Monday, January 12, 2009

Yes, Fun Is Still Allowed Amid Doom And Gloom; Photo Caption Contest Brightens Dreary Winter Of '09, Plus: Domenici's Future, And: The Bottom Lines 

Big Bill & Condit (ABQ Journal)
We think our photo caption contest came in right in time. How much gloom and doom news can anyone take in the middle of January, not to mention the New Mexico ethics mishaps that seem to make headlines by the hour? Entries came from far and wide as readers took a stab at putting words in the mouth of Governor Richardson's Chief of Staff, Brian Condit, shown whispering into Big Bill's ear at last Tuesday's University of New Mexico basketball game at "The Pit." The provocative pic, snapped by ABQ Journal photographer Maria Brose, will get our winner and a guest free lunch, but more important, the entries remind us that no matter the season or the news backdrop, there is always room for humor when it comes to New Mexico politics. With a tip of the hat to photog Maria and the Journal, we offer up a sampling of our entries, with the winner announced at the end.

Rob from UNM: "Is that the scarf and hat from the CDR gift bag?"

L. LaCour: "Uh, Guv...don't look now, but I think that's the FBI coming up on your right."

Arthur Olona: “I know you’ve been out of state for a while, but in case anyone asks, the Lobos are the one’s wearing red."

"Sir, UNM is in the Red and White uniforms!"

Robert Huang: "Guv, The guy next to us will give up his nachos if you can put in a good word for him for the contract to extend the RailRunner to Taos..."

Patrick Stewart: “It may not be Commerce Secretary, but Ambassador to Tajikistan is a good gig Governor….”

Ellen Wedum: "I hope that's a diet soda."

Senior Alligator: "Governor, I know you want to maintain a high profile but isn't wearing the scarf Manny Aragon gave you over the top?"

Harry Porter: "Like they say in the Marine Corps: One "oh shit" takes away a thousand "Atta boys."

Jose Campos: “Take that guilty look off your face, it’s obvious.”


Philip Romero:
"Governor, the Grand Jury just walked in and they're doing the half-time show." Richardson: I better put my glasses on so they don't recognize me."

Stephen Dinkel:
"Pssst...Bill, do you think people would believe that (Lobo) Coach Steve Alford is the reason why the state is $500 million short?"

Jon Lee:
"Hey Bill, I think it's time to hire some more media types, we gotta get this story buried. I hear Monahan is available..."

Anonymous: I know the scarf was a parting gift from Obama, but it’s 75 degrees in here. Get a GRIP!

Leigh Anne Mohrmann: Brian: "Can the kickback cash buy me another coke?" Bill: "Its right here in my coat pocket."

Anonymous: "I think we’ve lost the Feds, Governor—the “Lobo Fan” disguise worked."

Anonymous: "Maybe we should do the new prison contract to include a bed for every prisoner, three meals and medical care? What do ya think?"

Inez: "Looks like Blagojevich is sitting behind us."

Alan Pettit: "CDR? Weren't they a rock band back in the 60's. I thought it was something to do with computers."

Jose Montoya: "Hey, Commerce didn't work out, how about that Sumo wrestling contest?"

Senior Alligator: Governor, guess who turned state's evidence today?"

Sisto Abeyta: "How come Val Kilmer got better seats than us?"

Bryan: "Just imagine...'Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to GRIP Arena! Home of your New Mexico Lobos! "I think we could pull it off."

And the winner is...well, we laughed and guffawed at most of them, but in the end it was the pithy and witty entry from Rob at the University of New Mexico--the first caption quoted today--that struck us as thee funniest, not to mention the timeliest. Congratulations, Rob. You and your guest earn a free lunch on our dime.

Thanks to all who took part for taking the time to e-mail their entries and for helping all of us have a laugh during these sometimes too serious times.


One of the more bizarre rumors making the political circuit in recent months is that Big Bill was in the back seat of the car driven by attorney Carlos Fierro when Fierro struck and killed a man in downtown Santa Fe after a night of drinking. The rumor got legs because Fierro's drinking buddy that night--and also in the car--was State Police Sgt. Alfred Lovato, a member of Richardson's personal security deal--now dismissed. It turns out the rumor got started because Big Bill was having a cigar at the Rio Chama Steakhouse and bar that fateful night about the same time Fierro was there. Santa Fe police now say they interviewed the Guv and that he had no involvement in the incident. That's good. Mr. and Mrs. New Mexico have enough on their plate when it comes to the Guv. They don't need the Black Helicopter theories added to the pile.


Senator Tom Udall on the future of the man he replaces in the US Senate--Republican Pete Domenici:

He's going to stay in Washington with a foundation and is joining his son, Pete Jr.'s, law firm as a consultant. He and his wife Nancy are staying in the same place so I'm sure we'll see them at social events.


This news story, repeated year after year, is one of the most exasperating:

The state Office of the Medical Investigator has confirmed 20 people died of drug overdoses in Rio Arriba County in 2008. This number could rise in the next few months after toxicology test results are released on six individuals who died of suspected drug overdoses.

Over the years, the politicians have tried--both R and D--to stop it. Are some of the new faces in the Legislature willing to take on the largely thankless, but rewarding task, of tackling this dilemma.


Reader Ellen Wedum gets today's bottom lines to defend ABQ Dem Congressman Martin Heinrich who was scored by another reader Friday for co-sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. That reader says it makes it too easy to sue employers and was Heinrich's way of paying back the trial lawyers for their financial support of his campaign. Ellen begs to differ.

My response to the alligator who is sneering about Heinrich's support because "it allows lawyers to sue retroactively" is, that is what it takes. My late Aunt Mollie did not find out that she was being paid $5,000 a year less than the man she replaced until a co-worker who was retiring told her. The friend waited until he was retiring because he feared retribution if it got out that he was the whistle-blower. And get this-- they fired the man she had replaced for incompetence. She sued and won.

Both acts passed the House on Friday.

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