Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Think of corporate America and its US Chamber of Commerce who spend millions in suing foreign governments who try and educate people about the dangers of tobacco.  This is a different kind of terrorism that ends up killing many people.  The board and CEO of the Chamber should be brought to trial for murder.

Think of President Obama and his new policy of requiring overtime pay for those in the middle class who are forced to work extra hours.  Doing something good here for many Americans struggling with student loans and the effects of corrupt bankers.

It is easy to see who the decent and moral people are in this debate.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Gerry Mander is Not a Guy

The Supreme Court has slapped down right wing Arizona republicans by ruling that independent commissions can set the redistricting lines for congressional and legislative districts.  This is a great thing.  Gerrymandering has kept right wingers, and left wingers, in office by designing districts only they could win, even if the districts defied all logic.

You can see this in one of our especially bizarre districts for the NM Senate.  District 39 winds it way from San Miguel County like a snake through multiple counties all the way to Ruidoso.  It is non sensical.  See it here.

For a good explanation of gerrymandering look here.

The City of Santa Fe recently handed over its redistricting duties to an independent commission and readily accepted their work and passed it.  Oh, if only we had some brave legislators in Santa Fe that would do the same.  The way is now clear.  We will see who in Santa Fe are self serving.  You will be able to make that judgement by the excuses they give for not letting such commissions function in a non partisan manner for the good of New Mexico.


I wonder how many of those folks, like former homophobe City Councillors Mike McEntee and Greg Payne have been able to evolve from their positions on fighting gay rights.  I have a feeling that some  people like them have done so.  Others never will do so.  It is a brain thing formed by hateful teachings and surroundings.

My sister, brother and I were educated all the way through high school by the Catholic school system.  Back then I don't think, at least in grade school, that we were ever lectured about gays in any way.  Strangely, I think in some ways our liberal leanings came from the church in doses between the silly dogma catechism classes.  Compassion and helping others was a theme we learned.  But apparently our new Archbishop has never evolved on the issue, although on many other policy questions he seems fine.  So, in many ways the churches that hold to such xenophobia will never evolve until they are so marginalized that they must do so.  Kicking and screaming.

The media sure isn't evolving on gun issues coverage.  Nor are any of our congressional representatives or Senators.  That latest massacre has done nothing.  However we all know what the social media and mainstream news operations are into, and that would be Donald Trump.  Once again the NRA escapes unscathed because the guy with the combover is so outrageous.

But, at the end of the day....two steps forward and one back.  Health care and human rights in this country are better guaranteed than last week.  It shows progress.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Little Steps

Here is an old Journal story from April of 2000 on one of the many little steps taken to get us where we are today with the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage.  I took all sorts of hell from the republicans on the city council and religious extremists for this action.

The GOP is still whining about not being able to stay in the past.  I am proud of this action and saw it as one of my major executive orders.  A lot of credit goes to the gay community in Albuquerque back then.  Especially my communications officer at the time, Brian Morris.

Later that year I served as the first Mayor to ever ride, as grand marshall, in the gay pride parade in Albuquerque.

 Edition--Final Date--04/12/2000 Page--A1 
 City To Insure Domestic Partners 
 Olivier Uyttebrouck Journal Staff Writer 

 Albuquerque plans to extend insurance benefits in July to unmarried domestic partners of city employees. 
 Mayor Jim Baca quietly approved the policy in an order he signed March 8. 
 "It will give insurance coverage to many people and children who don't have it," Baca said Tuesday. "Why would anybody not want those folks to have insurance?" 
 The policy also will help Albuquerque stay competitive with other large employers that offer insurance benefits to their workers' partners, he said. Area employers that offer similar benefits include US West and the University of New Mexico. 
 City officials estimate the extended health insurance will raise the city's premiums 1 percent, or about $185,000 a year. The city pays 80 percent of premium costs for most employees. 
 Councilor Greg Payne said Tuesday he opposes extending city benefits to people who are not married. 
 "There isn't enough money in the budget to put enough cops on the street to answer 911 calls, but we magically find money to benefit domestic partners," Payne said. 
 Payne also said Baca should have brought the issue before the City Council and the public because some will find it offensive. 
 "It's going to have a financial impact on the city, and he has an obligation to bring it before the council," Payne said. 
 Councilor Mike McEntee said he objects to the policy on moral and fiscal grounds. 
 "This is the kind of thing that breaks down the fabric of the family," McEntee said. Unmarried couples "don't have the commitment to get married, but they want you and me to pay for their benefits." 
 Baca responded that councilors would reveal themselves as intolerant if they introduce a bill forbidding the city from extending benefits to unmarried partners of city employees. 
 "To me, that would be promoting discrimination and bigotry," Baca said. Baca also said the City Charter gives him the authority to make administrative decisions, including those regarding employee insurance benefits. 
 City officials said they don't know how many employees will take advantage of the new benefit. Under the new policy, partners must have lived together at least 12 months. The policy will apply to heterosexual and same-sex relationships. 
 Employees who want benefits for their partners will be asked to fill out an "affidavit of partnership." They must produce at least three documents, such as a joint lease or mortgage, a joint bank or brokerage account or a joint automobile registration, showing they "share financial responsibility" for each other. 
 If approved, the employee's partner would be eligible for health and dental insurance coverage and optional supplemental life insurance. The employee also would be eligible to use city leave to attend to a sick partner or attend a funeral. 
 Valerie Santillanes, spokeswoman for US West, said the company began offering insurance benefits to same-sex partners of employees in 1998. But the company doesn't offer the extended benefits to heterosexual partners because, unlike same-sex couples, they have the option of getting married, she said. 
 That policy led the New Mexico branch of the Christian Coalition to file a complaint with the state Public Regulation Commission in March. The Christian Coalition argued that US West has no right to seek a rate increase while spending money on insurance benefits for same-sex partners of employees. 
 PHOTO: Color 
 BACA: "Why would anybody not want those folks to have insurance?"

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Adjacent  stories in the Journal this morning were somewhat funny to me.  The lead story was about a better system for deciding whether to adopt out dogs that have shown a vicious streak.  Apparently assessments being done by the people at the city animal control center are arbitrary.  Now there will be put into place an independent group to make the decision.  Experts are required.

The story next to this is about the Bernalillo County Commission giving a final approval to the horrendous Santolina development.  The contract the majority on the Commission voted for ties the hands of future leaders and it sets up the taxpayers for a train wreck down the track.  This vote was also arbitrary, but in this case no one has asked for an independent group to make decisions.  In fact, there were attempts to limit debate of dissenting Commissioners Maggie Stebbins and Deb O'Malley. Apparently experts in urban planning and sprawl were not required.

Lets hope that the ABCWUA folks will make some decisions that involve the wisdom of this development when they decide what kind of water service to hand out.  Perhaps they could call in water experts and urban planners to write contracts that make sense.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


We continue to shell out big bucks to fix the Albuquerque Police Department.  Another $750K to pay a watchdog was approved by the City Council last night.  Add to that the costs of trials of officers for unnecessary killings and civil suit payouts and the city budget is taking hit, not to mention the money being spent by special prosecutors hired by District Attorney Brandenburg.  Those responsible for the poor leadership at APD are still in their jobs and the Mayor and CAO have done nothing.

That $2.5 million the State Fair received for capital improvements is really a farce.  It will be spread around several hundred acres of deteriorating infrastructure and grounds and will be virtually invisible.  It is too bad  the Governor, who has a Fair Commission that never meets, can't show some vision and make this Exposition into a model of modernity.  Build science exhibits and digital interactive educational venues for the young folks who might find it more interesting than watching animals poop and corndogs fry. (I love those.)

It was 109 degrees on my back porch yesterday.  Almost too hot for golf.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


When you think of State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn think of these pictures.  He has invited the trapping of wildlife back onto State Trust Land.  Traps are non specific and cruel and he and Governor Martinez are attempting to kill every four legged creature other than cows on New Mexico's lands through the Game and Fish Commission.  In effect it is another subsidy for the livestock industry.  I am hopeful this act of barbarianism will be met with mass national protestors flooding into Santa Fe.  Grazing cattle in the desert has always been stupid, but now it is also medieval.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Worth Reading

I had linked this in a post earlier this month.  But now it seems, after S. Carolina, a good time to just devote the days blog to this.

History’s Heavy Hand

As we ponder the events of the last few years in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt and Libya, we are apt to not understand at all how people could be at each other's throats like that. Where is the civility? Where is the knowledge of our common humanity? How could these centuries’ old grievances continue to govern modern politics? This week the radical Islamic group, ISIS, is threatening ancient landmarks of civilization in Palmyra, Syria, and last week Kurds surged into prominence in Turkish elections, based largely on their ethnicity.

The ancestors of most Americans came to this country as immigrants giving up their traditional identities and being willing to start over. Years ago, when I was working in Moscow in the Soviet Union, our Russian colleagues would marvel at the fact that I did not consider myself German or English, even though I had family threads that stretched back to each country.

In America, the common story is that we are mostly finished with our historic quarrels and are starting over, and our success has not hinged so much on our ethnicity as upon our ingenuity or good fortune. And so today Americans are largely amazed that Shias and Sunnis are battling it out, and the Kurds and Turks are battling it out, and Palestinians and Israelis are battling it out. We are apt to wonder why they cannot see that we are all just human beings, given a chance for happiness on this planet. For what earthly reason should anybody be chopping off anybody else's head?

Further, and increasing our American inability to understand what is going on from Libya across the globe to Afghanistan, we in the commercial and industrial West have grown into a greater dependence upon material success as the arbiter of value rather than the anointing of some chosen people by the word of God. We are less apt today to trust religious leaders speaking for God then we might have been through many earlier centuries, and as a consequence we have been released to make our own judgments independent of religious instruction. All this makes us even further unable to understand the flaming radicalism that is tearing apart the map from Libya to Afghanistan.

One time, many years ago, a war was going on between the countries of the former Soviet Union, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It had become a war of ethnic cleansing; millions of refugees had been driven from each country into the other. In the midst of this, I was part of a US team seeking to explore some pathway to peace. At one point our team was invited to the office of the vice president of Armenia, who, in order to explain Armenian grievances with Azerbaijan began a lecture reciting a history of Armenian persecutions and oppressions.

The vice president’s story began in 340 AD and it took him more than three hours to get to the 20th century.  Armenia’s whole history, he said, was a tale of oppressions and bullying by one nation after the other, beginning with the Romans and running down through the Russians.  Next, he said, millions of Armenians had lost their lives, their homes, their fortunes in the Turkish genocidal fury of 1915 through 1922.  We will not forget that, the vice president told us.

As it happened, not many weeks later, our team was hosted by the vice president of Azerbaijan, the country on the other side of that war. This vice president, like his counterpart in Armenia, then described centuries of abuse of Azeris brought upon them by Christians expanding the great Russian empire, beginning in at least the 18th century with Catherine the Great. As Armenians are themselves largely Christian, the Azeris considered those people complicit in centuries of persecution and they, too, had a score to settle.

So then came the Americans in the last part of the 20th century asking each side to move forward; we used the word forgiveness; we attempted to paint a picture of a common future in which both countries could survive amicably. And of course this effort was noble and principled. But what we did not understand, and most Americans still do not understand, is that these horrendous events of the past, reaching as far back as 340 AD, running from the Romans through the Crusades to the wars of Catherine the Great, to the 19th century invasions by Europeans and the fights over Crimea, finally running through the genocides of the 1920s, cannot simply be forgiven through a decision of the mind. Such horrific histories carry with them a kind of generational PTSD and no amount of urging by Americans, or even the occasional willingness by the participants themselves to reach for something new, is not enough to scour out the pain and hurt as if it had never happened.

And so it is that today, even as millions of Americans came to this country in search of a way to move out of the shadows of the past, and because of our ability to plant our roots in a new land, and because we have made some success of it, we have a difficult time understanding those who will not give up the past, carrying it along with them like a load of heavy rocks that they cannot ever discard.

I hasten to add that we did not solve that war between Armenia and Azerbaijan with our efforts in the 1990s. I have vivid memories of sitting in on meetings at which literally hundreds of wives and widows cried to the heavens for their missing husbands and sons and remembered nighttime terrors huddling in basements as the bombs came crashing in. Americans were not only negotiating with this frightening present; we were also negotiating with the past.

Now in 2015, in this week's news the president of the United States has directed the disposition of a stronger military presence in Iraq for the purpose of fighting off ISIS. This week, too, we read of Pentagon plans to position US heavy weaponry in the Baltic States. In the former case we are asking Sunnis to forget centuries of history with the Shias and to unite for a new nationalism created by the West after World War I.

In the Baltics, we are asking president Putin to forget Russian domination of that region that goes back at least to the 18th century. We want Putin to move, as we think, into the present and recognize the inevitability of democracy. Putin for his part scoffs at that; he has no history with which to connect to a democratic dream, and, instead, wants the West to remember Catherine the Great and Alexander I, (who conquered Paris), and therefore to remember the inevitability of Russian military power.

President Obama is hopeful that the use of limited force in Iraq and a moderate show of strength in the Baltics can persuade our adversaries to move beyond their history, to become a part of the world that we call civilized but which, unfortunately, they call naïve.

The dilemma for the president is therefore that too much military force will simply take us back to the 19th century but now with more horrific weapons. Too little force, on the other hand, or no force at all, appears to invite aggression against all of the values that we fought for throughout the 20th century.

In this highly complex situation a furious debate has broken out in Washington as if someone knew the right answer.  Many, if not most, Republican politicians fault the president for not acting decisively.  Decisively attack somewhere, anywhere, but of course don’t get us into another Vietnam. Most decisively, don’t wade into Iraq again step by step, as we once did in Vietnam. So be decisive, but not so much as to get us into trouble.

In spite of all this posturing, no one, not anyone, has a simple formula for eliminating the anguish and pains that history has brought forward to our own times. In the Middle East those whom we might try to persuade with tanks and guns have military memories that run at least back to the Crusades.  No president, Republican or Democrat, will be able to erase those memories.  Nor will anyone erase Putin’s dream of reviving Russia’s past.

Nor can it be, for us, a decision of simply withdrawing, bowing out from all this conflict.  We have memories of our own; we remember Munich and the Allies giving way to Hitler, and the stupendous cost of not acting with conviction in 1939 when conviction was needed.

And so there it is.  A complex and overriding set of contrary memories are on the table in 2015.  Anyone who thinks that this president, or any president, can now simply take a military trump card out of the deck, or any other trump card, and play it now, is in delusion.  History holds cards, too.

Craig Barnes

Santa Fe, June 16, 2015

This essay was first offered in advance of a radio conversation with Lou Ureneck the author of a compelling new book detailing the events of the Armenian genocide that took place in Smyrna, Turkey, in 1922, The Great Fire.  Ureneck paints no simple picture of good guys and bad guys, but enough of each on both sides to go around.  This book is a great read.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Bait and Switch

The NRA must love it.  Following the racist killings in South Carolina of nine innocent African American worshipers, the debate seems to be leaving out gun control and concentrating on whether this was a terrorist act and the fact that the Governor there wants the killer to face the death penalty.  These issues just detract from getting another debate on sensible gun laws and background checks.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Timing is Everything

Just like 'showing up' is important, so is timing on any occurrence.  Take our rightwing fundamentalist State Land Commissioner who  used oil and gas money to slither his way into office.  On the day that he reinstalls an oil pump jack in front of the State Land Office, the Pope releases his plea for attention to climate change.  Aubrey Dunn's tribute to the 'Lords of Yesterday' is a scar on a major entrance to the historic Santa Fe Plaza.  It is also a throwback to worshipping the past instead of looking forward.  It is a sad thing to see.

This battle was fought years ago and settled when a pump jack was removed from the site, but like Vladimir Putin, Dunn is trying to revisit the glory days of a great dynasty.  In this case the oil and gas industry that had virtually owned the Land Office since New Mexico became a state in 1912.  Supposedly it is a tribute to oil and gas revenues to the land office.  They are formidable, but the oil boys forget to tell you that the oil was on state land in the first place, it wasn't theirs and these revenues were not taxes but payment for a product from state trust lands.  The money went into the State Permanent Fund for Education, which the oil boys used as a hedge against paying fair taxes like they would have to do in other states.

The oil boys have their mojo back in the guise of this Commissioner who represents the past .

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Hats off to County Commission Chair Maggie Stebbins and Commissioner Deb O'Malley for trying to bring good government policy to bear on the Santolina development west of Albuquerque.  Although the masterplan has passed, they managed to amend the plan to not put the county tax payer on the chopping block for subsidies.  Now, after some time has passed the other three commissioners will take that on when they think no one is looking.  As I said, they are tools.   I would suggest that they look at the Journal Facebook page to see some comments on their actions.  Especially the one where a hapless county resident can't understand why his road hasn't been fixed in 11 years while these three ethically challenged guys try to give away the treasury to a multinational bank who owns the land.

It is interesting to watch a Pope apply pressure to politicians on something other than medieval church dogma.  I really do like Francis and his changing of the guard.  But one has to wonder why our pols are more worried about this religious leader's encyclical than they are leading world scientist's opinions on the subject of climate change.  But the Pope's help is most welcome and a breath of fresh air from the Vatican.

The Albuquerque Journal sent me a letter the other day saying my subscription will be changed at no cost to me.  I read the paper now on my iPad because it is easier than struggling with small print.  But the Journal, under this subscription, also delivered the Friday and Sunday print editions.  Now, free of charge they will add Saturdays.  One could easily surmise that they need to keep up their numbers of daily print deliveries so their advertisers feel they are getting their money's worth.  But I have a feeling that this is a no win game.  Young people read everything in a digital form, and the older folks who take the print edition are, well to put it bluntly, dying off.  So it really shows the pinch this newspaper finds itself in.  Their right wing editor and his vision of the paper doesn't help much either.

Here is an interesting read.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Watch the Vote

The Bernalillo County Commission will vote today on whether to let the huge Santolina development on Albuquerque's West Side move on to the next phase.  This phase would be to drain the taxpayers in the region by subsidizing development of a very questionable sprawl development that no market really can support for a long time to come.  The pie in the sky projections of thousands of jobs at the development is nothing more than a lie concocted by corporate vampires and their local lawyers.  Remember who votes to move this forward and you will know whose ethics have been compromised.

Meanwhile, in Dona Ana County, the Santa Teresa area has become very successful in using its proximity to Mexico to develop trade and transportation centers along the border.  This project has taken 30 years of hard work.  It was originally envisioned by one man, Charles Crowder, who could see the future there and made some things happen that set up today's success.  He has pretty much been forgotten, he wasn't a perfect man and sometimes controversial, but he could see the value of the border in economic development terms.

Monday, June 15, 2015


The Albuquerque Journal ran an editorial cartoon attacking the New York Times.  I read both those newspapers everyday, and one can only surmise the Journal really doesn't want to be a newspaper anymore under the current editor, but rather a raging right wing propaganda mill.  A few days ago they had another editorial cartoon showing a blood soaked medical doctor supposedly upset about fewer abortions.  Damn!  A little dignity please.

The Albuquerque City Council is attempting to fill a leadership vacuum at City Hall by introducing a bill that would give them power to approve or fire the police chief.  As a former Mayor I would hate to see this done.  While Mayor Berry has shirked his duties in regards to APD, if you hand power over to nine City Councillors then there will never really be anyone accountable.  They will just point fingers at each other, much like our Congress does.  This would dilute leadership even more.  A bad move.

On a personal note, it appears I beat my prostate cancer.  After undergoing 45 days of radiation treatments at the beginning of this year, my first followup visit shows me pretty much cancer free.  Thanks to the medical professionals at New Mexico Cancer Center.  Just a note to all of you guys, right wingers and left wingers and moderates,  be very studious in picking the right time to treat this cancer.  Get lots of opinions and read up on the latest research.  I seemed to time it right five years after my first diagnosis.  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Earth to NGOs

I received another email today from an environmental group that commanded me to 'tell someone not to do something."  I am a member of the board of that group and I was appalled.  I also regularly get missives on email saying I must meet some unsupported deadline for stopping catastrophe by sending in just five dollars to make a difference.  Or the world may end.

Just stop this silly shit.  It doesn't work and makes the movement look sophomoric.  If you want my five dollars then say,  "We need to raise money to save a river.  Can you send five dollars?"  Don't say, "if  you don't send five dollars by next Tuesday to meet our goal to save a river then we have failed the future!"  Who set that deadline?  Would my five dollars save the river within the next five days?

I want to save the river, but I don't want to be treated like an idiot!  Sometimes I think the well meaning fund raisers at non profit organizations have been reading too many comments on facebook.


Mayor Berry and his Chief Administrative Officer Perry are living in a parallel universe where the State Auditor, City Inspector General, and common sense are something to be ignored.  The sweetheart deal between the former Police Chief Ray Schultz and Taser International has been pretty much found to be tainted.  But all Berry and Perry can do is say everything was done properly.  Even city councillor Dan Lewis, a wannabe Mayor from the right, can see through this and he deserves some credit for being vocal about it.  Probably what should happen at this point is that some people be put on leave or dismissed.

The Pilot and Gunner on a federal government so called "Wildlife Services" airplane died while trying to kill coyotes from the air for ranchers in the Raton area.  The sad loss of life once again just points out that this ridiculously named agency has outlived it usefulness in killing for ranchers.  Another subsidy really.  I feel bad for the families of these men who died carrying out very bad policy.  Maybe our Senators Heinrich and Udall could just put in a budget amendment saying this agency should no longer work in New Mexico.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

AG Office

I was critical of Attorney General Hector Balderas when he fired 40 AG employees upon taking office.  I thought it was a meat cleaver approach that would cause him problems, which it is doing in several ways.  First it made a lot of enemies and they won't forget.  Second the indiscriminate blood bath might have purged some good employees.  A more deliberate approach might have been a good idea.

But, Balderas had the right to do this because of the way the personnel system is set up.  The AGs and Governor's office is a little different that most agencies in that just about all of their  employees are exempt from job protection given other agency public employees.  For example, in the State Land Office there might be 150 employees, but only a dozen are exempt.  These would be policy level managers that any elected official should be able to choose to carry out his direction for his office.  The real trick is to pick the right people for those jobs.

So, these employees who Balderas let go are being disingenuous in their attempts to get their jobs back.  They knew that they were exempt and should spend their efforts at getting employed again.

And frankly, Balderas is doing a great job so far as AG.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


The City of Albuquerque took quick action in dismissing two employees whose malfeasance caused six million gallons of untreated sewage to spill into the Rio Grande.  That threatened the public safety of many people downstream.  Poor performance in their jobs cost them their jobs. (The ABCWUA Utility is run by a board comprised of city, county and others.)

Now think of how things have been handled at APD.  Has it been as efficient?  Hardly.  How is it that sewage plant workers are dealt with in a timely manner, but bad cops are not?  It is that whole P.R. aura that many sign onto that cops are special, no matter how they do their jobs.

There is great news for those folks who suffer from too much LDL cholesterol which leads to heart attacks and strokes.  A new type of drug will help them greatly.  It will only cost $10,000 a year.  On the one hand I marvel at big Pharma's research and science that leads to the creation of such drugs, but I would truly like to see a cost breakdown of how these prices are arrived at.  It is said one in three Americans suffer from high LDL but how many would be able to afford this cost?  Is big Pharma looking to gouge everyone and Medicare in order to reap windfall profits?  Does anyone look at the costs of creating such drugs and then do a fair analysis on the price to be charged?  Or do we just trust the CEO's and Boards to be prudent in setting their prices?  Dream on.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Double Standards

It is great news that New Mexico is one of the states showing the highest reduction in abortion.  This is due to science in family planning and education aimed at preventing  pregnancy.  There are many religious groups that try to claim their teachings are responsible.  These are the same groups that spend so much time denying science and forbidding education of young people on pregnancy prevention.

I am pretty sure that amount of young people having sex is about the same as it has always been.  But they are being smarter thanks to government and non profit group programs on family planning.  It is nice to see New Mexico showing progress.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Support Due

Mayor Berry is showing some vision, for the first time I think, in his push for a modern rapid transit bus system running up and down the length of Central Avenue, Old Route 66.  It will certainly help with infill and denser housing options, especially on the east and west ends of the City.  I would also suggest the same system be made operational along north 4th street as far as the Peoples Republic of Los Ranchos.  That is another corridor screaming for new dense development and housing.  This is the kind of development that makes the Santolina sprawl on the westside look pretty irresponsible.

We also should support, on another subject, the addition for testing for steroid use by Police Officers and other public safety employees.  It is no longer recognized as a harmless muscle builder but a substance that can make people overly violent.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Hillary Diversion

You need all sorts of identification in this life.  You have to present a drivers license to buy a six pack of beer, even if you are 70 years old.  You need strong i.d. to get on an airplane.  You need i.d. to purchase just about anything where you present a credit card.  It is just a way of life that people may not like, but they acccept.

Some politicians think requiring an i.d. when you go into vote is some sort of attempt to keep you from  voting.  It is one of those culture war things that helps divert attention from the real problems in this country, and Hillary Clinton has joined the battle. Her notion that everyone should be automatically registered to vote on the 18th birthday is a good one.  But the debate on ID is a red herring.  Hopefully, she can move on from this diversion soon.

I would rather see her tackle the gerrymandering of congress and how to stop it.  I would much rather her talk about reigning in the big and corrupt bankers in this nation.  I would much rather see more action on getting a coherent foreign policy.  I would much rather see her take a realistic approach to the so called 'war on drugs.'  But right now she seems concerned about having to show voter i.d.

I am not talking here about many right wing people trying to keep poor people from voting.  A reasonable requirement for a simple i.d. for voting won't stop voters from going to the polls.  If someone doesn't have any reasonable i.d. to show, a new one can be devised just for them.  But it wouldn't really be many people who need one would it, anymore than the number of people who the republicans say vote fraudulently every election cycle?  That has been proven a myth.

So lets talk about the important things instead of little culture battles where the only goal is to win a meaningless victory.

Thursday, June 04, 2015


I had deleted a comment I made on the last post wondering if the police officers attending todays funeral for a fallen comrade were being paid.  The hate mail I have received is really incredible.  Apparently these people think I hate cops and veterans.  Well, I don't.(Actually I am a veteran and headed up a law enforcement agency in my career.)   Me thinks all the hatred is on their side.

I have often said that when a police officer falls in the line of duty it is a tragic thing.  But I also think it is a tragic thing when a sanitation department worker falls carrying out his role as a public servant too.  In fact the job of a refuse worker is the 5th most dangerous job in the nation.  Police work doesn't rank in the top ten.   But you never see this level of public grief for the death of the refuse worker because many have all been brainwashed into believing some people are more important than others because of media hype, public relations, or political opportunism. (Would Governor Susana attend a funeral for a trashman?) It works both ways really.  Some people are also singled out for hatred. Like when this officer was killed by a ganger with a latino name.  Immediately some folks started blaming illegal immigrants even though they had nothing do to with the murder of the officer.

And so this is just something we put up with.  Human nature at its worse.  As for the original question of compensating people for  going to his services, it still stands.  It would be interesting to know, but I bet no one in the media will ever ask it.


I did not cough up $2700 dollars to attend Hilary Clintons fundraiser yesterday in Albuquerque.  About 300 attended with maybe half paying that much to get in.  Still, it is a good crowd and shows her strength amongst the old guard of the Democratic Party.  It is pretty hard to tell what the rest of the democrats are thinking about in the state until we see some polling.  I am assuming many are like me and want to stop reaching into the 90's for our leadership, but are willing to work hard for her if she gets the nomination.

I am not so sure that is a lock for her.  Maryland's Martin O'Malley could generate some excitement, although like me he will be hated by the assault rifle toting NRA mascots.  Lincoln Chafee has entered the race also.  Don't forget all of their chances are destined to hinge on a bunch of corn on the cob eating delegates in Iowa.  What an insane system!

There is a wonderful story in the New York Times this morning that shows how incredible internet service can be when there is some competition.  In South Korea the populace has speeds and services twice as fast as Americans with great free access.  Even in their subways.  Sometime I daydream about kidnapping the CEOs of the internet providers like Comcast and subjecting them to some kind of mind altering torture.  Maybe like trying to deal with american airline rate schedules and poor service.  Stick them in that hell for a while.  That would be fun.

Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and the rest of the GOP menagerie just keeps growing.  The good thing about it is that there are not enough right wing religious fundamentalists to split up amongst them.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015


The Albuquerque Journal ran a story this morning about crime in Baltimore which had extensive quotes in it from the city's African American Mayor.  She was called on to defend her leadership and that of the police department.

This morning there was another story on New Mexico's and Albuquerque's disastrous ratings in the area of public safety.  And of course the Journal didn't get an interview with either the Mayor or the Governor on our community's downward spiral into third world status.  The comments came from the Mayor's chief of staff and from a functionary in the Governor's Office.

So one can surmise that if an elected official is to be quoted in the Journal they must meet the qualifications as follows.

  1. Be an African American
  2. Be a Democrat
  3. Live 1800 miles away