Morocco, Shmorocco – I can’t tell the difference either
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was scheduled to shoot in Africa, but with the Ebola virus epidemic going on there, it’s probably best to stay home. Instead, it looks like Deming, New Mexico will be filling in as a replacement location. Henry Cavill News spotted a posting on the New Mexico Film Office website, which was looking for extras for a Warner Bros. movie back in September…
According to the casting notice, entire families age 8 and older are needed to re-create an African village scene. The deserts in New Mexico can easily pass for Morocco, the location in Africa that they originally wanted to shoot at. The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice crew is expected to film in New Mexico in mid-November, right after they’re done in Chicago, Illinois…
Holy Javelina, Batman!
Conservative commentator Erik Rush unspooled a wild conspiracy theory in his latest World Net Daily column, which describes his belief that President Barack Obama plans to turn over land in New Mexico to Islamist militants…
“As uncomfortable for them as it may be, (government officials) must come to grips with the fact that Obama is a well-placed saboteur representing malignant interests, enemies both foreign and domestic, that have been strategizing the downfall of the United States for decades,” wrote Rush, who appears regularly on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program.
While some Obama critics feared the president’s designation of New Mexico’s Organ Mountains-Desert Peak would weaken border security, Rush worried the area might be handed over to ISIS as a staging ground for domestic attacks…
Rush, who has previously suggested Obama is gay and recently claimed LGBT people shared the same goals as ISIS, outlined a nightmare scenario he believed Obama was cooking up with his Islamist allies…
He warned Obama would seize “absolute power” by imposing martial law after orchestrating terrorist attacks in the U.S. or possibly by using his “jihadist army” to pacify unsuspecting Americans.
Click the link and RTFA if you feel the need to soil your brain with this dreck. Or you can watch for Rush’s regular appearance on Fox News with that omniscient judge of political noise – Sean Hannity.
BTW, the Organ Mountains are a desert garden. If you want to hike and explore, carry as much water as possible, bring cool weather gear if you plan on overnighting. It is truly beautiful country that deserves wilderness status and protection.
Wind-blown sand still uncovers sun-bleached bones of men and mules dead for centuries along New Mexico’s Jornado del Muerte, the waterless hell where Spaniards died traveling between Santa Fe and Chihuahua. Few large areas in the United States can match its barren, flat desolation.
Near the center of this vast expanse lies man’s first great insult against the earth – - Trinity Site.
Ground Zero, where a massive steel tower holding the first atomic bomb was vaporized at 5:29 a.m., July 16, 1945, was a slight depression in the silent flatness. For a radius of more than 100 feet melted sand in the form of green glass covered the desert like a splotchy carpet shining in the light from above, dull by night, bright by day. This monument to man’s inhumanity to man, the largest blur on the landscape, was surrounded by a high fence, tight strands of barbed wire, a locked double gate and multilingual warning signs.
The gate was chained shut. Three padlocks served as links in the chain in 1951, any one of which permitted entry when unlocked. A large steel lock was stamped AEC, for the Atomic Energy Commission. A heavy brass padlock was stamped War Dept. The third padlock, a new one hardly larger than the links it secured, replaced one of these links recently melted in two by Jesse Petty’s gas torch. Jesse, my best friend and fellow draftee army buddy, from Carrizozo, New Mexico, had snapped the chain back together wit the little lock during his trip to the site.
Jesse had volunteered, I’ll go out there and cut the chain for you and put on a new padlock, but I won’t go in there, not for anything,”
He had given me the keys when we each returned to Guided Missile School at Ft. Bliss, Texas, from our weekend trips to different home cities.
My plan was to drive a truck to the Trinity atomic bomb site, use my keys to pass through the unguarded US Government gate remove the radioactive glass called Trinitite and transport it close to Los Alamos for a proper burial at its spiritual origin…
…While living in the remote desert of northern New Mexico I had seen an aerial photograph of the radioactive site in a popular magazine. It looked like a giant scab. It was an impurity waiting to be taken away. Writers wrote about it. I was determined to remove it without a trace of publicity. My self-appointed task was to gain entry to the government glass and haul it off for burial, to repair the desert, clean away this radioactive afterbirth.
And so it goes. I’ve never heard this story before. Our online compadre, Mike, just suggested it. I read it – and it is fascinating.
When I was still on the road I’d drive by Trinity site every week or so and think about getting in on the annual visit. Always figured my years of pissing off the FBI, CIA, every piece of alphabetized fascist crap-mentality in government would probably get me arrested and thrown out. Never have visited.
Dr. Pray’s story is fascinating. The Feds let on that the Trinitite, the atomic glass burned from molten sand at that first test site disappeared over years of tourists taking souvenirs. Ralph Pray’s story makes a lot more sense.
He died May 30, 2014.
A gentle rain, this morning. One of the delights of monsoon season, sometimes, in high desert country. Sunrise shining through the rain. Felt and smelled like nothing but my Italian grandparents’ farm in New York state – or Tuscany, which never got so cold in the winter.
My notes about a morning in Bivigliano are over at my friend Om Malik’s personal blog. The link is behind the photo above, taken in his vacation, the R&R he’s still immersed in – in Tuscany.
And Monday breakfast often depends on leftovers. I ate just a tad extra of my wife’s pork stew, yesterday; so no meat in the most important meal of the day – yet. Only my second cup of coffee with a touch of cinnamon in the brew, dark roast and strong as usual.
I’d baked a couple of long slender loaves of Italian bread, last week, instead of the usual boule. A quarter whole wheat, three-quarters unbleached white flour per usual. I turned one into broccoli bread the way the maestro did it at the Grand Bakery in my old Fairhaven neighborhood. I stuffed the loaf with steamed broccoli, minced garlic lightly sauteed in e.v. olive oil, dried red chile fragments.
The two heels of that loaf remained from the weekend. So, I split them, leaving a little broccoli in each piece. Toasted them till the sharp edges of the bread were just turning brown. Rubbed the stiff crust with a clove of garlic and brushed each surface with more of my favorite Sicilian extra virgin olive oil, and just a few grains of Malden sea salt.
Sat down with my coffee and Paul Desmond on Pandora streaming. “So long, Frank Lloyd Wright”.
The rain should stop, soon. Sheila’s a true New Mexico dog and won’t come outside for a walk with me until it does.
Visitors to Carlsbad, New Mexico, in proper summer attire
The contractor that operates the federal government’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico received a $1.9 million bonus just five days after an underground truck fire closed the facility.
The Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday that the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Nuclear Waste Partnership the funds based on an “excellent” job performance in maintaining the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.
Some observers say last February’s fire and the radiation leak that followed nine days later show the contractor failed at its job.
Initial probes by federal regulators into both incidents identified a host of management and safety shortcomings.
The Department of Energy says it is not considering revising or terminating its contract with Nuclear Waste Partnership.
The company has a contract to operate the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant through 2017.
Consistency is the leading mental illness in our government. Time in office, time on the job is considered praiseworthy and a sign of qualification by the Senators and Congress-critters that dole out taxpayer dollars like so many blue ribbons at a hog-calling contest. Quality of work is meaningless.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Project was run badly enough that the chief executive at the site was fired as a result of the equipment fire and, separately, the radiation leak.
There are nations with an honorable civil service, competent, dedicated bureaucrats. The United States just doesn’t happen to be one of them.
If you think local police look increasingly like soldiers armed for battle instead of civil servants responsible for protecting you, it’s not your imagination.
As noted in the Journal’s recent three-part series analyzing “mission creep” at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the federal government funnels millions of tax dollars to local police departments in the form of grants used to buy high-powered paramilitary style weapons and other gear.
Law enforcement agencies across the country are also tapping into a military surplus program to acquire Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Interestingly – some would say disturbingly – New Mexico police departments, representing one of the nation’s least populous states, have acquired more of these fearsome-looking armored vehicles than any other state, according to a New York Times analysis.
In an article published this month, the Times found that there are at least 42 MRAPs now stationed at New Mexico law enforcement agencies.
Texas – with 37 – had the second-largest number…
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report titled “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing.” It’s a sobering analysis of the increasingly violent and invasive techniques police are using, especially in the war on drugs.
The ACLU report calls for the federal government to rein in the incentives for police to militarize. The civil liberties group also asks that local, state and federal governments track the use of SWAT raids, and the guns, tanks and other military equipment that end up in police hands…
“The national trend of police militarization is clearly felt here in New Mexico,” said Peter Simonson, executive director of ACLU of New Mexico. “We have towns like Farmington operating armored vehicles and the Albuquerque Police Department shooting civilians at alarming rates.
“This military mindset, coupled with assault-style tactics and weapons, positions the public as the enemy, rather than human beings they have sworn to serve and protect.”
Who is going to protect us from our police?
We caught rain with just the right timing this spring to kick off the prairie feathergrass in our back meadow. Though today is beyond the time of most of the long feathers, strands of flying seeds that show the wind direction, what stands is the main grass stem. Still higher than a man’s waist.
Standing higher than Sheila on our first walk this morning.
Our governor keeps her concealed carry gun permit up-to-date
Public schools have struggled during the long, slow economic recovery…I noted that urban districts — especially big-city districts — have been hit particularly hard. But there’s also tremendous variation by state.
Idaho, for example, spent 12 percent less per student in the 2011-2012 school year than in 2008-2009, after adjusting for inflation. More than 80 percent of Idaho’s school districts experienced cuts. North Carolina’s cuts were slightly smaller (11 percent on average) but even more widespread: Nearly all its districts reduced spending.
Compare those states to North Dakota, where per-student spending is up 8 percent since 2009, or New Hampshire, where it’s up 6 percent.
What’s going on? Given the disproportionate impact on urban districts, you might think the hardest-hit states would be those where the highest proportion of students live in cities. But it turns out there’s no clear relationship there: City-heavy California has experienced big school funding cuts, but even more urban New York has seen per-student spending increase…
What turns out to make a difference is actual spending levels. States that spend less per-student, such as Idaho, Utah and many Southern states, have made significantly bigger cuts (on a percentage basis) than states, such as New York and Connecticut, that spend more. The relationship isn’t perfect: Arkansas, a low-spending state, has increased funding, while big-spending Hawaii has made big cuts. But…there’s a clear relationship.
How does your state rank? Click here to see the table.
We have a game we play here in New Mexico. If there’s bad economic news, PR about mediocre healthcare, poverty, education – we look to see if we’re worst or second worst. That gives you an idea of the sum of decades of over-relying on the federal dole from military bases, extractive industries like oil, gas, lumber. Couple that with state government dominated by Conservative Democrats and Republicans.
Right now we have a Republican governor who tries to be all things to all people. She lies a lot. Elected because she ran against a truly forgettable Dem who was nominated “because it was her turn” – Susana Martinez was inevitable. We’re consistent in New Mexico politics; so, her challenger for a second term is Gary King, son of a previous governor. Now, it’s his turn to be governor as far as Democrat party hacks are concerned.
And Governor Susana campaigns on “her” improvements in education among other lies. The reality is the Albuquerque Public School system – normally run like most state highway departments – brought in someone with knowledge and smarts a couple years ago and he’s turned things around a bit. Since he’s in charge of a third of the schoolkids in the state – he makes a difference. No one, including me, has any idea of his politics. Frankly, I don’t know why many good teachers are working anywhere in our state’s schools – given mediocre pay and little voice in direction.
That doesn’t matter to Governor Susana. She’ll gladly take credit.
Yolanda Arguello, a cook at the South Valley New Mexico Women’s Recovery Academy, was arrested for allegedly slobbering on cheese slices and ice cubes before serving them to officers.
The 59-year-old cook at a New Mexico facility that trains state corrections employees was charged with battery for allegedly licking the insides of sandwiches and then presenting them to probation and parole officers.
Yolando Arguello was arrested this week after colleagues witnessed her strange behavior at the South Valley New Mexico Women’s Recovery Academy in Albuquerque…
The woman, according to interviews conducted by authorities, was seen licking cheese slices and then inserting into sandwiches. She would also suck on ice cubes, spit them into a cup, and then serve the container to officers.
Witnesses said Arguello didn’t want to prepare meals for probation and parole workers and that she messed with their food to show them who was special and “better than others.”
The woman also dumped ice on the floor, scooped it into pitchers and poured tea into them before giving the drinks to diners.