Thursday, April 17, 2014

La-La-La, Can't Hear Your Good Advice!

Cliven Bundy would do well to listen to advice from other ranchers familiar with the process:
If anyone can feel the beleaguered rancher’s pain, it’s a man like Dahl. But while some members of the public are on Bundy’s side, he makes his argument with a religious zeal, and he appears to have temporarily shaken the BLM’s ham-handed grip, that doesn’t mean Bundy is on stable legal footing, Dahl says.

Bundy continues to argue, mostly in the press, that the federal government has no jurisdiction over the land on which his cattle graze. But federal courts have consistently dismissed that argument, and on July 9, 2013, U.S. District Judge Lloyd George signed an order permanently enjoining Bundy from running cattle on the disputed land. Judge George’s order was emphatic.

“In sum,” he wrote, “in his most recent effort to oppose the United States’ legal process, Bundy has produced no valid law or specific facts raising a genuine issue of fact regarding federal ownership or management of public lands in Nevada.”

Walking into a federal court and arguing that the federal government doesn’t have jurisdiction in a case involving federal land isn’t likely to go far. And Bundy had been making the argument for the better part of two decades. By 1998, the courts had ruled against him, and still he kept riding in the same legal direction.

“He had his neck bowed and had his mind made up, by golly, wouldn’t stray from his position, which is that the feds don’t own the land,” Dahl said. “So he didn’t pursue that, and it’s too bad that he didn’t.”

But Dahl notes that Bundy might benefit from following Nye County rancher Wayne Hage, who won a protracted battle with the federal government by successfully arguing that he had the right to graze his cows within two miles of water sources he developed.

“The Hage case, it went on for over 20 years,” Dahl said. “And the Hage case and this case are very similar because the Hages ran without a permit for a long time. It was either do that or pull out and give up.”

Hot Chocolate - Every 1's a Winner (1978)

Disco Marc Is Strangely-Unfamiliar With This Disco Tune

Work Is Still Nowhere To Be Seen, So Starting A History Of DMTC

My information is uneven, so I will eventually have to tap Steve and Jan, but for the moment I'm telling the tale of the Palms. A sad and complicated tale that is too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Annual Tax Day Rally At The State Capitol

Introductory remarks from this guy.

It's April 15th, so time to see what the Norcal Tea Party folks put together at their annual rally on the West Steps of the California State Capitol!

Sometimes these rallies are pretty interesting. The tax day rally in 2009 was off the hook! Obama had just gotten elected, so the crowd was spitting mad. In addition, the crowd was enormously obese: amazing beached suburban land whales gasping for air! Fatty, fatty, fat, fat, fat! They looked very unhealthy, and indeed, the crowd in 2010 looked much slimmer. The spitting-mad whales of 2009 simply passed away. Too fat to survive the reign of the skinny Magic Negro from Illinois, or Hawaii, or Kenya, or wherever.

This year, the crowd was sparse. The crowd of mostly-elderly suburbanites seemed unusually polite, and reasonably-tepid in their anti-Obama hatred. The atmosphere was light-years from the crazed madness of 2009.

Which is too bad, really. Crazed lunatics work best when they really are crazed. They are still crazy, but in a polite way.

Long-time activist Jon Coupal, looking sleek from many years in the spotlight.

As far as I can tell, what energy there is this year in the Tea Party movement regards Fair Tax proposals. Last night, George Noory had Fair Tax proponent Bill Spillane on his radio show:
"The Fair Tax is the most simple possible tax on the American people," while the current income tax system is incredibly complicated, he stated. The retail tax would be for final consumption, so there would be no business-to-business taxes, which would bring prices down on American produced goods, he continued.
So, I asked a representative about this Fair Tax. I liked the idea of the "prebates" given to individuals - a sort of liberal idea embedded in the mish mosh - but wondered what the tax would ultimately be at the cash register. Seems to be a different idea than the "Flat Tax", which was butchered a few years ago by the Mormon Church when they realized what that would do to tithing. I'm sure "Fair Tax" would be unworkable too, but I didn't drill far enough down to discredit it.

Someone brought a drone!  Cool camera on it too.

Carefully monitoring the audience and speakers as they complain about unwarranted government surveillance.

Reverend ?

Cool flag.

Warm pavement frightens off most folks, who retreated to the shade.

Um, this guy.

Congressional candidate Igor Birman calls for impeaching Attorney General Eric Holder, and compares the current US situation to the land of his childhood, the USSR.

Energy guy, who wants to burn more fossil fuels.

Curious flag.

Kinda sparse.

Cool flag.  More cool Patriot gear at Gadsden and Culpepper.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Branch Finally Falls

This broken branch has been hanging above my back yard for a long time - six or seven years? It finally fell down Saturday night.

Conservation Man Scuttles Away

I was passing through Home Depot, and a woman backed up by a wall of CFLs called out: "Do you spend $80 or more on electricity every month?" So, I shook my head and muttered skeptically: "No!" She wasn't sure she heard me, and maybe didn't believe I didn't spend $80 or more every month on electricity, so she said "You don't spend $80 or more...?" By that time, I had scuttled away ....

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fatigued By "A Chorus Line" Rehearsal

Combined with ballet class earlier today, the rehearsal did me in. I fell asleep in front of the tube and woke up to 'Robot Chicken.' Didn't have the initiative to change the channel for half an hour.

Ballet Beggar

Surprised to have met a ballet beggar. Said he had been a professional dancer. Looked the part. He wanted money to buy better pastels for his sidewalk chalks. I gave him a few bucks, as I always do when impressed by a story.

"Rumors" At Roseville Theatre Arts Academy

Nice show. A bit bewildered by soporific agents that must have been present in the dinnertime Claimjumper chicken pot pie, so Act I just confused me, but I liked Act 2.

Very, very pleased to have encountered, after a year of vacant Sundays, that magnificent actress, Pheonix Vaughn! It's been too long! 'Tommy' in 2001 and 'Secret Garden' in 2002? OMG!

Does This Squirrel Have Cancer?

Wondering if there's something toxic about my house.

Friday Evening With Davis Music Collective

Was prepared to sell the crowd coffee, but they mostly wanted the alcohol.

Friday Train - 04/11

Love the trains!

Friday, April 11, 2014

(Roll Eyes) Militias Respond To The Call

OK, Militias, what say you?

The GOP-Sponsored Western Land Grab Is Coming To Blows

There was a blow up at the Bundy Ranch in southern Nevada the other day, with Tasers and yelling, and occasional blows, between supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy, and the Federal Government, represented by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM):

The way the Bundy supporters tell it, it's a classic setup between We The People, and the distant, heartless Federal Gummint:
The federal government is out of control yet again, staging a heavily militarized siege of the Bundy cattle ranch in Nevada, where the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has decided to bring a literal army of heavily armed "soldiers" to intimidate the Bundy family and steal his hundreds of cattle.

The Bundy family has run cattle on the scrubland since the 1870's, but in 1993, the government decided it "owned" the land and would start charging Bundy rent fees for his cows grazing on it. The Bundy family refused to pay the fees, so BLM went to court over the payments, and when that didn't pan out the way they wanted, they decided to unleash an army of heavily armed, militarized "soldiers" to lay siege to the ranch and steal Bundy's cattle.

...And yet the federal government has now brought these military weapons to the Nevada desert, almost in an overt act of war against an American family engaged in productive farming and ranching -- something the Obama administration seems to utterly despise as it rolls out aggressive marketing of food stamps to maximize the number of Americans living on government handouts.

See this astonishing video from Government Gone Wild to learn more about the explosion of America's entitlement society.

...As part of the tyranny siege, the feds set up a "First Amendment Area" in which they said all protesters must remain.

The very idea of a government-defined "zone" that limits where the First Amendment can be exercised is of course wildly offensive to the very foundations of America. If free speech is strictly limited to a small "zone" defined by the government, then it's not exactly free, is it?

...The BLM also seized state road 170, declaring it off limits. When Bundy's son Dave started taking photos on the road, he was immediately thrown to the ground and arrested. Apparently, he made the mistake of exercising his First Amendment rights outside the "First Amendment Area" set up by the feds. Yes, this is America today: You can't even take photos of your own ranch without being arrested!

...Vowing to take a stand for, "your liberty and freedom," Bundy says he is prepared to be killed as authorities surround a 600,000 acre section of public land as a result of Bundy violating a 1993 Bureau of Land Management ruling which changed grazing rights in order to protect the endangered desert tortoise.

...The BLM seems oblivious to the rights of Americans, claiming Bundy's cows are "trespassing" and that Bundy owes the federal government "more than $1 million in fees associated with cattle grazing in trespass."

Yet, Bundy's position is almost 100% unadulterated horseshit, and he certainly knows it. His family may have been ranching there for a century-and-a-half, but these are not his lands! For generations, the ranches of the Far West survived by owning only a tiny portion of their land. They lease all the rest from the Feds. In some places, ranches buy lands in a checkerboard pattern, so even though they don't own the squares in the middle, they effectively totally-control it. In other places ranches don't even do that. Still, after many years, ranchers get a sense of entitlement. These are "their" lands, whether they are actually really "their" lands, or not.

All of this is against a backdrop of great weakness. The ranching lands of the Far West are often marginal, or sub-marginal. Hardly anyone would want to spend money to buy these lands, they are so nearly-worthless, even from a cattle-ranching perspective. Over generations, ranchers had options to buy land, but never did, because it's worth so little. So, a symbiotic relationship was fostered between the federal government and the ranches. The Feds built roads, offered services, and encouraged ranchers, in order to foster at least some kind of economic activity. In exchange, the ranches provided a tax-base from what little they could get from ranching. It hasn't always been the smoothest of relationships, but it's worked pretty well, overall. The system was first codified in the Taylor Lands Act of 1934, and has evolved since. The Bureau of Land Management is invested with the power to manage the Federal lands.

Times change, and Federal rules change. Managing the lands for tortoise protection, or for oil and gas drilling investigations, become important values. The ranch owners have to comply. Remember, they don't own the lands. They shouldn't go around pretending they own this land, then get mad when the Feds enforce rules, but they do. Various political movements like the GOP-sponsored Sagebrush Rebellion sprung up to find various ways of privatizing Federal lands, basically for free. Talk about Welfare Queens! It's always something-for-nothing with these folks.

Now, of course, we have Tea Party rhetoric to give cover for various land grabs.

As far as a free-speech zone goes, there are plenty of precedents. We allow shopping malls to set up free speech zones, for example, because they are private property. Malls don't want protesters shouting slogans just wherever, because it interferes with business. And the BLM doesn't want protesters interfering with their enforcement of the law.

Cliven Bundy needs to back off.

Support the Feds.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

"A Guidebook To Breaking Bad Filming Locations" Coming Soon

Here is an update about my proposed Guidebook on Breaking Bad filming locations. I decided to self-publish (via Amazon), in order to retain closer control over the text and to accelerate review (since the summer tourist season is coming up fast). To avoid unnecessary friction, I have redacted the addresses of all single-family homes. Most pictures posted on my blog are retained, but the interior is black-and-white, in order to keep costs down. (It's a little big: 8.5 x 11" at 323 pages.) Review is nearly-finished and will be available for sale soon.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Friday, April 04, 2014

Book Update

After the Pop Culture conference in ABQ in February, I decided to write an almanac after all. The summer season of travel is coming up. Basically I decided to take my BrBa pages and condense them into a book. At first, I intended on getting a publisher (McFarland Press seemed the best), but I’ve decided to self-publish. The reason is it will be easier to change and update the text provided I retain close control. The reason I was worried about that is discovering that some people might object to content. Ann Lerner at the ABQ Film Office warned me that I couldn’t use private residences unless I had permission. So I asked the owners of the White house, if I could publish their address and post a map regarding location. They said absolutely no way. So, I’ve decided to remove the addresses of all private residences. This degrades the function of the book somewhat, but who’s to say that’s enough? Hence, the need to self-publish. It will be the weirdest Breaking Bad guide – one that doesn’t mention the addresses of the Whites, the Schraders, or Jesse Pinkman. C’est la vie.

Work has been slow, so I’ve had the opportunity to write and edit. I nearly have the text ready. There is an issue regarding picture pixellation. Most of my pictures are 96 dpi, but they recommend 300 dpi. I’m thinking it won’t matter much, because I was going to go black-and-white rather than color, in order to keep cost low. On another edition, after rephotography, maybe I can create a color coffee-table version. I’m still not sure Amazon will accept the lower dpi, but I will find out. I also need to obtain permission to use a photograph by Garry Winogrand. I haven’t obtained that yet.

I’m going to call the proposed work “A Guidebook to Breaking Bad Filming Locations” by Marc P. Valdez (with contributions by Sven Joli). With luck, it will be ready for publishing next week. If luck fails, I might have to strip out a bunch of photos. But I intend to get something done here.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Vote For "Auburn Road"!

Over the last year, I appreciated the energy boost a group of teen girls added by attending "Get Fierce Funk" aerobics at Step One Dance and Fitness, but it wasn't until tonight I learned they aren't just friends, but together form a singing group called "Auburn Road". Currently, they lead in KCRA's A-List "Best Band" voting category, and I encourage you to add your votes too!

Rephotographing Winogrand's ABQ Picture

Interesting blog post.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Anonymous Issues A List Of Demands To The City Of Albuquerque

Most of them are reasonable, but people may resent the intrusion.

Red And Blue Lights Again

Apparently even though Jiffy Lube replaced the tail light, there is some kind of electrical defect, and the rear lights are still failing. Time for a repair!