Swink 6th grade v. Rocky Ford 01.29.2011

We have a gallery of images from yesterday's 6th grade game up:

Mike and Leece's image galleries

under "Basketball."


Pinon Canyon activists outmaneuvered by the Army

As we all know by now, the Pinon Canyon opposition groups have essentially prevented local communities from signing on to the United States Army's Community Covenant Program.

Note that this program is neither new, nor in any way a unique plot aimed at southeast Colorado's ranchers.

One of the testimonials on the page:

"I can think of no better way to show how much we value our men and women in uniform than through these simple acts of neighborly kindness. When a soldier serves, their whole family serves along with them. Join us, as we help care for these families, while honoring the service they provide to our nation."

- Mr. Bob Eaves
First Gentleman of North Carolina

Mr. Eaves is the husband of NC's governor, Bev Perdue.

I think the Pinon Canyon crowd screwed the pooch on this one. I think the Army snookered them really well; they had to know the PC'ers would react like they did.

Dealing with the Army as a monolithic bureaucracy in opposing eminent domain is one thing, and something most of us can both understand and support, at least until the opposition groups start resorting to that 'hate-filled vitriol' and economic bullying for which they demonstrate such a talent. Much of that is fueled, of course, by poor reading comprehension skills, but there's nothing we can do about that except ... dare I say it ... 'soldier on' in our exercise of free speech and presentation of opinion, whether they like it or not.

But openly refusing to sign on to a nation-wide effort to support by word and deed the young men and women who bleed and die for We the People, and the families of those young men and women, is another thing altogether, and just shows how narrow-thinking, parochial, and self-serving the opposition groups really are.

But of course one might argue that they are right; this we know, for the Bible tells them so. They quote from an article about Major General Dave Perkins' comments when he signed the community covenant(s) for Fort Carson:

Fort Carson Commanding General, Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins has called the covenant a "sacred document ... built upon faith." PCEOC holds that a resolution of support would be a more appropriate form for a secular body to use.

But in the sentence preceding that, they take Perkins to theological task:

A covenant is a unique and ancient document; it is a solemn promise with Biblical origins.

How can you possibly disagree with the expansion opposition groups when God is so clearly on their side?

But wait ...

Conveniently, they overlook that the term and concept of 'covenant' predates the Noaic covenant by at least a millennia, and only the most die-hard literalist could assign a solid timeline to the Adamic covenant; so 'biblical' use of the term came rather late upon the human scene. The term 'covenant' is hardly limited to the biblical sense, though in their January newsletter PCEOC insists that it is just that. That's where that 'biblical origins' thing is from.

Conveniently, they also overlook the rest of Major General Perkins' comments, in which he "... noted that Soldiers have their own covenant:

"We have almost 50,000 Soldiers and Families on Fort Carson of which about 5,000 are currently deployed in combat right now. We will continue to deploy ... thousands from Fort Carson," Perkins said. "They have a covenant with our nation that they are sworn to defend our liberty, the liberty of all the people in this nation as well as those around the world, and over 400 of those Soldiers from 4th Infantry Division have paid the ultimate sacrifice in living up to their part of their covenant."

Lon Robertson said:

"Our hearts go out to the men and women who serve in the military and their families, and we find it completely inappropriate that their service should ever be used as an instrument of economic development," said Robertson.

Now, that's so much more of that horsecrap we might find around those southeast Colorado horse corrals. The Army's community covenant program is nationwide, not some scheme aimed at a few ranchers in southeastern Colorado. If there is any politicizing here, it's being done by Robertson and his associates in the expansion opposition organizations. They are the ones who are insisting on linking a covenant of support for those who bleed and die for us to their own political agenda.

The oath that I took, and reaffirmed several times, is nothing less than a 'covenant' with the nation, just as Major General Perkins stated. Over 58,000 of my contemporaries share the price paid by over 400 Fort Carson soldiers in the exercise of that covenant.

The political posturing of Robertson and his associates is at best disingenuous. At worst, it is insulting and contemptible.


cov·e·nant (kv-nnt)
1. A binding agreement; a compact.
2. Law
a. A formal sealed agreement or contract.
b. A suit to recover damages for violation of such a contract.
3. In the Bible, God's promise to the human race.


Some ARPA members weigh options

From the Lamar Ledger, on the Lamar power plant, which is still not operational:

Some ARPA members weigh options

La Junta v. Trinidad 7th and 8th grade BB games

Some shots are up on:

Mike and Leece's image galleries

under "Basketball."


Lions v. John Mall games

Galleries of the JV, Lady Lions, and Lions v. John Mall Panthers are now up at:

Mike and Leece's image galleries

under "Basketball."


Ethics and integrity

We were sitting at our favorite table in The Holy Land Quickee's. I was idly thumbing through the latest issue of "Air Force Times", while Leece was riffling through "Relevant" magazine.

"Relevant" is a good read for those who are fed up with the traditional "Christian" milieu. It reeks of emerging church-ism and other radical - some fundamentalists might say 'heretical' - viewpoints.

I love it. I don't miss an issue of it; neither does Leece.

DinkyDau Billy breezed in, letting the door slam behind him. He noisily and cheerfully greeted the cashier, and Juan Diego, in the same breath ordering one of Juan's best burgers. He helped himself to a diet Dr. Pepper before plunking his butt next to Leece.

Leece turned a bit green around the gills. Billy had apparently just finished a long bike ride, and his Spandex, and Billy himself, were on the far edge of 'gamey'.

"Wutcha reedin'?" he asked.

"I'm catching up on the latest cuts in VA and retired military bennies," I informed him.

"No, notchew," he declared, " my favorite editor here." He indicated Leece with a grin and a nod of his dreadlocks.

"I'm not an editor any more," Leece advised him, "I resigned. And I feel a lot better for it."

"Really!" Billy exclaimed, "what's that all about?"

"A matter of ethical disagreement, " Leece explained, "I'm not about to give in to economic bullying by some thug who thinks he can blackmail me into editorial submission."

"Huh?" Billy was puzzled.

"Cameron Strang has written an excellent editorial about this very issue, in this very issue," she explained, holding up her copy of 'Relevant'."

"He's talking about magazines but it applies, I think, to newspapers even more," I added, "as newspapers are increasingly nothing more than glorified 'Thrifty Nickels' and offer very little in the way of trustworthy opinion. Politicians, especially those with any business connections, will determine what is reported from board and other meetings. You get a 'significant advertiser' caught diddling ten year olds, for example, and you'll never hear about it."

"Or ignoring industrial safety standards, endangering workers like some kind of late 19th century coal mine robber baron," pointed out Billy.

He took the magazine and read quickly through the article.

"I like this," he said.

Integrity has a price. In a questionable economy, I can understand the appeal of guaranteed advertising dollars, even if it means losing editorial integrity. But that doesn’t mean it’s worth it. Integrity is built over years, but lost in an instant.

Having integrity is more important in daily decisions than in public declarations. Everything we do needs to be weighed against our standards, morals and faith. One compromise, and thousands of previous integrous decisions can be wiped out.

This isn’t just about media selling out. This is a wake-up in other areas as well. Are we going to be content going with the flow and letting our standards erode little by little? Or are we going to say enough is enough, and stand for what’s right?

Indeed. Our local "accentuate the positive' glee club wouldn't understand it, but there is wealth of biblical truth in those paragraphs.

Cameron Strang's editorial on ethics and integrity:

A real resolution

7th and 8th grade Lady Tigers v. Lady Grizzlies

Galleries are up on:

Mike and Leece's image galleries

under "Basketball"


Basketball games

Swink v. Rocky Ford high school and 6th grade muni league games, and Swink winter royalty, are up here:

Mike and Leece's image galleries

under "Basketball."



That's our state government.

Our economic development geniuses have been shoveling out hundreds of millions of tax bux - $2 billion, to be more or less exact - to businesses as 'incentives' for 'job creation.'

And as may be expected, no one has a clue as to where da munny went, or to whom, or for what, or how effective it was.

From the Pueblo Chieftain:

"Don't know"

See the related post, "Free Munny"

It's a good thing the likes of the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison didn't rely on government handouts.


Running a bidness

We were sitting at our favorite table in The Holy Land Quickee's, snuffling Juan Deigo's latest culinary offering, slurping our crappacinos and/or diet Dr. Peppers, and contemplating The Cost of Doing Bidness.

That thought process had been triggered as we watched a fellow bring in a pile of Pueblo Chieftains for the news rack.

"How's the boys doin' with their newspaper delivery bidness?" asked DinkyDau Billy, slurping said diet Dr. Pepper rather noisily.

"They aren't," I replied, "They were 'costed' out of the market."

"Really? How'd that happen?" Billy asked.

"Well, the papers were being dropped off at the house, you see, and then the person who was dropping them off said she wasn't going to do that anymore."

"Huh. So ... what then?" Billy queried.

"Well, we suggested that the papers be dropped off here, and the lads could come here and get them. They were coming here most days anyway, as they were being shorted papers those most days. They'd come here to get the 'makeup' papers."

"Huh. So ... what then?" Billy persisted.

"For some reason, that dropping off here is not a viable option. So the lads are required to come into town to pick up the papers."

"What? Why?" Billy was dumbfounded. "Hey. Hey. When I was a kid I delivered the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and some guy made the rounds dropping off the papers to all the delivery kids in the area."

"Yep. We used to deliver the Greensboro Daily News. Same deal. I've chatted with a number of guys who delivered papers as kids; all of 'em have the same story. I guess things have changed," I mused.

"Yeah, but wait a minute ... do the math on that. It ain't gonna work!" Billy exclaimed.

"That's right. The IRS allows 51 cents per mile for business expensing a vehicle. For our round trip, that's just over $5.50 per day to go pick up the papers. But they're banking on people just figuring gas costs, not vehicle operating costs. Or even more likely, not figuring those costs at all. How many times have you seen parents driving their kids around the paper route? How can that possibly pay off?"

"So ... that's over a hunnert bux a month to go in and pick up papers!" Billy exclaimed, again.

"Yep. And the lads were pulling down $140 a month. But that's not factoring in what it costs for the driver, since the lads neither drive nor have their own car."

"But if it's a bidness expense, why don't they just claim it when they file their tax returns?" Billy wondered.

"Their annual gross is about $1500. They aren't going to pay any taxes anyway. Do you seriously think they should file long form and itemize?"

"Huh. Huh. I guess not. And you guys couldn't claim it since it ain't your bidness."

"Yep. So you can see it would just be a fiscal drain we would have to accept as 'the cost of doing bidness.' We did, however, consider tacking on a 'delivery fee' to the customers. You know, kind of like the utilities outfits with all their surcharges and fees. But in the end, we decided it just wasn't worth it for that little a return."

"So let me see if I got this ... the paper wants you to spend over a hunnert bux a month to come pick up their product, that they want to sell, leaving you with forty bux?"

"That's it in a nutshell ... but it's actually much less than forty bux; we're looking at vehicle costs of more than $5.50 per day on this. That's at least $110 per month, leaving 'em less than thirty bux, which means they are delivering nearly 60 papers for a buck a day. And, we're presuming there's a driver that's willing to take the time to go get the papers. I can't, and even if I could, I won't; it isn't cost effective. Leece can't, and even if she could, she won't, for the same reason. You willing to do it, Billy?"

He looked pensive. "Sure," he replied, "for minimum wage, and 51 cents a mile, you betcha."

"And with that added funding for you as a driver, that means the lads will actually be paying out of their own pockets to deliver the paper, doesn't it?"

"Yeah. Yeah, it does," he replied, "kind of like those parents who accrue all those vehicle expenses whilst driving their kids around. They're basically delivering the paper not only free, but paying to do it."

"And that's why the boys ain't deliverin' papers any more. Let someone who can't do the math take that sucker deal," I explained.

"Looks like the men got a lesson in runnin' a bidness," Billy observed, "which is, after all, the whole point of kids working as newspaper delivery kids."

"Yep. We owe the La Junta Tribune-Democrat a hearty thanks for the object lesson."

Free munny

Oh, here we go ...

Do those eco-devo incentives really lure businesses?

We here at Blogger Central have long maintained that those 'incentives' - free or low rent built-to-order buildings; tax breaks; 'job creation credits', etc, are a bunch of hooie. Just like the reasoning that supports shoveling thousands upon thousands of dollars of Urban Renewal money into the pockets of the owners of La Junta Mill and Elevator. Just like the reasoning behind The Great American Economic Stimulus, Porculus Americanus, or the bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler and AIG and all the rest. It's all cast from the same mold.

Denver has paid DaVita, Inc nearly a million bucks - at least $850,000, to be more precise - as incentives to lure the company into Denver. What is that to a company that pulled in $6.1 billion in revenue last year, and which paid its CEO $600,000 help him get over the pain and inconvenience of having to move.

Who is kidding whom, here?

LaCharles Keesee, who took over as Director of the Economic Development Office last fall, acknowledged that the city's business incentive strategy is due for an overhaul since it was created in a "different era."

"As I've spoken with people, both CEOs and corporate relocation, I will tell you that incentives are nothing more than the last domino to fall," Keesee told council members. "What really drives the decision is the regulatory structure, the ability for you to move into a jurisdiction" and begin operations quickly.

Ya think?

Meanwhile, our economic development and urban renewal geniuses continue to respond very well to economic bullying, and shovel our money into a rabbit hole.

Total price for CASB's bash at the Broadmoor

Update 12.10.2011:

And the partying continues, as CASB once again finds its collective self up at the Broadmoor. As but one example, District 6 up in Greeley is dumping more than $21,000 in tax dollars for a few board members and school administrators to attend the four day conference at the Broadmoor, and for CASB dues. Here is an article from the Greeley Gazette:

School district pays over $21,000 for dues, cost of attending convention

Here is our original post:

Total price for school boards' bash at the Broadmoor: $379,243

The Colorado Association of School Boards turned a nice little profit on its annual convention at the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort in Colorado Springs in December.

The four day bash cost the lobbying organization $307,247. Income from registration fees paid by school districts and commercial sponsorships netted $379,243, leaving CASB to pocket more than $71,000.

Of course, the school districts the organization represents — and which provide 60 percent of CASB’s operating budget through annual membership dues — earned nothing on the event. In fact, as Face the State reported in December, they paid twice for it: once with their dues and again through registration fees charged to school board members to attend it.

Looks like we here at Blogger Central weren't the only ones who thought the Broadmoor Bash was way over the top:

Annual convention parties on — even as cash-strapped local districts feel the pinch

According to figures obtained from CASB, school boards also paid $150 per night for 1,530 room nights at the Broadmoor over the course of the convention, or a total of nearly $300,000. Some attendees stayed at other nearby hotels, but those figures weren’t available. CASB doesn’t track the cost of food, drink, mileage and other expenses incurred by attendees and billed to their districts.

In his attempt to justify the shindig, the CASB spokesperson sounds like he is shooting for a job writing speeches for Obama.


Despite Threats, Canada to Show Movie About Iran

Waydago, eh!

Some of our US politicians should grow a pair as well, rather than serving as apologists for Islamic fundamentalists.

And yet another opportunistic weasel

According to the Colorado Springs Independent, Tancredo has rejoined the GOP:

Tom Tancredo has ended his short love affair with the American Constitution Party, which he joined last year to make a late run as a candidate for governor. According to the Denver Post, Tancredo says the relationship was "opportunistic on both of our parts," with an understanding that he wasn't committing himself.

Just what we need in office. Another opportunistic political hack who will sell himself and his so-called 'values' to the highest bidder.

Here's a nice turn of phrase from TancredoWatch:

Tancredo - the Congressman from Littleton, Colorado - likes to pretend he's a breath of fresh air in Congress: Not afraid to tell it like it is! A fighter for the little guy! Does the right thing, no matter what the cost!

But the truth is: He's just another pathetic tool who abandoned his integrity to become a permanent, mediocre fixture in Washington D.C.

That sums up Ol' 1Y very well indeed.

You can read his self-serving rationalizations here, in the Colorado Statesman:

Tancredo rejoins GOP

The GOP should relegate this loser to washing dishes at the next state convention. However, if the state of the GOP throughout the last election cycle is any measure of the 'vision' of the Colorado Republican Party, Tancredo will be the GOP's main candidate.


A spineless fundie hypocrite

That governor of Alabama has proved himself to be just another one of those typical fundamentalist hypocrites:

Alabama governor apologizes for controversial speech

On Wednesday afternoon, Bentley issued a public apology: "If anyone from other religions felt disenfranchised by the language, I want to say I am sorry. I am sorry if I offended anyone in any way."

The other day he told everyone who can't pass his religious test "... that if they haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, they are not his brother or his sister."

He did it in his official capacity as governor of Alabama.

And now, he realizes he stepped on his political pecker, so he is 'apologizing,' just like every other fundie who thought his religious spewing would end up costing him votes.

I wonder how many times the cock crowed before this guy Buck-pedaled?

I wonder what it would take for him to renounce his alleged belief in Christ? Perhaps a nice donation to his political campaign fund?

The Secret to a Libertarian State

Here's a good article:

The Secret to a Libertarian State

by P.J. Byrne.

An excerpt:

My non-libertarian acquaintances often ask how the libertarian state could work. While such discussions tend not to resolve anything, they almost always turn to the subject of public service and welfare provision. At this point, I argue that the state should be minimal, and financial contributions to it should be voluntary as far as possible. To this, a social democrat reacts with disdain, and suggests the libertarian solution is unworkable as (1) it is not in people’s nature to be altruistic and (2) such services would go unfunded unless citizens were compelled to pay for them through taxation. Thus, the argument goes, the state is right to compel them.

This is the basis for the concept that relief of the poor should not be run as a redistribution of wealth - in the form of 'welfare' - by a socialistic state, but by volunteer services. Churches, for example. Outfits like The Salvation Army. That sort of thing.

But the socialists, you see ... the lefties, the further-over-to-the-left Democrats ... see this concept as so much nonsense. Byrne sees this in the excerpt above; the social democrat has no real faith in the 'humanity' of mankind. To them, we are a collection of selfish opportunists - except for the social democrats, of course, who apparently are very much enlightened - we are a collection of selfish opportunists who must be subjugated by a beneficent government.

A fine example of "Christian" behavior

This one is from the governator of Alabama:

Alabama Gov: Non-Christians 'Not My Brother'

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told a church crowd just moments into his new administration that those who have not accepted Jesus as their savior are not his brothers and sisters, shocking some critics who questioned Tuesday whether he can be fair to non-Christians.

"Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother," Bentley said Monday, his inauguration day, according to The Birmingham News.

The Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday called Bentley's remarks shocking.

"His comments are not only offensive, but also raise serious questions as to whether non-Christians can expect to receive equal treatment during his tenure as governor," said Bill Nigut, the ADL's regional director.

Well ... it would appear that you'd better toe the religious line if you live in Alabama.

Meanwhile, the governor's apologists are tap-dancing, beck-pedaling, and spinning:

"The governor clearly stated that he will be the governor of all Alabamians — Democrat, Republican and Independent, young, old, black and white, rich and poor. As stated in his (inaugural) address, Gov. Bentley believes his job is to make everyone's lives better," the statement said.

Of course it is. So long as Bentley approves of your church. I'm curious, however, as to which version of God Bentley approves. Will his office be releasing a list of approved denominations? Will the government of Alabama now require one to be a member of an approved church in order to gain employment with that government? Will the Alabama legislature now require tithing, rather than taxing?

The official with the Anti-Defamation League, which fights discrimination against Jewish people, said it sounded like Bentley was using the office of governor to advocate for Christian conversion.

"If he does so, he is dancing dangerously close to a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids government from promoting the establishment of any religion," Nigut said.

"Dangerously close?"

That's exactly what he's doing:

"Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother."

And of course, the only way to be Bentley's 'brother' or 'sister,' is to accept his version of Christianity. Were I an Alabama resident, I really wouldn't care about Bentley's psuedo-familial relationship with me ... I'd just want him to be a reasonable honest politician, oxymoronic as that may seem.

"... make Watergate look legal ..."

Chris Muir has a good one up this morning, on the state of the so-called "Fourth Estate":


Rural Colorado school implements prevention program

Leece has a new article up:

Rural Colorado school implements prevention program


"Put up or shut up"

That's from New Jersey's Chris Christie, to the Republicans, over the Obmanians' 'Chicken Little' squawking over increasing the debt limit.

If Republicans are serious about brushing off Obama’s demand to add to the current $14.3 trillion limit, which was bumped up by $1.9 trillion less than a year ago, it will not reassure Hu and the Chinese lenders that American debt is a safe haven anymore.

And Republicans may be getting serious. Polls show Americans hate the idea of borrowing more, even if it is to meet existing obligations. Add in the Tea Party 'tude of the new GOP House majority and rejecting the president’s request starts to look like a real possibility.

The Obmanians' are coming up with another crisis creation:

... warnings of an economic “catastrophe” worse than the Panic of 2008 if no action is taken.

It may even be possible they are correct ... but Obama and his accomplices have screamed about the sky falling so many times ... who except the Kool-Aid drinkers believes them?

I sure as hell don't.


Grand jury probes Edwards funding

A federal criminal investigation targeting John Edwards is examining how much the two-time presidential candidate knew about money used to cover up his extramarital affair and out-of-wedlock child and whether he had other practices that pushed the bounds of campaign finance laws, people involved in the case have told The Associated Press.


How about "two-timing?"


More on the Lamar power plant failure

From the Lamar Ledger:

Repowering plant goes off-line

The total event resulted in complete failure of a large expansion joint on the economizer as well as some structural damage to equipment hangers and boiler structural steel. In addition, an excess amount of steam was emitted from the stack, resulting in a very significant heat plume that continued for most of the day.

The plant remains off-line.

From the Raton Range:

Cities team up to find best deal on power

Down in Trinidad, the drama continues, with that city apparently now throwing in with Raton, NM. Raton, you will recall, jumped ship some time ago, divorcing themselves from the ARPA alliance. If you missed that article, here it is again:

City to pursue new options for electricity

The city of Trinidad has retained the same lawyer(s) that worked with Raton in that ship-jumping:

City Manager Ed Gil de Rubio said the city has retained Albuquerque, N.M., attorney Nann Winter as a special consultant in regard to its relations with Arkansas River Power Authority (ARPA) and the Lamar Repowering Project. Winter helped Raton with federal litigation and a settlement agreement that led to Raton exiting as a member of ARPA.

While Trinidad city manager Gil de Rubio seems to be encouraging other ship-jumpers:

“If any of the other communities involved with ARPA want to join with Raton and Trinidad in our search for lower-cost power, I would encourage them to contact us.”

Here is a bit of background:

Lamar gets steamed over troubled coal plant

Here are a couple of past posts:

ARPA's Lamar re-powering project


New power plant is on-line

How will this affect the 'issues' surrounding power generation by Creative Energy and the purchase of their power by ARPA members?

That's a good question:

In the meantime, a contract with Municipal Energy of Nebraska will continue to provide power through an agreement with ARPA, Rigel said. (from the Lamar Ledger article by Lola Shrimplin)

There's no mention of Creative Energy. Creative Energy is not, as we all know, on-line yet - they are still looking for a home - but this latest Lamar blow-up seems to indicate that Creative Energy can be a very useful resource ... if it ever gets built here.


More 'green energy' hot air

Talk of wind power was overblown all along


But city documents obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act show that long before the project was scuttled in December as “not commercially attractive” to the developer, Fort Collins made clear that it had no intention of buying power from the wind farm even if it had gone forward.

“City Utilities has no plans to purchase the energy from the Maxwell Ranch Wind Farm development,” Light and Power Manager Steve Catanach wrote in a memo to City Council last July. “Utilities has not been contacted by Colorado State University or Cannon Power Group, the developer, to discuss delivery or purchase of the Maxwell Ranch wind farm energy.”

And another one:

“Anybody with a cursory understanding of the wind power business would have understood from the get-go that that project had about a snowball’s chance in hell of ever getting built,” [Eric Sutherland] said. “It’s just one of these brain farts that never should have left the lab. It was just clueless academics trying to take the stereotype of clueless academicians a little bit further.”

Mr. Sutherland needs to learn to speak up and not sugar-coat things so much.

So what's the deal? Are all these 'green power' projects nothing more than 'feel good' political BS?

Two new developments in the ARPA/Trinidad dustup

From the Trinidad Times:

City to pursue new options for electricity

“By going into the energy marketplace together, we represent a bigger customer for the energy-producing companies. As a larger customer, we can try to get lower prices for our electricity,” Gil de Rubio said. “If any of the other communities involved with ARPA want to join with Raton and Trinidad in our search for lower-cost power, I would encourage them to contact us.”

Hey Gil ... Creative Energy Systems is looking for a home.

On the ARPA/WildEarth dustup, also from the T-T:

ARPA trial postponed - judge wants clarification


Talking heads and other pundits

We were sitting in the concession stand area of The Holy Land's gym, the new one. We had been watching a great basketball game, but were now snacking on some really good Polish dogs.

DinkyDau Billy wasn't snacking, however. He was snuffling. He had heaped a pile of jalapenos on his dog, and was having a pretty good time of it.

"So ... what do you think of the way the talking heads and other pundits have been going on about the Tucson shootings?" asked Leece, by way of varying the conversation.

"You mean the way the left has been blaming Sara Palin and all the rest? Like that big mouthed clown of a sheriff down there?" asked Billy.

"Yes ..." replied Leece.

"You mean the way the rightwingers like 'Madmouth Malkin' has been compiling examples of how the left has been spewing its own version of 'hate-filled vitriol'? asked Billy.

"Yes ..." replied Leece.

"You mean the way both sides of the aisle have been pointing fingers, politicizing the whole sordid affair, and generally showing themselves to be the shallow-thinking twits they really are? Beck and O'Reilly included? As well as that bunch from MSNBC? You mean the way Palin made Obama larger than he really is, with her pathetic 'surveyor instrument' claim and all the rest of her shrill nonsense?" asked Billy.

"Well ... yes ..." replied Leece.

"They're all shooting off their mouths like a bunch of trailer trash junior high shitbirds throwing down on the playground after school. They should all be ashamed of themselves. They are an embarrassment to the nation and to the entire concept of free speech," Billy stated, rather unequivocally.

We all nodded, like so many bobbleheads.

"Eloquent and accurate," observed Tookie.

Yep. Billy hit it right on the nose, so much so that Leece didn't even quiver at his scatological descriptor.

Thank you, Jesus, for a mute button and the ability to chuck it all and go to streaming Netflix.


Coming to La Junta's First Church of the Nazarene:



More Swink v. Hoehne shots

In addition to Tookie's "Cheerleaders and Sideliners" gallery, we have the boys' varsity and girls' varsity galleries up:

Mike and Leece's image galleries

under "Basketball"

A cold winter afternoon ...

It's a cold one, this afternoon, with a grey overcast sky, and if not a monotone landscape, then certainly one in which the colors are severely muted.

We're sitting here looking out the glass doors of the screen porch, the two teakwood rockers and the pressure-treated framing of the porch presenting an interesting woodgrain study against that white and grey starkness. I love the color of the pressure-treated lumber, especially after it has begun to fade. It reminds me of porches and piers and docks and beach walkways in eastern North Carolina.

A million small songbirds are crowded around the bird feeder in the back yard. It's a clay pot, upended, and holds several pounds of seed. The birds aren't singing; they are fluffed up against the cold and huddling together like a bunch of railyard transients around a scraps fire in a barrel under the bridges.

Inside, we have Leece's super special Eye-talian sauce, with grilled chicken and homemade meatballs bubbling away. The pasta is ready. We await the arrival of The Crowd. Today we are celebrating TootSweet's birthday.

It's a lovely day.

Grain Mill Accidents

The Grain Mill accidents group over on Facebook:

Grain Mill accidents

What's really interesting is the number of workers who are killed and injured because owners and operators fail to comply with safety standards. It seems like they run a crap-shoot operation, gambling that a) OSHA isn't going to inspect them and b) nothing is going to blow up, burn, or collapse. Then when they lose the gamble, someone gets killed or hurt, and they end up with heavy fines from OSHA. Just Google the text string "grain mill accidents" and you'll see what we mean.

Kind of like coal mine operations back in the early 1900's, except back then there was no OSHA. Such indifference to the 'expendables' - workers - is, of course, one of the main reasons why we have OSHA today.

Also, an admittedly unscientific 'survey' of victims of grain mill accidents shows that they tend to be a) young, and b) relatively poor, and c) somewhat ethnic - though this tends to vary by location. In other words, the victims are among the most defenseless segment of our society.

So what do they really matter, when profits are at stake?

Which is why, bottom line (pun intended), we have OSHA.


Swink v. Hoehne Cheerleaders and Sideliners

We have a gallery of photos of Swink's cheerleaders, and some sideliners, from this afternoon's Swink v. Hoehne game.

Go to:

Swink v. Hoehne Cheerleaders and Sideliners, by Elena Ramsay

The gallery is under "Basketball."

More follow, of the JV girls, and the Lady Lions and Lions.


Ashes ... ashes ... all fall down ...

Condolences to our pals in various Aussie po-leece departments Down Under, as England has whupped up on the Aussies, 'grinding them into the earth' on their own territory:

England finishes Ashes series in style

This is kind of like Lamar crushing the Tigers 100 - 0 in a Tiger's homecoming game, only worse. It's like Air Force stomping Army 100 - 0 at Michie Stadium. Only worse. It's like the Broncos getting beat by ... the ViQueens ... 100 - 0 at Invesco ... only worse.



Who says things never change in The Smile Hi City?

Leece and I pedaled into the parking lot of the Holy Land Quickee's. (Note: We know it's a "Tank and Tummy" now, but old traditions die hard in the Holy Land.)

There was a Litespeed Niota Ti leaning up against the hitchin' rail. There were no horses hitched there, but there was that bike, which we knew well. DinkyDau Billy was back in town. And around the corner, Tookie's MT220 was chained to a pipe cemented into the ground and double-locked with what looked like an anchor chain from the USS Missouri, and a pair of Yales that looked like they weighed five pounds apiece. Tookie is a Republican. She doesn't trust the Common Man. Billy's bike wasn't locked up. Billy's a Democrat-turned-Libertarian. Someone steals his bike, he may just exercise his 2nd Amendment rights. That's the Libertarian side. The Democrat side would have him giving the thief Tookie's bike.

I noticed Billy's Niota had a pair of Schwalbe studded snow tires on it. Kind of wimpy, I thought.

It was really nippy, and we were feeling it, despite our fancy upscale yuppy-ish cold weather gear. So we went inside.

They were sitting at their favorite table, snuffling crappacinos and chili cheese fries. At 7 AM, that was a frightful sight to behold. And Tookie was also crunching chocolate-covered espresso beans.

"Hey! Hey!" DinkyDau Billy greeted us exhuberantly, "How they hangin'?"

"They're still attached," I told him, "but what's the deal with the studded tires on your bike? Not very manly if you ask me."

"I dint ask," he replied, "but since you brought it up, you gots ta unnerstand that I ain't no spring chicken no more, and I am loathe to bust a hip on the ice."


"Yeah. Loathe. And you's a bit baggier in the shorts than you think, too, so you might think about them Schwalbes, too."

He had a point. But I wasn't going to concede it.

Tookie was reading a press release from some outfit called "Creative Energy Systems."

"Hey, Toots! What are you reading?" asked Leece.

"It's a press release from some outfit called 'Creative Energy Systems," she replied.

We sat there for a moment, considering the synergy of the universe, and how often the obvious is stated and restated.

"Thank you for sharing that bit of information, Toots," Leece went on, "but why are you reading it?"

"Well, this is the outfit that is wanting to build a power plant here in The Smile Hi City, one that would eventually employ between 50 and a hunnert people," TootSweet explained.

"That's a lot of jobs," I observed, "do you think the figure is somewhat overblown?"

"Nope. A 10 megawatt plant, with all the construction, and operation, and maintenance, and the related fueling, could easily 'generate' that many jobs," our little electrical production expert told us.

We all moaned and groaned at that 'generate' jobs thing. Tookie snickered.

"And it would help clean up the county dump, too, and because of the use of the dump's content for fuel, the dump would last a lot longer. Quite a bit longer, in fact," she went on.

"Yeah, but ... someone's always pitching a sale that The Smile Hi City latches onto, only to find that ... well ... you know. We have another empty building and we're all singing 'Promises, Promises' again," Leece said, obviously somewhat skeptical.

"Or 'Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive'," snickered DinkyDau Billy.

"Uh huh. I share your pain over that," Tookie went on, ignoring Billy, "but their technology is actually pretty well proven, and they have a solid funding base, and we have some of that 'synergy' here what with a rail spur, and available land, and the pickle plant, and proximity to major stations owned by different power companies. I really think this is a good deal."

"Then what's the problem?" DinkyDau Billy asked.

"Well ... Remember back in March of 2010, when our beloved governator, 'Wild Bill' Ritter signed HB 1001?

"Vaguely," I replied, with everyone else nodding in agreement like a bunch of bobbleheads, or perhaps Urban Renewal Board members.

"Most everyone involved with that is primarily focused on solar and wind power, with a sop thrown in for biomass, and lookin' at this thing, I'm not even sure Creative Energy's system qualifies for that kind of fuel generation. They seem to be too 'avant garde'," Toots explained, "but I could be wrong on that. I ain't no expert and it's pretty confusing to me."

"And everyone else," I said. More bobbleheading.

"But HB 1001 requires the state to increase its RPS portfolio to 30% by 2020," Tookie went on, "and what that means is that Colorado's power companies are required to be generating or otherwise providing 30% of their power from renewable sources by 2020."

"But ARPA and Black Hills and other power companies ain't innerested in buyin' Creative Energy's generated power," DinkyDau Billy observed, "they say they's got an excess now, and Creative Energy ain't cost effective."

"Well, 'cost effective' is a relative term," Tookie pointed out, "which is why the state offers incentives for power companies that start using these sources. But ARPA is capable of generating its own surpluses, which they had planned to sell to help pay for their new plant. Also, other companies are generating surpluses at the moment, so there is no real market for Creative Energy's power. Not right now. Six months from now might be totally different. By 2020 it'll really be different."

"So that's why those Creative Energy people are goin' on about pushing the power companies into what we might call 'more constructive' negotiations?" Billy asked.

"I think so, so far as I understand it, " Tookie replied.

"But by then, Creative Energy will be in New Mexico, with those 50 to 100 jobs, pretty good paying jobs, and all the benefits such as landfill use extension and so on," Leece pointed out.

"Yep. That's it in a nutshell," agreed Tookie.

We thought about that for awhile.

"Hey! Hey! Not to worry!" exclaimed DinkyDau Billy.

"Why not?" asked Leece.

"We'll still have La Junta Mill, in a tax-payer funded new facility, and we all know what an economic power house they are!"

Tookie gave DinkyDau Billy one of "those" looks.

"Yeah," she said, "so when I graduate from high school, I can shovel shit for one of the feed lots, or go toss sacks of feed around, or maybe go flip burgers or wait tables for all those 'customers' La Junta Mill brings in. No thanks. I'm graduating from high school and then I'm going into USAF for a hitch and building up my college fund, and then I'm going to school. I have Stanford in mind, and Stanford has kick ass volleyball and basketball teams, too." You will recall that Tookie is an avid volleyball player.

"Yeah. I guess there's jobs, and then there's jobs," mused Leece, who didn't even react to Tookie's scatological references.

"Yeah, which is why all my friends are going to do pretty much the same as me, one way or another. We aren't staying here to shovel shit, wait tables, or serve as cashiers for Walmart. If that's the best our governing bodies can do, we're outa here." Tookie was very emphatic about that.

Census projection for The Smile Hi City: As of July 2010, we're down to 7,000 souls. That's a 19% drop in population from when we first moved to The Smile Hi City. Who says things never change in our bucolic little cowtown?

Rural America's ticking time bombs

Rural America's ticking time bombs


"... the highest respect and care for each of its employees ..."

While we've been looking at La Junta Mill and their continuing drama with OSHA over safety violations that endanger employees and the community, we have a couple of outfits in town that are quite different.

One is DeBourgh Manufacturing:

Small business success stories: DeBourgh Manufacturing

"No job is worth the risk of injury," says Steve Berg, President/Owner/CEO of the company. "DeBourgh has the highest respect and care for each of its employees. Their safety and well-being are paramount to our success as a company."

and the other is Oliver Manufacturing:

Small business success stories: Oliver Manufacturing

Meanwhile, did you know that you can find OSHA inspection data on the OSHA website?


Happy New Year!

We're baking bread today. Leece is whuppin' up a batch of pizza dough as well, for home made pizza later on this afternoon.

While the bread's rising we're looking at going over to the  pond and seeing if we can get some geese shots.