Friday, January 30, 2015

Ah, A Beautiful Snowfall This Morning

I know snow can be a bother, especially if you have to work or travel in it.  But this morning's softly falling snow here in Albuquerque is really too beautiful to condemn. Lovely to watch from within my warm home this morning.

About 7:30 this morning

Glad I filled the bird feeders yesterday

The Sandia Mountains to the east  are covered with clouds

Mr. Snowman is very happy
I have plenty of wood left for the fireplace

The piñon wood fire smells wonderful

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Albuquerque Police Department Culture Called Out in Rolling Stone Article

Illustration by Patrick Concepciîn. Images in illustration: Albuquerque Police Department/AP; © Pat Vasquez-Cunningham/Albuquerque Journal/ZUMA
"In the past five years, the police department of Albuquerque, a city of just 550,000, has managed to kill 28 people — a per-capita kill rate nearly double that of the Chicago police and eight times that of the NYPD. Until now, not one of the officers in those 28 killings had been charged with any crime." 
 (Read more: 
 The article by Nick Pinto is well researched and accurately captures the culture of the APD and how it rolls, especially under the "hands off" leadership of the city of Albuquerque.  The people of Albuquerque have been the losers.  Between 2010 and 2014, over $23 million have been awarded by juries to families of victims of deadly and unlawful police force.  That money comes from the taxpayers.

Now that the Department of Justice is involved, many of Albuquerque's citizens do not feel much will change.  Then the D.A. filed charges against two cops who killed James Boyd, a schizophrenic homeless man,  during an encounter with him for  a  possible misdemeanor of "illegal camping":

"Then this year, on January 12th, Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg made the announcement that her office was pursuing murder charges against officers Perez and Sandy for the death of James Boyd."
(Read more:
Taken from a video camera worn by an Albuquerque Police Department officer, shows police in a standoff with James Boyd in the Albuquerque foothills just before they fired six shots at him on March 16th, 2014. AP
The Rolling Stone article goes into some detail about what happens when fellow police officers and/or politicians challenge police department ethics and criminal behavior by "bad cops". Such opponents receive immediate retaliation.  D.A. Brandenburg  is now the subject of police protests and political smears.

The "Blue Wall of Silence" that exists within police departments is very much present within the APD. Can the Department of Justice, the District Attorney, or the public hope to pierce that wall?   The Albuquerque public has many questions about the shooting of an undercover APD police officer, Jacob Grant, after he was shot by his lieutenant during a drug bust on January 9th.  What is the real story here?  We have no word at all from the APD as to what happened.  Detective Jacob Grant is still in critical condition after multiple surgeries.  Is a cover up going on to protect police malfeasance? Detective Jacob Grant, before his undercover drug informant role, seems to have been a "stand up" officer serving the public as seen in this January, 2012 news video.  I hope that Officer Jacob Grant survives and gets justice.

New Mexico Moral Mondays Start February 2nd at The Capitol

I received the following welcome e-mail from my friends in the Santa Fe Democratic Party:
"Moral Monday begins in New Mexico next Monday, February 2.
Moral Moday originated in North Carolina as a day for community groups to come together and urge the Legislature to support their issue. Moral Monday will be conducted every Monday of the Legislative Session." 
Moral Monday is designed to be fun, informative and effective. It is a day you are encouraged to meet with the senators and representatives. Phone numbers will be available to call your legislators.
You can get there on the NM Rail Runner train (#506) 
Monday February 2 the focus will be on immigrant rights and issues. It will begin at the water tower in the Rail yard near Tomasitas. From there everyone will march over to the Capitol for a rally and talking to legislators from 12PM-2PM; though this is a whole day affair and one is not limited to these times.
Monday February 9 is Education Equality Day. Again the meeting time will be 9AM at the Water Tower followed by a march to the capital and a rally and lobbying. This day is focused on education, teachers, and on LGBT rights."
Here is the content and schedule of bills to be introduced in the New Mexico State House and Senate for 2015. 
Today in the State Legislature, Republican law makers are discussing "Right-to-work" legislation. Check out the Twitter posts on this issue:  #nmleg and #nmpol I discussed this very-bad-for-workers  scheme to destroy workers' rights and quality of life in an earlier blog post

Progress NM exposed how the Republicans have created a false web site claiming to be New Mexican workers who are hurt economically because our state doesn't have a "Right-to-Work" law.  

You can watch live web casts of legislative hearings on the bills when they are in session.

Sun Zia transmission lines for solar energy
Now, for all you Democrats and Independents who swallowed that Dixon Apple Ranch propaganda during the 2014 NM Land Commissioner election, you need to own up to the damage Republicans and their Land Commissioner, Aubrey Dunn, are doing to our economy and the effort to provide infrastructure for solar power. 

Again, the Republicans do their best to show they don't really care about New Mexican working people.  Politics trumps cleaner and cheaper energy and more jobs

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Keeping Active Outside This Winter in New Mexico

I love the many opportunities to get outside in the brisk cool air and the sun this winter...skiing Angel Fire, hiking in the foothills of Albuquerque, Carlito Springs and Tent Rocks.

Grandchildren at Angel Fire

Elena Gallegos Open Space 

Elena Gallegos Open Space

Carlito Springs Open Space

The ponds at Carlito Springs

Hiking in the slot canyon at Kasha-KatuweTent Rocks National Monument
 A week ago, I was skiing with my grandchildren and step-daughter who were visiting from Minnesota.  We spent a week at Angel Fire near Taos, New Mexico.  Here is a video of our week:

Every Saturday, we have a group that hikes locally.  We started at Carlito Springs.  Here is our January 24th hike at Elena Gallegos Open Space in Albuquerque:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How Well Are You Informed?

 A friend sent me this email:

 This is a interesting test.  

After you take it, you'll see the results broken down in a number of ways.  They clearly indicate that a majority of Americans don't know what's going on.

 It's astonishing that so many people got less than half right. The results say that 80% of the (voting) public doesn't have a clue; that's pretty scary.

 There are no tricks here -- just a simple test to see if you are current on information.
 Test your knowledge with the challenge of 12 questions, then be ready to shudder when you see how others did:  
 Click here: Test Your News IQ - PewResearch Center

Pew Research News Quiz bannerWhat do you know about the news?

Test your knowledge of prominent people and major events in the news by taking our short 12-question quiz. Then see how you did in comparison with 1,002 randomly sampled adults asked the same questions in a national survey conducted September 25-28 by the Pew Research Center.
When you finish, you will be able to compare your News IQ with the average American and compare responses across demographic groups.

I did fine (got 100% right) but checking on how people fared who were demographically similar to me (over 50 years old, college graduate), I was shocked on how little basic information people have about current news facts and figures.  It's even worse for younger and less educated people (the average score is so low). No wonder I get so frustrated with uninformed voters.