.  Wrinkling.  Out on the golf course at 7am at Santa Ana was pleasant, but the sky had a strange brownish tinge to it.  A combination of dust and smoke.  Even the bosque at the golf course looked extremely parched.  I have a feeling that when the rains start it will happen all at once as nature tries to catch up.

No politics today.  Even that seems dry and tedious.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


There was an interesting story in the Journal today where folks lamented that there was an increase in dust storms in the west.  It is true especially with the current long term drought.  But there was little mention of the contributing factors to all of this particulate roaming around in the atmosphere.  Might that be overgrazed public lands in the desert west and the millions of tons of tailings piles where no living thing can grow to hold down those polluted piles?

Look here to see how the livestock industry has used their political whining to keep down grazing fees. No president from Clinton to Obama has taken on the cowboys because they fear fighting the 'John Wayne' image of these welfare ranchers.  Yet the damage they are doing to western landscapes continues to grow.  No, I am not heartless and do feel bad for the economic condition out on the range. But maybe this whole model of desert grazing needs to end for the good of the planet.

So, the next time a piece of Arizona blows by your house, remember some portion of that is coming from ranching in the desert.  And that those responsible are using your tax dollars to do it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Wild River

As we prepare to leave Philly after attending the US Open Golf Tournament, I peruse the Journal on line and see the Mayor is getting lots of pushback on his plan for the Rio Grande's Bosque.  His vision for the river is to change it from one of the few relatively urban wild rivers in the US to a heavily manicured landscape.  My advice to him is to leave it alone as there are many other things that could be done other than ruining this natural waterway.  The pictures in the Journal showed Berry in a white shirt and tie out on the river bank.  That said a lot!

How about changing your vision away from the river to building a new all purpose arena downtown?  That would be a good thing to do.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Irish pub food !  I had a really good Shepherds Pie.  Tomorrow for lunch we plan a Philly Cheese Steak.  We will sight see on Friday and attend the final two days of the US Open on the weekend.  They have had a lot of rain here.  The cool moist air is great.  


Sunday is our 36th wedding anniversary.  (if my math is correct and you don't count our two years living in sin.)

I was cataloguing some old photos yesterday and came across this photo of Bobbi and I from 35 years ago almost to the day in 1978. We had gotten married on our lunch hour a year earlier so  that we could apply for a mortgage to build a house in North East Albuquerque.  We had been together for almost two years and pretty much figured out we got along okay and we were tired of paying rent.  In the 70's it was difficult to get a mortgage if you weren't married.  This is a photo taken in the living room of our 1400 square foot house which we thought was big!  It cost $43,000 and was well built.

  I was working in Governor Bruce King's campaign when this picture was taken.  Bobbi was a principal planner for the City of Albuquerque.  We met at City Hall when I was working for Mayor Harry Kinney in 1975.  We got on an elevator together.  She was an intern in the Planning department then.  The rest as they say is history.

I love revisiting old photos.  I have always taken pictures.  I got my first camera when in grade school and have always had one close by.  Eventually I became a photographer/cinematographer in the Air Force.  The training I received in the military really led to my career in Journalism and politics.  Someday I will tell the story on this blog.

I have about 9,000 photos that I keep in digital form of family and friends all the way back to the early 1900's.  Just as I have enjoyed old family photos from over the years, I think future generations and grandkids will enjoy them too.  I know some folks that have never taken photos and it is sad that history won't be there for the future generations.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


The Journal actually put the Heather Wilson story above the fold today on the front page.  That is good.  She deserves it.  When one actually stops and thinks about it one could come to the conclusion that Heather Wilson was being paid a salary to run for future office.  These no work contracts occurred after she left congress and was preparing her Senate campaigns.  That is a pretty good pat on the back from Lockheed Martin and their cronies.  Meanwhile the republicans were all complaining about the waste in government and the need to cut social security.  Who needs social security when you have golden parachutes like that after delivering tax money to the defense industry?

The head of the NM Medical Marijuana Advisory Board was booted by the Governor.  He feels the action was taken  because he wanted more medical conditions included for marijuana therapy.  This action by the governor is typical of a republican right winger. They will miss the boat on this one too as other states just go ahead and legalize the substance.  Colorado's experience should be instructive to the GOP, but just like their long time hatred and damnation of gay folks this one will leave them waiting at the station too.

I will be traveling to Merion, Philadelphia tomorrow to watch the U.S. Open Golf Tournament. We have great tickets for Saturday and Sunday.  The Golf course is underwater practically but it should be playable by tomorrow. I will try and post from there, although no phones, cameras or other stuff like that are allowed on the course.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Military Industrial Heather Complex

The Washington Post has the goods on the sweetheart deals between the defense industry giant Lockheed Martin with other war profiteers and former Congresswoman Heather Wilson who is now working out of state as the President of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  That is a training ground of sorts for the extractive industries.

The Post says that Wilson was paid $450,000 for work that could not be verified by the Federal Government.  That is not chump change.  It might be payback for the once cheerleader for the bush/cheney administration's war mania.  Those defense industries were the only winners in Iraq.

Read about it here.

On another issue this is good news.

I am still earning money every month from my solar panels.  I haven't had to pay an electric bill in four years now and have had about $3000 in payments from PNM for my sales of power to the Grid.  I have 16 panels on the roof.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Equal Time

Why do we worry about cats?  Today's picture is of Casper in the interest of equal time exposure for our felines.  The routine now that the weather is good is that the cats get on our bed and start wrestling at 4:45 in the morning.  They want to go outside.  We do not allow them outside at night time because of the large owls and packs of coyotes patrolling the neighborhood near the bosque. So, after squirting them with a water bottle to get them off the bed we get another 15 minutes of rest.  Then I must get up at 5am at let them out .  And then I lay in bed worried that a late marauding creature will try to get them.  But they come in an hour later for food most of the time.

 I think I worry more about the cats then I worry about someone tracking my internet and cellphone communications.  Now, that is weird.

Sunday, June 09, 2013


The only thing that has been in the canales of our home near the Rio Grande in Albuquerque in the last  year is our cat Ajax.  He has taken to hanging out there in the mornings now that the weather is good.  My hope is that he will find it too wet at some point this summer. Thunderstorms are needed. 

Friday, June 07, 2013

Water and Oil

It was refreshing to be up in Mora County on Tuesday and Wednesday.  They are the first county in the country that has said no to fracking for oil and gas.  The county commission there thinks that their water supplies might be a little more important than some oil company's CEO getting a bigger bonus for squeezing resources out of an irreplaceable watershed and aquifer.

Now the Governor and her minions, yes the oil and gas boys, have revised the rules that would protect water supplies all over the state from these drillers.  And of course not in a good way.  And before long we will see a full scale assault on Mora county fueled with petro dollars.  They will come after those commissioners who see the importance of watershed and landscape protection.  Just you watch.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Productivity or Enslavement

I noticed that productivity of American workers inched upwards again in the last quarter.  This has been going on for some time as corporate vampires suck the last living energy out of their employees while stashing cash and not hiring any new help.  How much longer can this go on with our some real domestic problems?  Probably a long time as Americans now have lost the ability to take to the streets in any meaningful way.  I am sorry, but social media doesn't build barricades around government buildings and corporate headquarters.  It is really invigorating to watch the Turkish people doing their thing to rattle the Islamist fundamentalist running their country.

Meanwhile in the local New Mexico media the Albuquerque Journal and KRQE news room have managed to turn a FBI investigation of the Governor's administration handling of that casino license into a thing about child porn and Democratic Party Chair Sam Bregman.  Mostly I feel sorry for my old friends like Dick Knipfing and Larry Barker at Channel 13 who are either helpless or conflicted in the coverage of this stuff.  Or maybe they are just also enslaved to their jobs and are not allowed the be the real journalists they once were by a republican infested executive corp in the news room.  Looks more like Fox News everyday.  The news department's handling of this whole affair could fill a few pages of the Columbia Journalism Review.

And finally, we got caught in a hell hail storm yesterday while returning from Pendaires.  My friend Lee Otteni stayed an hour too long there and his truck was caught up by golf ball sized hail and heavily damaged.  I was encountered the hailstorm on La Bajada which resulted in many accidents.  I managed squeak through the mess before they closed the interstate.  I have never been in that violent kind of storm before. At least some moisture was received.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

END of Golf day

Smokey Pecos

Mountain Air Mixed

I will spend the next couple of days playing golf in Pendaries, NM breathing mountain air mixed with forest fire smoke from those fires 50 miles to the south.  And of course I got teed off early after reading the Journal story on the Governor's fundraiser being interrogated by the FBI.  After waiting three days so the Governor could come up with a strategy for dealing with this, the Journal relegated the story to the bottom of the fold, front page.  The Governor's response was to say she was a great prosecutor as DA and knows how these things work.  Far from the flat footed response she gave on TV the other night.  And of course the Journal turned this into a Bill Richardson thing.

I have decided this newspaper editor has decided the publication will eventually fail economically and he wants to go down with a full court press for the republicans.

Monday, June 03, 2013


Headwaters of the MRGCD at Cochiti Dam

The stealth election for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District is tomorrow.  Maybe 5% of the folks will show up to vote as usual.  The corrupt process has been in place for years now and it was designed by the agricultural community to lessen the impact of city taxpayers in the district.  These urban taxpayers pay 90% of the bill.  (I pay both city tax and irrigation fees.)  The agency is answerable to no one, not even the decent minority members of its board.  But having said that, Adrian Ogelsby and Karen Dunning must be reelected to keep the forces of darkness at bay on that board.  A water agency like this can't be run by rubes and these two are not rubes.

The Albuquerque Journal remains stealthy for two days in a row on the Albuquerque Racino controversy that has now become public after it was revealed that Governor Martinez's fundraiser has been interviewed by the FBI concerning the awarding of the Racino license.  And KRQE Channel 13 remains in stealth mode and refuses to say they had this whole story wrong.  As a former journalist it just gives me a sinking feeling that we don't have the press watching our backs anymore at all!  It pretty much indicates to me that Dick Knipfing has no say editorially at that TV station anymore.  That is a loss for them.  He was always a guy who would insist on correcting errors in reporting in the past.  I guess it is not about being accurate journalists any more, but all about protecting the 'brand".

Sunday, June 02, 2013


Yep, the Journal didn't even report that story that I talked about in Saturday evenings blog post.  That means one of two things.  They are protecting a Governor because she is republican.  Or they can't even afford to have a writer around on a weekend.  I hope it is the latter.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Journalistic Responsibility--Ha!

If Channel 13 news sees a major screwup in a government agency that involved unprofessional work because of cronyism they would call for heads to roll.  Now that it is apparent that unprofessional cronyism at that news department has resulted in a major blunder in their reporting, will their news director, reporter and others be fired?

 Don't hold your breath.  Channel 13 reported that the Santa Fe Reporter story on wide ranging FBI investigations of the Martinez administration were wrong.  The TV guys said it only involved  issues of  those stolen emails we have been reading about.  But now a former campaign manager has come forth to say that she was interrogated about that alleged bid rigging in the awarding of the Albuquerque Racino licenses by the Martinez administration.  So Channel 13 barely mentioned this tonight on their newscast and certainly did not correct their erroneous story.  It has been solidly reported that there might be some close friendships between news executives and Martinez staffers.  I can't believe that someone at that news operation can't come clean and take responsibility for the errors.  Hubris!

I can't wait to see how the Albuquerque Journal handles this new revelation.  They will probably blame it on former Governor Bill Richardson.