Sunday, October 31, 2004

Report from Red Sox Nation

Maggie says:
Boston is still celebrating. And rightfully so.

When I get back I'll post a few pictures. But it's been crazy.

Watching Game 4 at a bar beside Fenway Park, being locked in by the cops after we won, watching thousands of fans right outside get doused with pepper spray by the riot police, finally making our way out but not being allowed back to our car until 3:30 a.m., seeing insane things on the street in the crowds and being completely appalled at the cops' overreactions to everyone (including throwing pepper spray bombs at people's feet, making Kenmore Square sound like Baghdad)...

Being in Boston for the victory parade with millions of fans, watching the players go by and screaming our heads off, smiles everywhere... Celebrating afterwards at a bar where everyone was out of their minds with happiness, singing, cheering, chanting, the win still not really sinking in. Hugs all around.

This is Boston at its best (minus the cops, of course).

Thursday, October 28, 2004

More Political Art: GOP=God.Oil.Police. (Not necessarily in that order)


More from Punk Planet (http://209.35.57.253/swingstate/) Posted by Hello

Political Art: WHY AM I NOT ON TRIAL?


An image from Punk Planet. See link for more posters: http://209.35.57.253/swingstate/


Posted by Hello

Voting as Community-Building

Mikaela says:

So yesterday, I exercised my rights as a citizen of a (gasp!) barely-surviving democracy (can't you see my rights' bulging muscles??).

Here in Albuquerque, there are something like 10 early-voting locations around the city. I went to the one I thought would be the least-used. I was expecting to dash in to a hole-in-the-wall, strip-mall ex-store, cast my vote in relative isolation, and feel vaguely and smugly superior.

Instead, although the location itself conformed to my low expectations, I was met with the sight of a line of about 75 citizens, waiting patiently and downright cheerfully for their chance to vote. The line -- at least two people wide -- stretched past at least 6 storefronts. An hour after arriving, when I finally made it inside, the poll worker said they'd had at least 400 voters a day since the first day of early voting -- October 6 -- and each day the line got longer. The day before, they'd had 635 voters. I don't want to do the math, and without comparisons from years before, there's no real reason to. I bring it up mostly to share just how buoyed my spirits were to see all these people, who clearly care deeply about the fate of their country, believe enough in the system to participate and cast a vote.

The atmosphere was festive. People were careful to treat each other respectfully and a bit delicately, as you weren't sure if the person you were talking to was voting 'your way' or not. Even so, people did not hesitate to share their positions on specific issues, when an opportunity came up. Mostly, people talked about the activity of voting -- the prohibition on partisan pins or campaign material, the presence of poll monitors, etc. At some point, sarcastically, I mentioned to a friend standing in line with me that all we need to do to solve America's problems is to militarize this country. The woman standing behind us didn't bat an eye before telling me, in no uncertain terms, "Ma'am, I was in the military for 30 years, and I can tell you the LAST thing we need to do is to militarize this country. We don't want to end up like Russia." We all had a good laugh once I explained that I was mocking the Bush mentality, not advocating for expanding the military-industrial complex.

But people smiled. People talked. People said excuse me and please and thank you. There was a palpable sense of shared stakes -- in democracy, if not in a particular outcome of this particular election. And I suddenly gained the perspective that even if the worst of the worst happens and Bush prevails, our democracy will not be lost. Bush may try, and empire may do its best to undermine the power of the people, but there is still a vocal populace who believe in their right to determine the best government.

Like Maggie, I am an eternal optimist, and I may look too hard for the scraps of sunshine that signal a change in the weather, but as long as the people believe in the PROCESS of democracy itself and are willing to fight for their rights, the days of leaders like Bush & Co. are numbered. I have to believe that.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Off to Boston

Maggie says:
It's been a busy time. I feel like I've been over-stimulated by current events almost daily for months now. It's been a barrage of breaking news, updated poll numbers, deciding games, debates, and constant analysis in the worlds of politics and sports. Not that I'm complaining... it's great to have more and bigger things to follow rather than less and smaller things. It's been so long coming it suddenly seems abrupt that these twists and turns in the world of news will be said and done in just a week's time. There will be a different kind of news then - not this breathless anticipation toward a deciding moment in history (like, I hope, a Kerry win on Nov2 or the Red Sox winning the World Series). Some thoughts on the week to come:

- Polls are overrated. They just are. First, these over-hyped new national numbers coming out each day don’t mean anything given the Electoral College. So rather than freaking out by a national poll showing Bush up by 3%, go to the state polls instead, which will decide the outcome of this thing. As of today, Kerry is ahead in every single tossup state except Nevada. Given my prediction of awhile back that whoever takes two out of three in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio will win it all, I’m feeling pretty great that Kerry is currently winning all three. Also, there are two major problems with these polls: first, they’re not capturing the primarily young block of voters who only have a cell phone rather than a land line (who I imagine would more likely be Kerry voters than Bush voters) and they’re not accounting for the huge number of newly registered voters (which again, are much more likely to be in Kerry’s corner). I think it's fair to say that most polls are favoring Bush by 1-2% more than they should, given these factors. But voter turnout is going to be the real wildcard here, and I think it’ll go in our favor.

- This is the year. Since 1918, Sox fans have been saying that “there’s always next year.” Well, we’re not going to have to say that this time around. The level of confidence the players have on the field is unparalleled. I mean, coming from 0-3 behind the Yankees to win the ALCS and now they’re 3-0 against St. Louis in the World Series? Sure, the Cardinals could come from behind just like we did. But I don’t see it happening. I don’t think anyone does. This is the year. And Boston deserves it.

- Unification and Paseo: No Means No! For the second year in a row, local voters are faced with two very important votes on this year’s ballot – whether to unify the city and county governments and whether to put a road through the Petroglyph National Monument (both of which were turned down last year). Defeating both these measures is crucial to maintaining the sense of place and cultural importance that is so strong and unique here in the Albuquerque area. There are mountains of things to say on both of these issues, but if anyone was lucky enough to attend Teresa C√≥rdova’s presentation against unification Monday night (sponsored in part by your favorite M trio), you got a sense of the passion that goes into these fights. I’ll be thinking of Marjorie and Mikaela this weekend as they help out with the last-minute push to publicize why unification would be devastating to Bernalillo County’s rural communities.

Good luck to everyone in the final week of campaigning and obsessive poll-watching. I’ll try and blog from Boston (in between raucous Red Sox celebrations, that is!).

Monday, October 25, 2004

another yamboree has come and gone

Marjorie says:
The Yam fest, as ever, was a whirlwind three days of non-stop visiting. It's a great time to go home because relatives from all sides of my family are out and about...we don't have to arrange visits - we just run into each other. It's multi-generational - my mom randomly met her first cousins (a couple I met for the first time) and I randomly met mine (all of whom my folks know!). I'm not sure what outsiders make of the Yamboree. I always think of it as full of activity - too much to do in a long weekend and each year I tend to focus on one or two events more than others. At one point I was taking a break with my folks on a picnic table at the fairgrounds, in the part that has the arts and crafts booths. There was a couple with their baby sharing the table and they asked us if the fairgrounds and the carnival on the square was "all there was." They're from a neighboring, much larger town and had finally decided to check out the Yamboree, which they had always heard so much about. I think all three of us were a little stumped at first, because it seems like a big weekend...well, yes, I guess for folks who come from other areas those two places are mainly "all there is." But for the town, and all the little hamlets and villages around Gilmer, it's a weekend full of meeting and greeting, dancing and eating, livestock showing and competing, parading and carnival riding. And for me and others who make a point of going home at that time of year its an opportunity to reconnect with our families and history in a major way.

We live in a rapidly changing world, and things in Gilmer are changing too. There is a demographic shift happening there, and lots of young people are leaving the town for larger cities. But I hope the Yamboree, which is one of the oldest festivals in Texas, keeps on happening for the folks there, and for those of us who left long ago as well.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bon voyage, Marjorie

Maggie says:
While Marjorie's yamming it up in East Texas, Mikaela and I will try to go on without her. In the meantime, folks should seriously check out the link to the world famous Yamboree festival. Check out the picture of this year's Yam Queen, who Marjorie says is always the richest girl in town. How's that for tradition?

Why aren't there more Yamborees left today? There's nothing quite like local traditions still hanging on in the age of Wal-Mart. All power to them, and to Marjorie as she goes on location in Gilmer, Texas.

What curse?

We're going to Boston for the World Series!!! (Did I really just say that?) Joe and I will be there for Games 4-7. Not to mention for the general craziness that will ensue. This is amazing!
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Avoiding the obvious (kind of)

Maggie says:
I can’t even write about the series today. Too huge, too much, too important. There’s no way I can express what it could mean (I’ll leave that to Boston.com and ESPN’s Page 2.) Who knew that talking about the election would a comparably stress-free conversation to have at the end of October? So not the Sox today, but I can talk about some less-threatening sports items…

Like A-Rod, a bratty pretty boy that I can say I never once wanted the Sox to acquire. Can he finally go down as the prissiest player in Major League Baseball? Last night’s interference play at first base was the least macho thing I’ve ever seen in sports, really a bitch slap at the ball with a pronounced flail of the wrist to avoid being tagged. This was even lamer than his weird dance move tagging 2nd during the division series with the Twins. I think ESPN at the time euphemistically called it “the most metrosexual play in baseball.”

But seriously, although A-Rod replays will provide lots of comic relief for Sox fans during tonight’s epic Game 7, he was obviously trying to shove the ball away. And to sit there with his pouty expression arguing with the umpire is just outrageous, because the fact that he was lying was so clear. Karma comes around, and A-Rod’s the one who’ll have to look at himself every day knowing that he’s been exposed as a fraud on national television.

And that’s a lot of time for him to think about how he’s bad for baseball, because we all know how much time he spends looking at himself in the mirror anyway…

Polls

Mikaela says:
Okay, someone explain to me how Bush can be gaining in the polls. Like someone wakes up and says, "Oh, I get it. Vote for BUSH. Got it."

I had such a good day yesterday after watching the Jon Stewart interview on Crossfire, hearing the audience laughing and cheering with him when he ridiculed the Bush administration, saying, "It would be hard to top this group for absurdity."

But just when I think the tide has finally turned and some sanity has been restored, my gay Hispanic conservative Republican co-worker walks in and rubs my face in the fact that W is gaining ground and will take New Jersey! New Jersey!!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

That Heartless Heather

marjorie says...



Honest Politics Posted by Hello

This is my favorite political sign of the season, put out by Americans For Medical Marijuana. I thought I would post it just on the off-chance some of you haven't seen it. Could you be any more straightforward??? Like the sign says: Do NOT vote for Heartless Heather Wilson!
Hello.... Ha! Unfortunately, it's not very good at orienting the public to the issue at hand (although it did get me to look at the website).

As they say, a picture is worth a 1000 words

marjorie says...does anyone see the irony in this picture?


Enviro Billboard in Martineztown, 10.10.04 Posted by Hello

Too bad you can't read the words...it says that keeping Bush will lead to oil and gas exploration in our pristine wilderness areas. If you look closely you will see that the billboard itself is peeling. The area behind the truck leads up to the interstate...hence this billboard displayed for all the passing motorists on their way north.

Jon Stewart on CNN Crossfire

Mikaela says:
Here's a link to the segment of Crossfire where Jon Stewart appeared and dramatized the failure of the media to hold our politicians accountable for their own rhetoric:

http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2652831

Finally! Someone gets it. This is SUCH GOOD TV. Jon is BRUTAL and AMAZINGLY prescient, succinct, and damning. Wow.

It's free, and you can watch on RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, or Quicktime. Worth it. 13 minutes, 40 seconds.

Talk about history-making!

Felons and voting

Maggie says:
Is it just me, or is it ridiculous that felons don't have the right to vote in many states? Given the scandals over the felon purge lists in Florida and other states, why not drop the issue altogether and just allow them to vote? (By the way, in case you haven't been paying attention, Jeb Bush has already tried the same purging techniques that were so successful in Florida in 2000. Luckily, Democrats got them thrown out this time.) This is real disenfranchisement, affecting millions of men and women in this country. It's too bad this issue has become politicized - the fact that a huge chunk of these felons (who in some states can be denied the right to vote just by passing a bad check) are African-American males is even more reason for many conservative powers-that-be to deny them. But I've also heard people of all political persuasions say that supporting felons' voting rights is being soft on crime. I don't understand that at all. We're talking basic rights here. Check out the Right to Vote campaign for more info.

Lynne Cheney, the worst woman on earth

Maggie says:
With all the attention on VP Dick Cheney as the embodiment of evil, we got a reality check last week when we were reminded that it’s none other than his wife, Lynne Cheney, who’s neck and neck with him in the terrible person race.

Lynne Cheney’s outrage at John Kerry for talking about their lesbian daughter Mary (who has been out of the closet for a decade, and very publicly out at that) was absolutely unjustified. Her gasping remarks on stage that John Kerry is a “bad man” for using such “cheap and tawdry” tactics during the campaign scores as the lowest display of public antics we’ve seen since Bush donned the flight suit last year.

What exactly is so cheap and tawdry about a candidate mentioning the lesbian daughter of a vice president – unless of course, her parents are ashamed and embarrassed that she’s a lesbian? Unless they’re scared as hell that Kerry’s reminder will close the checkbooks of their backward followers? While Lynne Cheney was shouting and sputtering and expressing outrage on stage to her fellow close-minded bigots (oops, I mean Republicans), what was most vivid was her deep shame bubbling to the surface, reddening her face and making her voice tremble. If she was crazy with anger, it wasn’t Kerry’s fault – it was her own daughter’s. And that’s what’s so sad.

By all accounts, Mary Cheney is a pretty active Republican. She works on her father’s campaign and did GLBT outreach for Coors Brewing in Colorado for years, as conservative a corporation as they come. So by Republican standards, the Cheneys should be really proud of their daughter.

Except that they hate who she is. Except that her core being is at odds with the so-called “family values” they proclaim to protect.

As much as I hate Lynne Cheney, I feel incredibly sorry for Mary. What must it be like to have your parents shun you – even as you work for their reelection that could irreparably harm your own constitutional rights? How must it feel to know they will never be proud of you, will never really accept you, while the opposing candidate of all people finally admits something your own parents never will: that simply, you’re just being who you were born to be?

Fear and Loathing in Los Lunacy

Mikaela says:
Every generation claims to be, perhaps rightly, at the center of history. That caveat acknowledged, I am filled, these days, with a sense of watching in horror at the unfolding of historic events.

One of the reasons I felt so strongly about the name of this blog being so apt at this particular moment is the feeling that we are in the center of a maelstrom of empire. Many critics have been writing lately about the Neocon agenda of empire, and they have solid, rigorous, logical analysis and factual evidence that points to the legitimacy of this claim. At certain moments, lately, I have gone beyond this intellectual and academic critique and felt with a weird, chilling clarity the momentum of this dangerous reality.

Yesterday, for example, I was home sick from work and happened to stumble upon a live broadcast of Al Gore's talk to Georgetown University on C-SPAN, and I could not shake the feeling of watching a Roman Senator calling to the higher reason of the populace to save the Republic from the power-hungry lunacy of the aristocratic elite, of which he is a part.

Why isn't there more of an uproar about what's happening in the world? Are we all still so comfortable that it's simply too inconvenient to get all worked up?

Watching the debates, I was struck by how totalizing all the rhetoric from both sides really is. It's the rhetoric of do-or-die historic moments, with cateclism waiting on either side.

Maybe it's just the fallacy of self-importance of every generation, but I feel the consequences of this election will be big -- really big -- with more at stake than even the liberal there's-no-real-difference-between-the-parties rhetoric can explain away. What's at stake is no less than our constitution, our world-reputation, our civil liberties, our morale, our media, and our ability to think through rhetoric and come to some conclusion about the wisdom of governmental policy.

No matter who wins, and clearly I have an opinion about who will be the lesser of two evils, I would hope that one of the main goals of progressives everywhere (and hopefully a few others who actually think democracy is a pretty good idea) will be the reform of media. I can't help but think that the evolution (devolution?) of media from journalism to entertainment is largely responsible for allowing the conditions for the present atmosphere of bold-face lies and unchallenged rhetoric. Why wouldn't a politician lie when they know no one (or no one the majority of Americans will ever hear or listen to) will challenge them, and there will be no consequences or accountability? It's the media's fault that more people aren't aware and incensed that this is going on.

But what do I know? I'm just a citizen in the belly of the beast, doing my part to burn away lies to expose other choices for action.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Red Sox live another day

Maggie says:
I swear being a Red Sox fan is taking years off my life. And I’m a made fan, not even a born one. Whether or not the extreme highs and lows experienced by loving this team kill me in the long run, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I had a heart attack every inning of tonight’s game, but right now the sheer joy of one more chance erases the trauma of the last five hours.

Instead of being swept in the ALCS, we’re now down 3-1. Overcoming that deficit would mean making history. I won't say the Sox will do it, because these odds are more than tough. But I will say that if any team can do it, it’s the Red Sox. And not because of who’s on the team or anything logical – but because the Red Sox are the most magical team in baseball, full of destiny and legend and cheered on by the best fans there are. For the Sox to finally make, it will have to be outrageous and improbable and epic. Our history practically mandates that.

In this series, we’ve seen our star pitcher sidelined, our bats silenced, and our defense weakened. But Red Sox Nation will tune in tomorrow with every hope in the world. Not because it’s reasonable to hope we can win it all – we’re not reasonable fans. (This is clearly the best team for me, since I'm an eternal optimist, too.) We’ll keep hoping because they’re the Red Sox, and we believe anything is possible.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The politics of signage

Maggie says:
Driving around town today I saw a ridiculous bumper sticker on the car ahead of me. Besides having three Bush/Cheney ’04 stickers, there was a black one with red flames that said “Death before Dishonor.” What a great summation of the boneheaded position so many conservatives have today – that they’d rather die before admitting any mistake (like, hmm, our justification for war?) that might discredit the country’s “honor.” What a messed-up interpretation of honor. No wonder their president is the way he is.

This had me thinking of a few months back, when in the span of one week Joe and I saw two different cars that had both Bush and pro-beef stickers on them. One Bush car had a “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner” sticker on it. The other had a Bush sticker, a Kansas plate, and a Kansas Beef Producers sticker. Kind of weird. And nothing against beef, but I’d bet anything that more vegetarians or white-meat-only types support Kerry while Bush really does have a hold on the beef-eating population. Funny how bumper stickers can clue you in to that kind of thing.

Another signage story: A huge Bush/Cheney yard sign (I’m talking 4 feet by 6 feet) on Girard was vandalized over the weekend. The residents took the crossed-out sign out of their yard and are literally hanging it from the top of their house now, safely away from pesky Democratic neighbors and passersby. (Apparently the red line crossing out Bush’s name doesn’t bother them.) Over on Monte Vista, another house with an identical huge sign is being closely guarded: we saw a man standing by the sign with his arms crossed and watching cars go by, daring anyone to come and mess with it.

I think losing the election will be payback enough for these jerks.

Friday, October 15, 2004

blogging and heresy

Marjorie says...
You are both pretty special to me too. I am so happy to have your friendship and support – you have no idea!

I am such a nerd. hee hee

Ok, although I realize this is practically heresy in New Mexico right now, here’s a quote from probably my all time favorite political figure, Emma Goldman:

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."

Sorry! Of course, I understand the importance of getting the neo-cons out of office, and will be voting for Kerry. But the above sentiment is pretty much where I am for the most part. Voting is a highly controlled PART of democratic participation, especially the higher up you go on the ladder, and I get tired of what seems to be a major equation of democracy with voting. It lets more well-to-do folks off the hook, and frustrates those with less power.

This is my thought of the day.

We’re blogging – woo hoo!

Here's to the future! Posted by Hello

What’s in a name?

Maggie says:
So the name M-Pyre is growing on me. At first, all it made me think about was burning corpses. (Not a happy thought on a Friday morning.) But Marjorie and Mikaela have convinced me that the true message is one of rebirth and renewal through struggle, of being in the mix and making progress. And this rings true for me, for all three of us.

Marjorie says, “We are in the belly of it here.” And we are. Albuquerque is rife with opportunities for engagement and outrage, given the way things happen in this town. But there’s also access to create change (in Boston, for example, access was pretty limited), to make some progress if you insert yourself into the mix. Only in New Mexico have I been this engaged, this deep “in the belly.” And I’ve done it with my two co-contributors.

I love these two women dearly – they’re my friends, my conscience, my sounding board, my constant entertainment. In strange ways, we’ve all become synonymous with each other the last two years. I guess this blog makes it official.

Not even nine, and the girls are conquering the world!

Mikaela says:
Here we are, three planning girls sitting and blogging -- screened and wireless -- at our locally-owned coffee spot.

Brainstorming names, puns, and revolution.

And we're all late for work, but really, what's more important than friends and community-building?

That's right; nothing.