Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Editor of the Journal

Here is what editor Kent Walz of the Journal and the Lang family think about Americans.  It was written in an editorial this morning.

"Let’s face it. Many Americans just won’t work as carpenters, framers, drywall installers, bricklayers, roofers and painters. They won’t pour concrete or lay adobe. It’s honest work, and the pay is pretty good. But it’s just too hard. It’s easier to collect government bennies, play video games and get subsidized insurance."

This is pretty hard core stuff.  Even for the Journal.  It certainly shows the class bigotry and hate that rules that newspaper's editorial pages.  How can anyone even work there anymore?  Oh, I forgot, they are too lazy to pour concrete.  And, ironically, the Journal wants so called 'Right to Work' legislation to pass to kill unions.  Without unions the pay for concrete pouring jobs will go even lower and why would Americans want those kind of jobs?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


When will we get proof that our right-wingers really hear from corporations who say they won't move to New Mexico because we don't have so called "Right to Work" laws. They never identify these people and our sap media never asks. They just take it at face value. And so that legislator and apparent working man hater, Sander Rue, who has introduced such legislation should be made to identify those companies that he talked about. There is only one reason for such a law to be passed, and that is to eradicate workers unions.
The new Attorney General, Hector Balderas, has provided proof that he is good at wielding an axe.  His summary firing of over 40 employees was a bit over the top.  It was a PR disaster that really did not have to happen in such a manner.  I am surprised.  He could have asked for everyone's resignation, and then offered to have them apply again to ascertain whether or not they were experienced and efficient state employees.  Yes, they were all at will employees, but little thought was shown in giving them their pink slips.  Some of them probably will walk off with strong institutional memory that Hector could use.  They will also walk off with a real dislike of the new AG.  That didn't have to happen.

Maybe the first person Hector should hire now is an experienced public relations officer who might show him how to do things with class.  

Monday, December 29, 2014


My favorite movie of the year was "The Imitation Game".  My other close favorites were "Interstellar, Grand Budapest Hotel, Railway Man, Calvary, and Fury.  All the other movies we saw were popcorn movies, although "Hunger Games" was pretty good.

On TV everything good we watched was on Netflix, Amazon or Hulu.  We have binge watched "Mozart in the Jungle, Alpha House, The Assets, Hinterlands, Black Mirror" and a few others.  I have also enjoyed FX's "American Horror Story."

Our viewing habits are inching us towards dropping the 250 satellite channels for good.  Just doing that would save $150 a month.  And we would put up an HD antenna on the roof to get those few good network shows.  But not until the final season of "Mad Men.'

My best reads were, "Under the Skin, The Bone Clocks, Blood and Thunder, American Elsewhere, Dreamers of the Day, The Three Body Problem, The Martian, A Calculated Life, The Madonnas of Leningrad, and Revival."

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Danger of Dogma

The editor at the Journal is trying to find ways to make the impending resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba look bad for Obama.  The Journal insists that the killer of a NM State Policeman back in the early 70's, who then hijacked a TWA airliner to Cuba with two others, be sent back for trial as part of the deal.  It has been made clear that won't happen.  The Journal's position reminded me of the quote from author David Brin.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


That pathetic little 20 foot wide artificial skating rink on Albuquerque's Civic Plaza is the best metaphor I can think of for our state and city's diminished economic standing and outlook.  I mean really, it is so cheesy that it is hard to look at.  And the fact that it made big news in the Journal shows how desperate they are to make things look good for our Mayor and Governor, republicans all.

And then there is the New York Times story today on how the oil and gas producing states are in big trouble from falling energy prices and thus, revenues for the states.   However they never even mentioned New Mexico which is probably going to take the biggest all around gouging of any of the natural resources states.  Our state is the third largest net supplier of energy in the country.  And most of our eggs are in that basket.  But, New Mexico has become so invisible to the nation that we can't even get bad press.  Well, except for Mayor Berry's police department.

I would truly like to be more optimistic in the coming year.  But it seems that the concept of exceptional government and business leadership here will not be discernible for some time to come.

And please read this blogpost from one of my favorite SCIFI author David Brin.  He is a bit of a libertarian, but one that has a lot of common sense.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Senate Republicans

This must be read by every sane citizen to see where our republican Senators stand on reasons.

It was written by my life long friend Dennis Jett, a career diplomat and former Ambassador to Peru and Mozambique.

Republicans Are Blocking Ratification of Even the Most Reasonable International Treaties Why do they oppose the Arms Trade Treaty? Because the NRA tells them to.
By Dennis Jett <>
The world got a present on Christmas Eve, when an international treaty to limit the sale of weapons to warlords and terrorists went into effect <> . The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) aims to limit the number of civilians slaughtered around the world by requiring any country that sells weapons to establish the same kind of export criteria that the U.S. and other Western democracies have in place. It has been signed by 130 countries and ratified by 60, ten more than it needed to become effective. When the U.N. General Assembly put it to a vote last year <> , only three countries opposed the treaty outright: North Korea, Syria, and Iran.
While the Obama administration has signed the treaty, there is no chance it will get the 67 votes needed for Senate ratification. In October 2013, 50 senators sent the president a letter <>  expressing their opposition to the ATT. They included every Republican except Mark Kirk, and five Democrats—Joe Manchin, Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, Mary Landieu and Kay Hagen. (Manchin was the only one of the Democrats who was not up for reelection last month, and all four that were lost.) So the Republicans stand together with the Axis of Evil 2.0 because the National Rifle Association <>  opposes the treaty. The NRA sees it as a potential threat to gun ownership because it does not explicitly provide a guarantee of the “American people’s rights under the Second Amendment.”
In the Senate’s first two centuries <> , it approved more than 1,500 treaties. It rejected only 21; another 85 were withdrawn because the Senate did not take action on them. A treaty that is not approved, rejected, or withdrawn remains in limbo. At present, there are 36 treaties <>  awaiting action by the Senate, dealing with everything from the protection of albatrosses to the testing of nuclear weapons.  
While protecting waterfowl might seem like something reasonable people could agree upon, apparently no issue is too small for the foes of the imaginary threat of a world government. There are more serious questions not being addressed, however, including:
—The United States has six tax treaties with over 60 countries to prevent double-taxation and make tax evasion more difficult. Republicans have prevented approval <>  of the six, costing the country billions <>  in lost revenue each year.
—Drafted over thirty years ago, the Law of the Sea Treaty is designed to bring some order to the world’s oceans and lessen the chances for conflict in places like the South China Sea. Ratified by 162 countries and supported by the oil and gas industry, the Pentagon, environmentalists, and past presidents from both parties, it was opposed by Republicans because “no international organization owns the seas <> ."
—The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities would apply the standards found in American law to other countries. It is supported by veterans’ groups and corporate interests and has been ratified by 141 countries. Home-schoolers and right-to-life groups <>  opposed it, however, believing false claims that it would interfere with their children’s education and increase access to abortion. When it came to a vote two years ago, 38 Republican senators voted nay.
—The Convention on the Rights of the Child, one of the most popular and respected human rights treaties in history, was negotiated during the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations with major American input. The United States may soon be the only country <>  among the 193 members of the U.N. that has failed to ratify it. Opponents argue it would hurt traditional families and the rights of parents.
One of the most frequent criticisms of any treaty is that it undermines American sovereignty. But that is the price of international cooperation. Any relationship, whether between two people or among two hundred countries, requires some limits on what one party can do. Globalization has made such cooperation even more imperative; it is impossible for one nation to deal unilaterally with today’s gravest problems. Even the world’s only superpower cannot ignore that fact.
The term “American exceptionalism” never appeared in any party platform until the election in 2012. It made its debut in the Republican platform that year as an 8,000-word section, devoted to the concept that America holds a unique place and role in human history. If the GOP continues to let paranoia prevent this country’s leadership, or even participation, in addressing the challenges created by an ever-more globalized world, that role in history will be short.
Dennis Jett is a professor of international affairs at Penn State University <> and the author of American Ambassadors—The Past, Present and Future of American Diplomats <> .

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays

Our new grand daughters Alex and Katy met Santa in the NICU in Fort Collins, Co.  The twins are now eight weeks old.  We look forward to their arrival home soon so their parents Noelle and Luke can have them full time.

 Bobbi and I would like to wish all of you a great holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Monday, December 22, 2014


The transition for the Valles Caldera(our old Baca Family Land Grant) in the Jemez Mountains to the National Park Service has happened.  What everyone seems to forget is that former Senator Pete Domenici had cooked up the hybrid management of that area because he didn't like public lands being increased.  No matter it was one of the most beautiful areas in the state.  The effort was doomed from the start because there was not enough money to break even.  Now the area will be managed, for good or worse, by the Park Service.  But of course Domenici's failed gambit of freezing public lands protections in such schemes got no attention.

The Albuquerque Journal had a bizarre and rambling editorial this morning about the great Obama initiative on Cuba.  It tried in everyday to make it look like a bad decision by the president, while at the same time saying it might be good.

And, amidst falling oil prices, another oped on the importance of the approval of the Keystone pipeline was spoon fed to us.  Really, the people who see a need for this pipeline are no different than those people who see no need for a change in our relationship with Cuba.  They are pathetically out of touch with reality.

And speaking reality, here is a good read about religion and we people known as 'nons'.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Drones vs. Torture

It is amazing really.  More people are upset about drones flying around their neighborhoods than are upset about this nation's torture of enemies.  The polling shows it.  Apparently NSA spying isn't up there with drones shooting video of your neighborhood either.

Wynn Quigley's column in the Journal this morning was a keeper.  It is a must read about the average American citizen's tuning out.  People seem to only care about things if it involves social media.  Think about Korea hacking Sony Pictures instead of the CIA.  Remarkable.

I had a conversation with a friend this morning who said a long time democratic voter told him that she hated the negative advertising and the policies of the Governor Martinez, but that she just could not vote for Gary King because he was so despicable.  So the negative ads worked on her even though she hated them.  All is lost.

Friday, December 19, 2014

It Never Ends

The Albuquerque Journal just can't help itself.  Today they let a bloviating finance professor blame the working men and women of America for its decaying infrastructure.  Unions are the problem, along with environmental regulations, which adds up to high costs for repairing our nations highways, bridges and other systems that have been ignored in favor of weapons programs and wars. Let me think, how does a $250 million dollar fighter bomber jet produced by union labor in the defense industry differ from a $8 million bridge rebuild?  I guess I am not smart enough to figure it out.

This guy also said that the multibillion dollar projects that are being done in big cities are to costly.  But he seems to forget that all of that money goes to large engineering and construction firms that are constantly overrunning their estimates and ripping off the taxpayers.  (Same as the defense industry.)  Well, after all, the honchos in these groups are part of that 1% we all hear about.

I have been predicting for some time now that our daily right wing newspaper, which is in very deep financial trouble,  may end up just publishing three times a week.  Or perhaps they will just become an online newspaper.  At least then the frequency of their rightwing editorial pages will be lessened.

So far they haven't quite fallen to the level of local TV newscasts.  Their daily lineup now consists of private security or smartphone video of some sort that is hardly newsworthy.  If Channel 13 shows the video of the fight on a bus again with a cop getting tasered, I will never watch them again.  Ever.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


First the good news.  President Obama will open diplomatic relations with Cuba.  I thought this would happen and if the right wingers in Florida don't like, Screw Them!

The slaughter of innocent school children in Pakistan by armed religious fanatics may well be the end of the Taliban in that country.  Wouldn't it be meaningful to see the same thing happen in this country to the NRA's continued support of assault rifles for everyone?  All those children who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School have not inspired anyone in this country to react as we all seem to want the Pakistanis to react.  I had a friend say yesterday that he thought the NRA was as evil as the Taliban.  They may be.  But the gun manufacturers motive is profit, while the Taliban want a religious state.  The demise of both of these groups as currently organized would be a plus for civilization.

So, as New Mexico sits at the bottom of economic recovery the big issue of the day for the republican legislators and governor still involves drivers licenses for undocumented workers.  If this doesn't point out their lack of ideas, I don't know what does.  In the meantime the government hating GOP in our state stays silent on the fact that the state made out well in the federal budget.  That means at least some high paying jobs will remain intact.

The Albuquerque Journal subscription statement sits right in front of me.  What to do?  After reading one of their insipid editorials this morning I am close to trashing it.  They said that the meteoric rise in generic drug prices is unexplained.  Well Mr. Editor, I can give you the explanation. It is about American Corporate greed and the consumers ability to just stupidly absorb these hits with out raising hell. The Journal needs this explained?  They want someone to look into this issue which is good.  But, they just can't bring themselves to admit the obvious.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


We all should be made aware of which congressmen inserted the language to weaken campaign finance laws into the budget bill.  We must know who is responsible for pimping for the rich who would make our division of wealth even more skewed.  I am betting Congressman Steve Pearce is one of them, or at least complicit.  This wasn't compromise.  It was extortion on a grand scale and we need to take names.

Senator Martin Heinrich has taken a stand against selling public lands to fund an International Mining  Company to walk away from leases in sensitive areas in California.  Heinrich says it would set a horrible precedent, and I agree.   In taking this stand Heinrich has shown he is not afraid to oppose Senate Democratic leadership.  It is refreshing.  Heinrich supports buying out the leases, but not by selling other public lands.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Us Vs. Them

The nice near valley neighborhood we live in has been experiencing some burglaries lately.  Although crime is down overall, we are being especially hard hit this year.  Thieves are coming in through smashed sliding doors, skylights and splintered entryways.  Even with burglar alarms going off they spend 30 seconds grabbing jewelry boxes and such.  It is very unsettling.

Some in the neighborhood immediately want to put up gates.  In my opinion there could be nothing worse than cutting ourselves off from the rest of Albuquerque.  And it would cost a fortune as the HOA would have to pay for all of the public streets, sewer and water lines, the park, road maintenance and such.  It will never happen.  The only thing that will stop this activity is good police work, which we haven't seen yet, or the legalization of drugs that will no longer necessitate junkies breaking into our homes to feed their habits.

The reaction of some of our neighbors is understandable.  But sometimes I sense a lot more going on in these situations.  The ideas of gates turns the issue into one of 'us vs. them.'  Them, being people that are not like us in economic standing, skin color, and security.  I don't think we have a neighborhood full of racists because we are pretty diverse.  But I think people are very angry at the instability of our political system overall which they feel helpless about fixing.  They feel vulnerable and they want to build walls to protect themselves. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

PNM Screws Solar

They will deny it, but PNM is coming after roof top solar advocates with an axe.  They want to charge a $21 a month fee for 'grid maintenance' to those who sell power from their rooftops to PNM to resell.  This is an abomination.  (I love that word).

We put our solar panels on the roof in 2008 and we have been heavily selling to PNM ever since.  In fact we make about $700 a year over what we pay them in the hottest months of summer.  We are fortunate we got in early because we get a good lifetime rate from PNM.  If you were to put solar on your roof now, which is much cheaper than when we installed it, it would be less and this monthly fee would kill the solar industry in New Mexico for residential.

This proposal should be shown an early grave by the PRC in Santa Fe.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Deeper and Deeper

Kim Vesley of the Rio Rancho School district, their longtime flack and an old friend, is piling the bullshit deeper and deeper on the case of the school teacher fired because one of her students wrote something that another student didn't like.

But, first I digress.  I played golf today out at Santa Ana and a young CNM student and former team golfer for that Rio Rancho school joined us and said that the teacher was one of the most popular and effective instructors in the school.  He was really angry they had fired her.  He said that she was a teacher who really taught the students how to think and be creative.  He just kept gushing out compliments on her when I asked him what he thought about the situation.  But, gosh, he was only a student.  Right?

Now back to the bullshit factory.  I had asked Kim Vesely for the biographies of the School Board Members.  She said they didn't keep biographies of their elected officials.  If they don't, they are incompetent.  If they do and don't want to reveal them now then there might be something discoverable about them that would put them in a bad light.  Whatever the reason, it is bullshit.

Just like the statement that Vesley sent out yesterday saying that the fired teacher used profanity and sexually explicit language in her classroom.  OMG! I wonder if her high school students have never heard something like that!

I remember as a sophmore at St. Pius X here in Albuquerque that we were given reading assignments that included George Orwell's "1984".  There was lots of sex in that book for those days.  All the students were talking about it.  But now fifty years later you can't even make a sexual reference in school?  That indicates to me that fundamentalism is alive and well in that institution.

The media has gone silent on this in the last couple of days.  So they might be on to something I am missing.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rio Rancho Response

Service Temporarily Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

Apache/2.2.14 (Ubuntu) Server at Port 80
This was the response to my inquiry to the Rio Rancho PR department on the possibility of getting the biographies of the School Board Members.  I am guessing their servers are overloaded with outrage from all sides because of this stupid decision to force the resignation of this teacher.

Rio Rancho Schools

Well, the Rio Rancho School District may take away from APD the prize for being the most inept organization at handling public relations.  It appears they backed a loved teacher into a corner because one of her students wrote something that Christian Fundamentalists don't like.  They forced her to resign.  The School district will hem and haw that it wasn't the reason, but certainly it was.  I imagine if one were to look over the school board up there that there would be a few fundamentalists in those seats.  The Albuquerque Journal wrote a great story on this today.  I hope they will follow up.

Apparently, the students at the High School really like this teacher.  She teaches them to think and write.  Apparently not a good thing up there.  If I were the students at that institution I might call for a walk out because of the attacks on their inability to keep good teachers from being fired for bad reasons.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Peeling Layers

I have the feeling that watching the APD come after the DA on her son's crimes as a drug addict will turn into something akin to peeling an onion.  There will always be another layer of intrigue.

Yesterday, Kari Brandenburg, did a great job of defending herself against the cops who leaked a story to a salivating Albuquerque Journal that put the charges out there that the DA kept her son out of trouble by agreeing to pay for items stolen from his victims.  Once again, any parent would do that, but not every parent is a DA whose job it is to charge people with crimes.  Muddy waters.

But for an investigation to be leaked to the Journal in which the cops never even interviewed the DA is highly weird.  There is something else afoot here I think.  It may just be the general incompetence of the APD in dealing with its image.  Or maybe it is a warning shot across the bow that the DA better not indict any cops in shootings of unarmed people.  Although that has not happened anyway.  But maybe Brandenburg in looking around the country feels she must now take action against the cops who gunned down that homeless man in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains.

Someone should call Janet Blair, the recently departed APD public relations person, to see if she would be willing to talk about how decisions like this are made at APD.  They certainly never listened to her because she was not one of the 'club' there.  So of course she probably viewed at an outsider.  That whole 'us against them' philosophy in APD.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Bernalillo County DA

Apparently our longtime and likable Bernalillo County DA, Kari Brandenburg, is being scrutinized for trying to protect her drug addict son from facing prosecution.  Just about any parent would do that I think, although not every parent is a District Attorney.  This is a troubling controversy.

But I have to say it pales beside the failure of her office to ever bring an indictment against the police officers who have engaged in a killing spree over the last few years in the city of Albuquerque.  That is a massive failure of her office and it really needs to be examined by the mainstream media, or at least the Justice Department.  Or, maybe they are looking at it.

The sweetheart relationships between the prosecutors and the cops has always existed.  But it is at a point where there needs to be some sort of ombudsman who can handle these police shootings in front of grand juries.  That system is already flawed enough that alleged perps, who are not cops, have little in the way of tools to use in these one sided legal proceedings.  Someone needs to do some original thinking here that might be turned into legislation.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Tiny Brains

There will be a lot of people gnashing their teeth because a new APS Superintendent may have starting pay of $300,000.  Already some idiots on Facebook are saying $200K should be more than sufficient.  Such tiny brains on some people.  They would pay someone multiples less than a basketball coach?  Yeah, they would.  Tea Party sized brains.

Frankly, I think the salaries should be switched.  Pay the new APS head the millions and the coaches in the NCAA $200K, because right now everything is upside down.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


Bobbi and I went to see the movie, "The Theory of Everything", which is about Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde, as remarkable a woman as he was a brilliant cosmologist.  I recommend it as a movie more about a love story than one of those outlier thinkers that fascinate me so much.

Next on our list to see is "The Imitation Game", about Alan Turning during WWII.  He essentially broke the German enigma code by inventing a computer.  After saving his British Government and most of Europe they later arrested him for being gay.  One more silly progrom  against people that has nearly disappeared.  We do make progress, mostly.

These Outliers must live in a different world than us.  They come along once in a generation to really change the way we must view the natural world.  Physicists, Biologists, Economists, and other scientists have really made progress possible because of their powerful brains and curiosity.  I wonder what it is like to be inside that process in their heads.  Pure thinking.

So, the question is,  can we include anyone in the realm of political scientists as outliers.  Some exist I know.  Some would say Jefferson, others would say Marx.  I would think in American History that the Roosevelts were outliers.  But, since then we really haven't seen anyone of their stature ascend the world stage, have we?  We could sure use one of those types right now who has it all.  Charisma, compassion, progressive ideals and the means to make the population understand and embrace them.

But maybe that can't really happen anymore with the role that big money plays in leadership.  We can't go many more generations in this mode of operation.  Really.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

State Government

The silence is eerie, or maybe it is just a lack of media coverage.  I would like to know a lot more about the pending budget disaster as New Mexico faces plummeting revenues due to the fall in price for oil and gas.  Susana Martinez and her minions are silent, but the problem will become real in about six weeks when the legislative session begins.  And, it is always interesting to hear the GOP whine about the federal jobs in the Land of Enchantment being too important to our economy, while at the same time the over reliance on oil and gas royalties and taxes goes unmentioned.  What this is really about is a complete lack of a plan for economic development in the state.

Governor Martinez and Secretary of State Diana Duran are trying to interfere in a lawful recount of votes in the Land Commissioner race.  They are ignoring requirements of state law and the issue will be vetted by Commissioner Ray Powell to the Supreme Court.  Ray has a mountain to climb in overcoming a 700 vote loss to the republican Aubrey Dunn Jr.  But, it could happen.

Back in 1982 I won the primary election for Land Commissioner over the oil and gas backed democrat.  Election night I made a comeback at midnight to win by 780 votes.  The oil and gas boys parked lawyers and operatives in the Secretary of State's office to try and finagle the numbers.  In the end, after three weeks of ups and downs, I won by 1086 votes.  I went on to carry the ticket in the General election with the most number of votes and the largest percentage margin of victory.  It was a good year.  

Monday, December 01, 2014


Sometimes unrelated stories in the media are really about the same thing.  For example, take the question of corporate welfare subsidies.  The Bernalillo County Commission is considering approving a massive land development scheme, named Santolina, on the southwest mesa of Albuquerque.  This will heavily impact taxpayers in the future and will enrich the owners of the property while degrading the quality of life here through poor planning and water shortages.

There is also a story about corporate subsidies somewhere in the lame brained idea of spending up to a billion dollars to dam the Gila River so a few farmers and land developers can enrich themselves at the expense of destroying an eco system and riparian system.  Even the Albuquerque Journal is urging a close look at this.

But, sometimes there is hope.  The NY Times reports that the owner of the coal mine where 29 miners died in a West Virginia mine has been indicted.  He is a notorious political power in that state and his penchant for profit over safety for his workers has caught up with him.  He should spend the rest of his life in prison.  Now, if some of these Wall Street criminals could be given the same treatment, one could have some faith restored in holding people responsible for their crimes.