Guv Race Update

The incumbent Governor seems poised to win a second term in spite of her repeated mis-steps, scandals and Tea Party backing.  Her?  Yes, since Pennsylvania’s race has been over for some time and since I’ve been in New Mexico for the last month we’re discussing The land of Enchantment and Susana Martinez.  

Spoken about in GOP circles as a possible 2016 VP candidate it’s important for us to get to know who she is and why she’s cruising to re-election.  Her Administration is under federal investigation for a Racino scandal which should derail any chance of federal office but as always in politics, timing is everything.

The First Husband of New Mexico is creating enough scandal for locals to (almost) forget the last man who resided in the Governor’s Mansion and kept getting in trouble (he has a serious zipper problem).  Often traveling out of state Mr. Martinez keeps a large contingent of escorts along-State Police who stay with him in high end hotels at taxpayer expense.  All this in one of the poorest states in America.  From CREW:

the FBI appears to be examining whether the state improperly awarded a 25-year lease to the Downs at Albuquerque racino, a major donor to Gov. Martinez’s campaign and PAC, to continue operating the state fair despite past performance problems. Leaked emails revealed communications between the governor’s staff and lawyers for the Downs during the selection process.

She has also used private emails to conduct official business, an often used ploy to keep secret communications officials don’t want subject to public disclosure.  The only reason to do so is to hide corruption.  She also cut education and tried to make public the names and addresses of all of New Mexico’s public school teachers.

Susana then had the gall to complain about a former staffer “stealing” her emails.  There is a serious pay to play aspect to this state’s governance under her leadership so I understand why she’s upset about this stuff getting out.

So why is she cruising to re-election?  Democrats have been unable to mount an effective challenge, that’s why.  Gary King is the unimpressive candidate running as her opposition.  After a month in Santa Fe I can’t say I’ve seen him do anything except put up a couple billboards on I-25.  Martinez is all over television lying about their records.  King was able to get an article in The New Mexican telling voters she’s lying but how does that counter a commercial being run ad nauseum statewide?

Susana Martinez has enough baggage to mount a world vacation tour but New Mexico Democrats are either unable or unwilling to bury her with all of it.  Not that statewide TV is terribly expensive here.  The Albuquerque stations essentially broadcast statewide and their rates are nowhere near what Philadelphia’s are.  Susana will cruise in November because the Democratic Party here couldn’t recruit a powerful candidate or raise the money to get their message to voters.

News & Notes November 17, 2011

The Mayor of Oakland let it slip to the BBC that she was on a national conference call with 18 other Mayors discussing the Occupy movement.  Coincidentally all of these Occupy camps were raided and cleared by police.  Pure coincidence though, move on, there’s nothing to see here.

The timing is interesting with the Poliburo report on deficit reduction due next week.  The level of police brutality required to protect the 1% is increasing:

As usual Keith Olbermann hit the nail on the head once again:

One of the many evils of privatization is the lack of accountability to the public.  In New Mexico they’re having some issues with their four privatized prisons.

A man was arrested in Indiana, PA yesterday for last week’s shooting at the White House.

Former star Nittany Lion Dave Joyner has been appointed as Penn State’s Acting Athletic Director.  He takes a leave from his role as a Trustee to step in.

The State Senate passed a very weak Marcellus shale impact fee bill.  The legislation reverses democracy by outlawing the passage of local zoning laws and ordinances.  Why have any municipalities at all now that we’ll have this and ACRE?

The Sunday New York Times reminded us of the crazy days of the 80’s when private equity firms headed by vultures named Mitt Romney exploited capitalism and destroyed entire towns while gutting local companies and raiding pension plans.

Republicans cannot decide on a candidate because they’ve become so extreme that none can seriously challenge in a national election any longer.  This article on Ron Paul doesn’t even mention his past as a white supremacist for example.

The latest flavor of the moment is disgraced former Speaker Newt Gingrich.  Ousted on ethics charges he has essentially (like Herman Cain) been conducting a book tour disguised as a presidential campaign.  His entire staff walked out once because he was more concerned with selling books than winning.  Now on his third wife he is a serial adulterer.

Newt’s problem of the moment is the $300,000 he took from Freddie Mac for lobbying for the outfit.  Conservatives have been blaming Fannie and Freddie for the economic crash because they need scapegoats which aren’t Wall Street banks.

An Oklahoma City pastor says half of all murders in cities are done by homosexuals.  Wow, no wonder prisons are such fun places!  Tom Vineyard of the Windsor Hills (not Westboro) Baptist Church is spreading hate and fear unnecessarily through lies and smears.  Is it time to begin taxing churches?  This isn’t christian so what, exactly, is it?  I’d love to watch him have to prove this one.

Georgia O’Keefe Country

Famed artist Georgia O’Keefe made New Mexico her home following the death of her husband/collaborator Alfred Steiglitz.  She first began painting in the northern region in 1929 and moved here permanently in 1949.  Her home at Ghost Ranch provided her with stunning visuals and inspiration.  Famous for her paintings of the Pedernal mountain overlooking her home she also composed many pieces of flowers.  Today the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe displays her work along with a gift shop where prints, calendars and other memorabilia are for sale.

I drove up through O’Keefe Country as it is known here and the views are spectacular.  I recognized the Pedernal instantly from her many works of it and also enjoyed the views of Abiquiu Lake across Route 84 from Ghost Ranch.  The Rio Chama flows through here and provides rich greenery in a desert landscape.  The lake dams this river providing electricity and a reservoir to a parched region.  Today Ghost Ranch is a 21,000 acre conference center.

Here is a picture of her mountain:

The Rio Chama:

More pictures are below the fold…

The entrance to Ghost Ranch now:

and then:

Scenery surrounding O’Keefe’s cabin:

Here you can see part of Lake Abiquiu:

News & Notes September 29, 2010

Things got a bit crazy there last week between preparing for my trip, changing the plans to drive instead of flying, having the lightning strike then spending four days on the road all the while campaigns and events were happening.  There’s tons of stuff to get to so I might do more than one News & Notes today catching up.

While I’m here in New Mexico’s state capitol I might mosey over to the Roundhouse and rustle up some information on this state’s experience with shale gas drilling.  The energy companies have been in some New Mexican areas fracking for gas for several years.  I’ll see what I can dig up.

Meanwhile the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center has their latest report on Marcellus Shale severance tax rates and its interesting.  The industry, through its bought and paid for mouths in the legislature, is claiming falsely that SB 1155 calls for a severance tax rate of 7.3% which puts it below that of western states which include property taxes on top of the gas tax to bring an effective rate of 7.9%  The gas drillers haven’t left any of these states for “greener pastures” and New Mexico’s shale gas is a fraction of that in the Marcellus formation.  These are scare tactics designed to let them exploit a non renewable resource belonging to Pennsylvanians.

President Obama was in Albuquerque yesterday before traveling to Wisconsin trying to motivate liberal Democrats to vote.  He and VP Biden, who was at Penn State, are criticizing us for being “whiners.”  The White House is so f*cking tone deaf it is beyond comprehension.  Instead of castigating those it betrayed they should be apologizing and begging for understanding.  I’m simply astounded by their cluelessness.

polls seem to be all the place this fall.  I’m not sure, going forward, how accurate any polling is.  More and more of us are going to cell phone only, especially the youth, and are outside the scope of traditional polling.  I also think these samples are highly sensitive to whomever happened to be contacted and show a divergent electorate.  I think anything can and will happen in November.  For example last week an F&M poll showed Mike Fitzpatrick leading Patrick Murphy by double digits in PA-10, something I found hard to comprehend.  Yesterday another poll puts Murphy ahead by 3.  The only poll which counts will be the one on election day.

Veterans and labor are joining other groups to do canvassing and phone banking at a feverish pace.  While organizations such as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads are pumping $50 million into ads this year the work on the ground remains the focal point of voter contact.  The Citizens United decision is having a serious impact on this race as billionaires are dumping millions into anonymous contributions.  You, the voter have a right to know who is funding these ads.

Manan Trivedi has a very effective ad attacking Jim Gerlach for his giant faux pas attacking his opponent for being out of the district for eight years.  Manan explains why to the voters with this ad:

Commonwealth Court went after Big Pharma Bristol-Myers Squibb for gouging Pennsylvania taxpayers last week.  They caught the company cheating us for drugs for the senior prescription program.  Businesses are constantly crying about all the regulations they are forced to endure but if they weren’t all crooks these wouldn’t be necessary.  Honest people don’t need someone holding them accountable, crooked ones do.  This is but one more example.  I’m fed up with Chamber of Commerces crying and whining about this through their elected representatives.

On my drive west through Pennsylvania Saturday I heard a radio ad by Pat Toomey touting his experience as a small business owner.  Toomey’s family owned and operated several restaurants in the Lehigh Valley, presumably with the funds he earned on Wall Street.  Pat co-owned the business but never managed or operated it, his brothers did that work.  Pat Toomey was in Hong Kong then working for an Enron investor who was caught defrauding shareholders:

I’ve nailed down what Toomey did during that year: His campaign confirms to me that he did research on capital market formation in southeast Asia for a company owned by the billionaire Chan brothers, one of whom, Ronnie Chan, was a former Enron director who settled a massive $168 million lawsuit brought against the company by shareholders.

Toomey’s boss has been fighting democratic progress in China and is tied to China’s refusal to float their currency.  That policy is costing millions of American jobs.

Trip Travelogue

I shot some videos along my recent trip to Santa Fe and now have them uploaded.  I’m currently doing the video from Oklahoma City and the Murrah Federal Building Memorial and should have it finished shortly.  These I did from the car once I got into Oklahoma.  Traffic got a lot lighter outside of the cities (Tulsa and OK City) allowing some time to shoot the scenery.  Terrain changed significantly on the four day journey from flat, boring greenery in southern Indiana and Illinois to rolling hills in the northern Ozarks driving though southwest Missouri.  As soon as I crossed into Oklahoma there was a change as the prairie began.  New Mexico marked the onset of mesas, sculpted hills and mountains and the desert.  Santa Fe is 7,000 feet above sea level and my trip began at 200 feet above so I did a lot of climbing.  The gradual rises throughout Oklahoma and Texas were almost barely noticeable unless you were expecting them.  Once in New Mexico it was obvious you were going into mountains.  Enjoy the clips and the scenery.

Trip Wrap Up

I returned after a long day of traveling early Saturday morning and it seems I brought some of the lower humidity summer weather along.The Santa Fe summer is usually about 30-40% humidity and temps in the 80’s.  Of course the higher you go up the Sangre De Cristo mountains the cooler it gets until you can see snow on the peaks at 15,300 feet.  Santa Fe is where the Rocky Mountains begin.  I caught the Sandia Shuttle at 9:40 AM (Mountain time) for my 1:10 PM flight out of Albuquerque.  The TSA confiscated my shaving cream (me bad) and the flight to Chicago on American was silky smooth.  The plane was full due to some problems in Houston due to Hurricane Alex.  Maybe that’s what happened to the pilot for the second leg of my flight from Chicago O’Hare to Allentown.

We boarded American eagle after a 2 1/2 hour layover to find we were missing one person:  the pilot.  I’m not sure why they boarded us knowing there was no Captain but we were deplaned for another 90 minutes until someone with his day off showed up to fly the plane.  We finally landed at LVI around 11:30 PM and I was happy I only had carry on items.  I walked through the door at home around 1 AM after dealing with several reckless, aggressive drivers on 22 & 222.  I drove 2200 miles with not a single dangerous or distracted driver and encountered 3 coming home from the airport.  The worst was a Mercedes which came roaring up behind me with his high beams on as I was approaching 222 south near Premise Maid Candies.  He proceeded to tailgate me and finally passed me on the construction section of the Kutztown bypass and disappeared under a heavy foot.  I swear we have the worst drivers in the world here due to no traffic enforcement.

Yesterday was a work day around the new house since today we’re having a quiet family day around the pool and BBQ.  I have tons of work on which to catch up on and tomorrow a dentist appointment.  Tuesday is the trial for my “friend” the Ace of Sweeps who threatened to “shoot me in the head” back on March 1st.  I’m curious to find out if this guy is a tea bagger.  I may be in court most of the day Tuesday, who knows with these things.  Hopefully I can take my laptop and get some work done if there’s a lot of waiting.  Have a happy 4th.

Trip Update

A quick update on my trip.  I arrived in Santa Fe yesterday at noon local time (2 hour time difference) after 2,000 miles, three bad hotels and one Hotel From Hell (more on that later) and too much bad fast food.  I was able to shoot a good bit of video through Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.  Saturday night I wound up sleeping in the car due to the rudest people in the world who turned the Comfort Inn of Las Vegas, New Mexico into their site of drunken revelry.  Alcoholism and public drunkenness is a major problem in New Mexico.  Drunk Driving has been an issue they simply haven’t been able to overcome and all of this was on display Saturday night.

Entering Santa Fe, The City Different, makes it worthwhile though the problems and issues in the rest of this state are significant.  Santa Feans couldn’t be nicer, more polite and friendlier than anywhere else.  Unfortunately to get here I had to deal with their polar opposites in Las Vegas.  I’ll have much more later today.

I’ll be here until Friday morning when I fly home and meanwhile I hope to get to Taos, Bandolier and the Georgia O’Keefe farm. It’ll be a busy week and I’ll upload pictures and video as I go.