Friday, December 31, 2004
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Lessons in Humanity
If you want to get a glimpse of their generosity, go check out the Red Cross support occurring at Amazon.com. At the time of this posting more than $3.4 million has been donated to aid the disaster victims. This has happened in a little more than 24 hours, and I have a prediction that when all is said and done the American people will be second only to the U.S. government in monetary contributions.
There is a lesson to be learned here. Human nature dictates that people reach out and help one another in a time of crisis. People respond directly in ways that make a difference. They look for means that are both efficient and accountable. This is the exact opposite of what we find in government programs. Think about what is happening on Amazon.com today the next time you hear a government official claim the need to increase taxes to deal with social issues.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
The End of The Fairy Tale
But alas, all fairy tales must come to an end. Once a tax and spend politician, always a tax and spend politician. The self-appointed General of New Mexico's business friendly foot soldiers is no more. In his stead is a taxmonger eager to pillage an industry suffering falling prices.
Is it due to an impending budget crisis? No, the state is expecting a $300 million dollar surplus. Has the prevailing wage for Gubernatorial Chefs increased? No, that's not it either.
Maybe it would be best if you read the rationale in the Governor's own words from today's Albuquerque Journal (subscription required):
"I think the oil and gas industry, because they're doing so well ... need to do a little more than they're doing," the governor said in a recent interview. "Their revenues to the state, I think, need to increase modestly."Ouch! So much for a business friendly state. I can envision the new tagline in the Economic Development brochure: "Come to New Mexico and Do More for State Government."
But, don't worry about the Governor. In his own mind he is still a tax cutter since this increase of "revenues to the state" is "just an equalization... so it's not a tax increase."
Monday, December 27, 2004
The Grand Conspiracy
The Left Wing of the Blogosphere is abuzz here, here and here with tales of scandal and election manipulation by New Mexico's "ruling elite." Apparently, the Democratic control of the New Mexico Governor's office, the State Legislature, the Courts, the Secretary of State office and the Bernalillo County Clerk's office were all part of an elaborate ruse to once again enable the Republicans to steal the Presidential election.
Think about it, or better yet, Google: "Bill Richardson" on "Fox News." You'll get 27,500 links returned. A coincidence, I don't think so. Everyone knows that Fox News is nothing more than a right-wing propaganda machine, and Governor Richardson has admitted being on their payroll.
Yes, it is all part of the master plan devised by the man known as The Architect. Are you hesitant to believe? Well take a moment and ponder this. Governor Richardson proved ineffective in swinging the Hispanic vote in his home state, yet he is still being considered as the best hope (free registration required) for uniting Hispanics to ensure a Democratic win in 2008.
If this is not proof of a GOP conspiracy to retain the White House through 2012, I don't know what is. Help stop the madness, and make sure this is widely distributed to friends and neighbors.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
A Russian Proverb
Still, the use of the "Czar" title just never seemed to sit right with me. Creating Czars in a democracy comes across as counter-intuitive. Then, I came across the following Russian Proverb in the December 2004 issue of Harper's Magazine:
A country without its czar is like a village without an idiot.Now, it all makes sense.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Shhh, Don't Tell The Santa Fe City Council
A Growing Movement to Stack the Deck
Don't be fooled!
There are many broken governmental systems in America. Some are being tackled. Others are being ignored. But, anyway you look at it, there is no reason to change the electoral college. In fact, with a little more digging, it becomes painfully obvious that this movement has nothing to do with "reforming" a process gone wrong. It has everything to do with designing a more favorable process for a political party that by all accounts lacks any sense of direction.
The doubtful among you might point to the tumultuous 2000 Presidential Election as the reason for the call to action to dump the electoral college. However, don't overlook the significance of the 2000 Census. Within its pages one can find the proverbial "writing on the wall." And the story is not a pretty one for the political party not in power.
A Growing Reality
Don't believe it? Well, go back and watch the evolution of the West. Now, fast forward to today and notice that we are listed on the top of all the wrong lists, and the bottom of all the right ones.
Update: It is already happening. Homes lead to businesses. Businesses lead to jobs. Jobs lead to better economy. Better economies lead to improve quality of life. Simple logic.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Mayor Chavez Says, "Me First, Me First"
In the past 69 days, Chavez has had 57 news conferences or photo opportunities, sometimes as many as three a day. He presided over three on Tuesday, unveiling a dragon sculpture at a shopping center, dedicating a Pearl Harbor memorial monument and declaring Tuesday as former Mayor Harry Kinney Day.I wonder how many other taxpayers the Mayor left standing out in the cold? What will be really amusing is if all of the major media outlets ignore the real story, and instead do a fluff piece of the smiling Mayor riding on HIS new bus.
If You Build It They Will Come
Monday, December 20, 2004
A New Job
[Department spokesman Matt] Dillman said CYFD recently created seven community service manager positions across the state, including two in Albuquerque. Three of the positions have been filled across New Mexico, Dillman said.Oh, now I know what it is. It isn't one little thing. It is seven little things. Somehow adding these positions doesn't quite jive with my recollections from one of the Governor's statements almost exactly a year ago. Now what was that he said... Yes, here it is:
Richardson said in a written statement. "We will continue to cut the fat from state government, enabling us to pay for our top priorities, such as recruiting and retaining the best teachers and providing health care to the most vulnerable citizens."
Hey Governor, I've got news for you. For the same amount you just spent to add seven more spin doctors, you could have retained 14 of the best teachers.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Don't Miss the Point
Now let's address your comments:
RESPONSE to Part 1:
The car of a DWI driver should be impounded. When the driver comes to get their car out of the impound lot, it would come complete with installed interlock. They would have to pay the impound fee and all related interlock fees at that time.
I would also advocate having a code put on their driver's license that indicates they are required to have an interlock in any vehicle they are driving. They would have ten days from the time of the DWI to get this, or their license would be suspended.
Finally, no problem with removal fees since they would have to drive with an interlock for life. They would pay the transfer fees when they buy a new car, or sell their current car.
RESPONSE to Part 2:
Yes, I am proposing an after the fact solution. It would be great if we could prevent all crimes (DWI, murder, child abuse, etc.) before they happened, but I do not believe that is possible without the restriction of some fundamental freedoms that, personally, I truly value.
One of those freedoms is the free enterprise system that is a cornerstone of our democracy. Will entrepreneurial types get rich from the mandatory installation of interlocks? I would imagine they will. Just as they have from other facets of human nature (i.e. fast food, mail order/online shopping, cable television, etc.)
As far as dealing with those repeat offenders who have not yet been convicted, the installation of an interlock before a car is released from the impound ought to help. If they are found innocent, the interlock will be removed at municipal expense, and they will be reimbursed for previous charges.
RESPONSE to Part 3:
If someone who is required to drive a car with an interlock chooses to drive someone else's car, they should be sent to jail.
RESPONSE to Part 4:
If you do "not like the idea of having something installed in [your] car, especially when it would require money out of [your] pocket." I suggest that you don't drink and drive. No matter how developed your rationalization skills.
Moreover, let's not look at technology as a solution to personal responsibility. It's time to take ownership for our actions.
Friday, December 17, 2004
Governor Push Harder - Much Harder
The governor is pushing for a law that would mandate the use of interlocks for a year after a first drunken-driving conviction. Under current state law, interlocks are required after a first aggravated conviction.I'm with you, Governor. This makes a heck of lot more sense than the goofball legislation proposed last year to require everyone who doesn't drink and drive to install an interlock. My only complaint up to this point in my reading is that you're only going to make NM's driving drunks keep the interlock for a year. Let's put some meat in this legislation.
Oh no, so much for promise. Read the next paragraph:
Under the governor's plan, after a second conviction, a DWI offender would be sentenced to use the device for two years, and a third conviction would mean three years of using the device. A fourth-time offender would be sentenced to use the device for life, with judicial review after five years.Four times. HELLO, what are you thinking? The logic of this proposal is flawed in so many different ways, I don't know where to begin... Alright, let's go over this point by point.
#1 If they're getting a second DWI after having an interlock for a year, it probably shouldn't be called an Anti-DWI Device.
#2 If they're working on a third DWI, they shouldn't be driving. Heck, I'm not convinced they should be on the street. I feel pretty comfortable in saying that we are talking about a menace to society who should be behind bars.
#3 Why in the world would you need a judicial review to decide whether or not to keep an interlock on the car of a four-time drunk driving offender. What Judge in their right mind would say this person should be driving? Let alone driving without an interlock. (Oh wait, I forgot about the Appellate Court).
Governor, if you want to move up on The List, you're going to have to do better than this. Show them you've still got what it takes to go all the way to Pennsylvania Ave. Become the Governor who is tough on crime:
First DWI, Get a Lock.
Next DWI, Behind the Lock!
Now that would be something .
It is rumored that members of the Dangerous Dozen (Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Bulldog, Boxer, Canary dog or Presa Canario, Chow, Doberman, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky and Wolf Hybrid) are closely monitoring the proposed bill. As it currently stands, they, unlike their pit bull brethren, are still free to reproduce and wander the streets without muzzles. Vicious mixed-breeds statewide are rejoicing as it seems that the breed specific legislation will in no way hamper their reign of terror.
In related news, negligent dog owners breathed a sigh of relief that no one is expressing interest in putting forth a comprehensive "strict liability" law. Irresponsible breeders were equally pleased to discover that with a change in stock, they would be able to continue business as usual.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Take the Test Commissioner
It is essential that the Commissioner does some spin control as quickly as possible, and showing up at work smiling, relaxed with claims of a witch hunt is just not going to cut it. It might in fact fuel further speculation among those who research the warning signs of marijuana use.
Not to worry Commissioner Baca, it just so happens that I am a public relations professional. As a non-partisan, goodwill gesture, I am willing to present you with a simple solution to your current PR dilemma.
I recommend that you consider following the actions taken on June 17th of this year by eight Republican candidates. In what Democratic Party Chairman, John Wertheim, dismissed at the time as nothing more than a "disingenuous publicity stunt," these candidates volunteered to take a drug test. (Sidenote: John, you might want to rethink your position.)
Yes, Commissioner Baca, with this simple action you could put much of the speculation to rest. People might be inclined to believe that a grand TSA conspiracy was the result of your unfortunate situation at the Albuquerque Sunport. Who knows, you might even start a reversal of the current trend of people preferring the (R) label. Just think of the potential impact. Politicians everywhere will follow in your footsteps to get the "Baca (D)" after their name. It will certify them as "Drug-tested" and ready to serve.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
At the fourth-grade level, however, the numbers tell a different story. U.S. students showed no improvement over 1995's math score of 518 and a six-point drop from that year's science score of 542.Apparently, emerging means failing. Now that doesn't sound so pretty. In fact as a parent, if I hear my child is "failing," I know that is bad. Pretty ironic that the same day we find out that our children are failing when compared to their international peers, Albuquerque Public Schools decides to do away with all that traditional grading nonsense. Now they plan on using words like emerging, nearing proficient, proficient and advanced.
What ’s in a name? That which we call a roseI do believe the same could be said for something that smells awful. Failing is failing. School Districts shouldn't try to make it "smell" any other way.
By any other name would smell as sweet.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
NM's Starving District Attorneys
"Many of my young attorneys have a hard time affording a lunch out on their salaries after they pay living expenses and student loans," said Henry Valdez, district attorney of the 1st Judicial District, which covers Santa Fe County.Oh no, they can't afford to go out to lunch. Welcome to the post-college world the rest of us occupy. May I suggest that you introduce your young attorneys to the "brown bag" concept.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Governor to reclaim the Democratic Party
There is a political revolution occurring in America's Democratic Party, and the Democratic governors are leading the charge. These governors have determined that "their party is losing elections because it is too closely tied to Washington and said they intend to play a central role in rebuilding their political base at the state level in preparation for the 2008 elections."
Of course, our New Mexico Governor is at the helm of this new initiative. I doubt you could find a New Mexican who is surprised that our Governor, now the Chairman of the Democratic Governor's Association, has a primary goal of "[becoming] the center of gravity in [the Democratic] party."
In the world according to Bill Richardson, " 'For too long, local candidates have had to distance ourselves from the national Democratic Party,' Mr. Richardson said. 'The Democratic Party can't continue to be a Washington-based party.' "
Wait, I'm confused.
This is coming out of the mouth of the man who just finished serving as the Chairman of Democratic National Convention. Does he want to distance himself from himself? What does the Governor mean by a "Washington-based party?" After all, his impressive resume includes a 15 year stint as a Congressman, and two presidential appointments. How much more embedded within the Beltway can one man be?
Friday, December 10, 2004
Front Page Bill
There you have it. Irrefutable evidence exists that this newspaper would be better named the Bill Richardson Journal.