Alibi V.27 No.51 • Dec 20-26, 2018 

News Commentary

All The Colors Came Out

The wide nets of news coverage converge

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
CC0

It is just after sunrise on Tuesday and I am piloting the white, gasoline huffing car through the road that runs parallel to the slow brown river at the center of this town. In the distance, the Manzano mountains are turning toward the sun as clouds pour across and down their jagged surfaces.

By some bizarre coincidence a song by U2 about the horror and wonder of life is also pouring out of the automobile’s specially designed, ultra-bass-responsive speakers. There are geese as big as aeroplanes lighting on ponds here and there on Tingley Boulevard while Bono goes on and on in a quasi-reverent tone about how beautiful and how shitty everything is at the same time.

In my head, I reduce the whole of this scene into symbols, but keep driving, eyes on the road, hands upon the wheel. Those symbols remind me of the words my managing editor uttered the other day. He wondered what we had missed, what was out there that hadn’t been covered in Alibi news transmissions designed to inform and influence the group of meat robots stationed on the banks of the Rio Grande in the year CE 2018.

Certainly—and especially if one employs theories that involve quantum mechanics—there’s a lot of news out there. It is fair to say that everything is happening at once. McLuhan’s once elusive allatonceness is visible and in action—and may even be running rampant—everywhere in American culture now. Check your notifications to be sure.

Given such a target-rich environment (see how the patois of the forever war in the Mideast has come into common usage) it’s a sure shot that I can indulge with random precision. Here then are brief summaries related to narratives about local occurences I wish I had covered—and may have actually covered in the Kelvin timeline, ha ha—if only I had another page upon which to spill ink and information.

Luckily for you dear reader, none of the following is going to disappear into another dimension—and now that it’s on our radar you’ll probably hear more about these hand-picked news needs soon.

The Catholic Church in New Mexico

That sounds like a wide-ranging basis for discourse. Admittedly, the Church’s current focus on social justice and immigrant rights is kindly notable. But the involvement of members of the priestly class in horrible, intolerable child abuse must be reckoned with by the citizens of this state, who too often have been left in the dark about the details and the proliferation of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. Possible stories on this speculative track include:

• The bankruptcy (financial, spiritual and moral) of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe

• Arch Bishop Robert Sanchez was a lifetime member of the Albuquerque Press Club, as was Joe G. Maloof and Tom Bollack, the N.M. Governor

• The tale of the mysterious, unearthly visitors to Bishop Donald Pelotte’s home in 2007 remains a dark enigma

• Stories about successful parishes here in town filled with ethical priests and positive parishioner narratives.

• Nuns are cool. When we moved to Albuquerque, my parents wanted us to go to Our Lady of Fatima. But my brother and I were smartasses to the nuns who interviewed us. I regret this now, since the nun I had for a teacher on the Rez, Sister Heironymus, really helped me with my vocabulary. There’s gotta be a story there.

Nuclear Weapons in Burque

The 70-plus year history of nuclear energy in Albuquerque is both fascinating and foreboding. Though the topic has perennially been one of my favorite research projects—I think I even presented a paper on the subject in 2010—I’ve rarely written about the subject here. I sometimes wonder if transplants to this town are aware of the patriotic burden our city shoulders. There’s plenty of information about what goes on south of here for those who are interested: Coverage of Kirtland and points south, this year, might have looked like this:

• There is currently debate in Congress about limiting government oversight at nuclear facilities run by the US Department of Energy. In April Trump’s DOE published a directive called 140.1, Interface with the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board that limits oversight by a board convened to keep nuclear waste management transparent. That’s a huge story.

• Every day I-40 and I-25 through Albuquerque are routes for semi-trailers carrying nuclear waste of varying levels as well as parts of nuclear weapons being sent to short-term storage facilities, deactivation or collection centers.

Kirtland Air Force Base is home to the largest stockpile of nuclear weaons in the world

• I—and I assume our readers—would be very interested to know if the City of Albuquerque has any sort of working plan to interface with the feds in the case of some sort of nuclear incident. Mayor Keller?

• The Museum of Nuclear Science and History, right here in Burque, is one of the most mind-blowing ways to spend an afternoon of which I can contemplate. I’m sure an interview with the curator would be newsworthy.

Crime and the City

As a rule, Weekly Alibi has eschewed the coverage of violent and property crime in Albuquerque. Our editorial board has consistently decided that such phenomena is better reported upon by the teevee news. But as a lifelong resident, I admit that I am sometimes shocked at how visible, how common criminal activity has become in this town.

But it’s not invaders—from within or without—causing this outrageous, prosperity threatening and ever developing city situation. It’s us, I’m afraid. So instead of covering violent crime, instead of showing you the latest police videos or smashed up aftermath, we would write about the following, hoping to be part of the solution.

• Improving health outcomes for our homeless population by providing triage services at 24 hour shelters

• Funding comprehensive healthcare and especially mental healthcare for the masses using feria from the huge state surplus

• Making early childhood education a priority

• Lifting people up with shelter, food, education, vocational training—programs that can be paid for using a variety of funding sources according to our progressive leadership.

Thinking about all those lastly listed possibilities made me feel optimistic—well except when I visited this site—but with that time so seemingly far away and temporarily dampened by the joy of the season—Happy Holidays, homies.