Christmas Stocking: A Candy Cane at UNM-Taos.

18 December, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

I’ve just completed the fall semester, while teaching three classes (Eng. 1110, Eng. 1120, and Eng. 2210). About 50 out of 70 students finished the courses. I first taught at UNM for a single year in 1999, then resumed teaching at the Harwood campus of the extended university upper division in 2010. When that program ended in 2016, I started teaching lower division students at the Klauer UNM campus. The biggest change at UNM I’ve noticed concerns how today’s staff of ...

Kit Carson Park: Trees, Rock’n Roll, and Community Democracy

13 August, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

Defying Tradition, Embracing Short Term Benefits, Ignoring Long-term Investments On August 14, Wednesday, at 5:30 pm, the Friends of Kit Carson Park will meet to discuss the displacement of peace and quiet in the Historic District, sanctioned vandalism in the Park, and the fiats issued by the passive-aggressive Mayor, Manager, and Town Council. One need only observe the parallel crimes against nature perpetrated by the new owner of the Kachina Lodge, who cut down the trees, emulating the way the Kit Carson-led ...

Christmas Stocking: A Sequel. Who is Santa Claus?

16 December, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

Recently I wrote a piece about Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s appointment of Rep. Bobby Gonzales as Senator Carlos Cisneros (RIP) replacement and pointed out that Bobby, who is from here, and represents the relationships of community. His appointment reinforces the social bonds and make possible the nuts and bolts of holding together the material and political infrastructure of quotidian life: taxes and revenue distributed for everything from roads and public buildings to water districts and health care or education. Even more importantly, however, I witnessed Governor Lujan-Grisham’s wise judgment last Thursday at 4 pm with the nomination and subsequent investiture of Magistrate Judge Jeff Shannon as the newest District Judge in the 8th Judicial District. This last semester my students and I read in one course “The Milagro Beanfield War,” in which the owner of the Body Shop and Pipe Queen, one Ruby ...

Christmas Stocking: A Candy Cane.

15 December, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

Re: the appointment of New Mexico House of Representatives member Roberto "Bobby" Gonzales of El Prado/Pot Creek/Ranchos de Taos to New Mexico Senate District 6 to the seat of the late Senator Carlos Cisneros, “Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's office said in a prepared statement on Friday (Dec. 13): `He had a close working relationship with Senator Cisneros, which is an important factor for the community in ensuring consistency and stability’” (qtd. from The Taos News). Despite the naysayers and progressives, who find Bobby’s appointment a reflection of the past or worry about his former opposition to charter schools, or even his twisted relationship with the language of public speaking, the members of the Chicano Chamber of Commerce, based in El Prado, feel reassured. After all, as Arsenio Cordova (RIP) might have said, “Bobby’s from here.” Or as John Painter of EPWSD has ...

Union Vote Shakes up UNM

14 October, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

 Provost Holloway and Concerned Faculty: A Different Point of View in Response to Anti-Unionists below. 1.     As adjunct faculty I am more concerned about the quality of education and “human sciences and arts” than the rates of renumeration or requirements for tenured faculty. Some of us do out duty because of our “amateur” status or out of love for the discipline and the students not as a “profession.” Not everyone in New Mexico lives as a product of corporate commodification or sees himself or herself as a marker in the class struggle or a manifestation of sublimated consciousness.  2.     Annually New Mexico finishes near last in childhood poverty, health, education while near the top in the abuse of drugs, drink, the toxic corollaries, petty political corruption or burglary in Albuquerque. Call it a failure of “humanism” and “education.”  3.     What is the Flagship University doing? 4.     As adjunct faculty, ...

Serial Sit-com: “America in Crisis”

12 October, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

Television’s Reality Crime Family Trump, Putin, Moscow Mitch, Erdogan, Pompeo, Pence  Play the small screen Against  Pelosi, Schiff, Yovanovitch, Warren, Gonzales, Thunberg  and the Sovereign Southern District of New York. Update Screen writer-producer Vladimir Putin crafts a second season of his award winning 2016 melodrama while he pulls the strings of USA puppet President, Donald J. Trump, aided and abetted by “Moscow Mitch” McConnell in the 2019-20 version. Here Trump sends former mob prosecutor Attorney Giuliani abroad in search of the Bannon-Cambridge Analytics “Biden Conspiracy” even as Russian oligarch Derikpasa, invests in manufacturing per McConnell’s home state of Kentucky.  While Moscow pulls the NRA Turtle right, the Chinese Communist send a “honey-trap” (Elaine Chou, Sec. of Transportation) who seduces the Senate strong arm from the left. The Sino-Soviet plot to destroy America comes right out of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War,” which makes the Machiavellian Prince, Moscow Mitch, ...

Town Takes Park and Keeps it!

16 August, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

On August 14, Wednesday evening, the Friends of Kit Carson Park held a meeting at the Kit Carson Boardroom to discuss complaints about the town’s violations of ordinances, regarding high decibels, late hours, and the lack of public restrooms, a problem raised by the Town’s concert promotions that draw some 8 or 9 thousand (mostly) rock’n rollers. Nearby residents in the historic district and folks who walk in the park discussed its closure before, during, and after concerts, and the decline in atmospherics caused by the newly erected Leviathan altar saluting rock'n roll,  as well as the chain link fences that clash with and keep folks away from the bucolic environs. (Nobody spoke for the nearby Kit Carson, Arthur Manby (alleged), and Mabel Dodge Luhan (among others), who continue in their dreamless sleep in the cemetery). Members of the town staff and elected ...

Pennies for Beauty and Billions for Bombs

10 August, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

Reality and The Tragedy of El Norte “I love the feeling of Reality in the Morning. Tragedy confirms the love we have for the fate we suffer.” Chaucer Henderson Occasionally one gets pinched and wakes up, thanks to the Los Alamos Study Group. See below the news of an exploding budget at LANL: “Far larger than the Manhattan Project in New Mexico…” says Greg Mello Reality and Monumental Effects When I go for a walk today in the National Monument, named Rio Grande del Norte, I shall watch the skyline cut through the blue, gray, and white, piercing the heavens above the Sacred Mountain. The sublime forces of the land forever mesmerize those who seek beauty, the truth unfolding in the connections between people and place, defined as much by light as by volcanic-tectonic forces and buildings scattered across the topography. The topography of ...

Civility In El Salto: Black Cloud at Complex “Disappeared!”

7 August, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

On Thursday, Aug. 1, Judge Emilio Chavez swore in Marcos “Markie” Montoya as the newly appointed District Attorney for the 8th Judicial District, which includes Taos, Colfax (Raton), and Union (Clayton) Counties in North Central and North East New Mexico. Judge Chavez reminded Montoya that the oath of office mentioned the words “faithfully” and “impartially” when it came to applying the law. About fifty people, judges, friends, supporters, relatives, assistant DAs, attorneys, and employees attended the ceremony. Anselmo “Chemo” Valerio, grandfather of the new DA, smiled from ear to ear. The court custodian, Flavio, commented on the absence of “Black Cloud” that used to hang over the Complex. El Salto Civility The Pesky Insect also attended Judge Emilio Chavez’s court on July 1st, 2019 for status hearings on three matters affecting members of El Salto de Agua Association, a 1948 land corporation ...

El Mitote: Los Politicos y Las Politicas

25 June, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

Musical Chairs We’re not sure where to begin but El Mitote is talking. At the Town of Taos, Manager Rick Bellis, we hear is applying for another job to manage a bigger municipality in California. Everyone wishes him Godspeed and/or good luck. Meanwhile, young Darien Fernandez, town council member and ersatz mayoral candidate has his eye on Senator Carlos Cisneros’s seat, an exercise in folly, according to most observers. Better men and worse have failed to unseat the wily Senator. The rumble on the ground is not an earthquake but a number of locals, are taking aim at the Council’s two seats up for grabs in the March muni elections, one vacant and one occupied by the increasingly unpopular Nathaniel Evans, considered a Bellis factotum.  The Town Council’s abdication on Abeyta education (too complex) and focus on gentrification at the expense of the ...

I Object to Torturing Children: It’s a Crime Against Humanity

24 June, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

So, I’m reading Vaclav Havel’s “The Power of the Powerless” (again) as antidote to the hopelessness of post-American Democracy, to whose practice I object because guilty of Crimes Against Humanity. Havel, the poet, playwright, dissident and political prisoner, who became President of the Czech Republic, says “speaking truth to power” will effect change when enough people catch the virus. We are both victims and supporters of the corrupt system. Further Havel advises creating a “parallel polis” in the community culture, based on standards of reason, individual responsibility, the moral imagination and ethical action. His old-fashioned notions felled a totalitarian regime. In part, the circulation of the subversive “samizdat” or underground literature destroyed the iron curtain the same way word of mouth praises and condemns local business and local pols, especially those who claim to help but, in reality, commit crimes against ...

What is the Failed Mueller Report?

14 June, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

“We come here to bury, not to praise Caesar, but who is Caesar?” 1. Whether due to the liberal orthodoxy of the American Dream or the reality of white privilege, the Mueller Report (Report) reflects the “cognitive dissonance” (inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, as related to behavioral decisions and changing attitudes) of the pundits, political factions, and the partisans. Ironically the Report contradicts itself in both the introductions to Volume I (Investigation of Russian Interference) and Volume II (Obstruction of Justice). 2. In Volume I, the Report says on page 60 of the Washington Post edition, April 2019 edition, “”that the investigation did not establish that the Trump Campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Then the report goes on to list contacts between the Campaign and the Russians (many of which have been reported ad nauseam by ...

Celebrate the Lives and Generations of Los Sanchez

4 June, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

Saturday June 15 from 4 to 7 at Don Carlos Lounge So, the time comes, turn back the clock. If you’re reading this you’re invited to join the brothers Sanchez, Cory, Jim, and Zack in a celebration of life featuring Geno and Jules, Grandfather Joe and Mary, and Great Grand Father Filemon. For didn’t both Filemon and Joe used to sneak away from the hubbub and their wives to enjoy a moment's grace with George Trujillo at Don Carlos’s lounge on the eastern end of the Canon by-pass? Perhaps Filemon and Joe discussed the Mitote with a fellow loungers like our departed vato loco, Richard Trujillo, or Cosme Trujillo,  Andres Vargas, and Patrocino Barela, all friends from Canon. (Will I ever forget Filemon’s stepdaughter Mar-Lu?) Indeed, an open bar and buffet, punctuated by the songs of the “Ship-Shape Zack Gray Singers” will entertain ...

A. Eugene Sanchez (May 4, 1935—May 11, 2019)

24 May, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

“An Honest Public Servant” (A memorial Sanchez celebration will be held Saturday, June 15, 2019 at Gene's grandfather Filemon's favorite Canon watering hole, Don Carlos Lounge from 4 to 7. Gene's three sons, Cory, James, and Zack say they will celebrate Joe and Mary, Gene and Jules, Filemon et al in a send-off over the sunset.) Geno, as he was known to his intimates, was one of the few if not the only entirely honest public servant i.e. elected official I have known in Taos. He might have made mistakes but did not err out of conscious malediction. Even the semi-saintly ones I’ve known occasionally indulged in a twisted movida as means to serve a problematical end. But Gene’s refrain, “It’s the law,” spoke to his integrity. And it was his honesty, his wife Jules said, that underscored her love for him. Of ...

Election 2020: A Symbolic Reading

27 April, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

So far, no single democratic candidate appears strong enough to beat the incumbent president. The Trump crime family and its combination of hoi polloi and elite supporters form the bedrock of a 40% floor and can capitalize on republican uppers to maintain control of the status quo. The two statistical favorites among democrats, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, the Neo-New Dealer and the Wall Streeter neo-liberal (Clinton-Obama redux) zero in on the income gap (Bernie) and the so-called rust-belt white-person gap (Biden), but neither represents the new democratic persona of the future. Bernie and Joe seem incapable of adapting to the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the voter’s needs and identities. Neither knows how to address women and minorities. Bernie is like your older kinder uncle, slightly out of touch despite his FDR lineage. The accounts of Uncle Joe’s most recent blunder, ...

The Mayor, Manager, Chief Roadie

13 April, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

Why do elected officials resent the community? I toured a portion of Kit Carson Park “inside the wire,” where the Town of Taos is constructing a barrage of metallic and concrete sculpture, honoring the metal gods of rock and roll while cutting off the organic history—the roots and limbs—rendering trees if not lifeless then dying. Perhaps the Council has been inspired by the example of the Kachina Lodge overseer who “clear-cut” the old-growth on main street. We hear the Town plans to chainsaw the trees on the Plaza, nature’s sculpted nichos of time immemorial because they got a grant for “beautification.” But it should not surprise us that a populace, which selects an outsourced mayor (Barrone), who nominates Rasputin (Bellis) and Roadie (Miller) as factotums to do the dirty work of a professional tree killer and noise polluter, the people, concur with ...

“Fake News” but not here! An aphoristic—apropos polemic!

22 March, 2019
By: Bill Whaley

Friends have touched base and wonder if I'm ok: Here's my answer. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.” —William Butler Yeats, Second Coming “Witch-hunt…”—the Trump Crime Family In my lifetime: “Vietnam, Malcolm, Martin, JFK/RFK, The Chicago Seven, Freddie Hampton” et al—The Living Dead In the last election, progressive TV and radio praised Hilary, debunked but focused on Trump, and Ignored Bernie. “Bernie told the Truth” about “Billionaires." Tax breaks for the rich followed in Trump’s wake. Evangelicals support the wolf in sheep’s clothing: he’s pro-life (but not for your brown children). The establishment protects their own: Nixon’s demise, Reagans” Iran-Contra, Clinton’s Peccadilloes (anti-poor, black, imprisonment for crack, not for powder), Obama’s “hope and change” but not for whistle-blowers or citizen’s sans due process (assassination or help for bankers, not homeowners). In other words, the “status quo” prevails. (Preserve the ...