Hawk Watching
The Red-tailed Hawk sets the standard for raptors

New in Town?
The Newcomers Club puts out the welcome mat

Writing Contest Winners

Llamas in a Summer Meadow
Our grand-prize-winning poem.

The '37 Chevy
Buying the patron's automobile was not so simple!

The Distrubance Last Saturday
What crawled out of the Big Ditch?

The Saga of Bronco Bill
A true Wild West tale of outlaws and buried treasure

De Garza's Coffin
Why not hold your wake while you can enjoy it?

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Southwest Gardener
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Body, Mind & Spirit
Colonoscopy: The Inside Story

Red or Green
Palma's Italian Grill
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About the cover

  D e s e r t   E x p o s u r e  September 2010


Sustainability or Stalinism?

I'm surprised there were no letters about your article "Net Positive" in the July issue, an informative interview of Silver City's new director of our "Office of Sustainability for Silver City and Grant County." Nick Susillo, the new director, will be in charge of spending a DOE grant of $466,000 to make us more energy efficient. This will involve an energy audit of public buildings, which should be done anyway, and paying the cost of weatherizing some 350 homes, regardless of the income of the homeowners and without before-and-after energy accounting.

There are some other questionable projects being considered, such as a solar-paneled parking garage at the Visitors' Center, where tourists can charge up their $100,000 Teslas and be impressed with Silver City's "progressiveness."

Since 2008, Silver City has been a member of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, originally called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. This is an NGO with 600 communities nationwide as members, including Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Alamogordo.

"Sustainability" is an idea starting to receive a great deal of attention. DOT and HUD recently announced $75 million in grants for two projects with the same goal: "To create more sustainable communities." A cynic might say the real goal is to create a more sustainable special-interest group.

To that end, the Senate Banking Committee recently passed the "Livable Communities Act" to implement President Obama's vision of a "Partnership for Sustainable Communities," an urban-development plan to be carried out by the EPA, HUD and DOT. Funding starts at $750 million next year. The goal of this "sustainable community" legislation is positively Orwellian. We are to pack ourselves into high-rises, ride bicycles, grow food on the roof and "take a more collaborative and holistic approach to better respond to the needs of communities."

If you ask why should any community be "sustainable," you are obviously not aware that the world is coming to an end because of global warming caused by using fossil fuels, which are the basis of our unfairly high standard of living. Therefore, we must drastically reduce our use of oil and coal, which will greatly increase the cost of growing and transporting food, which is why Nick Sussillo, on "The Morning Show," said he'd like to see more gardens around town.

Of course, our utility bills will "skyrocket," as President Obama promised, which we will soon see, big time, here in New Mexico thanks to "renewable energy" laws. This will please sellers of solar panels.

Meanwhile, who's going to force us to man the hoes, peddle the bikes and do all the things necessary to turn Silver City into a commune? To achieve even 20% "sustainability" will require Stalinist levels of coercion, something the crusaders may desire, but it isn't going to happen.

None of this makes any economic sense, and if it did there wouldn't be any need for all this government foolishness. Of course, "economic sense" has no place in a crusade to Save The World.

Peter Burrows

Silver City


I'd like to add a commentary on "Ouch!" (August). I am more than familiar with centipedes and millipedes. Before I caulked my ceiling, I had two as unwelcome bed guests — and was shocked wide awake by a painful sensation on my ankle one night. I threw a 2 x 4 at the beast, and it merely shook its head — so I got my shears and picked it up and took it outside and snipped it to death. Shudder.

Tarantulas also visit my porous home on rare occasions. I gently scoop them on paper and carefully put them outside — they are fragile and break easily, so if you don't want to kill them, don't toss them. Walking at night I've had one accidentally skip across my foot and we both went aaarrgh! and jumped away from one another. They really won't harm you if you don't try to pick them up. I've heard they make nice pets, but I'm not willing to go that far.

The rattler, I found, can lose its rattles so you can't hear it warn you. I leave them alone unless they are in my front yard, at which time they are told to say their prayers while I get out the six-shooter. This little old lady can jump sideways a respectable distance when almost stepping on one sunning in an arroyo!

I am all too familiar with the assassin bug, squash beetle, cone nose or "Mexican kissing bug," as they are known. They like squash; they also like blood. They sneak into your bed at night (they are drawn to the light in your house, they can fly, and they can get in quickly). They are called "kissing bugs" because whatever they inject deadens any pain, and you can't feel it. They can suck enough blood to swell up almost the size of a marble, and they are around from May through October (another shudder). The worst thing about this critter is that in South America it can carry a disease called chaga, and with so many people from South America coming to the US, chaga is also a real possibility. Their normal nesting place is with mice, squash or woody areas. Yuk.

Maya nolastname

Via email

Carnival Knowledge

I really enjoyed Jeff Berg's piece, "Carnie Folk" (August). Jeff revealed the rollercoaster life of a carnie — a lifestyle of joy and melancholy that goes from slow to fast, fun to scary. Dawn, a carnie, confides to the author, "Journalists make carnivals look bad." She needn't have worried: Jeff's expos offers a kind, sympathetic, behind-the-scenes look at the life of hard-working carnies. There are no freaks on this ride.

Paul Hoylen Jr.


Tarred and Feathered

I opened the August issue of Desert Exposure this morning and was pleased to read the two editorials. Thanks for citing actual law-enforcement statistics regarding violence on the border and in Arizona. I have heard, repeatedly, the most ridiculous horror stories, with no legitimate sources available to back them up. The rhetoric and fear about Mexican nationals, illegal or not, that is circulating these days brings up the shadows of Germany in the 1930s, and we all know how that turned out.

The first editorial, about the lack of difference between Teague and Pearce, was good, but you missed a great opportunity. I would have loved, inserted after "Not that Pearce has lifted a finger in his Congressional career to help America wean itself from our addiction to oil," one more line, and it would say, "Hey, Americans, we are adults, and therefore no longer need help to wean ourselves from anything."

More important than which party is in power (the differences are negligible as was pointed out) is for each of us to seriously work towards habits of personal and community sustainability. No government can do that for us.

Please, take care of the earth as though your life depends on it.

Elizabeth Foster

Silver City



Your editorial about Teague and Pearce simply states that an ancient tradition is still intact. Even from the early days of our young republic, the tradition was flourishing. "Bankers" were rather frequently stealing folks' money and using a local "bank panic" as a smokescreen to cover their escape across state lines to avoid justice. "Political contributions" kept the Federal government from administering interstate justice, and eventually we ended up with our current bank system that produces national bank panics but uses a trillion dollars of "Federal funding" to pick up the tab for the looting spree. The latest episode was in 2008-2009.

From at least the days of John D. Rockefeller, the oil industry has participated in the "political contributions" industry and thwarted any attempts to administer justice for crimes ranging from theft and fraud to assault, battery and murder. Since it was "a corporation" involved, this was all considered "business risk" and the guilty just accumulated the wealth without regard to justice. Over the years the "political contributions" have bought sufficient votes to assure us of a transportation system that gives the oil companies all the leverage necessary to loot the country whenever they want to. The latest episode being in 2002-2009 when we used our military as a mafia to shut down competition to facilitate price increases as high as 400% at one time.

Another example is the "healthcare" reform business in 2009-2010. We have laws that basically establish medical and drug cartels in this country. The result is a very expensive "healthcare" system with no significant difference in our health from other countries of similar economic status. After all the noise and stench had abated, we ended up with a "reform" that turns the US government into a mafia that forces folks to finance the cartels and with no real difference in the costs.

Nice to know we still value tradition.

Charles Clements

Las Cruces



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