Apr 012015

Republicans have a gun to their head and are saying “do what we say or we’ll shoot.” Let ‘em. The not-so-GOP is torn between two masters: the business people who shop for candidates and the base, which votes for loons. Not a strong position going into 2016. However, never underestimate money or lunacy.

Indiana debate exposes Republican divisions | Albuquerque Journal News By Steve Peoples / Associated Press

It is a debate many Republicans hoped to avoid.

But as the backlash intensifies over a so-called religious freedom law in Indiana, the GOP’s leading White House contenders have been drawn into a messy clash that highlights the party’s strong opposition to same-sex marriage and threatens to inject social issues into the early stages of the 2016 presidential primary season.

The debate has also energized Democrats nationwide while exposing sharp divisions between Republicans and local business leaders who oppose a law that critics say allows business owners to deny services to same-sex couples on religious grounds. …

Polling suggests a majority of the American electorate supports gay marriage, but the most conservative Republicans do not.

“It’s a total head-scratcher,” former Illinois Republican chairman Pat Brady said of the GOP presidential hopefuls who defended the law. “We’re trying to attract voters and win elections. We can’t scare people away.”

Yet the Republican 2016 presidential class overwhelmingly defended the new law, breaking with local business leaders in favor of conservatives across the country who cheered such laws as a necessary response to overreach by the Obama administration.

“I think Gov. Pence has done the right thing,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in a Monday radio interview. He said the law was “simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday tweeted: “I stand with” Pence, and “Religious freedom is worth protecting.”

“We must stand with those who stand up for religious freedoms,” former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who announced his GOP presidential campaign last week, said the Indiana governor was “holding the line to protect religious liberty” in his state.

Some economic-minded Republicans saw it another way. …

Democrats were united in their opposition to the law.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, expected to launch her Democratic presidential campaign in the coming weeks, tweeted last week, “Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today.”

Indiana debate exposes Republican divisions | Albuquerque Journal News

Q&A: The debate over the religious freedom law | Albuquerque Journal News By Michael Doyle / Mcclatchy Washington Bureau

Q: Where did the Religious Freedom Restoration Act come from?

A: Peyote, in part. In the 1980s, two Oregon men were fired from their jobs with a private drug organization because they ingested peyote as part of their sacred obligations as members of the Native American Church. The state denied them unemployment benefits on the grounds they had been fired for misconduct.

The Supreme Court, in a 1990 decision authored by conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, declared that the First Amendment’s religious protections don’t override “the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability.” As long as a law doesn’t explicitly favor or target religion, Scalia reasoned, it can be enforced even if it burdens someone’s religious practice.

Congress responded in 1993 by passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. States began passing their own versions after the high court clarified in 1997 that the federal law did not apply to them.

Q&A: The debate over the religious freedom law | Albuquerque Journal News

 Posted by at 2:33 pm on Wed 04/01/15
Mar 292015

The Conservative Scold is as common as the Angry White Male. Holier than thou. The stern, disapproving look is all that’s left of the self-declared Deep Thinkers and Vulcans.

Cepeda: Written all over Ted Cruz’s face by Esther J. Cepeda

The Cruz who has most often graced the real estate of our newspapers and Web pages has appeared angry, disgusted, tired of your pathetic silliness, done with your sophomoric suggestions, knowing (more than you, duh), barely tolerant (of your ridiculous ideas), superior in every way, extremely self-satisfied and, most often, brimming with contempt. …

Cruz seems simply tired of those of us who aren’t as committed to Christianity or as disgusted with the government as he is.

We’re to be pitied, really, since anyone who might not find him palatable as an elected representative of the entire country is just, well, daft. Cruz’s conservatism is not so much a political ideology as it is, to him, simply the right and only way to be.

Watching him on “CBS This Morning” the day after his announcement, you saw that Cruz is undaunted. His tilted head, frowning lips, shrugged shoulders and hands upturned in gestures of incredulousness lead you to view his politics as anything other than “speaking the truth” and “defending common sense.”

Cepeda: Written all over Ted Cruz’s face

 Posted by at 8:31 pm on Sun 03/29/15
Mar 232015

Born in Canada to an American mother and Cuban father. Of course, he’s natural born and eligible to run (as am I, though born in a US territory). But not even in a US state or territory. Worse than John McCain being born in Panama. I hope the Birthers have a stroke, but you won’t hear a peep out of the hypocrites.

It says a lot that he picked a conservative southern Christian (3 redundancies in a row) “university” to make his announcement, stressing his opposition to abortion and to same-sex marriage. Aren’t both of those issues settled? Just like the separation of church and state so many choose to defy.

First Take: Can a ‘wacko bird’ take flight in the GOP? by Susan Page, USA TODAY 11:47 a.m. EDT March 23, 2015

Ted Cruz isn’t shy. He’s combative. He rejects compromise as “the mushy middle.” He’s not inclined to wait his turn. And he doesn’t seem to mind annoying his Republican elders with tactics that critics see as destructive and short-sighted. …

In the Senate, he has been more of an agitator than a legislator. Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s 2012 nominee, once called him a “wacko bird.”

First Take: Can a ‘wacko bird’ take flight in the GOP?

 Posted by at 2:15 pm on Mon 03/23/15
Mar 202015

The profiteers will sell anything for a buck. They only see money. They are broken people and they break everything they touch. And the rest of us let them have their way every time.

Chaco: A World Heritage site faces fracking | Albuquerque Journal News By Andy Gulliford / Writers On The Range PUBLISHED: Friday, March 20, 2015 at 12:05 am

We are preparing to ravage a place before we know all its archaeological secrets. Every decade, more is revealed about Chaco’s complex culture. In the 1970s, for example, low-flying reconnaissance flights gave us the first hints of a vast Chaco road system, with well-made roads about 30 feet wide and laid out in straight lines for miles. And yet the Chacoans had no draft animals or wheeled carts. In the 1980s, scientists proved that one of the world’s only lunar calendars set to the 18.6-year cycle of the moon had been etched on boulders near the top of Chaco’s Fajada Butte.

In the 1990s, Anna Sofaer and the Solstice Project verified that Chaco’s buildings had been constructed to align with solstices and equinoxes of the sun, as well as to lunar cycles. In the past decade, using electron microscopes to analyze smashed pottery sherds from drinking vessels, scientists determined that, during ceremonies, Chacoans drank chocolate from cacao beans traded on foot north from Meso-America.

Who knows what else we might learn about one of the world’s great cultures? Unfortunately, our modern addiction to oil is damaging the landscape faster than it can be studied. Sofaer is creating a new film about these ecological threats. She says, “We filmed on the ground the ravages of many newly constructed roads, pipelines and well pads transforming the landscape east and north of Chaco Canyon. Some sites were within 15 miles of the canyon, where we found archaeological artifacts. On overcast nights, the skies above this area are invaded by an eerie reddish glow from the fracking rigs.”

With oil and gas revenues falling, this is a good time for Congress to draw a protective boundary around Chaco, and agree to full mineral withdrawal of adjacent oil and gas leases on BLM and Navajo allotment lands.

Chaco: A World Heritage site faces fracking | Albuquerque Journal News

 Posted by at 10:04 am on Fri 03/20/15
Mar 162015

Republican women say ‘War No More,’ but the men keep shooting their mouths off – The Washington Post By Dana Milbank Opinion writer March 16 at 8:44 PM

Earlier this year, House Republicans caused an uproar when, in one of the first acts of the new Congress, they attempted to pass an antiabortion bill that would grant exceptions to a rape victim only if she reported the assault to police. Republican women rebelled, and GOP leaders pulled the bill. In the weeks since then, Republican officeholders across the land have been demonstrating that if there isn’t a Republican war on women, there are a lot of loose cannons. In recent weeks, Republican state legislators have described a pregnant woman as “the child’s host” rather than a mother (in Virginia), called women a “lesser cut of meat” (South Carolina), likened Planned Parenthood to the Islamic State terror group (South Dakota), proposed legislation outlawing yoga pants (Montana) and suggested that it is not rape when a man has sex with an unconscious woman if he is in a relationship with her (Utah). …

Alas for the GOP, the gender gap preceded Senate candidate Todd Akin, and the comments have continued since then: the Idaho legislator who asked last month whether a gynecological exam on a woman could be conducted by having her swallow a camera; the New Hampshire legislator who said a Democratic congresswoman would lose because she’s “ugly as sin”; another New Hampshire legislator who argued that men make more than women because “they don’t mind working nights and weekends” or “overtime or outdoors”; the Arizona GOP official who said women on Medicaid should be sterilized; and the New Mexico congressman who endorsed this biblical view: “The wife is to voluntarily submit, just as the husband is to lovingly lead and sacrifice.”

At the same time, Republicans have taken up hundreds of bills in state legislatures restricting abortion, and Democrats have sought to highlight Republican opposition in Congress to the Violence Against Women Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act and other bills.

Republican women say ‘War No More,’ but the men keep shooting their mouths off – The Washington Post

 Posted by at 7:37 pm on Mon 03/16/15
Mar 162015

During a public meeting, Ronny Rardin chastised a citizen for failing to worship Jesus. This is a flagrant violation of the US and New Mexico constitutions. All elected officials swear to uphold these constitutions. Rardin should be impeached. If not impeached, he should be recalled by the voters. If not recalled, he should be pelted with rotten tomatoes at the next public meeting. What a turd in the public punchbowl.

Otero County Commission: Women, Jesus and whispers | Albuquerque Journal News By Thomas Cole / Of the Journal PUBLISHED: Monday, March 16, 2015 at 12:05 am

After commission action on other items, it was time for public comment.

A man who identified himself as a Lutheran pastor and former military chaplain said he objected to Rardin saying “in Jesus’ name” during the invocation at the beginning of the commission meeting. The man said prayers in public forums should be nonsectarian.

“Why?” asked Rardin, longtime pastor of Saving Grace Independent Baptist Church in Alamogordo.

“Because not everybody here may be a Christian or share the same sentiments,” the man responded.

Rardin said he doesn’t expect others to believe as he does but added, “I’m going to give it (the invocation) under my opinion. … If you think I’m not going to say ‘Jesus,’ you’re wrong.”

The commissioner also told the man, “I’m really ashamed that you don’t want to say ‘Jesus.’ Shame on you, but that’s your problem.”

Rardin said the raising of such “trivial stuff” made him want to strike public comments from the commission’s agenda.

He didn’t do that. But at the next commission meeting, on Feb. 12, Rardin limited public comment to three minutes and to urgent matters. No one spoke.

Otero County Commission: Women, Jesus and whispers | Albuquerque Journal News

Note that Rardin also acted like a sexist ass and pushed the limits on public meetings. Then, unhappy with the public he was elected to serve, he imperially curtailed comments. He is the one who should be beyond ashamed.

Two months ago, Rardin was involved in an appalling act of nepotism and favoritism. Our new Land Commissioner, hardly a stellar public servant, gave Rardin a sweetheart deal of a contract. Rardin, in turn, wanted to share the wealth with the son of said Land Commissioner, who already suckles the public teat. Double-dipping, double-dealing, ethics-lacking scammers. Republicans determined to prove government doesn’t work and can’t be trusted. And Good Christians!

Official tries to give work to land commissioner’s son | Albuquerque Journal News By Thomas Cole / Of the Journal, PUBLISHED: Monday, March 9, 2015 at 12:05 am

Effective Jan. 2, Otero County Commission Chairman Ronny Rardin began work for the office of newly elected state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn under a short-term $7,500-a-month contract.

Six days later, Rardin tried – but failed – to give Dunn’s son Blair more of the county’s legal work.

Official tries to give work to land commissioner’s son | Albuquerque Journal News

 Posted by at 3:31 pm on Mon 03/16/15
Mar 142015

Draw a circle at 9:26:53am. I’ve always felt that Pi proves there is something wrong with our number system. It’s like saying “there is no word for [untranslatable] in our language.” Pi is compact, elegant, integral to examining the natural world. It’s translation into Arabic numerals is comical. Pi is smoothly analog. Its numeric rendition is arbitrarily digital, cut off from the continuum. Pi is a pearl in the palm of an ape that needs all of its fingers and toes to count.

Going all out for math and pastries on special Pi Day | Albuquerque Journal News

Saturday is the day when love of math and a hankering for pastry come full circle. Saturday is Pi Day, a once-in-a-year calendar date that this time squares the fun with a once-in-a-century twist.

Saturday is 3-14-15, the first five digits of the mathematical constant pi: 3.141592653. The best times to celebrate are at 9:26 and 53 seconds, morning and evening. The next time that happens is in March 2115.

Going all out for math and pastries on special Pi Day | Albuquerque Journal News

 Posted by at 8:49 am on Sat 03/14/15