Tuesday, March 29, 2005

"Free Trade" in Action...thanks to Pika over at Albuquerque superblog QuirkyBurque for this photo of China Shipping railcars making their way into the heartland, from the Port of LA.  Posted by Hello

Monday, March 28, 2005

Life Lessons Bunny Style

marjorie says...

On a lighter note - did folks clue into the Easter Egg fiasco this past Saturday? Ha!

5000 people met at 6am at Balloon Fiesta Park for a massive Easter Egg hunt. Unfortunately, the Easter Bunny’s one-two-three to get a pre-hunt bunny hop started miscued the crowd. The false start led to a mad dash onto the field, both kids and parents scrambling for the goodies. Needless to say, parents lost their kids, and lots of kids got no eggs. To make sure that the younger and slower kids got an egg when it was all said and done, event organizers went up in three hot air balloons and proceeded to drop eggs on their heads. Yes, I said Dropped Eggs On Their Heads. It was raining eggs on these poor people. Yikes!

Amazing, truly amazing, but, also a “life lesson” according to Marty the Mayor. "Some of the kids didn't get eggs, but that's a life lesson," he said to the Journal.

hmmm...what could these life lessons be?

  • If you are not in front, you get no egg?
  • That no one will share with you, so grab all the goodies in sight?
  • You better jump right in with the rest of the frenzy, or you get no egg?

Oh, Marty, you are such a sage.

And isn't it nice that the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus can provide such illuminating life lessons?

Monday, March 21, 2005

More deep thoughts from the weekend...

Mikaela says:

I also bought a new book of poems (surprise!) about (what else?) poetry!

Contemplate this in your navel:

What words say does not last. The words last. Because words are always the same, and what they say is never the same.

-- Antonio Porchia (translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin)



Historians and newsmen and people who are just curious ask me,
Who am I writing for?

I’m not writing for the gentlemen in the stuffy coat, or for his
offended moustache, not even for the warning finger he
raises in the sad ripples of music.

Not for the lady hidden in her carriage (her lorgnette sending its
cold light through the windowpanes).

Perhaps I write for the people who don’t read my poems. That woman
who dashes down the street as if she had to open the doors
for the sunrise.

Or that old fellow nodding on a bench in the little park while the
setting sun takes him with love, wraps him up and dissolves
him, gently, in its light.

For everyone who doesn’t read my writing, all the people who
don’t care about me (though they care for me, without

The little girl who glances my way as she passes, my companion on
this adventure, living in the world.

And the old woman who sat in her doorway and watched life and
bore many lives and many weary hands.

I write for the man who’s in love. For the man who walks by with
his pain in his eyes. The man who listens to him. The
man who looked away as he walked by. The man who
finally collapsed when he asked his question and no one

I write for all of them. I write, mostly, for the people who don’t
read me. Each one and the whole crowd. For the breasts
and the mouths and the ears, the ears that don’t listen, but
my words alive.


But I also write for the murderer. For the man who shut his eyes
and threw himself at somebody’s heart and ate death instead
of food and got up crazy.

For the man who puffed himself up into a tower of rage and then
collapsed on the world.

For the dead women and the dead children and the dying men.

For the person who quietly turned on the gas and destroyed the
whole city and the sun rose on a pile of bodies.

For the innocent girl with her smile, her heart, her sweet medallion
(and a plundering army went through there).

And for the plundering army that charged into the sea and sank.

And for those waters, for the infinite sea.

No, not infinite. For the finite sea that has boundaries almost like
our own, like a breathing thing.

(At this point a little boy comes in, jumps in the water, and the
sea, the heart of the sea, is in his pulse!)

And for the last look, the hopelessly limited Last Look, in whose
arms someone falls asleep.

Everyone’s asleep. The murderer and the innocent victim, the boss
and the baby, the damp and the dead, the dried-up old fig
and the wild, bristling hair.

For the bully and the bullied, the good and the sad, the voice with
no substance
and all the substance in the world.

For you, the man with nothing that will turn into a god, who reads
these words without desire.

For you and everything alive inside of you,
I write, and write.

-- Vicente Aleixandre
translated from the Spanish by Lewis Hyde

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Thousands of Feet Below You

Maggie says:
M3 is in Santa Fe this weekend for some much-needed downtime. Right now we're sitting around reading and resting - no work, no thesis, no worries. One of my afternoon purchases was Alice Walker's latest collection of poems. This one keeps haunting me:

Thousands of Feet Below You
by Alice Walker

Thousands of feet
Below you
There is a small
Running from
Your bombs.

If he were
To show up
At your mother's
On a green
Sea island
Off the coast
Of Georgia

He'd be invited in
For dinner.

Now, driven,
You have shattered
His bones.

He lies steaming
In the desert
In fifty or sixy
Or maybe one hundred
Oily, slimy

If you survive
& return
To your island
& your mother's
Where the cup
of lovingkindness
The brim
From which
No one
In memory
Was ever

Gather yourself.

Set a place
for him.

Friday, March 18, 2005

"Brother, can you spare a bone?" Tipper and Cleo out in the cold. Posted by Hello

Mikaela says: Other retreating snows closer to home...really close, in fact. Okay, okay. It's my home. Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Retreating snows of Kilimanjaro

marjorie says...

Speaking of snow, thanks to Alterdestiny for pointing us to this blog with amazing photos of the *retreating* snows of Kilimanjaro. There seems to be a debate about whether or not this retreat is due to global warming - some say it may be due to deforestation instead. Umm...well, either way it shows how we humans are well on our way to destroying the planet!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Night lights in the snow, 3.14.05 Posted by Hello

Angie in snow motion, 3.14.05 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Spring snow

Maggie says:
Spring snow in New Mexico. 70 degrees on Sunday, five inches of snow on Monday. This is the craziest place. And the most beautiful. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 11, 2005

Jack Johnson, "In Between Dreams"

Maggie says:
Can't enjoy the beginning of spring because you're too busy? Can't get that damn inner dialogue out of your head that says workworkworkworkwork? Can't make it onto the plane that could transport you to a tropical beach... or at least a hammock on a porch somewhere with a beer in your hand? Can't take a nap?

Listen to this CD instead, until you can make those things happen. I promise it'll ease your mind. It's like a spring breeze coming out of your computer speakers. And let's face it - we're all in need of a good spring breeze these days.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The irony is maddening

Maggie says:
Could there possibly be a worst choice for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations than John Bolton? I mean, the irony is just maddening. It's almost comical that this administration would pick a bullheaded tough guy who's publicly criticized the UN to be our ambassador to the UN. But I find myself not laughing. We've never needed to rebuild our relationship with the UN and the world more. We've never needed the right person for the job more. The consequences of a move like this could be drastic, will be drastic. And I'm caught between shaking my head in disbelief and despair.

Courage in the Roundhouse

Maggie says:
The death penalty is just two votes away from being repealed in the State of New Mexico. The bill (HB 576) passed through the House and just cleared the Senate Rules Committee. Next up is a vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee and finally the full Senate.

For me, this issue is as emotional as it gets. I lived in Boston when Massachusetts was considering reinstating the death penalty after the horrific killing of Jeffrey Curley, a little boy who was raped and murdered by two men who were members of the North American Man Boy Love Association (remember that name and its acronym, NAMBLA - you'd be surprised how often you run across them in the news, and it's never for a good reason).

Those hearings were the most heart-wrenching proceedings I've ever seen in politics. There was an unspeakable crime committed and in response, a genuine organizing movement to make policy reflect what people's hearts were feeling. And so wars of words and tears were waged at the MA State House to allow the state to murder the murderers. The Curley group would ask how dare the death penalty opponents be so unfeeling, so soft on crime, to deny them the vindication they sought in the name of a murdered 8-year old. But the opponents remained steadfast, rightly pointing out that the killing of this boy is exactly why the dealth penalty is used so wrongly. If one event makes people want to change policy in order to exact a certain punishment, doesn't that show us that the death penalty is inherently unfair, inherently subjective, and entirely too emotional to be law?

Massachusetts never reinstated the dealth penalty, but it was surprising how close it came. And here in New Mexico we'll see what happens next. So far our half-asleep media has only focused on those protesting this bill and speaking out in favor of the death penalty. It will be interesting to see how the death penalty opponents and backers of this bill will be portrayed. New Mexico barely uses its death sentence as it is (something like one person in twenty years, I think). This will probably give us more of a reasoned debate than those that are in reaction to something specific, as it was in Massachusetts.

I think the tide is turning in the anti-death penalty movement. Illinois is leading the way on this, but change is happening at the ground-level, where it's always most effective. I hope the local media steps up to honestly cover this issue. HB 576 is a bill to follow, to care about, to emotionally tune into. It's a time for people to reflect. Two more votes to go...

Monday, March 07, 2005

Impact fees are for the Public Good

marjorie says...

So, did folks see that House Bill 805, which would bar the implementation of Albuquerque’s new impact fee system, was approved this weekend by the House of Representatives? Now it goes to the Senate. Proponents say that the new system is “unfair” and that impact fees should be completely uniform throughout the city. What a lot of rubbish! These impact fees would account for the very different public costs associated with different developments – period. In fact, this new system makes *fair* what is currently an entirely arbitrary and unfair system. Why should residents of inner city neighborhoods, who are struggling with crumbling infrastructure and poor city services, be subsidizing new subdivisions on the West Side?? Is it any wonder that many of the very people who move to the West Side are leaving these inner city neighborhoods? This is a vicious cycle that needs to stop.

Not to mention that this bill is a total usurpation of our municipal right to plan for our own development. The New Mexico American Planning Association website conveniently gives us the actual state legislation that authorizes municipalities to plan for development in accordance with the specific needs of that place. Here it is:

Section 3-19-9 NMSA 1978. "The plan shall be made with the general purpose of guiding and accomplishing a coordinated, adjusted and harmonious development of the municipality which will, in accordance with existing and future needs, best promote health, safety, morals, order, convenience, prosperity or the general welfare as well as efficiency and economy in the process of development."

Finally, here is a column by V.B. Price, taking these developers and friends of developers to task. I couldn’t have said it better, V.B.

V.B. Price: Carte blanche
Sprawl developers given red light for irresponsible plans

By V.B. PriceMarch 1, 2005

The National Association of Industrial and Office Properties charged this month that development impact fees mandated by the Planned Growth Strategy in Albuquerque are a "tool of social engineers."

Use of such language implies that socially responsible planning is somehow subversive, almost communistic and definitely not in the interests of those who make their millions in unregulated, sprawling development.

Sprawl follows not the market, but rather an artificial demand created by advertising and subsidized by invisible incentives, tax giveaways, bridges, roads, fire and police protection and other infrastructure freebies that keep costs down.

Impact fees, far from being forms of odious social engineering, are a fair way to counter the longstanding governmental bias against infill development that drives costs up.

For 30 years or more, sprawl developers have been given carte blanche to do whatever they want to do at public expense, while infill developers were often burdened with massive disincentives in the form political harassment.

While city government bent over backwards to do anything it could for sprawlers, and while sprawlers supported, with their massive war chests, the political campaigns of those who helped them, City Hall consistently thwarted redevelopment efforts with malign neglect.

Elections were won and lost by narrow margins, but City Hall ignored those who called for redeveloping areas that already had expensive infrastructure in place, and it opted for giveaways at public expense for those wanting to build in areas where there was nothing but sand.

If impact fees were merely a payback for years of neglect and disrespect, they might be questionable.

Impact fees finally level out the public costs of development, and I stress the word "public." It costs the public millions to subsidize development on the fringes - hence, impact fees. It costs the public relatively nothing for infill growth - hence, minimal impact fees. Impact fees take sprawlers off the public dole.

This is just straight math and is about as far from social engineering as any other prudent public policy that tries to make sure Albuquerque and New Mexico grow in appropriate ways and not in irresponsible ways benefiting the few at the expense of all.

I suppose some people might call efforts in the Legislature to regulate the drilling of private wells a form of social engineering. But they'd be wrong to do that. They might also imply that creating a strategic water reserve might hobble development in ways that are uncongenial to the marketplace. And they'd be wrong again.

Responsible stewardship of resources is not social engineering and not a communist plot.
There is more than one way to grow a vigorous economy in Albuquerque and New Mexico. It's time we look beyond the old-fashioned building-boom economy rooted in resource waste and taxpayer subsidy. Public financing of private development is a rut we don't need to be stuck in anymore.

Price is an Albuquerque freelance writer, author, editor and commentator.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Marjorie's Posse

Marjorie's rocking so hard, we're thinking of making T-shirts! Here's my suggestion for a logo. We could get rich and then gather corporate welfare ourselves! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

No More Killing Kids in the Name of Justice

Mikaela says:
In a big victory for opponents of the death penalty, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to outlaw the execution of those who were minors at the time of committing crimes.

Only Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Sandra Day O'Connor voted to uphold the states' rights to give minors the death penalty. In this opinion, they are trailing behind such enlightened countries as Iran, Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia, which were among the last countries to perform juvenile executions and who have all now gone on record as opposing capital punishment for minors.

I guess now that we can't kill our teens, we'll work harder to install that curfew Marjorie wrote about. Liberty and justice for all.

Scaled-back Attack on Social Security

Mikaela says:
Republicans are starting to look around for a compromise that saves face for the President while still attacking Social Security as a social program:

This from Paul Krugman of the New York Times:
[P]rivate accounts, once established, would be used as a tool to whittle down traditional guaranteed benefits. For example, conservatives would use the existence of private accounts, together with rosy scenarios about rates of return, to argue that guaranteed benefits could be cut without hurting retirees.

In short, anyone who wants to see the nation return to fiscal responsibility, wants to preserve Social Security as an institution or both should be opposed to any deal creating private accounts. And there is also, of course, the political question: Why should any Democrat act as a spoiler when his party is doing well by doing good, gaining political ground by opposing a really bad idea? (Hello, Senator Lieberman.)

The important thing to remember is why the right wants privatization. The drive to create private accounts isn't about finding a way to strengthen Social Security; it's about finding a way to phase out a system that conservatives have always regarded as illegitimate. And as long as that is what's at stake, there is no room for any genuine compromise. When it comes to privatization, just say no.