Dear Gov. Richardson:

Kiss my ass.

And when you’re done back there, check an atlas. I know your chances of being elected president are approximately equal with Mike Gravel’s, and I know you may well have your own reasons for telling sympathetic western audiences we need a “national water policy,” because states like yours are parched and some, “like Wisconsin,” are “awash” in water. Great Lakes residents recognize this for what it is: Pouting, and a longing for a very long drinking straw. But sorry, you can’t have it. No pipelines for you. Even if every resident of Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana thought it was a great idea to, say, sell New Mexico water at a nice fair price of $3 a gallon or so, it wouldn’t work. You know why?


Lake Michigan is fully enclosed by the U.S., but it’s all part of the same basin. There’s this thing, you could look it up, called the International Joint Commission. Hardly anyone outside of the eight states with Great Lakes shorelines has heard of it, but lo, it exists. From its Who We Are page: The International Joint Commission is an independent binational organization established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. Its purpose is to help prevent and resolve disputes relating to the use and quality of boundary waters and to advise Canada and the United States on related questions. Key word: International.

Sorry to shoot down your little trial balloon, but really, you need to get a grip. Also, build fewer golf courses.

UPDATE: He takes it all back. That is all.

Posted at 5:45 pm in Current events |

20 responses to “Dear Gov. Richardson:”

  1. deb said on October 14, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    I had a very preliminary interview about a job with the International Joint Commission more than 20 years ago, but it didn’t sound all that intriguing at the time. Ah, what a difference a couple of decades can make. And, Nance, we would’ve been neighbors! (Muffled sob.)

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  2. Cathy Dee said on October 14, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    And quit building thousands of houses in a place with no water anyway and quit watering those thousands of stupid sandy lawns.

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  3. nancy said on October 14, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    When my sister and I were in Tucson a decade ago, we took a side trip that took us through the city’s older neighborhoods. These overwhelmingly consisted of low, one-story flat-roofed homes, overlooking xeriscape yards, each one topped with a “swamp cooler,” a simple a/c unit. In other words, dwellings that work with the prevailing conditions.

    Where the sprawl began is where you started to see the California-style mini-mansions with giant glass window walls, many with a Connecticut-green lawn (why, why, why?) kept alive by sprinklers. And giant a/c refrigeration systems, of course.

    That’s when I made up my mind about diverting water from wetter parts of the country to sustain this madness.

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  4. Jeff said on October 15, 2007 at 7:29 am

    Can’t wait to see “Water futures contracts” traded on the Chicago Board of Trade.

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  5. John C said on October 15, 2007 at 8:26 am

    My wife lived in Tucson for a year as a girl and, until recently, had family there. Years ago we visited her great uncle, and had lunch with him at his house, not long after his wife died. They had moved there from Missouri after WWII because of his allergies. And he prospered as a civil engineer as the city grew. He lived, though, in a rather small, one-story house, with awnings, and shade trees and heavy window shades, and a tiny lawn. It was 95 degrees outside, perfectly comfortable inside, and the air conditioning was not turned on. “Ah hell,” I remember him saying. “If you’re smart you only need it once in a while.” Great guy.

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  6. Linda said on October 15, 2007 at 8:32 am

    “They had moved there from Missouri after WWII because of his allergies.”

    Want to know what’s funny? Now, many parts of Arizona have WORSE pollen conditions than up north, because transplanted midwesterners and other northerners moved there, and took their plants with them. In the hot climate, they can pollinate year-round. Another argument to leave things (as well as water) where you found it. And Bill can kiss my wide, white butt, too.

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  7. del said on October 15, 2007 at 8:58 am

    I agree with Cathy Dee and NN.c. Lawns in the middle of the desert? AC on overdrive? Hello.

    Detroit-area bumper sticker from the 80’s: Flush twice, parch a Texan.

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  8. MichaelG said on October 15, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Don’t let Gov. Richardson’s unfortunate remarks about the Great Lakes distract you. We do, in fact, need a national water policy. Droughts have effects beyond the immediately affected areas. Rivers cross state lines. One of the reasons New Mexico has a water problem is that Southern California has rights to the Colorado River. Maine has a severe problem — who’da thunk it and aren’t there problems with subsiding water levels in the Great Lakes?

    Also it’s too easy to jump on the nouveau riche and their mc-mansions. In California, for example, residential water consumption adds up to only 15% of the total. That’s right, commercial, industrial and agricultural interests account for 85% of water usage. However, it’s always the residential user who is exhorted to conserve. If residential users cut consumption by 10% it would only amount to a whopping 1.5% total cut. In other words, purely symbolic. If we are to get serious about solving what is a very serious and very rapidly growing problem, we need to look at a comprehensive nationwide approach.

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  9. nancy said on October 15, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Michael brings up a good point, but “solving” a problem like this isn’t in the cards, particularly as the east dries out, too. This is the really scary part — the booming western states still have no water, but the emptying Rust Belt is also feeling the pinch; Lake Superior is at an all-time low. Florida’s water table is falling like a rock. And the eastern United States is one of the wettest places in the developed world.

    Meanwhile, isn’t California’s entire agricultural economy — the biggest in the nation — based on unnatural water use? Diverting rivers, damming this, irrigating that? Vegas is talking about building a third intake in Lake Mead, at a cost of $800 million (!!!), and still the growth continues unchecked. (I bet that C.S.I. lab is going to have to economize.)

    How do you begin to make a policy to cover this craziness? Tell the richest farmers in the world to start paying market rates? Good luck with that.

    Unrelated note: As I recall, during the unraveling of Enron, that one of the whistle-blowers was in a branch of the company tasked with cornering the market — yes, buying up every possible drop — on privately owned water utilities. It’s “Chinatown,” but even more immoral.

    “Mr. Mulwray believed the people should own the water.” And we all know what happened to him.

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  10. Sue said on October 15, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Thank the water gods for that international organization. Now if the U.S. powers that be want to control that precious natural resource, they’ll have to invade Canada. Ohhh…

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  11. John said on October 15, 2007 at 10:34 am

    “Chinatown” is one of my favorite all time movies! I watched “The Long Goodbye” yesterday (NetFlix), another detective movie set in LA. But it was not as good as I hoped it was going to be.

    Got back from Cancun super late Friday night. We had a great vacation and Betsy had a very nice 50th birthday. It’s the rainy season there, so we had sun mixed with showers. I liked it a lot, but not the same as Negril.

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  12. MichaelG said on October 15, 2007 at 11:52 am

    Nance, you illustrate my point. The problem is wide spread and interlocking. To the extent that anybody is doing anything it is being attacked piecemeal. I’m not an expert and I have no solution other than to repeat that the problem needs immediate attention on a national basis. And good luck to that.

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  13. brian stouder said on October 15, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    and anyway – large scale desalinization seems to be the way to go; running a 400 mile pipeline southwest from NM makes more sense than 1500 miles northeast!

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  14. Jolene said on October 15, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Funny, I was just listening to an interview w/ Marvin Kalb, who said he thought it was about time for our political leaders to start acting like grown-ups w/ regard to fiscal issues. He commented, particularly, on the non-seriousness of the recent Republican debate, in which “cut taxes” was the solution proposed by all candidates for all economic issues.

    If anyone knows of a way to bring an end to soundbite-heavy, gotcha politics, I wish that person would tell the rest of us.

    It’s a banal point, I know, but when I hear someone like Rudy Giuliani, who, as far as I know, knows pretty much nothing about either medicine or the delivery of health care say, “If the government gets involved in trying to reduce costs, healthcare will turn out to be more expensive than ever,” I despair for the future of the Republic.

    Seems like we should have realized by now that the idea that toughness is, by itself, a solution to pretty much any problem is not a particularly good approach to solving real problems.

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  15. Jolene said on October 15, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    One more thing: I clicked on the link to the “I take it all back” article and found the message below as one of the first couple of comments. It’s lovely overall, but I especially like the idea of linking the Democratic Party and pedophilia. Nice.

    Rush Limbaugh just announced he will be in town again on October 25 at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Troy. All the red meat and martini’s you put down your neck along with a complimentary Bolivar Pecoso Cuban cigar as an after dinner treat. It is Bring Your Own Prescription Painkiller along with a $500 “donation”.

    The topics will carryover from his last appearance at the Capital Grille a few weeks ago. He will mainly focus on limiting immigration to the United States, especially from Mexico, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. He will also discuss heavy taxation on imported goods, a proposed erradication [sic] of the Democratic Party, and legalized pedophilia.

    It sounds like it will not be a typical saprotrophic* affair!

    *Saprotrophic: feeding on dead matter: used to describe an organism that feeds by absorbing dead or decaying organic matter. Many fungi and bacteria are saprotrophic.

    Do you suppose the writer is referring to the Democrats?

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  16. brian stouder said on October 15, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Jolene – I’m with you on the soundbite gotcha politics. Bush and Rove played the game with bare knuckles, and succeeded quite well for awhile.

    The hell of it all is that this stuff IS tiresome, and yet we dare not tire out. As less and less of the elctorate elect our governments, the game seems to have evolved into a sort of race to zero. Getting people engaged and enfranchised is not regarded as a general virtue, so much as getting YOUR people engaged, and discouraging the other guys.

    This is not terribly new, but still – we should be able to do better.

    Campaign finance is at the epicenter of all this; and maybe there is a way to leverage campaign finance reform so as to blunt the special interest and single-issue people….?

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  17. LA mary said on October 15, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    I heard Cokie Roberts discussing Thompson’s performance in last week’s debate, and she said that he was asked who the prime minister of Canada was sort of as a trick/test question to see how up on current things he is. He got it right. She then noted how low the bar is set. It occurred to me then that when I was a kid, Americans knew who the pm was. The news covered that sort of thing. Huntley/Brinkley and all those guys covered serious news. Last week I saw a discussion on the news of the implications of Obama not wearing a flag pin. What bullshit.

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  18. nancy said on October 15, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    It’s not even sweeps yet, and one of our local TV stations had a multi-day series on the dangers of stiletto heels. It featured the “reporter” — known around town first as a fashionista and second as, well, a fashionista — shopping for cute shoes and saying, “I’ll take ’em!” Also, some helpful “advice,” including “don’t wear them for too long,” “have a spare pair of lower heels in your desk drawer” and “don’t ignore persistent pain.”

    I weep for the future of our republic.

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  19. LA mary said on October 15, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    At least once every three months our morning news program has the same story about decaf coffee not always being truly decaf. They even use the same footage.

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  20. alex said on October 15, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    When I was a kid we all knew who the Canadian prime minister was because his wife went around parading her puddin’ thang at Studio 54 like Britney’s doing now. Only then it was considered chic.

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